This week on the Progressive Christian Blog with Author & Web Minister Paul J. Bern; to tithe or not to tithe: that is the question — https://zurl.co/O6Xn #tithing #theRealBible #ProgressiveChristian
This week on the Progressive Christian Blog with Author & Web Minister Paul J. Bern; to tithe or not to tithe: that is the question — https://zurl.co/O6Xn #tithing #theRealBible #ProgressiveChristian
The ‘National Anthem’ and This Past Week’s Football Owners Meeting: Why I’ll Be Taking a Knee With “Kap” This Coming Football Season
by Pastor Paul J. Bern
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The United States of America hasn’t been winning very many popularity contests overseas as of late. The last two presidents – particularly Donald Trump – have stepped up military drone strikes against Islamic extremists, but also those countries that have numerous oil fields who are working to undermine the US dollar. Countries such as Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria are currently in negotiations to collaborate using an alternative currency to the US dollar, such as the Euro, the Chinese Yuan or the Russian ruble, but these oil-producing countries are also using gold as a form of currency. Resorting to such tactics by any of the above countries constitutes a direct threat to US interests, which has provoked the strong military response we are seeing in today’s headlines.
Here on the home front, our cities are deteriorating due to a glut of boarded up houses, long-dormant industrial sites and abandoned shopping centers. Much the same has happened to many small rural towns for the same reasons. The least common denominator to why this is occurring is the lack of jobs that pay a fair minimum wage of, say, $15.00 an hour. And then there’s our police forces, who are supposed to be protecting and serving the public. Instead, they have mutated into a paramilitary apparatus equipped with military-grade weapons they don’t need, and many if not most of those police are a lot more trigger-happy than they would care to admit. As of this writing, the FBI, BATFE, NSA, DEA and the DHS have ordered a total of over 3.5 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition. That’s enough to kill everyone in America 10 times over. So why did law enforcement purchase such an enormous amount of ammunition knowing that it was more than they would ever use? The purpose is evidently to deny American gun owners access to ammunition by buying up the entire supply. This enormous amount of ammunition has been purchased for the same reason the police departments are acquiring military grade assault weapons and armored vehicles. They are preparing for a mass assault on the American people as an anticipated reaction to the protests and possible rioting over food and fuel shortages that will occur when martial law is declared. This could even mushroom into another US civil war if things get out of hand.
It has been my observation that there are far more clandestine reasons that are carefully hidden underneath the surface for these things to be occurring. The forces and enforcers of the status quo are the same individuals who stand to lose everything when the US dollar inevitably crashes and the Western world’s capitalist debt-based economic bubble finally bursts for good, as it eventually must. For those who don’t already know, this may occur even sooner than expected. But it was Jesus who said. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where it will rust or be eaten by moths, or that thieves break in and steal. But instead, store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths don’t eat up your clothes, where nothing ever rusts, and where thievery is nonexistent.” (Matthew 6: 19-21) When that collapse finally does occur, it will bring the American, Canadian, European, Japanese and Russian economies down along with it. Even China’s booming economy would come to a screeching halt in such a case as that!
Here in the USA, there are presently numerous individuals or entire families who are engaged in activities known as “prepping”. Prepping can generally be defined as making advance preparations for an expected disaster, or for the declaration of martial law. I have begun to do this very thing myself, mainly by storing plenty of nonperishable food and lots of extra 1-gallon milk jugs of water. In a worst-case scenario, I got a passport last winter, and it’s good for 10 years. What does this say about our country and the state of its people? It looks to me like there are many saying, “We’ve had enough of all this crap. The entire American political and economic systems are a disaster area, and the government is also broken beyond repair. So it’s up to us to fix it ourselves.”
For a long time now I have maintained that we need to reinvent government as we know it. One replacement idea would be a Web-based paperless government. Thanks to the global proliferation of the Internet, hierarchical governments and other similar organizations ruled from the top down will soon find themselves replaced with a Web-based democracy featuring a horizontally administered command and organizational structure. In effect, it would be a kind of laterally managed organization that runs peer-to-peer, similar to a beehive, or maybe like an ant colony, as the Bible describes it: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6: 6-8). The main thing will be organizing the peer-to-peer economic system that would accompany such a lateral management structure. But this would not be difficult to achieve due to the decentralized nature of lateral management systems.
One thing is certain; America is a hollowed out shell of what it used to be. The job market is absolutely decimated – never mind all of the propaganda that comes from the mainstream media about gaining 200,000 new jobs every month. They are almost entirely part time jobs everywhere I look. It makes me glad I had to retire from the work force, and even grateful for my small disability check. At first when I became disabled I complained about how small my monthly check was. But, having the time to sit back and watch the implosion of the American job market from 2011 up until now, I stopped complaining a long time ago. In fact, it was sinful of me to have done that, and so I confessed that sin to the Lord and begged His forgiveness and he fully restored me (hallelujah!). He wants to restore us all, so confess your sins and Jesus will forgive you too. It doesn’t matter how bad you have been, or what you did and when,or what your past has been like. The blood of Jesus washes it all away.
This past week, the 32 billionaire owners, or their designated representatives, met right here in Atlanta to discuss what to do about players who ‘take a knee’ when the National Anthem is played just before games begin. Sports Illustrated had this to say about the meeting:
“ATLANTA — The owners had been locked in discussion for almost three hours, and momentum was starting to build toward a resolution to be voted on. This, in certain circumstances, would be when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would take command of the room. But not this time. The national anthem has been the most sensitive issue the league has dealt with over the past two years; so instead, Goodell stopped the open forum and called for the owners to go around the room and, one by one, make their points. This is where the league’s anthem policy was born, amid two common themes consistent among the 32 takes.
1) The NFL needed an enforceable policy on the anthem.
2) The NFL needed to respect players who weren’t comfortable standing for it.
Everything would have to fall around those two things, as the owners saw it. And as that consensus became clear, NFL EVP Jeff Pash was scribbling out a five-point plan, which Goodell read to the room after the “All 32” exercise was complete to cap the meeting. Another privileged session (primary owners and family only….)” You can read the entire article here.
Everyone knows by now the source of this entire controversy. Depending on who you believe, it was started by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kapernick as a public statement against police violence, or by law enforcement due to their seemingly indiscriminate killing of unarmed Black men. As could be expected, this form of public dissent has been met with a mix of confusion, consternation and contempt. Wasn’t this just another example of our traditional values being trampled by the unrelenting march of political correctness? What sort of ingrates object to our nation’s anthem, anyway? Fluffy-headed campus philosophers? Lazy latte-sipping liberals? It also caused widespread concern and confusion among the supporters and, yes, donors – many of whom felt like playing the anthem compromised Christian values.
Instead of compromising their core convictions about racism and violence at the hands of the police, I foresee hundreds or even thousands of conscientious men and women this coming football season who will choose to adhere to their conscience. Moreover, I have resolved to join “Kap” and other like-minded individuals, even though we may find ourselves mocked by ‘friends’ and neighbors, beaten down by angry mobs or waterboarded by rednecks. It is also entirely possible that all the high school kids who are fed up with gun violence will join Colin Kapernick and his contemporaries in ‘taking a knee’ this football season. Although there certainly are diverse viewpoints among equally diverse individuals today, all continue to advocate for an end to gun violence. That’s because we recognize only one nation that is bound together by a living Constitution and a faith in a living Savior rather than by man-made, blood-soaked prejudices of the past.
Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies and he loved his enemies all the way to the cross and beyond. Following Jesus and the martyrs before us, we testify with our lives that freedom is not a right that is granted or defended with rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. True freedom is given by God, and it is indeed not free. It comes with a cost, and that cost looks just like a cross, not a flag. How do we plug ourselves into the unlimited power of the cross of Calvary? First, it is imperative that we all believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. For me at least, this is non-negotiable. Next, we must all repent of our evil ways and dispense with our bad habits, for the world cannot know of its brokenness and hopelessness without a Savior to show them a superlative way of life. There needs to be more people practicing the ways of peace while putting away their childish arguments. The world cannot know that there is an alternative to violence and war without a people of peace making peace. The world cannot know that the weak and the vulnerable are cared for by God without a people practicing an economy centered on sharing and mutual aid, not individual gain. Let us ask ourselves this basic question – if I die in my sleep tonight, what kind of legacy will I leave? However you ask yourself this question, let’s all make sure the answer will be a thoughtful one. The only way to peace is to worship the Prince of Peace.
The world cannot know the immeasurable worth of a human life without a people who consistently work to protect it – in the unborn, in the convict, in the immigrant, in the homeless, in the soldier, in the retirement homes, in the mental hospitals, and on the streets of America. These protests against police violence do not reflect ingratitude or hatred for our country, or toward those who enforce its laws. Rather, they reflect a deep love for justice and peace. After all, it is written: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Sons of God.” I love my country, but I sing my loyalty and pledge my allegiance to the Prince of Peace and him alone. This is because our souls and our Savior are all that’s going to be left.
by pastor Paul J. Bern
To view this on my website, click here 🙂
I don’t have to explain my topic for this week. Everybody has been watching or hearing about what has been going on in the halls of power in Washington as well as in Hollywood. Accusations of sexual assault, or lewd acts, or of randomly exposing oneself to whomever have suddenly started boiling to the surface. It started with former New York congressman Anthony Wiener, and he is now paying a very high price for his indiscretions in the form of a 21-month stint in federal prison. This was followed just a few months later by disclosure in Hollywood of producer-director Harvey Weinstien being accused of multiple counts of unwanted sexual advances and even outright assaults. Then several more Hollywood directors disclosed of their own sexual indiscretions, presumably to keep from being humiliated, followed by the flap over actor Kevin Spacey’s allegedly uncontrollable sexual advances. While all this has been going on, president Trump has been accused by at least 20 women of unwanted sexual advances. Most recently, formerly popular Matt Lauer, the morning “Today” show host, was abruptly fired for his own incredibly poor judgment in failing to contain his own sexual appetites. On and on this goes, and where it stops nobody knows – except God.
My favorite book – the Bible – has plenty to say about sexual immorality. Everybody knows that, although not everyone believes in it. Allow me to name a couple of examples, and then I’d like to list a few bad things that can happen when we will not or cannot control our own sexual desires. First Corinthians chapter 6, verses 12 and 13 says, “‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial. ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food’ – but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.’” Having multiple sex partners in the times in which we live can be downright dangerous in a worst case scenario, particularly if your partner is already married or living with someone without telling you so. We think he/she is single but they’re not, and next thing you know you-know-who comes home, and there you are. Some say, “Well, I don’t care for the bar scene, so I use dating services to help me locate Mr. or Ms. Right so I can screen people first”. Let me point out that, according to data from the CDC located right here in Atlanta, 1 out of every 5 people on the dating websites have an STD. Out of those individuals, fully 80% don’t bother to tell their new partners they are infected. You can imagine how that will turn out for everyone involved! The moral here is that, while we have the free will to do whatever we want, there can be an extremely high price to be paid when we abuse it.
Another example can be found further down in the same chapter of 1st Corinthians, verses 18-20, which read, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” The word ‘flee’ means to turn and run away from something or someone who poses a clear and present danger to yourself or your livelihood – even your very life! What happens during mass shootings? People turn and run for their lives, and that’s exactly what we should do with regards to sexual immorality. That hot new partner you just stumbled upon could end up slowly killing you slowly long after the lovemaking is over – very, very slowly, in fact – with some STD that the newly infected person probably never heard of.
One final example I feel should be mentioned on the topic of sexual sins and perversion can be found in 1st Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 3, and I quote: “But among you there should not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” OK, right here it is in black and white, everyone! God ranks having multiple partners right up there with the top 1% and all their insatiable greed. You know, they have 99% of America’s wealth, while the remaining 99% are left with the remaining 1% – those people? Think of how much you likely despise those people, and that’s how offended God is with our sexual immorality (Never mind how offended God is with their greed. I’ve already covered that topic extensively, and I will do so again, God willing!). This includes people – and particularly those who self-identify as ‘Christians’ – who hang out at nude or topless clubs, who look at porn, and in many cases even the singles bars should be off-limits to true Christian believers who are single. If anyone feels so lonesome that they would go to a night club and risk getting shot or stabbed just to find someone to love, I’ve got a news flash for those individuals – you won’t find that special someone there. All you’ll meet are a bunch of drunks, and who wants that? Those who truly desire a soul-mate should ask God to send him or her to you. Believe me, when the time is right, he will.
The apostle Paul, who wrote all the quotes I’m using today including this last one, said it best in this regard: “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1st Corinthians chapter 7, verses 8-9) Anyone who is really burning up with that much passion should go ahead and find a spouse to keep themselves from sinning – there is nothing wrong with this at all. But none of us – I am single myself – will find our future spouses on-line, or in some bar, no matter how fancy or attractive they may seem. Moreover, you will never find him or her watching porn either! If anyone really wants a spouse, they should pray to God to send them one, because when we do, and those prayers are made with the utmost sincerity, God will answer that prayer. That’s one thing I know for sure. The other thing that we have all seen for ourselves on the news and other media is that, when we cannot contain or refuse to curb our sexual proclivities – or if certain people think they can get away with their unwanted sexual advances because of their status, wealth, or both – those days just came to a sudden and dramatic end! I, for one, am glad this has occurred. It happened for the good of our country and for ourselves. This series of incidents has proven conclusively that sexual immorality, when carried to its extremes, will destroy the lives of the perpetrators. Chalk one up for gender equality, for mutual respect, and for Jesus Christ, the originator of gender equality.
by Pastor Paul J. Bern
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The 2017 fiscal year for the budget of the US government just ended late this past summer, and the results are in. The Lame Stream (sorry, I meant ‘main stream’) media and various other “presstitutes” are dutifully reporting what they’re told to report, while not having the slightest inkling as to the Biblical meaning and spiritual significance of what they publish and report on. And yet despite all that, the headline on Saturday morning’s CNN’s website reads, “Deficit for 2017 hits $666 billion”! Now just to be clear about this, CNN is not exactly my favorite news source, but Fox and all the other old mainstay networks are even worse IMHO. But the fact that the federal budget deficit (not to be confused with the ‘national debt’) is the same number as the “mark of the beast” from Revelation 13, verses 11-18 has gone unnoticed – THAT is what surprises me a great deal. But in another way, this occurrence doesn’t surprise me at all. My reason here is simply that it seems like the whole world is going in that direction.
The similarities between the economic monstrosity known as ‘debt’ and the moral monstrosity of the Antichrist and the number 666 are striking. Both fly in the face of God because they are devoid of any love or compassion, and because they challenge the Supreme authority of God. There is plenty of scripture to back this up. Let me start in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament and work my way forward from there, and I quote: “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset, because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body. What else would he sleep in? When he cries out to me, I will hear him, for I am compassionate.” (Exodus 22: 25-27) As you can see, it is not a sin to borrow money or lend it at interest provided the terms are affordable and reasonable enough. I can remember being taught as a child that it was a sin to borrow money. All the adults in my life at that time were proud of the fact that everything they owned – excluding the lots their hand built houses were built on – was bought and paid for. They built the houses themselves, and even their cars were paid for. It was a world that simply no longer exists.
The CNN article goes on to say, “The deficit reached 3.5% of the size of the economy, or GDP. In 2016, the deficit was 3.2% of GDP. The deficit reflects the gap between how much the government brings in and what it spends. Accrued deficits over the years contribute to the country’s debt held by the public, which in 2017 rose to $14.667 trillion. But as a share of the economy, it actually fell slightly to 76.3%, down from 76.7% in the year-ago period. (Those figures don’t include the money owed to government trust funds like Social Security.)“ At this rate, and if nothing is done – a frightening possibility considering the current state of the US Congress – the interest on America’s ‘national debt’ would exceed 20% of GDP by 2030 if the CNN figures are accurate, and I should hope they are! But if we set that aside and look beyond all these things, we can find the real underlying causes of America’s indebtedness problems.
For this, we’ll stay in the Old Testament and skip over to Deuteronomy chapter 15, verses 1-11, and it reads as follows from the NLT Bible: “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel your debts. This is how it must be done. Creditors must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the Lord’s time of release has arrived. This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites – not to the foreigners living among you. There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession. You will receive this blessing if you carefully obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow! You will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you! But if there are any poor people in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year of release is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. Give freely without begrudging it, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some among you who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share your resources freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.”
OK, let’s take this from the top since there’s so much in this one paragraph. “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel your debts. This is how it must be done. Creditors must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites.” So right off the bat we see the entire US mortgage industry has compelled an entire country into sin. After all, this certainly applies to all nations, not just Israel. In America, we either pay interest for 30 years or we rent, that’s how dwellings and commercial buildings of various types are bought and sold. So, we are faced with the choice of paying, say, $200,000.00 or more for a new basic model 3 or 4 bedroom house here in Atlanta where I reside, or renting. With interest figured in, the total price for that house over 30 years would be approximately $333,000.00 dollars. So, the Bible is telling us that a good-sized portion of that excess $133,000.00 in interest on our hypothetical $200,0000.00 mortgage is sinful, meaning it’s sinful to charge people that much interest or to make that much profit on one stinking’ house! This, my dear readers, is why capitalism as we have known it is unsustainable. Capitalism is unsustainable because it’s sinful! This is the Scriptural ‘proof of the pudding’ right here in Deuteronomy.
“They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the Lord’s time of release has arrived. This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites – not to the foreigners living among you.” So this time of forgiving of debts is called the “time of release” in my NLT Bible, and my NIV calls it “the Lord’s time for canceling debts”. At the time this was written, the ancient Hebrew nation was at the latter stages of their 40 years of wandering in the desert, but prior to the time of taking possession of the land the Lord was going to give them, since Moses was still alive at this time. As this was applied to the Hebrew nation from the time of Moses, so it remains with modern America. If it were against the law for any loan to be of more than 7 years duration, there wouldn’t be any poor or homeless people. But the rich would lose most of their ill-gotten gains, and the entire mortgage industry would have to be extensively restructured. Now you know why nothing ever changes.
The only way to stop this gross injustice – which amounts to legalized loan sharking – is to refuse to go along with the system. Passive resistance can be a very effective tool in forcing change to come about at the societal level – that is, nonviolent resistance. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a master of this very thing, which freaked out the FBI and the “Department of Justice” to such an extreme they enlisted the aid of the CIA to have King killed. So how do we take an cue from Rev. Dr. King’s playbook? One of the most effective things we could do today about our rigged economic system would be for everyone to boycott their student loans. If we stop paying on our homes and our cars, the bankers and finance people foreclose and repossess. But with the student loans – and other unsecured loans like your credit cards – if we walk away as a united people, there’s nothing for them to take back. It would be tantamount to a national strike, and we wouldn’t even have to leave our homes!Wow, wouldn’t THAT be something!! Moving right along….
“There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession. You will receive this blessing if you carefully obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today.” Just as God Almighty gave what was then known as the “Land of Canaan” to the Hebrew nation – or Israelites, they mean the same thing – during the time of Moses, I am certain that God gave what become North America to the early settlers “as a special possession” too. The Bible even spells out the payoff for following the commands and tenets of the Lord Almighty in this regard: “The Lord your God will bless you as he has promised. You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow! You will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you!” Isn’t that the position America was in up until the 1980’s or so? Weren’t we the largest money lending nation in the world? Look at us now! We’re the largest debtor nation. We’ve gone from one extreme to the other! And it’s all because of America’s sins! What sins, some may ask? We’re the world’s largest arms maker and exporter. We’re the largest producer of pornography, the largest consumer of illegal drugs, and we have the most people in prison of any other country in the world – by more than triple the #2 nation, which is Communist China. Until America repents of these things by getting to the root cause, her problems will continue to get progressively worse!
“But if there are any poor people in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year of release is close at hand.” God despises anyone who despises the poor! Sometimes when I’m in downtown Atlanta at the main train station waiting on a bus to take me out to my neighborhood, I sit and watch the homeless people – and Atlanta has plenty of them because wages are extremely low – beg for money. I give them all my spare change if they ask for it, and I have been known to buy people sandwiches who are in need. But the vast majority of the passers-by won’t even acknowledge them if approached, and will even step up their pace to get by the beggars faster. This is one reason I have never cared for the meme “conservative Christian”. It’s because they seem to be consistently too conservative to give. They all seem to be too busy ‘conserving’ to have a single ounce of human compassion. Such individuals risk being judged harshly by the Lord, and some will be condemned.
“If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin….That is why I am commanding you to share your resources freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.” This means if someone who is in a position to help people fails to do so, even if it’s nothing but loose change, and the homeless man or woman cries out to God against that individual, they will have committed sin against God. Sin is defined as breaking God’s commandments. Therefore, all sinners are essentially lawbreakers. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t want to spend my life as an outlaw. I want to follow God’s precepts in order to obtain my eternal reward that awaits me. Since America is collectively in sin, as I already explained, the repentance will have to start with each individual. Those at the top – America’s top 1% when measured in wealth – are certainly not going to repent of their sins. They’re making too much money to want to repent, and their end will be eternal judgment. But the rest of us can collectively stop these practices of financial corruption, one person at a time. We can make up our minds to live debt-free. And yes, it can be done. Like former president Obama said, “Yes we can!”
A Microcosm of the USA and Christianity
by Pastor Paul J. Bern
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The events of this past week have left the office of the American presidency in shambles, made the US the laughingstock of the world, and I – for one – am appalled at the state of my country. President Donald Trump – or at least so long as he remains president – has left all of Washington in disarray from the presidency on down. He is also proving once again, as president George W. Bush did after September 2001 and especially after March 2003, that those who vote straight conservative every election have very short memories. It is the Republican party who, prior to Bush 43, brought us endless wars, the 1995 government shutdown, Iran Contra, the Drug War, president Nixon and Watergate, and the Vietnam War and the phony “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” that started that war. They are also indirectly responsible for the assassinations of Rev. Dr. King and the Kennedy brothers, which makes them accessories to murder.
President Donald Trump is a microcosm of America because he represents what America represents, and as such is someone who is admired by many. Donald Trump represents the American dream of becoming wealthy from a capitalist economic system that allegedly gives everyone a fair shot at becoming a rich businessman or real estate tycoon like Donald Trump. But president Trump is finding out the hard way that being president of the United States is nothing at all like running a real estate empire! When he ran for election last year, he wanted a job that he wasn’t prepared to take on. Worse yet, he failed to appreciate the difficulty and long hours of being the US president. His assumption of the office of the President was poorly planned and is still being poorly executed. When it comes to the presidency, it appears that Donald Trump is a fish out of water. Our country, therefore, is in serious trouble, and this situation is serious enough to warrant our undivided attention.
So president Trump is more than a microcosm of America, he represents a microcosm of capitalism. As such, Trump represents everything that is wrong with America, and everything that is wrong with capitalism. The ugly truth is that Donald Trump didn’t become a mega-billionaire because he is an exceptionally shrewd individual, or because he has some kind of inside track in the business world. Donald Trump got rich by screwing people every chance he got. Since Donald Trump has been elected president, he has been sued 134 times, according to the Boston Globe. He has reportedly filed bankruptcy at least 4 times since the 1980’s, evidently for the sole express purpose of stiffing his creditors while short-selling the property(s) in question. Donald Trump is a human shark, and a big, menacing “great white” at that! He reveals capitalism for the essentially predatory economic system that it truly is. Trump is also a perfect example of the fact that, in a capitalist economy where everything is organized in a hierarchical manner, there are only a handful who end up at the top of the heap, just like Donald Trump. Everyone else winds up underneath, where many of them get financially crushed without mercy.
Moreover, Donald Trump represents all that is corrupt with Washington, D.C. Washington is overburdened with corruption from within, and crushing debt from without. In fact, Washington is so heavily laden with debt and corruption that it is slowly sinking into the soil it sits on. Not only that, but the entire District of Columbia is literally sinking, according to the US Geological Survey named in a 2015 article from CNN.com:
By Jareen Imam, CNN, Updated Sat. August 1, 2015
(CNN) “Washington, D.C., where the powers that reign over the United States reside, is sinking into the ocean.
Scientists predict that the land underneath the nation’s capital will drop more than 6 inches in the next 100 years, according to new research from the University of Vermont and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Surprisingly though, Washington’s sinking land is an entirely independent phenomenon from the rising sea levels, which scientists have attributed to climate change in the past.
For this study, researchers examined the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most rapidly subsiding and lowest-elevation surfaces, which borders the Chesapeake Bay.
The area is going through what geologists call a “fore-bulge collapse,” also known as the reason for many of Washington’s foreseeable geological woes. During the last ice age, a mile-high ice sheet pushed the land under the Chesapeake Bay region up. When the ice sheet melted 20,000 years ago, the bulging land began to settle back down.
“It’s a bit like sitting on one side of a water bed filled with very thick honey… when you stand, the bulge comes down again,” said former USGS geologist Ben DeJong, one of the lead authors on the study, who conducted the research at University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.”
President Trump is also a microcosm of the current state of mainstream Christianity, whether denominational or otherwise. In spite of doing all the things I already wrote about, president Trump is a regular churchgoer. President Trump, like much of the rest of America, seems to think he can do whatever is expedient for himself and his family real estate empire, and he undoubtedly calls himself ‘blessed’ because of it all. Well-to-do mainstream Christians are filled with people just like that every Sunday morning, believing God has blessed them when all they really did was to help themselves to all they could carry away from the ‘negotiating table’. Or sometimes, whatever they can take by force, it happens every day. They go to church every Sunday as a token of acknowledging their sinful natures and professing their devout beliefs, but then they go back to doing the same things the following week! Jesus had something to say about this issue, and I quote: “Looking at his disciples he said, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you who hunger, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” (Luke chapter 6, verses 20-22)
But then Jesus continues: “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6, verses 24-26) So based on this quote from our Lord and Savior, those who think they are richly blessed by God are actually on their way to hell! These are the people who think life is all about accumulating as much as we can, when in fact life is all about the legacy we leave behind. Instead of being focused on ourselves, we’re supposed to be focused on Christ and the blood he shed for us all! But what are today’s churches focused on? The bottom line, which is propelled by church membership and the money those members donate! Christianity isn’t about Christ at all; Jesus is more of an afterthought than anything else, and this is wrong!
Pulitzer prize winning author Chris Hedges was asked about corruption in churches during a forum with Mr. Robert Scheer, who said of Mr. Hedges, “There’s a complexity to your view. You come out of the mainstream Protestant Church. Your father, who is a minister, is a man you had enormous respect for, championed gay rights, civil rights when it was not popular. And I just wonder, and I know you resent when I say you have a prophetic voice, since I know nothing about scripture I probably don’t know anything about prophetic voices, but nonetheless it does seem to me your strength and clarity comes out of your Christian background.”
Chris Hedges responded, “Yeah, without question. And what I’m willing to do, which the mainstream church is not, is to denounce the Christian right as Christian heretics [applause]. You don’t have to, as I did, spend three years at Harvard Divinity School to realize that Jesus didn’t come to make us rich [laughter]. And he certainly didn’t come to make Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen rich. And what they have done is acculturate the worst aspects of American imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, violence and bigotry into the Christian religion. And again let’s go back to Wiemar and the rise of Nazism. We saw the same thing in the so-called German Christian Church, which fused the iconography and language of Christianity with Nazism. It’s not a new phenomenon. It was the minority within that church, Bonhoeffer, Niemoller, Karl Barth, Schweizer who created the underground Confessing Church. And my great mentor at Harvard Divinity School, James Luther Adams [applause], was at the University of Heidelberg in 1935 and 1936 and dropped out and joined the Confessing Church. And when I had him in the early ’80s at Harvard, he used to tell us that when we were his age we would all be fighting the Christian fascists. Because, he understood that the Weimarization of the American working class, essentially pushing (America’s) working population into utter despair and hopelessness, coupled with a religious movement that fused national and religious symbols, was a recipe for fascism. And I think the great failure of the liberal tradition that I come out of is they were too frightened and too timid to stand up. I don’t know why they spent all the years in seminary if they didn’t realize that when they walked out the door they were going to have to fight for it. And they didn’t fight for it.”
Jesus said it, the apostle Paul wrote it, and I still believe it: There will be no cowards in heaven. Period, end of story! We as Christians have a moral obligation to stand up to tyranny, and to oppose greed and materialism as being the very antithesis of what it truly means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Moreover, the Bible has a few other things to say about rich people who are obsessed with obtaining even more wealth, just like president Trump, and I quote just a few of the many examples in the Bible:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
As you all can see, the above quotes, combined with the farcical nature of the Trump presidency and the corrupt nature of America’s political and economic systems, are a microcosm of what is wrong with America, capitalism and Christianity. I’m trying to sound the alarm about this because I see danger ahead, and we had better begin preparing for it now while we still have a little time left. Better hurry, too, or it will be too late.
America Reinvented, Mankind Revived
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
(excerpt from chapter 8 of my book, “Occupying America: We shall Overcome“)
Old-style authoritarianism and hierarchical management have worked well throughout history because of restrictive educational methods that taught the masses how to be workers, while teaching leadership skills to only an elite few. But by the present-day early 21st century, computer technology plus the Internet and other modern scientific advancements have both equalized and greatly accelerated educational opportunities, while evaporating 19th and 20th century racial and economic barriers. Internet-based distribution of educational resources will make re-education throughout one’s life a fundamental right – as it should be – instead of the luxury it is now.
Contrast the industrial revolution with the early 21st century, where vast quantities of data and information that were formerly only available to the best educated are now available to everyone instantaneously and equally, and at nominal cost. I believe that the ultimate outcome from virtual education in the workplace of the 21st century will be that every worker will have virtual management capability with direct participation in overall enterprise operation, and with unconditional equality. However, unconditional equality must be pursued as a genuine reform that is both the law of the land plus mandatory primary and secondary school curriculum in order to succeed. Otherwise equality becomes little more than an abstract concept of philosophical debate, being part of our world yet outside of the mainstream of life. Because, with social equality comes economic equality, and that is the part that the well off (not to mention dictators and racist hate-mongers) have a big problem with. The rich and powerful, who have twisted around the original reasons for the existence of capitalism to fit their own financial objectives, are unwilling to give up the unfair advantage they have taken from the rest of us working Americans. It appears that we will have to take back our equality through mass civil unrest, economic boycotts and other related protests and disruptions by any means at our disposal if the economic playing field is to be leveled in 21st century America. Power, a famous man once said, is never relinquished voluntarily – it must be taken by force.
Furthermore, traditional authority has lost its credibility because so much breach of trust on the part of established authority exists in America today. The backlash from all of this fraud and breach of trust among our leaders will be that, in place of traditional authority, small groups of multitasking worker-managers will replace large and inefficient public corporations with a lateral authority of peers connected via the Internet. Most modern companies will have to give traditional manager-worker relationships an extreme makeover as they permanently eliminate many layers of government bureaucracy and corporate management while making American business far leaner and much more agile in the new 21st century global business environment.
Only by slashing entire layers of management within companies and governments, and then replacing it with an Internet-based virtual command structure where every employee takes the initiative and has an equal part – including employee ownership – can American businesses survive the 21st century. Instead of waiting for orders from on high in a 20th century style bureaucratic workplace, workers in America’s new virtual economy would work from home or from small businesses, organizing themselves on their own initiative into specialized teams or micro-businesses that will be connected through the world wide web. Modern American workers will decide collectively rather than bureaucratically how any given company is going to be managed, with authority and administration being delegated laterally in a team environment so that every employee or contractor can have equal access and mutual input.
Organized civil disobedience to further the cause of and to re-establish the American middle and working classes can be initiated by setting up a web-based “virtual management” business and government model that competes with (or maybe even runs in spite of) the present hierarchical brick-and-mortar governmental and management structure. Okay, so how do we disrupt the wealthy power establishment’s bureaucratic chain of command with one that is omni-dimensional? From my vantage point, this should be accomplished with a group or team command structure that distributes instructions laterally and equally to a group of peers via the Internet and social media, satisfying the needs of citizens and clients by giving governments and companies infinite flexibility while remaining lean and profitable. So very lean, in fact, that the era of big blue-chip corporations, not to mention colossal bureaucratic governments, is likely at its end. In its place, the golden age of multitudes of small e-businesses organized as a honeycomb of many interconnected virtual cottage industries is already well underway, as the growth history of the Internet and e-commerce continues to prove. The days of authoritarian, bureaucratic bullying that enforces the management of populations through mass manipulation and control is finally and mercifully coming to an end. Virtual management does away with often-abusive and unnecessary authoritarian enforcement by replacing it with an Internet-based management model that equalizes opportunity by equalizing access to employment, to education, to health care and to the management process.
Besides learning new and better ways of management, allocation and sharing of resources, and decentralization, we will also need to completely rethink our educational systems from pre-K to post-graduate. Instead of our children being coerced into thinking and acting similarly as is currently the case in America’s schools, I envision an Internet-based educational system of infinite dimensions. Let new virtual courses be made available free of charge that teach clean-burning energy generation technologies, as well as new communication, robotic and computer technologies. These and other complex courses should be made available even at the elementary school level, including computer-based courses in environmental conservation and reconstruction as well as the new vocational trades of the 21st century. I think we very much need to expose our children to a space-based curriculum, including such things as new aerospace technologies, new propulsion systems, new robotic technologies and other new ways to explore the universe. Understand that the colonization of space is mankind’s new frontier, and so the United States should be a world leader by becoming the world’s teacher regarding space-based education and technology.
Liberal education being equally and unconditionally available to everyone causes all citizens to become peers and equals, with little or no social distinction between incomes, classes and occupations. Formal or vocational education that becomes equally available to all without cost via the Internet eliminates social, class and economic barriers that have existed for centuries. Unconditional social and economic equality in the 21st century includes the death of hierarchy and bureaucracy as we have known them, with the added benefit of putting the final nail in the coffin of dictatorship. With every US citizen being able to obtain advanced education repeatedly and at will regardless of economic status, the need for close employee supervision and for tiered company management within large bureaucracies will fade into history.
How do we eliminate class disparity and racial, social and economic inequality? What new weapon can the USA forge against foreign competition for American jobs, for the manufacturing of American products here at home, and to correct the current and dangerous American foreign trade deficit? How can we give working Americans better opportunities for advancement while closing the gap between the wealthy and the less fortunate? By having equal access to Internet-based education for every citizen for their entire lifetime regardless of race or color, social or economic status, gender, religion, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation, and all without having to leave home – that’s how! I am advocating no less than every American citizen having lifetime access to a free web-based public education system, with a curriculum that can be changed instantly in order to stay abreast of market changes, and that does away with transportation issues. Equally accessible education for an entire lifetime not only restores the global US leadership position in quality education, it will make American workers more skilled than any others by allowing us all the chance to obtain multiple degrees, diplomas or professional certifications over a lifetime. Although we Americans can never work as cheaply as workers in Asian or Latin-American sweatshops, American workers and managers can and should harness the power of the Internet in such a way as to be so much better educated compared to those overseas that it will cause US business leaders to think twice about outsourcing and off-shoring American jobs or closing American factories.
A flexible, scalable Internet-based curriculum that can be accessed from any world-wide-web connection without cost, and that can be edited on-the-fly by any publisher so as to keep up with market changes and scientific advancements, has advantages that 20th-century-style paper textbooks cannot begin to compete with. Having an adult population that can quickly reeducate itself at will in any subject combined with a web-based, interactive educational system that grades our kids on the same grade-point-average system that colleges use, will guarantee that the entire US public school system will regain its top ranking as the educational standard bearer of the entire planet. If Americans want to stop the outsourcing of our careers overseas, we can best accomplish this with a lifelong educational system that boasts a curriculum that can be changed as fast or faster than any market condition or any competitor’s strategy anytime, anywhere. It is from this all-new flexible, scalable and virtual educational system that tomorrow’s space conquerors and medical miracle makers will come from.
The real truth is that the needs of America’s job market are changing so rapidly that a system of continuous Internet-based education for America’s entire work force and their children, one whose curriculum can be edited at will and one that can be accessed from home or work, will be essential to maintaining and enhancing the standard of living for 21st century Americans. Going to college and getting a four year degree doesn’t work like it used to, mainly because the vocation that one may be training oneself to perform may be off-shored or right-sized to the third world for only pennies per hour within four years or less from today. On the other hand, various accredited courses dedicated to relatively short-term Internet-based vocational education where American workers and their children can get a new degree, diploma or professional certification in only months instead of years will be far more useful than the antiquated educational system that we are all currently stuck with. Workers and managers both need to have an ongoing and continuous national education system available to them at will and without cost so that they may compete on a global scale for jobs in the global economy of the 21st century.
So now it’s time to put all this together. If we truly want to renew our country and improve American society, we are going to have to start with the way we are being educated. What direction should 21st century education take? If we’re going to teach our kids what they will need to know when they grow up, then teach them about how we can explore outer space. That’s the new frontier, and that’s where mankind’s future lies. The time has come to renew and reinvigorate our country’s space program, and to directly link this space program renewal to all public and private education. When I think of the Apollo missions of the 1960’s and 1970’s, I think first of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, and of those dozen other astronauts who came after him, all of whom positively inspired generations. Technologies previously unheard of were developed that will continue to benefit mankind into the foreseeable future. Tens of thousands of high-quality jobs were created by the moon missions and more recently by the space shuttle missions. A new, vigorous manned space program may be very expensive, but it would create well over 300,000 new white-collar jobs, plus at least 300,000 more blue-collar and contract employment opportunities. Doing without one will be infinitely more expensive. After all, how does one calculate lost potential? Look around and you will notice we are drifting as a nation. What are we doing that is clearly impressive? We fight wars that stimulate massive transfers of wealth to tiny minorities of people via conquest, downsizing, outsourcing and right-sizing. We waste time in moronic meetings that produce nothing. I think it is high freakin’ time that we start producing again, how about you? A new space initiative will ultimately turn the weak jobs recovery of 2012 and the threat of another economic recession into something far more tangible and robust. If we are going to have meetings, then we will meet to discuss a new plan on how to build mankind’s first colony on the moon, a colony that will be the jumping-off point for exploring the solar system. Our great nation is surely capable of such an accomplishment, we urgently need this and other related new space industries, and space-based education is what our children must learn in order to secure the future of all mankind.
People are complaining that America lacks jobs. Part of the reason is that so many middle class jobs were outsourced overseas over the last 10 to 20 years. But we have within ourselves the power to turn this situation around by creating new and better ones. Space travel, exploration, and tourism are the new growth industries of the 21st century. According to space.com, we will go from several space shuttle flights each year over the last ten years to several orbital launches per day by the end of this decade. We will need space ship builders, people to service and maintain them, and people to fly them. Lots of them – so many, in fact, that there will be hundreds of thousands employed by this shiny, new American industry, and America will continue to be the technology leader so long as we apply ourselves in our vocations, exercising all due diligence, to maintain our position of leadership.
Where will all these new astronauts come from? If we start teaching this to our kids now, they’ll be ready by the time they grow up, and the technology will be ready for them as well. The international space station currently in orbit above the earth will have to be replaced sometime after the year 2020. As I wrote earlier, we will have the option of putting the next generation space station into earth orbit, or to build a permanent one on the moon. The time to start training people is now. Plus there’s all the other new industries I mentioned earlier in this chapter – such as robotics and clean energy generation – and others I have not, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, stem cell research, and the ongoing advances in computer science and medicine. All together, it’s going to be a brave new world whether we are all ready for it or not, because it’s already arriving.
Reject materialism and vanity. Embrace peace and tranquil coexistence among us all. Reject excessive profit and the social imbalance it creates. Let’s beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Let’s melt down all the guns and make metal housing units for the homeless. Feed the hungry children, house the homeless, be a volunteer. Together we can all make the world a better place.
I have always believed that being a good Christian means standing up against social injustice. The Bible says in the New Testament, “Faith without works is dead”, and I’m a firm believer in putting that into practice. One social injustice that I wrote about in my 2011 book, “The Middle and Working Class Manifesto” is the outsourcing overseas of what used to be good American jobs. I have some ideas about what is wrong or unjust in this great country of ours, and the following is just one example of what I would like to see fixed within society at large. I am talking about the epidemic of long-term unemployment, of which I was a victim throughout the decade of the 2000’s.
Now that a few Democrats and the remnants of the AFL-CIO are waking up to the destructive impact of jobs outsourcing on the US economy, something the American people have known about for years, globalism’s advocates have resurrected a discredited finding of several years ago that jobs outsourcing by US corporations increases employment and wages in the US. This facade of lies has to be maintained by the elite 1% at all costs. There can be no questioning that globalism is good for us. The Wall Street Journal, a supposed bastion of truth, recently stated that “the fact is that for every job outsourced to Bangalore, nearly two jobs are created in Buffalo and other American cities.” I bet Buffalo “and other American cities” would like to know where these jobs are.
There are countless examples of this all across the country. All one has to do is drive through any given US city and they will see a downtown with up to hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant office space, and deserted suburban shopping centers and strip malls. If anyone would care to visit my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia they would be similarly struck by block after block of deserted and boarded up homes, deserted factories and office buildings, not to mention vacant downtown storefronts.
American cities everywhere are looking frantically for solutions to this commercial and residential real estate crisis. Here in Atlanta, construction has begun on the “Atlanta Beltline”, a massive inner city revitalization project of mixed residential, retail and office space developments that encircles the downtown and midtown areas. Elsewhere, Detroit is trying to shrink itself by 40 square miles. Former suburban areas filled with abandoned houses are being converted to agricultural use, with former residential lots becoming gardens so impoverished citizens can feed themselves.
On October 25, 2011, 60 Minutes had a program on unemployment in Silicon Valley, where formerly high-earning professionals have been out of work for two years and, today, cannot even find part-time $9 an hour jobs at Target. With a job market like this, is is any wonder there is so much vacant real estate?
The claim that jobs outsourced by US corporations increases domestic employment in the US is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated (excluding the biggest one, which is the so-called “Federal Reserve”) on the American public. Based on a bit of research that I have done from an economics standpoint, I can tell you that our country’s governmental and business leaders have reached this erroneous conclusion by counting the growth in multinational jobs in the U.S. without adjusting the data to reflect the acquisition of existing firms by multinationals and for existing firms turning themselves into multinationals by establishing foreign operations for the first time. There was no new multinational employment in the U.S. Absolutely zero. Existing employment simply moved into the multinational category from a change in the status of firms to multinational. American workers have become expendable because corporate America has decided they are too expensive to keep around. As I mentioned above, I know this to be true because it happened to me.
The jobs that replaced the ones that were outsourced overseas for pennies on the dollar consist of waitresses and bartenders, health care and social services (largely ambulatory health care), retail clerks, and while the bubble lasted, construction. These are not the high-tech, high-paying jobs that the “New Economy” promised, and they are not jobs that can be associated with global corporations, nor would I associate any jobs having an income level that low with “change I can believe in”. It’s more like “change that scares the crap out of me”. Moreover, these domestic service jobs are themselves scarce. Just ask anybody trying to find one. Until earlier this year, the construction jobs had all but vanished. But facts have nothing to do with it. Did the Wall Street Journal ever wonder how it was possible to have simultaneously millions of new good-paying middle class jobs and virtually the worst income inequality in the developed world, with all income gains accruing to the mega-rich?
In mid-October, Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs puppet Tim Geithner gave a speech in California in which Geithner said that the solution is to “educate more engineers.” What our esteemed Treasury Secretary either didn’t know or forgot to mention is that we already have more engineers than we have jobs for them. In a recent poll, a Philadelphia marketing and research firm called “Twentysomething” (search that) found that 85% of recent college graduates planned to move back home with parents. Even if members of the “boomerang generation” find jobs, the jobs don’t pay enough to support an independent existence. And let’s not forget that nearly all of these recent graduates have student loans with payoff balances in the tens of thousands of dollars. This in turn ruins their credit, which makes finding employment even more difficult.
The mainstream media is utterly useless. Reporters repeat the lie that the unemployment rate is 8.3%. This is a specially concocted unemployment rate that does not count most of the unemployed. The government’s own more inclusive rate stands at 17%. Statistician John Williams, who counts unemployment the way it is supposed to be counted, finds the unemployment rate to be 22%. In my most recent book, “Occupying America: We Shall Overcome”, I estimated the total unemployment rate to be 24%.
The main stream media manages to turn bad news into supposedly good news. Recently a monthly gain of 82,000 new private sector jobs was hyped, owing to the fact that it takes around 150,000 new jobs each month to keep pace with labor force growth. In other words, 82,000 new jobs each month would be a monthly deficit of 68,000 jobs. To keep our eyes off the loss of jobs to outsourcing, policymakers and their minions in the financial press blame US unemployment on alleged currency manipulation by China and on the financial crisis. The financial crisis itself is blamed by Republicans on low-income Americans who took out mortgages that they could not afford, and on US “entitlement” programs. In other words, the problem is China and the greedy American poor who tried to live above their means, or who are allegedly too lazy to work. With this being the American mindset, you can see why nothing can be done to save the economy.
We need to stop blaming poor people and minorities for America’s problems. If anyone wants to know what is wrong with our country, the answers are located inside the D.C. Beltway, and they are there in abundance. This country can end or greatly limit unemployment, homelessness, poverty and economic inequality by simply reeducating its population. The US is the only remaining developed country that does not do this for its citizens. There is ample legal and historical precedent for addressing this issue, and it comes in the form of the G.I. Bill that Congress passed after the end of WW2. America’s situation at the time was the existence of a glut of manufacturing capacity from former armaments factories combined with a overabundance of untrained workers in the form of hundreds of thousands of former soldiers returning home. This excess supply of human capital needed to be retrained, and that’s exactly what the G.I. Bill did. The government paid for their retraining, the former GI’s got a college education which turned them into wage-earners and taxpayers. The same can and should be done today, and I think it should also be a jumping-off point for overhauling or replacing the US public school system.
If they could do it in the 1940’s, why can’t this be accomplished now? Take all the long-term unemployed, particularly older workers like I was, and send them back to school for up to two years (four year programs would be available at extra cost using my idea), and allow them to earn the degree, diploma or professional certification of their choice. Do the same for all parolees and those on felony probation, as well as all homeless individuals who are judged healthy enough to work – anyone who might otherwise find it nearly impossible to find employment. Keeping them all busy will go a long way toward keeping them out of trouble, getting them off the street, and keeping all but the sickest of them out of the shelters. Should the government pick up the tab for this? No way, let corporate America be compelled by law to pay for the retraining of these still-valuable US workers! If they can afford to send our jobs overseas for pennies on the dollar, then paying for up to 2 years of school to teach new trades to anyone who wants retraining should similarly only cost them pennies on the dollar relative to their considerable annual profits. These multinational corporations already engage in enough tax dodging and evasion to pay for all of it.
No government will admit its mistakes, especially when it can blame foreigners. China is being made the scapegoat for American failure. An entire industry has grown up that points its finger at China and away from 20 years of corporate outsourcing of US jobs and 11 years of horrifically expensive and absolutely pointless US wars. “Currency manipulation” is the charge. However, the purpose of the Chinese peg to the US dollar is not currency manipulation. When the Chinese government decided to take its broken communist economy into a market economy, the government understood that it needed foreign confidence in its currency. It achieved that by pegging its currency to the dollar, signaling that China’s money was as sound as the US dollar. At that time, China, of course, could not credibly give its currency a higher dollar value. As time has passed, the irresponsible and foolish policies of the US have eroded the dollar’s value, and as the Chinese currency is pegged to the dollar, its value has moved down with the dollar. The Chinese have not manipulated the peg in order to make their currency less valuable. To the contrary, in 2006 the exchange rate was a little more than 8 yuan to the dollar. Today it is 6.6 yuan to the dollar — a 17.5% revaluation of the yuan. The US government blames the US trade deficit with China on an undervalued Chinese currency. However, the Chinese currency has risen 17.5% against the dollar since 2006, but the US trade deficit with China has not declined. This is indicative of gross mismanagement on the part of US leadership.
The major cause of the US trade deficit with China is “globalism” or the practice, enforced by Wall Street and Wal-Mart, of US corporations outsourcing their production for US markets to China in order to improve the bottom line by lowering labor costs.
Most of the tariffs that the congressional idiots want to put on “Chinese” imports would, therefore, fall on the off-shored production of US corporations. When these American brand goods, such as Apple computers, are brought to US markets, they enter the US as imports. Thus, the tariffs will be applied to US corporate outsourced output as well as to the exports of Chinese companies to the US. So, the correct conclusion as I see it is that the US trade deficit with China is the result of “globalism” or jobs off-shoring, not Chinese currency manipulation.
One major thing that is being overlooked – whether intentionally or not I cannot say – is the explosive growth of the Chinese economy. In 2011, China pulled ahead of Japan and displaced it as the world’s number two economy. At that growth rate, and with no additional growth calculated for the next 4 years, the Chinese economy will surpass that of the United States by no later than mid-2016, only 4 years away. Another important point always overlooked is that the US is dependent on China for many manufactured products including high technology products that are no longer produced in the US. Revaluation of the Chinese currency would raise the dollar price of these products in the US. The greater the revaluation, the greater the price rise. The impact on already declining US living standards would be dramatic. When US policymakers argue that the solution to America’s problems is a stronger Chinese currency, they are yet again putting the burden of adjustment on the out-of-work, indebted, and foreclosed American population.
Meanwhile, what is happening on the home front here in America? Well in excess of 21 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. At least 4-5 million of those are working one or more part-time jobs. One in seven Americans is on food stamps, including one in four children. Half of American kids in public schools require government-subsidized lunch programs because their parents can’t even pack a lunch for them. In minority neighborhoods that figure jumps to an absolutely horrific 90%. Over three-fourths of all college graduates move back home with their parents after they graduate because they can’t find jobs. Here in Atlanta on any given night it is estimated there are up to 10,000 homeless persons sleeping in their cars, under bridges, in cardboard boxes and other improvised shelters. That’s about the same as New York or any other major US city, give or take. In the richest country in the world, this entire crisis of homelessness and unemployment is simply inexcusable, it is an egregious social and economic injustice, and it is tantamount to financial rape. I will stand up against this evil until I draw my last breath, so help me God, and I implore and exhort each of you to join me in fighting this just cause. Everybody has a right to basic shelter. Even the cave men lived in caves, and they didn’t have money as we know it. Everybody has a right to a livelihood and a living wage. Telling any human being that they can’t have an income, that they “have no right” to support themselves and be self-sufficient, or that they are unwanted and unneeded at every turn, is an outrageous human rights violation – and a civil rights violation as well – of the highest order. The current job market looks more like a slave auction every day. We either start fighting back or we will lose it all, it’s that simple. Do you want to stand tall with God on our side, or will we all wimp out and allow ourselves to be crushed under the weight of the Machine? Stand against injustice, seize your inalienable human rights, and make a stand for human dignity, or face oblivion. Who is with me today?