An article on FNP about downtown Brunswick

Vacant buildings drive dissatisfaction in downtown Brunswick

Machelle Lee wants to work with the Brunswick city government, she said, but still felt a twinge of concern when she independently hired workers from Building Veterans to pull overgrown weeds along West Potomac Street.

“I just feel very sensitive about tourists coming through our downtown,” said Lee, the owner of Roots and River Yoga studio at 17 W. Potomac St. “I tried not to make it seem like I was pointing out the city, but I did reach out to the mayor to say, ‘This is what I did — I hope you can maintain it.’”

Lee is one of several downtown business owners to express frustration in recent weeks over the aesthetics — or lack thereof — in downtown Brunswick, an issue that many say is impeding growth in the area.

Multiple owners said they’ve actively considered moving their businesses to a new location based on longstanding issues in the downtown area, or at least questioned their ability to stay open within the next few years.

“I did say that if we don’t see some real change downtown, I don’t know where we’ll stand in 12 months,” said David Blackmon, the owner of Smoketown Brewing Station at 223 W. Potomac St. “We’re just not seeing any progress, and our tasting room is very dependent on downtown traffic.”

Lee and Blackmon were two of several business owners to meet with Mayor Jeff Snoots and city administrator Dave Dunn earlier this month to discuss problems in downtown Brunswick. The complaints ranged from the relatively minor — such as a lack of trash receptacles on city streets — to major concerns over unoccupied properties downtown.

The number of vacant buildings was generally agreed to be the biggest issue, and one that effectively discouraged visitors from lingering downtown.

“First and foremost, the vacant properties are the biggest ‘eyesore’ and have been for years,” Cindy Nichols, the owner of Boutique Eclectic by Cynthia at 5 W. Potomac St., wrote in an email.

“The irony is that there’s a tremendous amount of commercial square footage, but people who want to rent are turned away or discouraged,” added Blackmon. “And there’s nothing worse for business than having empty storefronts.”

According to Snoots, vacant storefronts have been an issue in Brunswick for several years and are largely driven by property owners who seem unable — or unwilling — to rent out or sell the buildings.

But most business owners also said the city has played a role by failing to effectively enforce blight and vacant property ordinances, which has empowered out-of-state property owners to allow buildings to fall into disrepair.

“There are all these vacant buildings and the owners are not being held accountable,” said Keith Marks, the owner of Three Points Cycle bike shop at 5 W. Potomac St. “They’re not helping themselves, and they’re not helping the merchants.”

Brunswick currently has two pieces of legislation that enforce the appearance of vacant properties. Ordinance 518, passed in 2015, sets several inspection standards, including requirements for exterior lighting and landscape maintenance. The town also passed an International Property Maintenance Code in 2014 that laid out several requirements for unoccupied buildings.

The issue, Snoots said, was that the city never enforced the ordinances after they were passed, which empowered property owners to neglect upkeep of their buildings. He also suggested that the lack of enforcement sparked a cycle of disrepair downtown.

“It’s something that, as the mayor, I’m trying to address,” he said. “It’s hard to get prospective business owners to come and open a business when downtown looks the way it does.”

Starting Monday, Snoots said that the city will begin to actively enforce vacant building ordinances. A number of business owners, including Nichols and Marks, also said that Brunswick should enact legislation that penalizes property owners who fail to rent or sell their buildings.

“These property owners … should be fined at the amount of $100 per day for every day they’re empty after 45 days,” Nichols wrote. “In hopes that would get storefronts up and running.”

Property owner Don Devine, however, objected to claims that unoccupied buildings were the source of problems downtown. Based in Leesburg, Virginia, Devine owns both the Newberry building — partly occupied by a karate studio — and the unrented Kaplon building, both on West Potomac Street.

According to Devine, he’s invested thousands in renovating both buildings and initially faced difficulties from city officials in obtaining an occupancy permit for the Kaplon building. While many business owners have said that downtown landlords expect too much in rent for the area, Devine said that he’s frequently expected to lease for too little.

“In Leesburg, I could get $10,000 … for the Kaplon building,” he said. “In Brunswick, I can’t get $2,000.”

Devine also said that he’s currently trying to sell both buildings, but objected to the concept of penalizing property owners for code violations or for failing to rent out buildings. The pre-existing disrepair in downtown Brunswick was hurting property owners, he added, not the other way around.

“I’m the victim in this,” Devine said. “We’re desperate for tenants. So, you don’t penalize us. You go to the town and say, ‘Why don’t you offer tax credits for landlords? Why don’t you offer incentives for people who want to rent downtown?’”

“The whole area is kind of slummy now,” he continued. “That’s the problem with it.

College financing is a scam…and it automatically puts parents as co-signers if said parents fill out FASFA.

The gov’t has now made education a total financial debt trap not just for the students but the parents as well.  IF you fill out the FASFA form you are co-signing for your child’s student debt.  since there is a high high chance of default the gov’t can(and will) come after the parents income…however that may be derived.  There are parents now having their social security garnished as the children have defaulted on the loan and the parents as co-signers via FASFA are now on the hook.  Karl Denninger lays it out.  The the paragraph with the (1) next to it for the summary of the scam that is FASFA.

Contemplate a few things as you go through the remainder of your week.

What has had its increase in cost cause the most harm to American households and individuals over the last 30 years?

There are two things: medical care and post-secondary education.

What do they have in common?

Financialization and the removal of risk from those providing the financing.

Let’s take post-secondary education first.

Starting in the 1980s the Federal Government, in a series of legislative moves, started removing bankruptcy as a means of discharging educational debt.  This greatly incentivized various organizations to provide “educational loans.”  The government then put in place policies that declared adults to be children on a legal basis when it came to finances.

(1) Specifically, the FAFSA prohibits an unmarried person under the age of 24 from being financially independent!  You are legally an adult at 18 and will go to an adult prison if you commit a crime, you can enlist in the service, get married, sign a contract (even if to your severe detriment), borrow money and be obligated to pay same, you can drink at 21, all over the objection of your parents, but the Federal Government will force your parents to disclose their income and assets and will penalize you if they make too much or have too much even if you get none of it now or ever, until you’re 24 and if either or both parents refuse then you’re cut off from all financial programs and are charged the highest possible price.  This is outrageously unconstitutional on its face as it declares a parent an indentured servant to the state and penalizes a young adult due to no act of their own.  There’s a pretty-clean argument that this system, in fact, constitutes extortion and since there are multiple parties including the college involved it’s Racketeering.  Finally the parents are not entitled to any sort of information or input on their former kid’s grades, progress, choice of major or spending while in school — whether via loans or otherwise.

Then the Federal Government went further in the wake of 2008 and basically took over educational lending entirely.  The exception remaining are “PLUS” loans which are actually co-signed by the parents of said adult children but even those that are not federally-made remain non-dischargable in bankruptcy.

Let me be clear: There is almost-never any reason for any person to take out any “educational” loan of any sort to attend a post-secondary educational institution.  PLUS loans are purely abusive in every single case and ought to not be outlawed they ought to be considered racketeering on their face as they attempt to coerce parents into being responsible for another adult’s decisions and outcomes.

It gets even worse in the post-graduate world because for Masters and PhD work there are essentially no grants of any sort — only loans.  There are plenty of Masters and PhD fields that do not reliably return salaries in the six figure range and many fields, particularly in the arts and social sciences, where a Bachelors degree is close to worthless as anything more than an admission ticket to graduate school!  As just one example National Geographic is rumored to refuse to even consider employing someone in their writing, photography or graphics arts areas without a post-graduate degree in some area of fine arts — and they’re not alone.  Look at virtually any social science field and you will find myriad “Masters+” requirements, effectively forcing six to eight year college attendance. With educational loans being amortized over 10 years a $100,000 college debt @ 4% requires just over $1,000 a month in payments to be made after tax, which means you need $12,000 of free cash flow after all taxes and living expenses to be able to afford it.

What salary must be earned to do this assuming (1) you own a house or rent something at a similar capitalization rate to the principal and interest on same, (2) you own a car with a modest ($250) monthly payment amount (note that this is roughly half the going payment for car loans today) and (3) you have no other consumer debt whatsoever, and take none in the future (hopelessly optimistic based on current statistical data.)

Let’s look at the basic rules of finance: You can afford 28% of your gross income on P&I (or rent) for your residence and no more than 36% to service all debt — including the $12,000 for college loans.

So let’s assume you pay $800 a month for either rent or P&I on a house.  This is possible in many communities, but not in most large cities; there it’s at least 50% higher.  We’ll also add the $250 car payment monthly, and then the $1,000 for educational debt.

This amounts to $2,050 monthly in mandatory free cash flow.  For that to be no more than 36% of gross income we thus see that you need a $5,700 gross income per month to meet this expense ratio and that allows for no mistakes, no savings and no additional consumer debt of any sort such as a credit card or otherwise.  It is extremely aggressive, in other words in that one serious financial accident (e.g. a bad car wreck, illness, layoff, etc.) leaves you screwed.  The basic rules of reasonable safety require that you have six to 12 months of gross income stashed which means you need at least $35,000 in cash in the bank in addition to have a reasonable level of financial safety.

This is nearly $70,000 a year in salary plus another $35,000 in the bank which is wildly beyond first-year salaries and savings capacity for virtually all fields with a Bachelors degree.  In fact for 10 broad categories including engineering and communications the first-year salary average in 2015 was just $50,000 or roughly 40% short of the minimum requirement to be self-sufficient and on the bleeding edge of financially dangerous!

What if you get out of college with $50,000 in total debt?  That helps a lot and drops your mandatory spend to about $1,500.  Now you just make it as an average person if nothing goes wrong.

Does that make it a reasonable deal?  No, and here’s why:

1. That $50,000 wage survey value is an average.  Half the people will do better, half worse.  If you’re in the bottom half you’re hosed and in the street immediately.  Taking any bet that is a literal coin-toss between barely making it and falling off the cliff is insane.

2. More importantly you might not finish college, either in 4 years (in fact the majority of students do not finish “on plan” in 4 years) or worse, at all!  The odds of you being able to make those payments if you don’t get the degree are an effective zero.  The odds of making the payments if it’s $75,000 in debt instead of $50,000 because it takes you six years to finish is likewise much closer to zero.  While some cases of people finishing late or not at all are their fault this is not exclusively so; you could have a serious accident or illness that forces you to interrupt your college studies, for example which is completely beyond your control and yet if you leave school not only do you owe all the money you borrowed payment must begin almost immediately.

3. If you default there are statutory penalties and interest that are immediately applied and cannot be renegotiated or removed.  These will add as much as 50% to the debt immediately and irrevocably!

4. Finally, if you can’t pay you also can’t declare bankruptcy and get out of the debt.  It will literally follow you until you die and they will take your Social Security check if you live that long — after applying interest for all those years!  If your parents are dumb enough to have co-signed they will take everything they have too, even their house in states that protect it from bankruptcy.  Why?  Because when they garnish their income your parents will not be able to make the property tax payments and thus they’ll be forced to sell which immediately exposes the net cash that can and will be seized.  There are many “Boomers” who have made this mistake and had any hope of retirement permanently destroyed.  If you’re a young adult and allow your parents to sign on these loans, say much less ask them to you are a monster and deserve to be BBQd alive and eaten, and yes, I mean that literally.

It is in fact the design of these “lending” programs and the FASFA that have led to the cost of college escalating.

Why?

Because human nature works this way; if you financialize something then those who provide the financing will seek to take from the consumer (that’s you, as a student and your family) all but one dollar of value you gain from whatever it is that you’re buying — in this case the education you receive.  This has led colleges to add five times as many “administrators” as Professors, all of whom do not teach one single student, while they build gilded edifices including “dorms” and “food courts” most akin to luxury condominiums and five-star restaurants!  Not one penny of that money goes to improving your understanding of Calculus, Engineering or Fine Art but with everyone making a percentage it sure does go to the college’s employees, administrators and suppliers, driving costs up at ridiculous rates while doing exactly zero to improve the quality of said “education.”  In fact it can be argued that ridiculous incentives are created to pass failing students since essentially none of the funds go to actual education and all go toward those dorms, food and other administrative things which continue to exist and be profitable whether you learn anything or not!

The most important take-away from such a process is this:

The college only cares about taking all but one dollar of the earnings potential they impart on average; whether you personally get something more than a dollar out of your education or lose everything doesn’t matter to them one bit as you are nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet.  That is a fact because they are protected from losing anything irrespective of how well you make out — or don’t, as the case may be.

Now let’s look at Health Care and you’ll notice the exact same dynamic in play — but through slightly different means.

Health care firms are notorious for pricing procedures and drugs on what they claim is the “imputed value” of the procedure instead of what it costs to perform or produce.  In other words if a drugmaker comes up with a cure for Hepatitis C (which they did) they will price it at whatever they think the average person with the disease would either spend on health care for the rest of their lives if the drug did not exist or worse, what they might earn if cured!

This is the exact dynamic that has driven up college costs and it’s everywhere in the health field.  You never hear drug makers, doctors or hospital administrators talk about what it costs to make a drug, to extract a tooth, to remove an appendix or to birth a child.

They all talk about what the perceived value of that thing is as justification for their price.

This model cannot work in a competitive market because the floor on prices in a competitive market is set by cost, not value.  If someone tries to price a product or service beyond a reasonable profit they provide an immediate incentive for someone else to come along, enter the market and undersell them.

Why doesn’t that happen in the medical (and college) field?

It fails to occur because of artificial and illegal constraints these businesses place on competitive entry.

Both businesses severely restrict competitive supply — colleges via the “accreditation” process (an unaccredited degree is likely worthless) and medical providers via both overt restraint of trade (including restricting the supply of doctors through college admission constraints!) and a combination of CON laws and state licensing requirements that allow them to deny entrance or exit of competitors, along with the supply of doctors, directly.  In addition the medical field refuses to publish a price list and rampantly engages in both collusion and discrimination based on what else you buy from unrelated parties.

I note that the government has passed consumer protection laws at both Federal and State levels that bars such behavior, if it tends to lessen competition, as an illegally tied coercive sale but both federal and state governments refuse to enforce these laws against anyone in the medical field.

Think about how crazy this all is in the context of your car.  How long would the local gas station last if they didn’t post a price for gasoline and how much you paid was only knowable after you pumped the gas?  Worse, what if the price varied by as much as 1,000% depending on which car insurance company you used — with some being “out of network” and thus forcing you to pay $25/gallon while others left you billed at $2.50/gallon?

One local gas station would go out of business in a day if they tried this crap.  If all the gas stations got together with the car insurance companies and did this in a given town, or any reasonable percentage of them, the government would show up with handcuffs and padlocks within an hour, throw everyone involved in prison and chain the doors closed because such conduct violates not only consumer protection laws but federal criminal laws on the books for more than 100 years in the form of 15 USC Chapter 1.

The same thing would happen if the car dealers got together and tried the same thing with repairs; your oil change is $50 if you’re insured with Allstate, $100 if with State Farm and $5,000 if with Progressive because they’re out of network.  Oh, and you can’t buy the oil filters and oil to do it yourself either as they would refuse to sell either to you since you’re not “licensed” as a car repair shop.

Incidentally car dealers used to refuse to quote prices claiming they “couldn’t” tell what was wrong until after they did the work, and before the Monroney Sticker (the window sticker on new cars) they also refused to post prices on new cars as well.  If you’re old enough you remember the exposes’ that the media ran on this scam in the car business where they sent in a little old lady with a car that had absolutely nothing wrong with it, or some minor $20 part that needed replaced and came out with a $1,000 bill.  Today that doesn’t happen any more and you get a binding estimate before the first wrench turns, along with a federal requirement to post a sticker price on every new car because the government at both the state and federal levels passed laws barring deceptive practices and told the dealers and repair shops that if they didn’t cut it out people would be going to prison.

Folks, there is nothing effective that will be done about college education or health care until we put a stop to the forced assumption of risk being thrown off the people making the loans and prosecute the colluders, price-fixers and other violators of both consumer protection and federal anti-trust laws.

Period.

Let’s ask the question another way: Since basic human nature will seek to maximize the dollars extracted from you why doesn’t this same thing happen with Televisions or Computers in the local Best Buy?  In other words since it is human nature to seek to maximize profit why is it that a 4kTV is under $1,000 today and a 1080p (much inferior) TV was $3,000 a few years ago?  Why didn’t, in short, the TV makers and Best Buy do the same thing to TV prices that colleges did to college prices or hospital prices?

Simple: There is effectively no recourse if you don’t pay at Best Buy and Best Buy can’t refuse to give you a price until after the TV is in your house because it’s both illegal and Wal Mart down the street has posted their prices!

Further if Best Buy and Wal Mart try to keep Joe’s Appliances from opening down the street and selling TVs because Joe noted that both existing stores were selling at an uncompetitive price the executives of both Wal Mart and Best Buy would face prosecution.

Finally the best case for Best Buy if you don’t pay is that they can come repossess the TV.  But a year from now, when you don’t pay, the $1,000 television is worth $400!  They can’t take your house or Social Security check.  In other words they have no recourse if they try to jack up the price through financializing the transaction because when you default they lose money.  It is exactly that counterbalance that prevents the financialization of television purchases (which is extremely common; many are in fact bought on credit) from leading to $20,000 TV sets and people losing everything because they signed on the line instead of paying cash.

In short competition is the check and balance on what is otherwise an entirely expected human behavior that will and does screw you out of every single penny you have.  Without competition there is nothing that will prevent this exploitation especially when the good or service is something that is believed to be “essential” such as food, gasoline, medicine or education.

As a nation we must stop this crap.  If we don’t the medical scams will destroy our economy within the next four to five years, and the educational scam has already destroyed the earnings power and forward outlook for millions of young Americans.

That blood is on your hands.

This nation’s people collectively and individually own it — all of it — and that all those “smiling faces” can show up on mainstream TeeVee without a line of pickets 20 people deep around the studio says everything I need to know about the people of this nation’s willing consent to the daily financial******you not only take dry yourself but serve up on those who have no voice — including those who are not yet born.

I find especially vile those who preach or demonstrate about the evil of abortion while sitting on their ass in this regard.

Yes, I understand that resolving these issues will cause a large short-term drop in GDP (15% or more) and that would be viewed as “bad” by those in power — and the administrators in those hospitals and colleges!

But if the local hospital or college went out of business because it had borrowed too much money and, faced with an 80% reduction in revenue they couldn’t make the interest payments on the debt that’s good, not bad!

Why?

Because there are plenty of people with money out in the economy and they’d jump at the chance to buy a hospital or college at 10% of the cost of building a new one, complete with lecture halls or operating rooms and, just as importantly, no existing employment agreements that drive up the cost of operation.

With that 90% discount on the capital equipment necessary to provide those services and no existing employment agreements, freeing the new owners to negotiate from the ground up prices would crash instantly by more than half and that’s good if you’re someone who needs health care or wants an education — not bad.  Yes, it would bankrupt a lot of companies and colleges who took out stupid loans but it would benefit you tremendously along with those who didn’t do stupid things and thus could buy those assets for pennies on the dollar and make a nice profit while providing you with services you wish to buy at a rational, market-based price.

Don’t tell me it’s impossible to do this in the medical field because it clearly, on the evidence, is not.  Right now you can get on a plane, fly to India, and have bypass surgery done for $2,000.  The doctor was trained in the United States or one of the other world-class international hospitals, the equipment was all made by the same firms that make it here in the US, the hospital rooms are private and appointed like a luxury hotel and the complication rate is lower than the best hospitals in the United States while the price is 1/50th of what it is here.  Why? No financialization at all. Cash on the table or no procedure — period.  And finally actual competition is present.

Even in the United States you can go to the Surgery Center of Oklahoma where there’s no formal financialization — just cash.  Unfortunately here the supplies and equipment are still price-controlled so it’s only 1/10th of the price in the hospital across town instead of 1/50th, but that’s still a hell of an improvement.  Oh, and the complication rate is lower than those other hospitals here in the US as well.  Why?  Because complications are included in the price at the Surgery Center (and not at the hospital) so there’s a very big incentive for them to not screw up (and give you an infection, for example.)

Likewise, how is it that we put men on the moon more than once with college educations that cost 1/10th of what they are today in inflation-adjusted dollars?  It’s simple — dorms were block concrete, chow was a mess hall and there were damn near no administrators to be found — just professors.  If you borrowed you did it privately and if you couldn’t pay the lender ate it, so nobody would lend you money unless they were real sure you’d pay it back.  No college could price credit hours, dorm rooms and food like they do now because nobody was going to be able to stroke checks for it and if someone borrowed and couldn’t pay the lender wound up chewing his own arm off.  In short there was no “free money”, there was no enslaving either the student or their parents and bad financial decisions were taken by the person who made them instead of shoved off on others.

Are you going to stop this America?  Are you going to demand that our legislators repeal all college financing protections including the bankruptcy law changes and FASFA — right ****ing now?  Are you going to demand that colleges and businesses that collude to “require” degrees in unregulated businesses be prosecuted for anti-trust, extortion and racketeering?  Are you going to demand that hospitals, drug companies and your local doctor’s office post prices and charge everyone the same amount under penalty of prosecution through long-standing consumer protection laws at both the state and federal levels, and that states either repeal their “CON” laws now or be sued by the DOJ for anti-trust?  Are you going to tell Trump, the Republicans and Democrats that you will not accept either “Obamacare” or “repeal and replace” without prosecution of those who are fixing prices and extorting the public with their “Explanations of Benefits”, along with a refusal to post prices, provide pre-procedure binding quotes and bill in a level fashion at all?  Are you going to demand that any hospital that shows up next to someone in pre-op who has already been drugged with sedatives to sign a blanket consent form be criminally prosecuted for intentionally addling someone’s consciousness and taking advantage of them exactly as you would expect someone who Roofie’s a woman’s drink to be?  Are you going to demand that the import ban on drugs be repealed now and that any drug company that engages in differential pricing across borders or other anti-competitive behavior, including bogus patent extension filings that occur on a literal daily basis today be hit with indictments and prosecution under 100+ year old laws that forbid such acts?

Are you willing to enforce said demands with any and all lawful actions available to you, including sign-waving protests, voting people out of office, showing up at town halls and confronting these jackals face-to-face, refusing to associate with anyone involved in these scams in any social or professional setting while being very public about why, telling your Alma Mater to go **** a duck when the fundraisers call or write, picketing the homes and offices of lawmakers, college administrators and hospital executives along with their families who all personally profit from their activities, refusing to work for them or serve them in your profession and even extending your activism up to and including a general strike that you will not return to work from until and unless all of the above happens?

No?  None of the above, you say?  You’re gonna cheer for your favorite college team that’s screwing young adults in the ass 5,000 at a time and buy football tickets instead?

Well then **** y’all because I’m not paying for your decision to sit on your ass or, even worse, cheerlead for not only your own financial destruction but also that of every young adult and child in the nation including your own.

For more than ten years I’ve made writing columns on the economy, markets and the abuses served up on America a priority.  I’ve written those columns from all four corners of the country, I’ve taken my laptop and done it on vacation, I’ve written on news of the day that pops up in the middle of the night and I’ve got dozens of data tables that I have to update on everything from employment to the Z1 flow-of-funds to consumer debt.  I’ve written the checks for colocation space and servers, business-class Internet complete with a conduit feed here and more.  I pay the bill every month for the additional power and A/C consumed by the equipment that runs here 24×7 and I keep a backup set of both data and hardware “just in case” — and those who have been around since ’07 have seen times it was needed.  Yet for all of this and pointing out both the inevitable math — there is no arguing with arithmetic, nor can political considerations wave it aside — nobody gives a ****.  There’s nothing but excuse after excuse, never mind the clear evidence that your children and those who came of age during this time are being screwed blind (gee, why do you think all those millennials are living at home and many aren’t bothering to work?) and you are about to take it in the pooper in a big way within the next few years, not decades from now.

I’ve cut it way back over the last couple of years but the few articles here and there still don’t get through and generate anything more than a few clucks of “oh yes, we see it.”  Not one bit of activism.  Every now and then they generate a spate of “guns, gays and God” in response and I get out the banhammer to knock that sort of stupidity into the next county.  Three or four articles a day didn’t do jack and focusing on the two largest areas of the screwing that will come apart and destroy the economy over the last two years hasn’t changed a damn thing in terms of the number of people who will get off their ass either.  The count is a statistical zero — and that’s a fact.  The people of this country are all engorged in selfie nation telling yourselves how pretty, sexy, masculine (ha!) or macho you are on Facesucker, Instrascrew or finding someone to diddle for a night — or an hour — on Tinder.

That’s what the data says, and what’s where the money is going and I need only look at the price of Facebook’s and Amazon’s stock to see it.

Well y’all have at it and y’all deserve what’s coming.  For my part  “winding it down” is on its way to be taken to a whole new and much lower level.

I’m not starting a new business, despite having a few of them in my back pocket. I won’t take business risk, I won’t create jobs and I won’t hire. It won’t be all that long before I tire of paying that outsized internet bill and chop that too, since most of it is there so you can consume this — then immediately discard the mathematical truth of it all as unworthy of action or response. I won’t entice my offspring to do something that is financially suicidal.  I will evade every bit of the scam to the maximum legal extent available to me, and I’ll evade all the people involved in it too, with my middle finger erected in their face if they won’t take the hint.  I won’t partake of the medical and educational scams you all explicitly and implicitly support and I will label every one who sits on their ass or preens on Facebook a scum-sucking bastard unworthy of the air consumed. If I require medical attention and can ambulate to somewhere it can be provided at a rational cost I’ll go there and deny all of your cronies a single penny of my money.  If I can’t for whatever reason then I accept death and will use my last breath and beat of my heart to give everyone in both areas of this scam — along with all who silently refused to act — a big fat bird.

Let me know what your decision is but remember the words of Rush in “Free Will”:

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

I’ve made mine and now it’s your turn to make yours.

Pettiness shows itself in interesting ways.

I had hoped the last election which led to Former Mayor Karin Tome being defeated by Mayor Jeff Snoots would result in Karin tome returning to the generally personable person I have known her to be throughout my time here in Brunswick.  While I am diametrically the opposite of her on many political issues I found her to be generally pleasant and polite in everyday life.  When I first moved into town back in 2002 it was winter time and we were still settling into our recently purchased home.  July of 2003 saw my family going to our first local fireworks celebration.  It was a great turnout…I could tell the small town atmosphere was in full swing and we talked casually with the folks around us during the runup to the show.  My late wife drew my attention to something that was unusual for her to see.  There was a woman literally nearly diving into each trash can.  My wife thought she was a bit nuts….I told her that no there are people that through either environmental concerns or the financials like to grab the cans and bottles because each container is worth a cent or two.  Get enough of them and it really adds up.  I did agree that it was a bit extreme in the manner of the gathering but otherwise we moved on.  What further surprised me is nobody else even took a second glance…as if this was expected.  I put it out of my mind at that point.  I ran into her several times throughout the city but mostly at the city library where she worked as a volunteer there.  I never had anything but the most pleasant time interacting with her and even my youngest daughter liked to see her.  While we disagreed vastly in the political realm personally I had zero problems with her.

Years later Karin Tome was elected Mayor of Brunswick.  While I again opposed her agenda and did not vote for her I took the time to congratulate her.  I also informed her that the only way i would not vocally dissent against Pay as you Throw(known here on as PAYT) is if the minimal fee was zero.  She asked why.  I told her i would then startup my own neighborhood trash service because I could do it for less than anything the city could do and with no worse than the level of service the city could do.(I could…i had already figured the numbers).  There was no hostility no threatening..just a statement of fact.

I think her biggest stumbling blocks were the following:

  1.  Her refusal to lead as a representative of the entire city
  2. Her inability, either by political inexperience or by choice, to not let her personal agenda lead her decisions

This led to her nearly loosing her office via a recall and to choosing a city administrator so polarizing that he would only get along with a small subset of the entire city population.    I will say this..i could still walk up to her..address her as Karin..and who would greet me with a smile.  I ran into her multiple times at City Hall..out in the community…and at the library and personally she was still the pleasant person I had run into for years.  We never made real friends but it was nice to see that two totally polar opposites politically could have a civil conversation.

Over her term as mayor she was set on her agenda nearly to the point of being an ideologue.  The citizenry made it clear to herself and the council that PAYT was a non-starter.  The council defeated multiple attempts at trying to move forward.  When the council had gotten browbeat enough and showed signs of wavering the turnout against PAYT was strong.  Even in the face of such strong opposition the mayor would not budge.  She brought in outside “consultants” and even representatives of the sole source for the special bags that would have to be used as part of PAYT trying to “sell” the citizenry on the idea.  The results were not pleasant for her or the city.  The fight that ensured lead to her nearly being removed via a recall election.  this tension continued until the next election cycle began.

The subsequent election was brutal….one i was not happy to see take place in our small town.  I am not blaming the former mayor for it…but her style of governing contributed to an already tense situation.  Folks from outside the city brought in their big guns for this election.  Local parties, county parties, in a few cases even the state parties were brought in.  I, being normally politically inactive, even decided to support Jeff Snoots.  This was nothing personal(though i was accused of making it such), I just opposed the current mayor’s agenda style of governing.  I considered a run of my own…until I asked around and found out two things:

  1.  Jeff Snoots was vacating his council seat
  2. His support amongst the citizenry was going to crush anything I could come up with.

It was an easy choice at that point.  I supported Jeff Snoots.  Wit the considerable resources being thrown into this race I did not stand a chance to get enough support to make a dent in either candidates support level.  The hype grew until, mercifully, it was time to cast our votes.  The turnout was good for our small town and Jeff Snoots was the new mayor.  I hoped our lives would return to normal.

I haven’t run into former mayor tome in person since that day.  I had no reason to believe that her behavior would continue.  I figured(maybe with a bit naivete) she would settle down into the personable Karin Tome I had run into many times over the years.  I was rudely awakened to reality today on facebook.  A post showed up on the City’s Facebook page announcing the City Administrator was stepping down.  It was announced the Dave Dunn was stepping in as the interim City Administrator.  Folks are disappointed but I made a remark about at least it isn’t Bob.  The former City Administrator who was generally disliked by the citizenry.  The response from Karin was what I have come to call snowflake mentality.  While trying to demean me she also pretty much demeans the ENTIRE city..including many of her supporters.(That would the Original Brunswick citizens Facebook Group).

That was it for me.  I then posted my response to her three posts:

William Warren Hey it isn’t Bob….
 
Karin B. Tome Please don’t go back to “Bob bashing” on this….it makes Brunswick look so petty…..
 
Karin B. Tome Or, if you DO want to look so small, take it to the Original or “Real” page – not on the Citys page…..please. We came a long way in being professional. Let’s not lose that.
 
William Warren Karin… ROFL! I am being small? Really? You the mayor who routinely…IN PUBLIC…threw temper tantrums when she didn’t get her way politically. You who as mayor refused to drop the leftist greenie PAYT that the majority of the city DID NOT WANT and made every possible back-handed way to try to ram it down the council and citizens throats? You who was so belligerent in your agenda REFUSED to back off until faced with a recall to remove you for your belligerence? I have been diplomatic and mainly silent and even defended you OUTSIDE of the political arena…until now. YOu have just called the entire original brunswick group and the entire REAL residents brunswick page petty and small. That’s a vast majority of the residents of the entire city. You ma’dam are the one being petty and small. If you want to call me names and the entire city names go ahead….I have not personally attacked you in ANY WAY. Now I know that what others have said about you is 100% true. Even when I saw you the first year i was in town and you were literally diving into trash cans during the 4th of july fireworks going after cans..my wife thought you were a bit nuts..i said no she’s just getting a few cents for the recycling. I agreed it was a bit extreme..but I gave you the benefit of the doubt then. I have given you the personal benefit of the doubt in the personal realm ever since…until now. Do not talk to me about being small and petty when you have showcased it over and over and over again in public.
 *update 1*
Karin B. Tome William Warren Wow – anger issues
 
William Warren not at all. the emphasis was to refresh your memories of how things actually went instead of how you wish to see them. Keep coming Karin…..
*update 2*
Karin B. Tome Just asking you to take it off the City page….
 
William Warren shhhh…..
*update 3*
Michael Tome Just as a point of clarification, Mr. Warren, because one thing I think we can all agree on is that the truth matters, and exaggerations of the truth don’t benefit anyone. So, first, PAYT was not rammed “down the council and citizens throats” by anyone. Yes, a couple of public meetings were held to introduce people to the topic and they were very lively to say the least. But, not one citizen in Brunswick was forced to adopt PAYT. Second, please provide your data supporting your statement that the vast majority of Brunswick citizens were against PAYT. Yes, there was a vocal group against it, but I’m not aware of anything close to a scientific poll that provided information on percentage of people for or against PAYT. I would hazard that there were actually a lot of people who are not in your realm of communication that were for PAYT. Third, you personally were not called names by anyone that I have seen in this thread… and Finally, yes, it is kinda odd that Karin likes to separate trash from recyclables. She has done it for years, and I guess I’m just used to it now. But, in the big scope of things that’s a pretty minor character attribute. It that’s all you have in terms of truth in your criticism, I’m thinking that’s pretty insignificant.
William Warren Michael I appreciate you will come and defend your wife…however your whiteknighting does not change the facts as they have been stated.
William WarrenI also find it interesting the folks calling for this to be moved off this page continue to respond ON this page.
*update 4*
Michael Tome William Warren I pretty much gave the facts… its you who chose to alter them.
William Warren Wrong. The elections spoke volumes. The majority of folks i talked to spoke volumes….however what i saw and observed is what i based my post on. It just happens others agree. The fact that you do not doesn’t make it any less true.
Michael Tuthill Wow, William Warren – the fact that you’d have to come behind this post to blog about how the former Mayor asked you to lay off bashing someone who was a consummate professional just makes YOU the snowflake. Get a hobby bro.
 
William Warren I have several hobbies. She was not a consummate professional. That was shown in public multiple times. If she was truly the consummate professional, even though her agenda was opposite of what most people wanted, she would probably still be in office. True leadership means you can get along with folks..not try to ramrod your agenda through to the point a recall is required to get you to listen. Allow me to quote,”Or, if you DO want to look so small, take it to the Original or “Real” page – not on the City’s page…..please. We came a long way in being professional. Let’s not lose that” Hey I am not the one who effectively called most of the population of Brunswick petty and small…talk about unprofessional. If you want this off this thread..engage me elsewhere..or do what i mentioned earlier….SHHHHH
Some folks would say I should have not responded.  That’s in fact wrong.  if you do not respond folks will walk all over you.  I had to respond if only for myself.  The rest of the citizenry…that’s up to them.  I am sure if you have managed to read all of this you might be wondering what is the point?  The point is this…despite the past behavior i have mentioned here if I was to run into her again it will be with a smile and graciousness…..unless I am given reason not to.  I am looking for a reason to be pleasant…and that is how I will continue to be.

The problem with “Green Energy” that nobody talks about.

Karl Denninger talks about the one thing greens do not want to acknowledge,  Green Energy will not be able to produce energy 24/7 on its own.  Either it needs batteries or some kind of storage system system for when..not if the green energy doesn’t produce.  Nuclear or fossil fuels are much more reliable and cost effective.  The selling back of electricity that is nothing more than a gov’t subsidy are being phased out further reducing the competitiveness of “Green Energy”.

We keep hearing about carbon taxes, “renewable” or “green” energy and similar.

Folks, it’s time to cut the crap — well, actually, it’s far beyond that point.

Let’s take a base cost, which is reasonably conservative (in other words, too low) of about 8 cents/kwh for wind power.  Costs vary widely at the consumer level across the country, but that starting figure sounds pretty reasonable from the published data when it comes to actual cost of wind generation.

The problem is that it is a false paradigm unless you are willing to accept limitations nobody will in today’s world.

A fossil fuel or nuclear plant will produce power except during either (1) planned shutdowns for maintenance or (2) unplanned shutdowns (e.g. emergencies, unanticipated failures requiring a shutdown to correct them, etc) during its design life.  There is no such guarantee for either solar or wind because both rely on something you cannot control.

Our expectation as a society is that whenever we wish to flip the switch and have the lights come on they will.  We can only achieve the “claimed” cost figures for “green energy” if we are willing to violate that expectation; that is, if there is no wind or solar at that time, when you flip the switch nothing happens because the power is in fact off due to lack of supply.

In order to prevent that from happening we can add on the following options either singly or in combination:

  • We can build much more capacity than required and store some of it.  So, for example, let’s say that we need 1,000MWe (1 Gigawatt of electrical power) for a given area.  We can generate more than that much during the time the wind is blowing and store some of it.  However, the laws of thermodynamics tell us that all energy conversions have loss; that is, not only is there no such thing as a free lunch but you can’t break even either.  If we convert the energy to potential energy (e.g. pump water up a hill) and then when we need it use that water to power a turbine (generating electricity just as we do with a dam) a highly aggressive target would suggest that we might achieve 80% efficiency from each of those two steps.  Arithmetic tell us that this comes out to 0.8 * 0.8 = 0.64, or 64% of the energy we put in will be returned.  This means that if we are absolutely certain (p = 0.995, or 1 in 1,000 odds that we’re wrong) that the wind will blow at a sufficient velocity to generate the energy we want 2/3rds of the time in a given location we must in fact produce 1 + (0.33 / 0.64) = 150% of the energy we wish to consume (that is, install 50% more windmills) and we must also install (and pay for) the pumped storage and generation system.  Note that this immediately takes that 8 cents/kwh to 12c plus the cost of the storage and generation system and the people to run it. 
  • We can build a fossil fuel plant to back up the windmills and staff that too.  Given the above figures, since we’re not storing anything, we must now build a 1,000MWe fossil plant and keep it both maintained and ready to be put online as required so as to provide any percentage of the shortfall up to and including 100% (if there is no wind.)  However, you must add the cost of said plant, its staffing and the fuel to run it when its operating to the wind power cost!  While the fossil plant is competitive with wind power on the operating cost that assumes its depreciation is on a 100% use basis.  It’s not; in the above case where the statistical data says that 1/3rd of the time the wind will not blow at a sufficient rate to provide the power we are in fact tripling the deprecation rate assigned to the fossil plant when it is running because the depreciation must be spread over the whole, not just when the fossil plant is “on.”  This makes the backup source cost skyrocket, and thus we no longer are anywhere near competitive.

Solar has the same problem, for the same basic reason — you cannot control when the sun shines at a sufficient flux to generate the power required.  Yes, there are places in the United States where the sun is likely to shine on an unobscured basis far more often than in other places, and transmission via HVDC lines (rather than AC) has materially less loss over long distances (and is convenient for solar since a solar cell generates DC power in the first place; as such it requires only one conversion, to AC at the receiving end, if HVDC transmission is used.)  But again, unless we are willing to be blacked out when we’re wrong we must cover the solar production the same way we cover wind!

Nobody is running the numbers in this regard on an honest basis when they talk about “green energy.”  The fact of the matter is that the claims of the proponents are, in essentially every case, understated by 50% or more, as the above shows.  This means your electric bill, in such a system, will either rise by at least 50% or you must be willing to make the trade-off that when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining you have no electricity available at all.

Let’s debate the actual issues with actual costs — not pie-in-the-sky intentional lies put forward by the so-called “green energy” folks and their political “partners.”

Outside agitators invade Brunswick’s election

I just got the most despicable, libelous publication about a candidate in the upcoming Brunswick City election.  Eric Beasely is being targets with allegations that had been expunged that are now apparently being dug up illegally.  I am not a lawyer but this kind of activity cannot be allowed to go unaddressed.  Eric has not asked for this response but I am going to do so.  Eric addressed all of these allegations on a miner detail already:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Whether you support Eric or not please join me in denouncing this behavior from a failed politician who made threats about this earlier.  The postal permit is from Rockville and is the same permit Ficker used during his failed primary run.  This is despicable behavior by anyone and this should not only be denounced but potentially litigated.  If these records were expunged then they have been illegally accessed and now illegally disclosed.  Somebody or potentially some people should be prosecuted and if called for by the law jailed.  Robin Ricker if this was done by you I hope you are prosecuted for this.

America died on July 5th 2016

We are now ruled by tyranny…oligarchy..whatever you want to call it.  One level of rules the the elites and one level of rules for everyone else.  The US FBI stated which laws hillary Clinton broke…all of which mandate prison…most likely resulting in a term lasting the rest of Hillary Clintons natural life.  Unfortunately the FBI has declined to even indict:

 

The Rule of Law no longer exists in America.

The law is clear.  Knowingly removing classified documents from SIPRNet affiliated devices, which is the only lawful place they can reside or be transmitted on through entire intentional conduct or gross negligence is a criminal offense.

The very setting up of such a server and transmission or reception of classified material violates the statute since it is not possible to accidentally cross the SIPRNet boundary.  It can only be occur through intentional conduct.

Further, there has been zero mention of the Clinton Foundation and what facially appears to have been the selling of favors by the Clintons during and after Hillary’s time in office.

Here is the section of US law that Comey admitted and stated that the FBI found Hillary violated:

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed,or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

and

(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

Which in turn implicates Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and every one of the people who worked on said server or in Hillary’s entourage and knew what Hillary was doing.

Note that Comey specifically said Hillary’s actions exhibited “great carelessness.”  Ordinary carelessness is “negligence” under the law.  Great carelessness is gross negligence under the law; they are equivalent terms!

The Rule of Law was officially burned and buried today on live television by the Director of the FBI.

You therefore no longer have any moral requirement to adhere to same; your entire analysis must now rest on whether you are sufficiently afraid of being shot — and nothing more.

America, as envisioned and fought for by the founders, died today at 11:00 AM ET, 7/5/2016.

240 years and one day from birth to death.

The Latest Jobs Report Actually Sucks

The unemployment rate of 4.x percent is an outright lie.  BIG excerpt from the economic collapse blog:

 

This is exactly what we have been expecting to happen.  On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. economy only added 38,000 jobs in May.  This was way below the 158,000 jobs that analysts were projecting, and it is also way below what is needed just to keep up with population growth.  In addition, the number of jobs created in April was revised down by 37,000 and the number of jobs created in March was revised down by 22,000.  This was the worst jobs report in almost six years, and the consensus on Wall Street is that it was an unmitigated disaster.

The funny thing is that the Obama administration says that the unemployment rate actually went down last month.  Almost every month since Obama has been in the White House, large numbers of Americans that have been unemployed for a very long time are shifted from the “unemployment” category to the “not in the labor force” category.  This has resulted in a steadily falling “unemployment rate” even though the percentage of the population that is actually working has not changed very much at all since the depths of the last recession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” increased by 664,000 from April to May.  If you believe that, I have a giant bridge on the west coast that I would like to sell you.  The labor force participation rate is now down to 62.6, and it is hovering just above a 38 year low.

When you add the number of working age Americans that are “officially unemployed” (7.4 million) to the number of working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force” (an all-time record high of 94.7 million), you get a grand total of 102.1 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

This is not a game.

So far in 2016, three members of my own extended family have lost their jobs.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, layoffs at major firms are running 24 percent higher up to this point in 2016 than they were during the same time period in 2015.

It was only a matter of time before those layoffs started showing up in the official employment numbers, and I fully expect that this trend will accelerate in the months ahead.

And here are some other brand new numbers for you to consider…

-Since Barack Obama entered the White House, 14,179,000 Americans have “left the labor force” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

-The quality of our jobs continues to deteriorate.  In May, 59,000 full-time jobs were lost, but 118,000 part-time jobs were gained.

-Since September 2014, 207,000 mining jobs have been lost.

-We just learned that U.S. factory orders have declined once again.  This marks the 18th month in a row that this has taken place, and we have never seen such an extended decline outside of a major recession.

-JPMorgan’s “recession indicators” have just soared to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

 

Karl Denninger at the market-ticker blog says:

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 4.7 percent in May, and nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+38,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care. Mining continued to lose jobs, and employment in information decreased due to a strike.

Uh huh.

Not seasonally adjusted (that is, before book-cooking for political purposes and attempting to bludgeon The Fed) out of the household survey) the figures are a different matter.

Employed in the household survey went from 151,075 (thousands) to 151,594an increase of 519,000.

Oh, and the employment:population ratio went up by two ticks to 59.9%!

So you expect me to believe that the economy created basically zero jobs when the household survey says it was over 500,000 and the employment:population rate went up two full ticks?

I’ll tell you what is terrible though.  Part time for economic reason workers were up sharply, 467,000, nearly back to levels from a year ago and reversing a lot of progress.  Meanwhile the number of part-time workers who were intentionally working part-time went down by 572,000.  Hmmmm…..

The workweek remained stable at 34.4 (gee, Obamacare anyone?) as did overtime hours while average hourly earnings ticked up five cents.

But I’m supposed to believe that headline number.

Riiiiight.

Send the guy with the handcuffs over to the Bureau of Lies and Scams please.

PS: Bite me Cramer.

 

Obama and by extension obamacare have been disastrous for this country.  It is only going to get worse unless things are resolved quickly AND correctly.

What is wrong with the modern church? Churchianity.

Just a quick preface note:

I am going to break all kinds of punctuation rules starting with the title.  I will capitalize things I feel are the most important not necessarily what grammar calls for and most assuredly not what the modern churchanity cultists call for.  I have spent many months and even years and this is only an excerpt of my overall feelings but it gives an insight into my overall thought line.  There are several links right after this section of text.  You will need to read them AND the links inside of those linked pages to be able to take this post into it full context.  This is not a quick exercise so get ready to invest some time.

  1.  Feelings towards “fellow christians”
  2. Persecution in America
  3. Churches Tweaking the Lions Tail
  4. Pastors Challenging the IRS 
  5. How the Gov’t CAN Interfere With NPOs
  6. Are Churches Ready to be Told How to Operate?
  7. The Fear Infestation of the Modern Church
  8. Christian Persecution is Only Just Beginning
  9. Destroying the Cult of Nice
  10. *UPDATE* 12/8/2016 How Christians are loosing the culture war by becoming Churchians..from a demons perspective.

I went into my time with my old church with grand illusions of wanting to do good for the cause of Jesus Christ.  The first warning sign was the entrenched you are an outsider attitude me and my family received.  My first instinct was to turn away but Heather being the eternal optimist convinced me to stay and keep trying.  So we did.  it turns out this church is pussified in many ways.  It is totally woman dominated with the men related to a support rule. In hindsight it always struck me as funny at how folks would bitch about the men not being very active in the church yet they did everything they could to minimize the role of men in true leadership of the church.  The real power was(and as far as i know still is) in the morass of committees that run the church which is where the real power is.  Finally after several attempts to energize the men which either were meant with inaction or were actively resisted I finally gave up.  It was only when I began to begin pushing to restore the Biblical role of men in the church dig various, very damaging incidents take place.

The first was I started hearing rumors around the church that folks were worried about my access to the church’s databases and how I could abuse the data.  To have my integrity questioned like that angered me and hurt at the same time.  I then made it known that first of all the staff could easily verify when any data had been accessed and it would be seen as what it was..baseless accusations.  When the accusations accelerated I found out who was spreading these lies and I then personally confronted the individual and told HER that if I am so untrustworthy she could have my keys and I will walk away from not only IT at the church but the church as well.  I also told this person good luck on finding someone who can run a 10k/year operation on literally next to nothing for NOTHING in pay.  I told her I did not need this bullshit.  If she has someone better in mind here are the keys.  She refused to take them and while she never apologized the rumors stopped.  This person would later be instrumental in organizing my exit from the church years later.

Next was when a worship band director at the time took issue with me and he cornered me in one of the offices and closed the door and proceeded to threaten me with physical harm and financial ruin.  Looking back I could have kicked his ass but I was so shocked at what I had just experienced that all I could do with cower back.  This person was very very rich and of decent influence in the church.  About 6 months later this person did something that I felt the need to stand up to him in public…right after a church service..in front of the entire congregation.  What is humorous is I did not instigate this incident the other party did apparently thinking I would back down.  Not this time butthead.  This time he did not threaten me like he did the last time but his behavior got him removed from the worship team.  he eventually left the church..and years later he sold his business.

The next incident was even more egregious.  At this point I do not even know why this occurred but I remember the details of the incident outside the building very well.  There was a “gentleman” that for some reason decided to come after me and my family and started making threats.  By now I had a well established reputation as a hothead(well deserved looking back…but it is who I am when I am passionate about something.  My family is one thing I am VERY passionate about.  You can attack me that’s fine but you go after my wife(who was able to take care of herself) or my kids and all bets are off).  This person decided to make some threats out in the church parking lot which led to a serious disagreement and eventually led to me becoming so enraged all I could think about was getting my hands on this individual.  Only one person stopped me..probably one of maybe three or 4 people I actually respected in that church(the senior pastor at that time)… physically stood in front of me and that is the ONLY reason I was not on top of this individual.  Several people saw the incident including one man who at the time was about 6 foot 7 inches tall and nearly 400 hundred pounds.  We talked about this years later and I asked him what he would have done had the senior pastor not shown up.  he later told me that he would have let,” knock the fucker down at least” before pulling me off of him.  Later I had cps crawling in my life due to a malicious false complaint of child abuse.  Me and Heather successfully fought this off and upon my own investigation I found out the individual who cowardly attacked me was a former promotional passover in the school district and I was able to confirm my suspicion of who made the false complaint.

The final straw was when the person who originally questioned my integrity got into conflict of authority with her superior.  I heard an disagreement between these two women and finally the superior said she was done and I tuned out.  I then heard the superior turn and re-engage with the subordinate.  I had enough of this persons crappy attitude and I physically interposed myself in between the two and told her straight up..back off or you won’t like the result.  I was firm but never raised my voice but made it clear with my tone that in my eyes this conversation was over..she was in the wrong..and she needed to move on.  I knew I had started a shitstorm as every time I had interfered with her plans I got a huge backlash.  I settled in for what I knew was going to be a big fight.  Keep in mind this person was less than half my size and I made no attempt to dial down what must have been a very intimidating pose.  Me and the superior(who also my superior in this wing) were talking and she asked me if I knew the hornets nest I had started up.  I basically replied..what else is new?  I see something wrong going on..I step in to put a bulwark in place..I get blowback….and everybody moves on after it is discussed and a resolution is in place.  We then heard the subordinate talking to the senior pastor castigating us.  I then intercepted this explaining to the senior pastor that no deacons have been informed of the incident and that we have not been notified of her disagreement which forced the pastor to refer her to her deacon.  Of course that didn’t happen.  The churchian aspect took over and the elders jumped right in and without talking to me or the superior and they came down with a judgement.  I do not remember what my superior had to do but I was immediately and forever removed from my duties at the security desk.  I was beyond angry and hurt.  There was no following not only church policy but most importantly the Biblical course for conflict resolution.  We never got in a room with the three of us to discuss it.  I and the superior offered the other person refused.  It comes down the elders demanded that I do two things…I must accept the elders decisions as just, Biblical, and final…and that I apologize for my role in the matter.  I decided at that point I could not submit to authority that could not even follow the Bible itself while self-righteously declaring themselves God over the church and that I MUST obey.  I left the church after that.  There were other minor incidents that took place afterwards that led to other actions being taken by me and I have finally been freed from the churchians grip.  Here is a modified version of the final e-mail I sent to the elders spokesperson about thing as they stand.  I have removed personal references.

In my final meeting with the elders spokeperson I was told we live in sensitive times. Unfortunately for me that means I am now seen as a physical threat to children apparently by the leadership of the church.  Not because of unbilical behavior….not because of the not willing to be held accountable..but now nearly two years later I am being blocked from the security desk due to the sensitive times we live in.  In other words the elders are worried that I am perceived as a threat to children based on one sentence uttered more than two years ago. 

Here is the issue:  If I am such a threat then why is the church so determined to keep me around?  If I am such a threat why do I have small children and their parents both inside the church and mostly outside the church asking me if I am refffing again every year?  If I was truly a threat I would not be getting my certification to referee middle school and high school game mainly at the request of parents outside the church in the community at large.

I’ll tell you why.  It is one word.  It is called FEAR.  It is as the root of these “sensitive times” we live in.  The fear of offense.  The fear of perception.  The fear of unforgiveness.  I could go on and on and on.  In a nutshell this locking me out of the children security desk is based on the fear of how I am perceived and by extension how the church would be perceived.  Shouldn’t the church be an example of forgiveness and reconciliation?  Locking me out of the security desk is the exact opposite.

after he clearly baited me in the front parking lot and was forgiven and after a short time of discipline and reflection is back in the band in a highly visible ministry.  The woman whom I interposed myself in front of after our conflict while resigning from the children’s area is still one of the biggest power brokers in the church and is highly visible doing so.  She has been forgiven and mostly restored.  The band leader who nearly physically assaulted me in front of the entire congregation was offered forgiveness based on discipline.  I do not know the specifics but he continued leading worship for a bit before he left.  Yet I, a man who mainly works in the background, am locked out due to a pervasive fear of what it may be perceived as. 

The Bible addressed fear over and over and over again.  If you want me to cite verses reply and I will.  It sounds like the Elders are worried me loosing my temper or threatening somebody.  I have not publicly lost my temper or raised my voice in the church in more than 3 years.  Even when I was conflicting with the subordinate not once did I raise the volume of my voice.  Not at any point while this was going on did I raise a hand towards nor raise my voice towards the subordinate or anyone else.  Yet because of the fear of how I may be perceived I am locked out. 

In closing you wanted to know why I have a fundamental problem with the elders that’s it.  I have already laid out my issues with how the initial conflict was handled by the elders.  I have been unable to articulate my other issues with the elders until today.  I was driving down the road and had this inspiration to articulate my feelings in a more clear way than I could even at the meeting today with two elder spokesmen.  I hope this missive helps the elders understand the reason I have a fundamental disagreement with them.  In my mind the elders are handling this issues incorrectly by Biblical standards.  If something isn’t Biblical no other regulation matters.  Please take the time to read this..reflect upon it and pray upon it.  I do not want to get a reply full of we are right..throw Bible verses at me..and continue down the same path the elders have been taking.  I have been IMMENSELY flexible having discourse let’s not take a step back from what progress has been made.  I fully expect for the Elders to disagree with me in many if not all areas.  This is just something that came to me during prayer driving down the road…take it or leave it as you see fit.

Now I know you are reading all of this and thinking..on my God what a horrible church.  That is not totally accurate.  What cemented my decision to leave and request my membership to be terminated and removed from the rolls is when in an attempt to at least reconcile I agreed to one more meeting after Heather’s death.  The elders pretty much told me the same thing which led me to say we are done and leave…forever.  I then had some member of the congregation reach out to me and ask why I have not been to the church in so long.  I explained I have serious issues with the elders which preclude me from attending to which i was told MULTIPLE TIMES,” just ignore them…we usually do anyways”.  Talking about a shock.  Multiple congregants telling me to ignore the leadership because they do?  I had to ask why would I attend a church that thinks so unfavorably of it’s senior leadership that they are routinely ignored?  That would explain why the only folks that attend church business meetings are usually the committee members and a few other that are in the good graces of the committees.

The congregation of my old church has stood behind me and my family throughout the years…good and bad.  Every time the leadership attacked me members of the congregation would rally around my family and help us.  When cps was sent against us they came in and helped us get everything perfectly organized so cps would close the case.  When we had serious financial problems they stepped in and helped us fill our oil tank without anything in return.  When Heather died the senior pastor and many many congregation members came to my side and helped out in so many ways.  Unfortunately I cannot in good faith and sound conscience attend a church with it’s members in closet rebellion to their senior leadership and whose senior leadership continue to hold to the judgement based on fear and lies in terms of removing me.  I have finally told the elders I will accept my excommunication from the security desk if the elders will admit they failed to follow the Biblical code for conflict resolution.  This will give my spirit peace so I can move forward…but it will still mean I will not step foot inside that church for worship ever again.

I have been searching for why I am so disillusioned with churches these days.  It really comes down to what is guiding the church….churchianity or the bible.  What is the difference? churchianity is the touchy-feely wimpy, fearful of offense type of Christianity that infests the modern church in so many forms.  My former long-term church was always this way but in the past 5 years really began the slide into churchianity. so what am I talking about here?  Well the biggest lie is that Jesus was a gentle person and didn’t even do anything violent or offensive.  This is a lie that so many churchians believe in and it is EASILY refuted in the Bible itself.  Just read the new testament when Jesus talks about the religious leaders of the time back then in context.  The translations I am sure also watered the language down a bit but Jesus was calling the Jewish leaders of that time some vile names.  For us the names are not shocking but again most people know nothing of history or the culture of the time.  I have yet to hear many pastors talk about the Bible in the correct context…yet they wonder why their messages are so hollow. Combine this with the touchy-feely, sjw/lgbtqjeudmdhdy(who knows how many letters will be added?) compatibility fear based let’s not offend anyone “preaching” and we can see why false teachers are so prevalent and/or why so many pastors sermons are ignored.  churchianity also drives churches to do other things as well like:

  1.  Hang onto a government granted tax avoidance scheme which does NOTHING but guarantee the govt’s ability to interfere with their operations
  2. An overwhelming desire to affiliate with some kind of umbrella organization
  3. expel those who have a true passion for the Lord’s work
  4. Hat tip to Vox Day for this one:  Subscribing to the cult of nice

I have since been sporadically attending another church that has broken away from the sex scandal ridden sovereign grace movement which gave me hope.  I have since heard they want to associate with another movement whose name I cannot remember.  The first thing that came to my mind was WHY? Isn’t the bible all you need to guide a church and it’s flock?  It has led me to question do I want my family attending a church that their first move after breaking away from a corrupted movement is to immediately associate with another movement?  Why not just ride the words of scripture for your guidance?    I am not sure how long I am going to attend this church at this point either.  It has led me to realize that so many churches are leaning on the wrong things.  I was only just now able to articulate my feelings about this second church.

So what am I looking for?  A Biblical church.  One that is NOT afraid to stand on the Bible as it guidance and accountability with a fully Biblical structure.  If this model is followed they will give this world what it is so hungry for.  Jesus was not this dovesih, offend no one figure that modern churchians have put forward.  This has resulted in Christians becoming the fearful, weak, conflicted, and ineffective ministry we are now.  What do we need to do?  Let’s reject the cult of nice….the unbiblical view that ANYONE can get into heaven.  Honestly when I look at myself am I deserving of paradise?  How well have I followed the Lord’s Word and his Son Jesus Christ?  I think I have some work to do…and I think many many Christians do to.  Where is that leadership going to come from?  Is there a truly biblical Church out there?  I have for a few years wondered if I am on this thought journey to starting my own Church?  Right now I do not know the answer to these questions…but with prayer the Lord will show me the answers to these questions.  If he deems me worthy to lead a church…I will do so very reluctantly at first…let’s be honest..:)  The Lord may have me be the pillar since I am very very good at being the foundation and working in the background.  Right now I do not know what the answer is..but I do know what and where the answer is NOT.

 

SHIT…Today is Here

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw my phones notifications and the first one was from Jessica Shullenbarger and Arden Herzberger about Heather’s one year anniversary of her passing.  As the tributes roll in, and there will be many of them all of which she deserved, all I can say is first keep them rolling in…today is about heather….and next…this is going to be a hard day…one I would hope would not come.  It is here anyway, as cruel as life can show itself to be, all I can do is ride the emotional waves that today is going to bring.

Moving Forward….Sometimes Staying Put

I just got done with a cry.  Not one of loss but one of shame.  I let an entire side of my family down and it jsut hit me how much that relaly bothers me.

My Mother in law asked me recently if I had gone to Heather’s grave recently.  i admitted I have not been since we buried her.  I had to explain that as of that day I would not be able to drive back for quite some time.  My MIL told me something that made me feel quite ashamed of myself.  She had been to Heather’s grave and found it in disrepair.  My MIL has taken steps to get it rectified.  I honestly was struck nearly silent at my inability to go there and all i could say was, “You are a stronger person than I”.  Father’s are a strong bunch but sometimes what I have seen mothers do is also astounding.  here was a woman not a year removed from loosing her daughter and had more fortitude to check on her daughter’s grave than I did.  Needless to say I felt ashamed of myself.  I was being honest as well I know that when i go and visit heather on her birthday I will be torn up for quite some time.  I owe some people an apology and they will get it once I share this with them.

 

All i can say is I sincerely apologize that I was not the one properly tending the grave.