San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Preying On Fear

I received a piece of propaganda in the mail this week.  It was a postcard promoting a free lunch if I would be willing to attend a seminar entitled "Getting the most out of your retirement plans."  The bullet points promoting the seminar informed me that I can "Eliminate Risk in today's market conditions" (emphasis theirs, not mine).  I also learned that their "Clients Never Lose a dime during market declines."  That was all I needed to know.  These folks were insurance agents and they were trying to get me to put my IRA into an equity indexed annuity contract.
A month ago I posted an article to this blog showing how annuities are terrible investments.  You can read it here.  Equity indexed annuities are a particularly pernicious form of variable annuity that preys upon the fear and ignorance of investors.  The postcard I received disgusted me because I know precisely what those insurance agents are trying to do.  They know that many inexperienced and ignorant investors who are in the stock market are prone to panic when the market drops.  As I write this the stock market is in correction territory, down more than 10% since the high point late last year.  Predictably, many people are panicking.  So how can the insurance agent promise that his clients will never lose a dime when the market corrects?  Let me explain.
An equity indexed annuity is invested in the stock market.  Insurance companies are not stupid and they know that the stock market is the only place to be for high investment returns.  They stay fully invested in stocks for the long term and receive returns commensurate with folks who follow the sound economic principles of eschewing market timing and remaining in the stock market at all times.  I wrote a piece for this blog, found here, which conclusively and persuasively showed that everyone should put their tax qualified retirement plans in stocks and stock mutual funds and never take them out until they begin making withdrawals at retirement.  Insurance companies probably average around 12%/year in total return on their investment in the stock market, which is the same rate of return earned by long term stock fund investors.  
The money they have to invest in the stock market comes from the premiums paid by those who are told it is too dangerous for them to invest in the stock market.  Instead they foolishly purchase their annuities in which they are promised to never have a negative year or never lose a dime during market declines.  What those foolish investors are not told is the fact that although it may be true they will never lose a dime, they will also never make a dollar.  In order to cover themselves during down years the insurance companies put a cap on how much they will pay in up years.  The net result is that investors never have down years but they also never have strong up years.  When the stock market is up 30% they may earn 10% in their annuities.  Over the long term equity indexed annuities, like all insurance products, make a lot of money for the insurance companies and their agents but the policy holders end up doing worse with their annuity contracts than if they had assumed all stock market risk and stayed in stocks all the time.   
I become enraged with people who prey on the fear of others.  Unscrupulous insurance agents are just the tip of the iceberg.  The media is infamous for turning a meaningless stock market correction into the biggest deal since the Great Depression.  Just today I read an article on the internet attempting to capitalize on the most recent stock market drop.   This article, found at CNBC.com says, "The S & P 500 has begun 2016 with its worst performance ever. This has prompted Wall Street apologists to come out in full force and try to explain why the chaos in global currencies and equities will not be a repeat of 2008. Nor do they want investors to believe this environment is commensurate with the dot-com bubble bursting. They claim the current turmoil in China is not even comparable to the 1997 Asian debt crisis. Indeed, the unscrupulous individuals that dominate financial institutions and governments seldom predict a down-tick on Wall Street, so don't expect them to warn of the impending global recession and market mayhem.  But a recession has occurred in the U.S. about every five years, on average, since the end of WWII; and it has been seven years since the last one — we are overdue. Most importantly, the average market drop during the peak to trough of the last 6 recessions has been 37 percent. That would take the S&P 500 down to 1,300; if this next recession were to be just of the average variety. But this one will be worse."
Notice how the author conjures up images of 2008-2009 and 2000-2002 (the dot come bubble he writes about).  Those two bear markets were the second and fourth largest bear markets in modern history.  The author is exploiting the unfortunate human tendency to engage in hindsight bias as a means to dramatize his prediction about impending doom.  "This one will be worse," he assures us.  People are free to write whatever they want and I am free to call those people stupid idiots.  The author is a stupid idiot.  By the time summer's warm breezes are wafting over all of us this current market correction will already be forgotten.  Does anyone remember last August's correction?  I didn't think so.  It was deeper than the one we are in now.  I rest my case.
The belief that we are about to plunge into recession and a 50% stock market drop also causes people to make stupid decisions and investment advisers to give bad advice.  According to this article, "The American College recently surveyed financial professionals to determine how their clients reacted to a significant drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and found that the majority of retirees show heightened concern. Three out of five respondents said retired clients have been more apt to reach out to them due to recent market volatility and more than half of their clients admit they are more concerned about retirement security than they were last year."  Surprise!  Surprise!  People respond to a barrage of hysterical reports about how the stock market is about to tank by calling their advisers and asking them to predict the future for them.  So how do their advisers advise them when they call?  The article quoted here goes on to give the following advice for clients who are retired, "Conservative investors would instead have 50 percent of their portfolio in bonds, 30 percent short-term investments and 20 percent in stocks."  That is a guaranteed prescription for inferior long term performance.  All investors, including those who are retired, should be 100% in stocks and stock mutual funds 100% of the time, no exceptions. 
It is not just the media types who hype up down markets into something they are not.  The intellectual class gets involved as well.  One man described as an "economist" wrote an article bearing the headline, "80% Stock Market Crash to Strike in 2016."  According to this article describing the economist's predictions, "...there is one distinct warning that should send chills down your spine … that of James Dale Davidson. Davidson is the famed economist who correctly predicted the collapse of 1999 and 2007. Davidson now warns, 'There are three key economic indicators screaming SELL. They don’t imply that a 50% collapse is looming – it’s already at our doorstep.'  And if Davidson calls for a 50% market correction, one should pay heed."  When you see someone writing about "economic indicators" you should run screaming for the exists.  The presupposition behind that nonsense is that it is possible for the most brilliant among us to predict the future by looking at the past.  Something that every child knows is not possible is believed by people who invest in the stock market.  Let me make it clear.  Nobody can see the future.  Nobody knows what is going to happen one second from now.  Don't do anything with your retirement accounts based upon what some charlatan who claims to be able to see the future predicts is going to happen.
There is one investment adviser that I respect very much.  His name is Ken Fisher.   He has a somewhat different take on the current stock market correction. Sanity reigns at his website where I found a very well written article about this stock market correction.  Here, in part, is what he wrote:   "We still have every reason to believe this is a correction (sharp, sentiment-driven drop of -10% or worse), not a bear market (longer, deeper, fundamentally driven decline). As far as we can see, there is no identifiable fundamental cause—just rehashed, long-running false fears. China’s situation hasn’t changed. Officials are still allowing the economy to slow gradually as they transition from heavy industry and investment to services and domestic consumption. They’re also still taking a haphazard approach to stabilizing the domestic stock market, which remains isolated from the rest of the world. Neither development means the long-feared hard landing has finally arrived. Manufacturing and trade have slowed globally, but this isn’t new, and the global economy is still growing. Commodity-heavy countries like Brazil and Russia are deep in recession, but growth elsewhere more than offsets their troubles. S&P 500 earnings are projected to decline again for Q4, but the Energy sector remains the culprit. Excluding Energy, earnings continue rising. And not once has sentiment gotten too far out over its skis. Investors have largely been too skeptical, not overly optimistic."
I can't conclude this post without mentioning our favorite class of fear mongers.  They are the career politicians who dedicate their lives to convincing us that the entire country is falling apart and, without their continued efforts, we are all doomed.  They tell us that global warming will kill us.  They tell us that the economy might not even exist tomorrow if the Fed does not keep a diligent watch over it.  They tell us that terrorists are lurking behind every tree and criminals are just waiting to jump out and snatch our cash from our hands.  Because life in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is so dreadfully frightful we must willingly sacrifice our personal liberty and 4th Amendment rights to privacy to our overlords if we have any hope of survival.  It is all rubbish but it is heartily endorsed by the media class and readily believed by the sheeple.
I am writing this today because I do not want the handful of people who read this blog to fall prey to fear mongers who want to take their money.  I don't know which is worse...insurance agents, media types, investment advisers who prey upon fearful investors, career politicians who terrify you into giving up your freedom for a specious promise of security or Evangelical preachers who convince the faithful to open their wallets and empty them into the offering plate in exchange for a promise of great wealth from God in return.  None of them are men of character.  Avoid them if you can.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ruminations On The GOP Panel Discussion

Having nothing better to do, I settled down in my rocking chair in front of the television last night to watch the panel discussion on Fox Business News featuring all of the currently top rated GOP candidates for next King of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  I had not watched any of the prior panel discussions as I usually had more important things to do like sitting around twiddling my thumbs or watching the grass in my backyard grow.  I was interested in this event because it was hosted by Fox Business News and I was hoping to see some dialogue on economic  issues.  I was not disappointed by what I witnessed and it allowed me to confirm many of my long held beliefs about career politicians and their grotesque level of economic ignorance.  Let me tell you, in no particular order, what I thought about last night's question and answer session.
  • All of the candidates on the platform last night suffer from paranoid delusions.  One of the chief characteristics I think would be very important for the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Military Forces of the Amerikan Empire to have would be a very accurate understanding of the relative strength of our many enemies around the world.  One is best prepared to engage the enemy when one has a thorough understanding of the absolute strength of the enemy.  Otherwise a field general would be prone to make serious mistakes in the allocation of his resources.  For example, if one front is made up of a couple dozen sissified weaklings throwing rocks at us it is not important to send 15 battalions of Marines to that location.  After listening to all of the candidates last night I am forced to come to the conclusion that the SDA is now in the equivalent position that France found itself in just prior to the Nazi invasion in May of 1940.  They all believe that North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and radical Islam are legitimate and serious threats to the security of the SDA homeland.    They all believe that ridiculous idea despite the fact that North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and radical Islam are no more of a threat to the SDA homeland than a dozen sissified weaklings throwing rocks.  That is not a good mental condition to be in for a potential future leader of the free world, whatever that means.
  • None of the candidates on the platform last night was willing to discuss why they believe North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and radical Islam want to wage war against the SDA.  I was repeatedly told that each of those groups constitutes a serious threat to my personal security that requires me to give up my individual freedom and 4th Amendment rights in order to allow the government to protect me, but I was never told why they want to kill me in the first place.  If I have to give up my personal liberty and my right to be secure in my person, papers and possessions I think I have a right to know why.  Whether the candidates are aware of the truth or not, I do not know.  It is possible they are so daft they have no understanding of foreign affairs at all.  Allow me to inform them of the truth.  ISIS, Al-Qaeda and radical Islam would have no interest in the SDA except for the fact that SDA military forces have invaded their homelands, raped their women, killed their children, murdered their defenders and propped up a nuclear weapon empowered Israel on their very doorsteps.  For some reason none of the candidates wanted to talk about that subject.
  • All of the candidates believe that global economic activity is a form of warfare.  Each candidate took an opportunity to say something bad about China.  According to the economic luminaries on the platform, when trans-national trade takes place there has to be a winner and a loser.  The Donald, in particular, kept pounding away at his slogan about always "winning."  Every time he says that he betrays the fact that he understands nothing about economic trade.  In a free market there are no losers.  In a market in which coercion is absent, both parties to the exchange go away happy with the deal, otherwise no exchange would ever take place.  Listening to those bozos on stage would drive a person to conclude that every economic exchange creates a loser and the SDA is on the losing end of the deal in every interaction with China.  That then justifies, in their minds, the desire to create laws to punish China by means of tariffs on Chinese goods. Apparently they are all too stupid to realize that tariffs will ultimately only punish the SDA consumer.
  • All of the candidates believe that King Obama and potential future Queen Hillary are the devil incarnate.  Each candidate, in turn, took the opportunity to inform all of us viewers that no matter how terrible each of the other candidates happens to be, any one of them would be infinitely superior to Obama and Hillary.  Obama and Hillary were held responsible for every alleged problem facing the nation today.  The fact that all but two of the men on stage are career politicians and equally responsible for whatever mess exists in this sad and immoral country was lost upon them. 
  • All of the candidates believe that government creates job, profits, wealth and economic growth.  They are all amazingly ignorant of economics.  They repeatedly spoke of "our profits" and "our jobs" as if profits and jobs belong to them rather than the profit seeking corporations, and their shareholders, that created them.  I heard many comments about how the draconian SDA corporate tax was keeping corporations from "bringing their profits back home" where they can be taxed away by money-grubbing career politicians.  Republicans have had ample opportunity over the past 30 years to eliminate the corporate profits tax and they have done nothing.  Complaining about the reasonable strategy of corporations to move and keep their operations overseas is a bit disingenuous at best.  Let me make it very clear for these idiots.....the SDA government does not own any profit seeking business.  No profit seeking business has any responsibility to fund the activities of the SDA government.  No business has a moral responsibility to stay in this envy filled country.  Furthermore, no government agency or member of the royal caste has ever created a single job or a penny of profit.  Stop acting as if you can.
  • All of the candidates refused to answer any question that could potentially cost them votes.  Maria Bartiromo asked them what they would do about the fact that Social Security and Medicare are eating up an ever increasing share of the federal budget and appear doomed for insolvency.  To a man, each candidate completely ignored her question.  She restated it at one point and they continued to pretend as if she had not asked the question.  All of the vote-seekers on stage know enough to know that any talk about cutting social security or medicare benefits is political death.  At the same time, any talk about raising taxes to maintain the increasingly expensive entitlement programs of social security and medicare is also political suicide.  So, being the good cowards that they all are, they ignored her question.  I was assured, watching them do their various versions of a political song and dance, that no matter who is elected as the next King of this God-hating country it will be business as usual for the next four years.
  • All of the candidates are strong on what is usually called "law and order."   By that I mean they believe that the citizens of this country are generally immoral and need a growing police force to powerfully enforce the laws of the land.  Christie mentioned that the federal government needs to crack down (send in the National Guard?) upon those rogue states like Colorado that flaunt federal drug laws.  They all want more cops, more laws, more lawyers, more prisons and more prisoners, despite the fact that the SDA already imprisons more of its citizens than any country in the world. 
  • None of the candidates was willing to explain why there appears to be such animosity between the cops and the citizens of this violent land.  The basic assumption underlying each of the candidates views on law and order, as I could perceive it, is that most people are basically good but, at the same time, most people engage in a lot of criminal activity.  People were good when the candidate wanted a vote and people were bad when the candidate was talking about law and order.  None of the candidates ever considered explaining to the audience that the failed war on drugs in this country is primarily responsible for all of the woes associated with the criminal justice system, whatever that is.  Not one candidate was willing to conjure up the historical specter of Prohibition in support of a position that all drugs should be decriminalized.  Those who forget history and doomed to repeat it.
  • All of the candidates at one point or another said that if I would vote for him he would promise and guarantee that I would be both free and safe under his rule.   It never occurred to any of them that personal freedom and government provided safety are contradictory notions that cannot both exist at the same time and in the same place.  Edward Snowden was denounced as a traitor and all the candidates called for profit seeking technology corporations to "partner" with government to aid the NSA as it watches our every move.  Although each candidate sought the votes available from the NRA by stating support for the 2nd Amendment, not one candidate stated his support for the 4th Amendment.  On the contrary, each candidate called for more government power over the citizens of this land, enveloping each and every one of us in a mantle of suspicion.   Everyone must be watching everyone else and the government will be watching us all because you never know where a terrorist might be lurking.  This brings me back to my first point....the inability of the mad-men on the stage last night to accurately assess a threat to our national security.  I conclude by advising you to prepare to give up all your 4th Amendment rights, regardless of which candidate you select. As for me, I will be taking a hike on election day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Our Government Is Built Upon Lies

Have you ever heard of Operation Northwoods?  Neither had I until a week or so ago.   I will come back to this idea in a moment.
Do you trust the career politicians, career military personnel and the bureaucratic lackeys who do their bidding who rule over you?  Do you get your feathers ruffled when someone, who no doubt "hates America first," even asks a question like the one I just asked?  Do you love America and wish that everyone who does not share your affection for our King, his court and the military commanders who enforce their will around the world would move to North Korea?  Do your eyes mist up when the national hymn is played before some semi-gladiatorial contest?  Do you get a lump in your throat when some fighter pilot flies his airplane low over a stadium and you allow yourself to imagine how many stinkin' foreigners he can kill with just one bomb drop?
If you answered yes to the above questions you are not going to like today's blog post.  If you answered no to the above questions you are probably some sort of anti-government anarchist wacko who will take what I write about here today and use it to justify your anarchy.  I started out in life wishing I could go to war for my country, where I would kill the enemy and bathe myself in patriotic glory.  Then, as I grew older and wiser, I came to realize that murder was a sin.  I learned that civil government is the enemy of the people and that tyrannical regimes use expertly crafted propaganda to keep the sheeple under control.  Then, as I became a Christian who follows the God of the Bible, I realized that anarchy is sin.  I also realized that God decrees the existence of immoral sovereigns who tyrannize their people as a punishment upon the people for their rejection of Him and His law.  Like God has done so many times before, He punishes a people with a tyrannical regime like the government of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika only to bring along another, more powerful, tyrannical regime which destroys the prior regime and establishes itself as god.  I don't know if I will live long enough to see who replaces the SDA but if I do it will certainly be interesting to watch.
I am not writing for those who worship government nor am I writing for those who wish to rebel against God ordained authority (see Romans 13 in the Bible).  I am writing for people who simply want to know more about the world and, in this case, about the government that rules over us.  I believe it is fairly easy to prove that government in the SDA, especially the royal caste found within the federal government, routinely lies to the citizens of this country.  I have read too many books making that case to believe otherwise.  But rarely have I read something that shook me up as much as what I read recently. 
Several weeks ago I came across a document on the internet that rocked my limited view of what takes place in this sad and immoral country.  The document was drafted on March 13, 1962 and signed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the President.  The title of the document was "Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba."  I would strongly encourage you to read the entire document.  It is only 12 pages long but it will rattle your intellectual cage as few documents ever have before.  The document was classified but is now available in the national archives.  You can find it here.
The document contains the top secret recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to President Kennedy about what was called "Operation Northwoods."  If you have gone to the above link and read the document I do not have to write anything more.  You have seen the same thing I saw and I can't imagine that you are anything less than shocked and appalled by what you read.  If you did not read the document, and I suspect most of you did not, let me tell you a bit about what it contains.  But first, a bit of history will  put things in perspective.
  • In 1959 Fidel Castro successfully over threw the Batista government and installed the first communist country in the western hemisphere in Cuba.  
  • On April 17th, 1961 the government of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika unsuccessfully attempted to oust Castro in the failed military operation today known as the Bay of Pigs.
  • In March of 1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend Operation Northwoods to President Kennedy.  He rejects their recommendation.
  • In October of 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis occurs.  President Kennedy successfully convinces the Russians to not place missiles in Cuba, despite Castro's invitation for them to do so.
An ABC News report from May of 2001 describes some of the content of the recently declassified document recommending Operation Northwoods to Kennedy.  Here is some of what the report said:
  • In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
  • Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
  • The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.
  • America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: 'We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,' and, 'casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.' 
  • The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show. 
  • One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base — an act, which would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war. 
I am not making this stuff up.  Go read the document for yourself if you do not believe me.  Indeed, just reading the quotes I selected above does not accurately convey the chilling, cold-blooded desire to deceive the citizens of the SDA found in the full document.  The military rulers of that time would stop at nothing, including taking the lives of SDA citizens, in order to justify a war with Cuba.   What you will also discover if you read the document is that many of the proposed propaganda campaigns to be unleashed on the citizens of the SDA sound eerily familiar to things we have heard since then, including disinformation presented to us about Vietnam, Granada and Iraq.  Sometimes the language is identical to the false things we have been told in recent years in order to justify foreign military intervention and war.
The fact that certain members of the regime who rule over us actually proposed killing SDA citizens in order to incite sufficient anti-Castro anger to justify an offensive war against Cuba is shocking to those who believe that only the best and brightest among us go into politics and the military.  It should also cause those who blindly love our rulers to sit up and take note.  The fact that the goal of that desired war with Castro was to initiate a military takeover of Cuba and bring it under the sovereign control of the SDA goes contrary to what every lover of Amerika believes is the role of our imperial armed forces; namely, bringing the blessings of democracy to the huddled masses around the world.  Those who persist in the irrational belief that our rulers have our best interests at heart and never do anything from self-aggrandizing self interest need to see the truth.  Our rulers see us as pawns to be manipulated for their benefit and nothing more.  Fortunately they fear us enough to know that they need to continually lie to us in  order to gain our support for their causes, as they would not dare to do the things they do, or want to do,  without popular support.
If you do not believe that those who rule over us, in all the myriad branches of government, spend most of their time attempting to bring us into agreement with their despotic wishes by means of carefully crafted propaganda you are a fool.  The SDA is a nation of fools.  I don't expect that to ever change. So when you go to the polls this year to participate in the lovely democratic system we all worship and adore, just remember what the people you elect think of you.  They would not hesitate to kill you to achieve their ends.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Amerikan Empire

Well, I finally heard someone admit it.  I was driving around town yesterday, going about my business and listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show, when Rush came out and said that the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is an imperialistic empire.  If you know Rush, and you probably do, he does not consider that to be a bad thing.  In fact, Rush was lamenting that the SDA is in danger of going the way of all the empires that have come before us.  Then, for no reason at all, Rush announced that he believes the Amerikan empire will survive forever.  He confessed that his belief is not based upon anything other than his "optimistic feelings" about the future of this God-hating country.  He did profess his belief in the innate goodness of all Republicans and the potential for all Democrats to turn into Republicans but that was about the only reason he had any optimism for the future of this war-loving empire known as the SDA.  His confession was a pure act of state worship.  It was refreshing to see someone willingly admit that he unabashedly worships the SDA.
Is there anyone out there who does not believe that the SDA is the biggest, baddest empire the world has ever seen?  We have more military bases in more countries around the world than any empire that came before us.  We have killed tens of millions more citizens of those stinkin' foreign countries (they all deserved it by the way...how dare them not bow down before us and do what we order them to do?) than any empire that came before us.  We have imposed our will, by means of treaties, tax policy and covert operations, upon more people around the world than any other empire ever dreamed of being able to do.  We mind the business of the entire world and we are downright proud to do it.
I was listening to some of the current commentary on the upcoming election for next King of the SDA when I heard a very common statement that struck me most uncommonly.  The reporter, I forget now who it was, announced that the next election for King is vitally important because it will determine who is to be the next "leader of the free world."  I had never really considered what that amazingly arrogant statement meant before so I took some time to think about it.  Having a very limited capacity for intellectual speculation and a very short attention span it did not take me long to realize that claiming the King of the SDA is the leader of the free world is perhaps the grandest statement of world domination and empire ever made.  I wonder what the citizens of the countries of the free world, whatever that is, think about our belief?
I can't imagine that most of those stinkin' foreigners, who we do so much for and who do not come close to appreciating us as much as they should, would appreciate being told that their supreme leader is someone from another country whom they had no say in bringing to power.  How would you like it if somebody informed you that the King of some foreign land, elected by a right proper democratic process, is your sovereign?  I dare say most Amerikans would call for the SDA military to immediately launch an attack upon those foolish people for daring to impose their will on us.  Yet when we do the exact same thing to hundreds of millions of people around the world, all justified under the mantle of "Amerikan Exceptionalism" by the way, we pretend to be dazed and confused by their reasonable negative response to our tyranny.
I would very much appreciate it if we all could stop pretending to be something we are not.  We say that we are a nation governed by law.  We are not.  We say that we are a nation founded upon the ancient document known as the Constitution of the United States.  We are not.  We bicker and fight over whether some particular law is constitutional or not but, in the final analysis, we abandoned the Constitution long ago.  What we are is the most powerful economy and military in the history of the universe.  What we also are is a collection of intensely sinful human beings who make no effort to restrain our sinful desires to steal, kill and control everyone else in the world.  What we are is a people who powerfully despise the God of the Bible and the law He commands us to obey.  Sure, we reject His law under the guise of some imaginary concept of "separation of Church and State" but the simple truth is that most of the citizens of this land hate the God of the Bible and would rather go to the Lake of Fire than obey Him and His law.  (Note:  they will be granted their wish.)
So rather than complain about it, how about we start bragging about it?  Let's be proud of the fact that we tyrannize the world!  Let's be proud of the fact that if you do not agree with us you can expect a visit from a missile bearing drone!  Let's be proud of the fact that our military can kill pretty much anyone on the face of the earth at pretty much any time and get away with it.  We can commit war crimes galore and nobody is big enough to stop us.  Let's be proud of the fact that we can get away with torturing people while, at the same time, accuse other nations of immoral behavior for doing the exact same thing.  Let's be proud of the fact that we spy on our allies and murder our enemies.  Let's be proud of the fact that we are at perpetual war, expanding the empire into parts of the world previously considered to be outside the reach of our regime.  Let's be proud of the fact that the regime that rules the SDA imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world.  Let's be proud of the fact that you are eight times more likely to be killed by a jack-booted thug enforcer of the immoral laws of the land than you are to be killed by a terrorist.  We are the Amerikan Empire and we are here to stay!  If you don't like it, you will die.
Won't you join me?  Never again shall we speak of the United States or pretend as if we do not rule the world.  Rome was not called Italy.  Rome was called the Roman Empire.  Great Britain was not called England.  Great Britain was called the British Empire.  So why do we persist in calling the SDA the United States?  Let us drop this fiction forever.  Let us proudly declare our superiority over all the people of the earth.  Let us proudly thumb our noses at the God who created and sustains the universe.  Let us bow down and worship the empire and its King.   Oh,  I almost forgot,  may the force be with you. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rampant Rape At The Air Force Academy

One of the most popular and common stories found in the press these days is about how incidents of rape are commonplace on college campuses.  The infamous case of the University of Virginia in which a group of seven men were falsely accused of gang raping a stripper they had hired is illustrative of this attitude.  The seven men were immediately deemed to be guilty of the charge and government agents from the Socialist Democracy of Amerika made it a point to make an example of them for all to see.  As things turned out the entire case was fabricated.  Did that keep inflammatory accusations about rape on college campuses from being repeated?  Hardly.
Just Google "rape on college campuses" and you will see that things have not changed.  Depending upon which story you read you will be informed that 15-25% of all incoming freshmen females will be raped or sexually assaulted during their college years.  As usual, the devil is in the details.  Since I believe it is fair to say that most women in college spend a good part of their time in a condition of scantily clad drunkenness, I will go out on a limb and say that many of them were looking for it.  I would guess, based upon no evidence by my own impressions, that most of what passes for allegations of sexual assault is little more than morning-after guilt for what the young woman did the night before.
I see no reason why the incidence of real rape and sexual assault should be any higher on a college campus than it is in the rest of the country.  According to statistics compiled by the FBI, in any given year a woman has a 1 in 3333 chance of being sexually assaulted.  The popular statistic used by feminists and their misandrist kin who want to use the coercive power of government to oppress men is that 1 in 4 women will be raped during their lifetimes.  Based upon the actual statistics from the FBI about sexual assault that would mean the average lifespan for a female in the SDA is 833 years.  I suspect these militant feminists justify their 1 in 4 stat by repeating the completely unknowable and improvable assertion that only 5% of sexual assaults are reported.  When adjusted for that factor the average adult lifespan of a female drops to about 42 years. 
So, you might be wondering, did I just wake up in a particularly misogynist mood today or do I have some point that I am trying to make?  I do have a point and it is somewhat related to what I have written above.  Back in December of 2013 I wrote a piece on this blog entitled "A Terrible Stench is Rising from the Air Force Academy."  You can find that blog post here.  Drawing from a story in a Colorado Springs newspaper I told the tale of how sexual assault is rampant at the Air Force Academy.  I also told the sordid tale about how the powers that be at the AFA are desperately trying to keep a lid on the story, even to the point of sacrificing some of their own cadets in order to keep the public from discovering what is going on at that immoral taxpayer financed institution.  Here we are over two years later and things have gone from bad to worse.
In a story in the Denver Post last week, buried on page 16A, it was reported that "Sex attacks spike; AFA rate highest."  The report informed me that "Reports of sexual assaults at the three major military academies surged in the 2014-2015 school year, led by the Air Force Academy, where the number nearly doubled, the Defense Department said."  According to the report there were 91 sexual assaults at the SDA's three service academies last year, with 49 of them taking place at the AFA.  Based upon an enrollment of ~5,000 cadets, that comes down to one sexual assault for every 100 students.  Given the fact that women are in the minority at the AFA it follows that the actual number of female cadets subjected to sexual assault by their fellow male cadets is at least 1 in every 50.  That is almost 70 times the rate of sexual assault found in the general population outside the confines of the academy.
I have some simple questions for you.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the public denunciation?  Where are the calls by feminist groups for investigations?  Where are the interviews with weepy female cadets who tell their sad tales of assault for the camera?  Where are the parasitic lawyers just waiting for their moment in the sun and significant financial profit?  I live only an hour away from the AFA and I have only read two reports in three years about what is going on there.  Why the silence?
I don't believe it takes a genius level IQ to realize what is happening here.  Cadets are allegedly the most moral and virtuous citizens in this immoral country.  They are hand selected to represent the imperial military power of the SDA around the world. They will be subjected to massive amounts of public adulation and downright worship after they graduate and are commissioned.  They will all be heroes.  Were it not for them we would be living under a communist dictatorship today.  The idolatrous citizens of the SDA will not tolerate human foibles in their gods so the truth about the sexual profligacy of AFA cadets is buried.  Pity the poor victims of these assaults.  These young women probably went to the academy with starry-eyes and patriotic ideals only to find out that their male compatriots see them as little more than sex objects there for their personal pleasure.
There is something drastically wrong with a country that allows, and even encourages, its women to become part of the military.  The military is no place for a woman or a child.  Indeed, the SDA military is no place for a human being, but that is another story.  As I concluded my previous posts on this topic, so I will conclude this one...parents, don't let your daughters grow up to be soldiers.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Why Nakedness Is Sinful

Last Friday I posted an article to this blog describing how the Seattle YMCA has created a shower in which self-defined hermaphrodites are permitted to take showers with teenage girls.  In the course of discussing that disgusting state of affairs I brought up the ancient Christian doctrine of nakedness.  Most evangelical Christians today have no idea that the orthodox (not Eastern Orthodox but orthodox in doctrine) Christian Church has long held a doctrine in which public nakedness is branded as sinful.  The primary reason public nakedness is not permitted is not because of the fact that it can induce lust responses in its participants (oh how I love to use double nots).  The primary reason public nakedness is forbidden has everything to do with the theological assertion that human genitalia are directly associated with the original sin of mankind which took place at the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden.
I write a lot of inflammatory stuff in this blog but rarely am I able to goad anyone into commenting upon my ravings.  Such was not the case with Friday's blog.  A fellow by the name of Steven M. jumped upon my assertion that nakedness is sinful and pronounced me to be in serious theological error.  I would encourage you to go back and read the two comments he posted to that blog post.  There you will find the argument that I dissect here today.  Mr. M asked me all sorts of questions in his second comment to the post and I decided that it would be worth answering those questions in a separate post rather than writing a huge comment on that post.  So without further ado, here is my response to Mr. M's questions and comments.
Mr. M has made several assertions and asked several questions.  As far as I can tell his questions are designed to accomplish two goals:  1) to show the stupidity of my position on nakedness and 2) to prove his position on nakedness.  I will attempt to summarize his argument about the biblical necessity for public nakedness here:
  • The belief that Genesis 3:7 ("Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.") teaches that human genitalia were directly associated with the shame of original sin is false.  The belief that Adam and Eve covered their genitals immediately after they committed the first sin and plunged all of mankind into sinfulness was not due to their shame over that sin, or any connection between original sin and their physical bodies.  Rather, it was due to their sense of loss associated with broken fellowship with God.  They covered their loins because of their sorrow about the broken fellowship they had with God.  I imagine they could just as easily have covered their heads or their elbows.  The part of their physical bodies they covered was irrelevant.  What mattered was the fact that they were very sad that they could no longer commune with God as they had before and that motivated them to cover a part of their bodies with fig leaves. 
  • Human genitalia cannot be considered sinful because Jesus had genitalia and was sinless.
  • Mr. M is a Reformed theologian but does not hesitate to reject reformed theology he considers to be unbiblical.
  • I need to explain how public nakedness can be sinful when God commanded Isaiah (Isaiah 20) to strip naked and walk around Israel for a three year period.  Clearly, Isaiah's public nakedness was not a sin as God would never command a man to sin. I also need to explain why Micah would also walk around in the nude as he declared the will of God to Israel.
  • When the Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to Israel David worshiped God by dancing naked in front of hundreds of Jews as it was carried along.  When his wife criticized him for his alleged profligacy God cursed her and blessed David.  Clearly worshiping God in the nude is a right and proper thing to do.
  • Jesus walked out of the tomb naked.  Clearly we should be free to walk about naked as well.
  • The first and second century Christian Church baptized her adherents in the nude.  (I don't know enough about Mr. M's allegation that Jews also conducted nude baptisms so I will ignore that argument.) 
  • The belief that public nudity is immoral is a by-product of our culture and not a biblical teaching.  Honest and faithful Christians should behave according to what the Bible says and ignore cultural restrictions.  Therefore, Christians should practice public nudity on a regular basis.  Based upon the examples given by Mr. M I believe it is fair to say that, at the very least, preachers and teachers should preach and teach in the nude, just like Isaiah and Micah.  Public services of worship should be conducted in the nude as well.  The sacraments of the Church, and baptism at the very least, should be conducted with the recipient being in the nude.  Public nudity is not sinful, shameful or in any way contrary to the Word of God.  It is the moral obligation of all Christians to "take every thought captive to Christ" and a fine way of doing that is for all of us to do what Jesus did, namely, walk about naked in public.
Allow me to address each of the items I listed above, in the order in which I listed them.
  1. Any reading of Genesis 3:7 that is incapable of seeing that the genitalia of Adam and Eve were directly related and associated with their shame for their original sin is so heavily laden with false presuppositions about nakedness that  I doubt any discussion on this doctrine can ever take place. How is it possible to understand that verse in any way other than as an example of their nakedness being associated with their sin in light of what they say to God when He asks them why they are hiding from Him?  They say, "I heard the sound of Thee walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."  Adam and Eve had walked around the garden naked, with unbroken fellowship with God, the entire time from when God first created them to when they sinned against Him.  The only thing that had changed from their prior sinless condition was their sinfulness.  When they tell God they are hiding, fully aware of the sin they had just committed, and they describe it as hiding because they were naked, how else is it possible to interpret that verse other than the way Reformed Christians have interpreted it for centuries?  Clearly our federal head covered his genitals because he associated them with the shame and guilt of his sin, both original and actual.  We should do the same.
  2. The mere presence of genitalia does not mean the body to which they are attached is sinful.  It is the public display of genitalia that is at issue here.  Jesus was born a man.  He was also a sinless Man.  He was also the only sinless man in human history. Jesus, as far as we know, never practiced public nudity.
  3. Mr. M is correct to not believe something simply because others say it is true.  On the other hand, it is always a prudent precaution to be slow to reject a doctrine that has been deemed biblical by thousands of theologians over hundreds of years.  Those who are quick to throw out such doctrines often have a hidden motive for doing so.  I do not know Mr. M but I wonder if he might be a government school physical education teacher, thus giving him a strong motivation to reject the historic Christian doctrine I propound.
  4. My explanation for how Isaiah and Micah could walk around buck naked for years and not be guilty of the sin of public nakedness is a simple one.  My answer is....they were not buck naked.  The word 'naked,' according to such theological luminaries as Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, does not mean total and absolute nudity.  One was considered to be naked when one had girded his loins for work.  One was considered to be naked when the outer robe or covering was removed, thus revealing what was essentially ancient underwear.  Isaiah and Micah were not nude, they wandered about in their underwear, thus garnering the attention of those around them in a most spectacular and public fashion.  John 21: 7 is a good example of this usage.  Peter is not fishing in the nude.  He had girded his loins for work and prior to coming ashore to dine with Jesus he ungirds his loins and puts on his outer garment. 
  5. The assertion that David was dancing nude before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to Israel is bizarre.  II Samuel 6: 14 says, "And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod."  David was not naked.  He was wearing an outer garment but no under garment.  Later his wife Michal alleges that he exposed himself while he was dancing.  As a non-member of the priestly class he was not required to wear underwear while ministering before the Lord in order to cover his nakedness (Exodus 28:42, 32:25) and he may have accidentally exposed himself.  It is also possible that Michal may have been making the entire thing up as the Bible records that she "despised him in her heart."  Even if she was not making it up, it was clearly an accident and not an intentional act.  Note, however, that the accusation would only make sense if nakedness was deemed immoral.  Otherwise David could have responded something like this, "Of course I am totally naked.  It is a good thing to be totally naked in public worship and you should practice it too."  If Mr. M's position is correct David could simply have said, "Why are you accusing me of doing something moral and good?"
  6. As far as I am aware nobody saw Jesus walk out of the tomb.  Therefore it is impossible to assert that He was naked as He did so.  My best guess would be that He was clothed with a brilliant white robe as He came out of the tomb.  We know for a fact that when He appeared to the women at the tomb shortly after He came out of it He was fully clothed.  We also know for a fact that all of his every post-resurrection appearances were fully clothed.  There is no basis for the belief that Jesus ever engaged in public nudity.
  7. Mr. M is correct that first and second century Christians were often baptized in the nude.  Does that mean public nakedness, at least during baptism, is a good and proper practice?  The first and second century Church also practiced the allegorical method of biblical interpretation, being generally ignorant of the grammatical/historical method.  Should we go back to that method of interpretation?  The early church also generally believed in the doctrine of traducianism (the belief that human souls are created by physical pro-creation rather than created and imparted by God), baptismal regeneration, Montanism (the belief in the continuation of charismatic utterance which, I understand, is normative for Evangelicals but anathema for Reformed Christians like Mr. M), the practices of asceticism and the necessity of an exorcism prior to baptism.  Should we go back to those beliefs and practices also?  The early Church also universally adopted the practice of slavery, even considering it to be God's will and consistent with biblical teaching.  Should we do the same?  The mere fact that first and second century Christians did something, although an interesting historical fact, does not tell us anything about how we should behave today.  I find it telling that early baptisms in which the subject was nude were often conducted at night, so the subject could not be publicly seen.  I also find it interesting that the practice rapidly died out, as it should have.
  8. This is the most disturbing doctrine being taught by Mr. M.  According to Mr. M public nudity is not just morally proper, it rises almost to the level of a commandment.  I suspect Mr. M would be magnanimous enough to declare that anyone who is not sanctified enough to have risen to his level of spirituality is free to remain clothed at all times.  But Mr. M clearly seems to believe that engaging in actions such as public worship and teaching entirely in the nude is somehow indicative of a higher level of sanctification and obedience to God than those who do not engage in such practices.  It is one thing to declare that public nudity is not sinful but it is another thing entirely to say it is morally superior.  
It is not my place to tell Mr. M how to behave.  Neither is it my place to bring charges against him in his church court.  Even though we both profess to be Christians I am not legally or covenantally linked with him in any way.   Nevertheless I believe Mr. M needs to seriously reconsider his doctrine of nudity.  I can't help but believe that he has something in his personal history that has seared his conscience on this matter, thus making it almost impossible for him to see what is obvious to nearly everyone else.  Public nudity is sinful.  It was sinful after the fall, it was sinful in Israel, it is sinful during the Church age, it is nonexistent in heaven and it would be sinful in the New Jerusalem if we were capable of sinning there.  The saints throughout eternity wear white robes, they are not naked.  The only time public nudity was not sinful was prior to the fall of man and those times are long gone.