american millionaire stimulus?

Recent US stimulus package = nearly a trillion US dollars.

Compare that with a comment I randomly saw on this post:

10% of 10 million US millionaires’ funds = a trillion US dollars.

American millionaires investing in the American economy?  A novel concept indeed.

Full comment quote:

1 trillion is taking 10% of the net worth of ten million millionaires and yes 10 million millionaire households is about what we have in the United States as of 2009.

Oh my gosh, have we accidentally through the magic of math discovered how to stimulate the entire economy without increasing the debt to the tax payer? A one time flat tax, ooops I mean millionaire stimulus to invest in America, the wealthiest are known to spend the least hence lets re-allocate that money where it matters…

lol – now that is a joke, American millionaires investing in America.

((note: the comment below this one links to an article saying there are only 3 million millionaires in the US – but it’s still an interesting thought!))

stinking stimulus

Anyone who has a knee jerk (i.e. less than critical) reaction to political events in general and the recent U.S. stimulus package in particular, should shut up and think before ranting.

That said, I just don’t like the thought (much less the passing) of the new stimulus package (and I’m not at all anti-Obama – to be crystal clear).  $US838 BILLION – on what I can’t help but see as a kind of massively over-sized whallop to a horse that is eventually going to die.  Yes, I’m aware of the complexity to all this, and No, I don’t think there are any quick fixes.  But I still cannot understand or begin to support spending nearly a trillion dollars on trying to preserve the “American Way of Life” ™.

What kind of precedent are we setting for future generations?  What are we saying to the rest of the world – much of which is living in some mild or severe form of poverty; a different kind of poverty indeed to the ‘poverty’ some are facing in ‘developed’ nations around the world.

Some may think, “Oh, but financial prosperity for the ‘rich west’ will enable them to be generous to the ‘poor rest’…”  That kind of capitalistic mentality (a.k.a. ‘the rising tide will lift many small boats’) is utter Bull.  Greed does not engender generosity.

Instead of our bank account levels needing to go ‘up’, we need our standard of living to go ‘down’ to a realistic and sustainable place.  And as long as ‘going out and spending money to stimulate the economy’ is part of doing your ‘patriotic duty’, then I think I want to be unpatriotic.

costs here and there

Want to have a baby in New Zealand?  That will cost you… nothing at all.  Diane and I have had various scans, midwife services, ante-natal classes, additional support and of course, the birth and subsequent more-than-normal care (heck, we’re even going to be reimbursed for the cost of petrol/gas to and from the hospital!) for our precious 7-week premature Thomas – all payed for by taxes payed by us and the rest of New Zealand.  So, yes, nothing is free, but these burdens are shared by the whole country here…

Want to have a baby in the United States?  You’ll probably want insurance.  I’m told a common cost for having a baby is around $10,000.  Who on earth would have ever thought that something so sublime as childbirth should ever have to be something you have to be insured for!!??

Then again, maybe New Zealand makes up for it in wireless internet charges?  In the US, you can go to nearly ANY cafe and enjoy free wireless internet – here, I’m paying $3 per hour ‘thanks’ to Tomizone… :)

an end of the pax americana?

Obamas turn has come to rule the American empire.

Will it continue to be a mass-consuming empire of greed?

Only time will tell.

Here is a thoughtful, timely and read-worthy critique by Brian Walsh entitled:

Barack Obama: A Post-Imperial Presidency?

And yes, the same question could’ve/should’ve been asked had McCain won the election…

700 billion

700 billion is an incredible amount of money.

I fully admit I know very little about the complexities of the recent situation with the folding-in of large banks in the US.

But I find the hype and hollering about impending financial crisis (not to mention the proposed 700 billion dollar bail-out) to be an insult to the rest of the world, which has much bigger problems than losing their mansion or their high-powered job.

The stark difference in standard of living needs to be kept firmly in mind here.  Yes, people in the US (and perhaps other developed parts of the world which are financially linked to it) appear to be in for some rough times (I honestly don’t know what will happen), but there is a difference between losing a $100,000 home with all kinds of conveniences, and (for example) having to move in with a relative’s house for a few years on one hand, and never even dreaming what it would be like to have your own house, car, blender, toaster, television, electric razor and cotton sheets at all on the other hand. Continue reading “700 billion”

being responsible with your bits

This post over at Scoop highlights the reality (whether we like it or not) that the ‘anything goes’ mindset (and more specifically the outworking of that mindset) toward sexuality is not healthy – literally.  It does matter where you put your bits.

For me, an interesting angle is that of self-control.  We have the ability to control even the most basic and ‘natural’ desires.

Clearly, none of us controls our ‘self’ as well as we may want to (if we are audacious enough to believe that we even should control ourselves).  Apparently, something more than short-term national campaigns is needed – according to the article:

The effects of the ‘Hubba Bubba’ campaign haven’t lasted. More young people are getting STIs, not fewer.  What’s needed is a renewed emphasis on education and personal responsibility. Young New Zealanders need an attitude change.

Maybe re-claiming the value of the human body and sexuality would help just a tad?

doco screening at my church

I’m happy to announce that my church is hosting a screening of:

If you’re in the area and are interested, we’re starting promptly at 7pm and will have a 30(ish) minute discussion afterwards – and probably tea/coffee/bikkies… :)

http://nbc.org.nz/2008/08/walmart-high-cost-low-price-screening.html

http://walmartmovie.com

http://walmart.bravenewtheaters.com/screening/show/11100-auckland

why the “economic stimulus” is a load of bull…

The US of A just spent $168 billion…

(or 152, depending on sources)

Might wanna read that again…

What did they spend it on?

Shopping… that’s right, shopping…

This makes me want to release a torrent of various expletives…

Each tax-paying American recently received hundreds of dollars to –yes– go shopping. The ridiculous rhetoric used for this was that of (as seen in the picture) ‘boosting our economy’. Why are they all smiling? Because you can rest assured, they all got rewarded (i.e. paid-off) wonderfully well by the various corporations that no doubt pushed this one through. Continue reading “why the “economic stimulus” is a load of bull…”

public service: worship and prayer included

Issues of culture, religion, politics and the like are of much interest to me.

This Friday, quite an interesting complex of issues will be focused in one event in which I’ll be taking part.

As a pastor of one of the churches in the Northcote area, I’ve been asked to take part in the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service, where we will (as the brochure will read) commemorate “those who have fallen in service of their Country.” My part in this event –which I will do gladly– will be (and I quote – again from the already printed order of service) to offer a “Call to Worship”, a “Prayer of Remembrance” and a “Benediction”.

Continue reading “public service: worship and prayer included”

the abc’s of tolerance

Tolerance…

The topic of tolerance came up in the comments of my last post, so I thought I’d re-post them here to offer a focussed discussion of them…

This t-word is used in interesting ways. I think it’s used far too loosely. You tolerate things (certain actions or persons whose identity is defined by those same actions) which you don’t agree with or like. If you agree with and/or like some action (or person affiliated with it), then you –by definition, I insist– cannot ‘tolerate’ it. Therefore, it should be obvious that you can only ‘tolerate’ things (or persons) which you disagree with or don’t like. Continue reading “the abc’s of tolerance”