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Posts Tagged ‘Scripturalism’

New York_Times Square_2020_03_23

An almost empty street is seen at Times Square in Manhattan on Monday in New York City. On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed rumors that a quarantine would be in place for the state after days of rumors of New York City being put on lockdown. JJOHANNES EISELE/AFP/GETTY

All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean:  he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

  • Leviticus 13:46

“We haven’t faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years – we are at war. In the time of war, we must make sacrifices, and I thank all of our Ohio citizens for what they are doing and what they aren’t doing. You are making a huge difference, and this difference will save lives,” said Governor DeWine. “Right now, we are in a crucial time in this battle. What we do now will slow this invader so that our healthcare system will have time to treat those who have contracted COVID-19 and also have time to treat those who have other medical problems. Time is of the essence.” Thus reads the announcement on the Ohio.gov website where the state’s Stay At Home Order is also listed.

Clearly, Governor DeWine takes the coronavirus [the Ohio.gov website calls it COVID-19] outbreak very seriously.  Note the repeated use of military terminology in the quote above.  We are told that “We haven’t faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years” [apparently, this is a reference to the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu]…“we are at war”…“In time of war”…”we are in a crucial time in this battle”…”What we do now will slow this invader.”

With all this military terminology, one wonders when the Governor plans institute a draft.  Then on second thought, in a way, he already has.  As the website notes, beginning March 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Ohioans are under a Stay At Home Order.  This order is effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020 “unless the order is rescinded or modified.”  This order applies to everyone, and as of this writing on March 29, no recension or modification of this order has been announced.  So in a way, all Ohioans already have been drafted into the Governor’s war.

One question that seems not to have been asked in the wake of Governor DeWine’s announcement is, on what authority does he give this order?  Reading through the order, one finds that it contains provisions that shutter a not insignificant portion of the businesses within the state.  What is the legal basis for the Governor’s order?

One possible answer is the Ohio has adopted some form of “Medical Martial Law” legislation that was propagated in the wake of the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009.  Researcher James Corbett produced a video back in 2009 related to the Swine Flu pandemic which he titled Medical Martial Law and which dealt with the legislative response that followed the outbreak of that pandemic.  In his video, Corbett states that something called “The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act” was drafted by the Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Georgetown University (Jesuits) and Johns Hopkins University.  According to website of The Centers for Law & the Public’s Health, the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) “grants public health powers to state and local public health authorities to ensure a strong, effective, and timely planning, prevention, and response mechanisms to public health emergencies (including bioterrorism) while also respecting individual rights.”

The website boasts that forty-four states have adopted MSEHPA in whole or in part, but, curiously, Ohio is not listed among them.  Neither was I able to find anything on other websites linking MSEHPA to Ohio.  That being the case, this model legislation, as dangerous as it is, apparently is not the basis for the Governor’s actions.

According to the language in the Order itself, the basis for the Order is R.C. [Revised Code] 3701.13 which allows the Director of the Ohio Department of Health to “make special orders…for preventing the spread of contagious or infectious diseases.”

That said, although he doesn’t come out and say it directly, Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton (Ohio’s Director of Health) seem eager for the public to see the Stay At Home Order as some fore form of Medical Martial Law.  This can be seen from the Governor’s own words, laden as they are with military terminology.

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Costco

Signs hanging inside a Costco store notified customers that they were out of supplies on Monday, March 2. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

  • Luke 10:24

What’s my topic?  That’s the first question every writer must answer before starting. Sometimes topics suggest themselves easily.  Other times, coming up with an appropriate subject can be a bit daunting.

With all the events of last week – coronavirus, and the stock market crash to name two – you’d think that finding a topic would be easy.  But it’s been more of a challenge than may seem at first.

I had a number of ideas coming into today and had even written an outline for a possible series addressing ways in which entrenched vested interested manipulate events and the reporting on those events, giving people a false sense of reality and allowing them to surreptitiously advance their own hidden agendas.

Lord willing, I hope to be able to write that series.  But today, it just didn’t seem right.

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Coronavirus_Trump Pence

“Mike Pence literally does not believe in science.  It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic.”

Believe the Bible?  Then shut your deplorable, science denying mouth!  That’s what our friends on the progressive left think.  Of course, these also are the same folks who will tell you with a straight face that men can become women, that women can become men, and that there are more genders than Heinz has varieties of ketchup, all which flies in the face of science, the very thing they claim as their source of truth.  But in the minds of the Marxists like Ocasio-Cortez, Christians are science denying Luddites, while they are paragons of scientific rigor.

Not that the secular left’s intolerance is at all surprising.  They’ve made clear their hatred of Christians for years, decades really.  Maybe even longer.

But while one would expect those whose god is government to dislike and hate those who worship the Lord, what this author finds somewhat surprising is the crushing confidence they have in the rightness, and righteousness, of their arguments.

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Soleimani_Car Remains

Credit…Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office, via Associated Press

“[B]ecause of our foreign policy of interventionism developed in the twentieth century, and because of our more recent policy of pre-emptive war, the United States has become the primary target of militant Muslims worldwide.”

 

U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces,” ran the New York Times headline.  Why did the US take this drastic action?  The article’s subheadline explaines, “Suleimani was planning attacks on Americans across the region, leading to an airstrike in Baghdad, the Pentagon statement said.”

This explanation is not something made up by the New York Times.  Rather, it is the same explanation given by official Washington for the deadly January 3 drone strike in Baghdad.

In his remarks from Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump, after asserting that his highest and most solemn duty was the defense of our nation, claimed that, “Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him…We took action last night to stop a war.  We did not take action to start a war.”

PBS reports Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving similar justification in an interview he did with CNN.  According to PBS, Pompeo said that Gen. Qassem Soleimani “was actively plotting in the region to take actions, the big action as he described it, that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk.  We know it was imminent.   This was an intelligence-based assessment that drove our decision-making process.”

Reuters reported Pompeo’s remarks from January 3 thus, “last night was the time that we needed to strike to make sure that this imminent attack  that he was working actively was disrupted.”

Finally, the National Review quoted Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, saying, “The President’s first responsibility is the safety of the American people.  Qasem Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks in the region against Americans in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon that could have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.”

One common thread that links all four quotes above is the word “imminent.”  We are told by all three gentlemen that General Soleimani was not merely plotting to harm Americans, but that his attack or attacks were “imminent.” Therefore, they argue, the President’s decision to drone Soleimani – in his January 3 statement quoted above, President Trump said “Last night, at my direction, the United States military successfully executed a flawless precision strike” thus taking responsibility for the decision – ought not be viewed as an act of aggression, but rather as one of self-defense.

The term “imminent” is key to understanding the reasoning behind the killing of Soleimani as well as determining whether the President’s decision was a moral one.  The reason “imminent” is such a key term relative to Soleimani’s death is that it’s the tip-off, the big tell, that this attack was carried out using the doctrine of preemptive war as the theoretical framework to justify the decision by the President to kill the Iranian general.

So what is the doctrine of preemptive war?  Let’s take a look.

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2020

Once again, I find myself looking back at the year past and peering forward at the one to come.   As is no doubt the case with many, this is for me a bittersweet annual experience.  By God’s grace, I can say that I have been partially successful in redeeming the time.  But a little honest reflection convicts me that I could have, and should have, done better.

Sin, it would seem, is ever present with me, tainting even my best works.

But thanks be to God, for it is not my own works that justify me.  Rather, I am acceptable to God “only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to [me], and received by faith [belief] alone.”

Truly, the grace of God is amazing toward sinners! It’s as if God were to say to us wretched rebels, “All your guilt, all your hopelessness, all your fear of death and of righteous judgment and of eternal punishment, these things I have taken away in my Son.  Only believe in him and be saved from the wrath to come.”

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Fake News

“You are of your father the devil…When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

  • John 8:44

“I can confidently say,” wrote columnist Paul Craig Roberts in a recent article, “that unless it is an announcement of a traffic accident (terrorist unrelated) or the death of some notable person, everything you read and hear from NPR and the print and TV media is false.  Roberts continued, “The ‘news’ is propaganda designed to control explanations to serve the agendas of the ruling elites.  The ‘news’ is nothing else.  The ‘news’ is extremely hostile to truth and to those who speak it.”

As someone who’s had a life-long interest in the news, politics and economics, I find it hard to argue with Robert’s assessment of the state of the news media.  All of us in the West, it matters not whether you live in the US or any other Western nation, are under constant assault by thought shaping organs of propaganda known collectively as the mainstream media.

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Financial Crisis

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.”

    – Luke 21:20-21

Last week we looked at the third of three case studies in prepping from the Old Testament, Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt. The other two case studies were the accounts of Noah and the end of the world as he knew it and Lot’s narrow escape from Sodom. This week, I’d like to turn our attention to the New Testament and in particular to the teaching of Jesus himself that relate to the subject of prepping.

But before turning to Jesus’ teachings on prepping, it’s worth taking a little time to review the events in the financial markets last week. The general title for this series The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008, because it is the contention of this author that the crisis which manifested itself that year, sometimes referred to as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), has never gone away. Rather, the symptoms only were treated by massive money printing by the world’s leading central banks and other financial fakery, a great deal of which probably is still kept under wraps by the powers that shouldn’t be.

The first event from last week I’d like to look at was the New York Fed’s (The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most prominent of the Fed’s regional banks) bailing out the overnight Repo market to the tune of $53 billion late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, September 17th and 18th. Now you may be asking, “So just what is the overnight Repo and why should I even care?” Good questions.

Investopedia defines a Repurchase Agreement (Repo) as, “a form of short-term borrowing for dealers in government securities. In the case of a repo, a dealer sells government securities to investors, usually on an overnight basis, and buys them back the following day…Repos are typically used to raise short-term capital…Classified as a money-market instrument, a repurchase agreement functions in effect as a short-term, collateral-backed, interest-bearing loan. The buyer acts as a short-term lender, while the seller acts as a short-term borrower. The securities being sold are the collateral.”

For most of us, the repo market is a fairly obscure corner of the financial system, something that runs in the background. But what happened overnight while most of us slept was a sudden spike in the repo interest rate, which the week before had been 2.29%, but shot up to 10% before the Fed stepped in. As CNN reported, this was the first time the fed had to bail out the overnight repo market since late 2008, which just happened to be the height of the financial crisis.

The Fed conducted further bailouts on Wednesday night and Thursday night.

Finally, on Friday the Fed announced that it would conduct daily repurchasing operations through October 10.

One big takeaway from operation repo is that market forces want to take interest rates higher, which is exactly the opposite of what the Fed wants to have happen.

Which brings me to the second event of note in the financial markets last week, the Fed’s announcement that it was lowing interest rates by 0.25%. This is the second such announcement in the past two months, the previous one coming at the end of July.

Many mainstream commentators are confused by the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates. The reason is that lowing interest rates is something central banks do when the economy is struggling, but the official line is that the American economy is doing great and has never been better. Why is this?

Think of interest rates as the price of money. If the economy is doing well, this means businesses are borrowing to expand their facilities to keep up with demand, consumers and taking out car and home loans. And what happens when demand for a thing increases? All other things equal, the price goes up. With respect to demand for loans, this means that interest rates go up.

The opposite is the case when the economy is doing poorly. There is little demand from businesses to expand, so there is little demand for business loans. Consumers don’t have the income to support car an home loans, so they too are unable to take on debt to fund these purchases. When demand for money decreases, its price, that is to say the interest rate, tends to drop.

This is where the confusion comes in. Donald Trump is out there telling the whole world that the American economy is doing great, while at the same time forcefully arguing for lower interest rates. The Fed’s decision to lower rates strongly suggests that the economy is not doing as well as the Trump administration would like you to believe. Taken together with the Fed’s needing to bail out the repo market, lower interest rates are another data point suggesting an oncoming recession.

A third item of note from last week was the return of talk about a not too far off return to Quantitative Easing (QE) from none other than Fed Chairman Jay Powell. In plain English, QE is simply massive money printing (aka counterfeiting) by central banks to buy assets no one else wants to keep interest rates under control. First employed during as an emergency during the 2008 crisis, QE is now being seriously discussed in public. Question: If the economy really is as great as the powers that shouldn’t be want us to believe, why is the Fed talking about bringing back QE?

In the opinion of this writer, the three items mentioned above – the Fed’s bailout of the repo market, it’s decision to lower interest rates, and talk about QE – strongly suggest the Fed is worried about major problems in the financial system, perhaps even a financial crisis, just around the corner and strongly suggest what the Fed will do to combat those problems: print money.

So, what are Christians to make of all this? The most logical conclusion is that we are, in fact, facing a major financial storm and we need to rig for heavy weather. That is to say, we need to get prepared and to stay prepared. All which brings us back to where we started, the teachings of Christ on the subject of prepping.

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