Tag Archives: World Tomorrow

How You, too, Can Avoid All Taxes!

MossackThe media this week has been full of chatter about corporate inversions, the Panama papers, Mossack Fonseca, shell companies, and the mountains of $$$$ and other currency units that the world’s elite has anonymously stashed in some 70 to 92 swarmy tax havens worldwide. We’re talking about maybe $21 to $32 trillion according to the Tax Justice Network, an international research and advocacy organization.

Oh yeah, for years, governments have talked about cracking down on the elite tax cheats. The U.S. government famously requires all “U.S. persons” to report annually all their foreign-based financial accounts and assets and has conducted a high profile shakedown campaign against a variety of large overseas banks that had previously provided their American clientele with banking privacy, i.e. tax avoidance. But while Uncle Sam self-righteously collects $billions in fines from those cheating foreign banks, it overlooks the tax-avoiding shell game run by its own states of Delaware, Nevada, and South Dakota! Talk about hypocrisy.

Most nations’ governments realize that they just can’t keep up with the high-priced and highlysecreting cash creative “financial gunslingers” that the rich and infamous hire in order to keep their money safely beyond the reach of national revenue agents. So the tax man often resorts to making deals in order to collect even a token amount from the wealthy elite. As the CBC journalist Don Pettis noted:

“If you have enough money to move your funds overseas, you have enough money to retain lawyers and accountants and, rather than fight, because of a lack of resources the revenue agency folds like a cheap suit,” said PEI Senator Percy Downe in a CBC interview. Governments need revenue to go on operating. If corporate tax goes abroad and rich people’s taxes go abroad, who is left paying the taxes? Well, you and me, of course.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/inversions-panama-revenue-quandary-1.3521358

It’s painfully easy for governments to collect their taxes from us. We can’t hide our salaries, pensions, property, or the daily goods and services we need in order to live. For the most part, the ordinary citizen is pretty transparent, while the wealthy elite is mostly opaque to the government’s tax man. The core message about ubiquitous taxation in the Beatle’s 1960s song “Taxman” remains contemporary.

Anywise, we already knew that the rich and powerful elite who run this world — these One and Two Percenters who also own the majority of this world’s assets — avoid much of their lawful tax obligation. After all, they’re the aristocracy of this present society, and we’re just the peasants. We are made to pay the bills. This has been the story throughout the history of humanity. Kings and their ruling elite make ordinary “Joes” pay the taxes. Jesus of Nazareth understood this perfectly:

“After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax (a tax equal to two days’ work) came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”  “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offence, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours,” Matthew 17:24-27 (NIV).

Jesus’ point to Peter was that for now, in this world of darkness held captive by the Adversary and his collaborators, we, the people of God, pay taxes and put up with what is unfair. This is not our kingdom. And that’s a good sign because we’re looking for a new world in which righteousness dwells and a never-ending life of peace and prosperity that no amount of the ruling elite’s money could buy. Consider, once again, this updated story about Jesus and taxes:

Ben FranklinThe rich and the powerful of the world’s ruling elite sent some of their agents, along with some of the national government’s tax collectors and informants, to meet with Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favourites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus knew their evil motives [they were looking for grounds to accuse him]. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used to pay your tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, [like a U.S. $100 bill with Ben Franklin’s image on it]  he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”  “Caesar’s,” they replied.“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply amazed them, and they went away. Matthew 22:16-22 (my paraphrase).

There is a spiritual payoff for those who now give God His due. In the coming Kingdom of God they will become the children of God the Father, and brothers and sisters of the King of kings [Christ] and so will be far freer from the exaction of every debt and obligation than even this world’s elite is today from the tax man.

Was St. Patrick a “good” Catholic?

green beer

Was St. Patrick a good Catholic? Most would say that you might as well say is the Pope Catholic! But often truth is indeed stranger than fiction, or even green beer.

Many of the tales and lore associated with St. Patrick come from Tirechán’s LIfe of Patrick, which was written about 700 A.D., or roughly 250 years after Patrick’s death. Unfortunately Tirechán’s book is not only completely revisionistic but also primarily fictitious. Tirechán’s work mostly reflects the priorities of an 8th century Catholic hierarchy who were at that point desperately trying to claim Patrick’s missionary legacy as their own in their campaign to pressure the remainder of the stubbornly independent Celtic Christian congregations in Ireland who were refusing to “enter into unity with Rome,”

Far from being a part of the Roman hierarchy, Patrick of Ireland ran a self-funded independent ministry. He never answered to Rome’s direction. Patrick was a part of the 5th to 7th century Celtic Christian movement in the British Isles, which followed a decentralized form of church organization. Deliberately maintaining isolation for over 150 years from the Catholic form of Christianity on the continent, the Celtic Christians of Britain and Ireland steadfastly refused to obey the Roman church’s hierarchy either administratively or doctrinally, according to York University professors Michael W. Herren and Shirley Ann Brown in their book Christ in Celtic Christianity.

It’s noteworthy that Patrick’s own grandfather, a married Christian priest, and his father, a married Christian deacon, did not buy into the Catholic Church’s Augustinian theology about original sin and infant baptism. Patrick’s family did not baptise him as a baby, according to Patrick’s own testimony. Rather Patrick’s family followed the theology of Pelagius, Augustine of Hippo’s theological nemesis. Pelagius taught that Adam’s sin at the Garden of Eden did not result in human nature becoming utterly depraved and, consequently, sexual intercouse did not transmit Augustine’s fictitious “original sin.” (This was the origin of the “sex is evil” idea in Catholicism.) Consequently,  baptism, according to Pelagian theology, was only for those with mature minds who could fully appreciate the level of commitment required from one who repents of a sinful lifestyle.

Leslie Hardinge in his book The Celtic Church in Britain notes that unlike the strongly anti-Semitic leprechanattitudes held by the Roman church, the Celtic Christian churches strongly valued their faith’s Hebrew roots. Accordingly, the Celtic Christians held their Pascale (Passover) ceremony of taking the Lord’s Last Supper with the bread and the wine on “the 14th moon” (Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar) rather than following the Roman churches calculations based on the pagan Roman Julian calendar. The Celtic Christians continued to “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” on the 7th day of the week, which the Roman Christians did not.

Hardinge also writes, “Wherever Patrick established a church he was believed to have left a copy of the books of the Law and the Books of the Gospel. The Leber ex Lege Moisi is the only work surviving from Celtic sources which answers to the description “books of the Law.” Each of the four extant manuscripts of this work has an Irish provenance. The earliest has been dated about 800, and had apparently been copied from an earlier manuscript. It commences with the Decalogue and contains selections from the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which are filled with citations from the Old Latin.” (Hardinge, pp 49-50).

Such a practice clearly reveals that Patrick had a strong “Scripturalist” approach to his religious understanding. The Scriptures were his authority. According to Profs. Herren & Brown to be a Scripturalist was typical of the Celtic Christian movement but radically atypical of those who supported the bishops of Rome and their hierarchy.

patrick peopleIt would appear from the evidence that Patrick of Ireland would not have been considered by his early Medieval contemporaries to be a “good” Catholic. Even the foremost Catholic church historian of the British Isles of the early Medieval era, Bede, knew nothing about a “St. Patrick.” In this case, the truth is indeed stranger than fiction or even green beer. Cheers!

2016: Beginning Badly

cologne fireworksWow! We’re just completing the first full week in 2016 and God help us, if this is merely a harbinger of more of the same to follow.

Let’s see, worldwide financial markets have sold off enough during this past week, due to the extreme volatility taking place in the Chinese markets, that some observers are saying we are now, officially, in a bear—that is declining—market. The Casey Research newsletter says that since Monday the world’s stock markets have lost US$2.5 trillion of their investors’ money! The newsletter quoted George Soros comment about what this first week in 2016 means:cartoon chinese stock

“I would say it amounts to a crisis. When I look at the financial markets there is a serious challenge which reminds me of the crisis we had in 2008.”

Of course, it’s not just the stock markets that have been falling. Commodity prices have also been plunging for a while. According to Stephen Poloz, Canada’s central bank governor:

“Since mid-2014—when oil prices started to free-fall—Poloz said the country has lost more than $50 billion in national income or about $1,500 per Canadian.” Times-Colonist, Victoria, B.C., Jan. 8, 2016.

poloz diceSince Canada is a major commodity producer its currency, the Canadian dollar, has also been under strong downward pressure on currency exchange markets, dropping from parity with the U.S.dollar in 2013 to being worth less the 0.71 U.S. cents today. This is why I’m paying $3 per pound for California broccoli when its on sale. Otherwise, it costs $5 per pound! Of course, the rising price of all food is not just due to unfavourable exchange rates.

I went to my local health food store the other day to replenish my supply of organic soft white wheat, which is great for making pancakes, dumplings, biscuits, or pie crusts. A forty-pound sack cost me CDN$69.00. Back in the 1980s I remember paying maybe $25 per sack for the same wheat. Oh yes, we know there’s inflation. But when I asked the store manager, whom I’ve know for a long time, whether $69 was a good price, or should I wait until a new supply comes in, he said that it’s not just a question of how much, but whether it’s even available in the first place. He said his wholesalers have been shorting him on what they’ll actually deliver on his orders. The wholesale suppliers are informally rationing what they’ll actually deliver to their retail store customers giving them only half of what they’ve ordered or none at all for some items. I purchased the last sack at the store that day. In short, the weather has not be favourable as it was previously and there is not the supply. Climate change?

And what about what’s going on in the Middle East? The United States under the leadershipobama1 of one of its worst presidents ever is continuing to betray its allies and appease its enemies. The Pax Americana that kept the lid on much of this world’s proclivity to violence since the Second World War is obviously breaking down. America’s enemies don’t take much of what Barak Obama says seriously, because they now know he’s just a paper tiger.

And then there’s the massive wave of 1.1 million Islamic migrants last year into Europe, especially Germany, that has unnerved a whole continent. The New Year’s Eve sexual assaults and rapes of women by “Arabic and North African-looking” men in German public places before cologne held handshundreds or even thousands of witnesses have provided some facts to fuel European anti-immigrant sentiment. According to Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

“The fears and prejudices of people have thus been completely fulfilled, and much faster than expected. Those who have been skeptical feel themselves vindicated and those who have said ‘We can do it!’ [quoting Angela Merkel’s pro-immigrant sentiment] feel unnerved.”

And, of course, in France, Islamic terrorism keeps popping up as a North African immigrant shouting “Allah Akbar” tried to attack the guards in front of police station on the one-year anniversary of the jihadist massacres at Charlie Hebdo.

All these problems are out of the control and beyond the influence of the likes of you or me and they merely add more stress to whatever our personal circumstances have already thrown on our shoulders. What is the solution to our stress? How can you and I remain productive and positive in 2016? I’d like to quote from R.T. Brooks about the secret of how to not only cope but thrive in a time like ours.

“The New Testament is clear that a stress-free life is no part of the Christian promise. What is offered is a way of bearing stress—a way that makes the experience creative without its ceasing to be painful. Physical suffering, family tension, and social insecurity were all part of what the disciples were told to expect. But they were also told that in those experiences they would discover the power of God’s Spirit. The yoke is a natural image of stress and strain, and yet, Jesus offers his yoke [of loving God with all your heart and of loving neighbour as oneself] to the heavy laden, saying, ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’”

The solution to this world’s problems are spiritual. Be part of the solution not part of the problem. Let’s all resolve to dig into the Bible to find not only a relief from stress, but also a plan of action for a dangerous time.

Anxiety & Fear: Good, Bad, Both

Be a Stress Survivor

Will the flood of migrants occupy and change us?

flood refugeesThe flood of some 800,000 migrants and refugees streaming into Europe in 2015 are stretching the Old World’s civic resources and in some places the public’s civility. And this flood of new arrivals is showing no signs of slowing down. Some officials are now speculating that about 3 million people will come to search for a better life in the West over the next few years. Will the status quo of the West be disrupted and undermined by the cultural/religious baggage that these millions of newcomers are bringing with them?

On Sept. 7th Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the “breathtaking” flow of migrants into Germany will “occupy and change” the country in the coming years. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34173720merkel selfie

Yes indeed! But will it be for the better or the worse? With a general EU unemployment rate hovering close to 11%, most European nations are struggling to create new jobs for their existing population much less millions of newcomers. And the current financial gurus of these same  European nations are struggling to balance their budgets and pay their sovereign debts. Austerity is the word for the financial situation for a significant number European nation states. Consequently, the disadvantaged and unemployed among the established population of Europe viscerally fears the additional competition for scarce jobs and the shrinking welfare benefits that the arrival of this tidal wave of new migrants will herald.  No one in the EU is talking about how much it will cost the various European governments to take care of this tidal wave of asylum seekers.

Here in Canada our new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is eagerly trying to make good on its election promise to let in 25,000 Syrian refugees this year. How they will do this, and how much is it going to cost us, has not been announced. With the price of oil dropping to U.S.$40 a barrel, Canada’s export earnings and tax revenues are tanking. Oil and gas companies in Alberta, the heartland of our oil patch, have already cut more than 36,000 direct jobs so far in 2015. I haven’t seen any figures giving the knock-on effects of these lay-offs and the dozens of cancelled oil sands development projects with the exception of the skyrocketing commercial office vacancy rate. The financial writer, Doug Casey, says Canada is in denial, as to how badly we are being hurt by the incredible collapse of the oil prices.

Yesterday, I was listening to a CBC radio interview with a variety of administrators of immigrant resettlement NGOs who were saying that, as it presently stands, they lack the personnel, housing, and financial resources to deal with such a large number of new immigrants. No money=no capacity for them to help these new people to resettle.

And what about security and domestic terrorism concerns? At present all the media wants to talk about here in Canada is: logistics. Only occasionally is there a comment that slips by the media gate-keepers from someone expressing a concern about “security” or the culture conflict from people who’ve lived all their lives in nations that have traditionally persecuted Christians and other religious or ethnic minorities, not to mention the LGBTQ crowd.  Security is really the elephant in the room everyone refuses to acknowledge. Is anyone really paying attention to what is going on throughout the Middle East and the top half of Africa? If Islam is really such a peaceful religion, why is it that all those Islamic dominated regions are in flames?

manal omarThe Foreign Policy magazine has recently featured in its argument section a debate entitled: Is Islam to Blame for Its Extremists? On one side is Manal Omar arguing that this religion isn’t the cause but rather socio-economic conditions, while on the other side is Aayan Hirsi Ali who argues that Islam is both explicitly and directly to blame for ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and all the other head-chopping, sex slaving jihadi Muslims who capture the media’s attention whenever they perpetrate some new nightmarish brutality. http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/11/is-islam-to-blame-for-its-extremistaayaan ali

Recently, Frederica Mogherini, who is the European Union’s head of foreign affairs and security policy, dismissed the whole notion of a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, when responding to some recent brutal Islamist terror attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France. Smarting under the criticism of those who have the temerity to suggest that this mass immigration of Muslims to Europe might not be a good thing, Mogherini countered:

“Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future. I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture. Religion plays a role in politics – not always for good, not always frederica mogfor bad. Religion can be part of the process. What makes the difference is whether the process is democratic or not.”

Nevertheless Journalist Paul Joseph Watson in his story about Mogherini observes, “Mogherini’s comments will do little to dispel concerns that world leaders are hesitant to fully acknowledge, the threat posed by ISIS, and the fact the group’s campaign of terror is very much Islamic, for fear of appearing politically incorrect. Indeed, the current debate about how to stop ISIS is not centered around combating the ideology (lifted straight from the Koran) that motivates ISIS’ thousands of fighters and its millions of supporters, but an obsession with not calling the group “Islamic”. http://www.infowars.com/eu-security-head-political-islam-is-the-future-of-europe/

This is why a true prophet, Isaiah, warns us in poetic language to beware, for only dystopia is going to result from our leaders lack of understanding and vigilance:

All you ·animals [beasts] of the field, all you animals of the forest, come to ·eat [devour]. ·The leaders who are to guard the people [L His watchmen] are blind; they ·don’t know what they are doing [lack knowledge; are ignorant].

All of them are like ·quiet [mute; or muzzled] dogs that ·don’t know how to [cannot] bark.

They lie down and dream and love to sleep.

They are like ·hungry [greedy; ravenous] dogs that are never satisfied.

They are like shepherds who ·don’t know what they are doing [lack understanding; are ignorant.

They all have gone their own way; ·all they want to do is satisfy themselves [each seeks their own gain/profit]. Isaiah 56:9-11 Expanded Bible

 

The Fun Slippery Slide Down the Slope of Moral Relativism

death cartoonWow, it’s amazing what happens in just one weekly news cycle! Should we cry or laugh?

A full two-thirds of Canada’s doctors are opposed to participating the Supreme Court’s newly discovered “right to die” by doctor-assisted suicide. In fact only 29 percent of doctors surveyed said they  would even consider providing such a “new procedure.”

Nevertheless, the leaders of the Canadian Medical Association are all gung-ho about turning their physicians into “Dr. Deaths.” Never mind that most doctors have trouble squaring this with their Hippocratic oath to “either help or do no harm.” But for CMA leaders it’s to infinity and beyond in embracing this new right to death conferred by the Supremes. Whoopie, we’re all gonna die! However, the CMA worries that there may not be enough time to properly train the docs in new, approved liquidation procedures before the law comes into effect on February 6th. Ah yes, I can see the CMA’s continuing education promo right now: Learn to Kill the CMA-way. Lunch provided.

One wag suggests the CMA could lower their learning curve by contacting the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association. After all, they already know how to shoot horses and euthanized dogs and cats by the dozen. Perhaps, all that the CMA leaders really need to show the docs is how to securely tie a plastic bag over a checking-out patient’s head and in just a couple of minutes the deed is done except, of course, for billing the taxpayers for the “procedure.” No mess, no fuss. On to the next patient. What an easy way to pay for your Mercedes.
But perhaps there are some doctors still willing to consider what the Creator advises? This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live(Deuteronomy 30:19)

Ah yes, and then there are the news stories about the adultery-promotingashley hacked website AshleyMadison.com–“Life is short. Have an affair”– and its Canadian parent company, Avid Life Media. Who was it that said all publicity is good publicity? Anywise, after more than 30 million email addresses and some credit card data were released–manna for digital peeping toms–Avid Life Media, has offered $500,000 to anyone with information revealing the hackers’ identity.

To police investigators, the nature of Ashley Madison’s infidelity-facilitating website is “of no interest”–due to the moral relativism prevailing in government officialdom these days. They’re only interested in catching those nasty, immoral hackers as well as advising the clients of Ashley Madison–caught with their privacy pants down as it were–to ignore the come-ons from a number of opportunistic internet businesses. It seems these clever entrepreneurs are offering to scrub the out-eds’ names from off the infamous cheaters list–just a little fee-to-play sin-tax, of course! But, according to the police, nobody is going to be able to cleanse their name  from any internet-posted dirt from that Dark Net database. In fact the police warn the embarrassed adultery-site customers that they risk exposing their computers to possible moral hazard from the digital version of genital warts should they hook up with such dubious digital entrepreneurs.

hiding the privatesSo, although Ashley Madison, Inc. promised “airtight privacy” to the credulous, a more reliable reference source about the privacy prospects of conducting an adulterous affair would warn “…for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known” (cf. Matthew 10:26). Why should Ashley Madison’s customers really be surprised that their sins would find them out? (cf. Numbers 32:23)

Finally, Trinity Western University (TWU) is asking British Columbia’s Supreme law societyCourt to overturn the Law Society of British Columbia’s decision to refuse to certify TWU students who would graduate from the university’s proposed new law school. This professional society for B.C. lawyers takes issue with TWU’s community standards covenant–an honour code which specifies that all faculty and students agree to only engage in sexual relations with a traditionally defined marital spouse. Honour codes are, of course, so passé for a post-modern society that is outraged at the very thought that anyone or any institution would have the brazen nerve to want to uphold and promote the biblical morality that sustained Western civilization for the last 3,500 years.

Consequently, the very self-righteous Law Society of B.C. sputters it’s indignation in their rebuttal to the TWU lawsuit that this privately funded institution in daring to set such outrageously high biblical standards of morality are being discriminatory, and run contrary to the equality rights of LGXYZ people, and are seriously undermining “the integrity and the foundation of the administration of justice.”

no christians allowedOh really? I wonder if the the Law Society of B.C. could have changed the LORD’s mind–”Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:20)–about Sodom and Gomorrah with such a politically correct, post-modern argument? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Religious freedom or post-modern nonsense? More to follow, I’m sure.

Coming Soon: Dystopia!

dystopia filmsRecently there have been a variety of movies released by Hollywood that have been exploring the “post-apocalyptic” or “dystopian” themes about the future. Generally speaking, in such movies civil society is going or has already gone to hell (the reasons vary). As a result, everyone is left scrambling to survive or die amidst ruins, violence, and fear except for the hero of the story and his/her love interest who somehow manage to save the day and restore hope in some form. Or, if it’s a European movie, the hero gets killed off and the villains win.

Nevertheless, one assumes most of those screenwriters have merely fallen ill to a creative bug of pessimism  spawned by that infectious Hollywood disease of financial avarice. After all what better way to make a few hundred million than to exploit the public’s perverse desire to be scared spitless by some horror, for a few hours. But then, after the show we expect to go home to our comfy beds and then get up in the morning to pursue our  predictably pleasant and mostly enjoyable existence. Nobody really wants to wake up stuck in a feverish dystopian nightmare of hopeless hardship and gut-wrenching fear that won’t go away like a bad dream.

But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap,and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. (Isaiah 24:16b-18 New Living Translation).

Unfortunately for us, too many of our current world’s leaders are deceitfully writing the scripts for a future distopia that I would have only thought to be product of some Hollywood scriptwriter’s over-active imagination.

Who would have thought that the leaders responsible for one of the world’s most important greek bank robberycentres of liberal Western civilization–the European Union–would have transformed itself into an austerity-obsessed, undemocratic “debtor’s prison”–to quote from Philippe Legrain in his article, “The Berlin Bulldozer and the Sack of Athens,” Foreign Policy magazine, July 13, 2015.

What the Eurozone’s leaders are doing to the Greek people is truly astonishing. Their current “bailout plan” will force the Greeks to add an additional Euro 85 billion to the current Greek debt level of Euro 325 billion–pushing the Greek debt to GDP ratio to over 200 percent! Yet the Eurozone leaders knew when they proposed this bailout plan that the International Monetary Fund had called the Greek debt greek suicide choicepredicament “highly unsustainable” (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr15186.pdf).

If an already bankrupt Greece does not presently have  a hope in hell of paying off its current  debt of Euro 325 billion, then how does adding an additional Euro 85 billion over the next three years make any financial sense? Even the International Monetary Fund knows it’s crazy-making irrationality!

As Philippe Legrain writes:greek debt uphill

“The Eurozone as a whole remains an economic basket case and a democratic disgrace. It is trapped in a nightmarish limbo where politics precludes the creation of common institutions that would cage German power and put the European Central Bank in its place, while fear prevents its victims from leaving. So much for the European dream.”

And what about the just signed-in-Vienna Iranian Nukes Deal? Will it facilitate the dream for peace in the Middle East?

neville kerryHow will financially strengthening Iran–the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism–to the tune of about an extra $100 billion annually–make for peace in the world’s powderkeg? The deal allows the Iranian mullahs to earn at least one trillion extra dollars from their oil sales over ten years for merely promising to delay for a decade their development of nuclear bombs! This is a great deal for Iran and goes a long way towards helping it become the new Middle Eastern hegemon–the blood-soaked region’s new top dog.

The Vienna deal will allow Iran to continue its work on the development of its ballistic missilesobama mock iran while at the same time, secretly, to refine its nukes program (everyone knows they will cheat). Obama’s approved deal will relieve the Islamic Republic from the effects of the West’s regimen of punishing financial sanctions. So now  Iran will be able to strengthen its regional proxies: Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas, Yemeni Houtis, Syria’s Assad, and the various Iraqi Shi’ite militias. After ten years of this “good” deal, Israel–the West’s only reliable democracy in the region–will face an existential threat that it will be hard-pressed to effectively counter. Oh yes, arms dealers will also be big winners of this “good” Iranian nukes deal.

chinese stock marketAnd finally there’s the news of the Chinese stock market meltdown. With its opaque financial data and economic system who knows what to believe when the Chinese state tells big investors to buy and hold or be executed? Talk about voodoo economics! We know the world’s financial system almost melted down about 7 years ago. It may yet happen again due to the Chinese contagion and we’ll only learn about it the morning after.

Throughout the world, our leaders are now writing the scripts for a coming dystopia that will be so bad that Jesus of Nazareth prophesied:

For then there will be great tribulation (a dystopia of affliction, distress, and oppression) such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now—no, and never will be [again]. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive, but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22 Amplified Bible).

So where do we find security in times like these?

The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times,
And the strength of salvation;
The fear of the Lord is His treasure.

(Isaiah 33:5-6 NKJV)

Want to learn more? Watch these videos.
Finding Refuge

Be a Stress Survivor

 

Is all “Love” Equal?

stop judicial tyrannyToday, in a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called “equal protection” amendment should be interpreted to mean that marriage cannot be restricted to only heterosexual couples since homosexual couples must also have equal rights to access marriage licenses. This  same amendment, which was enacted during the U.S. Civil War period some 150 years ago,  also was used by the court in 1973 to create via judicial reasoning a right to abortion. An explicit reading of the 14th amendment says absolutely nothing about either abortion or homosexual marriage. In fact the original drafters of the 14th Amendment could never have imagined in their wildest dreams that their work would later be interpreted in such a curious fashion.

Writing a dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the court’s equalityruling majority of the justices are themselves “unrepresentative” of the American people. Further, Scalia asserts that what they are doing is a “threat to democracy”:

“Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination… Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine  [unrepresentative] lawyers on the Supreme Court.

“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” 

Cited from: http://www.mediaite.com/online/scalia-dissent-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling-represents-threat-to-democracy/

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, harshly criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as a “tragic error” and noted how the court’s majority used the same flawed legal reasoning 42 years previously to create an abortion right–but that “neither decision is rooted in the truth”:

bishops“Jesus Christ with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth…. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

Cited from: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/26/bishops-blast-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-rul/

But President Obama insists that “love is love.” And as such whatever someone wants to call “love” is good and equal to whatever someone else also wants to call love.

The Apostle John insisted that it was the duty of a Christian to love. He wrote the Church:

Beloved, we should love one another because love is from God; and everyone who loves has been begotten by God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4:7-8, all Coulter trans.)

So would the Apostle approve of President Obama’s statement that “love is love,” that all love is equal? Again, it is written:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love God Whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)

So, how can a Christian–who professes that he loves God–not agree with the secular policy that extends equal rights to homosexuals and thus, also allows homosexuals to marry in the Church? Does standing against homosexual marriage within the Church constitute  hating one’s brother?

Well, since a Christian should not rely on secular, human reasoning, as the U.S. Supreme Court does, to determine right from wrong, but rather the Word of God, which is the actual truth throughout the Universe for all time (cf. John 17:17), how would the Scriptures answer the above question?

Well, the Apostle John does not leave the clarification of the Christian duty to “love” both God and neighbour to human whim, reason, or passion. The Scriptures are far more explicit than the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

And by this standard we know that we know Him [Jesus Christ]: if we keep His commandments. The one who say, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked [discipleship]….

By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 2:3-6 & 5:2-3 Coulter trans.).

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops correctly observed: “Jesus Christ with great love,God made them taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.”

It is obligatory for any Christian who would see the glory of God to stand with Jesus Christ on this issue about whether there can be homosexual marriage within the Church of God. But it is not our obligation to judge those who are outside the Church. They can rely on the short-sighted wisdom of the Supremes if they so choose. But there will be consequences in the World Tomorrow and a price that we all may have to pay due to today’s decision. Today, indeed, may well be a turning point in the history of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

A Duty to Kill upon Demand? An End to the Freedom of Conscience?

Back in early February 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court decriminalized physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The court insisted that to do otherwise would mean that citizens would have a duty to live. This current Supreme Court reversed its previous 1993 decision on this same subject, and instead launched a “right-to-die” revolution in Canada’s legal policy that involves: 1) abandoning the idea that every human life is always a good to be protected, 2) while substituting the concept suicide and euthanasia can be accepted as a social good and as a personal autonomy right, and 3) removing the law’s obligation to protect the weak and vulnerable.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/05/father-raymond-j-de-souza-our-euthanasia-point-of-no-return/

Immediately after this court ruling there was speculation that to enforce this new social policy the professional Canadian organizations regulating doctors and surgeons would hold that all health-care providers would henceforth have an obligatory “duty to care.” What a perverse euphemism! In plain-speak this means doctors would have a duty to kill upon demand (abortion, euthanasia, or professionally arrange for someone else to do it—called a referral).

The original Hippocratic oath, which was formerly taken by new doctors when they started suicide friendly caregivespracticing medicine during a more enlightened age, went something like this:

 “With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.

Nor shall any man’s entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.

Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.”

Now, however, the Ontario and Saskatchewan colleges of doctor and surgeons are drafting policies to force physicians to kill on demand or to refer to be killed when so requested by a patient. Doctors who refuse to provide or refer abortion and euthanasia services are to be punished and perhaps barred from practicing medicine in those provinces.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-march-25-2015-1.3008505/doctors-fight-for-their-right-to-refuse-care-over-religious-beliefs-1.3008524

What happened to an individual’s freedom of conscience? Well, I guess it only applies to those who want to kill themselves or their babies not to the doctors whom they want to force to do their dirty work. And some like to think that this is a “progressive” social policy?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

But, if you want to find out who REALLY has the authority to determine what is right or wrong in such issues, then please listen to my posted video blog on this subject by clicking on this link:

http://cogwebcast.com/sermons/video-archives/life-death-assisted-suicide-decides/

 

The Greatest Issue of our Time?

inequality2Is the world’s growing inequality  the new de facto slavery of our time?

Target, the American mega-chain retailer, failed in its expansion plans in Canada and recently announced that they are closing all of its 133 Canadian stores and laying off about 17,600 employees. But Target’s Canadian liquidation is not the news I want to write about, rather it’s something more shocking than a mere business flop.

It seems the fallen CEO of Target’s Canadian subsidiary will get a total severance and benefits exit package from the home office worth about the same as the total amount being offered to all 17,600 of the chain’s Canadians employees. Now that’s a golden parachute!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/target-s-package-for-ex-ceo-matches-package-for-all-17-600-canadian-workers-1.2927893?cmp=rss

But Target’s policy of massive compensation disparity between executive class and worker class isn’t just a Canadian phenomenon. Target’s former American CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, who stepped down after the massive credit card privacy breach of May 2014, received as his golden handshake a retirement plan valued at more than $47 million, or about 1,044 times what the average retiring Target employee usually receives.inequality4

This just illustrates with a few Developed World examples the global predicament that the British NGO Oxfam starkly described in a recently released paper detailing the world’s rapidly increasing state of inequality. The highlight of the Oxfam report was what could only be called a “statistical obscenity”: the world’s 80 wealthiest persons–many of whom are big shareholders in the finance, pharmaceutical, and health industries– now have more money and assets than the bottom half of the entire world’s population–some 3.5 billion people!

It should be obvious to all that this world’s economic system is not designed to benefit your average Joe and Jane. And it’s not just the working poor living in developing nations who are inequality1steadily losing their meager share of the world’s riches. It’s also happening to the middle and working classes in the developed world as well. The present global economic system is unfair and rigged  to benefit an extremely small elite of mega-oligarchs.

The problem is clear. Can the situation be remedied in a fair, equitable, and peaceful way? Or is the only solution a 21st Century repeat of the war cry of the violent French or Russian revolutions. “Off with their heads!”

Recently, I read various  proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy, such as income and inheritance taxes. There is talk about increasing the minimum wage to what’s called a “living” wage. Or, increasing subsidized educational opportunities such as was proposed by the U.S. president recently in his State of the Union address: two years free tuition at community colleges throughout the U.S.A.

But all of the above suggestions are just nibbling around the edges of the inequality issue. Even if all the above measures were passed by the politicians and enacted into law–which is doubtful considering the oversized effect concentrated wealth can have on donation-seeking politicos… inequality3when money talks you know who listens–the effect of such proposed “reforms” would only be temporary and mostly ineffective at resolving the growing inequality.

All such reform attempts would be mere “shows” put on by the politicians to try and convince the public that they are really trying to do something to address a system that at its core is rigged and unfair. And such “reforms” will eventually fail because the super rich know how to hide their wealth, how to influence the appropriate people, and how to manipulate the financial and economic systems in order to protect the status quo that benefits them.

Of course, the problem of the wealthy defrauding the poor by means of a corrupt world order is nothing new. The Bible specifically addresses the issue:

[But] look! [Here are] the wages that you have withheld by fraud from the laborers who have reaped your fields, crying out [for vengeance]; and the cries of the harvesters have come to the ears of the Lord of hosts,” James 5:4 Amplified Bible

An older commentary on this verse in the Bible observed that great inequality among men and women has most often been accomplished throughout history by some form of slavery.

“The very essence of slavery is, that the slave shall produce by his labor so much more than he receives for his own maintenance as to support the master and his family in indolence. The slave is to do the work which the master would otherwise be obliged to do; the advantage of the system is supposed to be that the master is not under a necessity of laboring at all. The amount which the slave receives is not presumed to be what is a fair equivalent for what he does,” Barnes Notes of the Bible for James 5:4.

Of course, not everyone who has become wealthy has practiced some form of slavery by not paying his workers fair wages. But if one does achieve financial success through some appropriate creativity and hard work or even just by chance, the Scriptures would still encourage such a person to be generous with others and to practice philanthropy. In other words, loving one’s neighbour as one’s own self. As the writer of Proverbs puts it:

Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed,” Proverbs 11:24-25 New Living Translation.

A lot more can and will be said about how to remedy this world’s growing inequity and injustice. But for the moment a simple exhortation to practice brotherly love is a good first step and it would only do good and certainly no evil. The people in the boardrooms should take this Judeo-Christian principle very, very seriously while there still is time to change their fate.

 

The Foolish Mistake of the West

charlie hebdoIn the aftermath of the recent Islamic jihadis attacks in France, many Western liberals still don’t get it. They don’t get the implication or meaning of what’s behind the on-going, widespread conflicts between Islamic jihadis and anyone who doesn’t buy into their fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam–which, by the way, is widely taught and vigorously sponsored  throughout the world, especially by Saudi Arabia.

Yet, I hear practically endless pontificating by liberal media about how Islam is a peaceful religion that is all about brotherly love, just like the other major religions. If that is true, how is it that broad swaths of the globe–Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, northern Nigeria, northern Mali, and now northern Cameroon–have become for all practical purposes no-go areas for non-Muslims, especially Westerners. All these areas just mentioned are descending or have already descended into an early medieval barbarism that Mohammad himself would recognize. Islam indisputably plays a major role in the rising level of violence throughout the world. Beheadings? Kidnapping women and girls for sex slave auctions? Massacring children at school? Murder?  Rape? Pillage? Dispossession and exile?

In the Western nations, WHO is responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks? charlie hebdo3WHO are the Western world’s security forces watching out for? Is it the the orthodox Jews, the Amish, the Catholic Sisters of Mercy or socially conservative Christians? WHO’s shooting cartoonists these days?

Yesterday, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke of the international Islamic jihadist movement,

“They have declared war and are already executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact, and they have declared war on any country, like ourselves, that values freedom, openness, and tolerance. We may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away.”

Nevertheless,  many in the West’s media continue to whistle in their own mental darkness as they try to re-assure us all that Islam as it exists is not somehow incompatible with modernity. But it cannot be denied that Islam is indeed the essential malevolent womb that has birthed the international jihadist movement. Without Islam there would be no jihadis shooting up Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris.

Let’s do a reality check. If we could have a magic wand and could make Mohammad and his teachings instantly vanish from the minds and hearts of all who practice that religion, would the world also instantly become a better, more peaceful place? Yes or no? Well, the answer charlie hebdo2would be maybe or maybe not. It would depend on what would fill the void.  However, if the actual teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Scriptures were substituted for those of the medieval Arabian warlord, Mohammad, the answer would certainly be yes–the world would be a more peaceful place! The comparison between how Jesus actually lived and how Mohammad lived is truly dramatic.

The secular Western ruling elite is still willfully blind to the fact that they have created a “conflict of civilizations” problem, which they are completely ill-equipped to resolve. To beat a religious counterfeit that produces bad results one must deploy spiritual truth that produces good results. But when it comes to spiritual things, these secularists can’t distinguish black from white. They don’t understand why reading the Koran produces such different results in comparison to reading and following the Judeo-Christian Bible. They thought all religions were the same.  Consequently, they will never be able to live in peace even within their own borders. Why? Well they imported into the Western nations millions of people  whose belief system is proving to be completely incompatible with their own. They acted foolishly! The prophet Isaiah wrote of these willfully blind leaders:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Make the heart of this people dull,
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;

 lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
    without inhabitant….” (Isaiah 6:9-1, English Standard Version)