Thursday, June 23, 2011

The truth about the solution to our deficit crisis…

Is Social Security and Medicare a cruel socialist “Ponzi Scheme?”  Is unplugging SS and Medicare the only way to save our nation from financial collapse?  Is this the only real solution to this nation’s debt crisis?  Are all proposals by Congress, even the “drastic” measures proposed by Representative Paul Ryan merely half measures that are sure to fail and worsen the inevitable?

Check out Ann Barnhardt’s videos below and give me your thoughts.  The videos are Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1
Part 2

By the way.  The chances of this solution being implement by Congress is Zero.  So if the premise of this video is correct, count on collapse within 2 to 3 years.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The church is replaced by the state

Has our government assumed the role of the church?  Indeed it has. 

Government has not only broadened its role in proclaiming what is moral and proper, but has also constrained the role of the church from proclaiming what is moral and proper.  The preservation of morality, faith, and freedom face strong headwinds.

How has this come about?

Most churches today have embraced an excessively broad view of what is political, and, by extension, what is off-limits from discussion and instruction.  The government’s enforcement of the 501 c (3) tax exempt status looms large as the hammer keeping churches “in their place” and far away from influencing government policy in moral matters that a hundred years ago were the domain of the church.

“Politics” is a catch-all word that many now use to describe anything they don’t believe the churches should discuss or teach.  The word “politics” now encompasses discussion of sexual deviancies and “rights” of gays.  It includes discussion of financial responsibility and personal and government frugality.  It includes the topic of the threat of Islam and the dangers to Judeo-Christian morality.  And it includes the topic of the right to life vs. killing children in the womb of their mother.

Each of these topics have been appropriately in the domain of the church – until recently in US history.  Now it appears that most churches, either due to their own timidity, complacency, or desire not to create “controversy” have accepted their place in cultural irrelevancy.

At the same time, government has been emboldened to assert its influence in areas that turn traditional morality on its head.  Government is the new church that by fiat allows no “free will” to practice traditional morality.  The force of law replaces force of conscience.

Churches need to wake up and take note of how far they have fallen into the realm of extraneous.  Laity needs to wake up and demand relevance.  Seminaries need to teach how to apply Biblical principles to todays problems – not just personal problems, but national problems, governmental problems, judicial and legislative. 

The preachers of the time of the American revolution and America’s founding understood the role of their faith.  And they spoke out.  They had the courage to apply their Biblical faith to the principles of their foundling government.

Preachers today need to do the same.  Recreating the Christian spirit of our founding, today’s Black Robe Regiment mimics the role of the Black Robe Regiment of early America.

There are at least two groups in the US today calling themselves Black Robe Regiment.  One is sponsored by David Barton and Wallbuilders here.  Another similar group called The Black Robe Regiment can be found here.  There is a stirring, a flicker toward relevance in the church today.  Let’s pray that the flicker turns into a flame with God’s spirit endowing the pulpit and congregations with relevant Christian principles, unencumbered and not intimidated by the deadening and paralyzing word “politics.”

But I have to say, without some sort of miraculous turning of hearts and minds, the strong trend remains in the direction of continuing decline of morals, faith, and freedom.  As economic czar Bernanke applied to our failing economy, “some of these head winds may be stronger or more persistent than we thought.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Economic collapse: What are the indicators?

The warnings about a pending “economic collapse” are increasing.  Such warnings sound very ominous and have an “end of the world as we know it” aura about them.

But what exactly is an economic collapse?  Wikipedia has as good a definition as any:

An economic collapse is a devastating breakdown of a national, regional, or territorial economy. It is essentially a severe economic depression characterized by a sharp increase in bankruptcy and unemployment. A full or near-full economic collapse is often quickly followed by months, years, or even decades of economic depression, social chaos, and civil unrest. Such crises have both been seen to afflict capitalist market economies and state controlled economies. However, in either case the causes and cures are quite different. The economic forecasting community is of two minds on the likely outcome of the financial crisis that erupted in 2007 [in the US]. Some commentators consider it to herald an international economic collapse while the majority, including governments and international organizations, predict a sluggish economy or a recessionary trend.

How can we tell if such collapse is going to occur, and when?  Such collapse is not an “all or nothing” event.  There are degrees of decline without a full blown collapse occurring.  But then again, we have heard the phrase “tipping point” used more frequently.  Is there a “tipping point” when all economic hell does break loose; where we have reached the point of no return; of irreversible collapse. 

Such event is more a function of loss of trust in the dollar, in our financial institutions, and in the ability or intent of our government to fix it.  We have a new ingredient in the “trust” mix today that we have never had before.  And that ingredient is “the intent of our government to fix it.”  So now, not only do we have declining trust in the ability of our government to improve the economy, we have an increasing distrust of our government’s intent to improve the economy.  We have an administration that is rife with motives to collapse our economy, however stealthily its attempt may be to do so.  The communist/socialist/progressive/Sharia band the administration has assembled is accompanied by chilling statements of disdain for capitalism, self-determination, and founding principles of our nation, economic and otherwise.

Trust in our economy and financial institutions is key.  And when that trust fails, the tipping point is breached and collapse is upon us.  So, then, the question is what is the “final straw”, the event or combination of events that breaks that last thread of trust?

Most often we look at numerous indicators of the economic health and prosperity of our nation.  Such indicators are not merely one day’s static figures but are relationships of indicators over time.  For example, what is the unemployment trend or the international dollar dumping trend?   And we need to distinguish between leading indicators vs. trailing indicators:  Causes versus effects.  Actually, come to think of it, effects may impact “trust” more than causes do.  Causes are usually unnoticed by the masses.  Effects get our attention.

Below are a number of the more common indicators of the health and direction of our economy.  A negative news report about any one, or a combination of these indicators, could dissolve the last remnant of trust that holds our economy together breaching the tipping point into collapse. Giordano Bruno describes several of these factors at http://neithercorp.us/npress/2010/01/identifying-sure-signs-of-the-final-economic-plunge/ 

Value of the dollar relative to other currencies: If the dollar declines relative to the collection of other measured currencies, our  economic health is declining relative to other economies.  But if world economic health is also declining, a stable dollar is not necessarily a sign of improving health of our economy.  Things to watch:  1) World currency values relative to major commodities:  Food, precious metals, oil. 2) The dollar relative to world currencies (for a sign of the US economy sinking faster.)  Here is an example as of this writing.

Weakness, crash of the Euro: The value of the dollar generally increases as trust in the Euro declines given that the Euro is a major component of the basket of currencies the dollar is measured against. However, an extreme version of a decline of the Euro, i.e., a crash of the Euro, could precipitate dire consequences for the world economy. The US will probably itself lend hundreds of billions to Europe before letting its economy fail. See “National debt.” Things to watch: Look for a breach of the floor of the Euro, below which nations lose confidence.

Gold/dollar decoupling:  A sign of gold/dollar decoupling is when the value of gold increases even when the value of the dollar increases.  The value of the dollar is normally stated in terms of its relationship with other world currencies.  The dollar rises or falls relative to the Yen or Euro, for example.  But world currencies may be falling relative to the value of gold.  So even if the dollar goes up relative to world currencies, and gold goes up relative to the dollar, that is a sure sign of decoupling of gold from the dollar.  And that means increased confidence in gold and decreased confidence in the dollar.  Some experts interpret a concurrent rise of the dollar and gold as indicative of a strong dollar.  It is, only compared to the weakness of other currencies.  Things to watch:  Increase in frequency of number of days with concurrent increases in dollar and gold prices.  Here and here are further explanation of this phenomenon.

Gold up/dollar down:  An accelerating increase in the price of gold could mean either rampant speculation, or an impending fiscal collapse.  Such increase with an accelerating decline of the dollar is a bigger deal and a sign of pending collapse.  Things to watch:  Increasing frequency of number of days of gold price increases and dollar value decreases.

Dow/dollar relationship:  Normally if the dollar is up, the Dow is down; the Dow up, dollar down.  But when they both go down together that means that people taking their money out of equities are  putting their proceeds into something other than money markets, CDs, and treasuries.  It is either being stashed or purchasing commodities.  Things to watch:  Increase in number of days both the Dow and the dollar decline.

National debt: Our national debt is accelerating exponentially.  How high and fast will it go before our nation is seen as a lost cause for international investors?  Things to watch:  Watch for TARP III.  Watch for failure of Congress to take painful steps to reverse this trend.  If they are not forthcoming at each critical juncture such as debt limit considerations and budget cutting, then count on the tipping point coming earlier than later.  See Here and Here for more.

Another round of bank failures:  While additional banks fail every week, a marked increase in the rate of bank failures would shake confidence in the entire banking system once again.  Bank failures have declined over the most recent quarter to quarter.  But other factors could reverse that trend.  Things to watch:  Bank failure trends.

Confidence of lender nations/dollar dumping:  Our national debt and value of our currency will impact lender nation confidence in our dollar.  Dollar dumping will increase with decreasing international confidence.  Since their exports are dependent on our out of proportion consumption, these investor nations will use every stealthy means possible to divest their holdings in an unprovocative manner so as to not spook the consumers.  Things to watch:  1) Watch China and other major investors for signs of divestment of dollar related investments.  2)  Watch trends of international organizations distancing themselves from use of the dollar as the preferred means of exchange.

Confidence of consumers:  Consumer confidence equates with consumer consumption.  Consumption equates with continuing trust of foreign nations lending to the US.  The lower our rate of consumption of foreign exports to this country, the less incentive those exporters have to lend to us.  See interactive consumer confidence chart hereThings to watch:  A precipitous drop in consumer confidence could trigger countries like China losing hope that we will consume their exports, eliminating their last remaining reason not to divest themselves of all credit to the US.

Productivity:  Our gross national product (GNP) is a measure of our national production of goods for both domestic and foreign consumption.  A downward trend is bad. See GNP forecast here.  There is good reason to believe that this forecast is overly optimistic given current trends in unemployment and housing. Things to watch:  What is the trend of GNP?

Balance of trade:  How much do we export compared to how much we import?  Decreasing exports relative to imports is bad.  Here is a chart that illustrates the perpetual negative balance of trade.  The imbalance has been in the $40 to $50 billion range for the past year.  We rejoice when there is a slight reduction in the imbalance.  Things to watch:  What is the trend?  What are the consequences of remaining negative?

Productivity relative to interest charges:  Some relationships are more important than others.  One stand out relationship is GNP relative to our total required interest payments.  A declining GNP with an increasing interest payment is the worst combination.  Things to watch:  A trend of declining GNP and increasing interest payments.

International lending interest rates:  What is the rate of interest that must be paid to other nations for them to continue provide credit to the United States?  What is the trend of that interest rate?  A spike in such rates will magnify our projected national deficit and be a visceral trigger eroding confidence.  Things to watch:  Interest rate required to attract lenders to the United States.

Unemployment rate:  The employment rate reflects the demand for good and services.  A high unemployment rate indicates less demand.  Things to watch:  A declining or statically high unemployment rate.

Rate of Inflation, especially food and energy:  Our measures for rate of inflation unintuitively omit food and energy.  These and housing comprise the great majority of things most of us purchase.  Food and energy prices have increased dramatically over the past year and are expected to continue to rise.  See forecast for price of oil here.   See forecast for the price of food here.  There is good reason to believe that food inflation will be much worse than that forecast.  See here. Things to watch:  Look for an increasing rate of increase in food and energy prices.  This will indicate both a decreasing supply as well as a declining value of the dollar.

Housing:  Market prices and loss of equity:  How many people owe more for their homes than the homes market value.  We relied on steadily increasing market value of our homes to make it possible to take out home equity loans to make home improvements or spend in other ways.  Home equity is thing of the past for most people.  Local governments depend on increasing home values to increase assessed value as the basis for collecting property taxes.  Lower home values mean lower tax revenues.  Lower tax revenues mean a cut back in government services and infrastructure maintenance.  See forecast for housing prices here and here. Things to watch:  Continued stagnation or continuing decline of housing prices.

Moral degeneracy/corruption:  Weiner-gate,Soros-gate, and Obama-gate are known cases of scandal, deceit, and back room deals in government.  They are the tip of the iceberg.  For every known scandal and publicly revealed deception, there are dozens unrevealed.  Even suspicion and rumors of such moral degeneracy is enough to erode or eliminate confidence in our government.  Check out Watergate.  Things to watch:  Increased chatter and rumor about Obama’s radical agenda, George Soros plots, banking industry intrigue, and back room politics generally.

Natural or man-caused disaster:  A strong solar flare knocking out communications for weeks or months, or a terror attack exceeding 9-11 proportions could trigger an economic collapse.  Combinations of record-breaking disasters have occurred in the last several months – tornados, floods, fires – when taken together – cost our economy billions of dollars.

So, what will the trigger be?

Any one or a combination of these indicators could be the cause eliminating the last remnant of confidence in our economic system.  Which of these events or conditions is most likely, by itself, to trigger a collapse?

I’ll go out on a limb and first rule out the natural or man-caused mega-disaster.  Why?  While such event has shown to have an immediate negative effect on the stock market, in the longer run such event is energizing and stimulates human activity and productivity.  Such event will delay a crash.  At the same time, such event will require us to go deeper in debt causing the delayed crash to be even worse.

But then again, all of this depends on the severity of the disaster.

For the remainder of the crash triggers, here is my priority order prognosis:

    1. Declining confidence of lender nations/dollar dumping
    2. Reduction in the value of the dollar compared to other currencies
    3. Increase in international lending interest rates
    4. National debt continuing to inflate; failure of Congress to aggressively address the problem
    5. Continued rise in unemployment rate
    6. Spike in food and energy prices
    7. Continued decline in housing prices.

Many official indicators and forecasts are overly optimistic because they have a lag time, failing to take into account more current indicators of lower performance of various economic factors.

Additional signs of the road to collapse will be demonstrations, protests, strikes, riots, and an increase in general lawlessness aggravated by a reduction in protective services by local governments.

The bottom line of all of this is the wisdom of diversifying your assets.  What may be best is a whole ‘nother story.

I welcome other opinions and other sources of information on this topic.  Let me know what your thoughts are.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

ACLJ “gets it” about Islam… (almost)

Congratulations to the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) for stating the truth about Islam. 

Too many organizations, politicians, and media reports refer to the threat of Islam only coming from the so-called “radicals.”  They refer to “radical Islam” promoting Sharia, or “radical Muslims” contributing to Hamas.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The threat to the west comes from fundamentalist Islam.  That is how the ACLJ refers to the problem:  Fundamentalist Islam.

Fundamentalist Islam includes both so-called “moderate” Muslims as well as the radical Muslims.  The difference between them at any point in time is the moderate is not known to be aiding, planning, or participating in terror at the moment, while the radical is.

But they both have the same subversive goal and the same vile god.

The goal is to advance Islam and Sharia law throughout our country, and to impose the morality of their immoral god upon our population via Sharia law.

The ACLJ understands this by adopting more accurate verbiage to describe the Islam that we need to be concerned with.  It is the same Islam that it’s founder created, promoted, and warred over to impose it upon Jews and Christians of the sixth century in what is now Saudi Arabia": Fundamentalist Islam.

Don’t be deceived when others such as ACT! for America, which should know better, refers to our problem as “radical Islam.”  That is a dangerous and deceptive label that does not properly identify who and what we are up against.

ACLJ has a new booklet titled “Shari’ah Law:  Radical Islam’s Threat to the Constitution” (Yes, unfortunately they still use the modifier “radical” in the title, but the modifier “fundamentalist” is used in the text. They refer to “Islamic Jurists”, not “radical Muslims” as the promoters of Sharia law.  I’m assuming the title is an editorial faux pas. It appears that ACLJ is suffering a bit of verbal schizophrenia in their transition from politically correct terminology to more accurate and truthful terminology. )

The ACLJ has also produced a full length feature film that exposes Islam’s plans to end democracy.  Look for it at www.ACLJ.org . 

The Problem is Political, Not Economic…

James Wiles from The American Thinker explains we know exactly what to do economically to turn our country’s economy around, but we don’t have the political will to do it.  Obama’s ideology is in the way.  Frankly, I think James is a bit of a Pollyanna to believe that whatever “moderate” Republican is likely to be elected will have the kahunas to do what needs to be done.  Only the Ron Pauls, Herman Cains, and Michele Bachmans have a chance to turn things around.  And what are the chances that THEY will be elected?  We’ll see.   In the meantime, here is a thought-provoking article on the failed and failing ideology-driven economic policies of the Obama administration.

Oh, one thing the article does not cover is the frequently mentioned and highly probable likelihood that Obama and his communist sympathizers are purposely driving our economy into the ground.

Is Permanent Recession the New Normal?

June - 10 - 2011

It really is a Great Recession now.

You have to be around 90 to even remember an economy like this. The United States has not experienced two straight years of 9% unemployment since before the Second World War.

As Amity Shales wrote in The Forgotten Man, it was the duration of the economic collapse which began in 1929, not its severity, which created the Great Depression. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States has now had unemployment of 9%, give or take a couple tenths of a point, since May, 2009.

The most recent figure, for May, 2011, is 9.1%.

In a speech on Tuesday, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke essentially threw up his hands. He’s right. The Keynesian economic toolbox is empty. So is monetary policy — unless you want to radically inflate the economy and depreciate the dollar.

China and other nations are already challenging the dollar’s status as the world’s sole reserve currency. Revving up the printing presses at the Bureau of Currency will only make that result inevitable.

More government stimulus — which is what Democratic economists like Paul Krugman are advocating — is also politically impossible. It’s also not clear it would work. Yet Professor Krugman is correct when he says that the Great Recession is caused by a lack of demand. He’s also absolutely correct to point out — as he did on Charlie Rose last Friday night — that the current situation is unacceptable.

Continuation of these levels of unemployment will cause us to lose an entire generation. The Great Recession is creating a fundamental change in the nature of unemployment, careers, family life, and economic prospects in this country. In the last two years, Bob Herbert of the New York Times and Don Peck of the Atlantic Monthly have both written powerfully on this topic.

Mr. Peck’s piece, which appeared in March, 2010, has turned out to be especially prophetic. Fifteen months ago, he wrote: “[t]he economy now sits in a hole more than 10 million jobs deep — that’s the number required to get back to 5% unemployment, the rate we had before the recession started, and the one that’s been more or less typical for a generation.”

That hole is still there. And we need to create about 1.5 million new jobs every year — about 125,000 new jobs every month — just to keep the unemployment rate from climbing farther.

Those of us who have children and grandchildren now entering the employment market are rightly concerned.

Can anything be done?

President Obama’s only defense — it’s Bush’s fault! — is ludicrous. And its rejection by most voters is reflected in the latest polls. With this week’s sudden resignation of the President’s top economic advisor Austun Goolsbee, most senior members of the Obama economic team — except Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and chairman Bernanke — have left government. So have Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Commerce and his first White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

They know a bad thing when they see it. But to repeat: can anything be done?

No. The problem with the economy is one of politics, not economics. The economic solution is known, but it cannot be implemented until there’s a Republican president and a Republican Congress. The reason is the ideology of the Man in the White House.

The stimulus which will turn this economy around has to come from the private sector, not the government. President Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate will never agree to take the actions necessary to jump-start private business investment. And that’s even though the private-sector money for such a turn-around is readily available.

According to Standard & Poor’s, at December 31, 2010, the 500 big American companies in its S & P 500 Index were sitting on $2.4 trillion in cash and short-term investments.

Five months on, there’s probably a lot more of it.

This $2.4 trillion cash hoard has steadily accumulated since Barack Obama became president. At the end of 2008, it already stood at a record $811 billion. A year later, it was $ 1.18 trillion. In 2010, it more than doubled.

The existence of this huge accumulation of corporate capital in cash and marketable securities over the last three years means that the United States is experiencing a classic “capital strike.” A capital strike occurs under a system of democratic capitalism where unacceptable political risk discourages private investment from taking place. The result is economic stagnation and a steady build-up of uninvested capital.

That’s exactly what we have at the present time. Consider:

That $2.4 trillion represents 16% of total U.S. GDP last year of $14.7 trillion. It’s also three times the size of the failed stimulus of 2009. Its injection into the American economy — without any need for either a tax increase, an increase in the federal deficit, the hiring of a single federal bureaucrat, or an Act of Congress — would be like firing the afterburner on an F-18.

Okay, you say: what might a package of actions by the federal government to unleash that $2.4 trillion (more likely, today, over $3 trillion) gusher of private investment capital look like? It’s not rocket science. Consider the following:

End uncertainty by repealing ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. Instead, use market forces to re-shape the capital, insurance and home mortgage markets. With regard to Finance, (a) re-enact the old Glass-Steagall Act, effective January 20, 2014, and (b) spin off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the taxpayers. Amtrak should be spun off also.

Reverse the growth of government since January, 2009, by (a) laying off all federal employees added to the payroll (except for those doing menial work) after January 20, 2009 and (b) cancelling all final and proposed regulations first issued for comment after January 20, 2009. Roll back all federal salaries, except for the military, to what prevailed prior to January 20, 2009.

Demonstrate financial responsibility by enacting, as an acceptable first cut at moving towards fiscal solvency, the Paul Ryan Plan. Cancel all unspent parts of the 2009 stimulus package not involving infrastructure. Pass a continuing resolution for the 2011 budget consistent with the Ryan Plan.

Enact a serious infrastructure re-building program which will create good jobs at good pay: re-building highways, bridges, railroads, levees, spillways, locks, spillways, and dams, dredging harbors to accommodate the new, bigger container ships. Dredge silted up canals and the silted-up Intracoastal Waterway. Repair the damage caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 2011. Rebuild New Orleans.

On tax policy, repeal most business tax deductions. Keep the middle-class ones. Give the Dems their tax increase for “the rich” but eliminate the double tax on corporate dividends. Lower federal corporate tax rates to be competitive with other G-20 nations.
In light of the worldwide commodities boom and the soaring price of energy, end most agriculture subsidies. End the ban on off-shore drilling, especially in the
Gulf of Mexico. Push nuclear power. Support shale oil, natural gas and clean coal.

Announce a defense build-up, to commence with the 2012 budget, to install Star Wars, create a 15-division Army, a four-division Marine Corps and a 500-ship Navy. Re-build the Air Force as well, while closing non-essential bases around the world. Seek a “home port” deal for a U.S. aircraft carrier with a non-Muslim Indian Ocean nation, similar to what the U.S. now has in Yokosuka, Japan. Reverse President Obama’s decision not to build a ballistic missile defense for Europe in Eastern Europe.

End TSA screening and offer qualified TSA personnel jobs with the Border Patrol and ICE. Offer all illegals not facing U.S. criminal charges or under active investigation a cash bonus and free transportation to go home, with their possessions. Build the Fence.
Further increase business confidence by firing the White House czars.
Borrowing a page from the late, great James J. Kilpatrick, adjourn Congress until after Labor Day and post a public notice:

CONGRESS IS ADJOURNED. THE LIBERTIES OF THE PEOPLE ARE SECURE.

Furlough all non-essential federal civilian employees for the month of August, without pay but with benefits. In effect: have a one-month government shut-down.

Would this program work, by driving GDP growth and creating millions of private-sector jobs in a turbo-charged economy? Sure. Is there any change President Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate support even one of these items? No.

Here’s the point: the problem is not a lack of economic knowledge of what to do. The problem is ideology — and the need for regime change in Washington. That won’t happen until January, 2013, at the earliest.

The Capital Strike will end when the Obama Administration ends. Until then, our unemployed children and grandchildren will have to wait…and wait…and wait.

By James G. Wiles – www.americanthinker.com

Friday, June 10, 2011

“Trust bubble”: How near to bursting is it?

We’ve had the Dot-Com bubble.  That burst in 2000.  In 2005 we were at the peak of the Housing Bubble.  In 2008 that bubble burst although the pins that punctured it were gathering years earlier.

There is also the mother of all bubbles that is ballooning to historic mega-proportions:  The “Trust Bubble.”

Several decades ago in my college economics classes we were taught that government finance is different than personal finance.  While it is seldom if ever a good idea for individuals to run their households in perpetual and growing debt, it was taught that it is acceptable for our national government to do so.  So much trust has been built up in the viability of our financial system that we no longer required the “gold standard” as the basis for the value of a dollar.  Since the gold standard has been abolished, the value of the dollar has been based on trust.  I’ve often wondered about the logic of a floating dollar based only on “trust” if the dollar is abused by government to the extent that it becomes worthless.

Enter the “trust bubble.”  We are certainly in one now.  The federal government is the speculator every bit as much as housing flippers were speculators.  The money supply and national debt are being run up as extremely as housing prices and mortgage debt were run up.

The big ominous question I see looming is this:  When will the trust bubble burst?  What will trigger its burst?  Will it be a gradual sequence of events over several months, like China divesting itself of US Treasury notes?  Or Moody’s downgrading the US credit rating?  Or will it be a good old fashion run on the banks by millions of Americans who have a grand “ahaa” moment" about the need to use their savings for something more tangible than the dollar?  And then the next morning we wake up and all the banks are closed.

More and more people who understand the economy better than those who taught college economics in the ‘70’s are predicting dire consequences from our out-of-control government spending – which now appears inevitable.  It’s now not just a question of if the trust bubble will ever burst.  It is a question of when.  And it may be sooner than most are willing to admit because we don’t want to even think of the prospect of all hell breaking loose.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fear of offending suppresses the truth…

It is well known that many government and media officials have refrained from expressing the danger of the Islamic ideology so as not to offend Muslims who might be salvageable to convert to the true western vs. Islamic way of thinking.  I have mentioned this “political correctness” on many posts in this blog.  But such political correctness (I prefer to call it “political deception”) really just buries the truth and deflects public understanding about what is really going on.  This is never a good thing.  Ignorance is NOT bliss.

The same thing is at play when addressing the Stand With Israel effort many communities are involved in.  There are some who believe we need to avoid blaming President Obama for throwing Israel under the bus – for abandoning one of our best allies and supporting and promoting the enemies of Israel.  These people believe that the liberals, the Democrats, the Obama supporters who are on the fence about supporting Israel would be offended if the truth was used as a basis for supporting Israel.  So the truth of Obama’s direct complicity in undermining Israel’s defense and viability in the middle east is suppressed.  They don’t want to offend those who, in reality, are not that likely to support Israel. 

Is sacrificing the truth about the primary cause of bad policy worth not offending those who are in favor of that bad policy?  Is sacrificing the truth of Islam’s influence in promoting violence and terror worth not offending Muslims prone to violence?  Is sacrificing the truth of Obama’s role in destroying Israel worth not offending Obama fans who are not very likely to support Israel in any event?

My answer is no.  Those who believe that sacrificing the truth so as not to offend the forces who are against us is not only dishonest, but is suicidal.  I for one cannot have a great deal of respect for those who play this political game.  Yuck!

What is the best way to motivate people to express their support of Israel?

What is the best approach to encourage people to come out to support Israel on August 24?  This has been the subject of some debate among our group. 

Will they come out just because they like Israel?  Or will it take something more motivational?

So, what should we say?

We can’t suggest that we need to show our support of Israel to counteract the malicious anti-Israel attitude and actions of the President toward Israel.  That might offend people who like Obama, no matter what he does.

Can we suggest we need to show our support of Israel to show solidarity with the Jewish people?  No.  That might turn people off who don’t like Jews, no matter what they do.

Can we suggest we need to show our support of Israel to protect the religious significance of Israel for Christians?  No.  That might turn people off who think Christian Zionists are nuts.

Can we suggest we need to show our support of Israel because it is threatened with annihilation by the many Islamic nations surrounding it?  No.  No.  No!  That might offend the Muslims.

Can we suggest we need to show our support of Israel to speak out for morality and human decency. No!  That might offend people who don’t believe in moral absolutes,  “right and wrong”, “good and evil.”

Any one of these reasons will offend someone.  So perhaps the reasons need to remain unstated.  It looks like the least offensive way to get people to support Israel is to say “just because.”  Maybe the thousands of people who come out will all have their private reasons – and keep them to themselves so as  to offend NO one.  Sounds like a fun event.  Ahh, this is it.  Perhaps we can offer up a huge free buffet. Smile  That’ll get them out.

Is there another way?  Yes.  We need to understand that we don’t have to be mean spirited to tell the truth – to express the true reasons for our support of Israel.  Telling the truth will always offend someone.  Without being mean spirited, we must give the real, motivational reasons for our support.  If the actions of our President are a major reason for motivating some or most of us to plan and attend such an event, we should say so.  If our desire to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jews to defend their homeland is our motivation, we should say so. If our taking offense that Islamic countries desire to eradicate Israel is our motivation, we should say so.  If our belief in moral absolutes and human decency is our motivation, we should say so.

If we fail to express the reasons for our own motivation to defend Israel, we will not connect with anyone out there to motivate them to join with us.

There are always those who are offended by something.  If we adopt “don’t offend” as our highest value, we stand for nothing because we will be silenced.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

“Stand With Israel” Event – August 24

A group of local Central Florida folks have recently organized themselves into a Steering Committee to plan a “Stand With Israel” event for Wednesday, August 24.

This event coincides with Glenn Beck's “Restoring Courage” trip to Israel.  For those who don’t have the several thousand to spend on the trip, but who still want to make a stand in support of one of our few great allies, this Central Florida event is designed for you.

There will be hundreds of similar “Stand With Israel” events across our nation.

Here is a Q & A from Glenn Beck’s website:

Q: I won’t be able to go to Restoring Courage in Jerusalem, but I still want to stand with Israel. How can I get involved from home?
A: Please know that all three of our Restoring Courage events will be viewable from around the world. We encourage you to organize viewing parties in your own communities so you can participate with us wherever you are.
Use
Freedom Connector or Meetup to help organize local gatherings.

Why are we doing this?  Why support Israel?

Here is the purpose of our local Stand With Israel event as I see it.  Call this a Mission Statement or Purpose Statement if you wish, but here it is:

“Stand With Israel” Statement of Purpose

The purpose of our local Stand With Israel event is to demonstrate grass roots unity and support for Israel, one of our few best allies in the world.  This support is justified and required on several levels:

1) From a Jewish perspective:  Israel is the homeland of all Jews in America.  It is more than Italy is to Italians, Poland to Poles, and Ireland to the Irish.  It represents not just a nation and culture, but also a religion and a 5,000 year old heritage – the promised land - a perpetual gift from G-d.  Israel feels it is standing alone.  The Jewish diaspora must demonstrate that Israel is NOT alone.

2) From a Christian perspective:  Israel is the birth place of Christianity.  Israel is under threat of being over run by forces promising its eradication.  Israel is the Zion of the Bible, symbol of the promises of Christ for his chosen people and those he has adopted through faith.  So goes Zion, so goes the world.

3) From a rational “balance of power” perspective:  Israel is under threat of extermination from surrounding nations collectively 649 times the size of Israel.  Islam is supreme in dozens of nations around the world.  Judaism has one tiny nation.  Yet Muslims wish to eradicate that one tiny state.  It is a miracle it still exits.

Map of Arab Countries vs. IsraelMap of Islamic countries (green) and Israel (red).  Add non-Arab but Islamic Turkey and Afghanistan and the size disparity is even greater.
Note that Israel is like a tiny island in a sea of Arab countries.  Courtesy of
Israel Science and Technology Homepage

4) From a political perspective:  President Obama has provided support and hope to Islamic nations and removed support and hope from Israel – as he has also done to other traditional solid allies.  Congress and the American people are at odds with the President’s actions.  Congress has demonstrated their support of Israel during President Netanyahu’s visit to Congress last week.  Now the people of this country have an opportunity to demonstrate their support.

5) From a moral and humanitarian perspective:  Israel has been a bastion of stability, freedom, prosperity, and refuge in a sea of tyranny, hate, intolerance, threats, and upheaval.  Israel knows how to govern.  Surrounding nations remain engaged in tribal conflict.  Israel simply wants to defend itself and be left alone.  Surrounding nations have made it crystal clear that they seek the elimination of Israel.

Why “Stand With Israel.”  The reasons are clear.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Why an accurate understanding of Islam is essential

Most of our leaders have a  grossly deficient understanding of Islam.  Our failing foreign policies reflect that deficient understanding.

Both Bush and Obama expressed that Islam is a great religion of peace.  Bush stated as much immediately following 9-11.  Obama proclaims Islam a “great religion” almost daily.

Mit Romney recently said this about Islam and jihadists:

“There is, however, a movement in the world known as jihadism. They call themselves jihadists and I use the same term. And this jihadist movement is intent on causing the collapse of moderate Muslim states and the assassination of moderate Muslim leaders. It is also intent on causing collapse of other nations in the world. It's by no means a branch of Islam. It is instead an entirely different entity. In no way do I suggest it is a part of Islam.”

Read more HERE and HERE.

That Romney statement reflects a dangerously ignorant understanding of Islam.  The United States is fighting two wars based on ignorance of the pervasive influence of the Islamic ideology.  We have lost thousands of young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan because we are obsessed in believing Islam is just another religion to be defended; we continue to ignore the reality that Islam, not merely a few terrorists, is fueling these wars and seeks to destroy the western way of life.

Some will suggest we need to focus on our economy – that we don’t need to be concerned that our leaders and political candidates are ignorant of the reality that the Islamic ideology fuels the evil, intolerant terrorist actions of Muslims throughout the world. 

How wrong they are.  These issues are all interconnected.

Islamic nations control the middle east and our primary sources of energy.  Our economy is greatly impacted by energy prices.  Most of our energy dollars go toward Islamic nations that are funding terror and our own demise.  Our resources our being drained in wars of Islam-inspired attrition designed to destroy our economy.

Demanding an accurate understanding of Islam of our leaders must be an essential ingredient of our vetting process.  Voting for a candidate who has expressed the degree of ignorance of Islam that Romney has expressed should be summarily dismissed from serious consideration.

And here are some words of wisdom from a Catholic who has several other nits to pick with Romney.  Catholics, of all people, should seriously question not only Romney’s ignorance of Islam, but his lack of character in dealing with other critical issues…

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

‘Critical mass’ of Muslims achieved in the US

President Obama’s “Faith Advisor”, Eboo Patel, who happens to be Muslim, (no surprise there) had these words to say recently:

'Critical mass' of Muslims in U.S.

"Islam is a religion that has always been revitalized by its migration," Patel wrote. "America is a nation that has been constantly rejuvenated by immigrants. There is now a critical mass of Muslims in America."

Patel last March wrote a Huffington Post piece referring to Obama's former "green jobs" czar Van Jones as a "faith hero."

"In my last post on Van, I called him an American patriot," wrote Patel. "That is high praise in my book. But watching Van's speech at the NAACP, I have another title for him, one that I reserve for the true giants of history. Van Jones is a faith hero."

Jones resigned in September after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and signed a statement that accused the Bush administration of possible involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. Jones also called for "resistance" against the U.S.

Jones previously stated his advocacy for green jobs was part of a broader movement to destroy the U.S. capitalist system.

WND reported that one day after the Sept. 11 attacks, Jones led a vigil that expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as with what he called the victims of "U.S. imperialism" around the world.

With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott

Read more: Obama's faith adviser likens Pat Robertson to bin Laden http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=305649#ixzz1O1aQq9E3

The words “critical mass” are usually associated with the idea of having enough of something to act as a catalyst to ignite or cause an irreversible event.  I wonder what Patel has in mind.  Could he be referring to igniting an irreversible Islamic jihad in the US?  Nah.  That would never happen.

Isn’t it amazing how Obama, the "non-Muslim” can attract such Christian-hating, America-hating, free-enterprise-hating, capitalist-hating, freedom-hating trash to the White House.