Friday 22nd of November 2019

the swedish egalitarian experiment led to disaster because the rich did not want to pay taxes...

parable of the bread and fishes

An amusing article in the Christian Post makes interesting nonsense....

Free College! Guaranteed Basic Income! Medicare for All! Cancel Student Debt!

These are the attention grabbers being used by various candidates for the Democratic nomination to run for the office of President of the United States. It is not easy to get noticed in a crowded field, so the temptation to offer free stuff is stronger than ever. But until there is a serious discussion about how to pay for these programs, they are nothing more than a politician’s empty promises.

Senator Bernie Sanders, at least, is a true believer. He has consistently advocated for a greatly expanded welfare state during his entire, very long, political career. He has been in politics long enough to see the exhausted collapse of failed socialist economies in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Bernie has seen the economic (and societal) rejuvenation of Britain, Brazil, Chile, China, India and Sweden when they changed from disastrous socialist policies and liberalized their economies with policies that encouraged economic freedom. More recently, Bernie has seen socialism rise to power in Venezuela and, once again, bring misery to the people.

Yet, despite a century of demonstrated failure, Bernie is still a believer in socialism. His vision is to remake America into a “democratic socialist” economy. Don’t compare his dream to Venezuela. He wants to make America into Sweden or Denmark, successful democratic countries with extensive social welfare programs. (Both countries have a high degree of economic freedom, which accounts for their success.) Bernie knows this requires very high taxes, but he is not ready to tell the people just how high the tax burden will be. But he is more honest than others, who seem to promise “no new taxes, except on the rich who need to pay their fair share”. Wealth taxes, death taxes, taxes on corporations, taxes on anything except the voter. It’s “cheap grace” socialism.

There are many reasons for the deadly failures of socialism, harming billions of people over the last century. But let’s focus on the tiny exceptions where welfare state policies, not socialism per se, have the support of millions of people and where the country has not been driven into ruin. Human nature will always “game” the system. It takes strong social cohesion for a welfare state to not disintegrate into ruin. The evidence of the last century shows that police power alone cannot prevent economic and social ruin of a country under a socialist system.

The strongest argument, in my opinion, for expanding the welfare state with a basic guaranteed income, or guaranteed government provided health insurance is that such welfare programs might help to unify society. The productivity of free people in a free economy could be shared with our less fortunate neighbors. But here’s the deal as I see it. It only has a chance to work if we share the burden equally. If we all sacrifice a truly fair share, that is, a mostly equal share, then perhaps such welfare programs might serve to strengthen the social ties that bind us together. On the other hand, if welfare programs are pitched to voters as “soak-the-rich”, to make the rich pay their “fair” share, then the welfare state will divide society into “makers” and “takers”. It will accelerate divisions already obvious in society today. Exorbitant tax rates will drive out the makers who have the chance to get out. The economy and society will go into long term decline.

We only need to look at the example of Sweden. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Swedes expanded the welfare state and made egalitarianism into a virtue. They punished the rich with high income taxes, wealth taxes and exorbitant taxes on capital. High profile successful Swedes left the country to avoid the punitive taxes. From 1970 to 1990, their country got into a deeper financial mess, until Sweden experienced a financial crisis in 1992. Swedes generally wanted to keep the welfare state, but they realized that punishing the rich was not wise tax policy. The wealth tax was eliminated, among other reforms, and a new strict budget process was put in place. While the rest of the developed world, including the United States, has been running annual budget deficits and drowning in rising national debts, Sweden has been balancing its budget and reducing its national debt burden.

Read more:


Jes Jesus chased the merchants out of the Temple and the Christians are chasing the socialists out of democracy...

Image at top: parable of the bread and fishes — Rembrandt Harmensz. van Leonisky (1650s)...




prayer time...

prayer time


bread and fishes alla sauce pompeo...

Holy War? Pompeo Preaches to Pro-Israel Christian Confab

The Secretary of State took his case against Iran to the Evangelical faithful, making it a matter of religious life, or death.Pompeo was clearly taking his case against Iran to Hagee’s faithful in his own remarks Monday, beginning with a brief history


Pompeo was clearly taking his case against Iran to Hagee’s faithful in his own remarks Monday, beginning with a brief history lesson on the modern state of Israel, and then asking the audience to “compare Israel’s reverence for liberty with the restrictions on religious freedom facing Christians and people of all faiths throughout the rest of the Middle East,” where “if a Muslim leaves Islam it is considered an apostasy, and it is punishable indeed by death.”

From lines like “can I get an amen?” to “this is what it must have looked like to be part of the crowd for the fishes and loaves,” Pompeo’s address was filled with religious metaphors that were right on cue for the massive Evangelical convocation.

“Christian support in America for Zion—for a Jewish homeland—runs back to the early Puritan settlers, and it has endured for centuries,” said Pompeo. “Indeed, our second president, a couple years back, said… ‘I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.'”

The speech was posted on the State Department website and emailed to all subscribers. With “Christians United for Israel” emblazoned behind him, Pompeo spoke in biblical language, invoking President Harry Truman’s support for the creation of the modern state of Israel after World War II:

Pompeo’s Selective ‘Rights Talk’  

No one—no one was more grateful for Truman’s brave decision than the Jewish people themselves.  In 1949, Israel’s Chief Rabbi came to see President Truman.  He told him, he said, ‘God put you in your mother’s womb so that you could be the instrument to bring about the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years.’ And as the story goes, tears filled the president’s eyes.

The Rabbi then opened the Bible and read the words of King Cyrus – a real friend to Israel.  It was from the Book of Ezra.  He read that ‘The Lord God of Heaven hath given me all the kindness of the earth; and he hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.’

It fills me with unending pride to know that American hands helped build the modern house of Israel.

Pompeo then pivots.

In Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region, the last remnants of ancient Christian communities are at near-extinction because of persecution from ISIS and other malign actors. And just one example: before 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, sadly, almost a quarter of a million.

Pompeo doesn’t mention that the U.S. intervention in Iraq was the catalyst for the destruction of that country’s religious minorities.

Pledging that the Trump administration will ensure that “the flame of existence of Christians must not be snuffed out,” Pompeo then turns to religious persecution inside Iran. Not surprisingly, he makes no mention of the religious persecution taking place in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both U.S. allies and notorious human rights violators.

Persecution of the faithful is especially intense inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The regime’s militant adherence to the noxious tenets of the Islamic Revolution dictates all elements of life – and especially the suppression of other faiths.

In Iran, if Muslims try to convert non-Muslims, the penal code calls for a death sentence.

The government does not recognize converts to Christianity.  It levies beatings and solitary confinement on Christians caught worshiping in violation of government dictates.

Pompeo then mentions the 10-year prison sentences that were upheld last year against “four Iranian Christians who were ‘acting against national security’ by… ‘promoting Zionist Christianity’… and running house churches.”

“This is something we know in America,” said Pompeo, who added that authorities “raided their homes, beat them, and used electroshock weapons on them. They then threw them into Evin Prison – a regime dungeon inside of Tehran.”

It is nothing new that Iran has imprisoned Christians for years; but what does all this have to do with Israel?

Here’s where Pompeo stitches it all together:

A lot of people get spun up with the wrong ideas that American evangelicals want to impose a theocracy on America.  I wish they would be concerned about the real theocratic takeover that has been happening in Iran for the last four decades.  The ayatollahs have grievously deprived the Iranian people of that most basic, simple, fundamental right, their right to worship.

That same twisted, intolerant doctrine that fuels persecution inside Iran has also led the ayatollah and his cronies to cry out, quote, “death to Israel” for four decades now.  This is similar to a cry that came out of Iran – then called Persia ‒ many, many years ago.  

Pompeo then cites the Biblical book of Esther because it “teaches us about this.”

It was in the 5th century B.C.  There was a wicked advisor named King Xerxes.  A fellow named Haman hatched a plot to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire.  He secretly wrote letters with the king’s seal to all the provincial governors, ordering the people to rise up and attack the Jews.  This edict, once issued, could not be revoked.  But thanks to the courageous intervention of Queen Esther, who begged the king to show mercy to her people, Haman’s plot was exposed and the Jews were ultimately spared.  Today this marks the Jewish holiday of Purim and it commemorates this amazing miracle. 

There’s just one problem: Purim was celebrated on March 21, almost four months before Pompeo gave this speech to the Christians United for Israel. More so, Pompeo was actually with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the 2019 Purim holiday. In fact, the actual content of Netanyahu’s March speech is not much different from Pompeo’s July transcript. Netanyahu connects the Purim holiday and the persecution of Jews by the Persian Haman to “today, 2,500 years later, again Persians, led by Khamenei, are trying to destroy the Jewish people and the Jewish state. They are going to fail again.”

Similarly, Pompeo says that he “wanted to tell” the story of Esther for a few reasons, namely that “the Jews have had a target on their back in every era of history.  And as the Book of Ecclesiastes says, ‘There is [indeed] nothing new under the sun.’ …We’ve cut off billions in funds that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s leadership would have used for various nefarious purposes, not the least of which would have been their efforts to destroy the state of Israel… under President Trump, the Israel haters such as Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad receive far less blood money from Iran to pursue their terrorism than ever in recent history. President Trump has, too, maintained the $4 billion annual security assistance to Israel.”

“Our country is intended to do all it can, in cooperating with other nations, to help create peace and preserve peace [throughout] the world,” Pompeo concluded. “It is given to defend the spiritual values – the moral code – against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them.”

Barbara Boland is The American Conservative’s Foreign Policy and National Security Reporter. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC


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