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Archive for September, 2018

“I just lost $30,000,” replied the shaken caller after a long pause.

It was the fall of 2008, and I had just started work for a large financial services firm as a 401(k) telephone representative. Little did I know when I took the job a few months earlier that the US, and much of the Western, world, was on the cusp of what many would come to view as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

The Dow and S&P both were selling off hard, day after day, week after week. People were scared.

Many of the panicked calls that I took were people who wanted to know what the balance of their 401(k) account. In some ways, this struck me as a bit odd. After all, it was 2008 and the internet had established itself as a staple of American life over a decade earlier. “Why don’t these people just go online?,” I wondered to myself.

In retrospect, perhaps one reason people called was that, rather than just watch as the computer screen displayed years of hard won retirement savings evaporate as the morning dew, they just wanted to talk to someone. That’s certainly understandable.

Ten years on, much of the American public thinks of the 2008 crisis, if they think about it at all, as a ancient history. Just last week, the Dow hit a new record high and seems to be headed higher still.

President Trump tweeted out back in June, “In many ways this is the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America and the best time EVER to look for a job!”

American consumers seem to agree. According to the August results from The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence is closing in on a new record high. The record of 144.7 set in May 2000 is just a chip shot away from the August 2018 reading of 133.4. Considering that the Consumer Confidence Index dates back to 1967 and that this is a widely watch data series, a new record high in this index would represent a significant achievement.

If we look at the employment picture, everything appears to be headed in the right direction as well. The Washington Post reported in May, one suspects a bit grudgingly, that The U.S. now has a record 6.6 million job openings.

According to the article by Heather Long, “The United States now has a job opening for every unemployed person in the country, a sign of just how far the nation has turned around from the recession that cost so many Americans their jobs nearly a decade ago.”

Signs of economic success are so abundant that, as CNBC reports, “[Former] President Barak Obama has entered credit-taking mode on the economy.”

Politicians aren’t the only ones talking victory laps either. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner – the principal architects of the 2008 bailout of the financial system – gathered earlier this month at a forum in Washington D.C. to justify their actions of ten years ago.

According to CNBC’s report, “We stepped in before the banks had collapsed and we did some things to fix the financial system which are very hard to explain because they are objectionable things,” Paulson said. “In the United States of America there’s a fundamental sense of fairness that the American people have. …You don’t want to reward the arsonist.”

“However,” the article continues, “they [Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner] said doing nothing would have caused the economy to capsize. They acknowledged that some of the terms were distasteful, but they were necessary given the options at hand.”

In essence, the big three argued that they had to do evil that good might come, a line of thinking condemned in the Scriptures but one that is all too commonly used by vested political and financial interests in midst of financial crises to convince a wary the public to go along with their latest scheme to enrich themselves at the people’s expense.

Indeed the moderator of this forum was Andrew Ross Sorkin, who, as the CNBC article notes, wrote the 2010 book Too Big To Fail, The inside story of how Wall Street and Washington fought to save the financial system – and themselves. described as a chronicle of the 2008 crisis from the inside. I have not read this book, but the subtitle does, I think, let the cat out of the bag on the true motives of the bailout.

Unlike the unctuous self-justifications of JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon, who recently argued that JP Morgan’s actions during the financial crisis were done “to support our country and the financial system,” Sorkin’s subtitle at least admits the too big to fail meme was all about bankers and politicians saving themselves, not the country.

This is not to fault politicians and bankers for having a sense of self-preservation. The Scriptures tell us that no man ever yet hated his own flesh, and this certainly includes those who run the political and financial systems.

No. The fault of bankers and politicians is not in their having a sense of self-preservation, it’s that they lie and steal to get what they want.

In capitalism, in a free market economy, in a nation governed by the rule of law, there is no such thing as too big to fail. In capitalism, banks have a God given right to make money…and a God given right to lose it.

But in our decadent, late stage of empire society, dominated as it is by crony capitalists and their supporting cast of politicians, the Wall Street masters of the universe believe themselves entitled to never ending profits, while losses, well, those are for the little people to bear.

It is the opinion of this author that the intertwined political and financial systems of this country, rather than reflecting anything remotely like a Christian ethic, have become the embodiment of what Jesus talked about when he took his disciples to school for their arguing about who was the greatest.

According to Jesus, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship [lord it over] them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors. ‘ ”

It would be impossible to find a better description of the words of Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner and Dimon than these. First, they conspired to rip off the American taxpayer by forcing machinations such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through Congress as well as the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing (QE) program, about which the American people had no say at all, since it was decided upon by the Federal Reserve, an unelected body, paid for by private banking interests, that does not answer to the public.

TARP and QE were tools of a corrupt and inept financial and political elite, which they used to keep themselves ensconced in power at the expense of ordinary Americans. To put it another way, they lorded their power over the American people.

And, as if that weren’t bad enough, they then have the gall to turn around and act as if their actions were for the good of the country rather than for themselves. That is to say, they claim that, in the end, they’re really our “benefactors.”

And if you think the QE and TARP from 2008 is the end of the bailout road, think again. Wall Street Insiders reports that during the forum mentioned above, Tim Geithner, “called the effort to combat financial instability a ‘forever war.’ ” So we have more bailouts to look forward to. Strangely, this rhetoric is similar to what the advocates of the Global War on Terror say about their efforts, which today have proven largely ineffective.

Question, if your war on terror, financial instability or whatever has no end in sight, doesn’t that suggest you don’t know what you’re doing? Can anyone imagine George S. Patton saying such a thing? Just asking.

Enough of this nonsense!

It is the contention of this author that, contrary to all the self-congratulatory talk about how well the economy is doing, there are abundant signs that all is not well in the US economy. In fact, one could even argue that we’re in the midst of a slow-motion crash, but one that is concealed from public view by money printing, market manipulation and propaganda, what one market observer has called Management of Perspective Economics (MOPE).

Further, it is this author’s contention that, not only have the machinations of the political and financial elite not helped to bring stability to the financial system, they actually are the cause the current instability and all but guarantee a future crisis far bigger than the one in 2008.

Lord willing, it is my intention over the next few weeks to bring the light of Scripture to the 2008 financial crisis. It is my hope to take a look at what was done then, where we are now, and where we’re headed as a result of the decisions that have been made.


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Writing in his History of Protestantism, J.A. Wylie introduces his readers to a 12th century reformer by the name of Arnold of Brescia. According to Wylie,

Arnold took his stand in the streets of his native Brescia, and began to thunder forth his scheme of reform. His townsmen gathered around him. For spiritual Christianity, the men of that age had little value, but Arnold had touched a chord in their hearts…the suddenness and boldness of the assault seem to have stunned the ecclesiastical authorities; and it was not until the Bishop of Brescia found his entire flock, deserting the cathedral, and assembling daily in the marketplace, crowding round the eloquent preacher, and listening to his fierce sermons, that he bestirred himself to silence the courageous monk…Arnold was seized, sent to Rome under a strong escort, and burned alive (Except taken from Ryan Denton’s Christ in the Wild Facebook page).

For Protestants unfamiliar with Rome’s long history of torturing and murdering anyone who stands against the ambitions of its prelates, this quote probably comes as something a shock. But for Rome, its treatment of Arnold of Brecia was business as usual.

Now the reader may be asking himself why I’ve elected to begin this installment on the activities of the Tech Left with an historical account straight out of the middle ages. What has this account to do with our current day Silicon Valley censors?

Hopefully the connection between Rome’s actions against Arnold of Brescia and the activities of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple aren’t too hard to see. For both the medieval Roman Church-State and the current day tech masters of the universe have this in common: They both seek to enforce the existing political, economic and social order by snuffing out the voices of anyone who dares challenge received opinion.

In truth, there’s little difference between the medieval Church of Rome and our present day techno tyrants. Yes, what Rome did was worse in that they physically arrested Arnold and brutally murdered him. At least for now, the Tech Left merely deletes your YouTube channel and bans you from Twitter.

But while no one currently is being burned alive, at least in the West, for writing a blog post challenging the Establishment opinion, Arnold of Brescia’s brutal execution serves as a stark reminder of why the preservation of free speech is so important, of why the framers of our Constitution prohibited Congress from infringing upon this right in the First Amendment, and of what could happen in the future if Americans, and in particular Christians, look the other way and remain silent while the Deep State, through its Big Tech proxies, attacks the free speech rights of conservatives, libertarians, and even progressives, who challenge the worldview put forth by the corporate media.

In last week’s installment, I discussed what Christians should not do in response to the Big Tech crack down on free speech. We should not:

  1. Fear: God is in charge, even of the Deep State.
  2. Forget that the problems we face ultimately are a spiritual battle.
  3. Fall for the lie that the Tech Left’s attack on free speech is merely a matter of private companies doing what they want with their own property. The Deep State, the permanent government represented especially by America’s intelligence agencies, is the one running the show.
  4. Not attempt to solve Big Tech censorship by calling for government regulation of the internet. To do this is to call for even bigger government to solve a problem created by big government in the first place.

Today in what I intend to be the final installment of this series, I would like to discuss what Christians should do about the Deep State’s use of Big Tech to regain control of the narrative – when I speak of controlling the narrative, I mean by this the ability to provide the context that gives meaning to current events;  as John Robbins has noted, events do not explain themselves, but themselves must be explained; by its ability to provide the context, the interpretive framework, the narrative through which the public views political, social and economic issues, the mainstream media has proven to be a powerful tool in the hands of elite interests which they use to further their own agenda by controlling what people think. 

For probably the first time in my life, the mainstream media, and by extension the elite interests who run it, lost narrative control during the run up to the 2016 Presidential election.  The result was President Trump.  By seeking to shut down down independent journalists and pundits, especially those with large audiences who write and speak on the big social media platforms, the elite are attempting to regain control of the narrative, and thus their ability to control the public’s worldview.

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SMC_Facebook_2Twitter Permanently Bans Alex Jones After New Violations ran the headline in the Wall Street Journal. A quick scan through the article informs the reader that it was due to a video Jones posted of his confrontation with a CNN reporter. The ban on Jones extended to Periscope, Twitter’s wholly owned video streaming service.

What the account does not tell you is that the CNN reporter Jones confronted, Oliver Darcy, has spent months essentially playing the role of tattletale, urging social media companies to remove Jones from their platform by alerting them about statements made by Jones that, at least in Darcy’s judgment, constitute a violation of the various platforms’ terms of service agreements.

On Septermber 8, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had pulled Infowars apps from its App Store for violations of the company’s app-developer guidelines. Apple noted that the guidelines precluded apps from delivering content that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting…or in exceptionally poor taste.” The company noted content could be banned for “mean-spirited references or commentary” about religion, race, sexual orientation and gender.

BuzzFeed notes that Apple declined comment on its decision to pull the Infowars apps, pointing to its App Store Review Guidelines.

It’s hard to keep track of just how many sites Jones has been permanently banned from. To this writer’s knowledge, the list includes: iTunes, the Apple App Store, Spotify, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, Facebook and MailChimp.

This past week, the New York Times ran an article which amounted to a victory lap, the headline gleefully announcing Alex Jones Said Bans Would Strengthen Him. He Was Wrong. This is what liberalism has come to, America’s “newspaper of record” now celebrates the shutting down of debate and free speech.

If anything exposes the rank hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy of the mainstream media and the liberal establishment whose interests it represents, this is it.

Now it was not my intention today to write about the ongoing travails of Alex Jones. It would seem that enough has been said on that subject already. But then again, it’s hard to overstate the remarkable evil represented by the campaign to shut him down.

As independent investigative journalist Lee Stranahan noted in a segment last week, the mainstream media (MSM) has spent months setting up Jones for a deplatforming, which now appears to be complete.

The treatment Jones has received should alarm any fair minded person, especially Christians. It matters not whether one likes Jones work, hates it, or is entirely indifferent to it.

When private companies such as Facebook join together with government sponsored organizations such as the Atlantic Council to strangle free speech, this represents a fascist – I use the term fascist in its technical sense here, which is the merger of state and corporate powers; the Deep State embedded in the US federal government is using Facebook and other social media outlets as front organizations to do what they cannot do openly, usurp the first amendment – threat to all.

And no one more so than those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who are commanded by Jesus himself to go and to make disciples, to baptize and to teach. For this to happen, Christians must be able to speak. And if we Christians remain silent while the MSM, the Tech Left and the Deep State silence Alex Jones, is there any reason to think our ability to evangelize and preach will be spared from some future crackdown?

With these things in mind, just how should Christians react? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, as YouTuber and Christian journalist Greg Hunter likes to point out, God consistently tells believers in his Word to “fear not.”

As Christians, we are not to fear the power of the Deep State. Our task is to pray that God would give us understanding about what is happening in the world around us and get to work applying his Word to the challenges of the day.

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We are facing an unprecedented, coordinated campaign… of deplatforming, shadow banning, filtering and other foul means of putting dissenting voices into a digital gulag. While the mailed globe belongs to the tech giants and the executives, the hand inside is the government’s.

– Jim Jatras

SMC_Facebook_2Early Saturday morning while frequenting a favorite website, I came across a headline that read “Tech Tyranny: The Cries Are Becoming Screams From the Rooftops.”

Curious, I clicked on the link which took me to an article on big tech censorship. At the bottom of the article was an embedded video of Tucker Carlson’s program from Friday night. Carlson, as it happened, had dedicated his entire 8/31 show to big tech censorship.

Since Carlson is one of the few mainstream journalists who rises to the level of interesting, my curiosity was piqued. But when I went to play the video, instead of Tucker Carlson’s show, the only thing that appeared on my screen were the words “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

“How’s that for irony,” I said aloud to no one in particular. “YouTube just made Carlson’s point for him.”

In fairness, when I went back and checked today, Carlson’s video was back up. So, at least for now, the Silicon Valley Ministry of Truth has deigned to allow us minions to view the program.

Now in response to the increasingly aggressive censorship of conservative, libertarian and other dissenting voices, some people have argued that as private companies, the tech giants – and here I’m referring to companies such as Google (Google owns YouTube), Facebook, Twitter and Apple, all of which have had a hand in attempting to silence conservatives – have a right to police their own platforms and boot whomever they want.

As a staunch defender of property rights, I agree. If YouTube wants to ban Alex Jones, as a private company they have every right to do so.

But what if it’s not quite as simple as that? As John Robbins noted, events do not explain themselves, but must themselves be explained. The rise of the internet has allowed those who dissent from the official narrative.  What do I mean by narrative?  By this term I mean the context in which various world events are explained.  The power to explain events is the power to place them within a larger context, that is, within a larger narrative.

Mika Brzenziski of MSNBC famously let the cat out of the bag when she openly complained about Donald Trump’s challenging the mainstream media’s ability to control explanations. She was concerned that Trump had undermined the media’s messaging ability and that he was telling “people exactly what to think.” She continued, “That is our job [telling people exactly what to think].”

What if all the attacks on those who dissent from the official narrative as put forth by the government and the government’s willing accomplices in the press are not just a case of private firms using private means to police their platforms? What if this represents an attempt by the Deep State and by its establishment supporters to regain control of the narrative from independent online journalists by silencing them?

What if Jim Jatras is right and that the Tech Left’s, “unprecedented, coordinated campaign…of deplatforming, shadow banning, filtering and other foul means of putting dissenting voices into digital gulags,” is being done at the behest of powerful, vested interests in the government and the tech companies are merely the Deep State’s means of carrying out its attempt to regain narrative control?

If this is correct, then the deplatforming, shadow banning etc. we’ve seen over the past couple years, and especially the past few months, isn’t just a case of private companies behaving badly, but represents the merger of state and corporate powers – the merger of state and corporate powers is the classic definition of fascism – to control what people think.

It is the studied opinion of this author that this is precisely what is going on. Or as the quote from Jim Jatras at the top of this post reads, “While the mailed glove belongs to the tech giants and the executives, the hand inside is the government’s.”

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