*political post: The Kucinich Plan

There was a reason that the founding fathers didn’t care much for a standing army, well, several… and one them is that fact that it saps the money.

Dennis Kucinich has a plan to get us out of debt:

“Here is what we should do to avoid default – increase the debt ceiling with no strings attached.”

“Here is how to get out of debt. End the war; save one trillion over ten years. Repeal tax cuts to the wealthy; save another trillion.”

“Medicare for All: end the four hundred billion yearly subsidies for the health insurance industry.”

“Renegotiate trade agreements with workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles- save millions of jobs and billions of dollars.”

“The Fed creates money out of nothing and gives it to banks. Why should our country go into debt, borrowing money from banks when we have the constitutional power to create money and invest in jobs?”

“We can have another New Deal where we put millions to work rebuilding our bridges and transportation system.”

“We can have a Works Green Administration where NASA is the incubator of jobs designing and engineering wind and solar micro technologies for private sector manufacturing, distribution, installation and maintenance in millions of homes, saving money and energy and protecting the environment.”

“We are the United States of America, the greatest country on earth. We envision wealth. We don’t default. We create wealth. We don’t default. We build wealth. We don’t default.”

Thoughts?

I find it Christian… for the most part…

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Question of the Day: Is there a biblical way to fix the debt ceiling crisis?

I know… a completely U.S. centered question…. until, you know, you realize what will happen when U.S. defaults.

But, is there a biblical way to fix it? I’m thinking that Philemon may be something, but I’m not sure. I need to develop that thought. Is there a biblical way to govern?

Anyway, sound off.

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Why does Congress want religious leaders arrested?

I guess religion and religious leaders are good,as long as they agree with your side…

A small group of religious leaders was arrested Thursday afternoon in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. after refusing to stop a prayer vigil asking for lawmakers to keep social safety net programs intact during negotiations to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and cut federal spending.

The group, which included representatives of ten religious groups and denominations, has held daily vigils at the United Methodist Building near the Capitol for three weeks, but organizers said the continued lack of a resolution to the debt ceiling crisis led them to take more drastic action.

“Congress is paralyzed by toxic partisan politics while people suffer,” said the Rev. Michael Livingston, Past President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ (USA), in a statement. “Our elected officials are protecting corporations and wealthy individuals while shredding the safety net for millions of the most vulnerable people in our nation and abroad. Our faith won’t allow us to passively watch this travesty unfold….Today, we ‘offer our bodies as a living sacrifice’ to say to congress ‘Raise revenue, protect the vulnerable and those living in poverty.’”

The representatives said that if programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are cut or changed as part of spending reductions, responsibilities for assisting the poor and elderly would fall heavily on houses of worship, which they said are already strained for resources.

In addition to Livingston, those who were arrested included Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church; Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia; the Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director of Faith in Public Life; the Rev. Paul Sherry, Director of the Washington Office of Interfaith Worker Justice; the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Director of Public Witness in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Sandy Sorenson, Director of Washington Office of the United Church of Christ; Martin Shupack, Director of Advocacy of Church World Service; Jordan Blevins, Director of Peace Witness Ministries of the Church of the Brethren; and the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, President of Common Cause.

Religious Leaders Arrested At Capitol for Budget Protest.

I hope that the vigils continue, even after the debt ceiling fiasco is over with.

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*political post: Boehner, and me, and you, and everyone else is being blackmailed by the Tea Party

Official photo of United States Senator and Mi...
I don't like this guy because he reminds me of Randall Spence

You know most of my politics, no doubt, but I try to refrain from getting involved, via the blog, with various political issues of the day, unless they intersect with religion. I have to step out of that for a minute, because while I believe that this does intersect with religion (via dominionism and the Manhattan Declaration), my views here are overtly partisan.

Mike Lee, the senator from Utah, presented the cut, cap, and balance bill which included the little caveat that the Congress must, MUST, pass a balanced budget amendment before the debt-ceiling could be raised. That is political hostage-taking. Further, House Speaker Boehner said today that he recognized that many in his caucus wished to see chaos.

BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get passed August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.

Mitch McConnell and others have already said that elections didn’t work so now they have to amend the constitution. I’m not opposed to amending the Constitution, but I find it frightening that we are to the situation of political hostage-taking.

By the way – cut spending, get us out of the two wars, and raise revenues by closing tax-loop-holes and decreasing the overall tax rates. And, get rid of the Tea Party.

Further, stop signing pledges. Elected officials take an oath – that should be their governing principle.

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Pastor Rick Warren and the ‘the poor do not pay taxes’ bit

Seems Rick, who was almost forced into saying something negative about the Ugandian ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ last year was quick on the draw to ignore the taxes paid by the poor (gas, food, etc…) and enter into the debt-ceiling fray:

HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero. So they’re happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay any taxes.

There are two responses which I would encourage you to read… here and here.

Okay.. so I stretch my imaginary line a bit, but this far? I mean, I’m trying not to get involved in politics (side v side) too much. I urge you too pray for this issue, and for Rick….

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Peter Kirk, David Wilkerson, the Tea Party, Sun-Tzu, and the Debt Ceiling

Peter Kirk connects a ‘prophecy’ from David Wilkerson to a British article on the expected End of the World brought to us by the Tea Party and their inability to compromise which many seem to think will caused a world wide debt and economic catastrophe.  In part, David believes that,

And when the banks open the next day at 9 in the morning, $15 billion an hour is going to be withdrawn from our American banks -they’re going to be running our banks—the Arabs—all the Latin American countries, they’re going to be running our banks–and before the day is over, the USA is going to have to declare a “bank holiday.”

My first thought is the racial undertones in this statement, but then, I note the inability of anyone to control the banks, especially when Latin America would be hurt greatly, and the Arab community would suffer great loss since they would have no more money coming in for oil. His dire predictions are still just that, predictions. This is not the first time that he spoke to such matters, nothing that something was coming to the economic foundation of the United States, the great banking centers of the northeast. Do I believe him? I don’t really buy into supernatural prophecy as active means of forecasting, finding it a misuse of the ‘prophetic mantle.’ But, because I don’t believe in it, doesn’t make it untrue or unexamined. For example, one could take the ‘fires’ as a symbol of the ‘meltdown’ which sparked all of this, or as the coming ‘meltdown’ if Congress commits treason and fails to raise the debt ceiling. Again, I’m not saying to buy into it, but we should examine ‘prophets’.

The article, linked to, above, is from Will Hutton.

The results will be catastrophic, argues JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon – a warning repeated by Obama. The US government will have to start to wind down: soldiers’ wages and public pensions alike will be suspended. But in the financial markets there will be mayhem. Interest rates will shoot up and there will be a flight from the dollar. Banks, uncertain about their expected income from their holdings of US Treasury bonds and bills, will call in their loans, creating a second credit crunch. Some may collapse. Even to get days away from such a prospect, says Obama, will now have costs: every creditor to the US has been shaken to the core by American politicians not taking their responsibilities as borrowers seriously. They will exact a higher price for lending in future, even if a bargain is struck now.

He goes on to attribute this the escalation in rhetoric and refusal to work out a real solution to the misuse of the Fourth Estate by Murdoch in creating and heightening the Tea Party’s image.

In our local paper, William Pfaff has an article which notes the reality of these budget issues:

By far the strangest thing about the American debate concerning national economic policy, currently concentrated on whether a law lifting the present limit on the deficit will or will not be passed, is that it has been conducted without discussion of the largest item in the budget. This is the aggregate cost of running military interventions of one or another kind in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and sundry other unhappy and unlucky sites in the non-western world, and which includes the global program of illegal individual assassinations by drones or dedicated military or civilian killer teams — all in democracy’s name. Cut that, even merely its blatant excesses, and the budget problem would disappear.

In Sun-Tzu’s Art of War, we read,

2. Devastating the economy

Chapter II – 10. Contributing to a distant army impoverishes the state treasury. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance in turn causes the people to be impoverished.

11. On the other hand, an army nearby causes prices to go up and provisions to be depleted; and this steals from the people’s ability to sustain themselves.

12. When the local population is impoverished and its ability to sustain itself drained away, the people will suffer even as the government must exact more from them.

13, 14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.

He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue… In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.  -Sun Tzu, the Art of War

I am reminded, however, of the fall of Babylon, as pictured in Revelation 17 and 18 when the city suffered economic collapse and brought down the entire world.

Should be a fun week.

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China just showed why Romans 13.8 is important

China, the biggest American foreign creditor with more than $1 trillion in Treasury debt as of March, called on the U.S. government Thursday to adopt “responsible policies” to protect investor interests.

The Foreign Ministry comments followed a warning by Moody’s Investors Service that it might strip the United States of its gold-plated credit rating in coming weeks if the $14.3 trillion limit on America’s borrowing was not raised.

China urges US to be ‘responsible’ on debts – politics – Capitol Hill – msnbc.com.

Owe nothing to anyone– except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. (Rom 13:8 NLT)

Should be fun, don’t you think?

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My Brief Thoughts on the 14th Amendment and the Debt Ceiling

First page of Constitution of the United States
Image via Wikipedia

Allow me to issue some thoughts here without taking sides on the other issues.

First, the 14th amendment is one which covered a few things after the War Between the States, such as the idea that everyone was now, or is now, a citizen of the United States and as such the Bill of Rights applies to them. This has opened up the door, by the way, for corporations to exert some manner of ‘personhood.’ That’s not the issue here. The issue here is the raising of the debt ceiling.

The part which is the talk of the town is Section 4:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

This was to insure that the Southern States remained in poverty for a very long time because they were charged with paying off their debts incurred in the Late War of Northern Aggression. But, beyond the historical context, what people are doing today is to suggest that the 14th Amendment is a valid way of the President getting around a do-nothing-except-for-the-richest-and-the-corporations fraction of Congress.

I would suggest that Section 5 be amended into the conversation,

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

First, the law which authorized the public debt (Section 4) was created by Congress. Second, Congress is the one who enforces by other laws the provisions of the 14th amendment. I am unaware of a law which Congress could legally pass which would allow it to muzzle itself on a Constitutional duty.

Congress has been enumerated with certain powers, including the paying and authorizing of the debt. More specifically, I would argue that since the Revenue bills must originate in the House, it was the Founder’s concern that the operation of the purse strings be as close to the ground as possible. Remember, in those days, the mob (most likely white property owning males) were the only ones who voted for the members of the House of Representatives. (The States voted on the Senators). By doing this, their intent was to slow down expenditures because those who paid for them had to vote for them and in a real way, prevent the President from becoming a virtual King. While this is no longer the case in any regard – everyone over 18 and not a felon gets to vote for both the House and the Senate – the idea remains that only Congress has the power to authorize the debt and the prohibition of questioning was not directed to Congress, but to the States and the People, specifically to those who had recently lost the Second American Revolution.

The President has two responsibilities – one, as Commander in Chief and two, to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. In this latter duty the role of executive is expressed in that he appoints department heads which carries out the laws created by Congress. But even then, these appointments are made with the approval of Congress. There is a long storied history here, but let me just say that I do not think that the President has the authority to raise the debt (ceiling) if it has not be authorized by Congress, whether that Congress has been bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers and George Soros.

Back to other things now.

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