As a baptized Presbyterian and a former member of an Australian Presbyterian church, the news below gives me some sadness. How can the clear docrine of the Bible and our forefathers have been so lightly deserted? But a church whose gospel is Leftism and approval of homosexuality belongs in the Devil's camp and those who read their Bible can see that. Start from Romans chapter 1 if you doubt it
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) membership dipped below the 2 million mark in 2011, according to statistics released by the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly on Thursday.
According to the numbers, during 2011 the denomination experienced a decline of 63,804 members and the loss of 96 congregations due to a mixture of church dissolutions and dismissals.
The Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly, commented on the loss. "The loss of membership through certificate-of-transfer is the lowest number it has been in at least four years, which is encouraging," said Parsons in a statement. "At least two challenges are before us … The first and primary need is to continue to increase our efforts to live out the Great Commission and share the good news of Jesus Christ. The second is to connect with the growing number of the 'Spiritual But Not Religious.'" [No need for that silly old Bible any more]
The statistics showed a years-old trend continuing. According to the PC(USA) General Assembly Mission Council, in 2000 the denomination had over 2.5 million members. Over the past decade the entire denomination has lost over 20 percent of its membership.
In addition to fewer members, in 2011 the PC(USA) also lost 96 congregations. Of them, 21 of the 96 congregations voted for dismissal from the denomination over theological differences, including the approval of openly gay clergy.
Sorge of the Pittsburgh Presbytery told CP that he believed the trend of departing congregations would likely continue for the foreseeable future.
The Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, a Reformed body recently created as part of the wave of departures from the PC(USA), declined to comment to The Christian Post for this story.
Another textbook deception about Fascism
When I was in sixth grade, a 1967 copy of The Pageant of World History by Gerald Leinwand came into my possession. While I learned a great deal from it, the book contains shocking omissions. Here's what Leinwand says about the early years of Mussolini:
Mussolini, at one time, had been a socialist, and, as a newspaperman, had written articles favoring the overthrow of capitalism.
All true, but so misleading! Leinwand makes Mussolini sound like a low-level journalist who happened to be a rank-and-file member of the socialist party. I didn't learn the real story for decades, when I discovered the works of A. James Gregor, especially his Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism. Fortunately for the sixth-graders of today, Wikipedia has the facts that Leinwand leaves out. Mussolini wasn't just another socialist; he was the Lenin of Italy - the leader of the hard-line revolutionary faction. And Mussolini wasn't just a "newspaperman"; he was the editor of Avanti!, the official newspaper of the Socialist Party. By 1910, he...
...was considered to be one of Italy's most prominent Socialists. In September 1911, Mussolini participated in a riot, led by Socialists, against the Italian war in Libya. He bitterly denounced Italy's "imperialist war" to capture the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, an action that earned him a five-month jail term. After his release he helped expel from the ranks of the Socialist party two "revisionists" who had supported the war, Ivanoe Bonomi, and Leonida Bissolati. As a result, he was rewarded the editorship of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti! Under his leadership, its circulation soon rose from 20,000 to 100,000.
Wikipedia's article on the Italian Socialist Party has more details on Mussolini's purge of "revisionists":
At the start of the 20th century, however, the PSI chose not to strongly oppose the governments led by five-time Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti. This conciliation with the existing governments and its improving electoral fortunes helped to establish the PSI as a mainstream Italian political party by the 1910s.
Despite the party's improving electoral results, however, the PSI remained divided into two major branches, the Reformists and the Maximalists. The Reformists, led by Filippo Turati, were strong mostly in the unions and the parliamentary group. The Maximalists, led by Costantino Lazzari, were affiliated with the London Bureau of socialist groups, an international association of left-wing socialist parties.
In 1912 the Maximalists led by Benito Mussolini prevailed at the party convention and this led to the split of the Italian Reform Socialist Party.
For socialists, of course, Mussolini's apostasy proves nothing except his supreme evil. For everyone else, though, Mussolini's origin story puts his subsequent career in a whole new light. Outsiders can easily see what insiders deny: The apostate fruit rarely falls far from the orthodox tree.
Yes, Mussolini realized that socialism plus nationalism had more mass appeal than socialism alone. Yes, Mussolini realized that socialism would be stronger if it allied with the Church instead of destroying it. Yes, Mussolini realized that full-fledged mass expropriation of private property would devastate the economy. And yes, Mussolini realized that the word "socialism" alienated millions of Italians who would otherwise be receptive to his message. But this doesn't make Mussolini a radical socialist who betrayed everything he believed in. It makes him a radical socialist who dropped some peripheral socialist dogmas that stood between him and absolute power. If he'd kept the socialist label and avoided alliance with Hitler, Mussolini might now be a left-wing icon as big as Che Guevara.
Estonia and Austerity: Another Exploding Cigar for Paul Krugman
Daniel J. Mitchell
I have great fondness for Estonia, in part because it was the first post-communist nation to adopt the flat tax, but also because of the country’s remarkable scenery.
Most recently, though, I’ve been bragging about Estonia (along with Latvia and Lithuania, the other two Baltic nations) for implementing genuine spending cuts. I’ve argued that Estonia is showing how a government can reignite growth by reducing the burden of government.
Not surprisingly, some people disagree with my analysis. Paul Krugman of the New York Times criticized Estonia yesterday, writing that the Baltic nation suffered a “Depression-level slump” in 2008 and has only managed an “incomplete recovery” over the past few years.
He blames this supposedly weak performance on “austerity.”
I have a positive and negative reaction to Krugman’s post. My positive reaction is that he’s talking about a nation that actually has cut spending, so there’s real public-sector austerity (see Veronique de Rugy’s L.A. Times column to understand the critical difference between public-sector and private-sector austerity).
This is a sign of progress. In the past, he launched a silly attack on the U.K. for a “government pullback” that never happened, so what he wrote about Estonia at least is based on real events.
My negative reaction is that Krugman is very guilty of cherry-picking data. If you look at the chart that accompanies his post, Estonia’s economic performance isn’t very impressive, but that’s because he’s only showing us the data from 2007-present.
The numbers are accurate, but they’re designed to mislead rather than inform (sort of as if I did a chart showing 2009-present).
But before exposing that bit of trickery, there’s another mistake worth noting. Krugman presumably wants us to think that the downturn coincided with spending cuts. But his own chart shows that the economy hit the skids in 2008 – a year in which government spending in Estonia soared by nearly 18 percent according to EU fiscal data!
It wasn’t until 2009 that Estonian lawmakers began to reduce the burden of spending. So I guess Professor Krugman wants us to believe that the economy tanked in 2008 because of expectations of 2009 austerity. Or something like that.
Returning now to my complaint about cherry picking data, Krugman makes Estonia seem stagnant by looking only at data starting in 2007. But as you can see from this second chart, Estonia’s long-run economic performance is quite exemplary. It has doubled its economic output in just 15 years according to the International Monetary Fund. Over that entire period – including the recent downturn, it has enjoyed one of the fastest growth rates in Europe.
This doesn’t mean Estonia is perfect. It did experience a credit/real estate bubble, and there was a deep recession when the bubble burst. And the politicians let government spending explode during the bubble years, almost doubling the budget between 2004 and 2008.
But Estonia reacted to the overspending and the downturn in a very responsible fashion. Instead of using the weak economy as an excuse to further expand the burden of government spending in hopes that Keynesian economics would magically work (after failing for Hoover and Roosevelt in the 1930s, Japan in the 1990s, Bush in 2008, and Obama in 2009), the Estonians realized that they needed to cut spending.
And now that spending has been curtailed, it’s worth noting that growth has resumed.
What makes Krugman’s rant especially amusing is that he wrote it just as the rest of the world is beginning to notice that Estonia is a role model. Here’s some of what CNBC just posted.
Sixteen months after it joined the struggling currency bloc, Estonia is booming. The economy grew 7.6 percent last year, five times the euro-zone average. Estonia is the only euro-zone country with a budget surplus. National debt is just 6 percent of GDP, compared to 81 percent in virtuous Germany, or 165 percent in Greece. Shoppers throng Nordic design shops and cool new restaurants in Tallinn, the medieval capital, and cutting-edge tech firms complain they can’t find people to fill their job vacancies. It all seems a long way from the gloom elsewhere in Europe. Estonia’s achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider that it was one of the countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis. …How did they bounce back? “I can answer in one word: austerity. Austerity, austerity, austerity,” says Peeter Koppel, investment strategist at the SEB Bank. …that’s not exactly the message that Europeans further south want to hear. …Estonia has also paid close attention to the fundamentals of establishing a favorable business environment: reducing and simplifying taxes, and making it easy and cheap to build companies.
Good policy makes a difference. But it also helps to have rational citizens (unlike France, where people vote for economic illiterates and protest against reality).
While spending cuts have triggered strikes, social unrest and the toppling of governments in countries from Ireland to Greece, Estonians have endured some of the harshest austerity measures with barely a murmur. They even re-elected the politicians that imposed them. “It was very difficult, but we managed it,” explains Economy Minister Juhan Parts. “Everybody had to give a little bit. Salaries paid out of the budget were all cut, but we cut ministers’ salaries by 20 percent and the average civil servants’ by 10 percent,” Parts told GlobalPost. …As well as slashing public sector wages, the government responded to the 2008 crisis by raising the pension age, making it harder to claim health benefits and reducing job protection — all measures that have been met with anger when proposed in Western Europe.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that government is still far too big in Estonia. The public sector consumes about 39 percent of economic output, almost double the burden of government spending in Hong Kong and Singapore.
But, unlike certain American politicians, at least the Estonians understand the problem and are taking steps to move in the right direction. I hope they continue.
P.S. The President of Estonia, a Social Democrat named Toomas Hendrik Ilves, used his twitter account to kick the you-know-what out of Krugman yesterday. For amusement value, check out this HuffingtonPost article.
P.P.S. A few other nations, such as Canada and New Zealand, also imposed genuine spending restraint in recent decades and they also got good results.
The American tax system explained in beer -- Obama take note
When pondering the question of your income tax please refer to this explanation using the language of Beer !!! (Attributed to David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics)
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59
So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.
"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20". Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.
So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?
They realised that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.
And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works.
The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)