Daily Archives: January 20, 2019

January 20 Obeying in Faith

Scripture Reading: Luke 5:1–11

Key Verse: Luke 5:5

Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”

Jesus was speaking to a group gathered along the shores of Galilee. When He finished, He turned to Peter and told him to raise the boat’s sails, head back out into the open water, and lower his nets for a large catch of fish.

Tired and wishing only for a few hours of rest, Peter seemed to hesitate. Did Jesus know what He was requesting? Everyone there knew the best time for fishing—especially with nets—was at night; the worst time was during the day.

Peter tried to reason: “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing.” But Jesus remained firm: “Let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4–5 nasb).

Every time we are called to obey God, our faith is challenged and our true nature revealed. The miracle of the tremendous quantity of fish was the result of Peter’s willingness to trust and obey Christ by faith. In obedience he replied, “At Your bidding I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5 nasb).

When our hearts are set on obedience, God responds mightily. There will be moments in life when you may ask, “Lord, is this a matter of obedience?” If so, choose to obey in faith, then “let down your nets” and prepare for a tremendous blessing.

Lord, I set my heart this day to obey Your Word. As I move forward in obedience, I am “letting down my nets” spiritually and preparing for a tremendous blessing. I know it is coming, so thank You in advance![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

And The Most Politically-Biased Profession Is…

Curious to know what industries attract more liberals vs. conservatives?

Nonpartisan polling firm Crowdpac analyzed federal campaign-contribution records going back to 1980 – scoring individual donors on where they fall on the political spectrum based on which candidates the gave money to, reports Business Insider.

According to CEO and cofounder Steve Hilton, the donation information “is the heart of the Crowdpac data model” since its “research shows that campaign contributions are the best predictor of how a candidate will behave in office.”

Hilton explained that Crowdpac’s main goal is to provide people “good objective, nonpartisan information about the candidates on their ballot in a simple form that they can understand.”

The company believes this will help “boost the number of small donors and reduce the influence of big money in politics.”

As part of its analysis, Crowdpac is able to break down where various professions fall on the political spectrum. It provided that data to Business Insider. –Business Insider

Here’s the view from 10,000 feet:

Who knew – entertainers and academics are the most liberal, while miners and farmers are the most conservative. The middle of the graphic takes a bit of explaining; “the “purple” professions that appear in the middle of the spectrum aren’t really bipartisan. They’re actually extremely polarized: Rather than having a large number of donors with middle of the road politics, they’re largely split, with a big liberal group on one side and a similarly sized large conservative group on the other”

Breaking it down further – liberal to conservative:

Polarized Professions:

While the above industries range from biased to a mixed bag, the following industries are sharply polarized – having a large number of donors at both ends of the spectrum.

While real estate and finance had a solid conservative lean, donors from the world of hedge funds and private capital split along ideological lines, with large groups on both sides of the spectrum: -BI

Source: And The Most Politically-Biased Profession Is…

Bulls Take Round One, But…

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Bull Rallies & Market Tops

Last week, we discussed the continuation of the rally from the December 24th lows.

“The rally, as we laid out two weeks ago, continues to work within the expected range back to 2650-2700.”

“Importantly, the previous deep ‘oversold’ condition which was supportive of the rally following Christmas Eve has now been fully reversed back into extreme ‘overbought’ territory. While this doesn’t mean the current rally will immediately reverse, it does suggest that upside from current levels is likely limited.” 

As I discussed previously, what was needed for the bulls to gain control of the narrative were several important issues:

  1. Central bank activity reverse from restrictive to accommodative,
  2. Washington to back off of “tariffs” and “trade war” rhetoric, and;
  3. The Federal Reserve to continue its more “dovish” stance.

Those issues were fulfilled with headlines from this past week (click a headline to read the article):

(Chart courtesy of ZeroHedge)

Between a more dovish Federal Reserve, “hopeful” headlines from Washington D.C. and a “S*** Ton” of liquidity, it was not surprising to see stocks hit our first level of major overhead resistance at 2670 as shown in the first chart above.

Of course, the question now is what happens next?

Passing The First Big Test

As noted last week:

“Over the next couple of weeks, the market is going to face the ‘test’ that has defined the ‘bear markets’ of the past.”

If the market had failed at the 50% retracement line, it would have confirmed the beginning of the bear market. However, the market climbed above the lows from October and November and the 50-dma clearing the first two levels of very tough resistance.

Importantly, while the market did break above the first level of resistance, it is currently NOT confirming the change to a bear market just yet. As shown in the chart below, the 2015-2016 correction ended when the market broke above, and successfully retested the 200-dma. That put the market back on a bullish price trend above that running moving average.

Currently, despite the sharp rally from the December 24th lows, the market remains in a down trend and below the 200-dma. Such continues to suggest the correction remains intact and a retest of lows is likely over the next couple of months.

This complies with my statement from last week:

“In order for the bulls to regain control of the market narrative, it will require a push back above the November highs and the 200-dma. Only then can the ‘bear market correction of 2018’ be officially declared ‘dead.’

However, given that “no one” can actually predict the future with any degree of accuracy, all we can do is make some educated guesses about where the markets go over the next few months. The chart below represents the four of the most probable outcomes out of a multitude of possibilities. (In other words, these are my “best guesses” as to where prices head to next.)

Pathway #1: While this is the most “hoped” for outcome, it is also the one with the lowest probability of coming to fruition. While there is a reasonable argument to be made provided Central Bank liquidity continues, the Administration drops the “trade war” rhetoric, and the Government “shut down” ends, there is a tremendous of downward pressure on prices currently keeping probabilities low.  (Probability 10%)

Pathway #2: Given the extreme overbought condition of the market, a pullback is likely. The most bullish would be a retest of the Oct/November lows that works off the short-term overbought condition. This would provide the best opportunity for a push above the 200-dma. Given the overbought short-term condition of the market, the compressed rise in prices, and extension from the lows, a correction is likely to entail a bigger draw down. (Probability 20%)

Pathway #3: Like Pathway #2, it is likely the market pulls back but breaks the previous support line instead. Such leads to additional selling pressure but the market finds support at the previous 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level. Such would set the market up for a subsequent rally, but the odds are the rally will fail at the 200-dma keeping downward pressure on the markets near-term. (Probability 40%)

Pathway #4: Is a resumption of the “bear market” trend in the weeks ahead that retest lows much like what was seen during the 2015-2016 correction process. (Probability 30%)

I know. That isn’t really helpful in terms of positioning near term, but the reality is that, currently, the majority of outcomes still lean to the “bearish” side of the ledger.

  • Price dynamics remain weak.
  • Volume on the rally has been extremely weak. 
  • Fundamentals continue to weaken
  • Economic data continues to deteriorate
  • The rally gives the Federal Reserve room to return to a more “hawkish” stance.
  • Furthermore, the Fed is still set to reduce their balance sheet by $17 billion in January; $46 billion in February;  $34 billion in March, and the Fed Funds target range will remain at 2.25-2.50 over the same period.
  • Despite rumors, there is little evidence currently the White House will back off of tariffs, back down from the “border wall” to end the shut down, and the Democrats are extremely unlikely to go along with an infrastructure bill until Trump is out of the “Oval Office” in 2020.

Zerohedge had a very good summation on these points as well.

There are three things, among others, that leap out to me as problematic for a seamless return to the Goldilocks scenario:

  1. We used to marvel at how markets were willing and able to ignore geopolitical events. I don’t think that’s any longer possible let alone likely. Populism and cross-border distrust has only gotten worse. 
  2. Two years ago volatility was actively suppressed and you were able to set your portfolio on autopilot. I don’t think the central banks have the firepower anymore to pull this off and the impetus to supplement with fiscal stimulus just isn’t there. 
  3. There is also more credible discussion of the probability of recessions. Forward-looking indicators in the U.S. have disappointed. In 2017, the Fed was able to slip in three rate hikes without the market batting an eye. Now the discussion has swung around to policy mistakes and inverting yield curves. 
  4. As a bonus worry, government dysfunction in general is appalling and getting worse. It’s much harder to be optimistic we are just going through a rough patch for the global order of things. Shutdowns and fraying coalitions seem to have become the norm. 

None of this might be today’s actionable news. But it’s important to keep reminding yourself that there is nothing static about global realities nor what, in the long run, are reliable correlations and havens. While not learning from the past is folly, forgetting the context of the moment is equally dangerous.”

Conclusion

There is no doubt the rally from the recent lows has been “breath taking.”

However, as noted, the rally is currently running in defiance of the underlying fundamentals which are likely to “matter” sooner, rather than later.

With earnings season underway, there is support in the short-term for asset prices but remember that earnings are only beating sharply downgraded estimates. (This is the equivalent of companies scoring a 71 after the level for an “A” was reduced from 90 to 70)

While the S&P 500 recovered more than half of its prior bear-market loss in only 17 days, this type of rally is often met with short-term weakness.

The weight of evidence suggests a retest of support at which time portfolios can be re-evaluated.

However, while many are suggesting the “bear market” is now officially over, the reality is that it is entirely too soon to make such a commitment. The current rally remains within an overall downtrend and is entirely consistent with the beginnings, not the endings, of more major bear market cycles.

We continue to run our portfolios with higher levels of cash, fixed income, and tighter stops on our current long-equity exposure until such time as the weight of evidence suggests differently. 

Source: Bulls Take Round One, But…

The Definitive List Of US/UK Media “Russiagate” Fake Stories

In our world of 24/7 news cycles but goldfish-like memories, deep divisions that fuel unprecedented cognitive dissonance, and a media in the pocket of the deep state; knowing what is fact and what is fake is increasingly hard for many and impossible for most.

The center has not held and the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ increasingly stick to their own echo chambers, further reinforcing that view that “the other side” are “wrong”, “idiots”, “dangerous” and must be stopped at almost any cost.

No topic of media attention – and thus America’s attention – is more divisive and propaganda-full than that of “Russiagate” – the ongoing belief that then candidate Trump sold his soul to the devil (Putin)… because how else could Hillary have lost?

However, the constant diatribe of leaked ‘breadcrumbs’ – day in and day out – have numbed most to what exactly is going on and for sure has destroyed any ability to discern right from wrong, news from lies, or fact from fiction… That is until Buzzfeed “bombshell” blew up in their hands this week when none less than Special Counsel Mueller confirmed their latest story is ‘fake news’.

So all those denials and head-shaking at President Trump’s insistence that the media is puking forth fake news is suddenly proved right as yet another conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact.

So, in an effort to remind readers of the reality we live in… to ‘red-pill’ those who have been ‘blue-pilled’ into blissful ignorance, Doug Johnson Hatlem (@djjohnso) has assembled a definitive list of over 50 major news stories that had to be retracted or seriously corrected – all in the same direction – with respect to Russia since 2016

3. Newsweek eventually completely took down the wild Kurt Eichenwald story about Wikileaks, Russia, and Kurt

8. Again the @AP had to correct a story, picked up by ABC among others, that said a Russian commander had told a counterpart in the Philippines “You can choose … to cooperate with United States of America or to cooperate with Russia.” NOW DELETED

11. An article by Ben Jacobs in the Guardian had to include two major corrections in asserting a long established close tie between Wikileaks and the Putin regime.

12. Widespread reports that Russia was behind the hack of Macron’s emails ahead of French election were debunked by French security forces.

14. Russia didn’t hack C-Span in spite of initial “confirmation” it had.

16. A NYT article on Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight show on RT had to include multiple corrections but is still riddle with inaccuracies.

17. Widespread reports said that Russia had hacked 80 UK Parliamentary email accounts. There was never confirmation and UK intel later said it was actually Iran (but very few outlets with stories still up corrected)

18. Mueller’s team didn’t specifically debunk the on-again/off-again Michael Cohan in Prague story (from the Steele Dossier), but when it recently reared it’s head again, it said that “many” news stories on the Trump-Russia probe are wrong

19. It went everywhere all the time for a while, but the NYT eventually issued a correction that it was 4 intelligence agencies, not 17 that, to varying degrees, agreed that Russia had interfered in election

20. As I’ve long pointed out, WaPo wrongly attributed a vuln scan of Arizona’s election system to Russia. Hackers with Anonymous had claimed the scan looong before the Russia story ever broke.

21. James Comey very publicly said that one of the first huge NYT’s stories that initially alleged repeated contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian spies was “in the main … not true”

22. CNN had to issue a major correction to a story that initially claimed Trump Jr. had advance notice of Wikileaks’ Podesta email dump. The date of the email in question was off by 10 days.

23. CNN just completely erased a story about Scaramucci, Trump, and a Russian Bank. So bad a correction simply wasn’t possible.

24. CNN, followed by other outlets claiming they had confirmed, falsely said that Cohen would confirm that Donald Trump had advance knowledge of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Most outlets retracted, but not CNN.

27. NBC news initially suggested that Megyn Kelly had gotten Putin to admit to having compromising material on Trump. Correction!

31. NBC: Feds monitored Cohen’s phone calls for a long time. Whoops! It was just getting a log of his calls.

32. Talking Points Memo wrongly reported that a Russian social media company was cooperating with the Mueller investigation about contacts between one of their executives and the Trump campaign.

33. It wasn’t Russian supersonic tech in Cuba that disoriented American diplomats it was … crickets… no really, crickets.

34. There’s yet to be any credible confirmation of this wild Guardian story on Manafort meeting with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK when there should have been ample confirmation, including video.

35. NPR had to apologize in an editors note after accusing Trump Jr. of lying in testimony to Senate investigators regarding a planned Tump Tower in Moscow.

36. Even the correction there in #35 doesn’t note that Trump said “yes” in the same interview to whether discussions continued into 2016.

37. Again the AP. It had to correct an erroneous report that Steele’s Dossier started out funded by the conservative Washington Free Beacon.

38. NBC’s Ken Dilanian initially breathlessly reported that Steele knew about the initial DNC hacks before they happened. Steele didn’t. Correction needed.

39. Bloomberg corrected its story to say that Mueller had targeted people near Trump with a Deutsche Bank subpoena, but not before many other outlets ran with story that Mueller had targeted Trump directly.

And finally…

40. BuzzBleed! “Sources tell WaPo that after BuzzFeed published its story, the special counsel’s office reviewed evidence to determine if there were docs or interviews like those described, reaching out to those they thought might have a stake. They found none.”

Read the rest of the list here at this stunning thread  of the real state of American ‘journalism’.

h/t @djjohnso

Source: The Definitive List Of US/UK Media “Russiagate” Fake Stories

Hundreds Gather to Watch 15 Homosexual Couples Married in Fort Worth Church — Reformation Charlotte

In the midst of a militant homosexual takeover of American churches, one church in the Dallas area married 15 sodomite couples in a single day.

The apostate Episcopal Church has been affirming of sexually deviant behavior for years, but one church, that didn’t previously allow same-sex marriage ceremonies changed its tune and decided to allow it. Reportedly, all fifteen couples had been previously “married” in ceremonies outside of the church when they decided to allow them to renew their vows Saturday.

“We’re just doing a little something tonight, no big deal,” the Rev. Casey Shobe told the hundreds of gay-affirming supporters packed in at the sanctuary.

via Hundreds Gather to Watch 15 Homosexual Couples Married in Fort Worth Church — Reformation Charlotte

Weekend Stock Market Update: It’s Getting Giddy Out There

The stock market has been on fire to start the year, giving investors reason for relief… and some joy.

But be careful not to get too giddy here.  This rally comes off of a sharp 20 percent correction, and it’s highly likely that the first half of 2019 will experience much more volatility.

The major market indices have shown some constructive behavior, but are nearing key technical price resistance levels.

The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 have taken out the 38.2 Fibonacci retracement level, 50 day moving average, and are now testing the 50 day fibonacci retracement. One level at a time.

No one knows exactly how to time volatile markets, so it’s best to have a system.  Mine is not perfect but it’s highly technical and offers me target levels to trim exposure (trim and trail). EVERY investor/trader is different and needs to apply any given analysis to THEIR timeframes.

We are on watch for news about the government shutdown, US China trade deal, and the the latest Brexit plan (any/all of these could have news this weekend).  Will the market “sell the news”? Having a plan helps us to operate without emotion.  No what-ifs.

Today we offer a quick glimpse at the major stock market indices: the Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500 Index, and Russell 2000.  Again, my analysis is technical and “aware”. The charts

Note that the following MarketSmith charts are built with Investors Business Daily’s product suite.  I am an Investors Business Daily (IBD) partner and promote the use of their products. The entire platform offers a good mix of technical and fundamental data.

The charts are annotated so I’ll let them stand on their own.

Nasdaq Composite “daily” Chart

Like the S&P 500 Index, the Nasdaq Composite is 2 bars past a 9 sell setup. The rally is V shaped thus far, but there is still much to prove (i.e. construction requires a higher low).

S&P 500 “daily” Chart

The broad stock market index has rallied 14 percent off the December 26 lows. A pullback or consolidation is overdue. What happens on the next pullback is important (i.e. bulls need to see a higher low). Every investor has to have a plan. And those plans must include a means for managing risk and a pathway (i.e. rules) for getting into and out of the market.

I tweeted out some key levels to watch on the S&P 500 on Thursday evening:

Russell 2000 “daily” Chart

The Russell 2000 peaked first and lead the market correction lower… bulls need this “high beta” small cap index to lead the market higher. Tech and small caps are great indicators of investor appetite. They are at resistance now.  Put them on your radar.

Trade safe and have a plan that follows your given timeframe.

Twitter: @andrewnyquist

The author does not have a position in mentioned securities at the time of publication. Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of any other person or entity.

Source: Weekend Stock Market Update: It’s Getting Giddy Out There

Shutdown Woes Show How Overgrown Government Has Become

Authored by Graham Noble via Liberty Nation,

The fact that a government shutdown can have a real impact on our economy proves just how pervasive it has become.

If certain pundits, journalists, and politicians are to be believed, the United States is about to fall into a third-world state of disrepair and the economy will quickly collapse. The end time, it seems, is upon us. All this because parts of the federal government have been functioning at less than full bureaucratic capacity for 27 days.

The very hysteria and indignation that followed this partial shutdown highlights the sad fact that many people have come to view government as not only vital to every aspect of human society, but it’s most important institution. That anyone is even talking about the impact of the shutdown on the U.S. economy demonstrates how sprawling and pervasive the federal government has become.

Government Spends Too Much Money On Itself

The United States has the largest economy of any country in the world, dwarfing that of China, which now has the second-largest. As an aside to those who believe Russia represents anything close to an existential threat to the U.S., Russia’s is the world’s twelfth-largest, with a GDP that comes in around one-tenth of America’s. The point, though, is that when a partial government shutdown has any significant effect upon such an enormous economy, that government is far too big and is spending far too much money, just on operating costs – never mind what it spends on actually running federal programs.

Democrats, for whom a government shutdown is the worst thing that can ever happen, apparently, are busy appearing on cable news shows, painting grim pictures of all the things the government is currently not doing. Even if they were being honest – which is not the case, in many respects – it seems that the world continues to turn and Americans are going about their business with a few inconveniences. The well-compensated federal workers who have been furloughed will get back-pay when the shutdown eventually ends. In some cases, the private sector has stepped in to pick up the slack and there is, of course, nothing the government can do that the private sector cannot do.

What Defines A Real Crisis?

Thousands of migrants from Central America are massing just over the southern border, at the mercy of criminals, rapists, and those who traffic in humans and drugs. These people have been made false promises and are now homeless and vulnerable to anyone wishing to do them harm – which often turns out to be their fellow countrymen. This, according to Democrats, is not a crisis – but a few government agencies temporarily scaling back their operations is. This is a snapshot of the leftist mentality: The health and welfare of the government itself are more important than that of actual human beings.

Shutdown Is Not All Bad News

One anonymous Trump administration official sees the shutdown as an opportunity. The Daily Caller published an op-ed written by this individual, who describes how the deep state is working furiously to cripple the Trump agenda and how so many federal workers, knowing it is extremely difficult to get fired, do as little work as possible. “80 percent [of the federal employees known to the op-ed’s author] feel no pressure to produce results,” he or she writes. “If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.”

“Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.”

The official goes on to point out that, during the shutdown, most federal agencies are actually functioning more efficiently since the lack of funding means that only essential employees are at work. This unnamed writer – whose identity is known to The Daily Caller – suggests senior government officials can use the now extended shutdown to refocus, reprioritize, and “weed out the saboteurs.”

Ultimately, no-one will starve to death or meet any other form of untimely end as a direct result of the shutdown. The nation continues normal activity, albeit with some extra-long flight delays. The federal government itself continues to function in its usual, dysfunctional way. The only people who are really freaking out over the shutdown are Democratic politicians and other leftists who cannot imagine life without the constant overbearing interference of the almighty administrative state.

Source: Shutdown Woes Show How Overgrown Government Has Become

Transgender Takeover Underway: Harvard Trying to Rewrite Core Medical Facts on Gender

One of the most prestigious medical schools in the country is attempting to instill in its graduates the idea that recent societal beliefs on transgenderism and gender ideology are fact — not fiction.

Source: Transgender Takeover Underway: Harvard Trying to Rewrite Core Medical Facts on Gender

Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Campus in Naples, FL Fired for Not Letting James MacDonald Preach There & Requesting That Church Return to Autonomy

James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, speaks at the Pastors’ Conference 2014, ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting, on Monday, June 9, 2014, in Baltimore, Md. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

The pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel’s location in Naples, Florida has been fired after he refused to allow James MacDonald, the longtime pastor of the Chicago-area megachurch, to preach there during his recently announced “indefinite sabbatical.”

In an email to members of HBC-Naples, Thursday, John Secrest, the church pastor, said he disagreed with the decision that the Chicago-based HBC elders made recently with the announcement that MacDonald would be taking an indefinite sabbatical amid scrutiny of the church yet would preach occasionally at HBC-Naples through the winter months.

Secrest explained Thursday that he wrote the elders, asking them to reverse this decision but they refused. The Naples site was originally planted in 2016 as an independent church but partnered with Harvest Chicago in February of 2018, becoming its eighth location.

Secrest also requested that the Florida church return to local autonomy, ending the partnership agreement. The Harvest-Naples pastor maintained he was unaware of a lengthy investigation into HBC regarding the alleged abusive behavior of MacDonald, a culture of fear and intimidation at the church, and suspicious financial activities involving various ministry entities.

“The good intentions of our ministry partnership with Harvest Chicago have been overshadowed by these developments. Furthermore, when we entered into this agreement there was not a disclosure of the investigative reporting which led to a lawsuit and the resulting fallout,” Secrest wrote.

“I am grieved over my own failure of leadership to not stand firm in objections I raised during the process of making this agreement. I allowed my fear of man and my own insecurities to compromise my responsibility to protect our church. Please forgive me.”

Harvest Bible Chapel terminated Secrest Friday.

“Despite great efforts and reasoning, John has chosen not to yield to the consensus of our local leadership team or the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel. Conversations with John over the last few months, culminating this week, have made it clear that he no longer desires to work for Harvest Bible Chapel,” the elders said in a message to HBC-Naples members.

“Because of his continued unwillingness to yield to the direction of the elders and the insubordinate email he recently sent counter to the elder direction, it became clear that he should not continue in his role,” they said.

The latest developments come on the heels of MacDonald and the church dropping a defamation lawsuit earlier this month that they had filed last fall against Julie Roys, who in December published an eight-month-long investigative report called “Hard Times at Harvest” in World magazine. The lawsuit was also against two former HBC members, along with their wives, who since 2012 had been blogging critically about MacDonald and the church on a site called The Elephant’s Debt.

As The Christian Post reported Thursday, amid heightened scrutiny of the ministry HBC elders initiated a “peacemaking process” in order to begin mending relationships and reviewing its management procedures.

“I am grieved that people I love have been hurt by me in ways they felt they could not express to me directly and have not been able to resolve. I blame only myself for this and want to devote my entire energy to understanding and addressing these recurring patterns,” MacDonald said in an addendum to the elder’s announcement of the peacemaking process.

Thus far, both Roys and the Elephant’s Debt bloggers have both independently stated that they are unmoved by HBC’s latest actions and MacDonald’s words, believing that before any real peace can occur sincere repentance, public apologies, and resignations must happen.

Source: Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Campus in Naples, FL Fired for Not Letting James MacDonald Preach There & Requesting That Church Return to Autonomy

The world’s biggest stock bear says we’re in a dangerous ‘trap-door situation’ — and explains why you shouldn’t be fooled by the market’s recent surge

  • John Hussman — the outspoken investor and former professor who’s been predicting a stock crash — says traders shouldn’t be fooled by the equity market’s big ongoing rebound.
  • Hussman explains why he remains bearish on the market in the long term, and breaks down why stocks are still wildly overvalued, even after the December meltdown.

As stocks continue to rip higher following their Christmas-week meltdown, it would be easy to sit back and assume the worst is over.

After all, we’ve already recovered 14% from the 20-year low reached on Dec. 24 — a level that brought the S&P 500 within a hair of a bear market. To hear optimists tell it, the market shook out some negative drivers and is now free to resume its climb higher at more reasonable valuations.

But John Hussman is not particularly known for his optimism — at least not since stocks reached what he views as eye-bleeding valuations. And he contends that the coast is far from clear.

Hussman — the former economics professor and current president of the Hussman Investment Trust — notes that despite the close brush with a bear market, the stock market is still far too expensive to be considered attractive.

That’s reflected in the chart below, which shows stocks are still less than 10% below what he describes as the “steepest speculative extreme in history.”

And while the valuation argument is his core point, Hussman is also intensely focused on what he calls “market internals,” which are a series of indicators that take the overall pulse of the equity landscape.

Hussman has long argued that those internals are pointing in an overwhelmingly negative direction. And while he acknowledges they briefly flashed positive after the December meltdown, he says they’re now back in their long-running negative territory.

“Aside from the likelihood of a knee-jerk market spike on any variant of the word ‘deal,’ we continue to be in a trap-door situation with respect to market risk,” Hussman said, referring to possible trade-war progress.

He continued: “Though we did take the edge off of our negative outlook to allow for a scorching relief rally, my present view is that the overall function of that relief rally has been served.”

So where do we go from here? If Hussman is to be believed, the market could plummet roughly 55% from current levels. That would bring the S&P 500 to 1,192, which is the level he says would represent a “fairly run-of-the-mill-cycle completion.”

Hussman’s track record

For the uninitiated, Hussman has repeatedly made headlines by predicting a stock-market decline exceeding 60% and forecasting a full decade of negative equity returns. And as the stock market has continued to grind mostly higher, he’s persisted with his calls, undeterred.

But before you dismiss Hussman as a wonky perma-bear, consider his track record, which he breaks down in his latest blog post. Here are the arguments he lays out:

  • Predicted in March 2000 that tech stocks would plunge 83%, then the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index lost an “improbably precise” 83% during a period from 2000 to 2002
  • Predicted in 2000 that the S&P 500 would likely see negative total returns over the following decade, which it did
  • Predicted in April 2007 that the S&P 500 could lose 40%, then it lost 55% in the subsequent collapse from 2007 to 2009

In the end, the more evidence Hussman unearths around the stock market’s unsustainable conditions, the more worried investors should get. Sure, there may still be returns to be realized in this market cycle, but at what point does the mounting risk of a crash become too unbearable?

That’s a question investors will have to answer themselves. And one Hussman will clearly keep exploring in the interim.

Source: The world’s biggest stock bear says we’re in a dangerous ‘trap-door situation’ — and explains why you shouldn’t be fooled by the market’s recent surge

January 20 Spiritual Pride

Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1–13

Key verse: Luke 18:11

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.”

Most believers would balk at the idea of being labeled as having a “holier than thou” attitude. We think of classic examples of spiritual arrogance, such as the Pharisee in Jesus’ story who got on his knees to thank God that he was not as bad as some other people (Luke 18:11).

What creeps into our hearts more often is a subtle spiritual pride, a smug security that we are not vulnerable to certain kinds of sins anymore. Joni Eareckson Tada illustrates this issue in her devotional Diamonds in the Dust.

“You’ll never catch me doing that!” one might say. Oh yeah?

Upright and obedient, Noah stood alone against a carousing, lustful world that drank itself silly. Who would have thought that Noah would end up drunk?

Bold and courageous David was brave enough to go up against Goliath, the warrior giant of the Philistines; later on he made believe that he was a madman for fear of his enemies.

And consider Elijah. We take him to be a rather brave man, wielding the sword of God’s vengeance against tens of thousands. But the threat of one woman sends him into suicidal despair …

Just when you think you know yourself, you do or say something that seems so out of character. But it’s not … Don’t be surprised. Just be careful that you, too, don’t fall.

Keep me from spiritual pride, dear Lord. Let me walk in true holiness.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 21). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Lamborghini Pastor Who Cheated on Wife Lives in $1.8 Million House Bought By Church — Reformation Charlotte

John Gray’s Home, 1 Calaverdi Ct, Simpsonville, SC

John Gray, pastor of Relentless Church in Greenville, SC admitted earlier this month to his congregation that he had cheated on his wife. Two weeks before that, he caught fire for a video that surfaced of him gifting his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini, boasting that it wasn’t the church that paid for it.

Gray, a former associate of the prosperity pimp, Joel Osteen made national news when he told his congregation to, instead of putting money in the offering basket, to take what they needed. “We’ve got too many pulpit pimps who want to get fat off people but don’t want to meet the needs of the poor people,” gray lamented.

But what we didn’t know at the time was that John Gray was living the high life in a 1.8 million dollar home–paid for by the church. The Greenville Times reported and Reformation Charlotte has independently verified that the purchase price of this home in October of 2018. They also reported that Relentless Church leaders said the Relentless-owned home was needed to attract a leader of Gray’s “caliber.”

John Gray, who claims that there are too many pulpit pimps getting fat off their congregations obviously doesn’t have a mirror in his mega-home. Gray himself trained under the master pimp of all time of the largest prosperity gospel church in America, Joel Osteen. His worldly, materialistic approach to church is far from a biblical gospel–it is another gospel all together. So the chain of events gathered from the news reports starts about two years ago where he cheats on his wife, he starts a prosperity gospel church in SC, his wife finds out he’s been cheating and they nearly divorce but she decides to stick it out, he buys his wife a 200,000 dollar Lamborghini and boasts that he paid for it himself, not using church funds, all while living in a 1.8 million dollar home paid for by the church.

Who needs a faithful husband when you got goods like that?

via Lamborghini Pastor Who Cheated on Wife Lives in $1.8 Million House Bought By Church — Reformation Charlotte

Rising Credit Card Use Shows Consumers Are Strapped

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Danielle DiMartino Booth

(Former Central Banker, newsletter provider, research analyst, contrarian)

Even though evidence is mounting that the U.S. economy may be soon heading into a recession, there are plenty of analysts who say that the surge in credit-card borrowing is a sign of strong confidence among households. That’s hardly the case. In fact, households’ confidence in the future growth of their incomes has been cooling since late last summer, which means borrowers will only reach for what’s in their wallet to compensate for what their paychecks will not cover.

Many working adults have no recollection of credit-card borrowing not being a mainstay among their financing options. But then, few would be able to identify a Diners Club card, which was a popular brand during the 1980s “yuppie” era when Americans first began to embrace credit card spending in earnest. These days, consumers are not keen to lean on credit cards, partly due to a cultural and financial shift in the industry.

The financial crisis arguably altered households’ views on charging beyond their means. It didn’t hurt that the availability of subprime credit all but disappeared for a few years or that the interest rate on credit cards remained in double-digit territory despite the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy. That said, the idea of frugality re-entered many households’ thinking in the wake of the severe hardship the foreclosure crisis brought to bear on millions of working Americans. Debit cards became the predominant form of plastic used at the checkout.

And yet, consumer credit likely rounded out 2019 at a new $4 trillion milestone as runaway higher education and car-price inflation coupled with ridiculously looser lending standards pushed households to take on record levels of student loan and auto debt. At roughly $1 trillion, credit cards are but a co-star in a star-studded, full-length feature film. A long history of credit-card borrowing suggests that we would have multiples of today’s $1.04 billion in outstanding balances had the growth rate of spending on plastic maintained the headier double-digit paces clocked in the 1980s and 1990s.

Several factors worked to slow the rate of credit card usage, few of which were virtuous. The past several recoveries were characterized as “jobless” due to the prolonged period required to recapture prior cycle highs in the employment-to-population ratio and anemic wage growth that persisted in such environments. And while credit-card spending certainly held up during the years the housing bubble was inflating, households didn’t have to lean near as hard on plastic when their homes had infamously become de facto ATM machines.

The question is where credit-card borrowing goes from here in view of the deteriorating economic outlook. August marked the high in income expectations as measured by Conference Board data. If history is precedent, there will be a rush to tap available credit as households become increasingly aware that the economy is headed into recession.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas layoff announcements began rising on an annualized basis in August. And the quits rate, as measured by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, peaked in August. Janet Yellen, a labor economist by training, was known to lean heavily on the quits rate, which rises as workers gain increased confidence in the availability of jobs. And finally, confidence among small businesses, which we know are the largest source of job creation, also peaked in August. There is a pattern.

You may note that the effective personal income tax rate — defined as the taxes paid on income, including realized net capital gains and on personal property — has tended to move up alongside credit-card borrowing with two exceptions in the history depicted. The 1980s and the current episode are marked by falling income taxes, hence the decline in this tax rate ahead of recession. It’s intuitive that this holistic tax rate also rises as stocks rally throughout an expansion and declines into recession as the swing factor of capital gains drives the marginal moves.

Add it all up and it’s likely that any rush to “charge it” will be a last gasp as income expectations continue to decline and eventually cross lines with credit-card borrowing. The closer we get to recession, the more desperate a sign credit-card borrowing is anything but a reflection on strengthening in household finances. Households wouldn’t be reporting that they expect their incomes to rise less if that was the case.

Source: Rising Credit Card Use Shows Consumers Are Strapped

Harry Reid Exposes Greatest Liberal Scam of All’Time

What’s in the news day and night? The wall.

It’s all anyone talks about or thinks about or debates. Have you heard? The U.S. government is partially shut down over the wall.

But it’s all a massive liberal scam. A Ponzi scheme. Pure fraud. Bernie Madoff couldn’t come up with a better scam.

Because the same liberal politicians and donors who scream about the “racism” and “immorality” and “ineffectiveness” of a wall all live behind walls.

President Trump needs to buy TV infomercial time and run a 30-minute TV show in a Ross Perot fashion — featuring aerial views of the mansions and estates of liberals, protected by walls, gates, and armed guards. You know, the exact same protections they don’t want you and me or our children to have.

Exhibit A is Harry Reid, the Democratic former Senate Majority Leader from my home state of Nevada.

Please ignore the advertising slogan “What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.” It’s not true. Las Vegas is the crossroads of America. What happens here is happening everywhere. And I’ve uncovered the biggest liberal scam in America — going on right here in Las Vegas.

It revolves around my home community in Henderson. I live in the exclusive Anthem Country Club. There are about 1,500 beautiful homes behind the gates of Anthem. Together, these homes are worth around $1 billion — in just one country club in one Las Vegas suburb.

What’s the amazing appeal of Anthem Country Club? It’s got a big beautiful wall around it. And thick iron gates in front are protected by armed guards. The result? There is virtually no crime inside walled, gated, armed Anthem.

Life is good behind the gates of Anthem.

In the rest of Las Vegas … not so much. In the rest of Vegas … lots of crime, gang bangers, drugs, car-jackings, and home invasion robberies. Proving walls and gates and lots of armed guards are a good thing if you want your family to be safe.

But wait. My Anthem community recently added yet another feature to keep our residents safe. Every vehicle entering our gates must show a government-issued photo ID or they will be denied entry.

Guess who’s my neighbor, just steps away from my home? Former Sen. Harry Reid. The one and only. He could have chosen anywhere in Nevada or America to retire. But he didn’t. He chose the protection of fortress Anthem for his family.

There are many lessons we can learn from studying Anthem Country Club.

Lesson No. 1: If you want your family and children to be safe, BUILD A WALL — preferably a wall that is also surrounded by armed guards. The Vatican understands this lesson. Every celebrity in Hollywood understands. All the wealthy politicians in Washington, D.C., understand. All the big-shot media executives understand. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and George Soros all understand. Barbara Streisand, George Clooney, Sean Penn, and Madonna all understand. They are protected by big walls, sturdy gates, and armed guards.

Lesson No. 2: Liberal Democrats are hypocrites. All the liberal bigmouths who denigrate the wall live behind walls and gates. None is a better example than Reid, former chief water carrier and bottle washer of President Barack Obama. Reid spent his entire Senate career fighting viciously against a wall. Reid argued walls were terrible and unnecessary things.

So, why did Harry choose Anthem? Because he loves his family. That’s why we all want a wall at America’s southern border. To protect our country and our children from bad people, drugs, disease, and violent crime. Welcome to the neighborhood, Harry. Can I bring a cake by?

Lesson No. 3: Liberals lie about everything. Liberals don’t just use walls to separate themselves from the very poor and illegal alien voters they count on to elect them. They use limos and private jets and send their children to lily-white private schools where they’ll never be around gangbangers or illegal aliens or Muslim refugees or disease.

Lesson No. 4: Guns must not be as bad as liberals claim. Because liberals may argue against gun ownership, but at the same time, they have armed guards protect them.

Lesson No. 5: The argument against voter identification is a total scam. How do all those gardeners, maids and pool cleaners drive through the gates of Anthem every day? The answer: They all already have a government-issued photo ID. So I guess it’s a lie when liberal politicians claim that poor people and minorities don’t have a photo ID or that it’s too difficult for them to get or that it’s “racist” to ask them for it.

Voter ID is an issue because liberals want election fraud. They can’t win without it. They want illegals to be able to vote by the millions for Democrats.

Folks, we’re being scammed. But not just any scam. This is the greatest scam of all time. Anthem, my beautiful, safe community, is the proof. What happens here in the suburbs of Vegas, is happening everywhere.

My advice? BUILD THE WALL.

Source: Harry Reid Exposes Greatest Liberal Scam of All’Time

Is Religion Anti-Intellectual? — American Thinker

While the highly educated have relegated traditional belief in a creator to nothing more now than cultural mythology, the masses haven’t followed.

Should you believe in a God?  All the discord and vitriol in our culture boils down to how you would answer.  Border walls, gay marriage, abortion, national defense, school choice — where you stand on these issues and the myriad others comprising our daily tussle is for the most part defined by how you answer this question.  Your answer, yeah or nay, draws a very hard line.

The professional philosopher John G. Messerly begins with this question in his recent Salon piece, “Religion’s smart-people problem: The shaky intellectual foundations of absolute faith.”

Dr. Messerly’s answer to the question he poses is not surprisingly a resounding no.

He begins establishing the foundation for his argument by citing statistics showing only 14% of professional philosophers and a mere 7% of members of the National Academy of Sciences hold any religious beliefs.  Unlike earlier ages when belief in a Creator was overwhelmingly accepted, the discoveries of modern science and philosophical progress have rendered the idea of an immaterial intelligence as the ultimate source of the universe to the very fringe of intellectual discourse.

Messerly’s great lament is that while the highly educated have relegated traditional belief in a creator to nothing more now than cultural mythology, the masses haven’t followed.  Religious belief still remains widespread despite all the pontificating to the contrary by the academy.

In sounding like an attempt to excuse the ineffectiveness of materialism to eradicate religiosity, Messerly cites a couple of reasons for such societal intransigence.  First, homo sapiens has a genetic predisposition for religious beliefs and practices.  Through natural selection, religion provided an advantage to survival such as “social cohesion and cooperation.”  (Is this not a good thing?)

He then cites social dysfunction and lack of an effective social safety net as driving functions for religious beliefs.  Messerly reduces religion to simply a coping mechanism for the stress caused by poverty, incarceration rates, income inequality, teenage births, abortions, corruption, etc.  Could he be interpolating from the old adage, “there’s no atheists in foxholes”?

Messerly then goes on to insinuate (though he admits no causal relationship has been established) that the best countries to live in have the lowest rates of religious believers.  Oh yes, he cites the UN’s list of the 20 best countries to live in and the countries at the top of the list like Norway, Australia, Sweden, and Canada are also the least religious.  The rating is said to be established by GDP per capita, education, and health.  Honestly, I don’t trust any data coming out of the UN (does East Anglia ring a bell?) and maybe they put Norway at the top specifically because they are the least religious.  Religion tends to get in the way of world government, you know.

From this data Messerly then summarizes by writing, “There are good reasons to doubt that religious belief makes people’s lives go better, and good reasons to believe that they make their lives go worse.”  I think he was stamping his feet as he typed this in.

Messerly then turns to affirming the “overwhelming body of evidence of biological evolution.”  It’s pretty obvious that he is in over his head in affirming really anything associated with scientific evidence.  He just asserts with no premises in support, which probably satisfies your typical Salon reader.  And what he affirms, the standard unguided natural selection acting on random mutation assertion of the materialists, is just so twentieth century.

The evolutionary theory that the Messerlys of the world just accept is being steadily dismantled.  Darwin’s theory has been totally refuted by the fossil record.  Search the web for the Cambrian Explosion and judge the evidence for yourself.  The transitional forms that Darwin insisted must exist for his theory to become law are nowhere to be found.  Science has been looking for 150 years now and the record is a sparse as it was when Darwin expressed doubt in his own theory.

Of course, Darwin had no idea of the existence of DNA and its role in protein synthesis.  Today we know an enormous amount about the genetic code and its role in biological life. We understand what it does, but we have absolutely no idea how such a sophisticated set of instructions and their sequencing could have self-assembled through natural unguided processes.   The most brilliant software engineers in the world cannot begin to duplicate the eloquence we see in the DNA code.  It clearly displays the earmarks of intelligence to those willing to see.

Messerly continues by smugly asserting anecdotal evidence that the more educated one becomes, the less likely one will attain or retain religious beliefs.  I actually concur in this sense, the more time you spend in the rigid, censoring, intolerant, secular academy, the more you will be conditioned to conform with the naturalistic party line.  Just mention “intelligent design” in a college faculty room and see what happens to your prospects for tenure, department chair, or even continued employment.  Thank you, Ben Stein.

Messerly then turns to fideism in his final attempt to discredit religious belief.  He essentially asserts that there really is no sound evidence to support belief in a supreme being.  Therefore, religious followers are reduced to living by unfounded fairy tales.  He then attaches the claim that “your beliefs affect other people, and your false beliefs may harm them.”  Kind of chillingly suggests the need for religious censorship, does it not?

Let’s take a look at some of the evidence that secular science has provided us about our existence:

  1. The universe had a beginning.  At some point in the finite past everything that comprises the universe sprung into being.  Prior to this nothing existed.  Not even quantum vacuums.  Something caused the universe to spring into existence.  The highly speculative multiverse does not help secular arguments here.
  2. The physical properties of the universe are set to values so precise that it is virtually impossible to have happened simply by chance.
  3. Biological life is infused with information.  Information in the form of specified complexity a la DNA, only comes from a mind.

There’s far more to cite but I’m running into a word limit.The question, then, is what’s the best fit to this data, this evidence? That it all happened by chance or is an intelligent agent involved in creation?

John G. Messerly needs to set aside his naturalistic fideism and take a hard look at the real evidence uncovered by secular science before accusing theists of unfounded belief.

via Is Religion Anti-Intellectual? — American Thinker

Pope Francis Knew His Protege Took Nude Selfies, Abused Seminarians; But Promoted Him to Top Vatican Post

The Vatican received information in 2015 and 2017 that an Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis had taken naked selfies, exhibited “obscene” behavior and had been accused of misconduct with seminarians, his former vicar general told The Associated Press, undermining Vatican claims that allegations of sexual abuse were only made a few months ago.

Source: Pope Francis Knew His Protege Took Nude Selfies, Abused Seminarians; But Promoted Him to Top Vatican Post

Matt Chandler Endorses Book That Calls For Mixing Christianity With Pagan Mysticism — Reformation Charlotte

Matt Chandler has written the foreword to a new book by Andrew Wilson, pastor of King’s Church in London, UK titled Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship. The book is essentially a call to mix Christianity with Pagan spiritualism as well as Montanism–the heresy of “new revelation” that was condemned by the early Church.

Chandler writes,

I wanted the joy and energy of my AOG friend’s church but felt deeply connected to something transcendent in the normal liturgy of my home church…I loved the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and longed to take communion weekly, but I also loved watching people come alive in the gifts God had given them, seeing spontaneity in the gathering, and having excited anticipation about what God might do as we gathered…It was around 2003 that I stumbled across my first “Reformed Charismatic.” It was as if I had found a small strand of gold in a dark mine.

He then goes on to endorse what Andrew Wilson envisions as “Eucharismatic Worship,” or a mixing of Christianity with the heresy of charismaticism, stating “God has graciously given us the historic formalities meant to shape us and the wildness of the Spirit!”

Think about the implications of that for a moment. “The wildness of the Spirit.” The Scripture nowhere describes the Holy Spirit as “wild,” but as one who constantly points to Christ. The charismatics, in actuality, blaspheme the Holy Spirit by attributing to Him an ostentatious character and describing Him as an attention whore. It is patently false.

And the “gifts that God had given them” that Chandler and other Montanists refer to are nothing more than a reproduction of Pagan mysticism. These “gifts” are not manifestations of the Holy Spirit moving–things like speaking in tongues (babbling), prophetic utterances, and divine healings at the request of a “healer.” This “wildness” that you see among the charismatic movement is actually rooted in Eastern mysticism and the euphoric manifestations are no different than what you see in the Kundalini Spirit of Hinduism. See the video below:

So while we have highly influential leaders in the visible Church calling for a seduction into this Pagan practice, and calling it “good,” I might admonish you to reject this, mark them who promote it, and avoid these people at all costs. These are not men who should be shepherding God’s people.

via Matt Chandler Endorses Book That Calls For Mixing Christianity With Pagan Mysticism — Reformation Charlotte