Monthly Archives: December 2008

A static timeless world

Notice the premise:

In fact, the true cost of government programs, especially public investment, is much lower now than in more prosperous times. When the economy is booming, public investment competes with the private sector for scarce resources — for skilled construction workers, for capital. But right now many of the workers employed on infrastructure projects would otherwise be unemployed, and the money borrowed to pay for these projects would otherwise sit idle.

But how do we know it would otherwise sit idle next week?  We don’t.  It is precisely the deflationary correction that means that the labor will not sit idle.  Investors will see in the labor, and in other under-utilized resources, an opportunity for investment.

But that won’t happen, at least not as soon or as widely, if the government uses debt or taxes to keep these resources scarce.  But Krugman acts like there is no relationship in time.  We simply now live in a world where there is less private spending.  Someday we’ll suddenly be in the world of more private spending.  But in the meantime, we are able to know everything there is to know about the economy by what we see now.  And if we see a lack in private investment than we can simply fill in the gap without giving a thought to what we are doing to the possibility of ever seeing private investment recover.

Of course, a lot more could be said about the problems with Krugman.  For example:

It’s true that the economy is currently shrinking. But that’s the result of a slump in private spending. It makes no sense to add to the problem by cutting public spending, too.

But public spending comes from private incomes.  The government has to borrow or take money from the private sector.  Unless it simply utilizes the counterfeiting option.  Acting like “public spending” comes from some other different source is simply wrong.

A government-caused recession is about to be turned into a serious government-caused depression at taxpayer expense.

Why the rent-a-car industry is a corrupt, disgusting, fraudulant, manifestation of organized crime

Of course, I’m writing about the rent-a-car industry in general, because I doubt what I have to say is unique to one company in particular.  But the company I especially have in mind, on this day, the twenty-sixth of December, is Budget.

Say you want to take your family on Christmas vacation.  Say, further, that you want to visit your parents especially because you have four children, ages 5 through 12 currently, who see very little of their grandparents.

So you plan ahead.  You do your research.  You make a “reservation” with Budget for a vehicle that will fit your whole family–with no idea that the word must be framed in quotation marks.  (Side note: imagine further that you do not have a vehicle for the whole family.  You and your wife now take two cars with kids split between them when the whole family must go some place.  Using one family vehicle on a road trip is not an option.)

So you’ve done your job.  You have your agreement in black and white.  You can move on to other aspects of the Christmas season, feeling that this part of your plan is taken care of.

But its not.

Turns out, the only thing you “reserve” with a rent-a-car company, is the price if you should rent some vehicle, any vehicle they are willing to give you out of what is left on their lot.  And, odds are, none of those will seat six passengers legally.  Or practically–maybe they’ll offer you a town car that will allow you to make the 10+ hour trip with three across the front seat.

And then you will realize, as you give silent thanks that the friend who dropped you off hasn’t left yet, that you were never anything but a minor bet on the part of the company to protect them for losses.  As the company drones wring their hands over an empty lot, you know the corporation is thrilled to have all their vehicles in use.  All you did was give them a sense of security in November that, if nothing better turned up, at least you would give them $429 and some change the week after Christmas.  But they never had any obligation to you and your planned trip at all.  The grandchildren, who have been constantly asking about the visit, and your promises, mean nothing to them.

This stupid, venal, turd of a company deliberately spread the delusion that I had it in my power to plan a trip to Texas.  They robbed me and my children and there is not a thing I can do about it.

Replacing our toxic assets with His own real wealth

St. Athanasius gives us our Christmas meditation for 2008:

As we have already noted, it was unthinkable that God, the Father of Truth, should go back upon His word regarding death in order to ensure our continued existence. He could not falsify Himself; what, then, was God to do? Was He to demand repentance from men for their transgression? You might say that that was worthy of God, and argue further that, as through the Transgression they became subject to corruption, so through repentance they might return to incorruption again. But repentance would not guard the Divine consistency, for, if death did not hold dominion over men, God would still remain untrue. Nor does repentance recall men from what is according to their nature; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning. Had it been a case of a trespass only, and not of a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough; but when once transgression had begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God. No, repentance could not meet the case.

What—or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all. For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father.

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are. But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us. He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father’s Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death.

All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own. Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father.

This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.

Amazing sermon on Evangelism from an atheist

It is amazing how easy care for people can degenerate into care about looking cool and not being disruptive because you don’t want to resemble some psycho zealot.  I wonder if Penn has any idea how many Christians he will cut to the quick by this little presentation.  May God remind us all that our praise comes from Him and not from men or women, but that we are supposed to love these people as much as we love ourselves.

In case anyone doubts our ruling class consists of idiots

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Monopolizing hating thy neighbor

I found this story fascinating:

A memorabilia collector has been jailed for five years for possessing a Second World War rifle listed as a prohibited firearm. The rifle was not in a condition to fire live ammunition.

But Stafford Crown Court heard replacing the deteriorated pin would have made that possible. Phillip Peter Kent, aged 29, of Owen Walk, Highfields, Stafford, was arrested in the street by police acting on information at 7.30am on June 20 this year.

Officers asked what they would find if they searched his home and he immediately told them about the Lee-Enfield rifle.

Mr Stephen Bailey, defending, told the court yesterday Kent had not bought ammunition nor sought to make any alterations to allow live bullets to be fired.

He also said Kent, a former member of the Territorial Army, was told by the seller the weapon had been de-commissioned.

Mr Bailey said: “He is a collector of memorabilia . To his knowledge the rifle was not capable of firing. He paid £100 for it from a man in Hanley about a year ago. He never knew about firearms legislation.

“He was told by the person who sold it to him it was de-commissioned. He was a bona fide, not secretive, collector and was immediately and absolutely co-operative.

“The gun was in the state in which he received it and, although that does not make it a non-prohibited weapon, there was no ammunition, no evidence of his seeking any or of intentional or actual use.”

Kent pleaded guilty to possessing the rifle. Pleading with Judge John Maxwell to spare him the minimum five-year jail term for this category of offence on the grounds of exceptional circumstances, Mr Bailey said: “Custody would be devastating. It would deeply affect his family and he would lose his accommodation.”

But Judge Maxwell said Parliamentary guidance meant strong sentences should be given for illegal firearms possession. I feel bound to impose the minimum sentence of five years,” he added.

So here we have a man who harmed no one, and no one doubts never intended to harm anyone, kidnapped for five years.  Everyone knows that he was not a criminal, yet the judge “feels bound”

Albert Jay Nock wrote about this sort of thing:

Once, I remember, I ran across the case of a boy who had been sentenced to prison, a poor, scared little brat, who had intended something no worse than mischief, and it turned out to be a crime. The judge said he disliked to sentence the lad; it seemed the wrong thing to do; but the law left him no option. I was struck by this. The judge, then, was doing something as an official that he would not dream of doing as a man; and he could do it without any sense of responsibility, or discomfort, simply because he was acting as an official and not as a man. On this principle of action, it seemed to me that one could commit almost any kind of crime without getting into trouble with one’s conscience.

Clearly, a great crime had been committed against this boy; yet nobody who had had a hand in it — the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, the complaining witness, the policemen and jailers — felt any responsibility about it, because they were not acting as men, but as officials. Clearly, too, the public did not regard them as criminals, but rather as upright and conscientious men.

The idea came to me then, vaguely but unmistakably, that if the primary intention of government was not to abolish crime but merely to monopolize crime, no better device could be found for doing it than the inculcation of precisely this frame of mind in the officials and in the public; for the effect of this was to exempt both from any allegiance to those sanctions of humanity or decency which anyone of either class, acting as an individual, would have felt himself bound to respect — nay, would have wished to respect.