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How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? – Romans 10:14


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16


 

Net Neutrality: What is Morally Fair. - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 12th November, 2014 @ 01:18:57 PM

Perhaps it’s time for me to weigh-in on “Net Neutrality,” and once again explain why I am not a Republican. (You may look elsewhere to see why I am not a Democrat.)

Why A Christian Should Care
I am a Christian. I am the salt of the earth. My little faith allows me to move mountains, and the Bible seems to tell me that mountains are representative of governments. I gather this from Daniel Chapter 2, and the final destruction of the image outlining Gentile power, where Jesus Christ is pictured as a Rock that, in his millennial day yet future,  smashes the image, and the Rock then becomes a mountain to fill the hole earth. Maranatha.

“Net Neutrality” is what we have right now with respect to Internet service, excluding the fact that Monopolist Comcast shook down Netflix not long ago for special fees. I pay (way to much) for Internet pipes, as do content providers. What goes on between my pipe and their pipe is not the provider’s business, the charge is for the pipe.

I’m more conservative than Ted Cruz I guess, and he is showing that he is a Republican in this matter, and not a “People’s representative.” Jesus Christ is always for the people, so I judge that Ted Cruz, openly my brother in Christ, is on the wrong side in this matter.

We are already paying for pipes on the Internet. Because Cruz claims “Net Neutrality” is about the government coming in to regulate, he strikes a responsive chord in me, and other believers as well. And of course, there IS a danger on this side of the issue. What he is talking about is ALSO a real threat, and I will get to it. But let me deal with the clear and present danger first.

Basic Economics under Competition.
I will draw upon the “dismal science” of economics, with which my young, impressionable mind was disciplined by well-educated men in my college days. I do have a college Major in Economics, and a second one in Journalism, to which I now allude for those who will not let the clarity of my thoughts here stand on their own merits. (I do have a stash of snobbery to use as needed.)

In economics, we learn a basic principle that, CETERIS PARIBUS (all things being equal, which we do find in this analog universe to be universally never quite true), pricing is formed at the intersection of supply and demand. This CETERIS PARIBUS condition includes the facts that suppliers can readily enter a marketplace, among other things. In the case of Internet service providers, there are public resources allocated by government to them, and therefore there is NOT ready entry for competitors to enter the marketplace.

Therefore, because of this violation of CETERIS PARIBUS, we know a priori that a form of monopoly – with a few players instead of only one – called “oligopoly” will results, just as it has. In the world of Internet service providers, a few major players now dominate the marketplace, and the entry of new competitors is not permitted due government entities allocating public resources to them: airwaves, government-sponsored land access (easement ways), etc. In economics, therefore, we have a supply-side issue.

“Demand curves” are made up of the theoretically infinite points of individuals’ willingness to pay a price for a good or service. SOME ARE WILLING TO PAY MORE THAN OTHERS. This is why some people will pay $35 for a cheeseburger at the 49’ers new Levi’s Stadium, while I will buy two-for-$3.50 double cheeseburgers at Hardees. Let’s take a “free (fair) market,” as an example, and see how it is supposed to work.

In such a marketplace, you have this “curve” of demand where, even Joe Blow is willing to pay $35 for a cheeseburger, some cheapskate vegan will only pay a penny for it because he likes the bun and the pickles. In between you have the rest of the universe of cheeseburger buyers who are willing to pay everything in between. As Wikipedia states, “the demand curve is the graph depicting the relationship between the price of a certain commodity and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at that given price.”

It ends up looking something like this:

demand curve

Our subject is cheeseburgers, so you see from the above graph that 55 people are wiling to pay $1 for a cheeseburger, while only 10 are willing to pay $5 for one. Now, we will add a supply curve top the drawing.

demand with supply curve

 

Our suppliers of cheeseburgers are willing to supply only 10 cheeseburgers at $1, but are willing to supply 40 cheeseburgers for $2, and 60 cheeseburgers for $3. Where supply and demand meet is called the “equilibrium price,” or “market price,” which in a fair market is a fair price. $2 per cheeseburger. Anyone not willing to pay $2 isn’t going to get a cheeseburger. Everyone willing to pay MORE than $2 is going to get a break in price over what they are actually willing to pay. That “break,” is called the “consumer surplus,” and is a benefit to society. And why can’t the supplier “make” the 10 guys willing to pay $5 per cheeseburger pay what they are willing to pay? Because SOMEONE ELSE is willing to offer them that cheeseburger for $2.

Those Thieving Monopolists!

demand with supply curve 2

 = Fair Market Revenue to Supplier
||| = Consumer Surplus to Public

Now, when the marketplace becomes such that the “someone else” can’t enter the market to supply, the monopolist – or pack of oligopolists – begin to look at this demand curve in their own especially jaundiced way. They say, in the case of oligopolists, “Let’s find a way to get that $5 from those ten guys, and $4 from those next 5 guys, and $3 from the next 10 guys, and so forth. Instead of having to maximize profit in competitive world, they seek to maximize REVENUE in a non-competitive world, and they trace this demand curve the best they can, and gobble up the consumer surplus for themselves.

In the context of the Internet, this is EXACTLY what the oligopolists want to do. having already sold bandwidth uploading and downloading quantities to Internet users, they now want to discover those who are paying less than they are willing to pay – those individuals “benefitting” from the consumer surplus – and, using market differentiation tactics, grabbing these revenues to themselves. The competition that would not let them do this is not present, because entry into this market is not open due to the government licensing involved. So, someone other than a competitor needs to bring the stick a competitor otherwise would.

The Proper Role of Government
It is pretty well established that government has an economic role, in a capitalist society, to keep competition fair when it creates or discovers a monopoly. Teddy Roosevelt, who “spoke softly and carried a big stick,” used that stick to bust trusts. In short, it is the role of government to assure the consumer surplus to the public.

From a public policy point of view, “Net Neutrality,” – to an extent, “what we have now” – is a slogan by those who anticipate that oligopolists have their eyes on the consumer surplus, and will try – as oligopolists always do – to eat the surplus due to the public. Net neutrality is a right thought.

The Problem of Usurpation
Historically in our country, we have adhered to the slogan of “the government which governs least, governs best.” Obviously it has to be the government that insures that oligopolists in the Internet service market place do not use consumer differentiation tactics to grab the surplus. However, there is also that tendency of government to usurp power reserved to the people as it conducts even its rightful business.

It occurs to me this is exactly what brother Cruz is talking about. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, as long as doubt exists, that he fears the solution to monopoly power might be as bad or worse than the monopoly power. And it could very well be is government does its job poorly, and, for instance, attempts to grab the surplus for itself, or for the “right people” who support a present regime. The fact is, however, that in the case of public utilities, government has, at least in the past, functioned well in its regulation, and even provision of services.

I live in a public power state: Nebraska. State corporations generate the power here, supply water, and distribute natural gas. Historically, these three commodities have been provisioned by our state more cheaply than private industry has supplied them elsewhere, where they function as government licensed and regulated monopolies. In the legacy of George Norris, Nebraska has done a reasonably good job of maintaining the consumer surplus in these markets for the consumers. So it CAN be done.

I can well understand Senator Cruz’s concern and skepticism about the Federal Government handling this task well. But he is wrong on this issue, and I hope this means he is mistaken, and that it’s not just his Republican roots showing through.

 

The City That Does NOT Have Foundations. - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 1st July, 2014 @ 11:52:05 AM

One day in Kenya I was talking to my enterprise partner, Henry Thairu.

(Henry is the leading post-secondary educator of all of Kenya who gets the lion’s share of the credit for our spectacular joint-venture which has led to the credentialized post-secondary education of above 45,000 ICT students. The Government of Kenya corruptly expropriated that venture, and proceeded to smear Professor Henry Thairu and my reputations.

Nevertheless, we revolutionized post-secondary education in all off East Africa, and no corrupt government can ever undo that.)

Henry said to me that day, “What makes your society in the States so strong is the durability of your institutions. You have marvelous institutions in the United States.”

He told me this perhaps 15 years ago. Today, we are seeing the rapid deterioration and even crumbling of these institutions.

The recent scandalized behavior by one of our national institutions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been found to be manipulating statistical data to support the notion of “global warming,” a.k.a. “climate change.” These self-serving theories (i.e. “self-willed opinions” ), followed by taxpayer-funded lies to support them, add another dagger in the badly bleeding body of public integrity.

What Professor Thairu had said was our strength is in doubt.

I say this is ANOTHER dagger, because self-serving men identifiable, eventually, as members of various secret societies, have been subverting truth and falsely calling it “science” for some years now. We have been lied to about “fossil fuels” for almost two hundred years now. There has never been evidence of the theory of carbohydrates turning into hydrocarbons by some evolutionary process operating of a massive quantity of fossil complex carbon remains somehow forming massive but severely limited quantities of oil.

As it turns out, the Godless Russians who had no agenda but to find and deliver oil for profit were not on this agenda, and rightly discerned the abiogenic process of oil production.

Lies and deceit are expensive, friends. They have long-term consequences. Until a couple years ago, I lived in a part of our metropolitan area that was dominated by Masons in the previous generation. That part of town is turning into a ghost town today. Manipulation of the “normal” (viz. “gracious”) development of society (“societal evolution”) can be massively expensive to future generations for the measly cheating nickels of the few today. Some societies, such as Professor Thairu’s Kenya continually pay that price and have been reaping the results for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Here in America, we have believed otherwise. We even sing, “God shed his grace on thee,” about our country. Or we did.

The abandonment of the truth of Scriptures has unleashed a terrible torrent against truth. After all, Jesus told us He “IS the truth,” while Pilate told us, “What is truth?” Pilate wasn’t far from letting every man have his OWN truth, and then marketing it to others. And then, to add injury to insult to injury, institutions like NOAA do this on the public dole!

Of course, I could carryon, and discuss how our universities are no longer true to their charge, how state and local governments are easily suborned by private interest. But I won’t.

Instead, I want to expose that this entire milieu is a consequence of the spiritual war around us, that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, are conscripted to fight. “Onward Christian Soldiers,” as we know, has nothing to do with marching on Jerusalem, as the heathen are actually doing. It has to do with the average believer, and then believers together in local their local church, being daily salt and light to a world that is spoiling, and in darkness.

Sure, we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood . But we do wrestle. And that against the RULERS of this world’s darkness. And we must conduct such a fight when there are many men who LOVE darkness rather than light. We come across such men with regularity. In the courts. In the government. Sadly – maybe even especially – in the churches.

We are a generation watching our nation crumble. This is why, with Abraham, we look for a city that HAS foundations , and not for the one whose foundations are crumbling.

Speculation and Certainty Concerning the USA. - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 24th April, 2014 @ 01:53:53 PM

A couple of weeks ago, I began a ramble on FaceBook about what I see happening as a Christian who believes and pays attention to the Bible.

The Bible does much more than convict of sin . It sure does do that, and regularly, but it also instructs the believing reader, and yields understanding beyond ones teachers’.

That being said, my teachers in economics back in the day included some pretty good ones. It seems I got a reasonable education despite myself, in that I was lectured well when I was interested, and was given some excellent books to read. I would say that I had a good foundation for reading the Bible, and understanding what my teachers did not, and that is that God sets forth immutable principles, and governs over the nations.

So, when I look at the state of our state here in the United States, I see nothing but darkness, and by that I mean economically speaking.

The brightness that I saw a few months ago, when I realized that there is sufficient energy and food wealth in this country to actually pay off the incredible debt that is present, I overlooked the simple fact that the debtor is servant to his creditors, and when the creditors happen to be other nations, they are far more hopeful of foreclosing on the assets beneath the debt, than to see the debt repaid at low interest rates.

When I look, for instance, at the goings on in the Nevada desert concerning the Bundy ranch, and the Chinese franchising up our solar resources on Federal land, I see behind such actions a demanding creditor, in this case China, insisting on the maintenance of a security that underwrites their loans. And that is America itself. The land God has shed his grace upon.

Of course, no banker wants to fight the neighbors and their weapons when it comes time to seizing the farm. That is for the government to do for them. And I have this dreadful feeling that our government is now subordinate to this creditors, and when it comes to the creditor, or the debtor – us! – the government is going to be on the side of the creditor. All governments always are. The Scripture teaches us that the debtor is servant to the lender , and therefore why someone who wishes to remain free should keep himself away from all unsecured debt.

Perhaps the price of freedom is not only far higher than we think it is today, but has already been paid, but by our nation’s creditors. There have been some news accounts about the nearness of a complete credit meltdown by the USA. It seemed to not have happened.

But if anyone thinks our debts will simply be paid by increasingly cheaper and cheaper money don’t understand very well how much emphasis creditors place on the assets securing that debt. People talk about “the full faith and credit” of the US Government, but from the outside looking in, that faith and credit isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but may very well be worth the asset base in control of the US government: the vast amount of land it owns, and the vast amount of territorial waters it controls.

Why don’t “we” develop the resources of the Gulf of Mexico? It may well be that these opportunities are  reserved to our creditors as part of the cost of their loans. Why aren’t we seeing a Keystone XL Pipeline, said now to be dead in the water as far as Congressional approval, let alone White House support? It could be that such a pipeline is not in the best interest of our creditors.

What is uncertain in these speculations remains uncertain.

But what is certain, that the borrower is servant to the lender, remains certain.

After Easter … - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 22nd April, 2014 @ 12:49:21 PM

It’s sundown, so Easter is over. I feel like I can come out from hiding now.

Some asked me “What about Good Friday?” So Easter Sunday at Millard Community Church I taught a Wednesday crucifixion, and explained the Lord’s body was in the tomb all of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and not all or part of three days , as the majority hold.

Besides, Wednesday 14th Nisan fits exactly (AD 30), and fulfills Matt 12:39-41 , the type being Jonah the prophet: the only sign given to the nation of Israel. All the essential elements of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of the Lord are fulfilled only if it took place on a Wednesday. As with most holidays, much of what we know is wrong.

At least it is right that Jesus arose on the first day of the week.

In that Jesus Christ arose during the Passover week, however, perhaps a more complete treatment of the Feast of the Lord that He did fulfill at the time – Passover – is in order. After all, after the big Easter celebration by Christians nominal and sincere is completed this year, Jews around the world are celebrating the remainder of the seven (or eight, outside Israel) days of passover until Tuesday April 22nd, at sundown.

Passover for Jews is a remembrance. Christians also have a Passover remembrance , although they remember different events. For Jews, the passover remembrance has to do with the Lord “passing over” them as they huddled in their homes in Egypt, protected by the blood of the slain lamb on their door posts and lintels.

Today, Jews all around the world remember that event as one marking freedom. Freedom from the tyranny that came upon them after they were received well and prospered in Egypt. Since that time, perhaps it is the only the United States of America that has received the Jews as the ancient Egyptians once did, prior to the Assyrian usurper coming in, the Pharaoh that “knew not Joseph.” When that fellow came, he feared the robust growth of Israel, and placed them in bondage.

And so, when it came time for the Abrahamic promise to be fulfilled, and the wickedness of the Amorite in the land became full , God freed His people from Egyptian bondage, and formed His nation through the blood of the lamb, and then incorporated them under Moses at the Red Sea, chartering them at Sinai.

So, rightfully, Jews find their Passover remembrance as a symbol of freedom.

It is what they overlook that is sad.

And I say sad advisedly, because, while I delight after the historical Scriptures concerning Israel and Moses , I also realize that this freed nation readily found its way into captivity under Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, then Persia, then Greece, and then Rome, when they had a chance to be free – truly free – with times of refreshing on the way from heaven , that they once again and then finally rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, Messiah from the House of David. They declared they had no king but Caesar , confirmed their rejection with the stoning of Stephen , and finally dispatched the word of God to the Gentiles  by rejecting the apostle Paul.

Every time Christians break a loaf and drink a cup together, this viewpoint, in one way or another, is remembered. While Jews look back inscrutably at a Passover festival, not realizing the true Lamb of God was slain, it being, as the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas said at the time, for one man to die for a nation.

Easter ended, and even now Passover. Those are annual events. Happy me. Happy you. Gone. But in a few days, I will gather with my fellow Christians in the same place, and we will remember how it is that Christ died for our sins, suffering an ignominious death in our place, that we may enjoy as we do the life of thoroughly forgiven people who have a sure hope in the future return of our Savior, this time as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

That is after Easter for me. Oh that it would would be the same after this Passover for my Jewish friends, that they would stop making the same mistake in rejecting the Messiah from generation to generation!

And that it would be the same for all those who I have met, who have not yet received Jesus Christ as their Savior!

God Is Not Dead - Comments (1)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 21st April, 2014 @ 07:30:24 AM

I went to see the movie God Is Not Dead tonight.

(Karen and I flew with Michael Tate and his Australian logistics assistant to Dallas in 2009. We met him shortly after it was announced that Tait would be lead singer for both DC Talk and Newsboys.

Of course, Karen and I knew nothing about contemporary Christian rock, so we made perfect travel companions.

We were all in the back of the plane because Tait didn’t want to be disturbed in 1st class.)

I took some of my grandsons and their friends to the movie, 12 yrs and up. Before I submit all my criticisms, let me just say this movie was fun, the boys and I liked it, and I think Karen would have liked seeing Michael Tait in the movie because she and he hit it off pretty well on the plane ride.

This is a feel-good movie with some realism in it about the Christian life, but not much about the true conflict of content from the truth of Scripture and a hostile world.

However, the movies DOES depict the hostility against Christian thought – and the Christians who hold those thoughts – that has been running rampant on our campuses since the haters of God that now run our government first ruined our universities. Such people are my former mates in college, and I ran with them and the professors back in the early to mid 1970’s.

That being said, the way that hostility is portrayed is  little sappy and a lot unrealistic, principally because all the heavy lifting of that portrayal is all done by actor Kevin Sorbo, who’s character, Professor Radisson, is an avowed atheist who uses his Introduction to Philosophy class to browbeat freshmen into atheistic compliance. While college campuses are filled with people hostile to Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, it’s a big stretch the way Radisson goes about this, but once one suspends their belief enough, and gives this movie its required aesthetic distance, its entertaining enough, and makes it point.

This movie is not much about character development, apart from Radisson. Characters are one-dimensional, and lack depth. Dean Cain plays a money grubber. The central character, Josh Wheaton, plays a likable freshman who holds his faith against the ploys of Radisson. Wheaton’s girl friend, portrayed by Trisha LaFache, also lacks depth. The boys seemed to think Benjamin Onyango’s character as an African Missionary was their favorite. Onyango seemed to be a typical Luo Kenyan Christian leader to me.

The central drama of the movie is Wheaton’s debate in Radisson’s classroom over the existence of God. The debate itself is made up of vestiges of truth. If you want to see a debate on the merits – and who would, really, it’s the stuff of pseudo-science and phony intellectualism – this movie is not going to satisfy you. Frankly, faculty hatred against Jesus Christ is way underplayed in the movie.

And as a Christian, I’m a bit offended at the idea that “God is not dead,” is much of a message. That’s not the Christian message at all. Nonetheless, in important cameos, real people playing themselves like Tait and Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame do make public proclamations of their faith through the drama.

If this movie is more informative to you and/or motivating to you in the faith than what you hear on Sunday morning, you should switch churches. On the other hand, it’s good entertainment with good music by the Newsboys, and when you’re done with it, you don’t feel as if you need to confess it as sin, or demand your money back.

Josh Brown, my favorite Husker kicker of all time endorses this movie. So does Andy Petitte, former Yankee pitcher – my favorite baseball team. Petitte is the only guy in major league history who pitched 18 seasons and never had a losing one, so I suppose he has street cred. Plus, he’s a lefty.

I’m not going to pay to watch it again, especially because it cost $9.50 on a late Sunday night for my twelve-year-old grandson, but I wouldn’t watch “Heaven’s For Real” or “Son of God” if you paid me to.

Help With Genesis 1:1-2. - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 3rd April, 2014 @ 04:49:48 AM

2Peter 3 3-ff

The Bear Eats the Crimea. - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 28th March, 2014 @ 10:49:13 AM

“Think Globally.” It’s the world’s mantra. As if you actually CAN. We talk glibly about the world becoming smaller, and I suppose  because modern arrangements allow for convenient distant travel (keep your hands off me, TSA!), we can realize what a “smaller world” means. I personally have been able to travel to many places in the world, so we can see the statement has an element of truth to it.

However, the world is actually still a very large place with very many peoples and nations, and it is impossible to grasp it in one’s mind, especially because to behold it, one requires a useful historical view, and a focus.

Into this difficulty enter the Holy Scriptures. The Bible teaches me that, because I have received Jesus Christ as Abraham did in Mamre, thereby doing the works that Abraham did as Jesus said to His opponents. , I am “seated in the heavenly places in Christ” , which means I have a global perspective. I have eternal life as a present possession going forward, I was chosen in Christ before the six days of creation, and God has set eternity in my heart (and everyones). So, we have need of a sweeping view of history and the future.

It is that context that I look at Russia’s recent and sudden annexation of the Crimea. The Crimea has a long history with Russia, especially the Crimean War just prior to our own civil war. In that incident, Russia lost a battle against strangely united European Christian forces and the Islamic interests of the flagging Ottoman Empire.

Since Russia’s loss in that war, despite the inclusion of the Crimea in the former Soviet Union, Russia has lusted toward the Black Sea, the closest thing it has to a warm water port.

In Daniel’s strange prophecy in Chapter seven of his writings, Daniel sees the future emerge at the time of the end, he sees four beasts arising from among the Gentiles – they having held world power since Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

The first of these beasts is likened to a Lion with eagle’s wings. The Lion is stood on his feet as a man, and his wings are plucked, and a man’s heart is given to it.  Often consider that this is the British-American alliance which has one the last two world wars, and which is substantially responsible for the order of the world at this time. It seems to have the appearance that it lost its ferocity.

The second of these beasts that arise is a bear which arises on one side, and has three ribs in its mouth, “and they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.'” There are many conflicting descriptions of symbols in the Scripture as they become applied, but there can be little doubt who the bear is. It’s Russia. The three ribs in its mouth have long been a discussion. What or whom does the bear eat? The context is about rising world powers, and so, historically, the ribs in the bear’s mouth have been thought to be nations.

So, the question might be: is the Crimea, or perhaps the Ukraine itself, one of the ribs in the mouth of the Russian bear? The Crimea certainly has the historical and geopolitical significance to qualify. And the area and direction of Russia’s movement is significant. The movement is toward the Black Sea and the bread basket of central Europe.

If the Crimea or Ukraine is the first rib in the Bear’s mouth, two more are to come,

After that another power will arise, lastly giving place to a “beast” or power that corresponds to the ten-fold government of that man of sin, the son of perdition, promised by Jesus to be the one whom Israel will receive.

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