Tuesday, August 25, 2009

being taught to be un-American

Business (and Government) team up, from time to time to teach people to trust in Big Brother and to not have do anything for ourselves.

Clark Howard has an article this month about employees who have been fired for interfering with robbers or shoplifters. Of course, the store is worried about being sued. Of course this is because the legal system is no longer interested in truth, justice or liberty. It has become only interested in refining the combative skills of the players (the attornies).

And judges are instrumental in making this so. In some cases, legal action has been brought by the government for pointing out that a particular action is unconstitutional.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

bottoming out in the recession

This is a continuation of my monthly economic outlook summary. Previous economic discussion can be found by looking down the right hand side of your screen until you see "economics" and clicking on that link.

The interest rate the "fed" charges banks for overnight borrowing is so close to zero, that it is almost impossible to measure.

One of the few things Obama has done right in this stimulus stuff (and I will give credit where credit is due) is the "cash for clunkers." While it was in the Senate, both parties backed it. It has done pretty well in the first few days, and of course, now the Republicans want to kill it. Politics.

We seem to have hit bottom on this economic collapse. Maybe.

Leading indicators, such as the Baltic Shipping (global) Rail Shipping (US) and Short term interest rates all give a pretty good picture of reaching the bottom.

The road back up will be long, slow, arduous, and fraught with danger of setbacks (just as this collapse was a setback on the road to recovery from the dot-com bust. Also, I heard this morning that Japan is having trouble recovering because their industry has been hollowed out by outsourcing. (On the flip side, China Manufacturing index is way up - you do the math).

However, both oil and gas are up, not to mention the rise in the minimum wage. These will be a headwind for the economy to overcome. The stock market, the housing market (except in a few places) and the price of gold are all up slightly - but these could all go up and down two or three times in the next few months. Remember "the market can stay irrational longer than you can remain solvent (John Maynard Keys). If you want to win at the stock market, I am not your teacher.

One note on the markets that may make gold look a little more useful as a hedge against inflation, Two to five years from now, we should be looking at a pretty massive inflation rate. If the inflation rate is as high as I think it will be, it will make the current bond interest rate negative (less than inflation). This could make gold look pretty good, but you still have to get around the exchange, storage and security costs - therefore I still cannot recommend it.

A final note:
I just heard Robert Crandall (Jul 3rd, on the Kudlow report) say that "consumers are 70% of the US economy."

Folks, this is just plain wrong. We would be better off if we didn't even look at the consumption side of the economy at all. All it is is funny money.

UPDATE: Well, the one bright spot in the stimulus programs has been tarnished. Seems the government can't get even the simple things right. Worse than "offsetting some of the benefits," these delays will cause the burden to fall on small independant dealerships - a critical part of the backbone of our econmy. I have written more on Combat Effective.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Book Review 2 - Christianity in Crisis

As a refresher, here is the same intro I used before, or you can skip down about
a half dozen lines or so to get to the new stuff.

This is a book review on a book that I more or less "stumbled across" in a Family Christian Bookstore catalog. The author, Hank Hanegraaff, has quite a few books to his name, but this is the only one I have read. A reviewer on Amazon made the statement: "... he correctly points out that no teacher has the free hand to have his teachings go unquestioned. We should never be in the habit of receiving a teaching or teacher without examining its biblical accuracy. This book correctly points this out."

My review of the beginning of this book is here.

Well, I finally got to the end of this book, and as I said before, it gets a little slow as you get towards the middle, but as you pass the middle Mr. Hangraaff begins showing both the theological errors promoted by the prosperity preachers (which he calls faith teachers), but also shows the contrasting theology of the Bible, when the Bible is read in context.

As you approach the end of the book, I found that I slowed down, so that I wouldn't miss any of the good stuff. He shows how to conduct your Christian studies to resist the heretics. Not just the prosperity preachers, but any other heretics that come your way.

From the Bible (read in context: Matt 7:13-29):

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

He gets into quite a bit of detail, and while I do not agree with ALL of his theology, he and I agree on the major points. In addition, the last several chapters are devoted to methods of worship and prayer and study - to inoculate yourself against these heretics. One of the highlights of this part of the book is his use of "acrostics." These are like acronyms, but are used as learning tools. For instance he uses the acrostic "M-A-P-S" for Manuscripts, Archeology, Prophesy, and Scriptural Synergy. This is one of the facets of learning to defend the faith, when non-believers come calling.