Gideon Gono

Gideon Gono, head of the Zimbabwe Central Bank

Helicopter Ben’s new hero

Love Wins

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The Irresistible Revolution

Cherie has been raving about this book ever since reading it quite some time ago.  So I finally decided to read it recently.  Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.  It rocked my world.

I highly recommend this book.   But be forewarned, it will cause you to question how Christian faith is applied in everyday life. 

Here is a taste:

I have a confession I’m sure many of you will find refreshing and familiar:  I don’t really fit into the old liberal-conservative boxes, so it’s a good thing we are moving on to something new.  My activist friends call me conservative, and my religious friends call me liberal.  What I often get branded is “radical.”  I’ve never really minded that, for as my urban-farming friends remind me, the word radical itself means “root.”  It’s from the Latin word radix, which, just like a rad-ish, has to do with getting to the root of things.  But radical is not something reserved for saints and martyrs, which is why I like to complement it with ordinary.  Ordinary does not mean normal, and I lament the dreadful seduction which has resulted in Christians becoming so normal.  Thankfully, there is a movement of ordinary radicals sweeping the land, and ordinary people are choosing to live in radical new ways.  So this book is for ordinary radicals, not for saints who think they have a monopoly on radical and not for normal people who are satisfied with the way things are.

So I am a radical in the truest sense of the word: an ordinary radical who wants to get at the root of what it means to love, and to get at the root of what has made such a mess of our world.

Bravo to the ordinary radicals.  I want to be one too.

Love Wins

 

State sovereignty

Without the 10th Amendment, the Bill of Rights wouldn’t make much sense.  The Founders who advocated an explicit Bill of Rights worried that any attempt to list the fundamental rights of free citizens, which the Federal government must never infringe or impair, might suggest that any such rights not listed were fair game.  The 10th Amendment was designed specifically to foreclose any such argument:  Any powers not specifically granted to the United States, are reserved to the individual states and to the people. 

Of course this fundamental principle of American government has been generally honored in the breach it seems. 

But now there is a movement afoot whereby States are beginning to assert their rights, and demand adherence to the Constitution.  In Congress, Ron Paul has introduced the We the People Act, which explicitly denies the federal courts jurisdiction over any state law regarding privacy, marriage, free exercise of religion or abortion.  As Congressman Paul said in introducing the bill, “The best guarantor of true liberty is decentralized political institutions, while the greatest threat to liberty is concentrated power.”

At the state level, legislation has also been introduced in the legislatures of twenty one states, to require federal compliance with the 10th Amendment.  The Oklahoma House Rules Committee, for example, has unanimously reported out House Resolution 1003, whose text is reprinted below.

How refreshing to know that Leviathan will not prevail without protest.  And maybe he won’t prevail at all.

Love Wins.

 

 

 

STATE OF OKLAHOMA

 

1st Session of the 52nd Legislature (2009)

 

HOUSE JOINT

RESOLUTION 1003                    By:  Key

 

 

 

 

 

AS INTRODUCED

 

<StartFT>A Joint Resolution claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers; serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates; providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed; and directing distribution.<EndFT>

 

 

 

 

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp; and

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 4 says, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”, and the Ninth Amendment states that ”The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and

WHEREAS, a number of proposals from previous administrations and some now pending from the present administration and from Congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.

THAT this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

THAT all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.

THAT a copy of this resolution be distributed to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate of each state’s legislature of the United States of America, and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Manifesto:
The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
 

 
Love Wins
 

Time for a break

Time for another break from Billsblog.  I need to devote what little spare time I have to my course work, so I’m going to shut down the blog for a while.

The statistics reports I get from the web host tell me how many folks are viewing the blog, but give me no information about who they are.   A few people have told me they’re reading it, and every now and then someone will post a comment, but for the most part I don’t know who y’all are, or what your interests are. 

I wanted to put a feature on here that would allow folks to enter their email addresses and then get notifications if I’d made a new post.  I never figured out how to do that.  So if you’re interested, you might just check back from time to time.  I’ll try to keep updating the News from White Flint page, and I’ll keep adding to our Wendell Berry page.

In the meantime, remember that…

Oceania has NOT always been at war with Eurasia

At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.

The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.

First of all let me confess that I am a card carrying Republican.  Granted, that is only because I vote in Florida, and to be able to vote in the Republican primary last year I had to switch my “I” to an “R.”

But long before I was affiliated with the Grand Old Party, I was a fiscal conservative.  I care about the financial health of my country, and I object to reckless borrowing and deficit spending.  So I raged against the Republican spendthrifts who wrecked our economy over the last eight years, and put us $5 trillion deeper in debt.  But I was lonely.  It seemed there just weren’t many of us anymore.

As the Bush administration mercifully drew to a close, the borrowing and spending orgy intensified.  Mr. Bush and his evil sidekick Hank Paulson orchestrated a “stimulus” plan that was nothing more than mailing out 168 billion borrowed dollars, in $600 checks.  At the time it was probably the single stupidest economic decision our country has ever made.  George McGovern was no doubt chuckling, remembering how his ludicrous suggestion to mail out $100 checks in 1972 had been universally derided by folks with functioning brains.

But the Bush “stimulus” was only the beginning.  After the moronic mass mailout of checks came the Bear Stearns bailout, the AIG bailout, the Fannie/Freddie bailout, the Detroit bailout, and the so-called TARP bailout.  Meanwhile the Federal Reserve was gleefully exchanging taxpayer money for “toxic assets”being held by irresponsible financial institutions, loading its balance sheet with so-called mortgage-backed intruments that no right-thinking person on the planet would have.  In fact, so much corporate welfare was being doled out in the closing months of the Bush adminstration that we almost forgot the fiscal horrors of the Pill Bill, No Child Left Behind, and the so-called “war” in Iraq.  The few voices calling for fiscal restraint couldn’t be heard over the noise of all the pigs at the trough.

Then something truly amazing happened.  All of a sudden Republicans, who had been cheerleading for megagovernment waste and borrowing for the last eight years, discovered that gambling was occuring in Rick’s American Cafe.  And they were horrified.  A veritable parade of indignant Republicans began to appear on the talk shows and the nightly news protesting government borrowing and spending.   They began to quote Hayek and Von Mises. 

What had happened?  What miracle had struck them all simultaneously?  Who was responsible for leading all these men, who had spent the last eight years driving our country into bankruptcy, to repentance?

Barack Obama.

It seems that having a donkey in the White House made all the elephants conservative again.  As one pundit put it, “If it took the election of a Democrat president to make Republicans conservative again, then that is change I can believe in.”

Of course the Republican party’s incompetence over the last eight years means that there are now so few of them in Congress that they can’t actually accomplish anything.  All their fiscal protesting is just impotent braying at the wind. 

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that many on the donkey team insisted during the last election cycle that fiscal conservatives should vote Democrat.  After all, the Clinton administration ran budget surpluses while the Bush administration bankrupted us.  A nice little bait and switch for anyone who fell for it.  The way the Obama administration is going, we may be all soon wishing for the good old days of the Bush era. 

But as for the newly discovered fiscal conservatism of the GOP, let those who us who have not succumbed to Reality Control and doublethink recall that only a few months ago Oceania was in alliance with Eurasia.  We know that Oceania has NOT always been at war with Eurasia. 

Love Wins

Savings

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy (crap) we don’t need.  Tyler Durden

Tyler Durden had a way with words.  Will Rogers put it this way, “We spend our lives working jobs we hate, to get the money to buy stuff we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.”

Debt is certainly one damaging manifestation of consumerism, and I have preached on that subject many times on this blog.  Debt is destroying our country, our economies, and far too often, our families.  Debt was once a shameful thing.  Now teenagers have credit cards.  Debt has become as American as apple pie.  In 2008 we owed 127% of our annual income.  Since 1990 mortgage debt quadrupled, from $2.5 trillion to over $10 trillion.  Mortgage is debt collateralized by our very homes.  It is the worst kind of debt, yet it is the kind that carries the least stigma (and is even promoted by our government through the insane mortgage interest tax deduction!).

But this is not another rant about debt.  Instead, I want to discuss savings– the flip side of debt.  Between 1950 and 1985, as a nation we saved 9% of our incomes.  But by 2008 our savings rate was zero.  We saved nothing.  Instead we went deeper and deeper into debt.

By comparison the Chinese save on average one-half of their incomes, despite the fact that their incomes are vastly lower than ours.  In fact, they finance our debt with their savings.  Proverbs 22:7 says that “the borrower is the servant of the lender.”  I suppose we should all start studying Chinese.

So what happened to our national propensity to save? 

Frugality, moderation and thrift were once classical American virtues.  Indeed when the Founders used the word “virtue” (and it was one of their favorites), it was often in relation to these very traits, which of course promote independence.  But as modern culture has descended deeper and deeper into the pit of crass materialism and greed, our insistence on having it all, and having it now, has destroyed our desire to save.

There are many other things that contribute to this.  Today both spouses typically work full-time to have the same standard of living that was once possible on one income.  Of course we have also re-defined what is a minimally acceptable lifestyle.  One television per household is no longer adequate.  Instead we must have one for every room.  And one television to last a lifetime is also unacceptable.  Now we must buy the latest high-tech gizmo available, which means a new TV every few years.   And what is true of TVs is true of nearly every other consumer item we buy.

Another factor has been the government’s deliberate manipulation of interest rates, to discourage savings and promote borrowing and spending.  The Federal Reserve sets interest rates artifically low, well below the rate of inflation.  Anyone who saves in that environment sees his savings eaten away by inflation.  It is little less than theft. 

This policy of discouraging savings also is designed to drive savers into more speculative “investments.”  The policy of depressing savings rates has forced billions of dollars into the equity markets, artificially inflating them and creating a vehicle for the eventual theft of that money.  Millions of Americans who innocently believed that “investing” in stocks was the equivalent of savings, have seen their savings vanish as the market bubble has burst.

Millions more bought into the lie that buying a house was equivalent to savings.  Buying a house with borrowed money, no less.  A enormous industry of parasites sucked the wealth out of millions of Americans, convincing them to buy homes they couldn’t afford, on the ludicrous idea that those homes would appreciate indefinitely, ultimately making the homeowner rich, through no effort at all.  It was too good to be true, but very few folks realized it.

So now we’re broke.  We’re leveraged to the max.  We have mountains of stuff that we bought on credit, filling houses that we bought on credit.  And the piper wants to be paid.  The homes that we thought would substitute for savings have been revealed to be nothing more than what they always were–places to live.  The stocks that we thought we enable us to retire are worth half what we paid for them, and overpriced at that.

And we have no savings.

Our society is learning a painful lesson.  As a nation we are beginning to save again.  Hopefully, it will be a long time before we’re foolish enough to repeat the mistakes of the last few decades.

I look forward to the day when once again folks can earn a decent rate of interest on their savings, and when a fair rate of interest is all they will expect.  I look forward to the day when those savings will be deposited into community banks, which will loan them to deserving, creditworthy businesses as capital.

When that happens real prosperity will return to our country.

Love Wins