Merry Christmas everyone! I'd like to give that to the Wall Street Journal and to the late Vermont Royster for this timely article.
In Hoc Anno Domini
So the light came into the world.
When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.
Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.
But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?
There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?
Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.
And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.
So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.
But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.
Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.
And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually since.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas everyone! I'd like to give that to the Wall Street Journal and to the late Vermont Royster for this timely article.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Section 469 of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) contains a list of the most serious offences. These are not charges that anyone should minimize. They are included below:
469. Every court of criminal jurisdiction has jurisdiction to try an indictable offence other than
(a) an offence under any of the following sections:
(i) section 47 (treason),
(ii) section 49 (alarming Her Majesty),
(iii) section 51 (intimidating Parliament or a legislature),
(iv) section 53 (inciting to mutiny),
(v) section 61 (seditious offences),
(vi) section 74 (piracy),
(vii) section 75 (piratical acts), or
(viii) section 235 (murder)
God's Perfect Holiness and Man's Sin
The reality is that until we truly repent and turn our lives over to Jesus, we are very much in that category of s. 469 of the CCC. When we are in a state of unbelief, we are that person committing treason, alarming Her Majesty, intimidating Parliament, inciting to mutiny, committing seditious offences, piracy and murder. Understand this is not a case of 'just missing the mark'. It is a serious indictable offence against God to be found in a state of unbelief.
Salvation is by The Sacrificial Blood of Christ Alone
Furthermore it can be found no other way. Not by tithing or perfect church attendance. Not by works or by acts of charity. It is only by the blood and through the blood that a person can be saved from the horrors of hell. God does not joke around when it comes to sin. While God is a God of love, mercy and compassion - and praise Him for that! - God takes His laws, commandments and statutes seriously.
What Must I Do To Avoid Such Condemnation?
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
More to the point, how can you know you're saved? Here are five points to consider.
- Have you laid your pride to rest? If I dare hear pride and self-sufficiency that person is not saved.
- Is there a clear distinction between the 'old you' and the 'new you'? If you're still behaving just as the way you were before I would seriously question your eternal destiny.
- Have you become wiser and more discerning? A sure sign of salvation is when you are 'locked in' to the mindset of God.
- Do you have a Biblical worldview or a secular one? More to the point, are you able to tell the difference?
- Are you kinder, gentler, more merciful and patient with those who constantly test us? A heart of love is a sign that you've been reborn.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The memory of it is still fresh in my mind. On a Friday afternoon after coming back from my run I was called into the office and told my truck was to be taken off the road. After 11 years of faithful service, I was laid off.
While my previous employment gave me the stability I needed, the reality was that I was being left behind both in terms of personal and financial growth. When you can't remember the last time you got a raise it's probably best to move on - or get gently shoved through the door as was with my case.
Hard to believe how far I've come since then. I really feel good about where I'm at right now. The future is indeed a bright one. My paralegal studies have gone swimmingly. Having passed all my courses with an A average, I have flourished in my new environment as a legal student.
As I look forward to the new year, 2010 looks to be both exciting and somewhat terrifying. In May I'll be celebrating my 40th birthday. By that time my classes will have come to an end and I'll be smack dab in the middle of my internship. On August 11th I write my paralegal exam. What happens beyond that is a mystery.
2010 is a year which has as its theme, 'Finish What You Started'. All my travails at getting into school (which I detailed in the first half of this year) came to fruition in June. By May 2010 my tenure at TriOS will have come to its completion. In a way, it's like leaving the womb. You may be safe and protected there, but there comes a point when its time to leave and start growing.
God has indeed provided for me. Mind you, it hasn't been easy. I've had to make some withdrawals from my RRSP's and on more than one occasion I've been totally broke - usually at the end of the month. My commissionaires pay and EI still managed to sustain me throughout. Despite my delicate financial position, I still had the chance to do all my regular summer stuff, including:
- CHIN Picnic Bikini Pageant (never get tired of that!)
- Carabram (All pavilions visited like a trooper should)
- Taste of the Danforth (The food! The crowds! The music! Did I mention the food?)
- And as always, the CNE (twice!)
I firmly believe God has sent me this adversity for a reason. Much like the Israelites being driven from Egypt, this has happened to me at the precise moment of God's choosing. Like the Israelites, I too moaned and complained when things weren't going my way. Only now do I appreciate His divine wisdom as He has set me upon this path. God is still in the business of weaving small miracles into my life. I feel blessed and fortunate to be given this second chance. May His name be glorified through my scholarly efforts.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Ever wonder what one of the most well-known stories of the Christmas season would look like if translated into legalese? Well look no further! You can view the original here. Mr. Lloyd Duhame is a lawyer out in Victoria, B.C. and is one seriously funny dude. His website is a must-see for all lawyers, paralegals (to be) and others working and living in the legal field.
Also known as "Santa Claus", "Kris Kringle", "Saint Nicolas" or "Father Christmas"
I, Occular. W. Itness, of 174 Main Street, Whoville, do solemnly affirm and swear to the truth of this, my sworn statement:
1. Whereas, on or about the night prior to the 25th of December, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to, a mouse.
2. A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a/ St. Nicholas a/k/a/ Santa Claus (hereinafter "Claus" or "the subject") would arrive at sometime thereafter.
3. The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein vision of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.
4. Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as "I"), being a tenant-by-the-entirety in fee simple of the House with the party of the second part (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep (at such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, to wit: kerchief and cap).
5. Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved portion of real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e. the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance.
6. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance. At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter "the Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer.
7. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus, as more specifically identified below.
8. Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the aforementioned eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"; upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved).
9. The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature.
10. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, specifically on the rooftop thereof, causing unspecified damage thereto by means of the hooves of said animal co-conspirators.
11. Whereupon Claus entered said House via the chimney.
12. The party of the first part positively identified said Claus from the following appearance: The subject was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. Claus' face was identifiable by certain cherry-like and bow-like features and he was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations, the fumes of which assumed a wreathiform shape around the subject's head.
13. Said Claus made no utterances or admissions, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts (said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the tax statute or any applicable or relevant Gifts to Minors legislation).
14. Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts".
15. After vaulting in the Vehicle, signaling his co-conspirators and abettors with a whistle, Claus abruptly departed for an unknown destination. However, prior to the disappearance of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim: "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" (or words to that effect...).
SWORN BEFORE ON THIS 24TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2008.
Monday, November 09, 2009
We all love cars and our mobility. From time to time we do the strangest things to our vehicles that defy reason and safety. From there I fixed it.com comes some real knee-slappers. I hope you get as much a laugh out of these pics as I did.
Is Red Green this guy's mechanic or does he have a duct tape fetish?
Here's a taxicab that has no business being on the road:
An accident waiting to happen:
I'd avoid bridges and overpasses if I were you:
No worries about the summer heat here:
Friday, November 06, 2009
Leviticus 23 is without question the most important chapter in the Bible. Not Isaiah 53. Not Daniel 9. Not even the book of Revelation. These prophecy faves are meaningless unless you delve into Leviticus 23 first. This chapter contains in detail the seven feasts of the Lord and is a must read. The seven feasts of the LORD are:
- The Sabbath
- The Passover and Unleavened Bread
- Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
- Feast of Trumpets
- Day of Atonement
- Feast of Tabernacles
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
" 'There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.
The Passover and Unleavened Bread
" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.' "
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil—an offering made to the LORD by fire, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Feast of Weeks
" 'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the LORD for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
" 'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.' "
Feast of Trumpets
The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.' "
Day of Atonement
The LORD said to Moses, "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."
Feast of Tabernacles
The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.
(" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.)
" 'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' "
So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed feasts of the LORD.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Found this great WSJ article from Peggy Noonan. I have posted on the problems that America (and by logical extension, Western civilization). As America goes, so goes the rest of the free world. Those of us living here in the Union of Soviet Canadian Republic should take no comfort in the problems that are afflicting the U.S.. Indeed they are worrisome. Let us continue to pray for our nation - assuming it isn't too late!
(Please note the emphasis in bold is mine and not the author's)
The new economic statistics put growth at a healthy 3.5% for the third quarter. We should be dancing in the streets. No one is, because no one has any faith in these numbers. Waves of money are sloshing through the system, creating a false rising tide that lifts all boats for the moment. The tide will recede. The boats aren't rising, they're bobbing, and will settle. No one believes the bad time is over. No one thinks we're entering a new age of abundance. No one thinks it will ever be the same as before 2008. Economists, statisticians, forecasters and market specialists will argue about what the new numbers mean, but no one believes them, either. Among the things swept away in 2008 was public confidence in the experts. The experts missed the crash. They'll miss the meaning of this moment, too.
The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business.
It is a story in two parts. The first: "They do not think they can make it better."
I talked this week with a guy from Big Pharma, which we used to call "the drug companies" until we decided that didn't sound menacing enough. He is middle-aged, works in a significant position, and our conversation turned to the last great recession, in the late mid- to late 1970s and early '80s. We talked about how, in terms of numbers, that recession was in some ways worse than the one we're experiencing now. Interest rates were over 20%, and inflation and unemployment hit double digits. America was in what might be called a functional depression, yet there was still a prevalent feeling of hope. Here's why. Everyone thought they could figure a way through. We knew we could find a path through the mess. In 1982 there were people saying, "If only we get rid of this guy Reagan, we can make it better!" Others said, "If we follow Reagan, he'll squeeze out inflation and lower taxes and we'll be America again, we'll be acting like Americans again." Everyone had a path through.
Now they don't. The most sophisticated Americans, experienced in how the country works on the ground, can't figure a way out. Have you heard, "If only we follow Obama and the Democrats, it will all get better"? Or, "If only we follow the Republicans, they'll make it all work again"? I bet you haven't, or not much.
This is historic. This is something new in modern political history, and I'm not sure we're fully noticing it. Americans are starting to think the problems we are facing cannot be solved.
Part of the reason is that the problems—debt, spending, war—seem too big. But a larger part is that our government, from the White House through Congress and so many state and local governments, seems to be demonstrating every day that they cannot make things better. They are not offering a new path, they are only offering old paths—spend more, regulate more, tax more in an attempt to make us more healthy locally and nationally. And in the long term everyone—well, not those in government, but most everyone else—seems to know that won't work. It's not a way out. It's not a path through.
And so the disheartenedness of the leadership class, of those in business, of those who have something. This week the New York Post carried a report that 1.5 million people had left high-tax New York state between 2000 and 2008, more than a million of them from even higher-tax New York City. They took their tax dollars with them—in 2006 alone more than $4 billion.
You know what New York, both state and city, will do to make up for the lost money. They'll raise taxes.
I talked with an executive this week with what we still call "the insurance companies" and will no doubt soon be calling Big Insura. (Take it away, Democratic National Committee.) He was thoughtful, reflective about the big picture. He talked about all the new proposed regulations on the industry. Rep. Barney Frank had just said on some cable show that the Democrats of the White House and Congress "are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the regulatory area." The executive said of Washington: "They don't understand that people can just stop, get out. I have friends and colleagues who've said to me 'I'm done.' " He spoke of his own increasing tax burden and said, "They don't understand that if they start to tax me so that I'm paying 60%, 55%, I'll stop."
He felt government doesn't understand that business in America is run by people, by human beings. Mr. Frank must believe America is populated by high-achieving robots who will obey whatever command he and his friends issue. But of course they're human, and they can become disheartened. They can pack it in, go elsewhere, quit what used to be called the rat race and might as well be called that again since the government seems to think they're all rats. (That would be you, Chamber of Commerce.)
And here is the second part of the story. While Americans feel increasingly disheartened, their leaders evince a mindless . . . one almost calls it optimism, but it is not that.
It is a curious thing that those who feel most mistily affectionate toward America, and most protective toward it, are the most aware of its vulnerabilities, the most aware that it can be harmed. They don't see it as all-powerful, impregnable, unharmable. The loving have a sense of its limits.
When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse?
I think I know part of the answer. It is that they've never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don't have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they're big on that word. But they're not really concerned. They think America is the goose that lays the golden egg. Why not? She laid it in their laps. She laid it in grandpa's lap.
They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally.
We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Thinking is an art form, just like Rodin's well known piece of sculpture. In like fashion, a flash of inspiration hits me and seeing as I have time, I decided to attend forthwith my train of thought and write it down for posterity's sake.
The Trouble with Humanism and Morality
I have a quarrel with those who reject Christ yet still claim a high moral ground. I have no problem conceding the obvious: That it is possible to be in a state of unbelief and yet still be a moral person. There are many Atheists/Muslims/Pagans/Hindus/Sikhs etc. in Canadian society that would be regarded as 'moral' persons by average secular standards. So yes, both a Christian and a non-Christian can be moral. The question then becomes: Who will be more faithful over the long haul in their morality and ethical conduct?
The Limits of Earthly Sanctions
We intrinsically know that certain things are wrong. Our parents instructed us so when we were little. We regard others who likewise hold to the same common beliefs in a positive light. For those of us in the legal field, we familiarize ourselves with the laws that govern Canadian society. We are warned not to break the law or to engage in unacceptable behavior. Once those moral boundaries are breached, certain penalties or sanctions will be levied against us. Seems fair enough to the rational and reasonable person. But what of the classic case where temptation comes along (which invariably catches us in a position of weakness) and we have every reason to believe that any sanction(s) has been momentarily lifted. What do we do then?
Is a Cost/Benefit Analysis Sufficient?
Can a moral society which believes in the rule of law prescribe acceptable behaviors to its citizens and regard that on its face to be wholly sufficient? Would it be enough to ask those committing unlawful acts to give pause because of public moral sentiments? In a business setting, decisions are made based on the cost involved and the benefit that will be the reward. Profit is the key motivation for that businessperson in their decision-making process. Taking care of the bottom line is indeed critical. However, can the same approach be used for the individual in all cases? That is do we refrain from 'bad things' merely due to cost considerations and carry out 'good things' because of the benefits it confers?
The Superficiality of such an Assumption
Here lies the problem of such thinking. On the face of it, we engage in approved behavior because we fear being ostracized. We do good in order to gain the advantage over others (a sort of 'pay it forward' tribalism) in order to 'cash in' the favor at a later date. The 'good' that we do for the most part is based on self interest and is rather narrow in its scope and effect. This is precisely where the humanist model falls apart. There has to be something substantive in our morality that guides us in our everyday lives.
God and Man
Here we enter the crux of the argument. Morality that is divorced from God is a cynical and cruel one. A God-fearing Christian will not cause harm simply because statutory and common law forbids it. He will faithfully seek out goodness because he knows who he is ultimately accountable to. The impetus towards godliness and the desire to uphold the law is significantly higher for those who believe in a just and holy God. That is why such criminal acts as murder are seen in a particularly harsh light. The taking of life is not the problem per se. After all, we routinely slaughter livestock and think nothing of it. No, the murder of a person is special, because of the unique relationship that God has with Man. Plants and animals were created 'according to their kinds' but in the unique case of Man it is God who makes him in His image and gives him special custodial privileges over His creation. If there is no God (and therefore no superior relationship with Man to speak of) than Man becomes nothing more than a clever ape.
Man Apart From God is a Sorry Lot
So what do the ungodly do with these 'clever apes' who do not wish to conform? The totalitarian impulse to 'wipe them off the face of the earth' has never really left us. A godless man might be moral, but he will not stay moral for long if sanctions are removed. A Christian nation such as Germany learned the hard way when it chose the promises of a false messiah over God's unfailing love. Even in hard times, God is still with us. A sobering thought for those who wish to embrace morality apart from divine guidance.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I cannot help but think the next major crisis surrounding Israel will involve some kind of energy breakthrough. Will space-based solar energy be that breakthrough? The idea is simple enough: Have a bunch of photovoltaic mirrors reflect to a collecting satellite which sends it to a ground-based receiver who then feed such energy into the grid. Such a capital-intensive investment would need major government (meaning American) backing before it even gets off the ground. Not only is such an endeavor expensive, the technology and ingenuity involved will be daunting. I envision some bright bulb from Israel stepping onto the world stage to solve these technical dilemmas inadvertently setting the stage for the Gog-Magog battle foretold in Ezekiel 38-39. You can read the full Wall Street Journal article here. Here's a pasting of the relevant paragraphs.
SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER
For more than three decades, visionaries have imagined tapping solar power where the sun always shines—in space. If we could place giant solar panels in orbit around the Earth, and beam even a fraction of the available energy back to Earth, they could deliver nonstop electricity to any place on the planet.
(Text for picture shown)
Sunlight is reflected off giant orbiting mirrors to an array of photovoltaic cells; the light is converted to electricity and then changed into microwaves, which are beamed to earth. Ground-based antennas capture the microwave energy and convert it back to electricity, which is sent to the grid.
The technology may sound like science fiction, but it's simple: Solar panels in orbit about 22,000 miles up beam energy in the form of microwaves to earth, where it's turned into electricity and plugged into the grid. (The low-powered beams are considered safe.) A ground receiving station a mile in diameter could deliver about 1,000 megawatts—enough to power on average about a million U.S. homes.
The cost of sending solar collectors into space is the biggest obstacle, so it's necessary to design a system lightweight enough to require only a few launches. A handful of countries and companies aim to deliver space-based power as early as a decade from now.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
On October 14th 2009, Lord Christopher Monckton, a noted climate change expert, gave a presentation at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN in which he issued a dire warning regarding the United Nations Climate Change Treaty which is scheduled to be signed in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Bible prophecy is proceeding rapidly. Once the rapture hits, America's preeminence in the world will come to an end. An age of lawlessness (more on that later) and darkness will overcome the world in a seven-year period known as the Tribulation (Daniel's 70th week). Pray now to receive the free gift that Jesus paid for you on the cross. There's not much time left.
Read the article from The Independent in its original form here.
The Demise of the Dollar
By Robert Fisk
In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading
In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning - along with China, Russia, Japan and France - to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place - although they have not discovered the details - are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."
This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil - yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.
The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power - along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system - which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.
Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.
China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq - blocked by the US until this year - and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.
Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China's growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China's reliance on US monetary policy, to help re-balance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.
Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements - the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system - America's trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington's control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.
The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. "The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies," a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. "The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won't be able to use the US dollar."
Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years' time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.
The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.
"These plans will change the face of international financial transactions," one Chinese banker said. "America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate."
Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Seeing as most of my viewers are Americans I figured this might be a chance to do some educating regarding the Second Amendment. In Canada we have no such liberties but a conceal and carry law would surely be an effective deterrent. The bleeding heart socialists in this country would regard all those who support a C&C law as committing a thought crime. If nothing else it would give purse snatchers and thugs something to think about.
You can find the original link here.
Read this Wiki entry about the "Letter of Marque".
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Speaking as a veteran (20 years) social studies teacher in a public high school and as a former social studies Teacher of the Year (for my school), AND as a former US Army Officer, let me address this one:
“Well REGULATED MILITIA” A lot of folks seem to think this is referring to some sort of national guard as we understand that organization today. Yet that organization wasn’t even created until right before our involvement in WWI. In the days pertaining to the American Revolution, MILITIA meant ALL the people, bearing their own weapons. This fact is currently reflected in the state constitutions of several states. For example my home state of Florida has the organized militia and the UNORGANIZED militia ready for call up in the Constitution. This was actually used unofficially after Hurricane Andrew when it was a common sight to see citizens patrolling their own neighborhoods with slung AR15s or AK47s to deter looting and often chatting with local police — the cops took no action. WELL REGULATED doesn’t refer to a legal term of art, it is concerned with military logistics: Similar arms and ammunition.
“KEEP AND BEAR” equals OWN AND CARRY.
“ARMS” is a phrase that is quite interesting and it is no accident that it is used by the Founding Fathers. Do you think that the FIRST rifles were flintlock rifles or the sort used in the American Revolution? In face firearms technology had been evolving for over 300 years by that point. It would evolve again during the course of the war as the first rifled barrels started showing up, offering vastly increased range and accuracy. A new kind of soldier appeared with this new wrinkle: SNIPERS. That kind of marksman still makes his presence felt on today’s battlefields. This is why the UZI, the M4, the M60 and SAW and other types of military firearms fall under the 2nd Amendment. If you refer to the writings of the Founding Fathers, even in the Federalist Papers (#46) you will see clearly that if the infantry has it, the PEOPLE must have it too but in greater numbers! Does this include things like artillery or armed aircraft? Probably not under the 2nd Amendment. It seems clear that the weapons probably must be limited to those that can be handled by a single man rather than those requiring a team like a mortar. This why I am certain the 2nd covers my 1911A1 45 pistol today AND my hand PHASER tomorrow.
However, the artillery and other weapons of military might are covered under the Constitutional letters of Marque. Back in those days, this is what allowed the formation of the Privateers to prey upon British shipping. Just how do you think the private military companies (PMCs) like BLACKWATER get to operate helicopter gunships and much heavier weapons like vehicle mounted (electric) mini-guns? It’s all constitutional and I’m certain these so called PMCs all agree to not operate in regions or under employment conditions that are inimical to US interests. A Letter of Marque.
Where do you draw the line? I’m guessing nuclear weapons, nerve agent or biotoxins. But under one guise or another everything else is allowed. Using a letter of Marque, a company like BLACKWATER (or as they’re currently known in the military or merc community: THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY XE! If you remember Monty Python) could operate an aircraft carrier if they could afford one. Including all the aircraft and ordnance of said carrier.
“Ordinary citizens” shall not be debarred the use of any squad level military weapon under the 2nd Amendment. Some folks have mentioned the inherent instability of military explosives. I myself have cooked food using a small square of military C4 plastic explosive. Not unstable. AT ALL. What about so called “napalm?” Easily concocted using TIDE detergent and gasoline. The military uses the M110 fuel thickener, but it amounts to the same thing.
The real purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to keep our own government from getting too big for their britches as seems to be the case, currently. No wonder the liberals are all exercised over the 2nd Amendment. They want to hang onto their power. Armed citizens are definitely a threat to tyranny.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
(1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
One of many things that concern me is the lack of true faith within the church. It is a sad fact that many Christians (both real and in name only) display a superficial faith, one that will surely fail them at key critical moments in their life.
Understand first that the Christian faith is indeed a supernatural one. What God gives to us, first the gift of life everlasting and then the sanctifying process of godly wisdom, is not of our own doing. We do not deserve it nor can we take credit for it. Our conviction upon reading His word is a blessing God continually gives to those who love Jesus with their whole heart.
Why This Supernatural Conviction Is Key
It is critical for a believer to know his faith is not some confidence game. Faith cannot be based on a preacher's silver tongue or clever arguments that appeal to the flesh. If one man can convince us of one thing, another man can easily undo such convincing shortly thereafter. The mere articulation of various theological arguments is therefore wholly insufficient. Faith is based on God's promises, not the debate results of fallen minds.
What A 'Leap of Faith' Really Means
Where do we stand? By what means do we determine truth or falsehood? Thankfully we are not left to our own faulty devices. It is wholly inaccurate to suggest that we must go to God for the truth. The wonderful and glorious truth is that it is God who brings the truth to us. It is an act of love and grace solely on His part. There's nothing for us to do except make sure we have a pure heart and an open mind willing to receive it. In doing so, He rightfully exercises His sovereign dominion over the church.
He Who Starts a Good Work Will Faithfully Complete It
It is only when we show a complete surrender to Him that we can grow and become Christ-like. As I've said before, you can believe in whatever you want. But if God is not the author (that is, the originator) and finisher of your faith then what's the point? We need not struggle in our Christian walk. It is no burden to Him to assist you. On the contrary, He counts as a pure joy. There's no 'bugging' our Heavenly Father when we request help. Never be afraid to ask. He will always guide you in love towards the truth.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It's real late as I write this post (just before 4:00 a.m.) but I just had a two hour nap and I feel pretty invigorated. For those precious few that bother to follow this blog (Thank you!), you may be aware of my ambition to become a paralegal. Why then do I say that the law is boring? And if that's the case, why am I persisting in this particular field?
I like the ad shown recently advertising for the state of California. Many well-known celebrities appear and toss off a couple of bon mots. Somewhere in the middle of the ad is one of golf's fan favorites, Phil Mickelson. In his cameo, we cheekily hear Phil say, "We're just a bunch of pencil pushers" whilst recording his score on a putting green. As any golfer will tell you, it's absolutely critical to keep an accurate scorecard. Failure to do so would lead to disqualification (and therefore loss of prize winnings) in any tournament. But do golfers live to write down numbers on a scorecard? No! They live for the game and the physical challenge that every golf course brings. It is precisely this interaction with the game, especially in front of a cheering Sunday crowd, that really drives a golfer.
So it is for those who enter the law field. We too have to do lot of paperwork, probably much more than Phil will ever see in his lifetime! But it's that interaction with people, be it clients or others whose job it is to help in administering justice. I'll tell you another secret: Money is boring too. But it's that interaction between people and money that fascinates me. By all accounts, entering into the legal field is a lucrative one. If you work hard and play by the rules (and there are many!) you can make yourself a pretty penny. Forget the Hollywood version of what lawyers do. The reality is that being in the legal field means being heavily regulated in how we conduct our business. But that does not translate into boring. No sir! It's that interaction between ordinary people and the justice system that keeps us happily employed.
The Christian Angle
People aren't going to remember you by the clothes you wear or the car you drive. Neither are they going to remember every word spoken to them. What people will remember is how you interacted with them. Did you meet them at a point of need or did you take advantage of them while they were in a vulnerable position? Did you treat them with respect as a human being or did you regard them as just an impersonal source of income?
I'm reminded of the story of how Jesus knelt before His disciples and washed their feet. At first, Peter recoils before acquiescing to Jesus' request. Jesus responds:
"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
No one ever said meeting people's need was going to be easy or clinical. Jesus' ministry wasn't about laying down God's law. It was always that personal touch he brought to His disciples that made Him effective. What an excellent servant we become when we set our sights on Him!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
That's probably the most profound lesson I learned last week. My paralegal studies are going well. I've finished with the Microsoft stuff (7 weeks), Bookkeeping Fundamentals (2 weeks) and Simply Accounting (also 2 weeks). On to the good stuff!
What was my teacher referring to when he said that? In the legal field, no lawyer or paralegal opens a file and begins representing that client until they get their initial retainer fee. Its all business which is how it has to be. Anybody in the legal field who started working for a client before receiving their retainer monies has lived to regret it. There can be no "I'll pay you later" or a pay-as-you-go system.
Why the rush for money first? I was shocked to learn that my lawyer teacher (who specializes in family law) charges $300 PER HOUR! On a per diem basis, lawyers can charge well over a $1500. A client on a working wage has to beg, borrow or steal to get the necessary funds. He might have to dip into your RRSP's or ask his parents (or family member) for a loan. He may have to take out a second mortgage or cash in his investments. Getting legal help can drain a man's financial resources rather rapidly.
Why Not Represent Yourself?
Seems like a good idea at first glance, particularly if you feel you have a strong case. Those who do are often bitten by the pride bug, thinking "I'll show this smarmy lawyer. I'm gonna put him in his place." This however is an astonishingly bad idea. Not only will you botch the case, your slam-dunk case can quickly go south. Having trained counsel on your side is therefore crucial. An untrained layman entering a courthouse without first doing the diligent legal research (and citations) is looking for trouble. Nor should you bring along any friend or family member to defend you if they are unlicensed. The presiding judge may not even consider your case if you're not represented properly. Please choose wisely if you need legal help. Get legal aid (paid for by the Ontario government) if need be but above all DO NOT attempt to navigate the judicial system on your own.
Rebounds and Appeals
Keeping with the basketball theme, it's critical to understand why you must retain competent and licensed counsel when you first enter the system. As I said, an apparent slam-dunk case can go quickly south if it is sloppy and disorganized. Appealing the decision of the lower courts is going to cost you even more time and money. Lawyers love it when they see prideful people crash and burn in a court setting. More money for them! In an appeal case, a client can use up twice as many hours for a lawyer at twice the rate of pay. Such services can quickly add up to a hefty bill. Sin is indeed expensive!
Life Isn't Fair: The Market System
Why is it that guys like Mark Texeira of the New York Yankees can make in excess $20m a year yet a medical doctor who saves lives gets 'only' a six-figure salary? Who's more valuable to society, a guy who swings a wooden bat or someone who saves human life? Subsequently, how is it that a lawyer (or paralegal) can charge a working man who makes a tenth of what he makes? How can anyone justify a $300/hr. rate? I'll tell you why. Because the free market says so. I know that sounds like a terrible answer and perhaps even a cop-out. Yet any system that doesn't use free market methods impoverishes all those who chafe under it.
I've no plans to bankrupt myself by charging rock-bottom rates to future clients once I get my P1 license. Nor will I gouge them either. But most definitely I will charge them what the market can bear. I've worked 11 years in what turned out to be a dead end job making $14/hr.. So I know what its like to be part of the working class. Indeed I still identify with them. When I got laid off I decided early on that I didn't want just any job. I wanted a career with a future, one that would dovetail with my personal values, abilities and interests.
Knowledge Becomes Power Only When You're Willing to Apply It!
So let me be clear. By no means has the love of money entered my heart. Jesus is still number one. But why not use my God-given gifts to further myself? Money to me has always been a means to an end (and therefore not an end unto itself). It buys you nice things. It allows you to travel to places you've always wanted to visit. It widens your perspective. Money is not evil. It is the love of money that is the problem. I have no plans to fall into that trap.
Father, I pray that I will be able to use my gifts wisely to help others. I pray also that I do not fall into the false worldview of materialism and humanism. Let all my efforts glorify your Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the ultimate price on the cross for man's sin. He is the Judge of Judges and our one True Advocate in the Heavenly courts. In His name I pray, Amen.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I'm always excited when a precious reader leaves a comment. It is a tremendous source of encouragement to me when someone thinks it important enough to address my blog.
Kendra commented on my The Number 666, 777 post the following (I took the liberty of correcting your syntax whilst leaving the grammar intact. I hope you don't mind):
I arrived here because I dreamed of the 777 actually from a dream. Its starts out with a Medusa form standing with in a room and I'm warned not to look or enter or I will turn to stone....but I enter anyway Medusa turns his head away and then I see 777 and I need to remember this such number not sure why.
Kendra, here's two passages that might be of help:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.
While dreams are not trite - and far be it for me to trivialize your night visions - I don't place a great deal on what we dream at night. We get out of our subconscious minds what we consciously choose to put into it. A Christian will have visions, a Muslim will have visions, a Jew will have visions and so on. In all cases the dreams they envision are but reflections of the soul (that is, the subconscious) and nothing more.
Your 'Medusa' vision does intrigue me somewhat. I have quoted from the Book of the Revelation because Satan (both real and spiritual) and Medusa (born of Greek mythology) seem to parallel one another. Mind you that's a guess on my part. Perhaps you've seen the number 777 as well as your Medusa symbol somewhere in your travels and this all came together one night. Keep a personal dream diary by the bedside just in case. Bonne Chance!
Monday, August 31, 2009
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
Who will come to America's aid when the money runs out? I do not believe this will happen during the Church Age. However, once Jesus comes for His bride (the church) America's preeminent global reign will cease. Not something I personally wish for, yet this must happen in order to facilitate the rise of the Antichrist and a one world government. The link to the original Front Page Mag article is here.
The Worst is Yet to Come
By: Vasko Kohlmayer
Monday, August 31, 2009
"Today, we're pointed in the right direction... While we've rescued our economy from catastrophe, we've also begun to build a new foundation for growth,” said President Obama recently.
Unfortunately, the president's declarations and all the talk about the green shoots by his acolytes in the media are merely wishful thinking. Far from rescuing it, the Bush/Obama stimulus has dealt a damaging blow to the economy, and one which will exert its harmful effects for years to come. We only need to take a quick look at the big picture to see why.
Last year the American economic system experienced major trauma as more and more banks, companies and individuals were brought to the verge of bankruptcy. In most cases their plight was caused by their inability to service their liabilities. Buoyed by the easy availability of cheap credit and loose monetary policy of preceding years, government, commercial entities as well as private persons had taken on unprecedented levels of debt. Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, correctly points out that we lived in “a debt economy.” Writing in Journal Sentinel, John Torinus, a banker with experience in leveraged buyouts, described the astonishingly lax mindset that had come to dominate the whole sphere of borrowing:
The investment banks that crashed and burned were leveraged as high as 35 to 1. Their 3% equity base disappeared in a sinkhole of excessive debt... The excessive leverage went far beyond the investment banks. Home buyers could get insured or federally backed mortgages with 5% down or sometimes less. They were leveraged 20 to 1 or more. Credit checks were loose.
The cheap credit – which was made possible by artificially low interest rates – brought on the borrowing frenzy to a feverish pitch. Paul Craig Roberts observes:
The debt economy caused Americans to leverage their assets. They refinanced their homes and spent the equity. They maxed out numerous credit cards. They worked as many jobs as they could find. Debt expansion and multiple family incomes kept the economy going.
Toward the end of 2008 the overall debt level – public, commercial and personal – in the American economy was well over $50 trillion. This was three and a half times the size of the country's total economic output (around $14 trillion) and more than double the debt level of 2000. At over 350 percent, this made ours the most over leveraged economy in history. To put it bluntly, all of us – individuals, businesses and especially government – lived beyond our means. The American economy was over-leveraged through and through.
The racket held while the economy boomed. But once it seized, the over-indebtedness became unsustainable and things began falling apart. Describing this process, Nouriel Roubinini, one of America's leading financial commentators, wrote in Forbes:
Americans lived in a "Made-off" and Ponzi bubble economy for a decade or even longer. Madoff is the mirror of the American economy and of its over-leveraged agents: a house of cards of leverage over leverage by households, financial firms and corporations that has now collapsed in a heap.
Painful as the impending bankruptcies tsunami would have been, it would have ultimately delivered a remedy. In order for an economic system to remain viable, excessive indebtedness must be corrected and those responsible chastised for their misjudgment. It is for this purpose that the market evolved the institution of bankruptcy. Had it been left to unfold unimpeded, the process would have reduced the overall leverage and the economy would have eventually found itself on a sound footing once again.
The government, however, resolved not to allow the market do its work. In a misguided attempt to avert the necessary pain, it began propping up failing enterprises and individuals with more easy credit and direct cash injections. And even though it was initially advertised as a relatively short-term and targeted effort, the operation has been ongoing for nearly nine months while continually expanding in scope.
This approach is fundamentally flawed on a number of levels. To begin with, the government's actions interfere with the market's corrective forces. But the most obvious problem is that the government simply does not have the money to do this. It is ironic that even before it embarked on its “rescue” effort, the government itself was already more deeply indebted than the companies it sought to save. With some $65 trillion in total obligations, the federal government was, in fact, the most over-leveraged institution in America.
The rescue has unsurprisingly turned out to be a singularly expensive undertaking. So much so that the government's deficit at the end of this fiscal year will exceed the previous record by nearly a factor of four. At some 11 percent of GDP, this is also the highest peacetime deficit in American history when measured as a portion of the overall economy.
If the government's strategy – bailing out debt-ridden companies and individuals by enlarging its own astronomical debt – seems misguided, it is. There is an old truism that says you cannot get out of debt by running deeper into debt. And yet this is precisely what the government has been trying to do. This is why its approach will ultimately fail.
The authors of the latest Comstock Partners special report put their finger on the crux of the matter. Countering the conventional wisdom of the spend-and-stimulate Keynesians, they write:
We, however, don't believe that the U.S. massive stimulus programs and money printing can solve a problem of excess debt generation... If this were the answer Argentina would be one of the most prosperous countries in the world. This excess debt actually resulted from the same money printing and easy money that we are now using to alleviate the pain.
The bailouts reward bad management and irresponsible businesses practices and forestall the remedy the market is trying to administer. Contrary to what we have been told, all those injections of credit and capital do not contain a cure. Instead they are filled with the noxious serum of public debt whose toxic effects are slowly poisoning the whole system. The festering sores of the economic crisis have been only temporarily masked with government made bailout band aids, but those are no thicker than a dollar bill. The sickness will eventually break out again, but next time it will hit with greater intensity.
Our over-leveraged government can give out those lavish bailouts only because it can still borrow at low interest. But bond investors have been growing increasingly vocal in expressing their doubts about the government's ability to make good on its debts. It is only a matter of time before they start demanding higher bond yields. When that happens, borrowing will become prohibitively expensive. Saddled with an enormous debt and with no one to advance easy cash, the government will find itself in the same position as the companies it is trying to save today. When that moment finally arrives, there will be no one to finance the ultimate bail out. If you thought that letting a couple of big banks fail would have been bad, wait what happens when the federal government itself goes under.
Make no mistake: The worst is still yet to come.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Before you answer, read this scripture first:
That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.
(2 Kings 19:35)
Look at the above passage. Just one angel put to death 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. Here's another passage to ponder:
When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
The Perception (and Purpose) of Angels is Far Removed From Current Thinking!
They are sent by the LORD to do His will which bodes ill for those under His judgement. Christians and non-Christians alike have a very 'fluffy' and benign view of angels. Popular theology makes angels out to be as sweet creatures who wouldn't hurt a fly. The (Biblical) truth is radically different. Angels can deliver but they can also be incredibly lethal as one angelic destroyer was on that first Passover night. Angels (and demons) are immensely powerful creatures - well beyond our human capacities. Sennacherib's army couldn't resist one. Neither could a mighty Egyptian kingdom. The angels I believe in come from a big God, not a little one!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I've always been a big fan of the Aussies. People of uncommon common sense, they see through the emotion and rhetoric and get down to the heart of the matter. Here Professor Bob Carter 'torpedoes' the global warming theory. Video runs 36:25.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
I've written about this before but I figured it was time to revisit and improve upon the idea.
First Things First
So what's this 'perfect lie' that I write so dramatically about? It is this: That we can please God through our own efforts. Do you want to know the heart of the gospel? Here it is:
Unless you repent, you too will all perish.
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus refers to a lost sheep (Luke 15:3-6), the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10) and the well known parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). What do all these stories have in common? That which is of great value has been lost only to be found again.
Unless A Man Repents He Will Surely Die
For some strange and inexplicable reason this sentence has been vexing me recently. It is glaringly obvious that 'I'm a good person' is the reigning pop-culture theology of the day. I often hear such lame excuses as these:
- No need to repent. I'm a good person!
- No need for a Messiah (on a cross). I'm a good person!
- No need to reconcile my faith with the Bible. I'm a good person!
- No need for a (Holy) Spirit-led life. I'm a good person!
- No need to radically change my lifestyle. I'm a good person!
- No need to change my worldly attitudes. I'm a good person!
- No need for holiness in word, thought or deed. I'm a good person!
As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
This is not a popular message. Never has been and never will be. All those who dare preach it will face all manner of persecution and (sometimes violent) opposition. This corrupt world will hate all those who faithfully remind us of our fallen nature. Yet it must be taught if we are to count ourselves as Christ's disciples.
The Faith of the Foolish
Why does this lie work so effortlessly? For one very simple reason: It appeals to our pride and our overwhelming sense of self-importance. Hell will be filled with good people who've substituted their own piety and religious observance ahead of the sufferings of Christ. Only through Him can we approach the Father:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Here's a classic rags to riches story coming from Iran of all places. The song is about a deeply flawed relationship with an under-aged female. The video has bare bones production look to it but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I hope you do too.
See Wall Street Journal video here.
After playing clandestinely in Iran, Hypernova is now being welcomed by U.S. audiences. Arriving in the U.S. with only $400 and a guitar, Hypernova, which was formed in Iran in 2000, was asked to play at the South by Southwest musical festival in Austin, Texas.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Hope you found this as funny as I did. Got this great article from snopes.com.
The job of President of the United States is being outsourced to India.
What a GREAT IDEA!!!
Washington, DC — June 11, 2009
Congress today announced, that the office of President of the United States of America will be outsourced to India, as of September 1, 2009.
The move is being made in order to save the President's $500,000 yearly salary, and also a record $750 billion in deficit expenditures and related overhead that his office has incurred during the last 3 months.
It is anticipated that $7 trillion can be saved to the end of the President's term. "We believe this is a wise financial move. The cost savings are huge," stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). "We cannot remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay," Reynolds noted.
Obama was informed by email this morning of his termination. Preparations for the job move have been underway for some time.
Gurvinder Singh, a tele-technician for IndusTeleservices, Mumbai, India, will assume the office of President as of September 1, 2009. Mr. Singh was born in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, NY thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month, but no health coverage or other benefits.
It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night. "Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the Dell Computer call center," stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview.
"I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President." A Congressional spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem as Obama had never been familiar with the issues either.
Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issue at all. "We know these scripting tools work," stated the spokesperson. "Obama has used them successfully for years, with the result that some people actually thought he knew what he was talking about."
Obama will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two-week waiting period, he will be eligible for $140 a week unemployment for 26 weeks. Unfortunately he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit.
Obama has been provided with the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower, Obama may have difficulties in securing a new position due to a lack of any successful work experience during his lifetime.
A greeter position at WalMart was suggested due to Obama's extensive experience at shaking hands, as well as his 'special' smile.
THIS IS SATIRE FOLKS!!
This humor piece about the U.S. presidency's being outsourced to India is actually a version of a 2004 satirical article about President George W. Bush. Although the 2009 version's topical references — a weak economy, a growing budget deficit, the looming threat of job outsourcing — might strike a chord with many Americans, and those who are no fans of the current U.S. president might appreciate its sly digs at Barack Obama, why we've received so many inquiries about this particular article is something of a puzzle, as its premise isn't at all plausible: The U.S. Constitution and U.S. law have very specific provisions about the line of succession to the presidency, and that line does not encompass Congress' arbitrarily bypassing the vice president (and everyone else in the chain of succession) to hand over the office of chief executive to an unelected foreign resident. Not to mention that if the U.S. presidency were really set to change hands within the next few months, that subject would be the dominant topic of every American news outlet, not an obscure bit of information spread solely via e-mail.
If nothing else, the notion that the U.S. presidency would be given over to someone who would undertake it as a moonlighting job for $320 per month crosses the line from believability to absurdity.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Did you ever wonder why so many well-meaning evangelists fail? They have their hearts in the right place. They love Jesus and they love people. Yet their efforts continue to fall flat. Here are a few pointers as to how to be a better communicator for Christ.
Why The 'Big Stuff' Doesn't Work
Do you wonder about Heaven and life after death? Are you fascinated by the concept of salvation and a resurrection body? I find myself wondering about these 'big' things all the time. But do you well and truly conceive it? Can we compare any of these mysteries to our present condition? No we cannot. I believe in Heaven (and the existence of Hell) as well as the glorious idea of salvation through grace. I don't understand it but I do believe. I also believe in the idea of the resurrection, the tribulation and the rapture of the church. But do I fully comprehend it? No I don't. Guess what? Most Christians don't either.
'Just Getting Through The Day': A Faith That Sustains 24/7
Most people, especially in modern Western countries, are so busy with their lives. They're not thinking about such weighty topics as eternity or anything else remotely associated with God. Getting through the day with their sanity intact is victory enough. They're looking for the strength to persevere for one more day, whether it be a Monday morning or a Friday afternoon.
Wisdom and Discernment: Immediate Dividends of Salvation
In any major city (such as the Greater Toronto Area), there are probably countless seminars being taught at any given time. Some have to do with finances and business matters. Others deal with marriage and family. A location is booked for a certain date at a certain time and most often a registration fee has to be paid prior to attending. Now imagine a seminar offering the wisdom of the ages. You chose the location, date and time. Even better, the registration fee has been waived! Who wouldn't attend such a seminar? Sadly, many do by rejecting Christ. Even if there was no Heaven to gain or Hell to fear I'd still give my heart to Christ for the advantages offered above: wisdom and discernment.
Reality or Fantasy: Which One Will You Choose?
The world is awash in lies and clever fabrications. So much data yet so little truth! If I were conversing with someone about God, I'd lovingly ask: 'Wouldn't you want to know why geopolitical events are happening the way that they are?', 'Why does the world obsess over Israel?' and 'Wouldn't you want the ability to see the 'big picture' accurately when everybody else is in perplexity?'
Salvation: An Abundant Life Lived to the Fullest
Do you want mediocrity or excellence? Are you the man/woman you've always wanted to be? Do you want your marriage to be a loving one or a joyless (read: NO SEX!) union. If you have kids, do you want to send them out as a sheep before the slaughter? Of course not. I am of the firm belief that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I am also of the firm belief that everything starts with salvation. Want to understand the Middle East? Gotta start with salvation. Want to be a good citizen/husband/father? Start with salvation. If you want the blessings of God in your life, you start with salvation by way of the cross.
The Author and Finisher of our Faith
It is vital the evangelist grasp fully the concept of sanctification. Start with the little stuff first. Only the most foolhardy and prideful will consider themselves to be in need of nothing. Once a person sees the immediate advantages to be had, curiosity about the bigger mysteries of our faith will naturally be piqued. The new believer will, over a period of time, become aware of an entire body of knowledge that had been sealed to them before. Herein lies the key: Keep It Simple Stupid! Then let God do the rest. He knows what He's doing!