Archive for May 14th, 2010

Anglican Vicar Confirms Ezekiel’s Tomb Won’t Become a Mosque

Friday, May 14th, 2010

We reported, back in January, that sources in Baghdad said that the Iraqi government planned to turn Ezekiel’s tomb into a mosque and erase all Jewish markings.
Since then, an Anglican vicar has received reassurances from local mullahs, who ensured him that they wanted to maintain the Jewish holy site in its current form while enabling Christians and Muslims, who also consider Ezekiel one of their prophets, to visit the site.
So for the time being, Ezekiel’s tomb appears to be safe.

“Hello Sheila, I’m in Ezekiel’s Tomb, how are you doing?” Canon Andrew White, the vicar of St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, said over the phone. “Everything here is intact, glorious and beautiful.”

The short exchange this week between White and his longtime friend Sheila Raviv, stuck in traffic in her hometown of Jerusalem when she received the call, brought an end to months of concern over the fate of the tomb, following reports in Iraqi media outlets that Iraq’s Antiquities and Heritage Authority planned to build a mosque there.

The tomb is located in Al-Kifl, a small town south of Baghdad. As part of the renovations, according to the rumors set off by the report, ancient Hebrew inscriptions and ornaments were being removed.

“I went to make sure that the rumors were not true, and they weren’t,” White told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Raviv had recently written to White, with whom she has been in close contact since he was in Israel in 2000, to express her concern over the condition of the holy site. White said he doubted that the local mullahs, the ruling Shi’ite religious authorities, would indeed allow such a desecration, but told Raviv he’d personally check things out.

The three-hour journey from Baghdad, where White resides, to the Al-Kifl site is considered highly dangerous and necessitated an escort of 30 security personnel. But for White, who also tends to the needs of the eight-member Jewish community of Iraq, “my No. 1 priority in Iraq is maintaining Jewish sites.”

At Ezekiel’s Tomb, White met with the local mullahs, who ensured him that they wanted to maintain the Jewish holy site in its current form while enabling Christians and Muslims, who also consider Ezekiel one of their prophets, to visit the site. White’s photographs of the tomb, which he sent to Raviv, show remnants of whitewash at the bottom of some of the Hebrew inscriptions, most likely left over from Saddam Hussein’s era, and minor damage caused by the efforts to clean the dirt that had accumulated over the years.

While local Muslims continue to pray in the tomb’s shrine, there is no concept of it being a Muslim place of worship, White went on to explain, noting the presence of a mosque next to the tomb.

“The mullahs were very positive about preserving the site, and even asked me to provide Jewish Bibles in Hebrew,” White said.

For Shmuel Moreh, a professor of Arabic Literature at Hebrew University, relief over the news – which he had also recently received from an Iraqi source – was mixed with a feeling of victory.

A year ago, an Iraqi acquaintance told Moreh of the local religious authorities’ reported intentions. Since then, Moreh, a recipient of the 1999 Israel Prize in Middle Eastern studies as well as chairman of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, utilized all his skills and connections to prevent what could have been irreversible damage to an important religious heritage site.

Moreh told the Post on Thursday of his efforts with the Shi’ite and secular leadership to prevent what seemed like genuine intentions to modify the religious character of Ezekiel’s Tomb. One of his contacts, a distinguished scholar respected by the Shi’a authorities for his traceable lineage to the house of the prophet Muhammad, personally delivered a letter from Moreh on the issue to the Iraqi president and prime minister.

Moreh also cited a letter that Ayatollah al-Rikabi had sent to Iraq’s foremost religious Shi’a authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, requesting that the tomb remain in its current form as a Jewish holy site. Rikabi also told Sistani that Shi’ites should be sensitive to needs pertaining to holy sites, reminding him of the difficulties facing Shi’ites who were prevented by Wahabis from visiting religious sites.

It may have been efforts by Moreh and Jewish communities around the world that ensured the tomb was kept in its original form, or the whole affair may have been a result of a misunderstanding – or even a rumor deliberately spread by foes to besmirch the Shi’ites. But both White and Moreh stressed to the Post the dire condition of many other ancient Jewish sites in Iraq, such as the tombs of the prophets Jonah, Nahum, Ezra and Daniel, some of which lay in ruins with no one to maintain them.

“We must speak out and not remain silent,” Moreh said.

Original Link.

“Vexed By The Ungodly?” by Michael G. Mickey

Friday, May 14th, 2010

In 2nd Peter 2:6-8 we are given a glimpse into the wickedness that run amok in Sodom and Gomorrah prior to their destruction, as well as how difficult it was for just and righteous Lot to exist therein. We are told the environment of his time was so troubling to him his righteous soul was “vexed” on a day-to-day basis.

Based on the word ‘vexed’, what are we to perceive the condition of Lot’s soul was? In the original Greek it is kataponeō, the meaning of which is to “tire down with toil, exhaust with labor.” (Strong’s G2669)

Is Your Soul Exhausted?

If you’re a Christian and your soul isn’t troubled these days, even weary, it may be time to evaluate where your loyalties lie. As the saying on a popular bumper sticker goes, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention! Either that or, once again, your priorities and loyalties are out of whack.

Bad and Getting Worse

It’s a difficult time to be a Christian, isn’t it? As predicted in bible prophecy, in spite of apostates threatening to dilute the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the point His death on the cross seems near empty of meaning, bible-believing Christians are clearly viewed as viable threats on the radar screens of God’s enemies. We know this because we are increasingly finding ourselves in the crosshairs of a wicked world with no foreseeable let-up in sight.

From people beating up on Christian NFL rookie Tim Tebow’s good name as though his faith is tantamount to a hideous character flaw to a Christian being arrested for nothing more than quoting the Holy Bible’s assertion that homosexuality is a sin, the world is kicking sand in our faces faster than we can wipe it away! Some days, it’s all I can do not to scream in frustration. Literally. Let’s look at a few examples of what I’m referring to, shall we?

As reported earlier this month by Lachlan Markay of NewsBusters, the network Comedy Central wouldn’t permit its show “South Park” to so much as speak the name of the Muslim prophet Mohammed for fear of offending that faith’s followers, but on the heels of that? The same network is preparing to roll out a brand new show, the title of which is “JC” – a comedy about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wherein He moves to New York City “wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father”.” Color me vexed as to that completely disrespectful although disgustingly predictable development, not to mention double standard!

In an unrelated matter, mere days ago senior citizens at Port Wentworth’s Ed Young Senior Citizens Center near Savannah, Georgia, had been told they couldn’t pray aloud before their meals anymore as a result of yet another ridiculous “separation of church and state” argument. The seniors would have to go with an alternative “moment of silence”, they were told, until the issue could be resolved. Fortunately, everything is back in proper order now, as seen in a Fox News story, but we can rest assured that there will be something very similar going on someplace else before we know it! And why? Because the powers and principalities behind all of the seemingly daily examples of anti-Christian persecution taking place around the globe are looking for any and every opening to wage war against the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the cross and will not fail to open fire whenever an opportunity is afforded to do so.

Another prime example of the spiritual warfare we presently find ourselves in is seen in the recent theft of a cross that had stood at Sunrise Rock in the Mojave Desert in California since being erected in 1934 in memory of veterans of the armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

The cross at Sunrise Rock and the controversy surrounding it caught my attention in 2005 when I wrote about the ACLU’s successful efforts to hide the old cross from the view of those “offended” by its presence on a perch inside the borders of land then owned by the federal government. At the time, the federal government had agreed to a land swap that seemingly gave everyone with an interest in the case what they wanted. The federal government would transfer the land where the cross was standing to the California Veterans Home in Barstow, California, and, in doing so, eliminate the “separation of church and state” argument being made in the courts. U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Timlin, however, would have none of it, ruling:

“It is evident to the court that the government has engaged in Herculean efforts to preserve the cross on federal land and that the proposed transfer of the subject property can only be viewed as an attempt to keep the cross atop Sunrise Rock.”

I was vexed back then and still am as I reflect on what was going on. The government had seemingly figured out a way to perfectly respect the atheist’s concerns that the federal government was endorsing Christianity, as well as a way to leave a long-standing tribute to our fallen war dead standing that veterans from a variety of wars had gathered near every Easter Sunday for decades – a reasonable and respectful resolution to the conflict it seemed to me and many others. But make no mistake about it, neither the ACLU, the atheist it was representing nor Judge Timlin was going to be satisfied until that symbol of Christianity was torn down!

Fast forward to today, fresh off a Supreme Court decision that had, at least temporarily, saved the cross at Sunrise Rock and brought it out from under a wooden box that had been constructed to obscure it from view until a final decision could be reached, and the old memorial is gone from its perch. It has been stolen by what a OneNewsNow.com article refers to as “vandals”. Personally, I wouldn’t call those responsible for the theft “vandals”. What I’d call them is low-down anti-Christian scoundrels and thieves! Oh boy, am I ever vexed where this wicked stunt is concerned!

Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Institute has said of the theft, “I mean it’s akin to desecrating people’s graves. It’s just a disgraceful attack on the selfless sacrifice of our veterans — and we’re not going to rest until this memorial is reinstalled. I can’t really say it much better than the VFW commander [National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr.] who said, ‘This was a legal fight that a vandal just made personal to 50-million veterans.”

As a veteran, the theft of that old cross is certainly an act that I’ve taken personally, but there is something far more sinister about it to me than that!

The long-standing battle over the cross at Sunrise Rock wasn’t about the cross being a war memorial, it was about an atheist and the godless ACLU representing that atheist in an attack on Christianity and we all know it! The theft of that cross was a slap in the face of veterans of the armed forces, sure, but let’s not lose sight of the fact it was a slap in the face of Christianity as well, in keeping with current societal trends which are leading this nation down the path to destruction, activist judges in many of our courts in America doing everything they can do to aid the process!

If it’s not one thing, it’s another these days. Right, Christians? The spiritual condition of the United States of America is in a state of free fall, to the extent that I wholly agree with statements recently made by Reverends Franklin Graham and James Dobson.

Graham recently said:

“(In the United States) we see everyday our rights being eroded. Just a little at a time, but its happening. Everyday. So let’s preach while we can. Let’s stand up and holler ‘Jesus Christ! King of Kings, Lord of Lords!’ to the top of our voice.”

“The secularists are going to get ticked off, the news media’s going to hate it. I don’t know, maybe the people in the White House are going to be mad. But you know what, I don’t care. Because God has called us to take the Gospel — His Gospel, the power of God and His Salvation — unto the ends of the Earth.”

Dobson recently said:

“I am convinced that there are people in high places, people with a great deal of authority and influence, who want to eliminate every vestige of religion — especially Christian religion, or evangelical religion – from the public square. They want to expunge it. They want to get rid of it.”

Amen and amen! Could it be any more obvious than it presently is that this is true?

Are We There Yet?

I can only speak for myself, but I relate with Lot more by the day. Truly, my soul is vexed, often to the extreme.

There are days when I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, turning off my computer and television never to know what is going on beyond my line of sight ever again. For me, the less I know these days, the better I feel. This is true both physically and mentally. I know I’m not alone in that, but there’s something both I and every frustrated Christian in this wicked world needs to bear in mind in the midst of our current fatigue and frustrations. Jesus Christ made it clear that the more we find we have in common with Lot, the closer we are to our redemption!

Luke 17:28-30: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

Christians, keep your chins up! Remember, a better day is coming because Jesus Christ is coming! All signs are pointing to His return occurring, potentially very soon!

Original Link.

Bill Would Require Government to Track Body Mass of American Children

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Are you tired of this type of “regulate everything”, socialist nonsense yet? I know I am.

A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.

States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.

The Healthy Choices Act–introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee–would establish and fund a wide range of programs and regulations aimed at reducing obesity rates by such means as putting nutritional labels on the front of food products, subsidizing businesses that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and collecting BMI measurements of patients and counseling those that are overweight or obese.

Section 101 of the bill amends the Public Health Services Act by stating that health care providers must record the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. “The provision relates to all children in states that accept grants under the bill,” a spokesperson for Rep. Kind told CNSNews.com. “However, it is important to note that no one is forced to come in for a doctor’s visit to get their BMI tested. BMI will be taken at times when the child makes an otherwise scheduled doctor’s visit.”

Original Link.

Feds Tell Court They Can Decide What You Eat

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Government is now trying to intrude into what we are allowed to eat. Unbelievable.

Attorneys for the federal government have argued in a lawsuit pending in federal court in Iowa that individuals have no “fundamental right” to obtain what food they choose.

The brief was filed April 26 in support of a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on the interstate sale of raw milk.

“There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds,” states the document signed by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose, assistant Martha Fagg and Roger Gural, trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish,” the government has argued.

WND has reported several times on fed crackdowns on producers of raw milk for friends and neighbors, including the recent case when agents arrived to inspect a private property belonging to Dan Allgyer in Pennsylvania at 5 a.m.

The incident was followed by a report a few days later that documented a proposal pending in Congress that critics say would do for the nation’s food supply what the new health-care reform law has done for health-care resources.

“S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, may be the most dangerous bill in the history of the U.S.,” critiqued Steve Green on the Food Freedom blog. “It is to our food what the bailout was to our economy, only we can live without money.”

The plan is sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who explains the legislation “is a critical step toward equipping the FDA with the authorities and funding it needs to regulate what is now a global marketplace for food, drugs, devices and cosmetics.”

Now it’s statism on our plate! Mark Levin’s manifesto – ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ – provides the antidote to its growing stranglehold

His website explains, “The legislation requires foreign and domestic food facilities to have safety plans in place to prevent food hazards before they occur, increases the frequency of inspections. Additionally, it provides strong, flexible enforcement tools, including mandatory recall. Most importantly, this bill generates the resources to support FDA food-safety activities.”

The proposal cleared the U.S. House last year but has been languishing in the Senate because of a full calendar of projects. It creates a long list of new requirements for food-producing entities to meet the demands of the secretary of agriculture. It is expected to be the subject of discussion in coming days.

The Iowa case alleges the federal restrictions on raw milk are a violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to a report at Natural News.

The federal attorneys want the case dismissed.

“The interest claimed by plaintiffs could be framed more narrowly as a right to ‘provide themselves and their families with the foods of their own choice,'” the government document states. But the attorneys say that right doesn’t exist.

“The FDA essentially believes that nobody has the right to choose what to eat or drink,” said the Natural News site, which explains it covers topics that allow individuals to make positive changes in their health, environmental sensitivity and consumer choices.

“You are only ‘allowed’ to eat or drink what the FDA gives you permission to. There is no inherent right or God-given right to consume any foods from nature without the FDA’s consent.”

The Natural News report continued, “The state, in other words, may override your food decisions and deny you free access to the foods and beverages you wish to consume. And the state may do this for completely unscientific reasons – even just political reasons – all at their whim.”

The report cited an increasing level of frustration on the part of the federal government because of tactics including buying “cow shares” in which a consumer drinks milk from a cow he partly owns, or “buying clubs.”

“This arrangement drives the FDA absolutely batty because it bypasses their authority and allows free people to engage in the free sales of raw dairy products produced on small family farms,” Natural News said.

The report blames the aggressive campaign against raw milk on large commercial dairy interests, “because it threatens the commercial milk business.”

The reason cannot be safety, the report said, since a report from the Weston A. Price Foundation revealed that from 1980 to 2005 there were 10 times more illnesses from pasteurized milk than from raw milk.

The federal government attorneys say the FDA’s goal is to prevent disease, and that’s why the “ban on the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk” was adopted.

The attorneys conceded that states ordinarily are expected to regulate intrastate activity but noted, “it is within HHS’s authority … to institute an intrastate ban as well.”

Natural News reported the ban could be seen as violating the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which leaves to states all powers not specifically designated in the Constitution for the federal body.

Original Link.

Parents Warned About Upcoming ‘Milk Day’ in California

Friday, May 14th, 2010

California remains the state most likely to ram the homosexual agenda down your children’s throats, while they are at school, without your knowledge of permission. Here is one of their latest ploys.

Last year, lawmakers in The Golden State designated May 22 be the day that schools honor the openly homosexual San Francisco politician who was assassinated in 1978. Although that date falls on a Saturday this year, Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com reports that May 17-28 may include exercises in celebration of Milk, as students will participate in commemorative activities honoring him without parental notification or consent.

The exercises could consist of anything teachers or school board members deem appropriate, including in-class reading and writing activities about the politician, or watching the film Milk. Assemblies teaching homosexuality and alternate lifestyles, cross-dressing contests, or mock “gay” parades and weddings could also take place.

“It is a moral crime for virtually all the Democrats in the California legislature to force this upon the six-million children in California schools,” Thomason argues.

He adds that Milk was one of the worst examples as a role model for children. “Milk believed in adult-child sex; he believed in lying to get ahead. He is one of the worst role models that children could have,” the SaveCalifornia.com president contends. “Teachers, principals, and schools that push Harvey Milk’s values are responsible for the degradation of children as human beings.”

Original Link.

“All Roads Lead to Heaven?” by Albert Mohler

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 (New International Version)

What catches the attention of a columnist for The Washington Post? A recent column by Kathleen Parker indicates that theology has become a focus of national attention. Kathleen Parker used her column in The Washington Post to take on Franklin Graham and his belief that belief in Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.

Parker began her column with the fact that Franklin Graham prayed outside the Pentagon last Thursday, rather than inside, having been disinvited by the Pentagon as the speaker for its scheduled National Day of Prayer service. Graham, you will remember, was disinvited because of statements he made about Islam — statements directly referenced by the Army spokesman as “not appropriate.”

Those statements made clear reference to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only message of salvation, to Christ as the only Savior, and to Islam as an evil belief system that pulls millions away from faith in Christ and delivers no hope of salvation. In a later interview, Graham made his point about the uniqueness of the Christian Gospel, adding Hinduism as another example of a false religion.

All this was too much for Kathleen Parker, who asked: “Oh well, it doesn’t matter where one prays, right? All prayers lead to heaven. Or do they?”

She took direct aim at Franklin Graham’s theology, arguing that “Graham’s views didn’t sit very well with secular Americans or even non-evangelical Christians.” Well, probably not — and that serves to indicate what makes evangelical Christianity distinct from secular Americans and secularized Christianity.

But, Parker advised her readers, evangelicals are not likely to hold onto this belief for long. In her words:

Graham isn’t alone in his views. A survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors, conducted by an evangelical polling firm, found that 47 percent agree that Islam is “a very evil and a very wicked religion.” But such opinions may be confined mostly to an older generation. Evangelicals under 30 believe that there are many ways to God, not just through Jesus.

In essence, Kathleen Parker was advising secular America that the distinctive evangelical belief in the necessity of belief in Christ for salvation has a generational expiration date stamped on it. She then cites research by David Campbell of Notre Dame and Robert Putman of Harvard indicating that “nearly two-thirds of evangelicals under 35 believe non-Christians can go to heaven, vs. 39 percent of those over 65.”

So, even as secular Americans are expected to recoil in horror at the idea that there are Christians who still believe that faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation, they are given the hope that the coming generation of younger evangelicals will abandon that conviction and follow the path set by liberal Protestantism. There are signs she may be right, but this would mean the surrender of the Gospel.

But Kathleen Parker is not finished with her argument. She then turns to Fingerprints of God, a recent book by Barbara Bradley Hagerty of National Public Radio. Hagerty cites neuroscience as giving evidence of a “God spot” in the brain that supposedly indicates that all religious beliefs are the same:

Her research led to some startling conclusions that have caused no small amount of Sturm und Drang among those who believe theirs is the one true way. She found that whether one is a Sikh, a Catholic nun, a Buddhist monk or a Sufi Muslim, the brain reacts to focused prayer and meditation much in the same way. The same parts light up and the same parts go dark during deep meditation.

Well, no Sturm und Drang here, Mrs. Parker. This neuroscience may tell us something about the operation of the brain, but it tells us nothing of theological importance. It might indicate that certain religious practices have similar effects in the brain, but it tell us nothing about which theological beliefs are true. The evidence from neuroscience is of interest in this respect only to those who believe that all religious experience is merely a reflection of biology — and if you believe this you are not concerned about heaven or hell at all.

Kathleen Parker’s column is indeed revealing. But the most revelatory aspect of her essay is its unmasked hostility toward any belief that there is only one way of salvation. This is the so-called “scandal of particularity” that causes so much secular offense. In recent years the Roman Catholic Church has officially embraced forms of inclusivism in order to reduce this burden, and liberal Protestantism has embraced just about every relativistic alternative, from outright universalism to various forms of inclusivism, in which people are believed to be saved through Christ, but not through any conscious knowledge of Him. The universalists argue that all religions lead to the same truth. Inclusivists argue that all faiths eventually lead to Christ, even if He is not known. Both are repudiations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The column by Kathleen Parker is yet another signpost of the current age and the worldview of the secularized classes. In their view, what evangelicals believe about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just out of bounds and embarrassing.

But, she tells her readers, don’t worry — younger evangelicals are going to put that belief far behind them.

Is she right?

Original Link.
Also see our article “‘Falling Away’ of the Church”.

“The Freight Train Roaring Toward Our Living Room” by Ross Mackenzie

Friday, May 14th, 2010

In precisely the Europe for which Barack Obama and his cronies hunger here, America may be able to see glimpses of its future in 3-D.

Greece is one of the poorest kids on the European bloc. It also is one of the most carelessly socialistic, which largely explains why it is so poor.

The birthplace of democracy, today it is a model of socialistic excess: deficit spending, confiscatory taxation, Marxist public-sector unions, government ownership, nationalized health-care, excessive federal intrusion into private lives. Greece’s debt obligations exceed its gross domestic product (GDP) by a factor heading fast toward 2. In today’s jargon, the place is a paradigmatic entitlement society.

A member of the European Union (EU), Greece is one of 16 countries to have dropped its own currency — in its case, the drachma — and embraced the euro. The consequence has been this: Unable to reduce its debt by inflating its own currency, Greece has had to call upon other EU countries to bail it out.

The EU was set up with no mechanism to do that. The plan just established pledges about $1 trillion from numerous countries (including, through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States) to help euro countries such as Greece — and, soon, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain? — so debt-ridden they cannot pay their bills.

Ideally, the $1 trillion fund would impose fiscal discipline on sovereign wastrels, but in fact there may be no way to do that. Greece has tried it, sort of, and rioters have taken to the streets in Athens and Salonika. Perhaps the operative question is: What happens if the most socialistic European economies don’t get their game together, and keep spending and entitling their citizenries — and the $1 trillion back-up fund runs out?…

..WHICH brings us to this side of the Atlantic.

The federal government owns the currency and owns the only presses that turn out dollars. Even with that, it boasts an accumulated deficit of $13 trillion — headed for, oh, $23 trillion by 2020. Over the years, legislation has been approved requiring the federal budget to be balanced, but no one pays any attention to such anachronistic thinking anymore.

The states and cities are different. Under their constitutions or charters, they must balance their budgets. In 2009, states collected $686 billion in tax revenues, down 11.4 percent from tax revenues collected in 2008. Yet, in the words of one news account, “their costs…are skyrocketing: Investment losses have forced many states to make added contributions to pension funds, while the recession and recovery have increased demand for social services such as food stamps and health care.”

Read the rest of the article here.