Archive for March, 2009

clownThis is already shaping up to be one wild week. Here are some less than wonderful highlights:

1. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner went on two Sunday morning talk shows, This Week with George Stephanopoulos and Meet the Press and made the following statement about the U.S. economic crisis:

“The market will not solve this. And the great risk for us is we do too little, not that we do too much. And I knew we were going to face really tough choices. We were going to have to do things that are going to be deeply unpopular, hard to understand. We’re not going to get it perfect everywhere. … This job, it comes with a lot of heat by definition and there’s nothing surprising in that.”

There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.

2. The city of London is gearing up for this week’s scheduled G20 meeting. So far the protests have been mostly peaceful, but many people are expecting the whole thing to explode in violence. Keep an eye on London this week, and don’t expect any good news or common sense from our world financial “experts”.

3. Still faced with a U.S. auto industry on the brink of insolvency despite massive government infusions of cash, President Obama made himself the de facto supreme dictator of General Motors today when he forced the resignation of GM CEO Rick Wagoner. Obama also “instructed” Chrysler to merge with Italian automaker Fiat. Despite these orders from on high, Obama innocently maintains that he has “no intention of running the U.S. auto industry”. Hmmmm….

4. There is a new and ugly computer worm lurking out there called Conficker. It is set to reek havoc on April 1, just in time for the G20. Do a web search to find out how to protect your system, or just watch this video.

There’s lots of other stuff happening, but those are the biggies in my mind. As a nation, and with hardly any fanfare or protest, we crossed a major line in the sand this morning: the ousting of a private corporation head by government mandate, and the stock market didn’t seem to like it much. Stay alert. We are only two days in, and this week could very well get even crazier. In fact, at the end of the week we may be a very different nation than we were when it began.


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Hee hee….

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sesamestreet-group_previewIf you are still unwilling to even entertain the possibility that there are rough seas ahead, then I now feel absolutely justified in calling you “dumber than a Muppet”.

The Sesame Workshop has released a series of preparedness videos for kids, featuring the cast of the popular children’s program Sesame Street. The four videos:

#1 “Let’s Get Ready!”
#2 “Family Emergency Kit”
#3 “Know Your Name”
#4 “Prairie Dawn”

are available here, along with “tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies – together!”

So while today we may have “sunny days, sweeping the clouds away…”, even the Muppets know the future is extremely uncertain. Don’t be a grouch, get your family ready…muppetmask

Thanks to Mike for the link.

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spyBlowback continues over the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” that was leaked to the alternative media service Infowars on March 11.

Under heat from anti-Missouri travel advisories issued by freedom groups and threats to boycott tourism sites in the state, Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has asked that Missouri Public Safety Director John Britt be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the document.

On Wednesday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol retracted the MIAC report, ordering that its distribution be permanently ceased and vowing to change how such reports are reviewed before being distributed to law enforcement agencies. According to the Kansas City Star,

On Wednesday afternoon, Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. James F. Keathley released a memo saying the report did not meet the patrol’s standard for quality and would not have been released if it had been seen by top officials.
“For that reason,” Keathley wrote, “I have ordered the MIAC to permanently cease distribution of the militia report.”
The memo says the report was compiled by an employee of the information analysis center and reviewed only by the center director before being sent to law-enforcement agencies across the state.
In the future, Keathley wrote, reports from the center will be reviewed by leaders of the Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety. The patrol will also open an investigation into the origin of the militia report.

The spotlight is now being turned on MIAC-like “fusion centers” in other parts of the country as well. Lawsuits have been filed in several states, including Maryland and Virginia.

Meanwhile, the MIAC report is beginning to draw international attention. Stories are appearing from various European news services, including the Guardian in the United Kingdom.

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A new task

200559944-001Last night I found myself in a discussion with someone who had some formal business and economics training. To my dismay, I was unable to successfully express myself in a way that effectively countered his arguments, some of which I felt were wrong. I have dabbled a bit in economics, but that has been all it has been: dabbling. In light of what is going on in our country today I don’t think that is good enough.

So I have decided to take on an intensive self-study course in economics. I have decided to use the Economics, 3rd edition audio lecture course from The Teaching Company as my introduction.

Economics is a vast discipline, so I thought it wise to narrow my focus to a particular economic school after an introduction to the broad concepts. I have chosen the Austrian School as it is most in line with my political philosophy. I am going to follow the curriculum recommended by Thomas Woods. There is a list of the first half of that curriculum here.

The first suggested book on the list is Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, available online here. economicsI have read this book in the past, but I intend to study it closely this time around. The Mises Institute has produced a series of short lecture/interviews that go along with the chapters of Hazlitt’s book.

Today’s Economics in One Lesson chapter/lecture combo, entitled “The Lesson”, is available here and here. I would love to have someone to discuss these things with as I am learning them, so if anyone is interested in doing this study along with me, let me know.

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brokenwallI am seeing more and more evidence that the United States is headed into a unprecedented period of turmoil and uncertainty. For many people this revelation will come as a great shock. The comfortable existence they have known all of their lives will be drastically changed. They will learn, out of absolute necessity, to survive on much less than they are accustomed. They will learn the hard lessons that their grandparents and great-grandparents knew and lived by: thrift, ingenuity, and faith in the Almighty.

It is possible that our society will be altered in ways that we can’t possibly imagine. The days of rugged individualism will be over. Those who shun the protection of their families and communities to strike out on their own will be hard-pressed. It is essential that now, before events unfold any further, we come together to learn as much as we can about our changing world and how we will exist within it.

Our advantage lies in our faith in God. He is unchanging. He is not concerned with earthly kingdoms or countries, but He is concerned about His people. God is willing to give us the wisdom we need to face the future, but only if we have faith in Him and do not doubt (James 1:5-8). Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Cry loudly, do not hold back;
Raise your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression
And to the house of Jacob their sins.
“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.
‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers.
“Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist
You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am ‘
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
“And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

We will soon have many opportunities to serve. May God give us the strength and wisdom to face an uncertain future, and may He bless us with friends and family to lean upon in the coming days.

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