Daily Archives: January 12, 2019

January 12 Breaking the Faith Barrier

Scripture Reading: Exodus 4

Key Verse: Hebrews 12:27

Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

The journey of faith is not always safe; growing up in the Lord involves seasons of pain, testing, and uncertainty. Sometimes questions go unanswered for a long time. But as Moses discovered in the wilderness and as you will discover, the outcome is worth it.

Penelope Stokes describes the process in her book Faith: The Substance of Things Not Seen:

When we respond to the call to leave the walled garden and venture out into the woods beyond, we take the gamble of having our preconceived notions shattered. We open ourselves to new truth and new ways of perceiving; we embrace “the removing of what can be shaken … so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:27). We commit ourselves to exploration.

If we intend to be spiritual explorers, to follow the unknown paths and journey into unmarked territory, we must learn to trust God. Like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, we must put our hands to our ears, shut out the voices that would call us back to safety and sameness, and run with all our might toward the woods, where God waits to lead us on our way.

We need to embrace our own explorations, even when we can’t please everybody, even when others are afraid we are taking the wrong path … even if we risk falling down the mountain and breaking an arm in the process.

O Lord, help me shut out the voices that call me back to safety and sameness. I want to run with all my might to where You wait to lead me on my way. Let me move forward by faith to explore and penetrate unmarked territory.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 12 The Power of God’s Love

Scripture reading: 1 Cor. 13:1–13

Key verse: 1 Cor. 13:7

Love … bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The house was in the pathway of the storm. As the winds blew, the telephone and electrical lines were blown and stretched to the point of separation. Finally, the few lines connecting to the electrical transformer gave way, and darkness fell across the city.

God created us to live in the light of His love. He never meant for the storms of life to separate us from Him. However, many times this is exactly what happens. Without thinking, we overlook the approaching storm clouds of temptation and yield to their confusion and fury. Only Christ has the ability to restore the power of love—His love—to our lives once it has been severed. In repentance we find that He forgives our sins and also restores and refreshes our weary, storm-driven lives.

Stop counting the number of times you have failed the Lord. Look up into the eyes of His eternal love where you can find unconditional acceptance. Many wonder what God wants from them. He desires for each of us to experience the goodness of His intimate love and personal care.

His love frees you from the bondage of guilt and shame. And His love encourages you to try once more whenever you fall. This is the power of God’s love: love believes all good things (1 Cor. 13:7).

Dear Lord, please forgive my sin, restore me, and refresh my weary, storm-driven life.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 13). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

MORE DEEP STATE CRIMES: Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray LIED TO TRUMP and Congress– Said He Was Not Under Investigation — The Gateway Pundit

In April 2018 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump in a private meeting that he was not a target of “any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”

The meeting took place in early 2018 and Rosenstein, who brought up the investigations himself, offered the assurance during a meeting with Trump at the White House

In May 2018 House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy told reporters FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assured him and several lawmakers that the ongoing Russian witch hunt “has nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

But the FBI and DOJ were lying to the president and Congressional leaders.

On Friday The New York Times reported the FBI investigated US President Trump after he fired crooked Director James Comey.

It appears the top officials in the FBI and DOJ lied to the president and Congress.
It’s time to clean house.

via MORE DEEP STATE CRIMES: Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray LIED TO TRUMP and Congress– Said He Was Not Under Investigation — The Gateway Pundit

January 12, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 8:10–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


Stewardship with Integrity Calls for Faithfulness to Complete the Commitment

But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it (8:11a)

One of the most vexing aspects of the ministry is dealing with those who make a good beginning but never finish what they start. It is not easy to carry things through to completion; it takes discipline, devotion, and faithfulness. There are many who start, even make promises to give, but fail to complete that promise. All the Corinthians’ good intentions would have meant little had they failed to complete the collection, so Paul urged them to finish doing it. Their readiness to desire to give was meaningless apart from the completion of the project. The apostle was concerned that, though they were willing, they might fail to perform. At the end of 1 Corinthians (16:2) Paul instructed the Corinthians, “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” The giving was to be done in a systematic, orderly, routine manner on the Lord’s Day; Paul did not want hasty collections to be taken only when he arrived.

As noted above, the Corinthians’ giving was not halted by apathy or selfishness, but by the rebellion against Paul incited by the false apostles. One of their most devious lies about him was that he was in the ministry for the money; that he was “walking in craftiness” (2 Cor. 4:2). But unlike the false apostles, Paul was not guilty of “peddling the word of God” (2:17). Nevertheless, the false accusations against him had raised doubts about his integrity among the Corinthians, effectively halting the collection. Nothing cripples people’s willingness to give as much as a loss of confidence in their leaders. But since the relationship between the apostle and the Corinthians had been restored, it was time for them to complete what they had started.

Stewardship with Integrity Calls for Amounts That Are Proportionate to What One Has

by your ability. For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. (8:11b–12)

Though Paul expected the Corinthians to give generously, he did not expect them to give beyond their means. The Greek phrase translated by your ability literally reads, “out of what you have.” As the apostle wrote in his first inspired letter to them, “Each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2). Even the exemplary giving of the Macedonians was “according to their ability, and beyond their ability” (2 Cor. 8:3); that is, they gave out of what they had, but in sacrificial amounts, using money needed for the basic necessities of life. But if the readiness (prothumia; “willingness”; “eagerness”; “zeal”) to give sacrificially with unique generosity is present, it is acceptable to God for believers to give beyond what would be expected. But God expects giving according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. Believers should not, however, borrow to give. Going into debt to give with no ability to repay is foolish.

When believers are moved to give beyond their ability, and make sacrifices to increase their ability to give, they are following the example of the poor widow, of whom Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43–44).

Some of the Corinthians may have been using their lack of resources as an excuse not to give. It is true that those who, like the poor widow, have minimal resources can only give a little, while those with more substantial resources can give larger amounts. But with God the amount is not the issue but the attitude of the heart. He expects believers to give in pr proportion to their resources, not more, but also not less. Any ministry that attempts to pressure people to give beyond their resources is operating outside the bounds of biblical stewardship. So also are those who fail to give in proportion to their resources.[1]


11. Now what ye have begun to do. It is probable, that the ardour of the Corinthians had quickly cooled down: otherwise they would, without any delay, have prosecuted their purpose. The Apostle, however, as though no fault had as yet been committed, gently admonishes them to complete, what had been well begun.

When he adds—from what you have, he anticipates an objection; for the flesh is always ingenious in finding out subterfuges. Some plead that they have families, which it were inhuman to neglect; others, on the ground that they cannot give much, make use of this as a pretext for entire exemption. Could I give so small a sum? All excuses of this nature Paul removes, when he commands every one to contribute according to the measure of his ability. He adds, also, the reason: that God looks to the heart—not to what is given, for when he says, that readiness of mind is acceptable to God, according to the individual’s ability, his meaning is this—“If from slender resources you present some small sum, your disposition is not less esteemed in the sight of God, than in the case of a rich man’s giving a large sum from his abundance. (Mark 12:44.) For the disposition is not estimated according to what you have not, that is, God does by no means require of thee, that thou shouldst contribute more than thy resources allow.” In this way none are excused; for the rich, on the one hand, owe to God a larger offering, and the poor, on the other hand, ought not to be ashamed of their slender resources.[2]


10–11 Again Paul emphasizes that he is not giving orders but offering advice (cf. v. 8a), though an imperative follows in v. 11! It is clear from 1 Corinthians 7:25, 40, however, that such a considered opinion came from one who regarded himself as trustworthy.

The apostle hints at several reasons why the Corinthians should bring their contribution to a speedy completion: (1) A considerable time (cf. “last year,” v. 10) had elapsed since they had expressed an “eager willingness” (v. 11) to help. (2) Since their enthusiastic intention had already been partially translated into action (v. 10b), it was incumbent on them, having put their hands to the plow, not to look back but to bring the project to a successful completion. “Completion” needed to match intention (v. 11; cf. Php 1:6). (3) They enjoyed a twofold precedence over the Macedonians. In beginning a collection, and even before that in deciding to contribute, they were earlier (“the first,” v. 10b). But now the Macedonians themselves had completed their offering! (4) The Macedonians had contributed “even beyond their ability” (v. 3); now the Corinthians were being asked to contribute “according to … [their] means” (v. 11).

12 The phrase “according to your means” at the end of v. 11 is now explained. Provided a gift is willingly given, its acceptability is determined in relation to whatever people have at their disposal, not in relation to what someone does not have. God assesses the “value” of a monetary gift, not in terms of the actual amount given, but by comparing what is given with the total financial resources of the giver. This is the lesson of Mark 12:41–44 (the widow’s offering). No one is expected to give “according to what he does not have.” Far from championing the practice of giving by percentage, Paul here is advocating proportional giving. With that said, it seems that tithers tend to be better stewards of the nine-tenths than non-tithers are of the ten-tenths.[3]


8:10–11 / Paul goes from making an appeal to giving an opinion. As in 1 Corinthians 7:12, the apostle provides his advice to help the Corinthians in their practice of godly living. The Corinthians had already begun the collection a year earlier. In the meantime, the weekly collection for Jerusalem as directed in 1 Corinthians 16:2 had apparently come to a halt. Now that at least partial reconciliation had taken place between the Corinthians and their founding apostle, they should, in Paul’s opinion, finish the work, that is, complete the collection. This advice is in the Corinthians’ best interest, for the collection is the will of God (cf. 2 Cor. 8:5).

The apostle considers the willingness to give to be more important than the actual accomplishment of giving itself. Against the background of the freewill offering for the building of the tabernacle (see above on v. 3a), the reason for this seems clear: The attitude of the heart and the willingness of the spirit are the crucial factors in proper giving (cf. Exod. 35:21). The Corinthians have the same fervent willingness as the ancient Israelites had (cf. Josephus, Ant. 3.106). Hence, the Corinthians had already begun to take the collection with the proper motivation of the heart; now they are encouraged to carry through their original intention.

Paul stipulates that the Corinthians should complete the task according to your means (lit., “out of what you have”). Seen in light of the freewill offering for building the tabernacle, Paul’s phrase suggests not so much that the Corinthians should follow the example of the Macedonians by giving beyond their means (cf. 2 Cor. 8:3a; Sir. 14:11), but rather that they should give according to what they happen to have on hand in their possessions, as did the Israelites in Exodus 35:23–24. In other words, the Corinthians are encouraged to offer gifts in kind, which could include a variety of commodities and not necessarily just money (see above on 2 Cor. 8:2; cf. Ezra 7:22). On the analogy of Ezra’s mission, however, we might expect that the offering consisted mainly of silver and gold (cf. Ezra 7:15–16; 8:25–30, 33–34; Sib. Or. 3:290–294).

8:12 / The explanation (For, gar) of Paul’s advice is that what counts is not the kind of offering but the heart of the offerer (the willingness). Giving sacrificially of one’s substance, no matter what it may be, makes the offering acceptable to God (cf. Mark 12:41–44).[4]


8:11. The sequence of events behind this passage needs to be understood. After first informing the Corinthians of the need for contributions, Paul told them he would travel from Ephesus to Macedonia and then return to Corinth. After a delay, Paul visited Corinth briefly and sent a harsh letter to them through Titus. Later Titus met Paul in Macedonia with reports on the conditions at Corinth. At first the Corinthians were eager to contribute to the needs of Jerusalem believers, but troubles in the church had extinguished their eagerness. At this point Paul encouraged them to complete their commitment. Their willingness to do it needed to be matched by their completion of it.

As important as it was for the Corinthians to be willing to give at first, it was not enough. Recognizing the need to contribute and responding with commitments is easy. The true test is actually handing over the money. So Paul encouraged the Corinthians to fulfill their commitments.

Even so, Paul had no particular amount in mind. He left it up to the Corinthians to give according to their means. Many interpreters assume that these words reject the Old Testament practice of tithing (Deut. 12:6; Mal. 3:8–10), but this passage is not about money given to support the church. Rather, it is about charity for the poor above and beyond support for the church.

8:12. Paul justified proportional giving by appealing to a general principle: a gift is acceptable so long as it is according to what one has. Of course, Paul also accepted sacrificial giving; he praised the Macedonians for giving beyond their means. Yet, he felt free only to persuade the Corinthians to give as their means allowed. He fixed no particular amount, leaving this to their consciences.[5]


11. But now also complete the work, so that your readiness to desire it may be matched by your completion of it, as your means allow.

The expanded repetition of verse 6 is evident at first sight. Paul again urges the Corinthian church to finish the task it once set out to do. He uses a compound verb in the imperative: “fully complete it once for all.” The contrast is between what happened the previous year and what should happen now.

The Corinthians have the desire to give, but fulfillment is lacking. Thus, they need encouragement to take up where they left off and finish the work without delay. Paul juxtaposes the verbs to desire and to complete and tells the readers: “what you desire in your hearts should also be completed with your hands.” He does not use the verb to do, because at one time the Corinthians were collecting funds to support the needy but never finished what they had begun. The time has come to complete the work, for the people show their readiness (see vv. 9, 12; 9:2).

To avoid any undue pressure in this matter Paul adds the phrase as your means allow. People should not be able to say that their resources are too scant. Calvin pertinently notes, “If you offer a small gift from your slender resources, your intention is just as valuable in God’s eyes as if a rich man had made a large gift out of his abundance.” Paul does not say that the Corinthians should give all they have to enrich the people in Jerusalem. Such advice would sow discord. Nor does he challenge the church in Corinth to follow the example of the churches in Macedonia: to give beyond their ability. That action would create unwanted rivalry. Instead, he advises them to give as much as their means allow.

At the temple treasury, rich people threw in large amounts of money, but the poor widow put in two copper coins. Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43–44).

12. For if the readiness is there, the gift is acceptable insofar as a person has it, not insofar as he does not have it.

This verse is incomplete when it is literally translated: “For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable insofar as he has, not insofar as he does not have.” Is the readiness of the Corinthians acceptable? Who is the subject of the verb to have? And what is the direct object of this verb?

The Corinthians demonstrated their continued readiness, and this fact pleased Paul. But their lack of action was unacceptable to him and to God (compare 6:2; Rom. 15:16, 31, where Paul uses the expression euprosdektos [acceptable, favor] with reference to God). It is not the readiness to give that is acceptable, for that is understood. The gift itself is the implied subject of the term acceptable and the direct object of the verb to have. We must also supply a subject for this verb in the singular, and do so with the word person. Hans Dieter Betz comments, “Though willingness is basic to the act of gift-giving, even more important is the matter of the gift’s acceptability to the recipient.”

Conclusively, Paul writes an abbreviated conditional sentence: “For if indeed the readiness is there, the gift is acceptable.” He continues and adds a stipulation: “Insofar as a person has the resources to give a gift, not insofar as he does not have any assets.” In the Apocrypha we find similar advice. Tobit instructs his son Tobias to be generous in giving alms, but to do so in accord with his means. Then he adds: “If you have little, do not he ashamed to give the little you can afford” (Tob. 4:8).[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 300–302). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 292–293). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 500). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 179–180). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 400). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 285–286). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Weekend Snapshot · Jan. 12, 2019 — Top Stories This Week

The Humanitarian and Security Crisis on Our Border

A full analysis of Donald Trump’s Oval Office address, as well as the Demo rebuttal.

‘National Emergency’ Threat Puts Pressure on Dems

The president continues to float invoking his national-emergency powers to fund the border wall.

The Ecofascist ‘Green New Deal’

Like FDR’s New Deal, the plan expands government power while forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

Democrats Embrace Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Senators Harris and Hirono demand that a judicial nominee leave the Knights of Columbus.

Traditional Masculinity Is ‘Harmful’ — Who Knew?

Leftists seek to destroy the very foundation of our cultural understanding of gender.

Study: Discrimination Now Favors Women

Women aren’t oppressed in America. In fact, the truth is very much the opposite.

‘Medicare for All’ Would Exacerbate a Leading Cause of Death

“People assume universal health insurance would equal better health outcomes. This isn’t true.”

China Confab With NoKo’s Kim Is Tariff Gamesmanship

Beijing summoned its puppet to talks because Trump’s trade moves are hurting.

Pelosi’s MSM ‘Wrap-Up Smear’ Collusion Against Trump

It’s all about leftists’ unquenchable thirst for statist power, and for them, Americans outside the Beltway are just collateral damage in their quest.

The Economy’s Roaring, Stupid

Despite a bad December for stocks, many signs still point to a healthy economy in 2019.

Quote Of The Week

“I believe in what the president is doing. When he says that this is a national security problem, he’s absolutely correct. And that doesn’t come just from me — that comes from professionals who have been doing this their entire adult lives, serving the country on the border, protecting the citizens. They’re saying [the wall] works.” —Obama Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 01/12/2019

Lauren Daigle Fans Disappointed After Singer Wouldn’t Call Herself a ‘Christian Artist’ in Secular Interview   Jan 10, 2019 07:41 pm

LOS ANGELES — Fans of CCM artist Lauren Daigle are again expressing disappointment after the popular singer would not forthrightly consider herself a Christian artist when asked about the characterization last week on a secular radio station, and did not mention Jesus, but only talked about herself throughout the interview. “s far as your music, you’re…

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‘Pastor’ Who Said He Hoped God Would ‘Finish the Job’ of Orlando Shooter Steps Down Over Prostitutes, Gambling, Drugs   Jan 07, 2019 08:39 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas — The leader of a professed church in Texas affiliated with Steven Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, who spoke positively of the deaths of 49 people in the 2016 Pulse homosexual nightclub massacre, has resigned after admitting to being involved with prostitutes, gambling and drugs. Donnie Romero, who led Stedfast Baptist Church…

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David’s Bridal ‘Rewriting the Rules’ Ad Features Unwed Couple With Baby, Lesbian Brides   Jan 06, 2019 06:20 pm

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. — A new ad released by the wedding gown giant David’s Bridal centers on what the company sees as being representative of “brides today,” from a man and woman—and their baby—standing at the altar, to two lesbians dancing together at their wedding reception. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue—and we empower you…

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Philadelphia Teenager Charged With Murder After Baby Found in Trash   Jan 05, 2019 08:27 pm

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia teenager has been charged with murder after allegedly leaving her newborn baby for dead in the trash on New Year’s Eve. According to reports, a friend of Jani Morris, 15, told her mother what had occurred, and the woman hurried to locate the child. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that neighbor Diane Byrd saw the woman frantically…

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Planned Parenthood Billboards in Iowa: ‘I Am Not Ashamed,’ ‘I Am Not Apologizing’ for Abortion   Jan 07, 2019 10:21 am

Screenshot: SayAbortion.com DES MOINES, Iowa — Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has announced that it has launched a billboard campaign in an effort to put faces to women who have had an abortion and aren’t sorry for it. “I had an abortion, and I am not ashamed,” “I had an abortion, and I am not apologizing for it” and “I had an abortion, and it…

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‘We Had to Give Them All a Chance of Survival’: Triplets Born After Mother Refuses Selective Reduction   Jan 11, 2019 12:10 pm

Photo Credit: The Johnsons (The Christian Institute) — A mother has explained how she refused to consider abortion when doctors told her that her triplets were not developing as expected. Katie Johnson and her husband Patrick were told at a twelve-week scan that their babies, Oscar, Aurelia and Oliver, had life-threatening growth problems. Doctors advised…

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Christian Baker’s Lawsuit Against Colorado Commission Over Continued ‘Hostility’ Will Proceed   Jan 08, 2019 12:41 pm

DENVER, Co. — A federal judge nominated to the bench by then-President Bill Clinton has rejected a motion by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the entity by a Christian baker who is seeking to fight a second discrimination complaint against him. Jack Phillips of the now-famed Masterpiece Cakeshop had asserted that he was the…

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North Dakota Lawmaker Proposes Bill That Would Authorize Elective Bible Course in Schools   Jan 09, 2019 09:43 pm

Photo Credit: Billy Alexander BISMARCK, N.D. — A lawmaker in North Dakota has proposed a bill that would authorize the creation of an elective Bible course in the state’s public and private high schools. Senate Bill 2136, introduced by Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, would make studies in the Old or New Testament—or both—available for students, and notes that…

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Persecution by Poisoning: Man Tells Story of Mother’s Death After Father Angry About Conversion to Christianity   Jan 05, 2019 06:08 pm

(International Christian Concern) – Ayub Maate was a Muslim before he converted to Christianity. He practiced his faith daily, even sounding the trumpet three times a day, which would call fellow Muslims to prayer. However, in 2011, his mother heard the Good News and believed in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. His father, who is a sheikh in Bundibugyo, was…

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European Court Rules Couple’s Rights Not Violated When Children Temporarily Removed Over Homeschooling   Jan 11, 2019 09:46 am

Photo Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom STRASBOURG — The European Court of Human Rights has unanimously ruled that a German couple’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights were not violated when authorities temporarily removed their children from their home due to concerns that they were being homeschooled rather than sent to public…

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Furloughed Federal Employees are Still Paid More Than You

Whether its CNBC, or The New York Times, or NPR, the mainstream media is clearly committed to using the current partial government shutdown to portray federal workers as beleaguered victims of the American political system.

But, in all cases I’ve encountered, these reports neglect to mention that on average, civilian federal workers make 17 percent more than similar workers in the private sector, according to a 2017-2018 report by the Congressional Budget Office. That’s total compensation, so we’re including both wages and benefits.

Considering that a year is 52 weeks long, an average federal worker would need to be completely without any income for nearly 9 weeks in order to just be reduced to equal standing with a similar private-sector worker. (17 percent of 52 weeks is 8.84 weeks.)

Source: Congressional Budget Office.

As of this writing, the current shutdown has only lasted three weeks, which means all those furloughed workers profiled in national news stories are likely still coming out ahead of their private-sector colleagues. Moreover, given that both Trump and Congress have committed to pay furloughed workers back pay, it’s a safe bet that federal workers will continue to enjoy a healthy advantage over private-sector workers when it comes to compensation.

Health benefits for most federal workers will also continue without interruption through the shutdown, as noted by NPR.

The Federal-Pay Advantage Is Larger for Lower-Income Employees

The disparity between private-sector work and federal jobs is largest at the lower end of the education scale.

According to the CBO’s report:

Federal civilian workers with no more than a high school education earned 34 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.

That’s just wages. They get far more in terms of benefits like healthcare and vacation time:

Average benefits were 93 percent higher for federal employees with no more than a high school education than for their private-sector counterparts.

The benefits for workers with a bachelors degree are 52 percent higher for federal workers than for their private-sector counterparts. Wages for federal workers in this group, however, are only five percent higher.

Only when we look at federal workers with PhDs and other advanced degrees, do we find some federal workers who actually make less than similar workers in the private sector. Wages among highly-educated federal employees were 24 percent less than in the private sector, according to the report. Benefits remained “about the same.”

So, most federal employees — especially the ones with less education — have a long way to go before facing the economic realities that private-sector employees — i.e., the net taxpayers — face on a daily basis.

Crowding Out Private Employment

Not content with manufacturing sympathy for federal workers, however, news organizations have also pointed to a decline in spending by federal employees as damaging to the economy.

A typical passage is one like this one from a CNBC article:

If the government shutdown lasts another two weeks, the total cost to the U.S. economy would exceed the price of building the proposed border wall.

Without federal spending, we’re told, GDP will suffer:

We estimated that this shutdown could shave approximately $1.2 billion off real GDP in the quarter for each week that part of the government is closed.

That might sound like a big number (to some people unfamiliar with federal finances), but it’s helpful to keep in mind that federal workers make up only 1.5 percent of the federal workforce. And not all of those are furloughed.

Moreover, since furloughed workers can eventually expect back pay, any bust in GDP right now will be followed by a boom in spending once the back pay is received.

The real cost to the private sector is in the form of industries that are paralyzed as a result of understaffed federal regulatory agencies. (As mentioned in this article about craft beer.) When the private sector isn’t allowed to function without regular certification and inspection from federal agents, that means shutdowns prevent the private sector from functioning. This, of course, isn’t an argument for more government spending. It’s an argument against a vast federal regulatory apparatus that can’t be counted on to perform the bare minimum of tasks it has promised to perform.

All of this is just a good reminder that these jobs should never have been federal jobs in the first place.  After all, many of these positions are already by definition “non-essential,” and from the national parks to the airports to the FBI, the federal workers are doing jobs that could easily be taken over by state and local authorities, or by the private sector.

Were that the case, no nationwide, system-wide shutdown all of countless nationwide agencies would be of any noticeable impact. The system would become less fragile, more flexible, more diverse, and less costly.

Also, many of the workers who now rely on federal paychecks would already be working in the private sector had the federal government not crowded these jobs out of the marketplace to begin with. Every time the federal government inserts itself as a monopolist regulator or service provider, federal agencies suck resources (in terms of both capital and human resources) out of the private sector. That means fewer new hires in the private sector, and it means lower wages for the employees left in the private sector who must foot the bills for federal agencies and employees. It also means higher prices for the private sector as government agencies bid up prices on everything from steel to petroleum.

Ultimately, all of the problems we’re being told about as a result of the government shutdown are problems caused by a federal government itself, which has inserted itself into every nearly every corner of daily life nationwide.

Source: Furloughed Federal Employees are Still Paid More Than You

HIGH TREASON: NY Times Reveals Formation of Active FBI Coup Against President Trump Based on Outlandish Rumors — The Gateway Pundit

On Friday The New York Times published the latest Deep State leak that the FBI investigated US President Trump after he fired crooked Director James Comey.

The liberal media wants you to believe TRUMP is a foreign spy and that crooked James Comey is a hero.

The report reveals the Deep State FBI opened an investigation on President Trump after he fired James Comey in March 2017. The investigation was launched based on unverified rumors.

The New York Times admitted in their report that there is no evidence that the Trump campaign EVER had any contact with Russian government officials.

The New York Times buried this nugget in the 9th paragraph in their sensational report.

These political operatives leading the FBI should be tried for treason. Their job at the FBI is not to run a coup against the sitting president based on ridiculous rumors.
They should be tried and hanged.

What they did is no different than some coup d’état in a banana republic.

It’s time to shut down the FBI.

* * * * * * * * * * *

President Trump responded early Saturday morning to a report published by the New York Times Friday night that the FBI opened an investigation into whether Trump was a Russian agent after he fired then FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

“Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!

“…Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie),….

“….the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey’s poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department). My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop……

“…..who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats – leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. Just Watch!

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!”

via HIGH TREASON: NY Times Reveals Formation of Active FBI Coup Against President Trump Based on Outlandish Rumors — The Gateway Pundit

Hillary Supporting Professor Who Drove Trump-Russia Bank Hoax to Spy on Trump Campaign Received Multi-Million Dollar Grant from Obama — The Gateway Pundit

Guest post by Joe Hoft

Indiana professor Jean Camp was a staunch Hillary supporter and likely the source for the Trump-Russia bank hoax reported in the Steele dossier and used by the FBI to obtain a warrant to spy on candidate Trump.  She also received a multi-million dollar grant from the Obama Administration for the study of

As we previously reported, it’s been more than two years since the 2016 election and Americans still don’t really know the sources for the phony Steele dossier used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain FISA warrants to spy on candidate and then President Trump.

This nightmare for President Trump all started in June, 2016.  After news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, a group of prominent computer scientists went on alert.  The group of individuals, led by a Hillary supporter, started snooping around the Trump Tower computers to allegedly see if these servers had also been hacked.

This group was led by Indiana University professor and staunch Hillary supporter, Jean Camp.  Professor Camp, according to Circa was a staunch Hillary supporter:

A respected computer scientist who raised concerns about a possible connection between President Trump and a Russian bank is an unabashed Hillary Clinton supporter who made multiple small donations to the Democrat’s presidential campaign around the time she and her colleagues surfaced the allegations.

Some techies uncovered that the the Trump Tower servers were bombarded with the same exact invalid look-up requests that use the words “trump” and “alfa” together, which were automatically placed in the servers’ log file. According to the New York Times, computer logs showed that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages to the Trump servers.

At about the same time, the FBI received a complaint from “cyberexperts” about a possible Trump-Alfa Bank connection, which led the FBI to investigate into a Trump-Alfa Bank connection.  According to the New York Times:

In classified sessions in August and September of 2016, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyber experts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.

At about the same time that the FBI began its investigation, Christopher Steele began pushing the now debunked claim that Trump was connected to Alfa Bank. In mid-September Steele submitted his memos, and at least one of these included the Trump-Alfa Bank connection. Steele submitted these memos to the press and to the FBI.

POLL: Should The DOJ Open A Special Counsel To Investigate Robert Mueller?

We know that the FBI received a copy because at this time the FBI sought and received a FISA warrant related to Russia-linked bank, using the Steele dossier as evidence.  This is the only plausible piece of evidence that the FBI could have used.  Before this time, the FBI was turned down by the FISA court but on this occasion, a warrant was granted. (As McCabe said: The FISA warrants would not have been granted without the Steele dossier.)

The FBI had no other evidence on the Trump – Russia bank connection and as time went by they gained no further evidence.  The far-left New York Times then reported:

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.”

The reason the FBI wasn’t able to find anything was because the claims were based entirely on “DNS logs,” digital records of when one server looks up how to contact another across the internet. A forensic examination conducted by Alfa Bank of the Alfa Bank computer revealed that the only communications that took place regarding “trump” were those logged requests coming from outside its servers noted by the New York Times above.  No other communications were found as indicated in the forensic report related to this subject.

Alfa Bank then blamed Jean Camp & Associates for artificially setting up a false Trump-Alfa Bank narrative and threatened a lawsuit:

In May of this year [2017], the bank tapped Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a white-shoe American law firm, to write a letter to L. Jean Camp, an esteemed Indiana University computer scientist and researcher — and a vocal supporter of the claims made by Tea Leaves. This initial letter, first reported by CNN, claimed that the Camp investigation into the covert server chatter had “encouraged inquiries into supposed links to the Trump organization” and that her “activities continue to this day to promote an unwarranted investigation into Alfa Bank’s ‘communication’ with the Trump Organization.” The letter added that “Alfa Bank is exploring all available options to protect itself … [including] litigation and causes of action under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,” further demanding that Camp “preserve all records” pertaining to the Tea Leaves research. Such a preservation request is often the precursor to a lawsuit. There would be more letters.

Alfa Bank contacted Professor Camp and demanded she hand over her emails related to the Trump – Alfa bank connection, but she would not.  The bank’s position is that the professor is an employee of a public entity (Indiana University) but still Camp’s attorney’s have refused to comply.  Alfa would like to know who all was involved in her sending requests to the bank’s and Trump’s servers and with reporting the incident as a fact that Trump and Alfa bank had a secret back channel to each other.

Per a review of Professor Camp’s activities at IU, it’s been uncovered that the Hillary-obsessed professor received a multi-million dollar grant from the Obama Administration in 2012.  The shocker is that the professor received the grant in relation to her reported actions on ‘privacy and trust issues in technology” –

Now an Indiana University Bloomington professor in the School of Informatics and Computing whose research focuses on technology, security and society is helping make such decisions easy for us. L. Jean Camp, whose work has focused on privacy and trust issues in technology, has been awarded over $2.4 million by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security Division, to give people the information they need to stop a range of attacks.

In March of 2017, FBI Head Comey confirmed there was no connection between Trump and Alfa Bank.  Now it appears that the same far left Hillary-lover created the entire mess and that the FBI and Christopher Steele used this faulty information to attack candidate and then President Trump.  Oh, and the nutty professor specialized in trust issues in technology!

Hat tip D. Manny and Friends

via Hillary Supporting Professor Who Drove Trump-Russia Bank Hoax to Spy on Trump Campaign Received Multi-Million Dollar Grant from Obama — The Gateway Pundit

January 12 God’s Goals, God’s Methods

scripture reading: 1 Samuel 15
key verse: 1 Samuel 15:22

Samuel said:
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.”

Saul wanted to be a good king who ruled fairly and followed the ways of God. However, his motives were not pure. And for the most part, the flaw went undetected until he was faced with a tremendous decision.

God had told him to completely destroy the Amalekites in battle. They had ruthlessly pursued Israel after the Exodus, killing the weak and disabled, and God never forgot the evil they committed against His people.

Saul complied with the Lord’s command and headed into battle. However, once the dust settled, he decided to spare the Amalekite king, his strongest fighting men, and the best of his sheep and oxen.

Saul tried in vain to convince Samuel that he had obeyed God by saving the best of the spoils as a sacrifice. But it was not obedience that motivated Saul; it was pride, and that cost him his throne.

Partial obedience is not obedience; it is disobedience, and there is never an excuse for it in the eyes of God. Whatever goal God has placed before you, He has a method in mind for you to follow in achieving it. Ask Him to give you His wisdom so that you may accomplish the goal perfectly, completely—and most important—obediently.

Total obedience—that is what I want in my life, Father. Reveal Your purposes to me, then give me the wisdom to accomplish Your plans perfectly, completely, and obediently.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Did the Blood of Animal Sacrifices Take Away Sins? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

https://players.brightcove.net/5522450834001/Byxr3PYOOb_default/index.html?videoId=5566589498001

Animal sacrifices were a vital part of Old Testament rituals. But why did God command them? Could the blood of these animals actually atone for people’s sins?

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul explains that these sacrifices were not arbitrary rituals but rather had profound meaning and symbolism. The substitution of the animal for the individual sinner showed that sin can be covered and God’s wrath can be satisfied by the provision of another.

In and of themselves, animal sacrifices could never take away sin (Heb. 10:4). But they pointed beyond themselves to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, which alone can satisfy the justice of God.

Did the Blood of Animal Sacrifices Take Away Sins? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Seven Things God Hates — Zwinglius Redivivus

The 7 things God hates:
 
“There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors: a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that weaves wicked plots, feet that hurry to do evil, a false witness who lies with every breath, and one who sows dissension among brothers.” (Prov. 6:16-19).
 
So if God hates those things, and you love them, what does that say about your relationship with God?

The Seven Things God Hates — Zwinglius Redivivus

Comfort for a Grieving Widow (Chrysostom)

The Reformed Reader

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers First Series, Volume IX
Chrysostom (d. 407 AD)

A young Christian woman was grieving the death of her husband. It was a hard and heavy blow. John Chrysostom knew of her grief and wrote her a kind letter to direct her gaze heavenward, to the Lord. In this part of the letter (dated around 380 AD), Chrysostom echoes biblical teaching that “to die is gain” and that the glories of heaven are better than the glitters of earth:

Now if it is not the name of widow which distresses you, but the loss of such a husband I grant you that all the world over amongst men engaged in secular affairs there have been few like him, so affectionate, so gentle, so humble, so sincere, so understanding, so devout. And certainly if he had altogether perished, and utterly ceased to be, it would be right to be distressed, and sorrowful; but if he has…

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12 january (preached 9 january 1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The bed and its covering

“For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in it.” Isaiah 28:20

suggested further reading: Hebrews 4:3–10

What a glorious thing, it is to be a Christian, to have faith in Christ. Come my soul, take thy rest, the great High Priest has full atonement made. Thou hast much good laid up, not for many years, but for eternity; take thine ease; eat spiritual things; drink wine on the lees and be merry; for it cannot be said of thee, “tomorrow thou shalt die,” for thou shalt never die, for “thy life is hid with Christ in God.” Thou art no fool to take thy ease and rest, for this is legitimate ease and rest, the rest which the God of Sabaoth hath provided for all his people. And then, O Christian! march boldly to the river of death, march calmly up to the throne of judgment, enter placidly and joyfully into the inheritance of thy Lord, for thou hast about thee an armour that can keep thee from the arrows of death, a wedding garment that makes thee fit to sit down at the banquet of the Lord. Thou hast about thee a royal robe that makes thee a fit companion even for Jesus, the King of kings, when he shall admit thee into his secret chambers, and permit thee to hold holy and close fellowship with him. I cannot resist quoting that verse of the hymn:

“With his spotless vesture on,

Holy as the Holy One.”

That is the sum and substance of it all. And on this bed let us take our rest, and during this week let us make Christ’s work our only garment, and we shall find it long enough, and broad enough, for us to wrap ourselves up in it.

for meditation: The Christian’s sufficiency is not his own but comes from God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

sermon no. 244[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 19). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

12 JANUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Testing God

And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Exodus 17:1

suggested further reading: Psalm 78:12–22

A double accusation is brought against the children of Israel; first, for insulting God by quarreling and chiding with him, and second, for tempting him. Both arose from unbelief caused by ingratitude. It was vile of God’s people to so soon forget what he had so graciously given them. He had brought them supplies when they were suffering from hunger, so why did they not fly to him when they were oppressed by thirst? It is plain that God’s former favor was ill-bestowed upon these people since it so directly vanished in their ingratitude.

Their unbelief is also apparent because they neither expected nor asked anything of God. Pride is also apparent in their daring to chide him. Indeed, what almost always happens is that we who do not depend on God’s providence nor rest on his promises provoke him to contend with us. We rush impetuously against him. The brutal violence of passion hurries us to madness, unless we are persuaded that God will in due time be our helper, and we are submissive to his will.

In the beginning of the chapter, Moses indicates that the Israelites journeyed according to the commandment, or, as the Hebrew expresses it, “the mouth” of God, as if he would praise their obedience. From that we understand that when they first left Egypt, the children of Israel were sufficiently disposed to their duty. Then a temptation occurred that interrupted them from proceeding in the right way. That example warns us that when we undertake anything at God’s bidding, we should beware that nothing should hinder our perseverance. None are fitted to act rightly but those who are well prepared to endure the assaults of temptation.

for meditation: How many undeserved blessings have we disregarded when we have forgotten God’s gracious provisions and made ungrateful demands of him! How can you be more submissive to his will today?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 30). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Investors Are Unaware Of The Dangerous Change To The Market | Zero Hedge

This break leaves investors with a big question: Were the last four months of 2018 a short-term aberration that should be overlooked, or an early indication of worse things to come?

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

What a difference a year makes. In 2017 stocks went up in almost a straight line and volatility remained amazingly low throughout the year. In 2018 stocks got dinged early but quickly recovered. For a time, it looked like things were getting right back on the same track, but in September stocks started reeling and weren’t able to recover by the end of the year.

This break leaves investors with a big question: Were the last four months of 2018 a short-term aberration that should be overlooked, or an early indication of worse things to come? The dramatic and violent nature of price swings added to the urgency of the question. The short answer is yes, things have changed, and in ways that will be very good for some investors and terrible for others.

For investors who don’t watch markets every day, the notion that “volatility returned” doesn’t begin to capture how dramatic price swings became.The Financial Times described one such interlude [here]:

“On December 24, US equity markets posted their biggest recorded crash for a Christmas Eve. But on Wednesday [the day after Christmas] they recorded their biggest rally for almost 10 years.” 

The broader return of volatility was captured by Zerohedge [here] by comparing the number of days the S&P 500 rose or fell by one percent or more.

“In the fourth quarter there were 28 such days which was well above the Q4 average of 14 since 1958. The fourth quarter tally was also considerably higher than that for the entire year of 2017 which hit a new post-recession low of 8.”

Turmoil in the markets also co-existed with turmoil in news flow. The FT listed several captions of concern [here] such as “De-Faanged”, “Turkey meltdown”, Italian alarm”, “Red October”, “Oil’s spill”, and “December mayhem”. Zerohedge also captured the chaos of the quarter with a chronology of headlines [here]. Amidst the turmoil one thing remained clear: Market action in the fourth quarter was a lot different than anything exhibited in a long time. 

While all these items helped to unsettle markets, one of the most distinctive characteristics of the fourth quarter was how few managers were able to navigate the turmoil successfully. Almost every investment strategy failed. One quant hedge fund executive lamented [here], Honestly, nothing’s working.

Indeed, one might have expected hedge funds to make hay amidst the volatility. Bloomberg described [here],

“Wide swings in prices, a waning bull market and rising rates were seen as the elixir that the $3.2 trillion [hedge fund] industry needed to overcome years of subpar performance.” 

Arvin Soh, a New York portfolio manager at GAM Holding AG, explained,

“Big picture, hedge funds are strategies that are meant to deliver during periods of uncertainty and profit from dislocations, which we have seen plenty of this year.”

Nonetheless, Bloomberg reported,

“Hedge funds got pummeled in last month’s market swoon and are headed for their worst year since 2011.”

In addition to almost universally bad performance, another unique characteristic of the fourth quarter was that the value style outperformed growth for the first time in a long time. Historically, value outperforms growth and is one of the most robust relationships in finance. For the last 10-, 5-, 3-, and 1-year periods, however, growth outperformed value, and by a considerable margin. That relationship flipped back in the last quarter.

These phenomena suggest that the fourth quarter was about more than just price fluctuations. Something important changed. Mohamed El-Erian captured the development in the FT [here],

“[A] better way of thinking about what is unfolding relates to a broader change in the major determinants of asset values and stability. Investing is no longer primarily about taking advantage of massive deployment of liquidity that lift all financial boats.”

This is a fairly powerful statement with important consequences. Lindsay Politi from One River Asset Management describes [here] what happened under the massive deployment of liquidity:

“The environment [of quantitative easing] causes some strategies to flourish and multiply, while others die off. The abnormally long, QE-fueled bull market killed off anything that wasn’t, at its core, a short volatility strategy. Now, whether it’s risky credit, levered equities, or risk parity, almost all strategies are taking similar risks. QE has done something much more damaging than the Fed could have imagined. It changed the very nature of the market, destroying the diversity of the market ecosystem, and making it incredibly vulnerable to the smallest change in the macro environment.” 

Mark Tinker of Axa Investment Managers provided a similar assessment [here],

“The fact that a decade of quantitative easing has produced a lot of products that rely on spread, carry and leverage has left financial markets vulnerable to an unwind of these strategies.” 

One manifestation of the market monoculture that developed was that price discovery became impaired. Bloomberg, for example, declared at the beginning of 2018 [here],

“The stock market never goes down anymore” – (h/t David Collum from his Year in Review [here]).

Indeed, the persistent upward march of stock prices became imbued in popular culture. The FT noted [here] ,

“…the bestselling T-shirt on StockTwits, a website for day traders, shows a basketball player dunking on a bear, emblazoned with the acronym BTFD — or “Buy The F***ing Dip”. The design is meant to underscore “how shrugging off temporary sell-offs has repeatedly proven a winning [though not particularly thoughtful] strategy.” 

Another manifestation was that several investment strategies including contrarians and value investors and fundamental investors were effectively “killed off”. Ben Hunt captures the dynamic [here]:

“All those buy-side analysts and PMs finding ‘alpha’ from their 30 worksheet-long FCF [free cash flow] models and their oh-so sharp questions posed to management at 1×1 meetings and their oh-so observant site visits to this facility or that facility have, in fact, been fired. All of these Masters of the Universe like Lee Cooperman and Stan Druckenmiller have turned their hedge funds into ‘family offices’. Not because they WANTED to. Because they HAD to.” 

Now that liquidity tailwinds are diminishing, however, a starkly different investment environment is emerging. Merryn Sommerset Webb described in the FT [here],

“The surprising thing here is not so much that markets have tanked, but that given that they [markets] are supposed to be discounting mechanisms, taking in and reacting rationally to all available information, it didn’t happen sooner. Investors have to start focusing properly on cash and valuations.” 

Further, investors also have to pay more attention to risk and uncertainty. To date, investors have been able to take President Trump, to whom Grant’s Interest Rate Observer regularly refers as “the avatar of tail risk”, in stride. As Ed Luce highlights in the FT [here], that situation is changing too:

“It is only a slight exaggeration to say that Jim Mattis, the outgoing US secretary for defence, was the last grown-up in Donald Trump’s ‘axis of adults’.”

The net result is a double-whammy for stocks. Just at the same time that the buoyant effects of liquidity are diminishing, several tangible risks and uncertainties are increasing. The potential for significant revaluations is high.

Perhaps nowhere are these dynamics more apparent than in the technology sector. Richard Waters noted [here],

“One [factor affecting tech stocks] was a reaction to the prospect of rising interest rates, and a sense that the benign economic and financial conditions that had supported the tech-led bull market were drawing to a close. The other [factor] was caused by the opening of a trade war with China in which some tech companies stood to find themselves in the front line.”

Almost as if to prove the point, Apple started off the new year by preannouncing lower than expected revenues. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, made it clear that Apple’s experience was not just an aberration. He indicated [here],

“There are a heck of a lot of US companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded until we get a deal with China.”

A key point for investors to appreciate, then, is that the market paradigm has changed. El-Erian describes as well as anyone what can be expected for the foreseeable future [here]:

“While some investors may hope for a return to calmer times, a more probable outcome for 2019 is that it is framed by a trifecta of an uncertain global economic outlook, technically unsettled markets and central banks less able to counter the added instability associated with political developments.

Having been shielded by central banks’ monetary largesse for so long, markets will continue to unwind some of the excesses that had developed.”

In particular, this is likely to involve more wild swings in the market. John Hussman describes [here]:

“In stocks, I continue to believe that the market is positioned for rather violent losses over the completion of this cycle, though undoubtedly punctuated by periodic rebounds that are fast, furious, and prone-to failure. These tend to emerge in the form of what I call ‘clearing rallies,’ which relieve short-term oversold conditions. They should be used to make any needed portfolio adjustments.”

Recognition of, and adaptation to, these changes will present a difficult challenge for many. As John Hussman describes,

“My old friend Richard Russell once said that every bear market has a ‘hook’ – something that investors believe, but isn’t true, and encourages them to keep holding and hoping all the way down. Believing that Fed easing creates a ‘put option’ under the market is one of those hooks.”

For those who can adapt, risk management will be a crucial exercise. El-Erian recommends [here]:

“Critically, having more cash in investment portfolios goes beyond building resilience for the multitude of transitions facing the global economy and markets. It also offers investors who are so inclined both the option to take advantage of the technical overshoots that inevitably occur during indiscriminate sell-offs and volatile trading markets.”

Risk management will also take the form of rediscovering investment discipline. When stocks always go up, you can come up with any narrative you want to explain why. Strong economic growth, transformative technology, disruptive innovation. It doesn’t matter. Take away the ability of central banks to control instability, however, and edge and odds become extremely important.

Ben Hunt describes such an analysis in regards to the trade dispute between the US and China [here]:

“You have no edge in this game. You don’t know the odds of this game. Not because you’re not smart enough and not because you’re not trying hard enough, but because the edge and odds in a game of Chicken are unknowable. And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you and/or lying to themselves.”

Hunt’s suggested response represents a clear break from the recent past, “I’m saying that when large institutional portfolios see more uncertainty in markets – not greater risk, but more technical uncertainty – they do not buy dips and they do sell rallies. They rebalance by selling winners, not by adding to losers. They take down their book.

“Finally, you should, too. And you should do it first.”

The unwinding of excesses is also likely to affect investment strategies, not the least of which involves outperformance of the growth style relative to value. Morgan Stanley analysts noted [here],

“Markets are on the cusp of regime change where willingness to pay for growth stocks will be damped by rising interest rates. We think there is a major leadership change occurring from growth to value which could be more long-lasting than most appreciate”.

In addition, the unwinding of excesses is also likely to affect the nature of market opportunities in other ways. While rising tides lift all boats, in the absence of such tides, boats are left to rise or fall on their own. As Sommerset Webb pointed out, the new environment “should also be absolutely thrilling to the active investment industry.”

The changing market paradigm also creates an opportunity to re-evaluate expected returns and investment horizon. The last 36 years comprise all or most of the practical experience of most investors but stand out in history as being unusually kind to investors. It is a great time to ensure that return expectations through one’s investment horizon are appropriately grounded. Politi’s advice regarding data models is also appropriate for establishing return expectations: “Success will come not to those who build the best machines but to those who make the best assumptions.” 

John Hussman shared a similar perspective:

“Look, my interest is in making sure that investors have positions that they are able to hold through the complete cycle… If they’re carrying more risk than they could endure through the course of a bear market, they should cut back now. I’m not going to wave my arms around about doom and gloom, but I think it’s a crucial time for investors to think about the risk they’re taking.”

In summary, sometimes prices go down and they are normal fluctuations. Sometimes big, violent price declines reveal something deeper is going on. In this sense the fourth quarter brought in a brand new day for investors and one in which they are no longer “shielded by central banks’ monetary largesse”. This is likely to create all kinds of problems for investors who are overly optimistic about what stocks are likely to return and are too complacent to revisit their assumptions. It will also provide a fresh, new start, however, for long term investors who have been waiting patiently for better opportunities. Those opportunities are not overwhelming yet, but they are coming.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-11/investors-are-unaware-dangerous-change-market

FIRE THESE DANGEROUS LUNATICS: FBI Investigated Whether President Trump Was Russian Agent After Comey Firing (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Here’s this week’s Deep State leak—
Despite lack of proof Deep State operatives, the Democrat Party and their liberal media partners continue their lies that President Donald Trump and then candidate Trump was working with Vladimir Putin to disrupt the American political system.

The lie has worked well for the Democrats. Nearly half of America believes this outlandish fairy tale.

On Friday The New York Times published the latest Deep State leak that the FBI investigated Trump after he fired crooked James Comey.
The media wants you to believe TRUMP is a foreign spy and that crooked James Comey is a hero.

What evidence did they have to start such an investigation on the US president?

President Trump should shut down the FBI immediately.
They are a dangerous gang with unprecedented power.
They have completely lost the trust of the American people with their criminal conduct and partisan politics.

Via Tucker Carlson Tonight:

FIRE THESE DANGEROUS LUNATICS: FBI Investigated Whether President Trump Was Russian Agent After Comey Firing (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Who Fact-Checks the Fact-Checkers? — American Thinker

When the media fact-check only one person, and can’t even do it accurately, their diminishing credibility and relevance take yet another hit.

American media have abandoned their primary job of reporting the news.  Gone are the days of telling readers and viewers the who, what, where, when, and why.  Now it’s telling the audience what to think, after filtering the news story through layers of bias and activism.

The latest trick is “fact-checking” President Trump in “real time.”  I don’t recall any mainstream news networks fact-checking Barack Obama.  In anticipation of Trump’s first Oval Office address, and immediately following, the anti-Trump resistance media went into fact-check mode.

There was this CNN headline: “Fact-checking Trump’s immigration speech.”

NPR jumped in with “FACT CHECK: Trump’s Oval Office Pitch for A Border Wall,” followed by the New York Times: “Trump’s Speech to the Nation: Fact Checks and Background.”  And then Politico: “Fact check: Trump’s speech on border crisis.”

A CNN crank even encouraged fact-checkers to prepare for Trump’s eight-minute speech as they would for a triathlon, with proper nutrition and rest.

It’s as though all the major media organizations read from the same playbook.  Perhaps they do.  A few years ago, “[a]n off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList” was revealed.  The same sort of thing likely still does exist in some other name or form, allowing such immediate coordinated attacks by news organization that are ostensibly in competition with each other.  Yet their reporting and headlines are so coordinated as to suggest a form of collusion or conspiracy.  Maybe Robert Mueller can investigate this.

Some degree of fact-checking is reasonable, if it’s applied equally to leaders of both political parties, but not when it becomes the entire story.  Before President Trump even uttered a word, the fact-checkers were lined up, ready to provide real-time rebuttals to every word Trump uttered.

But who fact-checks the fact-checkers?  Why are we supposed to believe CNN or MSNBC and their supposed fact-checkers?  These are the same media organizations that ignored the blatant lies about the Benghazi video or “hands up, don’t shoot.”  They refused to fact-check “if you like your insurance and doctor, you can keep them.”  They doctored George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make him sound like a racist.

There are myriad stories of fake news, enough for President Trump to create a top-ten list and give an award for the worst of the stories.  Even then, the Washington Post couldn’t resist “Fact-checking President Trump’s Fake News Awards.”  What happens when even fact-checking is fake news?

Let’s look at a few of many examples.

CNN tweeted after Trump’s address, “Fact check: President Trump misleadingly claims drugs will kill more Americans than the Vietnam War.”  Time to fact-check the fact-checkers.

According to the National Archives, there were “58,220 US military fatal casualties of the Vietnam War.”  The Centers for Disease Control reports approximately 70,000 deaths in 2017 in the U.S. from drug overdoses.  The Vietnam War is said to have lasted from 1955 to 1975, or 20 years.  This translates to an annualized 3,000 deaths per year in Viet Nam, less than 5 percent of the number of drug overdose deaths per year.

Who is misleading?  Obviously, CNN reporters are unable to perform simple research or do basic arithmetic.

If the fact-checkers can’t catch Trump lying, as they hope to do, they will claim he is “misleading.”  The Washington Post actually published this on its website: “266,000 aliens arrested in the past two years: The number is right but misleading.”  Wow – Trump was actually right.  Imagine that.

The Washington Post’s beef is that “[t]he quarter million arrests cover all types of offenses, including illegal entry or reentry.”  So what?  Trump said “aliens arrested.”  He didn’t specify why they were arrested.  How is that misleading?

Is not “illegal entry or reentry” a crime?  Shouldn’t those who commit such crimes be arrested and deported?  Perhaps if such crimes were handled according to the rule of law, Kate Steinle and Officer Ronil Singh would still be with their families.

When “misleading” doesn’t cut it for the fact-checkers, they step in a big steaming pile of fake news, inadvertently making Trump’s case for him.  Here are two examples of this.

When President Trump claimed that one in three women are sexually assaulted on their trek through Mexico, CBS, rather than saying Trump was overstating and exaggerating, instead confirmed what he said, and then some.  They cited Amnesty International data showing that 60 to 80 percent of women were being raped, bolstering Trump’s assertion.

CBS removed its tweet, as it was counterproductive to their fact-checking mission, but the internet remembers.  Trump was right, and in their zeal to catch him in a fib, CBS actually confirmed the veracity of his claim.

Lastly, everyone’s favorite CNN stooge, Jim Acosta, stepped in it bigly on the southern border ahead of the president’s visit.  He tweeted a video of himself standing in front of a border wall in McAllen, Texas consisting of steel slats and noting that the “community is quite safe.”

Poor Jim isn’t smart enough to draw the obvious conclusion: that having a border wall makes America safer. Even a wall that doesn’t “run the entire length of the border” is still a deterrent to illegal crossings and the associated crime.  In other words, the wall is working – just as it’s supposed to and as Trump asserts.  The smartest “resistance reporter” in the room unintentionally made Trump’s case.

He also neglected to mention that the area where he was walking was obviously safe and secure ahead of the president’s visit.  Or that mischief and mayhem tend to occur under the cover of darkness, not in the middle of the day when he made his stroll.

If he wanted to report honestly, he would pitch a tent where there is no fence or wall and live there for a week.  They he can decide if things are “quite safe.”

The smuggest reporter all doesn’t realize he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is and is truly “a smartass,” as White House adviser Kellyanne Conway noted.

Why is President Trump the only person worthy of big media fact-checking?  What about the numerous members of Congress or other Deep State operatives who spout off about Trump being a Nazi or a traitor?  Where are the media fact-checkers to point out the absurdity of such statements?

And who fact-checks the media?  Their ombudsmen are supposed to do that, but how often does that happen?  Why is fact-checking even necessary?  Shouldn’t the news be reported, letting viewers do their own fact-checking?  The internet makes it easy to look up virtually anything, including previously contradictory statements from politicians who were for the border wall before they were against it.

When the media fact-check only one person, and can’t even do it accurately, their diminishing credibility and relevance take yet another hit.

The obsessive hatred of President Trump confirms the “fake news” moniker that he has conferred upon them.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

via Who Fact-Checks the Fact-Checkers? — American Thinker

More Mueller madness | Power Line

(Scott Johnson) 

The hits keep on coming from the New York Times and their deep state adjunct within the government. Today’s page-one story comes courtesy of Adam Goldman, Michael Schmidt, and Nicholas Fandos under the headline “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia” (accessible here on Outline). Last night Paul Mirengoff treated the Times story with care and penetration in the nearby post “Report: FBI opened inquiry into whether Trump was working for the Russians.”

Paul exposes the absurdity of the substance of the story (i.e., the leaks aimed at Trump). As Paul says, the story reveals the FBI’s shocking bad faith. In a rational world, this story would be understood as an exploding cigar. It reveals a scandal, but the scandal is located inside the FBI. What we have here is a graphic illustration of the forces against which President Trump has contended for the past two years (including the Times). They mean to remove him from office.

Addressing the substance of the story, Paul overlooked this classic chestnut buried inside it: “Other factors fueled the F.B.I.’s concerns, according to the people familiar with the inquiry. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an F.B.I. informant, had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.”

The Steele Dossier is the lurid icing on this fetid cake. The Times story somehow omits to mention that the Steele Dossier derived from the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee via cutouts including the Perkins Coie law firm and Fusion GPS. 

The Times story exposes more than one scandal. It exposes the overlapping scandals of which Trump is the victim, not the perpetrator. They are the biggest scandals in American political history.

One does not need to be a clinician to get a handle on the madness that permeates the Times story. There is an utter lack of self-awareness. The actors here — the Times and their sources — share the understanding that the story reflects poorly on Trump. As Paul puts it: “[T]his tells us plenty about the FBI. It tells us nothing about Trump.”

Quotable quote: “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it.”
— Read on www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/01/more-mueller-madness-16.php

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson claims controversial ‘snowflake generation’ interview never happened | Daily Mail Online

Just hours after a controversial interview where Dwayne Johnson lashed out at millennials, The Rock has fired back, claiming the interview never even happened.
— Read on www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6583599/Dwayne-Rock-Johnson-claims-controversial-snowflake-generation-interview-never-happened.html