Sunday, April 5, 2009

Freedom and Money

Because of the huge excesses of a relativity small group of people in the financial industry, a chain of events was set off that will reverberate and ripple though our financial ecosystem for generations to come.

America was founded on the idea of freedom and the limitations of the government. One of the ways freedom is expressed, is in the ability to commence in trade with each other, within states, and with other nation states. Thomas Paine said that once free of Britain, we could sell our wares to any nation in the world. Freedom of commerce in America is a tradition that goes hand in hand with other personal freedoms.

One of the best positions to be in these days, seems to be one of our former foes. Japan and Germany come to mind. Iraq seems to be getting better every month. After we get finished destroying you, we always try to dust you off, stand you up, and send you on your way. We believe in the freedom and ability of commerce so much, that after destroying your country we will help rebuild it, on our dime. Combining freedom from tyranny along with freedom to work is a powerful combination, one which we have used to our advantage.

As Americans, we understand that personal freedom is expressed in our freedom to work and play as we see fit. The products of that work are sold and the proceeds then stored as money in banks. Banks not only store the money, but perform the important function of moving money around in the financial system though loans. They move the money between companies, individuals, and even nations, all while taking a percentage.

The question has been asked, what happens when that money stops being directed by independent banks, but is controlled by the government. The answer to that is that politics directs the flow of money, not the indeterministic calculus of risk management. Nothing good can come from government control of banks. Business for banks is hard enough, without having to deal with another powerful, vocal, and flighty partner who listens to the cycle of news and not to the bottom line. Many banks are starting to realize that and starting to pay back the loans from the government. It appears that many of them did not realize they were not making deals with another bank. The guys across the table probably looked and talked like bankers, but most bankers don't have the ability to print as much money as they want. When a bank gets a loan paid back, that means they made money and can loan out the money again making even more money. When the government gets a loan paid back, all that means to them is a loss power.

An even darker question is: If you were going to undermine the capitalist freedoms of our great nation, where would you start?

Lord we pray for the ones running the banks to see the proper path towards freedom and independence, we also pray that their lenders are good, just and do not abuse their power. May you guide us and keep us through the tough times and help us to remember that you are the giver of all good things during the good times.

Man of Issachar

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Afghanistan Strategy

Whatever you do, don't call it a surge.

"Obama's new strategy will have about 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan by summer."

In most cases, putting 60,000 more US troops into action would probably be a good thing. I hope and pray that this is the right move. I believe it is the right move. Of course, I hope that this does not jeopardize the progress that we have made in Iraq.

O Lord, let us be the shining light of civilization, bringing order and justice to the fallen institutions of man.

Man of Issachar

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The second amendment vs private property rights

There has been a battle brewing for the past few years between the second amendment and private property rights. The first volley of the battle was fired by Weyerhaeuser Co., on October 1 in the year of 2002 in the state of Oklahoma. They brought in drug sniffing dogs, which found guns in vehicles. The plant officials gave workers who owned the cars an option, either allow your vehicle to be searched or you are fired. When the vehicles were searched and guns found, 12 employees were suspended and later fired. In 2004 the Oklahoma legislature passed a law making it legal for employees to have guns in their car while at work regardless of company policy. It passed with a 92 to 4 vote in the senate.

Then Weyerhaeuser, Whirlpool, Williams (a large Tulsa employer), and ConocoPhillips sued to keep the law from going into effect because it was “an unconstitutional taking of private property”. At this point, I knew this case was going to the Supreme Court. In 2007, a judge ruled that the new law violated the federal “1970 Occupational Health and Safety Act”. By this time ConocoPhillips was the only plaintiff left, as the other companies dropped out. Recently, a federal court ruled in favor of Oklahoma. So the law is still hung up in court and one step closer to the highest court in the land.

This issue is less than clear, gun right activists can disagree. First I want to state some clear facts we can all agree on. The judge (U.S. District Judge Terence Kern) who voided the state law is a moron. His reasoning is weak. A federal law passed in 1970 is just a distraction, taking away from the discussion surrounding the second or fourth amendment (you can even include the 3rd and a sprinkle of the 5th in there, because it seems like the 4th really starts and ends there). The issues at heart here are private property and the right to be armed.

Many have cast this case in the light of the second amendment and private property. In fact that was what the original law and suit were about. Arguments are very strong on both sides, the right to bear arms and self protection on one side. The right of a private organization to control what happens on its property, on the other. The fact is that neither of these rights is without their limit. Background checks, CCW laws, environmental, and zoning regulations all place limits on the rights. One solution would be to pick the right that you think is stronger or the one you want to be stronger, but by doing that you will weaken the other. That sets a dangerous precedent. In a world where my rights are constantly under fire, having any of them weakened is not an option. What is a freedom loving man to do?

While many have cast this in the context of the second amendment and private property, they are wrong. This is a case of property rights colliding. Portable private property is in conflict with another’s stationary property. Is my car considered my home? Do I have rights against search and seizure? Privacy? Do my vehicle rights trump my employer’s control of their property? Those are questions that are much smaller in scope and easier to answer, than the first debate. Those are questions I feel courts can begin to address.

This would have never been an issue if the corporation had kept to their selves. If a company had left the private property of it’s employees alone, they would have never had a issue. They could have left the policy on the books and only applied it if there was good reason. The letter and the spirit of the law would have been both satisfied. Additionally, responsible employees’ rights would have never been threatened. One company overreached and then the state reacted to protect the people who place votes, and that is how we get a Supreme Court case. In this case, I tend to side with the rights of the individual over the rights of a corporation. It was the rights of the individual that were trespassed against originally and I hope those rights are restored.

Two weekends ago in Tulsa there were six shootings in nearly 48 hours. All of these shootings happened north of Highway 244. I happen to work above the bloodline and I carry to work.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It is painfully obvious to me that God has used America in the past. The great wars against fascism and communism. Our timely creation allowed the testing of a new model of government - one that offered more individual liberty than any before it. Our economic system brought great power and freedom to millions who did not have it before. If you were to write the obituary of the US, the achievements would be great. The ideals exemplified would be good, wholesome, and worthy following.

Of course we are not dead yet, we are weak though. The core structural, support that kept the entire system working, is not as strong as it used to be. It has grown lazy, fat, and detached from reality. The individual is what makes America strong.

America's collective strength comes from the combined moral, spiritual, mental, and physical energy that is inside all of us. Look around next time you are in public. Pay attention of what is being taught in schools. Watch how the young occupy their time. Is it making the individual stronger? Probably not. Though, they are probably having a lot of fun.

All is not lost, the tough times ahead will strengthen or kill the weak. The future will refocus the the distracted. It will bring a stark clarity to those just muddling though.

May the Lord guide us and keep us. May he hand us our foes. May we speed his vengeance though the destruction of our enemies. In the end, may He save us all.

Man of Issachar