Friday, November 17, 2017

Turkeys at Montgomery Bell S.P.

THERE WERE ABOUT 25 TURKEYS IN THE ROAD WHEN I CAME UPON THEM. As I got out of the car to photograph them with my phone, they ever so quietly and quickly scattered into small little gaggles....or little flocks.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roy Moore Needs to Go...And Other Assorted Misfits Like Sen. Bob Corker and Carrie Underwood

UPDATE--WHAT TOOK IT SO LONG?:  WEINSTEIN EFFECT GOES GLOBAL
 
NO QUESTION ABOUT IT,  JUDGE ROY MOORE NEEDS TO GO.  NOW.  How many more women who were assaulted and sexually pressured as teenagers by thirty-something Moore need to come forward?  I can't bear to hear anymore.  Truly. Case closed.  This man needs to disappear and find another calling , somewhere far, far out of the spotlight.

And while I'm at it,  Senator Bob Corker has completely fallen from grace here in Tennessee.  He's played the arrogant, narcissist swamp card once too many.  Time to go back to Chattanooga where he was a  successful mayor for a while.

Finally,  Carrie Underwood was completely out of her league (and being used) when she wagged her finger at our president during the CMA awards recently.  So puerile and inappropriate.  She's lost my good will and admiration.  Too many outfits, too much success and too little gray matter for me.

Factors in My Blogging Less

IT'S BEEN ALMOST 18 MONTHS SINCE I MOVED OUT OF NASHVILLE and into a good friend's guest quarters outside White Bluff, Tennessee. We are great friends and housemates. In addition, we are in a totally on the up-and-up relationship. It's great fun most of the time, economical and safe for living in the country. I never, ever want to move back into the city, and fortunately, to this point, am very welcome in the quarters I inhabit ( though we all know, living with other humanoids is often stressful.) I own a lot in a development nearby that I could build on. Nothing interests me less.

But here's the thing:  I have to listen to WSM am really loud from the time my housemate wakes up until I leave---flee---the house.  No amount of closed doors between us muffles the sounds completely.  Early morning is when I pray, used to think and blog.  At this point,  I often feel mentally frazzled,  before the sun comes up.  Some people love background noise and music all the time, others, like me,  love the sound of silence.  I don't understand the need for so much noise.  Silent, is where  creativity and gratefulness emerge for me.

The other thing is that my smart phone is taking the place of my computer which often lies fallow in the midst of early morning country music.  I now do quick Internet  surveys of my favorite sites on my phone.  I sometimes drop a quick comment from my phone, then flee the house to the gym, grocery store or  post office.

All this adds up to a loss of ability and interest in writing, thinking and blogging.  I don't like it---it's definitely a new and different chapter in my life, for better or   worse---as I weigh the pros and cons of living in community, albeit it louder community, as the days and months of winter move on.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday: Hebrews 11, Faith and Desiring A Better Country

HEBREWS 11:1-16 English Standard Version (ESV) 

1 NOW FAITH IS the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

 English Standard Version (ESV)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Luke's Acts of the Apostles, An Overview

SNL Hits Its Lowest Point Ever Last Night

I AND WE ALMOST NEVER WATCH SNL ANYMORE, though occasionally we turn on the first 5 minutes before switching to  Blue Bloods reruns. It continues to be an unfunny, liberal sledge hammer with Alec Baldwin being as unattractive as anyone I see in entertainment. Last night we did turn on the first few minutes SNL opening monologue after the UT football game. As we watched, I was overcome with incredulity as we watched the unfunny liberal hack Larry David open with a concentration skit about trying to pick up women he might ogle there but having a hard time with opening pick-up lines. It went downhill from there.

Unbelievable.   Astounding poor taste.  Unfunny.  SNL has gone so low as to almost not deserve any comment. I'm glad Drudge has put  the outrage the program spawned last night up this morning.  SNL should apologize profusely.

Truly appalling.

I'll be back with a Sunday post soon.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Space City Weather Congratulates the Astros 5-1 Victory After 51 Inches of Rain With Harvey

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:48 AM

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE HOUSTON ASTROS, the 2017 World Series Champions. This was the team the city of Houston needed after Hurricane Harvey to help lift us up. And what was particularly poignant to me was the final score on Wednesday night, 5 to 1. Hurricane Harvey dropped 51 inches. It’s almost as if this victory was meant to be.

And on top of that, Carlos Correa proposed to his shocked girlfriend! Adorable!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Before the Recent National Anthem Brouha, There Was This Amazing Artist/Singer Doing His Part

UPDATE: TERROR SUSPECT A VERY FRIENDLY UZBEKISTAN IMMIGRANT DROVE FOR UBER 
 JOHN TAMNY ON THE FALLACY OF A FOURTH TAX BRACKET

THIS WAS UPLOADED LAST YEAR, but I'm just now seeing it. It gives me cold chills. Thanks to Bill J, husband of one of my bestest friends since we were 2, for sending this last night. I visited them last week in Saluda, North Carolina, and we had such a wonderful time. We're true birds of a feather in so many ways.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sunday: An In-Depth Look At Babylon In the Scriptures From Genesis Forward

UPDATE: I CERTAINLY DO NOT AGREE WITH EVERYTHING in the below article. Evangelical Christians talk endlessly about The Second Coming of Christ. They often debate whether the Temple in old Jerusalem will have to be rebuilt or Babylon will rise again before these events will occur. For my part, I don't believe there are any unmet conditions before the Second Coming can or might occur.
IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE REAL MEANING OF BABYLON IN SCRIPTURES, or how Babylon compares to Jerusalem in real and symbolic terms,  or whether  the God of the Old Testament favors nationalism or internationalism (One World Government) just to name a few, then sit down and read this amazing commentary on Babylon and so much more by Hampton Keathley.  It's long and not for the casual looker.  However if you're drawn to this,  you will be rewarded with much insight and wisdom on the ancient city that, in many ways,  lives on today.

One of the best commentaries I've read in a very long time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John Tamny: Stop the Pretense: Fraidy Cat Republicans Aren't Really Cutting Taxes As They Should

"We contend that for a nation to try and tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

---Winston Churchill 

By John Tamny

LAST WEEK Paul Ryan reiterated to Roll Call that a fourth tax bracket meant to penalize the innovators and those who invest in them (the rich) will likely be a part of the Republican tax bill. This was Ryan's way of saying there will be no tax cuts, particularly cuts that will actually have a powerful economic impact. Reductions on the rich do simply because they uniquely have the after-tax funds to invest (and create jobs). After that, Republicans can't have it both ways. They can't correctly point out that the rich pay the majority of taxes, then pretend they're reducing taxes despite leaving intact nosebleed rates on the rich.

The same applies to the alleged corporate tax cuts. If the "highest rate in the industrialized world" doesn't raise a lot of revenue, that's a sign that few (if any) U.S. corporations pay anywhere close to the 35% rate as is. The only bullish aspect of the GOP plan is estate tax repeal, but it's a safe bet that a Party afraid of being associated with the productive and their heirs won't have the courage to follow through. It would be better at this point if nothing passes, as opposed to what isn't a tax cut discrediting future reductions proposal put forward by politicians who can actually see the value of slashing the burden of government.

RealClearMarkets. The article can be found here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

John Calvin, The Reformation's Genius of Geneva

HERE'S THE LATEST IN DESIRING GOD'S 30 DAY SERIES ON GODLY MEN AND WOMEN OF THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION:

JOHN CALVIN /  1509–1564
BY JOHN PIPER
In the fall of 1539, John Calvin wrote to Sadoleto, an Italian cardinal seeking to win Geneva back to the Roman Catholic Church: “[Your] zeal for heavenly life [is] a zeal which keeps a man entirely devoted to himself, and does not, even by one expression, arouse him to sanctify the name of God.” He goes on to say that Sadoleto should “set before [man], as the prime motive of his existence, zeal to illustrate the glory of God” (Selections from His Writings, 89).
  
  
This would be a fitting banner over all of Calvin’s life and work — zeal to illustrate the glory of God. The essential meaning of Calvin’s life and preaching is that he recovered and embodied a passion for the absolute reality and majesty of God.
Image
Mastered by Majesty 

Calvin was born on July 10, 1509, in Noyon, France, when Martin Luther was 25 years old and had just begun to teach the Bible in Wittenberg. The message and spirit of the Reformation would not reach Calvin for twenty years, and in the meantime he devoted his young adult years to the study of Medieval theology, law, and the classics.

But by 1533, something dramatic had happened in his life through the influence of Reformation teaching. Calvin recounts how he had been struggling to live out the Catholic faith with zeal when “God, by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame. . . . Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness, I was immediately inflamed with [an] intense desire to make progress.”

Suddenly, Calvin saw and tasted in Scripture the majesty of God. And in that moment, both God and the word of God were so powerfully authenticated to his soul that he became the loving servant of God and his word the rest of his life.
  
Genevan Pastor

Calvin knew what sort of ministry he wanted. He wanted the enjoyment of literary ease so he could promote the Reformed faith as a scholar. But God had radically different plans.
“The course of his life was irrevocably changed. Never again would Calvin work in what he called the ‘tranquillity of studies.’ From now on, every page of books, sermons, commentaries and letters that he wrote would be hammered out on the anvil of pastoral responsibility.
After escaping from Paris and finally leaving France entirely, Calvin intended to go to Strasbourg for a life of peaceful literary production. But while Calvin was staying the night in Geneva, William Farel, the fiery leader of the Reformation in that city, found out he was there and sought him out. It was a meeting that changed the course of history, not just for Geneva, but for the world. Calvin remembers,
  
Farel, who burned with an extraordinary zeal to advance the gospel, immediately learned that my heart was set upon devoting myself to private studies, … and finding that he gained nothing by entreaties, he proceeded to utter an imprecation that God would curse my retirement, and the tranquillity of the studies which I sought, if I should withdraw and refuse to give assistance, when the necessity was so urgent. By this imprecation I was so stricken with terror, that I desisted from the journey which I had undertaken.
  
The course of his life was irrevocably changed. Never again would Calvin work in what he called the “tranquillity of studies.” From now on, every page of the 48 volumes of books and tracts and sermons and commentaries and letters that he wrote would be hammered out on the anvil of pastoral responsibility. For the next 28 years (apart from a two-year hiatus), Calvin gave himself to expositing the word — to displaying the majesty of God in Scripture to his Genevan flock.

Glory Recovered 

The need for the Reformation was fundamentally this: Rome had “destroyed the glory of Christ in many ways” (Portrait of Calvin, 9). The reason, according to Calvin, the church was “carried about with so many strange doctrines” was “because the excellence of Christ is not perceived by us.” In other words, the great guardian of biblical orthodoxy throughout the centuries is a passion for the glory and the excellency of God in Christ.

The issue is not, first, the well-known sticking points of the Reformation: justification, priestly abuses, transubstantiation, prayers to saints, and papal authority. Beneath all of them — at stake in them all for Calvin — was the fundamental issue of whether the glory of God was shining in its fullness, or was somehow being diminished. From the beginning of his ministry to the end of his life, his guiding star in vision was the centrality and supremacy and majesty of the glory of God.

Unlocking the Treasures of Scripture 

Geerhardus Vos has argued that this focus on the glory of God is the reason the Reformed tradition succeeded more fully than the Lutheran tradition in “mastering the rich content of the Scriptures.” Both had “cast themselves on the Scriptures.” But there was a difference:

Because Reformed theology took hold of the Scriptures in their deepest root idea, it was in a position to work through them more fully from this central point and to let each part of their content come to its own. This root idea which served as the key to unlock the rich treasures of the Scriptures was the preeminence of God’s glory in the consideration of all that has been created.

The true genius of Geneva was not the mind of John Calvin, but passion for the glory of God. Every generation needs to unlock the treasures of Scripture for the peculiar perils and possibilities of its own time. Our generation no less than any. I think we will only do this well if we have been profoundly and joyfully mastered by the greatest reality the Scriptures reveal — the majesty of God’s glory.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

General Kelly's Incredible Speech Today

I AM in a motel tonight in Brevard, NC on my way to a church retreat tomorrow and this weekend in Balsam Grove with Mike and Patty Atkins, my pastor and his wife from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Only now have I had time to listen to the full video of General Kelly's fine, fine speech. Since I am posting from my phone, I am not going to try to embed it here tonight. But I urge you, urge every freedom loving patriot to listen to it in full, then get on your knees with me to give thanks that men like General Kelly still exist. Thank God he's in the White House and has Trump's back. The climate of hatefulness for Trump in this country is stunning and horrific. I shall be in prayer this weekend against the powers and principalities of the dark worlds of evil in the heavenlies over our country and especially over Washington, D.C. May God bless and have mercy on America.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cooling Off, Not Quite Fall

STILL,  humidity's down and fall is in the air.  Not a lot of color yet, but a good day to get outside and clear the cobwebs of news from our minds. The mast this year is astronomical. Old timers say it's a sure sign of a severe winter.  They're usually right.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On the Casting Couch With Harvey Weinstein, Waiting for the Next Naive Little Morsel of Piglet

NEW YORKER MAGAZINE EXPOSE  

WISH I HAD SOMETHING CLEVER OR INSIGHTFUL TO ADD TO THIS DISGUSTING, DEPRAVED STORY. I don't. I only wonder why more aspiring professional women don't learn the rules of the casting couch---in all professions and walks of life---at much younger ages. They're pretty simple: Keep your clothes on and aspiring body parts inside; stay vertical and at arms length to the object of your aspirations at all times; meet in an office or public place with people around; refuse any private tours of anything, especially of Harvey's 'kitchen,' bedroom, or hotel room; remember, business is never productive for the long haul when alcohol, drugs or physical contact of any kind are involved. Finally, most importantly, too quick, hyper- flattery is not ever about you, really. It's about Big Harvey starting to get hungry and tracking his next mess of slop piglet, so he can then go take a nap in his favorite mud hole.

We should also never forget---it takes two to tango and if you break these rules, you'll need to take responsibility for your side of the equation for enabling The Big, Insatiable Pig you're helping to create and perpetuate.   The call to the casting couch is in all professions and walks of life.  After Harvey, there's a legion of others.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Overlooked In History, Thomas Becon Was An Important Figure In the Reformation In England



HERE WE STAND: THOMAS BECON 1512-1567

THOUGH ALMOST ENTIRELY overlooked in church history, Thomas Becon was a prolific pamphleteer, popular bestseller, and godly cleric in sixteenth-century England during the Reformation. Living through the turbulent reigns of four Tudor monarchs, Becon served under the supervision of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, and composed around fifty tracts with numerous subsequent editions that continued to be printed seventy years after his death.

His writings on godliness are relevant and helpful for all Christians, particularly for those who tend to partition their lives into categories of “sacred” and “secular.” Becon, recognizing no such divisions, exhorted Christians in his day to pursue godliness in the rhythms of their daily routines.

After his release, Becon kept a low profile in the forests of Kent, harbored by several evangelical men who were connected to the royal court. During this time, Becon produced numerous tracts under the pseudonym “Theodore Basil” in order to avoid detection from the local authorities. Under even heavier scrutiny and surveillance from the local magistrates at the order of Henry VIII, Becon fled to the Midlands of England, where he hid for four years in the mountains without publishing any works.
When the nine-year-old Edward VI, a friend and defender of the English Reformation, ascended the throne in 1547, Becon emerged from exile and returned to London, where he was appointed a chaplain in the royal court. Around the same time, he became rector of the prestigious parish in London, St. Stephen Walbrook.

With Mary I’s accession to the throne in 1553, however, many evangelicals, including Becon, were arrested. He was eventually released, but taking no risks, he immediately escaped to Strasbourg, where he joined a community of other exiled English evangelicals. From there he relocated to Frankfurt, where he assisted in developing a new liturgy for the English congregation composed of exiles. When Becon returned from the Continent after Elizabeth I came to power, he went through a series of clerical appointments, mostly in London, until his death in 1567.

READ THE REST

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday, 300 Years Before the Reformation Officially Began, There Was Peter Waldo

ON OCTOBER 31, 2017, WE COMMEMORATE THE 500 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION WITH MARTIN LUTHER.  This month Desiring God is featuring great men and women who were part of this world-changing movement.  Here's the first in its month long series:



PETER WALDO  / Died by 1218
The First Tremor
by Jon Bloom
More than three hundred years before Martin Luther was born, an unlikely reformer suddenly appeared in the city of Lyon in southeast France. His protests against doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church were strong tremors foretelling the coming spiritual earthquake called the Reformation. And the movement he launched survived to join the great Reformation. He is known to history as Peter Waldo.
 
 
Many details about Waldo are not known, including his name. We don’t know if Peter was his real first name, since it doesn’t appear in any document until 150 years after his death. His last name was most likely something like Valdès or Vaudès — Valdo(Waldo) was the Italian adaptation. We also don’t know the year Peter was born or the precise year he died — historians disagree over whether he died between 1205 and 1207 or between 1215 and 1218.
 
But we do know a few earthshaking things.
 
A Rich Ruler Repents

In 1170, Peter was a very wealthy, well-known merchant in the city of Lyon. He had a wife, two daughters, and lots of property. But something happened — some say he witnessed the sudden death of a friend, others say he heard a spiritual song of a traveling minstrel — and Peter became deeply troubled over the spiritual state of his soul and desperate to know how he could be saved.
 
The first thing he resolved was to read the Bible. But since it only existed in the Latin Vulgate, and his Latin was poor, he hired two scholars to translate it into the vernacular so he could study it.
 
Next, he sought spiritual counsel from a priest, who pointed him to the rich young ruler in the Gospels and quoted Jesus: “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). Jesus’s words pierced Waldo’s heart. Like the rich young ruler, Waldo suddenly realized he had been serving Mammon, not God. But unlike the rich young ruler who walked away from Jesus, Waldo repented and did exactly what Jesus said: he gave away all he had to the poor (after making adequate provision for his wife and daughters). From that point on, he determined to live in complete dependence on God for his provision. 
“Jesus’s words pierced Waldo’s heart.
Like the rich young ruler, Waldo suddenly realized he had been serving Mammon, not God.”

A Movement Is Born

Waldo immediately began to preach from his Bible in the streets of Lyon, especially to the poor. Many were converted, and by 1175 a sizable group of men and women had become Waldo’s disciples. They too gave away their possessions and were preaching (women as well as men). The people started calling them the “Poor of Lyons.” Later, as the group grew into a movement and spread throughout France and other parts of Europe, they became known as “The Waldensians.”
 
The more Waldo studied Scripture, the more troubled he became over certain doctrines, practices, and governing structures of the Catholic Church — not to mention its wealth. And he boldly spoke out against these things. But since the Church officially prohibited lay preaching, Waldo and his ragtag band drew opposition from church leaders.
 
A Sign to Be Opposed 

The Archbishop of Lyons was particularly irked by this uneducated, self-appointed reform movement and moved to squash it. But in 1179, Waldo appealed directly to Pope Alexander III and received his approval. However, only five years later the new Pope, Lucius III, sided with the Archbishop and he excommunicated Waldo and his followers.
 
In the earlier years, the Waldensian movement was a reform movement. Peter Waldo never intended to leave the church, and he held to numerous traditional Catholic doctrines. But after the excommunication, and continuing beyond Waldo’s death, the Waldensian’s Protestant-like convictions increased and solidified.
 
Eventually, the Waldensians came to reject all claims to authority besides Scripture, all mediators between God and man except Jesus, all sacraments apart from those attested to in the Bible (i.e., baptism and communion), and a host of other Catholic doctrines.
Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) serves as author, board chair, and co-founder of Desiring God. He is author of three books, Not by Sight, Things Not Seen, and Don’t Follow Your Heart. He and his wife live in the Twin Cities with their five children.

 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sunday: John MacArthur On the Biblical Perspective Of Global Warming

UNCOMPROMISING, SCATHING AND WORTH LISTENING TO. Man was designed to be the steward of natural systems.

Mercedes Commercial I Didn't Expect To See---Maybe We're In For A Cultural Revival

ONE WAY TO BREAK FREE FROM OUR CRUSHING CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

THIS ARTICLE BY MARK SAYERS AND VIDEO WAS ON THE GOSPEL COALITION last month, but somehow I missed it. Wow! What a cultural statement Mercedes is making in our degenerate society.  It speaks volumes to the illusion of freedom with unlimited sexual freedom and anything goes living bringing true happiness and maturity. It's not real life. Needless to say,  I would change its poignant message of Grow Up and Start a Family to Grow Up, Get Married, Then Start a Family. Still, this commercial is certainly a start in the right direction.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday, Psalm 1


Psalm 1 King James Version (KJV)

1 BLESSED IS THE MAN THAT walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

King James Version (KJV)

Edward Watson @PJMedia The World's Debt To Jesus Christ  (General Grace)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tamny On Lessons of Amazon's 2nd Headquarters Search

WHILE REPUBLICAN SHOULD BE CHEERED for pursuing tax reductions, the corporate portion of their tax plan is right out of the early part of the 20th century when the top companies were long on plant & equipment.  As Amazon's search for a 2nd headquarters reveals in bright colors, the prominent companies of the 21st century are long people as opposed to machinery.  Worse, the GOP continues to promote the fiction that there's $2.5 trillion "stranded overseas" as though overseas profits are literally stuffed in a vault.  Tax cuts are great, but they'll be discredited if they're about less than nothing.  Subsidization of plant & equipment purchases and repatriation holidays are surely about less than nothing, while the capital subsidy is legitimately anti-growth.  RealClearMarkets.

By John Tamny

In 2006 Warren Buffett invested $4.5 billion in Iscar, an Israel-based machine-tools maker.  Notable is that Iscar was within easy distance of the enemy rockets that exist as a constant threat to the small country, its businesses, and most important of all, its people.  For that reason, the investment puzzled some of Buffett's admiring watchers. 


But it turns out the Nebraskan wasn't fazed in the least by the risk of having a substantial asset so close to enemy fire.  As Buffett biographer Alice Schroeder explained it, "if Iscar's facilities are bombed, it can go build another plant. The plant does not represent the value of the company. It is the talent of the employees and management, the international base of customers, and the brand that constitute Iscar's value."


Schroeder's reply about what drives Buffett's thinking should be taped on the wall of every member of Congress, regardless of Party.  And as the Republicans are happily writing a tax-cut bill right now, Schroeder's reply should force a rethink of the GOP's tax-cut strategy.  This isn't a call for the Republicans to reverse course on tax reduction (quite the opposition) as much as it's a reminder that their very public focus on immediate expensing of planet and equipment purchases, along with repatriation of profits "stranded" overseas, amounts to a lot of nothingness.


Evidence supporting the above claim comes care of Buffett's Iscar investment, but also via Amazon's recent announcement that it's looking for a non-Seattle city in which it will create a second corporate headquarters.  The Seattle giant's requirements reveal in bright colors why the corporate portion of the GOP's planned tax reform will not live up to expectations. 
RealClearMarkets contributor Allan Golombek explained well what Amazon is looking for in a second city:

Amazon has stated that to even be considered as the home of its second corporate headquarters, a city needs a million-plus metropolitan population, mass transit, a strong higher education system, a large technically fluent workforce, and the ability to attract and retain skilled workers. In other words, they want immediate access to the kind of workforce they need to compete, targeting software development engineers, accountants and administrative personnel, with many of the jobs paying $100,000.


Amazon's needs speak to the basic truth that people drive economic progress, not natural resources, buildings, or subsidies.  While Amazon will no doubt seek - and receive - tax inducements from the winning city, the bigger driver of the company's decision about where to put down substantial roots will be the quality of the people in the chosen area. 


What's important about Amazon's headquarter search with tax reform in mind is that the promised Republican subsidization of plant and equipment purchases through immediate expensing is revealed as pointless, and arguably anti-growth.  That's because the best and most valuable companies of today don't have major plant and equipment needs. 


Uber and its $70 billion valuation is a function of an app that people can download on their phones, along with the long-term ability of the ride-hailing innovator to attract the people capable of extrapolating the app's use to all manner of goods and services.  Google has its GooglePlex, but if California's taxation ever becomes too onerous, the technology company won't miss a beat.  It will simply move its top asset - the people who show up for work every day - to the many cities, states, and countries that would welcome it with open arms.  Apple has its amazing new headquarters, but the headquarters are a happy effect of the genius thinkers who darken its futuristic spaceship's doors each day. 


So while many of today's most prominent American companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft presently list as the five most valuable companies in the world) certainly have gleaming headquarters, plant and equipment are well down the list as crucial drivers of their success.  Despite this, Republicans act as though their subsidization of capital spending has stimulative qualities.  Maybe it would have over 100 years ago when the U.S.'s top companies included Ford, GE and GM, but not so much now.  The plant and equipment portion of the GOP's tax plan addresses an early 20th century U.S. economy, and for it subsidizing a return to what mattered long ago, the tax plan has anti-growth qualities to it. 


As for repatriation of profits earned overseas and that are "stranded" overseas by onerous taxation stateside, there's nothing to this assertion.  While the corporate tax should be zero since it amounts to a double taxation of individual earnings (individuals own corporations, always and everywhere), and while there should be no tax on the repatriation of earnings realized overseas, simple logic tells us that U.S. companies aren't materially affected by taxes on profits brought back to the U.S.  Lest we forget, the only closed economy is the world economy.  Overseas earnings, like ones achieved domestically, are deposited in banks or with other financial intermediators.  Once they are, they're immediately directed to their highest use, including growth opportunities in the U.S. 


And for corporations with substantial overseas earnings and that have domestic designs on their deployment, they can borrow the money while actually deducting from their tax bill (another pointless subsidy, but nonetheless one that exists) the interest paid on monies borrowed.  Translated, there's nothing that reasonably resembles a substantial barrier to repatriation of overseas profits.  While there should once again be neither a corporate tax nor a tax on earnings repatriated, the very notion of "stranded money" presumes that companies literally warehouse their foreign earnings in the proverbial corporate basement. 


So while the Republicans should be cheered for pursuing tax cuts and/or reform, the corporate portion of their plan requires more than a shrug for it having the potential to needlessly subsidize the past to the economy's certain detriment.  And as tax cuts are improperly scored on a dollar for dollar basis, wasted tax cuts have the potential to limit the good, very good and wonderful of income, capital gains, and estate tax (repeal, hopefully) cuts.  Amazon's relocation efforts are useful when it comes to understanding what the GOP gets wrong in its pursuit of what has the potential to be very good and very important. 


John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Director of the Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research and Trading (www.trtadvisors.com). He's the author of Who Needs the Fed? (Encounter Books, 2016), along with Popular Economics (Regnery, 2015). 







Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Do You Have Hurricane Anxiety Fatigue After Harvey and Irma? This One's For You


MEET TOM HORNER OF TAMPA, FLORIDA.  He lives in his Chevy Impala for the past year. He was near the gas station when the hurricane blew into town. So what did he do?

 Mark Puente of the Times has the story:

MAN LIVING IN AN IMPALA RODE OUT IRMA INSIDE A CAR WASH 

Tom Horner wanted to make sure he could get gas for his Chevy Impala, his home. In fact, the 60-year-old was sitting in his wheelchair next to a pump at a Thorntons convenience store Monday  though it was still closed.

He had no idea when it would open.

"I only have an eighth of a tank," Horner said. "I can't get anywhere."

Horner, who said he has been living in his car for a year, rode out the storm nestled in the car wash at Thorntons at Starkey and Ulmerton roads.

"It was sturdy and had concrete walls," he said. "It wasn't the brightest idea, but I had nowhere else to go. I was scared to death when all the transformers blew."

He said he doesn't like shelters.

"They have too many rules," he said, rubbing his hip. "I don't like people telling me what to do."
He said he plans to sit at Thorntons until it opens. He said he ran his car all night to keep the air conditioner running.

"I'm stuck without gas," he said.
My kinda guy. Wish I could buy Tom a tank of gas when Thorntons finally reopens.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Please Pray For Each and Every Person, Family and Creature In the Path Of Irma

SPACE CITY WEATHER WEIGHS IN ON IRMA 
DREHER:  ENTER THE DRAGON WITH SOUND
TRUMP PRAYS WITH HIS CABINET AT CAMP DAVID SATURDAY AHEAD OF HURRICANE IRMA IT'S OKAY TO PRAY TO GOD WITH GROANS, RATHER THAN WORDS if that's all you can muster.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pray, Then Pray Some More---How Hurricane Irma Compares To Andrew

SPACE CITY WEATHER: IRMA'S FLORIDA'S EFFECTS ARE COMING INTO FOCUS
MY SIMPLE MIND SIMPLY CAN'T WRAP AROUND THIS MONSTROUS HURRICANE. May God have mercy on them and us all. This, along with Hurricane Harvey, will have repercussions on our country for years. More from POWERLINE blog.

RIP Don Williams, 78, Today After A Short Illness

THESE ARE MY TWO FAVS BY DON. REAL COUNTRY the way country was meant to be. More at TENNESSEAN.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Amid Prayers for Mercy, The Good I Pray Could Come From the Monstrous Irma... Help Heal Ongoing Environmental Mega-Disaster In the Everglades and S. FL


COULD ONE CATASTROPHIC ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER HELP HEAL ANOTHER? Perhaps. It appears that Irma will make landfall and go straight up the center of the state.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Kimberly Strassel---The Left's War On Free Speech and How It's Happening



  WELL WORTH A LISTEN FOR ALL THOSE INTERESTED IN FREE SPEECH. Dennis Prager interviews Kimberly Strassel on her book The Intimation Game, How the Left is Silencing Free Speech. It's happening on the state level. It's happening with state campaign finance laws, the IRS and many other federal agencies. This is so important to know and understand. It bears repeating.   Long but worth listening to. This focus on free speech in our country is Strassel's speciality and should be our deep concern.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday---Psalm 46


1 GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

NOTE from Mike at One Year Bible Blog :

Psalm 46 represents a song of hope celebrating the certain triumph of God’s kingdom – even in the midst of times of severe trouble. This Psalm served as the inspiration for Martin Luther’s famous Hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” 
I would encourage you to keep this Psalm in your “back-pocket” as a Psalm to meditate upon whenever you personally might be going through times of severe trouble – or whenever our world might be going through times of severe trouble. 

Near the end of this Psalm in verse 10 we will read a tiny little verse that I think is the key to this Psalm – “Be still, and know that I am God.” If you are going through a time of trouble in your life right now, will you take some time to meditate upon Psalm 46 and in particular verse 10? What does it mean to you to “Be still, and know that I am God?” Do you believe that being still during times of trouble can draw you closer to God? Will you be still today before God? In this stillness will you seek to know that He is indeed God? Even in the midst of whatever might be troubling you, will you seek to know that I AM is your God?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Flash Flooding, In-the-Country Edition

WHY HOUSTON'S PROSPECTS FOR RECOVERY LOOK BETTER THAN OTHER STRICKEN PLACES
FLOODS AND STORMS ARE NATURAL, FLOOD AND STORM DISASTERS ARE MAN-MADE

SINCE THURSDAY AFTERNOON INTO TODAY WE'VE BEEN POUNDED WITH SHEETS OF RAIN AND FLASH FLOODING FROM WHAT'S LEFT OF HARVEY. It seems to be petering out now and moving on north, though not without some residual damage.  Here in the country where I live flash floods can come on powerfully, crest and go back down quickly because there's so much porous soil to absorb the extra water.

Here's a great scene at the end of my road this morning.  Rain flooded the field of freshly mowed and baled hay, then carried it downstream before depositing under the STOP sign.

While this soggy mess is undoubtedly a pain to the farmer who recently worked the field, it's surely better to have hay moved or destroyed in the flood plain than a home and everything you own get destroyed.  A reminder that flood plains are designed for high water flooding, even if it only happens every 500 or a 1,000 years.

All this power from a little creek that was only a trickle yesterday. The stream is doing exactly what it was designed to do. And it'll be back to its normal trickle in 4-5 days.