Chapter 22: Culture and Capital

Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out (Deuteronomy 28:1 – 6). The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you (Deuteronomy 28:9 – 11).
AnalysisThis passage and its parallel in Leviticus 26 present the case for obeying biblical law. The bulk of each chapter lists negative sanctions for disobeying. The chapters deal with sanctions. Sanctions reinforce God’s law.
The nation of Israel was set apart by its legal order. ‘The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways’ (v. 9). Biblical holiness means being set apart ethically. It has to do with sanctification. Israel’s holiness was comprehensive. It involved every aspect of Israelite culture. Biblical holiness is corporate, not just individual. Deuteronomy 28 had to do with Israel as a nation. It had to do with Israel as the manifestation of the kingdom of God. That is, it had to do with the civilization of God. This is the meaning of a kingdom. It is a separate culture. This separation is above all ethical: issues of moral right and wrong. This is why any discussion of either economic theory or practice apart from a discussion of ethics is a monumental conceptual error. There is no such thing as a value-free social order. This includes economics. There is therefore no such thing as value-free social analysis. This includes economics. The economist should be familiar with biblical causation. It is ethical. But modern economists pride themselves on an illusion: value-free economic theory.

This post was published at Gary North on June 23, 2017.

Obama Ordered Cyberweapons Implanted Into Russia’s Infrastructure

A new report from the Washington Post today quoted a series of Obama Administration officials reiterating their official narrative on Russia’s accused hacking of the 2016 election. While most of the article is simply rehashes and calls for sanctions, they also revealed a secret order by President Obama in the course of ‘retaliation’ for the alleged hacking.
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This previously secret order involved having US intelligence design and implant a series of cyberweapons into Russia’s infrastructure systems, with officials saying they are meant to be activated remotely to hit the most important networks in Russia and are designed to ’cause them pain and discomfort.’
The implants, developed by the NSA, are designed to hit Russian networks deemed ‘important to the adversary and that would cause them pain and discomfort if they were disrupted,’ a former U. S. official told the Post.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 25, 2017.

North Korean Nuclear Threat ‘Top Priority’ For Donald Trump

The imminent nuclear threat from North Korea was addressed by CIA director Mike Pompeo during an interview with MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt which aired Saturday. Pompeo said that the topic was ‘at the top’ of President Donald Trump’s mind.
Trump is concerned about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities daily. The rogue nation has made many threats, and through tightening sanctions, have continued to test ballistic missiles and work toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. But Donald Trump is taking the threat of a nuclear-capable North Korea very seriously.
Pompeo said he and Trump talk for almost an hour every day, and that ‘I hardly ever escape a day at the White House without the President asking me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is responding to that threat.’ Pompeo added, ‘For 20 years, America has whistled past the graveyard, hoping on hope, that North Korea would turn colors and become part of the Western civilization. There’s no evidence that that’s going to take place, absent a very real, very concrete set of policies that put pressure on the North Koreans to denuclearize. I think that’s what you see Secretary Tillerson trying to do around the world.’ Pompeo was referring to the State Department’s continued efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

This post was published at shtfplan on June 25th, 2017.

CNN Deletes ‘Fake News’ Story About Russian Investment Ties To Trump

Thursday afternoon, CNN posted a story, by none other than Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter Thomas Frank, claiming that “Congress was investigating a Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”
The story was perfect fodder for ‘The Left’ as it provided yet more ‘confirmation’ that sources ‘confirmed’ Trump and his team were up to something nefarious with The Russians…
Highlights included…
Congress is investigating a little-known Russian investment fund… The fund CEO met in January with a member of the Trump transition team…
“If you’re going to get your nose under the tent, that’s a good place to start,” said Ludema, a Georgetown University economics professor. “I’m sure their objective is to get rid of all the sanctions against the financial institutions. But RDIF is one [sanctioned organizations] where a number of prominent U. S. investors have been involved.”
A fund spokeswoman says there was no discussion about lifting sanctions…
Scaramucci’s comments alarmed Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ben Cardin of Maryland, who asked Mnuchin investigate whether Scaramucci sought to “facilitate prohibited transactions” or promised to waive or lift sanctions against Russia.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 24, 2017.

The World Is Going Down With Trump

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On June 21 the editorial board of the Washington Post, long a propaganda instrument believed to be in cahoots with the CIA and the deep state, called for more sanctions and more pressure on Russia.
One second’s thought is sufficient to realize how bad this advice is. The orchestrated demonization of Russia and its president began in the late summer of 2013 when the British Parliament and Russian diplomacy blocked the neoconned Obama regime’s planned invasion of Syria. An example had to be made of Russia before other countries began standing up to Washington. While the Russians were focused on the Sochi Olympic Games, Washington staged a coup in Ukraine, replacing the elected democratic government with a gang of Banderite neo-nazi thugs whose forebears fought for Hitler in World War II. Washington claimed it had brought democracy to Ukraine by putting neo-nazi thugs in control of the government.
Washington’s thugs immediately began violent attacks on the Russian population in Ukraine. Soviet war memorials were destroyed. The Russian language was declared banned from official use. Instantly, separatist movements began in the Russian parts of Ukraine that had been administratively attached to Ukraine by Soviet leaders. Crimea, a Russian province since the 1700s, voted overwhelmingly to seperate from Ukraine and requested to be reunited with Russia. The same occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on June 23, 2017.

Tales of the New Cold War: U.S. leaning Syria…Europe leaning Moscow — John Batchelor interviews Stephen F. Cohen

Batchelor and Cohen take a reprieve (perhaps welcomed) from the Washington/Trump civil war and shift their attention to troop movements in the Baltic States (NATO) as Canada sends in a rotation contingent, a Ukraine that continues to fester quietly with Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, and more serious, the U.S. shooting down of the Su 22 Syrian jet and an Iranian drone in Syria. The overview is that under Trump, there is no change in the NATO stance in Europe, but vastly deteriorating conditions in Syria even as ISIS is clearly defeated there. The new problems evolving in Syria are about potential problems between the numerous allies on opposite sides that represent a poisonous mix of conflicting agendas over and above what is represented by ISIS. Both pundits are in agreement over this assessment. Cohen begins with his interpretation of the American shoot down of the Syrian jet and quite simply labels it as illegal and an act of war against a sovereign state. But he also notes that the Russians did something interesting. They did not react for two days and then on Monday came out with a statement that Russia would target (radar paint) any non-legitimate aircraft in the region, and should it prove hostile or in non-compliance to orders to leave it would be shot down. The ‘deconfliction’ agreement has therefore died. For Cohen this is yet another incidence of sabotage by the Pentagon/CIA to prevent Trump and Putin negotiating. Cohen assumes this is correct by ‘the pattern of events’ shown for decades between Russia and the USA during cold war events . For this writer we are very close to Russia declaring a ‘no fly zone’ in Syria, and it is very clear that some Americans were caught with surprise and fear at this reaction. The other pattern is that the Russian reaction to these transgressions has always been a degradation of cooperation in Syria. Whether Trump can function with this kind of interference by his opposition without that opposition starting a shooting war is a very real worry. More about this later.
The discussion then shifts to Europe and the Ukrainian Crisis. Batchelor maintains that European leadership, the new leaders in the U.K. France, and Germany’s Merkel are two weak to carry on effectively with the Minsk2 Agreement. Enter US Sec. State Tillerson, who advocates dissolving the agreement and having the combatants negotiate a solution for themselves. Cohen then brings up the new American sanctions and discusses how destructively stupid they are. Three European foreign ministers have now threatened to put sanctions on the U.S. if these new U.S. sanctions were passed into law. This is an amazing development and shows the real direction of Europe and Russia – and Washington. Cohen elaborately details these political changes with European leaders.

This post was published at Audioboom

What You Missed in Trump’s Tweet About China’s Failure

U. S. President Donald Trump’s tweet about China – posted yesterday afternoon (June 20) just after 2:30 p.m. – immediately had media outlets buzzing.
Some news sites suspected that it was actually a warning about how Trump is preparing for war with North Korea:
‘Trump Tweet Hints North Korea Tension Will Heat Up Again’ – Newsday ‘Trump Just Sent a Mystifying, Disturbing Tweet About North Korea’ – VOX ‘High Noon in North Korea: Is Trump Ready for War?’ – The Daily Beast ‘Did Trump Just Declare War on a Nuclear Weapons State Over Twitter?’ – New York Magazine Other (arguably less dramatic) media outlets posited that Trump, via Twitter, was actually nudging China to pick up its efforts in countering North Korea’s threats – as if to say, ‘Thanks for trying, China, but you failed. However, you still have an opportunity to redeem yourself by agreeing to more North Korea sanctions during today’s talks.’
The outlets in this latter camp quoted several experts, who explained their thoughts on Trump’s mid-afternoon tweet.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on June 21, 2017.

Economic Responsibility: A Covenantal View

And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more (Luke 12:47 – 48).
AnalysisJesus made it plain that the person who receives more from God owes more to God. This means that the recipient has greater responsibility than he did before. Jesus was speaking of covenant breakers. He was, therefore, speaking of negative sanctions. But the same principle governs positive sanctions. We see this in the life of Solomon. He asked God for wisdom. God gave him both wisdom and riches. These riches were rewards for his wisdom, but they were also part of the inheritance of the Davidic kingdom. Then he got stupid. He married 700 wives and 300 concubines. No other man in Israel’s history was ever that stupid. He was corrupted by his wives. He did not lose the kingdom, but his son did. Solomon’s inheritance went to the southern kingdom (Rehoboam’s two tribes) and the northern kingdom (Jeroboam’s ten tribes).
I return to the theme of the dominion covenant. The dominion covenant establishes mankind’s responsibility to exercise dominion in history.
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1:26 – 28).
This is an inescapable responsibility. The very definition of mankind is tied to this responsibility. This responsibility is tied directly to mankind’s God-given authority to exercise dominion. Responsibility and authority are covenantally linked. They cannot be separated. Thus, every increase in a person’s wealth, influence, power, or capabilities is accompanied by a comparable increase in responsibility. God holds fully accountable every beneficiary of such blessings. They are accountable in history, on judgment day, and in eternity.

This post was published at Gary North on June 22, 2017.

What Is the Most Likely Outcome of the Qatar Crisis?

The diplomatic crisis resulting from sanctions against Qatar raises fresh questions concerning the political and economic environment in the Gulf. A guest post by Anas Abdoun.
Just a fortnight after President Trump’s visit to the Middle-East, many members of the GCC as well as Egypt, severed diplomatic, economic and security relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Yemen, made this momentous decision, joined days later by Mauritania and the Maldives.
These measures are particularly hard for Qatar as this is not merely a closing of embassies. In 2014, Qatar had a crisis with its neighbors, who shut down their embassies to protest against Doha’s foreign policy. The crisis was resolved with an agreement, which Saudi Arabia now claims has not been respected by Qatar.
This time, in addition to cutting diplomatic ties, the five countries decided to enforce a major economic embargo against Qatar, which is financially powerful but geographically very small. The GCC is now caught up in the worst diplomatic crisis since its creation in 1981, dividing the organization which yields great power within the region and with the entire group of Arab countries.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/22/2017.

Russian Diplomat Cancels US Meeting In Protest Over Sanctions And “Destructive” US Policy

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov cancelled an upcoming meeting with the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., according to AP, in retaliation to the Trump administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine.
Ryabkov said that “the situation is not conducive to holding a round of this dialogue” that was scheduled for Friday and criticized the U. S. for ‘not having offered and not offering anything specific’ to discuss.
“We have said from the very beginning of Washington’s exceptionally destructive policy in regard to applying anti-Russia sanctions, that [such measures] will not and cannot have an effect desired by the US on our individuals or entities,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
The decision to widen the list came as President Trump met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the White House.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.

House Republicans Block Russia Sanctions Bill

After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House.
At least that’s our interpretation of tomorrow’s CNN “hot take.”
Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and “covering” for the Russian agent in the White House.
‘House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. ‘The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.’
And, if the House does pass it, a huge diplomatic scandal would erupt only not between the US and Russia, but Washington and its European allies who have slammed this latest intervention by the US in European affairs… a scandal which the Democrats would also promptly blame on Trump.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.

McCain Defends Hillary & Wants to Start an Energy Trade War

John McCain wants new sanctions against Russia and it is this politicians who are the greatest threat to the world economy. Imposing such sanctions will only backfire for the damage is to European companies, rarely American. McCain is always out to create war for personal retribution for being turned into Vietnam’s version of Tokyo Rose. His latest round of sanctions is to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections which still is not proven, but it put in office Trump, according to McCain who would be much more happy with Hillary. He has never smiled that way looking into the eyes of Donald Trump.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jun 20, 2017.

Trump Turns Back the Clock With Cold War Cuba U-Turn

Nostalgia seems to be very popular in Washington. While the neocons and Democratic Party hard-liners have succeeded in bringing back the Cold War with Russia, it looks like President Trump is determined to take us back to a replay of the Bay of Pigs!
In Miami on Friday, the president announced that he was slamming the door on one of President Obama’s few foreign policy successes: easing 50 years of US sanctions on Cuba. The nostalgia was so strong at Trump’s Friday speech that he even announced participants in the CIA’s disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in the audience!
President Trump said Friday that his new policy would be nothing short of ‘regime change’ for Cuba. No easing of US sanctions on Cuba, he said, ‘until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.’

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on June 19, 2017.

“It’s The ‘Russia’, Stupid!”

It’s another week in Washington and another horror show. This time it was Attorney General Jeff Sessions being grilled by Senators on whether, when, and how he might have met with certain Russians, or any Russian, or someone who might actually know a Russian. In addition to fishing for any inconsistency that could be used to support an accusation of obstruction of justice or perjury – the usual sleazy methodology of politically motivated investigations here – the transparent aim was to further poison the well on any possible initiative to improve ties with Moscow.
The strategy appears to be working. The Russian Embassy in Washington confirms that for the first time since the Russian Federation’s founding the State Department did not send pro forma national day greetings. Perhaps the bureaucrats were afraid they would be tainted and themselves become targets of multiple investigations into collusion with the Kremlin. (Luckily, this intrepid Washington analyst has no qualms about such associations.)
Or more likely, they themselves are part of the Russophobic mob undermining the White House. It has been reported that soon after the inauguration Trump sought to open dialogue with the Kremlin and set an early summit with President Vladimir Putin. This produced a hysterical counteraction from the Deep State. As reported by conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan:
The State Department was tasked with working out the details.
Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received ‘panicky’ calls of ‘Please, my God, can you stop this?’.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 17, 2017.

Trump Cornered: White House Pushing To Weaken Russia Sanctions Bill

After the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to implement new sanctions against Russia over “interference in the 2016 U. S. elections” and curbs President Trump’s power to ease penalties against Moscow in the future – without consultations with US allies in Europe – President Trump has found himself cornered in what appears to be a lose-lose position.
On one hand, the bill prompted an unexpectedly angry response by Germany and Austria, both of whom who have invested hundreds of millions into the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea, and who said the bill is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. On Friday, Germany went so far as saying the bill “must not happen” with German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries saying “Berlin would have to think about counter-measures” if Trump – or the House – backed the plan. “If he does, we’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 17, 2017.

RUSSIA SANCTIONS BILL PASSES IN SENATE 97-2

The Senate voted to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia on Wednesday over ‘aggressive behavior,’ tacked onto another resolution that will also put sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Known as the Crapo Amendment, the bill is intended to ‘impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation and to combat terrorism and illicit financing,’ according to the bill’s statement of purpose. The bill also gives Congress the authority to review any attempt to repeal the sanctions, preventing the White House from doing so unilaterally.
‘We moved to make the Congress, not the President, the final arbiter of sanctions relief when necessary,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. ‘Any idea of the President that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation.’
The new sanctions are attached to another sanctions bill intended for Iran, the ‘Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017.’

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JUNE 15, 2017.

“That Must Not Happen”: Germany Threatens US With Retaliation Over New Russia Sanctions

One day after the Senate almost unanimously passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, an unexpected outcry against the US decision emerged from two of America’s closest allies, Germany and Austria, who yesterday slammed the new sanctions and accused the U. S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations.”
Today’s the unexpected fallout from the latest round of US sanctions has escalated, and according to Reuters, Germany has threatened to retaliate against the United States if the new US sanctions on Russia end up penalizing German firms, which they almost will as it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines. Such as Germany, Austria and host of other European nations. Berlin is concerned that if passed in the House, the sanctions will pave way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.
And it’s not jet the Germans who are sweating: among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas giant Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie. In other words, if the Senate proposed sanctions pass, the US will have to fine virtually every energy giant in Europe.
Quoted by Reuters, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Trump before it becomes law, as “a peculiar move”. He said it was “strange” that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U. S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies. “That must not happen,” said Seibert.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.

Germany, Austria Slam US Sanctions Against Russia, Warn Of Collapse In Relations

Less than a day after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin, on Thursday Germany and Austria – two of Russia’s biggest energy clients in Europe – slammed the latest U. S. sanctions against Moscow, saying they could affect European businesses involved in piping in Russian natural gas.
Shortly after the Senate voted Wednesday to slap new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy over “interference in the 2016 U. S. elections” and aggression in Syria and Ukraine, in a joint statement Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it appeared that the Senate bill was aimed at securing US energy jobs and pushing out Russian gas deliveries to Europe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 15, 2017.

US Senate Approves Sanctions Bill Against Russia For ‘Election Meddling’

The United States Senate has decided to go through with a bill that would impose sanctions on Russia as punishment for their ‘meddling’ in the 2016 presidential election. The measure was passed 97-2, with overwhelming support.
The Republican-led Senate voted decisively to punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election. They approved a wide-range of sanctions that target key sectors of Russia’s economy and the individuals who carried out cyber attacks. There has been no actual evidence produced yet to the public that Russian actually interfered with the election, and even James Comey boldly declared that not one vote was changed because of it during his testimony.
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been adamant that he did not meddle in the election, often saying some just didn’t like the outcome. Nonetheless, in a move that’s going to add a chill to relations with Russia and further aggravate the slow crawl toward WW3, the Senate insisted on sanctions.

This post was published at shtfplan on June 15th, 2017.