Archive for August, 2016


Ever since the spring of 2009 when The-Powers-That-Be (TPTB) were out there claiming to see “green shoots” everywhere, the public has been treated to a non-stop propaganda campaign pushing the narrative of economic recovery.

President Obama himself proclaimed his belief in the strength of the American economy, stating for all the world to hear in his 2016 State of the Union Address that anyone who doubted everything was awesome in the main street economy was, to use his words, “peddling fiction.”

And surely Obama couldn’t be wrong. After all, good doctor Ben Bernanke spent several years injecting the US economy with his concoction of Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) and three rounds of Quantitative Easing (QE). How could anyone doubt but that the wise heads at the Fed have cured what ails us? The stock market just set a new record!

But if you dig down beneath the surface, you’ll find that everything is not awesome. Corporate earnings are down for the fifth quarter in a row. According to the report on Factset, “The second quarter [2016] marks the first time the index has recorded five consecutive quarters of year-over-year declines in earnings since Q3 2008 through Q3 2009.” In other words, corporate earnings haven’t had a losing streak this long since the height of the last financial crisis.

Or take worker productivity, a measure of hourly output per worker, which has declined now for three straight quarters. As the Reuters article pointed out, “U.S. nonfarm productivity unexpectedly fell in the second quarter, pointing to sustained weakness that could raise concerns about corporate profits and companies’ ability to maintain their recent robust pace of hiring.” No kidding.

But why is worker productivity in the US declining? The Reuters article fails to provide a reason. So let me suggest one possibility: businesses are no longer investing in property, plant and equipment, the very things that drive productivity. As Forbes reports, “Corporate executives now shy away from capital spending. Companies are spending money to cut costs – labor cost especially, and also electricity – but few companies are increasing productive capacity.”

So what have executive been spending on if not new productive capacity? Stock buybacks that serve to boost earnings per share and increase bonuses. “Stock buybacks by big American companies are near a historical peak [as of May 2014], but the practice appears to do little to improve their underlying operations and robs them of money for research and future growth. USA Today’s John Waggoner calls stock buybacks a ‘sugar high’,” as John Morgan reports.

Morgan goes on to cite a 1999 quote from Warren Buffett, who said, “Repurchases are all the rage, but are all too often made for an unstated and, in our view, an ignoble reason: to pump or support the stock price.”

Let’s see then, we have stock markets at near record levels, while at the same time corporate earnings are on the decline as worker productivity erodes, which very likely is a consequence of businesses showing greater interest in engineering stock buy-backs rather than in capital spending. Sure sounds like a plan for long-term economic success to me.

I’ve mentioned only a few data points to illustrate that the economy, far from being robust, is in reality quite weak. But for more of the same, consider the following nine ugly charts. Obama’s term in office is highlighted in red.

Things that should be going up in a healthy economy – Labor Force Participation Rate, Median Family Income, Home Ownership – are all going dramatically down. Those items that one would expect to see going down if the economy really were as good as The-Powers-That-Be tell us – Food Stamps, Federal Debt, Money Printing, Healthcare Costs – are going straight up.

These charts tell a very different story from what Obama’s putting out. Maybe he’s the one peddling fiction.


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The specific purpose of this series has been to look at what the Bible has to say about the now popular idea that , not only is it improper for voters to reject a presidential candidate because she’s a woman, but that having a female head of state is itself actually a positive development, demonstrating progressive thinking on the part of any nation whose electorate votes for such a thing.

More broadly speaking, it has been my intention to make people aware that what Martin Luther called the SchriftprinzipSchriftprinzip is German for “Scripture principle” – applies not just in matters that Christians normally think of as “spiritual”, but to all facets of life, politics included. A typical formulation of the Schriftprinzip is this: Scripture is, “in itself most certain, most easily understood, most plain, is its own interpreter, approving, judging, and illuminating all the statements of all men…Therefore nothing except the divine words are to be the first principles for Christians; all human words are conclusions drawn from them and must be brought back to them and approved by them” (emphasis added).

Note well Luther’s use of the words “all” and “nothing”. All statements of all men must be judged by nothing other than the words of the 66 books of the Bible. For some, the idea that the Bible has anything to say about politics may be a new thought, let alone that what it has to say is authoritative. God is not the God of 11 am on Sunday mornings only. He is God 24/7, and his Word is authoritative in all things 24/7.

This means, among other things, that when Christians think about politics, they must not take their cues on what is right and what is wrong from secular thinkers, but they are required to bring the statements of the political pundits and philosophers back to the Bible to see if their opinions square with the Word of God.


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ready for oligarchyShortly following the Brexit vote – for those not up on the various and sundry “-exits” that have dotted the news landscape over the past couple years, Brexit refers to the June 23rd vote in Great Britain where the British voted to exit membership in the European Union – James Traub, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) penned an article for Foreign Policy, the CFR’s journal of opinion, in which he said some things that got regular folks – that is to say, non Master of the Universe types who aren’t in the CFR – a little excited.

Traub’s piece, amazingly titled “It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses,” was a manifesto of sorts, a call to arms to rally the elite to man the barricades against the populist “ignorant masses” in Great Britain and elsewhere who had the unmitigated temerity to reject the globalists’ program of onerous bureaucracy, subsidized mass immigration, and crushing taxes all which are imposed by unelected and unaccountable elites.

Around the same time as Traub penned his charming diatribe, German President Joachim Gauck decided he’s like to audition to play the part of the 21st century’s Marie Antoinette. Gauck said, “The elites are not the problem, the people are the problem.” Now keep in mind that it is elites such as Gauck and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who have mass-imported radical Muslims, not a few of whom have raped, hacked, mass shot and suicide bombed their way through the once peaceful streets of the German nation.

And as if it were a small thing to subject the German people to an onslaught of jihadist criminality, Gauck and company think the German ought to foot the bill for their scheme as well.

And yet, when Germans get a little upset at having to pay for the destruction of their own country, it’s the German people who have the problem, not the “elites” who foisted the mess on them.


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The Monstrous Regiment of Women, title page.

In part one of this series we looked at the history of the idea of a woman president. As it turns out, people have been agitating for a woman president since at least 1872 when Victoria Claflin Woodhull became the first woman to run for president of the United States.

But even though in some quarters there has been a push for a woman president for well over one hundred years, in recent decades the clamor for this has increased considerably. Those who favor this idea scored a major victory with the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential candidate of a major political party.

The spirit of the times is such that to question the propriety of having a female chief executive is viewed at best as hopelessly out of date and at worst a thought crime worthy of severe punishment in the gulags of political correctness. No current day political thinker, at least none that I am aware of, questions whether having a woman president is a good idea. Perhaps the only high-profile secular writer of recent times who clearly opposed the notion of a woman head of state was Ayn Rand, who commented that a woman commander-in-chief was “unspeakable.”

Part two of this series took a look at woman suffrage, which was a necessary condition to bring us to the present state. When the nations of the West gave women the vote, by this very act they also implied that it is appropriate to have a woman head of state.

At least some people were aware of this at the time woman’s suffrage was being debated. According to Grace Saxon Mills, one reason to oppose women getting the vote was, “because the acquirement of the Parliamentary vote would logically involve admission to Parliament itself, and to all Government offices. It is scarcely possible to imagine a woman being Minister for War, and yet the principles of the Suffragettes involve that and many similar absurdities.”

Mills obviously understood where the logic of woman suffrage would lead and had the good sense to reject it as absurd. One could hope that today’s Evangelicals would be so perceptive and courageous. But such is not the case.


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