Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Founding Fathers Recognized "Stuffism" For What It Is!

By John Sykes

From Bruce Walker in Stuffism:
“Man, Thou art dust and to dust Thou will return.”  Many millions of us hear that quiet, vital thought about life on Ash Wednesday.
Life is not “stuff.”  When we form our lives around things, then we lose the great value of our life.  This is a religious view of materialism, but it is also a profoundly American view.  Recall the last sentence of our Declaration of Independence:  “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
The Founding Fathers fully understood that supporting liberty, a transcendently noble virtue, might well bring impoverishment.  The sick notion that our Founding Fathers were motivated by enlightened economic self-interest is Marxist; indeed, it is essential to the grim Marxist perspective on life.  When we look at politics as an economic game, then we accept the naked materialism of Marx (and also of Hitler, of Mussolini, of Mao, and of almost every other evil monster of the last century).
Our nation was founded, as that last line of the Declaration so clearly restates, upon belief in a Blessed Creator and His protection.  The history that led up to the Declaration encompassed ancient Jews rejecting not wealth per se, but rather the elevation of wealth above higher values.  This thorny part of Judaism still makes us squirm when Amos tells of the damnable fate of those who “[p]ant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor” – a theme that runs throughout the whole of Jewish theology.  The men who wrote our Declaration and founded our nation were intimately familiar with Jesus’s dramatic warning that “[t]he love of money is the root of all evil.”...
None of this means, of course, that this world of Stuff is bad.  Creation is good; indeed, it is “very good.”  Jews write of a Blessed Creator.  Christians know that Jesus celebrated a wholesome enjoyment of life.  Our Founding Fathers were farmers and inventors and merchants and traders who lived in lovely homes and who enjoyed a robust meal with a fine glass of Port.  Stuff, however, ought to be a pleasant consequence of honorable life, a happy ancillary of human liberty, a worthwhile secondary purpose to our pursuit of the Good. 
When we descend into utter materialism, as it seems so many conservatives do these days, then we fight our political battles on the home ground of our enemy.   Marxism is evil not just because it produces poverty;  it would be evil even if it produced prosperity.  Liberty is good even when it costs us – and many veterans pay a price much greater than money could compensate – and the optimization of affluence that markets cause is a byproduct that sharpens our arguments for liberty but cannot be the heart of those arguments.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inflation is as violent as a mugger...

By John Sykes

So you think the government wouldn't pull your leg? I've got news for you. They'll do just about anything they can to paint the rosiest scenario they can, including changing the methodology for an index at any time.

Here's a glaring example. Inflation figures were not looking good some time ago so they simply changed their methodology to make current years look much better. Their CPI-U looks pretty good right now until they use the methodology the way they used to in 1980.

Big Brother says the inflation rate is only about 1.5% now when, in fact, it's actually closer to 9.2% measured the way it had been all along previously! Surely this approaches fraud!


Should we care about inflation? Yes. This chart, which also confirms the first chart, from A Long-Term Look at Inflation shows why:

Click to View
Your purchasing power has tanked.The $2.00 that your Great Grandfather had in 1900 is now worth $0.05, 2.5% of what it could buy back then! Notice what happened as we abandoned the gold standard!

By the way, there's also another chart here confirming our first chart.

Be assured that our politicians and our Federal Reserve are doing what they can to keep their Ruling Class friends and bankers happy while they inflate away our hard-earned bucks.

RR can close this better than I can:

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The first 3 Feds broke us. The 4th, is now doing the same!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

If this be treason...

By John Sykes

From Kevin D. Williamson in The Case for a Little Sedition:
Of course the law is against Cliven Bundy. How could it be otherwise? The law was against Mohandas Gandhi, too, when he was tried for sedition; Mr. Gandhi himself habitually was among the first to acknowledge that fact, refusing to offer a defense in his sedition case and arguing that the judge had no choice but to resign, in protest of the perfectly legal injustice unfolding in his courtroom, or to sentence him to the harshest sentence possible, there being no extenuating circumstances for Mr. Gandhi’s intentional violation of the law. Henry David Thoreau was happy to spend his time in jail, knowing that the law was against him, whatever side justice was on.
But not all dissidents are content to submit to what we, in the Age of Obama, still insist on quaintly calling “the rule of law.” And there is a price to pay for that, too: King George not only would have been well within his legal rights to hang every one of this nation’s seditious Founding Fathers, he would have been duty-bound to do so, the keeping of the civil peace being the first responsibility of the civil authority. Every fugitive slave, and every one of the sainted men and women who harbored and enabled them, was a law-breaker, and who can blame them if none was content to submit to what passed for justice among the slavers? The situation was less dramatic during the government shutdown, but every one of the veterans and cheesed-off citizens who disregarded President Obama’s political theater and pushed aside his barricades was a law-breaker, too — and bless them for being that...
Mohandas Gandhi and George Washington both were British subjects who believed that their legal situation was at odds with something deeper and more meaningful, and that the British were a legal authority but an alien power. (Washington is not really so much closer to London than New Delhi is.) Mr. Bundy is tapping into a longstanding tendency in the American West to view the federal government as a creature of the Eastern establishment, with political and economic interests that are inimical to those of the West and its people. And it is not as though there is no evidence supporting that suspicion. The federal government controls 87 percent of the land in Nevada, something that would be unheard-of in any state east of Colorado. Uncle Sam owns less than 1 percent of the land in New York, 1 percent of Maine, less than 1 percent of Rhode Island, less than 1 percent of Connecticut, but nearly half of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, more than half of Utah and Idaho, and is practically a monopolist in Nevada. And a monopolist is rarely a good and honest negotiating partner. The original Sagebrush rebels objected to conservation rules written by Eastern environmentalists who had never so much as set foot in the lands they were disposing of; a century and some later, people travel more, but the underlying dynamic is the same.
There are of course questions of prudence and proportion to be answered here, and though I note that he uses the very strong phrase “lawless government,” I sympathize with Mr. Lowry’s desire that both sides should follow the law. But there is a more important question here: Is government our servant, or is it our master? The Left has long ago answered that question to the satisfaction of its partisans, who are happy to be serfs so long as their birth control is subsidized. But the Right always struggles with that question, as it must. The thing that conservatives seek to conserve is the American order, which 1) insists that we are to be governed by laws rather than by men and 2) was born in a violent revolution. Russell Kirk described the conservative ideal as “ordered liberty,” and that is indeed what we must aim for — keeping in mind that it is order that serves liberty, not the other way around. And it is the government that exists at the sufferance of the people, including such irascible ones as Mr. Bundy, not the other way around.
Read it all here...

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The Plains of Bureaustan 

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Conservatism is not an ideology...

By John Sykes

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Church Ought To...! Wait! We are the Church....

By John Sykes

From Larry Miller in The Church Ought To...
How often have we heard someone pontificate on what “the church” should do, or be… or what “the church” should not do or be? Perhaps we have even done it ourselves. Such words are similar to pronouncements, like “There ought to be a law”, of “Someone should do something about…” In each case, the speaker is telling us that he has a problem with something and somebody else should take the responsibility for fixing it. 
There are times when this is actually the case, like when we believe that someone should have been looking out for the Americans in Benghazi. Most of us had no control over that situation. Other times, these are just the rantings of the armchair quarterbacks observing the political and economic games. However, in the case of “the church”, this is much less often the case.
This may become more clear if we look at what “the church” really is. Obviously, it is not the edifice. The denomination is not “the church”. Neither is the pastor or priest. All of these are important and serve a function, but they are not “the church”. So what is “the church”?
I Peter 2:4-5 tells us:
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (ESV)
We are “the church”! Those who look to Jesus as our Savior are “the church”. Each one of us has a role to play, and all are important, not just the visible ones. When we say “the church” should be more involved in the world around us, are we not saying we should be more involved in the world around us?
The corollary to this is that those who do not look to Jesus are NOT “the church”. What this means is that they have nothing to say about what “the church” does or should be. Their claims that “the church” should change with the times and accept homosexuality and the slaughter of millions of unborn infants in the name of convenience, has absolutely no goal, other than to make “the church” more like the rest of the world. These efforts do not come from our Creator.
This is pretty much the ultimate disrespect coming from those pushing their touted virtues of tolerance and diversity. For the secular progressives who say diversity is important, they are attempting to eliminate from the diverse spectrum, opinions they do not wish to deal with. They have no authority, moral or otherwise, to tell those who follow the Bible that they must have allegiance to another source of values whether it is academia, pop culture or government.
So is “the church” more responsible to the author of the Book, or the the 501c3 or c4 enforcers? Is the special tax status the controlling factor of a religious body, or is following Biblical principles of right and wrong? Could it be that now is the time for churches and other Christian based non-profits to forsake subservience to IRS observers? There may be consequences, but what does it profit a church if it gains the charitable exemption, but loses its soul in the process? Are we not told that the just shall live by faith… not by government edict?
To put this into perspective, these outside forces really can only inflict themselves on the organized structure. Let’s get back to what “the church” is. It is not the denomination or even the leadership. It is you and it is me. If “the church” should help the poor… we should help the poor. If “the church” should rise up against the killers of innocents, we should rise up against the killers of innocents. If “the church” should stand against immorality and injustice, should we not take up that stand?
It is not “the church” who will answer for its deeds and misdeeds, it is each one of us, individually, who will one day face our Creator to be rewarded or punished. So while we need to work together, we cannot pass the responsibility for our lives to the action or inaction of our particular manifestation of “the church”. It is there to show us the way to salvation, to teach us right from wrong, and to teach us how to live.
It is up to us to act, not chatter or bellyache.

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Dear God

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Big Government, Not Government & Elitism, Not Liberalism, Are The Real Problems!

By John Sykes

From Chuck Baldwin in Elitism, Not Liberalism, Is The Real Problem
You have to hand it to the game-makers in the two major parties: they have done an outstanding job of putting the problems of the world into a convenient left-right paradigm. To the average conservative out there, Republican equals conservative, which equals good–while Democrat equals liberal, which equals bad. And to the average liberal out there, Democrat equals liberal, which equals good–while Republican equals conservative, which equals bad. So, all the party game-makers have to do is paint the other guys as liberal or conservative and all of the sheeple within the two parties will blindly and robotically go to the voting booth and pull the party lever, believing that they have just had a hand in defeating the “bad” guys.
But it’s not just the game-makers of the two major parties that participate in this charade; the majority of talking heads on the radio and television talk shows, as well as most newscasters from the network news shows, also participate. The entire political world is seen through the jaded lenses of left and right. Granted, liberal game-makers control the vast majority of the print and television media (with the exception of FOX News), but conservative game-makers dominate the radio talk show circuit.
So, why is it that no matter which political party wins the election (congressional or presidential), nothing changes? Nothing changes with out-of-control deficit spending. Nothing changes with foreign policy. Nothing changes with the Federal Reserve. Nothing changes with federal entitlements. Nothing changes with continuing federal encroachment on personal liberties and State sovereignty. Nothing changes. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, left or right: nothing changes. Nothing!
It is an absolute fact that, for all intents and purposes, there has been virtually no discernable difference in presidential administrations since Ronald Reagan left office. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, and now Barack Obama have been nothing more than one very long and continuous administration. Yet, supposedly both the left and the right have had almost equal terms in office. But, as the game-makers in “The Hunger Games” movies use illusion and manipulation to control people, so, too, the game-makers in Washington, D.C., and New York City use illusion and manipulation to control us. The left-right, conservative-liberal paradigm is an illusion, folks.
The reality of the situation is that a very real caste-system has developed in this country. Once most of them (Republican or Democrat) are ensconced in Washington, D.C., they see themselves as having become part of the ruling class. From then on, everything that happens–and I mean EVERYTHING–is designed to augment the pleasure, prosperity, and power of the ruling class. In a word, this is ELITISM. The problem is not liberalism or conservatism; the problem is elitism.
Read the rest here...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Grasp Reality Or Else...

By John Sykes

From Matt Barber in Fort Hood, Gun Free Zones & 'Progressive Insanity'

Here’s the thing about liberalism, which is really cultural Marxism, euphemistically tagged “progressivism”: It’s never worked and it never will. It can’t. It’s a material impossibility. “Progressivism” can no more work than can one answer a nonsense question like, “How big is blue?” As with all similar such humanistic efforts to achieve a man-made earthly utopia, “progressivism” is a hopeless non-starter.
Why? Because “progressivism” is utterly detached from reality. There’s truth, and then there’s “progressivism.” Central to every single “progressive” policy, without exception, is the fatally flawed denial of the existence of sin – of man’s fallen nature. There’s also a stupidly stubborn refusal to acknowledge the reality of moral absolutes. “Progressivism” is built upon a utopian, relativist house of cards; and when that house comes crashing down, the results are often deadly.
On Wednesday America witnessed liberalism’s deadly results first hand. A public policy that intentionally disarms American citizens – much less American soldiers – is a policy that creates a pond full of sitting ducks; this, whether we have a terrorist behind the trigger, or a government with designs on tyranny...
I’ll admit that many “progressives” are generally well-meaning and decent people. I even have a handful of “progressive” friends who’ve yet to see the light. I love ‘em, but they still want what they can’t have, at least not until that glorious last trumpet sounds.
They want heaven on earth.
It’s not for lack of sincerity that “progressives” are destroying America and putting lives at risk.It’s for failure to grasp reality.
Read more here...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The first 3 Feds broke us. The 4th, is now doing the same!

By John Sykes

This is our 4th Fed (Central Bank). The first three broke us. This one is in the process of doing the same micro-managed financilization resulting in inflation and/or destructive bubbles!

Worse yet is when the Fed decimates one class while rewarding another. Charles Hugh Smith in How Fed Fueled Financialization Whacked The Middle Class:

   The Fed sacrificed the foundation of middle class wealth–stable housing values–to boost bank profits.
   Lest you think the phrase “death of the middle class” is hyperbole, please examine these two charts, keeping in mind the middle class by definition must be in the middle of income/wealth distribution–conventionally, between 40% and 80%, i.e. the 40% between the bottom 40% and the top 20%. See that little red wedge? 
   That’s the bottom 80%–the entire middle class and everyone below the middle class.

No statist institution can effectively regulate, control or improve the results of the many, many millions of micro market transactions that take place every second. The freer, the less regulated those transactions, the better the macro outcomes.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Let freedom ring -- even if makes a wild cacophony!

By John Sykes

From Paul Greenberg in A Blow For Liberty:

Let freedom ring -- even if makes a wild cacophony. Restore us as in days of yore, the years of our youth, when liberty was young and the thrill of it wasn't yet gone, when this infant republic was already the hope of the world even if the world didn't know it. 
Rekindle the Spirit of '76, when colonial pamphleteers flooded this still new country with their opinions, respectable or quirky, armed only with their utter conviction, printing presses, and trays of hand-set type, which might as well have been ammunition in their never-ceasing fights, often enough with one another. Let that old free-for-all have a new birth of life.
Let every voice be raised in raucous, uneven chorus. Voice your principles and convictions, Americans, and your crackpot theories and political manias, too. Give it your best shot, George Soros. Let us have it, Koch Brothers. Listen to Walt Whitman, one and all, and open your barbaric yawp.
The more genteel types among us keep saying that American politics is much too raucous these days. My own considered opinion is that it ain't near raucous enough. This country needs a new birth of freedom, and newborns ain't exactly quiet, passive types.
Yes, restore us as in the days of our youth. Listen and you can hear, in the divided and deeply felt opinions of all these justices, majority and minority, the sound of free Americans going at it citation by citation and claim after claim, and, off in the distance, the trill of a fife and rat-a-tat-tat of a drum playing Yankee Doodle Dandy. It's the sound of free, unbridled speech. And it's music to the ears.
Go to it, Americans. As if you lived in a free country.