Christianity is losing ground in America.
Onward, Christian Ninjas!?
- Erik Rush
Friday, April 12, 2013
“…I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves.”—Matthew 10:16
I wouldn’t waste much time arguing the equality of all humankind in the eyes of God with a white guy whom I’d heard declare “I hate niggers,” or with a member of the New Black Panther Party, who harbor similar sentiments against whites. Similarly, you won’t see me trying to convert those who demonstrate themselves to be part of the rising tide of Christophobes and anti-theists in our society – and I do hear from quite a few of those.
It isn’t much of a mystery why we have a rapidly-increasing number of people who hold antipathy for religion, Christianity in particular; it was part of the design of the political left to de-emphasize God and elevate the state. Playing to the natural self-seeking, baser will of human beings, they accomplished this rather successfully, particularly among certain demographics. Consequently, many younger people in the West eschew religion (at least in the traditional sense).
As we have also observed, factions within the Church have been corrupted by aspects of Social Justice, consequently, they perceive other church bodies as being their enemies. In addition to this, misplaced feelings of sympathy and solidarity have been cultivated among Americans for Islamists, which serves to further alienate people from Christianity, and of course, Judaism.
A highly insightful column by Craig Groeschel addresses some of the reasons that Christianity is losing ground in America. In general, these have to do with churches and Christians in general failing to adapt to more mundane but significant changes in our culture, of being timid, pretentious, or lukewarm in their faith.
While I find agreement with much of what Groeschel says, like much of what is typically communicated about the church by Christian scholars, it’s preaching to the choir. I’m not much into apologetics (or even the connotation of the term), but it occurs to me that a lot of Christians don’t have the slightest idea of how to reconcile the attacks of militant unbelievers within their own minds.
For example, our detractors simply adore pointing out how personally flawed we are. To me, this is a no-brainer: Of course we’re flawed – why do you think we follow Christ, you idiot? That’s probably not the most loving response in the world, but such an attack evidences a fundamental ignorance of Christianity to start with. The logic of the response is singularly accurate and should be disarming in practice, were it practiced.
Then there’s the charge that’s beyond pity in its decrepitude: all of the evil that’s been done by Christians over the centuries, some of it in the very name of Christ. Again, a no-brainer: Didn’t I just acknowledge that we were flawed? Were you not listening? Of course we’re going to pervert the message sometimes… And while I would never attempt to justify atrocities committed by Christians, I never hesitate to cite the alternative philosophies invariably espoused by these people – like the number of people enslaved and murdered by socialists and communists in the last century alone far outstripping those enslaved and murdered by Christians throughout the history of Christianity. I am also quick to point out that the New Testament doesn’t actually instruct us to behead nonbelievers or sexually mutilate pubescent girls.
In his column, Groeschel (who is the pastor of a very large church) discusses the concept of Christianity encompassing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ rather than being a religion. I realize that to the initiated, and certainly to a pastor, this is a given – but to the nonbeliever or agnostic, it is just more church-speak. Such statements typically say nothing about the nature of such a relationship, how it might be achieved, or what that means to the believer, other than it renders them able to regurgitate church-speak.
Christians whom I respect, and the more spiritual people I know very seldom wear it on their sleeve. When I meet a Christian and he shoots his hand toward me with the words “And how are yew today, brother?” I get the distinct feeling I am in danger of being raped. I know I’m not alone in this, because many so-called Christians have used their ostensible faith in order to take advantage of others. On this subject alone, volumes could be written.
But sincere Christians can’t do much about the insincere ones, and we can’t do much to sway the detractors. I tend to avoid the militant variety; when I can’t, I’m not overly concerned with appearing the hypocrite by eviscerating them (in the figurative sense, of course). “Playing nice” never works with bullies, which is why diplomacy is garbage.
Though it doesn’t make much of a difference in the practical sense, I would admonish fellow Christians, whatever their religious interpretation is, to realize that our more hostile detractors are, in effect, spiritually sick. It is easy to see that despite its imperfections, our society was far less dysfunctional 60 years ago than it is now. As secularism took hold, society became progressively (no pun intended) more dysfunctional in the aggregate, manifesting in more and more dysfunctional individuals. The charges of militant anti-Christians which exude astonishing levels of hatred and vitriol (and which frequently describe bizarre methods of torture) ought to be ample confirmation of this fact.
Predominantly Christian nations like the United States did not rise and endure as a result of their submissiveness. America’s founders certainly weren’t wimps. The stereotype of the pathologically passive Christian, in my opinion, takes the Gospel out of context and is perpetuated in order to render Christians confused and vulnerable. In the times that are coming, it is more than likely that Christians in America will be called upon to act with extreme prejudice against some of their opponents – that is, if they intend to remain counted among the living.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:35 am
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U.S. Corpse-Economy Still Losing Jobs
Written by Jeff Nielson
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 13:40
Ignore the fantasy-numbers. Ignore the inane hype which accompanies them. There is only one Truth with respect to the U.S. labour market and employment. It is contained in the chart below, produced by the Federal Reserve itself.
The picture is unequivocal. During the four years which the U.S. government has dubbed “an economic recovery”, the U.S. economy has been losing jobs at the fastest rate in recorded history – for every year of this so-called recovery.
Having a background in economics and statistics, I’ve explained in numerous previous commentaries precisely how/why the concocted “statistics” claiming to show “new jobs” have no basis in reality. The problem is that unless readers themselves have a reasonably sophisticated understanding of the mathematics involved, it may be difficult for them to follow such reasoning.
However, everyone can “understand” a line going straight down. This is the U.S. labour market (and has been for the past four years): a line going straight down. There is no “reality”; no set of conditions where a line going straight down can translate into “more jobs.”
This is the only “unadjusted” labour statistic produced by the U.S. government, therefore it must represent the Truth. What does that make all of the “adjusted” numbers which purport to show the U.S. economy “adding jobs” month after month after month? That’s right: lies.
But don’t take my word for it. Hear it from a friendly source: Forbes Magazine:
…Our analysis of U.S. withheld income and employment taxes [in 2012] tells us that…job growth has been around 100,000 per month less than being reported by the BLS.
However, lest any of the more-naïve readers assume that Forbes’ numbers themselves represent any bottom-line “reality”, the Forbes writer goes on to add:
…last year  we reported better job and wage and salary growth numbers than the BLS and BEA.
Yes, in 2011 Forbes Magazine claimed that the line going straight down (U.S. employment) was going up at even a steeper angle than the fiction-writers at the BLS. The salient point here is that even Forbes Magazine (a producer of its own fantasy-job numbers) acknowledges that reported “job gains” by the BLS cannot be reconciled with actual taxation records.
Note that both the BLS and Forbes (and the rest of the mainstream media) have been claiming that there has been growth in jobs and wages during this so-called “recovery.” Below is a chart showing food-stamp usage in the U.S.
[courtesy of trivisonno.com]
While U.S. employment has been a line going straight down during this “recovery”, food-stamp usage has been a line going straight up. There is no possible reality where there could be gains in both jobs and wages, and yet there are still millions more Americans qualifying for food stamps. Indeed, on many previous occasions regular readers have seen a chart showing that adjusted for actual inflation, U.S. wages have fallen all the way back to Great Depression levels.
[courtesy of nowandfutures.com]
The “good news” is that (for the moment at least) U.S. wages have stopped falling. The bad news is that with workers being paid Great Depression wages they can’t fall any lower…unless the minimum-wage laws are repealed.
This is reality in the United States. Unemployment going straight up. Wages as low as they can go. Over 15% of the population already requiring food stamps just to survive, and that number keeps going higher too. By any possible (rational) definition this is an economic depression, not a “recovery.”
Understand what is necessarily implied when we see the U.S. government (and mainstream media) peddling numbers which are literally the mirror-opposite of reality. There are no rational/legitimate/honest “adjustments” which can be made that will transform a line going straight down (U.S. employment) into a line going steadily higher.
As a proposition of mathematics, such a perversion of reality can only be achieved through a deliberate attempt to deceive.
Note that there are several “Big Picture” indicators which corroborate the fact that the U.S. economy is plummeting lower in a Greater Depression: the collapse in U.S. energy consumption; the collapse in U.S. retail sales (adjusted for inflation); and the on-going train-wreck known as the housing sector are three examples.
However proof of this Grand Deception comes in much simpler form: permanent 0% interest rates. Readers need to know that no government in economic history has ever engaged in such utterly reckless monetary policy before – even on a temporary basis. Indeed, prior to our current collapse; no governments had ever allowed interest rates to approach 0%, except in the most-dire of economic emergencies, and only for the briefest of durations.
The only exception to this is Japan: R.I.P. It’s been trying to re-animate it’s economy with 0% interest rates for an entire generation. Yet once again, today, it’s looking for even more-extreme stimulus for its own corpse-economy.
There is a very good reason why no other governments engaged in such recklessness before. This is the most-extreme form of economic stimulus possible: “free money”. In any remotely healthy economy it would (must) cause that economy to radically overheat, and then quickly explode into sector-after-sector of asset bubbles.
Zero-percent interest rates are literally the economic equivalent of a defibrillator: the most-extreme (economic) desperation measure, and thus only intended to be used on a “patient” (i.e. an economy) on the verge of death. The analogy here is as obvious as it is precise.
We have a doctor claiming to “treat” his patient by using a defibrillator. For the next four years; day after day the doctor claims that the patient is “recovering” (but yet never pronounces the patient healthy). However, throughout this entire four-year period the doctor has continuously been shocking the patient with his defibrillator.
When we witness a doctor shocking a patient with a defibrillator again and again and again relentlessly/continuously for four years, are we witnessing a “medical recovery”? No, we are watching someone char a corpse.
There is one ultimate, conclusive action in which the U.S. government (and Federal Reserve) could engage to show that the U.S. economy is anything other than a “charred corpse”: normalize interest rates; even set the benchmark rate at the lower end of "normal", roughly 3%.
If the United States is a “recovering economy” with four years of GDP gains, and wage and jobs growth; then surely Dr. Bernanke can (finally) disconnect the defibrillator? Indeed, Dr. Bernanke began talking about his “exit strategy” (i.e. disconnecting the defibrillator) all the way back in 2009.
And then something unprecedented in economic history took place. At the end of 2012, three years after Dr. Bernanke began promising his “exit strategy”; the good doctor announced that he would keep shocking the U.S. economy with his defibrillator until at least 2015.
What kind of doctor “knows” he will need to keep shocking his patient (continuously) with a defibrillator for at least two (more), full years? Dr. Frankenstein required only a tiny fraction of that time to create life.
To anyone with a modicum of economic literacy, Bernanke’s declaration at the end of 2012 of at least two more years of his 0% defibrillator was nothing less than an open confession that the U.S. economy is nothing but a charred corpse. Whatever fantasy-number is released by the BLS on Friday will be another lie.
There were less Americans working in February than in January. And there will be less still working in March. Corpses don’t “grow.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:02 am
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American Gold and Silver Eagle Bullion Coins Break Losing Streak
November 1, 2012 By Michael Zielinski
For the first time this year, the United States Mint’s American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins recorded higher monthly sales than the year ago period.
The economic turmoil and uncertainties experienced during 2008 led to renewed interest in precious metals investment. This situation led to problems for the United States Mint, which was unable to produce an adequate supply of bullion coins to meet public demand. The often dubbed "unprecedented demand" led to temporary sales suspensions and prolonged periods of allocation, during which available supplies were rationed amongst authorized purchasers.
Despite the suspensions and rationing, sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins reached an all time annual sales record of 19,583,500 coins in 2008. This was followed by successive record breaking annual sales totals in 2009, 2010, and 2011, when annual sales reached 39,868,500 coins.
Demand finally seemed to slow during 2012, with monthly sales levels for both Gold and Silver Eagles falling below year ago levels for each month from January to September. The streak was finally broken with the sales figures for October 2012, which narrowly surpassed the sales figures from October 2011.
2011 vs. 2012 American Gold Eagle Sales
2011 vs. 2012 American Silver Eagle Sales
For October 2012, sales of American Gold Eagle bullion coins accounted for 59,000 ounces. Although this was down from the prior month when 68,500 ounces were sold, it was up from the year ago period when sales were 50,000 ounces.
For the year to date, Gold Eagle sales have now reached 540,500 troy ounces. This is tracking about 40% below the pace of sales from last year.
American Silver Eagle monthly sales reached 3,153,000 ounces. Once again this was a decline from the previous month when 3,255,000 ounces were sold, however it was up from the year ago period when sales reached 3,064,000.
For the year to date, Silver Eagle sales have reached 28,948,000 ounces. This is down by about 21% from sales for the comparable period of last year.
October 2012 US Mint Bullion Coin Sales
American Gold Eagle 1 oz
American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz
American Gold Eagle 1/4 oz
American Gold Eagle 1/10 oz
American Gold Buffalo 1 oz
American Silver Eagle 1 oz
America the Beautiful Silver 5 oz
The United States Mint also offers the 24 karat American Gold Buffalo bullion coins. Sales reached 11,000 of one ounce coins for the month, bringing the year to date total to 107,500.
The America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins reached monthly sales of 22,100 coins, accounting for 110,500 troy ounces of silver. The latest design for the series featuring Denali National Park was released on October 22 and contributed more than half of the monthly sales.
For the year to date, ATB silver bullion program sales include 10,800 of the 2011-dated coins, 18,100 of the 2012 El Yunque National Forest coins, 18,200 of the Chaco Culture National Historical Pare coins, 21,800 of the Acadia National Park coins, 15,000 of the Hawai’i Volcanoes coins, and 12,500 of the Denali National Park coins.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:13 pm
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Who’s Winning and Who’s Losing from Facebook’s Botched IPO
Posted on 25th May 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues
By Adam J. Crawford, Casey Research
In less than a week’s time, the Facebook IPO has gone from the most-hyped technology event since Google went public into “blame-storming” mode. Details concerning the stock’s sudden drop, the market’s inability to process orders, and the (mis)behavior of insiders are starting to emerge. And it doesn’t look good.
When any stock drops as much out of the gate as Facebook has – down as much as 25% peak to trough in the days since the public premier of the stock – people start asking big questions… even more so when that stock carries a $50-billion-plus market cap, meaning the loss triggered billions in paper losses. Add on the fact that the Nasdaq market computers crumbled under the activity, and the scrutiny is intense.
What’s been uncovered so far is painting a picture of poorly managed expectations and questionable ethics. The key event behind the drop appears to be a massive shift in expectations from institutional investors at the last minute.
Evidently, a Facebook executive – at this stage we can only guess who – alerted analysts that previously issued revenue estimates were a bit optimistic. Shortly thereafter, the analysts took the unusual step of slashing revenue estimates during Facebook’s IPO roadshow. The information was then relayed to a select few potential institutional buyers. The financial community calls this “selective disclosure.” I call it BS.
To make matters worse, Morgan Stanley (the lead underwriter and one of a select group of banks privy to the lower estimates) actually raised the offering price and issued more shares publicly, despite cutting the revenue estimate behind closed doors. Initially, Facebook shares surged due in large part to robust retail demand. However, once gravity took hold, Morgan Stanley chose to step in and provide some temporary support at the original offering price of $38 a share. The bank stepped into the market and bought millions of shares back from the public. It was able to do so without risking much capital thanks to the massive “greenshoe” allotment it took at the IPO – a gift of nonexistent shares the bank can sell risk free to the public if they have the demand. Stock goes up, and Morgan Stanley can force Facebook to cough up more shares, diluting investors and pocketing the profit. Stock goes down, and Morgan Stanley can buy them back below the IPO price, wiping out the excess volume and pocketing the price difference. Not bad deal, eh? Thankfully, most banks do exercise some level of ethical caution with those overallotment shares and use the process to instead stabilize the market, as happened with the over 60 million shares Morgan Stanley bought back from investors.
Consequently, Facebook shares stabilized and ended the trading day flat.
Facebook’s humdrum opening-day performance was a minor disappointment for speculative investors hoping to flip shares for a quick profit. The minor disappointment soon morphed into a major disappointment for all shareholders, once rumors spread about the behind-the-scene shenanigans mentioned above. One look at the stock chart will show you the unpleasant Monday-morning surprise shareholders arose to the next trading day.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri May 25, 2012 11:59 pm
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THE MARKETS ARE LOSING CABIN PRESSURE
17 MAY 2012 BY SURLY TRADER
By Surly Trader
In the first quarter of 2012, the S&P 500 experienced an annualized volatility of 9.2%. An expectation that ~67% of the days will have moves in the range of +/-.58%. In reality, we had just 23 of the 61 (37.7%) trading days experiencing negative returns. Of those negative daily returns the average down day was a paltry -.37% and the worst down day was -1.52%. With that euphoria we were able to witness a first quarter total return of +12.58%.
I bring up these stats because they certainly did not feel right to me. When you express your thoughts on the markets and economy for free in a public forum you are almost certainly sure to receive a lot of negative responses from those readers who feel like you are an idiot (especially when your opinion dissents from their own). As an example read the comments on my Feb 17 re-post titled “Not Long, Not Short, Not Participating” on pragcap.com.
The premise for my feeling is that nothing has changed. Global corporations have strong balance sheets, but that has nothing to do with the massive debt on developed nations’ balance sheets, high unemployment, a US housing market on life support, possible bubbles in the Asian tiger, and a crumbling Eurozone. These types of issues do not disappear overnight or even in half a decade. I often refer back to a very old Dec 2009 post titled “Expect the Unexpected“. Specifically I refer to the last two graphs that show the one month volatility of the S&P 500 following the market bottom of the great depression and the one month volatility of the Nikkei following the bottom of the 1990 market crash after their own asset bubble. The conclusion is that the market volatility will be sustained because the issues are deep and prolonged.
It is a losing proposition to forecast market outcomes, but I will throw one out there…that the European situation will hit crisis mode once again. My specific market forecast would be a level of parity on the Euro versus the dollar:
One thing is certain, market volatility should provide opportunity rather than anger and arguments about which forecast is right. The key is to make sure that you are not 100% long or short going into the change of market direction. ”Investing for the long haul” will come back when the issues have truly been resolved.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu May 17, 2012 12:20 am
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