Category Archives: Superstition & Deception

The Zealous Pursuit Of State-Sponsored Collapse

Government intervention into a nation’s economy is as foolish as attempting to control the sun’s rise and fall by law or force. But that doesn’t mean governments don’t meddle each and every day with the best – and worst – of intentions.  The United States government is no exception.

Over the years, layers and layers of interference by various federal, state, and local agencies have built up like grime on a kitchen window. The grease shines and smells of something fierce.  The layers of government grime also drip and ooze into every crack and crevice of the economy.

These days, for example, it is impossible to carry out a simple private transaction with your barber or barista without some form of government interference. Has your barber obtained the required license and paid the obligatory fees to be able to legally taper your neck line?  Has your barista’s espresso bean grinder passed city health inspection?

Is the hot Cup of Joe served in a paper cup of appropriate recycled material composition? Did the hot beverage exceed the legally accepted temperature standard?  Did state and local governments receive their tax exaction upon payment?

When it comes to more complicated matters, where real money’s on the line, government interference is an absolute disgrace. Did you know that it costs 10 times more to have an appendectomy in the United States than in Mexico?  Is the procedure 10 times better?

Obviously, this is nothing new. Governments have been regulating and impressing their fingerprints all over commerce since society first granted its leaders the opportunity.  People are so accustomed to it that they accept government intervention as necessary to better their lives.

When it comes to price fixing, wage controls, and dictating oil production, things quickly go haywire. This is because prices, wages, and resources have their own independent relationships beyond what can be legislated.

When the price of a certain good or commodity is artificially fixed below its natural equilibrium, scarcity and shortages follow. In short, when the price of bread is decreed below the cost of the wheat that goes into it, bakers go fishing.

Credit Market Intervention

Perhaps the most nefarious of all government intervention, is that which directly affects a nation’s money stock.  Many people don’t recognize its occurrence.  But they do misdiagnose its effects.

Wage stagnation, for instance, is often blamed on greedy executives off-shoring their production.  In reality, this is merely a consequence of a forced monetary regime that inhibits genuine capital formation and earned savings in favor of asset price inflation. Of course, only a complete killjoy would bother scratching below the surface to uncover such minutiae.

Without question, the last decade has brought forth some of the craziest monetary policy experiments in human history.  If you recall, the Federal Reserve dropped the federal funds rate to near zero in December 2008, and kept it there until December 2015 – exactly seven years.

Since then, the Fed has hiked the federal funds rate four times – 0.25 percent each time – bringing the federal funds rate up to 1.25 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets on December 12 and 13, and will likely raise the federal funds rate another 0.25 percent.

It is also anticipated that the Fed will raise rates three times in 2018, assuming financial markets and the economy don’t break down before they can accomplish this.

Concurrent with the Fed’s interest rate raising efforts, they’ve also begun to reduce their balance sheet.  They’re selling some of the roughly $3.6 trillion in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities purchased as part of their Quantitative Easing program. This reversal of the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program reduces the pool of available credit in the financial system.

It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize the effect this will have on an economy and financial markets that are wholly addicted to cheap and abundant credit.  So where does the GOP’s tax bill fall within this landscape?

The Zealous Pursuit of State-Sponsored Collapse

Here we turn to David Stockman, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan.  Stockman’s more than four decades of in-the-trenches experience, study, and contemplation of taxes, budgets, and deficits, and how these all influence and affect the economy, is unrivaled. As he explains:

“All tax cuts are not created equal.  Their impact for good or ill depends on: (1) which taxes are cut; (2) how the revenue loss is financed; (3) when they occur in the business cycle; and (4) how they impact that nation’s underlying fiscal posture.
 
“Our point today is that the GOP gets an “F” on all four components of the test.  That’s because a deficit-financed tax cut is never a good idea, but is especially counter-productive if done late in the business cycle in the face of a structural deficit that is high and rising (owing to inexorable demographic pressures on entitlement spending); and in the teeth of an unprecedented cycle of monetary contraction, which is exactly what the Fed’s interest rate normalization and balance sheet shrinkage (QT or quantitative tightening) amounts to.”
To clarify, if you’ve been out of school for a while, “F” stands for fail.  Most notably, financing tax cuts with money borrowed from the future is doomed to fail.  Hence, the great GOP tax cuts represent but another fail milestone in the zealous pursuit of state-sponsored collapse.
We should point out that the spike to $19,000+ in BTC was confined to the Coinbase exchange, where a huge premium developed during the trading day. It was not replicated at any of the other exchanges, where BTC peaked just below $16,000. This is mainly a sign of inefficiencies at said exchange (BTC routinely trades at a premium there, but it is usually much smaller). It took a while for arbitrageurs to bring the premium back down, but they succeeded eventually.
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Review of Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

The Counterpoints series produced by Zondervan Publishing “provides a forum for the comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians.”1 Notable theologian Stanley Gundry is the series editor. The format for each book in the series is for three or four Christian leaders or scholars who are divided on an important Christian issue to each write an essay where they explain their position and briefly describe what they believe to be the best evidences for their position. Each essay is followed by responses from the other essayists and a brief rejoinder.

The Counterpoints series has featured books on creation, evolution, the early chapters of Genesis, and biblical inerrancy before. In these previous books the Reasons to Believe perspective was not presented. Consequently, over the past three decades we have had to continually deal with misunderstandings and misrepresentations of our positions and missions. Therefore, I jumped at the offer to participate in the latest book in the series, Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design.2 I saw my contribution as an opportunity to set the record straight on our mission and vision and on what we believe at Reasons to Believe and why we believe it.

The four authors for the book were the presidents of Answers in Genesis (Ken Ham), BioLogos (Deborah Haarsma), Discovery Institute (Stephen Meyer), and Reasons to Believe (Hugh Ross). Ken Ham (bachelor of applied science in environmental biology and diploma in education) defended young-earth creationism, Deborah Haarsma (PhD, astrophysics) defended evolutionary creationism, Stephen Meyer (PhD, history and philosophy of science) defended intelligent design, and I (PhD, astronomy) defended old-earth creationism.

The general editor for the book, James Stump (PhD, philosophy), is the senior editor for BioLogos—thus, he obviously favors the evolutionary creationism position. I was impressed, however, by how impartially Stump fulfilled his role as the book’s editor and how fairly and charitably he treated each author.

Originally, the four authors were to describe and defend their positions on creation, evolution, and the early chapters of Genesis. This assignment proved difficult for Meyer since the Discovery Institute and the intelligent design movement as a matter of policy “does not offer an interpretation of the book of Genesis, nor does it posit a theory about the length of the biblical days of creation or the age of the earth.”3 Thus, the book morphed into four views on creation, evolution, and intelligent design. Nevertheless, the other three authors did engage one another on their respective interpretations of Genesis 1–11.

I applaud Stump for requiring each of us authors to close our opening essays with what we considered to be the most significant biblical and scientific challenges to our respective positions. The subject of creation, evolution, and Genesis for the past two centuries has been typified by Christian leaders holding rigidly to their positions and refusing to consider any possible modifications or adjustments. By admitting and addressing both possible biblical andscientific challenges, we were all encouraged to go where the evidence goes.

I also applaud Stump for doing everything in his power to encourage a charitable dialogue among the authors. Readers will probably note that Stump’s objective was only partially achieved. However, as an insider I can attest that whatever lack of charity remains in the book is of no fault of Stump.

As for my own hopes for the book, I am grateful that the all-too-typical false dichotomy of young-earth creationism versus theistic evolution was countered. I was encouraged that I had the opportunity to correct the misunderstandings the other authors had about my views and motives. I was encouraged, too, that for the first time in print the four predominant positions on the science-faith spectrum were accurately and fairly presented. In particular, I was pleased that each author stated where they stood on the issue of biblical inspiration and inerrancy, especially the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy affirmations and denials, and why. While space prohibited laying out all the evidences for the respective positions, each of the authors had written several other books and articles where that had been done. We cited these other works in our contributions to enable any reader who wants to dig deeper to do so.

At 235 pages, the book is short enough to quickly provide both Christian and non-Christian readers an understanding of the scope and the passions of the science-faith debate within the Christian community. At the same time, it is long enough to be a useful textbook for Christian seminaries and colleges and for youth and adult classes in churches and Bible studies.

Original article: Review of Four Views on Creation

Overtaxation

The only people who need 75% of your money are people who cannot manage money.

In my opinion, you are participating in organized crime if your government takes more than 40% of your wealth.

Really, more than 30%.

It is amazing how many people lecture others about not being greedy…

right before they demand the lion’s share of their wealth.

That said: obey the law. Pay your taxes.

Vote to lower them in the meantime.

The World is Not Flat

Yes, the world is round, just as the Bible tells you it is.

That aside, it is fascinating the people who fall for the bait of the Flat Earth argument, and who rail so vociferously against it, are they themselves people who routinely peddle flat ideas defended by 1-dimensional thinking.

So, apparently the world cannot be flat but their politics, science, and morality can be.

Odd.

Left Far Behind

The only “book” people worship that claims Black people are a less evolved species of Man was one written by Charles Darwin:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes… will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. 

The Descent of Man (1871 AD)

The rest of us learned something better from a work far older and far wiser:

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

The Book of Colossians 3:8-11 (58 AD)