Thursday, May 31, 2018

Are Christians really "not here to change the culture"? The American Vision - by Gary DeMar

Someone posted a 30-second video clip by Dr. Arturo Azurdia III from the 2018 Shepherds’ Conference with the title “You Are Not Here to Change the Culture.” (I’m not sure if it’s Todd Friel’s title or Dr. Azurdia’s.) The clip is posted on the “Wretched” Youtube channel. Dr. Azurdia says,
Advance the cause of Right Wing politics. Advance the homeschool agenda. Shut down all the Planned Parenthood clinics. Clean up the elementary school playgrounds in your neighborhood. All of which are fine for a person to engage in as a Christian individual but none of these reflect the agenda assigned to us by the Lord who has determined our principle means of influence as the church.
I tried to find the entire talk but was unable to do so. If I misrepresent the speaker, I apologize in advance. Todd Friel of “Wretched” offers a brief commentary on Dr. Azurdia’s comments and holds a similar opinion. Friel says that “we have not been given the mandate by Jesus” to work to stop abortion, deal with education issues, or be involved politically. Really?
Dr. Azurdia makes the good point in his message that in our dealings with the world that we should neither be consumed by the world or feast on the world.
How do Christians avoid either trap?
If Dr. Azurdia and Friel say that the above actions by Christians “are fine things for a person to engage in as a Christian individual,” how does the Christian individual know in what way or ways he should be involved so he doesn’t fall into either of the two traps?
This is where the church comes in. If “all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17), then the church should address “every good work” by the study of Scripture.
This means pastors should deal with education because the Bible deals with education (Deut. 6:1–2; Eph. 6:4). What Israelite would send his children to the Canaanites or the Babylonians to be educated? It would be unthinkable. The Bible is filled with politics and its effects on a nation.
An abortion example
The same is true of abortion. Pastors can teach directly from the Bible to prepare Christians “as individuals” to handle the abortion issue biblically and practically. Here’s an example:
First, Exodus 21:22–25 deals with a particular judicial case where two men struggle (fight) with one another. We are not told why they are fighting. A pregnant woman is standing near enough that she is affected by the altercation. She goes into premature labor. This particular case law covers all the “cases,” everything from no harm to the mother and her prematurely born children to harm resulting in death to the mother and one or more of her children.
Second, the woman is not deciding to have an abortion. At one level, it’s an accident that she goes into labor. At another level, however, the men should not have been fighting, so there is some liability.
Third, the text is clear, she is pregnant with at least one child: “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child. . . .” (Ex. 21:22). The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon defines hareh as a pregnant woman with child. It’s clear that she is not carrying around a mass of undefined tissue that suddenly becomes a human being only when he or she exits the sanctuary of the womb.
Fourth, the Bible attributes self-consciousness to preborn babies, something that modern medicine has studied and acknowledged. Jacob and Esau “struggled together within” their mother’s womb (Gen. 25:22). The New Testament offers a similar glimpse into prenatal consciousness: “And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). “Struggling” and “leaping” are the result of consciousness. Jacob and Esau fighting inside the womb are indicative of their continued fighting outside the womb. John leaps in reaction to Mary’s pregnancy.
Some commentators claim that in Exodus 21:22, killing an unborn “fetus” is nothing more than a property crime rather than the killing of a human being. This is absurd. Their operating premise is that a preborn baby is not defined as a person. The Bible teaches otherwise. The original Hebrew reads: “And if men struggle with each other and strike a pregnant woman so that her children [yeled] come out. . . .”
Notice that the text uses the word “children,” not “products of conception.” The Hebrew word for “children” in this verse is used in other contexts to designate a child already born. For example, in Exodus 2:6, we read, “When Pharaoh’s daughter opened [the basket], she saw the child [yeled], and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children [yeled].’” Since in the Exodus case these are “children that come out,” they are persons, not body parts like an appendix or a kidney.
If there is no injury to these individuals—the mother and her prematurely delivered child or children—then there is no penalty. If there is injury, then the judges must decide on an appropriate penalty based on the extent of the injury to the mother and/or her children because both are persons in terms of the Bible.
Some translations have “so that she has a miscarriage.” The 1977 edition of the New American Standard Version translated the text using “miscarriage.” The 1995 translation is better (“she gives birth prematurely”), but it still does not capture the literal rendering. In a marginal note, the NASB translators recognize that the literal rendering of the text is “her children come out.” It’s frustrating to read translations that include marginal notes telling us what it really says literally. Translate it literally, and then use the margin to offer an explanation if needed. Other translations have a more word-for-word translation. Here’s one example:
“When men get in a fight and hit a pregnant woman so that her children are born [prematurely] but there is no injury, the one who hit her must be fined as the woman’s husband demands from him, and he must pay according to judicial assessment” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Notice that it’s “so that her children are born.”
An aborted mission
What if Todd Friel and Dr. Azurdia were pastoring churches in Ireland? There was a recent referendum on the abortion issue. Would they have preached on the topic, or would they have said, “We have not been given the mandate by Jesus” to address such an issue?
Politicians have the power of life and death in their decisions. Laws they make and judges they appoint can be used to take our money, imprison people, and put criminals to death, and they get to define what constitutes criminal behavior. How can Christians remain silent through the process that is supposed to tell the whole land what justice is?
There is no debate that the gospel comes first. But changed hearts result in “the renewing of” the Christian’s mind, that he “may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Killing unborn babies, sending covenant children to government schools, and politics becoming the de facto savior of Christians and non-Christians alike, are not “good and acceptable and perfect.”
If pastors are telling Christians that it’s not the church’s job to address these and many more issues, then what are churches to teach? Try teaching through the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings without addressing politics from the pulpit. Try preaching through the prophets and not touch on these matters.

The Disposable Truck - EPautos - Libertarian Car Talk

Trucks continue to get bigger – what buyers seem to want – while their engines get smaller, which is effectively a function of what the government demands, as the downsizing of engines is one of the ways for the car companies to reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicles so equipped.
Which they have to do – not because buyers of trucks (or even most cars) are demanding fuel economy uber alles but because the government refuses to accept that lots of buyers care about other things uber alles. So the government mandates the fuel economy they’re not particularly interested in, in order to force buyers to be more “efficient” – no matter what it costs them.
And the car companies try to figure a way to make those smaller, more “efficient” engines perform at a level acceptable to buyers.
Enter the 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 – the leading edge of this strange, increasingly desperate dynamic. It will be the first full-size truck to come standard with a four cylinder engine – comparable in size (2.7 liters) to the engines that power mid-sized cars that weigh 1,000-plus pounds less and which aren’t tasked with towing thousands of pounds.
The little engine replaces the 4.3 liter V6 that is the current Silverado’s standard engine and makes up for its lack of displacement via heavy turbocharging – which adds power-on-demand but also adds parts and internal stress as well as costs, both up front and down the road.
Probably just after the warranty expires.
As opposed to the 4.3 V6, which doesn’t need a turbo to make power and is a much simpler, lower-maintenance design. It  is basically a Chevy small-block V8 less two cylinders. It shares the famous – and famously simple – layout that made its debut back in 1955. A very proven – and very durable – design.
One camshaft, not mounted over the heads. Two valves in those heads. A timing chain that never needs to be replaced instead of a belt that periodically does. And, of course, no turbo. So, no worries about having to replace a turbo after the warranty runs out. Ever.
Not even after 250,000 miles. Regular vs. premium unleaded fuel.
The 2.7 liter engine is turbocharged and intercooled and double overhead cammed, with twice as many valves in its head. It makes 310 hp vs. 285 hp for the force-retired V6, but it takes 22 pounds of boost (and premium unleaded) to do it. That is a lot of pressure on an engine. Maybe it will hold up. Maybe not.
If not, who gets the bill?
A replacement turbo will generally cost you $800-$1,500 in parts and labor. How much gas did you save, again?
Naturally, the car press doesn’t mention any of that – nor that the fuel economy gains will probably be trivial vs. the simpler, lower-cost 4.3 liter V6 and not sufficient to offset the higher cost of the turbo’d engine as well as the higher cost of maintaining and repairing it.
That has been true so far, at least.
Consider the 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6 Ford puts into the Silverado’s cross-street rival, the F-150 pick-up, as the “fuel saving” alternative to the 5.0 liter V8 (which is still available, for now – but no longer the F-truck’s top engine).
The “EcoBoost” 3.5 V6 carries an EPA rating of 17 city, 23 highway – vs. 16 city, 22 highway for the same truck with the V8 but no twin-turbos.
You get 1 mile more per gallon . . . on the EPA’s test loop.
Even in a best-case scenario, the “efficiency” gain is unnoticeable – from the buyer’s perspective. What’s the advantage, then, for the buyer? It’s true the turbo’d engine makes more torque (and lower in the RPM range) than engines not turbo’d, but in that case why not turbocharge the bigger engine – and get even more torque?
Because, of course, it’s not torque or anything that most buyers care about that’s the object of this exercise – which is to eke out small MPG gains on an individual-vehicle basis that factor and become very important – to the government – on a fleet average basis. Your small-engined truck may not give you a noticeable MPG uptick, but that 1 MPG uptick on the EPA’s test loop times all the trucks just like yours that Ford or Chevy or whoever builds is noticeable when the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) figures are calculated.
And that’s what’s driving this madness.
A small turbo four in place of a V6 – or a small turbo V6 in place of a V8 – improves the car company’s CAFE numbers, helps them dodge fines for “non-compliance.” Naturally, the costs of compliance are passed on to you, in the form of a more complex, expensive vehicle. One that also probably needs premium unleaded to deliver its fractional MPG gains, too.
The car companies paper that over by trying to get you – the buyer – to focus on the increased power/torque the turbo’d engine makes – and that is certainly true. But again the question arises – why not just make a more powerful and simpler, less-expensive-to-build and keep up V6 or V8 in that case, if more power is desired? Especially given the trivial “efficiency” gains achieved by going with the smaller, more technically complex, expensive and stressed engine?
Those “efficiency” gains by the way, are often a loss – in real world driving.
In the real world, a small but turbo’d-to-make-up-for-it engine uses more gas than the larger, not turbo’d engine because it’s necessary to force-feed the small engine to make it temporarily swell with the power of the larger engine. Because the engine is small and off-boost, makes small power, the driver is usually calling up the boost (via his right foot) to make up for that smallness, keeping the engine perpetually swelling with turbo-boosted power and using the fuel necessary to support that.
No free lunches.
Ask anyone who has actually driven these things – like me, for example. If you Faberge Egg-under-the-accelerator pedal then yes, you might squeeze out a slightly noticeable MPG advantage vs. the larger engine without the turbo. But who drives that way? More to the point, why would anyone drive that way. What would be the point, in a truck?
Which isn’t a Prius.
The whole thing is incongruous and more-than-slightly batty – like dieting by eating two Bic Macs and a small diet Coke.
But the car companies peddle these littler turbo’d engines over slightly less “efficient” – but more appropriate – larger engines because it appeases the federal Ayatollahs issuing the fuel efficiency fatwas and the buyer be damned – to bowdlerize what J.P. Morgan is supposed to have said once about the public.
The 2.7 turbo four is an impressive piece of engineering, no question. So is the Tesla. So is the Great Pyramid of Cheops. 
But that’s not the point. In a truck, at least, the point is – or used to be – simplicity, ruggedness, longevity and keeping the cost of buying and running the thing down.
If it used a bit more fuel, so be it – and so what.
The federal ayatollahs be damned.
. . .
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Homeschooling surges as parents seek escape from shootings, violence - Washington Times - By Valerie Richardson

After a gunman opened fire on students in Parkland, Florida, the phones started ringing at the Texas Home School Coalition, and they haven’t stopped yet.
The Lubbock-based organization has been swamped with inquiries for months from parents seeking safer options for their kids in the aftermath of this year’s deadly school massacres, first in Parkland and then in Santa Fe, Texas.
“When the Parkland shooting happened, our phone calls and emails exploded,” said coalition president Tim Lambert. “In the last couple of months, our numbers have doubled. We’re dealing with probably between 1,200 and 1,400 calls and emails per month, and prior to that it was 600 to 700.”
Demands to restrict firearms and beef up school security have dominated the debate following the shootings, but flying under the radar is the surge of interest in homeschooling as parents lose faith in the ability of public schools to protect students from harm.
And it’s not just the threat of school shootings. Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, said parents are also increasingly concerned about “the violence, the bullying, the unsafe environments.”
“One of the things we’ve seen definitely an uptick in the last five years is the aspect of violence. It’s the bullying. That is off the charts,” Mr. Chin said.
In his experience, a mass shooting won’t change the minds of parents satisfied with their children’s public-school experiences, but it can tip the balance for those already leaning toward home education.
“I think what happens with these school shootings is they’re the straws that broke the camel’s back,” Mr. Chin said. “I don’t think it’s the major decision-maker, but it’s in the back of parents’ minds.”
Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Oregon, who has conducted homeschool research for 33 years, said school safety has increasingly become an issue for parents looking at teaching their kids at home.
He said the top three reasons that parents choose homeschooling are a desire to provide religious instruction or different values than those offered in public schools; dissatisfaction with the academic curriculum, and worries about the school environment.
“Most parents homeschool for more than one reason,” Mr. Ray said. “But when we ask families why do they homeschool, near the top nowadays is concern about the environment of schools, and that includes safety, pressure to get into drugs, pressure to get into sexual activity. It includes all of that.”
After the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, vows by parents to pull their kids out of school erupted on social media, and some of them apparently followed through by making contact with their local homeschool advocates.
“I talk with these people on a regular basis, and clearly after a shooting, more of them are saying, ‘Hey, we’re getting more phone calls, we’ve got more people at the beginner session asking about safety,’” Mr. Ray said.
Not everyone agrees with the homeschool response. Takisha Coats Durm, lead virtual school teacher for the Madison County Schools System in Huntsville, Alabama, said that fleeing the classroom teaches the wrong lesson.
“Even though it seems we may be protecting them, we may be sheltering them instead of teaching them to work and find a solution for the issues and not necessarily running away from them, because these things are going to happen,” Ms. Durm told WAAY-TV in Huntsville.
Her comments came shortly after the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left 10 dead, just three months after 17 were killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Tracking the numbers
While homeschool advocates are confident their ranks are growing, pinning down the number of U.S. at-home students is a challenge, given most states don’t keep count.
A 2017 U.S. Department of Education report estimated 1.69 million homeschool students from ages 5-17 in spring 2016, using data from the National Household Education Surveys program, which mailed questionnaires to about 200,000 selected households.
Those findings would indicate that homeschooling has been flat since 2012, but Mr. Ray estimated there were 2.3 million homeschool students in spring 2016, using figures provided by the 15 states that track homeschoolers, as well as Maricopa County, Arizona.
His figure represented a 25 percent increase between 2012-16. During the same period, the U.S. school-age population grew by about 2 percent.
“My bottom-line summary is that it’s been growing at an estimated 2 to 8 percent per year, and that’s compounded,” Mr. Ray said.
In Louisiana, which does ask homeschoolers to report their kids, Mr. Chin said there were 30,134 homeschool students registered in January, up from an estimated 18,500 to 20,000 in 2011.
“Homeschooling has exploded in our state,” said Mr. Chin, who homeschools his five children with his wife in New Orleans. “If homeschoolers were their own school district in our state, we would be the sixth largest in the state.”
Texas doesn’t require registration, but Mr. Lambert, who homeschooled his four now-adult children, estimated that the state has about 150,000 families and more than 300,000 students being taught at home.
“In fact we have more students being homeschooled in Texas than we have in traditional private schools in Texas, and that’s quoted by a number of our state officials,” he said.
His organization sponsored a poll last year that found safety ranked fourth among reasons parents decide to educate their kids at home.
“I’m required by law to place my kids in a public school or private or homeschool, but the state is not accountable in terms of the safety of these children,” said Mr. Lambert. “So we get lots of calls from people saying, ‘Hey my kid’s being bullied, my kid’s being attacked, and the school either can’t or won’t do anything about it, so we’re going to take care of our child. We’re withdrawing him.’”
Like Mr. Chin, he said a highly publicized school shooting may come as the tipping point for parents already inclined to pull their kids out of the public system.
“When a shooting happens, I call it the straw that basically breaks their idea of the public schools,” Mr. Lambert said. “They’ve already been thinking about it, and now somebody gets stabbed, or another teacher beats up another kid, or another kid beats up another teacher, and they say, ‘You know what? We don’t want to be there.’”

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Vox Popoli: Moderates mourn the middle ground

It's interesting to see how the mainstream media is belatedly discovering the fact that there is no longer any middle ground between Americans and the 100 million Not-Americans who invaded the dirt that turned out to lack the necessary magic. One has to wonder what they thought was going to happen in light of the post-1965 immigration changes. Were they really that ignorant of the consequences of every previous mass human migration?
More and more voices are raising concerns that the 2018 elections will ignite a terrible clash between supporters of President Trump and his increasingly agitated critics in a partisan battle that has been brewing for years.

Stanley Greenberg, former President Bill Clinton’s pollster, is warning of a “civil war.” Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels, former President Ronald Reagan’s political director and a two-term Indiana Republican governor, sees the nation dividing into feuding “tribes” that gravitate to tyrants who “bludgeon” opponents.

In two separate reports, the two opposites come to a similar conclusion that the nation and even families are terribly divided and that the media has played a big role in creating the split.

Daniels is well regarded as level-headed and has been dubbed the best university president in the nation. He has used his commencement addresses to push for openness and understanding, but this year he noted a shift to “tribalism,” where sides cluster in cliques.

“It’s no longer just a matter of Americans not knowing and understanding each other. We’ve seen these clusters deepen, and harden, until separation has led to anger, misunderstanding turned into hostility. At the individual level, it’s a formula for bitterness and negativity. For a self-governing people, it’s poison,” Daniels told his students this month.

Among the culprits he cited were biased media, the “anti-social media.” Said Daniels, “Our various modern media lead us to, and feed us from information sources that reinforce our existing biases. They put us in contact with other tribe members, but rarely those who see things differently. We’re starting to resemble ominously our primitive forebearers, trusting no one outside the tribe.”

And he called that “dangerous,” warning “almost all of history has belonged to the tyrants, the warlords, the autocrats, the totalitarians. And tribes always gravitate toward tyrants.”

He didn’t name names, mention President Trump or former President Barack Obama, on purpose. The reason: both sides and their mouthpieces are to blame. “It’s a general phenomenon,” he said in an interview in which he bemoaned “there is no overlap anymore.”

What I want every civic nationalist, every centrist, and every moderate to consider, and eventually, come to terms with is the fact that this is precisely the destiny they helped create. Every single identity-conflicted individual to whom I have ever spoken tries to carve out an exception for their wife, their children, their neighbords, their colleagues, their friends, and their immigrant grandparents. Every single one.

And that's understandable. I have no problem understanding the temptation to do so, being an identity-conflicted first-generation immigrant myself. But this is a category error;
the vast majority of the micro exceptions are totally irrelevant when it comes to the macro issue. Reality doesn't care that you think it would be really terrible to be forced to choose between your nation and your neighbor, or between your family and your friend. War does not require your approval in order to take place.

Despite the largest invasion in recorded human history, most people in the United States have not been materially affected in a way they recognize. That is why they are oblivious to the obvious, and why they will most likely remain oblivious until it is far too late to do anything about the situation.

Donald Trump isn't even trying to address the situation. The efforts of most politicians will only make things worse. Jordan Peterson's Hail Mary assault on human nature will fail too.
The desperate measures that are now required to salvage the nation and avert a war that will make the Civil War look like a casual warmup are on the level of those utilized for the Spanish Reconquista, and are not even close to being politically viable yet. Six years ago, I was warning you about this. Now the likes of Stanley Greenberg and Mitch Daniels are doing the same.

Germany, France, and the EU - By Peter Skurkiss

To better understand the European Union and its likely prospects for the future, it is important to delve into the relationship between its two main players: France and Germany.  In many ways, their relationship since the founding of the E.U. has seemed like a happy marriage.  But as in some marriages, there are a number of irreconcilable difference percolating below the surface that could well lead to trouble down the road.
The most significant point of divergence is perhaps how each country views the meaning of "Europe."  The Germans – and not just their elite, but much of the general public as well – are sold on the idea of a Europe free of nationalism.  Such an attitude is no doubt highly influenced to the unhappy ending to their WWII experience.  According to Wolfgang Streeck of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, the concept of "Europe" has a sacred aura to it in Germany where it connotes "all that is virtuous and pleasant – from peace, human rights, tolerance, and an openness to international labor marker and convenient travel across borders."
German pro-European sentiment is the vehicle whereby Germany intends to lose its national sovereignty by blending into a Greater Europe and become respectable.  At some subconscious level, this is an escape mechanism from the country's Nazi past.  Such a mood has so affected German thinking that they view anyone who is less than enthusiastic about a deeper integration of the E.U. as proof positive of a moral defect.  Psychologically speaking, the Germans are projecting their feelings onto others who do not necessarily share their views.  That can be dangerous.
France's view of Europe is diametrically different.  The French are always hyper-sensitive to any encroachment on their national sovereignty.  Since the end of WWII, their prime objective has been to bind Germany's economic power to French interests.  The united Europe that the French espouse is actually an extension of the French national state, just as the Brussels Commission was conceived as a sub-department of French technocracy.
Streeck sums of the difference between the German and French visions of Europe as such:
From a French perspective, there is no conflict between a 'sovereign France' and a 'sovereign Europe,' as long as Europe is properly constituted on universal, i.e., French principles and governed out of Paris, as an extension of French sovereignty.  While in Germany a sovereign Europe is the desirable termination of national, including German, sovereignty, in France it is a condition, or a contemporary vision, of a sovereign France.
That being the case, it sounds as though a unified Europe is a French empire by another name.  Observing the situation, Streeck writes:
For a long time, differences were papered over by the German's happy acquiescence to the French habit of ritualism, including nuclear testing, and the conjuring up of their imperial tradition.
But this can't go on. Adding to the latent instability of the E.U. is the fact that other countries in the E.U. do not have a desire to submerge their national identities and sovereignty into a unified Europe, as does Germany, and none wants to be subjugated to French "universal" values.  This is especially true for the countries in eastern Europe which have only recently escaped domination under the communist USSR.
The European Union project has gotten as far as it has for two reasons.  (Actually, there's a third reason: the U.S. covering much of the defense bill for Europe and allowing unfair trade practices to exist between America and the E.U.  This has been going on for longer than most people have been alive, and it has allowed Europe to attain a level of wealth and prosperity that it never could have obtained otherwise.  But for the purposes here, the focus will stay on the internal dynamics within Europe.)
First, whenever the "European idea" came up for discussion among the Europeans, it was always defined in vague and bureaucratically ambiguous language.  This was deliberate, for it allowed all parties to read whatever they wanted into the pronouncements.  And so they did.  This worked as a unifying tactic, but it's hardly a way to build a solid foundation that can stand the test of time.
And secondly, upfront money and benefits helped foster the delusion that many member-states had of what to expect from the E.U.  The E.U. was sold on the idea of peace and prosperity; prosperity would flow to all who signed on forever and ever.  But that promise has already rung hollow in the Mediterranean area of the E.U.  And whether Europeans chose to acknowledge it or not, the fact is the peace the Continent has enjoyed since 1945 was conditioned on U.S. protection and not so much on wise polices by the European elite. 
The euro was introduced in 1999 to bring the countries in the E.U. closer together.  But it didn't work out that way.  Rather, due to it, a significant part of southern Europe's industrial base was sucked up into the German industrial machine.  Accordingly, the Germans are the ones who have reaped the bulk of the advantages from the common euro currency.  This has left countries like Greece, Italy, and others with high unemployment rates and debts that can never be repaid.  And because of the common currency and the European Central Bank, these laggard countries are without the monetary means to ease their suffering.  To use the vernacular, such countries are screwed.
To address the debt and unemployment problem, the Germans first prescribed strong doses of austerity.  Greece is the poster child of this intra-E.U. abuse.  This in turn has led to strong anti-German feelings throughout the southern part of the E.U.  In response, countries heavily in debt claim that the E.U. should cover their liabilities.  "We're all one family," they say.  This discontent has fueled the rise of populist parties throughout Europe.  To try to counter this trend, Angela Merkel made certain informal and off-the-record promises to the E.U. elite that Germany would aid in "structural repairs to the European edifice."
Ambiguity strikes again.  Whatever Merkel might have had in mind when she made her non-public promises, many interpreted her as saying Germany would be willing to cover the debt of others one way or another.  As Herr Streeck notes, this is both politically and economically not possible.  Ominously, he adds: "Nothing is so destructive in international relations as unrealistic expectations."
Another unrealistic expectation that leaders in the E.U. had is that the United States would continue to tolerate in Bush-Clinton-Obama-like fashion the intolerable status quo between us and Europe in terms of defense and trade.  With the ascendancy of Donald Trump, that bubble has popped.
So where are we?  Any Good Time Charley can tell you that all parties eventually end.  Or as Barack Hussein Obama's longtime spiritual adviser would put it, the chickens are coming home to roost in the E.U.

The EU Strikes Back – Italy Coalition Rejected | TOM LUONGO

Italian President Sergio Mattarella just blew up the European Union.  His refusal of the coalition agreement between The League and Five Star Movement threw the best chance for the EU to face its burgeoning political crisis before it became a full-blown sovereign debt crisis.
With U.S. and U.K. markets closed today the full force of the damage done by the EU’s Hail Mary to prevent the Italians forming a government to their specification is actually muted.  Things like this always happen on a weekend where the powers that be have enough time to figure out a messaging game plan and reassure markets they’ve got everything under control.
But, let’s round up a bit shall we?
Italian bonds off 25 basis points (!). The euro flirting with $1.16. Spanish and Portuguese debt sold hard, off 5 to 12 basis points.  Gold is off a few dollars.
Mattarella, nominally, did this because he didn’t like the choice of Finance Minister, a man who was in favor of Italy leaving the euro.  Whatever, he found an excuse.  And someone in one of Berlin, Brussels or Washington told him to give a non-hacker the reins to try to form a government.
As Zerohedge reports this morning, that’s simply a non-starter. There is no way that the Italian parliament will approve another technocratic Vishy government on Italy, circa 2011 and Berlusconi’s ouster during the last flare up of Europe’s intractable debt problem.
No, this has to be about something else.  This is simply yet another instance of Europe kicking the can down the road.
Sanctions Uber Alles
Look, at the risk of sounding like a guy with a hammer looking to pound in some nails, I have to think that the re-authorization of the EU sanctions on Russia in July is what prompted this desperation move.
But, if a re-vote in Italy can be put off until August (convenient that) then that gives the Trump Administration another six months to exert maximum pressure on our “allies” on trade and tariffs.
It makes sense that Washington is mostly behind this, but don’t underestimate the stupidity of people like Donald Tusk and Jan-Claude Juncker who will literally burn the continent to the ground before giving up their dream of an Europe united in their Orwellian Nightmare.
It is the U.S., however, that stands to gain the most from this move.  As I’ve said in previous blog posts, Italy gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a way to leave the sanctions regime, move closer to Russia and end the sanctions without having to do anything which looked disobedient to the U.S. empire.
The ECB wants debt consolidation and greater control.  For the EU to survive this is necessary.   Germans and the rest of the northern countries don’t want to be seen bailing out the “Club Med” countries.  That would be interpreted as yet another submission to Washington and New York.  Merkel cannot go through horrific debt relief talks like she did with Greece in 2015.  It would destroy what’s left of her political capital.  If she stands tall against Trump over Iran, however, she gains a lot.  The uncertainty over how Trump will react sends the euro down, pressuring the ECB to finally move on dealing with the debt.
Europeans want normalized relations with Russia and open trade, especially German industry.  There are tens of billions in investments in Russia and Crimea waiting for the sanctions to end to travel to Russia, especially with such a weak Ruble, thanks to Trump’s moronic sanctions.
Only Poland and the Baltics don’t.  But, they don’t matter.  It only takes one finance minister to vote against extending Russian sanctions to end them.  If Merkel stands up to the U.S. on Iran, it makes it easier for Italy to force Germany to stop bullying everyone into maintaining them.
It looks like Merkel and company want to stand up to Trump over trade sanctions and tariffs.  Public opinion turns in her favor strongly if she does.
Own Goal
So, to me, the big loser in the long run would be the U.S. because Italy will force the EU’s hand to finally come to grips with its internal contradictions or break apart.  And when that happens, any benefit the U.S. gains from cleaving off countries like Spain and Italy from the EU it loses due to a loss of leverage over them vis a vis Russia, China and Iran.
Trump wants solidarity in pressuring Iran and North Korea to give up its nukes and submit totally to U.S. primacy.  Without it he can’t get what he wants.  Holding onto sanctions against Russia and invoking a debt crisis in Europe again will unleash chaos that cannot be controlled.
No longer could we use quislings and satraps in the EU bureaucracy to scuttle big projects like Nordstream 2 and force 27 nations to act in our favor.  And with Trump going full scorched earth to define who is and who isn’t with him, an EU break up over political divisions works against his stated goals.
But, then again, the Italians may already be a lost cause from that perspective and any move to keep them where they are for the time being could be seen as a win.
Don’t forget the U.K. in all of this, either.  London is now looking at this situation and wondering just why it is they are playing footsie with the EU over Brexit.  If anything this is a further wake-up call to the people of the U.K. that their government doesn’t work for them and heeds to be overhauled, held to account and do their bidding.
EU Only Die Once
The bottom line is that regardless of who instigated this move it will be a terminal one for the EU.  Italians are not going to go back to the polls and weaken the mandate for The League/Five Star.  The latest polls have them up near 56% total.
By the time an August re-vote rolls around that number could easily be 60% and at that point, any obstruction by Brussels or Washington will need to take the form on military occupation to install a government to their liking.
And at that point, however, the whole EU charade is history.
I don’t give that high odds, but the stakes are high enough that anything is possible.  If they weren’t Mattarella wouldn’t have done what he did yesterday.
Those who wield the real power in the world will not go gently into that good night.  2018 was always the focal year from a cycles perspective according to Martin Armstrong.  And here we are.
The U.S. is literally lashing out like an abusive drunken father at anyone who dares to look sideways at him, reflecting his own sense of inadequacy.  The EU is holding onto dreams of power it never earned and behind them the banks are scared to death that the central banks won’t be able to paper over the cracks and keep them from collapsing.
Things will spiral out of control from here.  The EU is headed for a debt crisis the likes of which the world has never seen.  The dollar will rise from here, gutting emerging markets creating a gyre of widening defaults.
All in all not bad for a Monday morning.  Meanwhile in Moscow after a very successful St. Petersburg International Economic Forum where more than $38 billion in deals were agreed to …

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Note from Crush - Is it time to awaken from our collective stupor and begin restoring Western Civilization?

While gathering today's posts, I was again reminded by the content, that we as a civilization are under attack - so, it might be as good a time for all of us to read, review and re-establish our bearings as to what it is that is being destroyed.
I simply put 'Western Civilization' in our Search Window - and these are arranged by relevance - at least hours of reading, if not days.
You can decide for yourself how important this is to all of us -

What Is America’s Cause in the World Today? - By Patrick J. Buchanan

After being sworn in for a fourth term, Vladimir Putin departed the Kremlin for Annunciation Cathedral to receive the televised blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The patriarch and his priests in sacred vestments surrounded Putin, who, standing alone, made the sign of the cross.
Meanwhile, sacred vestments from the Sistine Chapel were being transported by the Vatican to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to adorn half-clad models in a sexy show billed as “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” One model sported a papal tiara.
The show proved a sensation in secular media.
In Minsk, Belarus, on May 17, to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Britain’s embassy raised the rainbow flag. Belarus’s Ministry of Internal Affairs was not amused:
“Same-sex relationships are a fake. And the essence of fake is always the same — the devaluation of truth. The LGBT community and all this struggle for ‘their rights,’ and the day of the community itself, are just a fake!”
Belarus is declaring moral truth — to Great Britain.
What is going on? A scholarly study sums it up: “The statistical trends in religion show two separate Europes: the West is undergoing a process of secularization while the post-socialist East, de-secularization.”
One Europe is turning back to God; the other is turning its back on God.
And when Vladimir Putin and Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko are standing up for traditional values against Western cultural elites, the East-West struggle has lost its moral clarity.
And, so, what do we Americans stand for now? What is our cause in the world today?
In World War II, Americans had no doubt they were in the right against Nazism and a militaristic Japan that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.
In the Cold War, we believed America was on God’s side against the evil ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which declared the Communist state supreme and that there was no such thing as God-given rights.
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With the moral clarity of the Cold War gone, how do we rally Americans to fight on the other side of the world in places most of them can’t find on a map?
A weekend article in The Washington Post discusses the strategic difficulty of our even prevailing, should we become involved in wars with both Iran and North Korea.
“You would expect the U.S. and its allies to prevail but at a human and material cost that would be almost incalculable, particularly in the case of the Korean example,” said Rand researcher David Ochmanek,
Added John Hopkins professor Mara Karlin, “If you want to ensure the Pentagon can actually plan and prepare and resource for a potential conflict with China or Russia, then getting into conflict with Iran or North Korea is the exact wrong thing to do.”
One wonders: How many of these potential wars — with North Korea, Iran, Russia, China — could we fight without having America bled and bankrupted. What conceivable benefit could we derive from these wars, especially with a China or Russia, to justify the cost?
Looking back, only one great power survived the last century as a world power. The German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires did not survive World War I. World War II brought to an end the British, French, Italian and Japanese empires.
The Soviet Union and the United States were the only great surviving powers of World War II, and the USSR itself collapsed between 1989 and 1991.
Then, in 1991, we Americans started down the well-traveled road of empire, smashing Iraq to rescue Kuwait. Heady with that martial triumph, we plunged into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
Though still embroiled, we are now talking war with North Korea or Iran, or even Russia or China, the former over its annexation of Crimea, the latter over its annexation of the South China Sea.
Donald Trump is president today because he told the people he would “Make America Great Again” and put “America First.”
Which bring us back to the question: What is America’s cause today?
Defeating Nazism and fascism was a cause. Defending the West against Communism was a cause. But what cause now unites Americans?
It is certainly not Christianizing the world as it was in centuries long ago, or imposing Western rule on mankind as it was in the age of empires from the 17th to the 20th century.
Democracy crusading is out of style as the free elections we have demanded have produced Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, and nationalists, populists and autocrats from Asia to the Middle East to Europe.
Perhaps our mission is to defend and protect what is vital to us, to stay out of foreign wars where our critical interests are not imperiled, and to reunite our divided and disputatious republic — if we are not too far beyond that.

Vox Popoli: Vote Right, Vote White

Heartiste and John Derbyshire sum up US politics in 2018:

Personally, I don’t relish a society structured solely around identity politics. It’s gauche, claustrophobic, miserably stressful, and a mockery of the transcendent. But damned if I’m gonna idly sit by as every other group looks out for themselves at my group’s expense. That’s a suicide pact. But the only way out of this inevitability is to restore Whites to demographic primacy in their homelands, from which perch Whites can safely and confidently eschew identity politics without risk of parasitic infection. My idea of a great country to live in: One that’s so explicitly homogeneous that these implicit identity conundrums never need addressing.
- Heartiste

While the Democratic Party is committed to anti-white positions, that swelling number of anti-anti-white whites is electoral gold for the Republican Party. Whether the Republican Party—also commonly known, let me remind you, as the Stupid Party—has enough sense and skill to mine that gold, is an open question. There are some hopeful signs from the White House, although that is of course not the same thing as the Republican Party.
- John Derbyshire

The civic nationalists, the neocons, the neoliberals, and the self-professed colorblind are all totally irrelevant now. Some of them don't quite realize it yet, although even the most stubborn civic nationalists can clearly sense the ground shifting under their feet given their increasingly desperate rhetoric.

This isn't Italy, where a new party can explode onto the scene and into government in two election cycles. The US has a strict two-party system, and one party is the Diversity Party which is resolutely and relentlessly anti-White.
To oppose them is to be objectively pro-White, and no amount of self-deception or attempting to avoid the inescapable is going to conceal that.

Because Diversity always favors the Left, in the US context, there is no difference between voting Right and voting White. While they are not conceptually the same thing, they are functionally, practically, and materially the same thing in the current US political context. Accepting this political reality will be vital to constructing a winning electoral strategy in 2020.

There are no identity politics in Japan because Japan is Japanese. There are no identity politics in China because China is Chinese
. Identity politics are the unavoidable reality in any polity that is foolish enough to allow demographic diversity and the only solution to them is to reduce the diversity to statistically insignificant levels.

These ideas aren't even remotely new. Both Steve Sailer and I have been writing about it for a long time. It's just that reality has finally caught up to the situation that we saw developing and what was inevitable is now the obvious, and is rapidly becoming the undeniable.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Vox Popoli: The fork in the road - (You will be forced to choose a side and there will be a price.)

Bruce Charlton has an epiphany while reviewing a book:

There is a lesson to be learned here. Lachman's previous stance was broadly 'agnostic' - at least, that was the perspective from which his books were written. He seems like a decent kind of man, worked hard, wrote clearly, did useful stuff...

Yet it was always clear that Lachman shared the mainstream 'anything but Christianity' kind of reflexive leftist/ progressive/ pro-sexual revolution perspective... which is all-but universal among those active in the perennialist, spiritual, esoteric, neo-pagan, self-help, personal development world.

Here and now, this agnostic stance of suspended judgement is non-viable: things have come to a point; because of the pervasive domination of New Left/ Political Correctness in all major social institutions everyone is incrementally being brought to a fork in the path, a decision yes or no.

I see this all around me. We live in a world of spiritual warfare. It cannot be hidden from, choice cannot be evaded. We cannot 'keep our heads down' because everyone is located and they must stand-up and raise their hands (and voices) to endorse and promote the current, evolving Leftist totalitarian narrative in all its respects - or else...

This is why I pay very little attention to atheists, agnostics, and pagans who believe they are opposed to globalism. Their belief is sincere, but they simply don't understand the true nature of the war that presently engulfs Man. Despite their intentions, I expect that many, not most of them, will ultimately gravitate to the other side when push comes to shove.

Because, at the end of the day, you must either bend the knee to Jesus Christ or to the Prince of this World. You will be forced to choose a side and there will be a price. Standing proudly on your own is an illusion and it was never an option.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

One is always well-served by paying attention to Mr. Charlton's observations. He correctly saw through Jordan Peterson as well.

It is all very well for me to call Jordan Peterson an antichrist, and to warn people off taking seriously someone who is a merely a psychotherapist, left-libertarian, atheist... but the rejoinder is that 'who else' is there in the modern world getting mainstream coverage that is talking as much common sense?

And the answer is: nobody. Nobody else who has comparable fame and impact is any better than Jordan Peterson  - and yet Jordan Peterson is qualitatively inadequate for the needs of this time: he is a waste of time, a blind alley, a red herring; thus, in our state-of-emergency - he does more harm than good...

For people to regard JP as a significant thinker is evidence that they have no idea of the severity of the situation here and now.  They have no idea of the pervasiveness and depth of corruption in a society that officially advocates and enforces moral and aesthetic inversion; which punishes truth and systematically generates an interlocking structure of lies. We are in a very bad way indeed - advanced en route to self-chosen damnation on a mass scale.