Thoughts and Observations of a Minister

Take a look around, make yourself at home.
You will find some of my favorite things, and some of my innermost thoughts.

Poems, quotes, music, preaching, and a few funny things.
Take your time, add your comments, and come back as often as you like.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When people slip away from Christ

Through my years I have watched as people slip away from God.
I am always praying about what to do, if anything. I feel I do to little, too much, my timing is too late, or I step in too soon.
All I know is that I hurt. I always hurt. I am the watchman, and I repent for my failure.
I realize, Gods voice is there when my voice is silent, Gods hand is there when my hand is absent. God loves them more than I do, and he will do what I can not do.
The good ones always come back, God may break their heart, strip them of the world, or just love the daylights out of them. He does not loose his own, those who have a heart for God.
God is God, the hardest part is I know exactly what is outside of Gods will. It is a wicked sinful world, that will only take and never give. It is a drugged up drunken, self-serving world filled with death, with no hope. I learned the hard way, maybe that is why it hurts me so much. I have seen them after the world is finished with them.
I pray for all that have slipped, I pray gods presence be so strong, his love so powerful, than no one can go to far, without god's love overpowering any pull from the enemy.
I have always pray that God reveal the enemy to them, in such a way that they see just how ugly he is. Satan seldom wants our body, without God it will self destruct, it is our soul he is after, our influence that would bring others to Christ.
I warn them, because I am commanded to watch for their souls. I warn them because I care. I warn them because they are part of me as they are part of Christ.
When I have done all I can do.
My faith then takes over, I  am usually left broken but with a better awareness of what can happen to anyone anytime, if we let our guard down. When I have nothing left, I see and feel God, and if I can feel him, I know that others can feel him too.
People seldom slip because of sin.Sin usually follows, but people slip, because of alliances made with the enemy, that take them away from the commitments they have made to God. It can be as innocent as a Bowling league, Ball team, or work relations. It is seldom sin, but sin usually gets the blame, because that is what we see, usually after the the deception has already worked its work.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4
How does one get back, by dieing unto Christ, and them burying yourself in his word, his people, his music, his work, and having noting to do with anything of the world.
It is surrender. Until then non of us have ever had a real relationship with Christ.
We need to stop looking at others, and look in a mirror. God works on me every time one slips. Every time, and I find I could have done more, and I could have done it better. That makes me better, and always brings me closer to Christ, and that is a good place to be.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nine Eleven

Nine eleven is finally here
it stirs our hearts with all kinds of fear

To many it is a memory we cannot forget,
to others it's a vision of when the plane's hit.

Whether thinking or seeing it matters not.
This is a time that cannot be forgot.

Help those who cannot feel your hand,
to at least see evil in Satan's land.

Help us to know there's a war to be won,
it is not with a people but the evil one.

It is a spiritual battle that is won only through Christ,
Lord give us the victory as we give you our life.

Nine eleven will soon be past,
only what's done for Christ will last.
R.L. Fry 9-11-11

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I am dressed and waiting to go do another funeral. I have never kept count of the the numbers, maybe because I never felt people should be treated as a number.
I was thinking of the first funeral service I officiated. 
I had no training on how to do a funeral. I had attended several, but I had been in the barber chair many time, but being the barber, was a completely different vantage point.
I prayed, and ask God to lead my thoughts, and allow me the freedom to respond to his spirit.
I have now been doing funerals for over 36 years, I have had two in one day, 5 in one week, they have been both, young, old, Christian, and non-Christian. Sudden deaths, and long suffering deaths.
This is what I learned.
I pray and ask God to lead my thoughts, and allow me the freedom to respond to his spirit. The same as I did the first funeral I officiated.
I have often thought, maybe I have never done a funeral the way folks think I should, but I will continue to do them the way I always have, and pray that the people hear Gods voice and not mine

The fight for your Life, my morning thoughts.

The Church is in a battle, around the world, there is only one way to win this battle, and that is for every Christian to win the battle personally. Your personal battle, your personal struggle, your personal priority.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Can we win this struggle, can we be victors, the Bible says yes we can.
John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
He has overcome the world, and we can too, if we abide in him.
There is noting that should be able to come between the joy we have in Christ.
No circumstance, no person, no event, nothing.
Psalm 3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
When we slip from Gods grace, we find our joy eroded, because we have allowed something, someone, some circumstance, other than God to bring us his peace, joy, and rest.  
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."
There is no rest, no peace, no rest, no help, outside of him, and he does not request 100% he demands 100%, the only way this works, is your commitment to him, and it must be total, nothing less will work.
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Col 1:24-29 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

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Old Glory

When I look upon old glory
I feel her heart and remember her story

I see more than the red, white, and blue
I see the faces come shining through

The men and women who gave it all
so we can have freedom in the assembly hall

Freedom to worship as we please
freedom to work and live at ease

Their faces are always showing there
Asking me if I really care

I remove my hat, and lay my hand on my heart
but that is not all it is only the start

I owe it to them for the life they gave
to vote, worship, and respect their grave

All gave some, and some gave all
The least I can do is respect their fall

I will stand in respect as she passes by
with a heavy heart and a tear in my eye

I am thankful for all they have given me
The home of the brave the land of the free

The next time you see old glory pass by
give her your heart, not just your eye.

R.L. Fry 4July 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

If I could hear my father sing again

To his great great granddaughter he gave his last cute smile
He had not opened his eyes for such a long long while
I saw my mom kiss his cheek, with a tear drop in her eye
She then turned and smiled at me, she looked back and said goodbye

Dad was all ready now, to travel to his home
The one he had been looking for, the one around Gods throne
I could only envy him, as I had done so many times before
He soul was moving rapidly toward heavens open door.

I laid my hand upon his head, it was there for some time
I could feel his heart singing Jesus is all mine
He finally slipped away, to the other shore.
The moment of his passing, made me love Jesus more and more.

Dad is now in heaven, and his memories are so sweet
I look forward to seeing him again, at Jesus feet
I can hear him singing in God's choir, its about to begin
The song is so beautiful, and I can here my father sing again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Dad

My dad was tough fair and strong

he always confronted me when I was wrong

he held my hand when I was right

and stood beside me in a fight

He always taught me to take a stand

That was part of being a man

never worry who stands with you

and always remember god will see you through

Feed everyone both friend and foe

You may need their help, you never know

keep your door open, let everyone in

to do any less would just be sin

I gave you my name, I kept it as clean as I could

Make sure you pass it on, clean like you should

You won't always be right, you to will fall

Make sure you clean up your mess, give it your all.

Your life will be short, no matter how long you live

Be a soul winner first, and never forget to give

It isn't about gain for yourself you know

It is for his glory, you will reap what you sow

Here is to you my best advice.

Don't drink, don't smoke, pick up no vice.

It will be hard at times, but you will be in control

Life isn't about the Body, it is about the soul

I am now in heaven, because of Christ

It has given me the best my entire Life

The sooner you learn it, the better off you will be

It started at an alter on bended knee

It didn't end there, that was just the start

You must give him your life, not just your heart

Being born again, is what it is all about

give him all you got, and never doubt.

I want to see you all some day

but Jesus Christ is the only way

It worked for my dad, my grand dad too

and I am sure it will work for you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

God Speaks

God Speaks

Lord when did it start, where did we fail

It seem the whole earth is being whirled by its tail.

The wars, and the earth quakes, they are coming so fast

How long lord, do we wait, for the one final blast.

You have our attention, if you will just show us your hand

There are times we feel so defeated, and drug through the sand.

We have prayed so intensely lord, now what must be done.

To get your attention Lord, and get back to the fun.

Now son hold your thought there, just for a bit.

The world looks much different from where I am set.

I have given you the Bible, and my only son.

You pray like you love him, then turn and run.

You want your prayers answered, then listen to me

Give up yourself, and lean totally on me.

Give up the temporal things, or I will take them away.

I made everything, they are all mine anyway.

Be the kind of man, I created you to be

Full of power and might, from all fear be set free.

Stand in the gap life isn't too long you will see

But you do as I choose, and you will have all eternity.

See now young man, it isn't as bad as some think.

All that needs done will be done in a blink.

So stop playing around, and get back to my task

Disconnect from the world, and connect to what last.

The world is a temporary home at its best.

I have a place fore you , that is more than you guest.

A home that is eternal, splendid, and fair.

I am just doing my best to make sure you are all there.

Rev. Robert Fry

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Building a Church for God not men

Hebrews 8:5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

WHY????? WHY was Moses to build it according to the pattern shown to him by God??

What if he build it bigger, making it more attractive to the masses, and dumbed it down so those who really did not believe would be more comfortable, or at least would not be turned off by its presence.

I wonder if God would have shown his presence, if Moses did it his own way.

I don't think so, there was only one way to build it. The tabernacle was the image of Christ and his atonement.

It could only be one way, and that was by devine instruction.

The Church is the body of Christ, it can only be built one way, and Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

We need to build the Church so God will show his presence, and spend less time on thinking about what will make people come to the Church.

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." This is repeated later, in Prov. 16:25 "THERE IS A WAY THAT SEEMS RIGHT TO A MAN, BUT ITS END IS THE WAY OF DEATH."

Men build Dead Churches, God builds churches that are alive.

How do we know the differance? First we must seek God, not a program, not a style, but a God that demands that we deny ourselves, and pick up his cross.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God... The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 8:14,16).

There is no substitute for, rightiousness, holy living, and a desire to serve him, rather than ourselves.

The Church must be built to please God, and men must conform to his immage.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Growing a established Church

When becoming a pastor of a established church, one thing is a constant 20% do most of the work and give most of the money.
The first thing most pastors do is try to inspire the leadership, and teach them new way, remember new ways come hard, even harder if some of those ways work. Change is always difficult.
The second thing most pastors do is try to go out and find new people, and new leaders. That isn't a bad thing, but we all know it is difficult to bring new leadership into a established church, no matter how low the attendance.
Even if successful at bringing new folks in, bringing them to a position of leadership is almost imposable.
It is no wonder many ministers want to start a Church from scratch, taking a established church is like starting from itch, that is before scratch
The question needs to be ask why are 80% of the people that attend doing nothing, and giving even less. These people have made a commitment, to attend, but for some reason they do not move beyond the attendance point of commitment.
You will find these things to be true, if you do a slow interview process with the 80%.
Some have been through difficult times, and feel disqualified from working, I have found this could be a child born out of wedlock 35 years ago that disqualifies both the mother and child, a divorce 20 years ago. There are many things that makes one feel disqualified, usually it is a devils lie to keep them on the side lines. I have found that this lie is usually confirmed and enforced by the 20% in leadership.
Others may be considered too new, they married into the church family, and just are not considered as a insider quite yet, even though they have been married for 15 to 20 years. They also are a little outspoken, and the 20% do not like that, it could threaten the way they have always done things.
I have always made it a point to try and pastor all of the people, and hearing their stories have always helped me in decision making.
A old pastor told me when taking a new church wait two years before making any real changes, he was a wise man. He was telling me to get to know the people. Read and understand the by-laws. After two years you should have a vision what is happening, and a vision on how to make things move ahead for Gods glory.
The 80% that are there committed, and willing to help, but never ask, never considered, because a established church has its leadership, and it is passed down from generation to generation, and always with less real commitment to God or the real vision of the Church. We would call that denominationalism, dedicated to the movement, but not dedicated to what built the movement, or the spirit that inspired the movement.
First get as many of the 80% working, find them jobs, no need to take old jobs from those serving, just add new work, new ministries.
The first thing I have done, and suggest to all new pastors, have a group you can lead, I called it pastoral ministries, it worked outside of the committees, I could start them staff them, and in order for anyone to attack them, they had to go through me, that protected the new leadership, and the others were busy doing what they always did. Never put new wine in old skins or new ministries under old committees, they will die, I learned that the hard way.
As the 80% feel accepted and are working, they will develop into acceptable leaders, and will catch the vision of growth. They are teachable, and will grow in the Lord. They will not take ownership, but will take responsibility the ministry they are leading.
There will be some battles, most will be along the lines of selfishness, and
As the old move off the scene, move the new real leaders into positions of leadership, they will accept the new people God sends to the church. They will make sure they are treated with respect, you trained them.
The biggest challenge is a game children play, and it is easy to spot. It is played like this. (Pastor: I know I may be only one of the few that want this, but I need your influence so I can get my way with the majority.) It will be more covert, but you will hear it loud and clear. Two things, one they already know they do not have the influence they had, and two they are trying to see if you are still working for them.
Remember it is your influence, not theirs to be used, you earned it, so use it wisely.
If you do not do as they ask, it will be a battle, but remember who called you, and he will always be faithful. In times like this, I have seen God hand move, he always sends replacements if they leave always, you can bank on that. These are the hardest times for any minister, watching someone that can work, give, and lead, just walk away. It will happen, ownership of the Church is only by God himself, not anyone else. When they leave they will go to another established church and most ministers are willing to accept them, and this can cause hard feeling between ministers. Do your best to keep those doors open, you too will accept those from other churches. I personally do my best not to side with those who come but accept them, and help them to move on, and keep a healthy relationship with the church and pastor. Hatred has no place in any church.
Try to fine people with spiritual gifts in the areas you need leadership. There is a real anointing that goes with Gods work, allow him to help you start ministries that are need based, and when people have a passion for their work. Look beyond the worlds qualifications, and look for a spirit of love joy peace long-suffering gentleness. Make sure these people are being used, they are like Maple trees, once they are tapped they just keep putting out sweetness.
Move the Church to a point that seeing someone saved is the best thing in the world to see, nothing is better. This will bring the church to its mission, and teach all to be better Christians, this will attract others, to Christ and to his Church.
Prayer is touching God and his power, submitting to prayer is easy if we have submitted to God himself. Prayer is the most powerful thing we have, when building a church, prayer changes us so we can be used by him.
Every young minister want to pastor a established church, and most young ministers do not get a chance to do that, unless the attendance is embarrassing, and the church needs life support.
I have pastored two established Church, and both had a train wreck before I came.
Established churches are click orientated, if you as a pastor are accepted that is good, but remember if you change too much they will reject you, especially if their positions are threatened.
The 20% will stay when a church wins no souls, when the pastors mess up, and when the hand writing is on the wall about the death of the church.
They will leave when their positions are threatened, even if the church is winning souls, growing, and the spirit of the lord is present at all services. I have seen many come back, and embrace the Church, many I am sorry to say do not.
Make sure you welcome them back if they come back, they are not bad people, they have just done what they have always done, and many times when they leave they will be successful in another church were they can not take ownership, they would be considered the new kid on the block, so pray for them, but never let what happened in the past mess with the present, it is never personal, even though Satan tries to make you think it is personal. I have been called many times to the side of a death bed, by those who had left usually upset. I always go, and the time has always been rich, and rewarding.
Building a successful ministry is just that, ministering. Be constant in season and out of season, you never know when God will call you into account, in everything pray. Keep good notes, I have always kept a journal of the hard decisions and the process I went through to make that decision. I have found that others try to paint you as they want others to see you, and a journal will help to keep what you knew and when you knew it in line. I always ask for more information, when someone says many or several people think this, I always ask who, and many time I ask them to write down what that person says, so I have a hard copy of all the information on a difficult decision I am about to make.
Lives are at stake, we have no time to play Church, it is time to do something.
I ramble a little, sorry for that, but I pray this gets in the hands of someone who needs it. God Bless you
Pastor R.L. Fry

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The church

Why was Abraham chosen? He was a good man, that we know, but he sure wasn't perfect, we all have read the Bible. He did give us a prophetic line about the birth of Jesus who is the Christ. That line followed through David, and then the Virgin Birth.

God could have chosen anyone, but the real story is about the linage of Jesus the Christ, not Abraham.

The documented evidence, that Jesus was not just a man, but he was the promised visit of God himself.

The Tabernacle that Moses built, and the Temple that Solomon build were both in modern day terms a embassy so God could show his presents.

John the Baptist said when Jesus came to be baptized, behold the kingdom of God is at hand.

Gods kingdom was and is all inclusive, not to a nation, as some believe, but to all who believe. The Bible says whosoever will may come.

He said to all believers that we are a chosen people, sanctified unto God,and those who do not believe are already condemned.

Today the world is doing its best to define the Church as any other organization, and not a holy organism headed by God himself. The churches leaders God said are called by him, anointed by him, and lead by him.

Ephesians 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Many miss seeing the Church for what it is, because they miss what the Bible teaches about its holiness, and power.

We see leadership only as another person, we see the church only as another organization to join.

Remember those who hung Jesus, those who beat him, those who betrayed him, those who scoffed him, only saw a man. They even know the scriptures but they were blinded by their own will.

I pray that all believers can see the Church, and even though it looks like most other organizations, even with its shortcomings, it is a holy union with Jesus Christ, and in it there is a supernatural power.

Not because of us but because of him.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Moose Day

A Two Moose Day

Dr. James Dobson tells the story of the “two moose day” that seems relevant to most of us. It’s about a Vermont man on his way to work one foggy morning when a 700-lb. moose steps into the road in front of him.

He hits the moose, which comes up over the hood and mashes the roof of the car. The moose is killed. Though his injuries a minor the driver is taken to the hospital. Later that day the man is driving home from the hospital in his pickup truck.

You might have seen this coming: another moose, this one a bit larger than the first, is in the roadway. Our driver stops, but the moose charges the truck. When it’s over, both moose and truck are totaled.

That’s a two moose day. I especially like the story because on more than one occasion when I was stationed in Alaska years ago an entire line of vehicles would be held up while a moose decided when and if it would move off the roadway. Fighter jets cleared for take-off would wait impatiently until a moose wandered off the runway.

We all have to wait for the moose sometimes. It’s annoying, but not fatal. When we hit the moose, it gets more serious. And sometimes it will just be a two moose day no matter what we do to avoid it.

The trick is to remember that moose are relatively solitary creatures. There’s no vast moose herd out there in the woods waiting to overwhelm me. I’ve dealt with two moose days before. You have, too. So far, we’re still on the road.

Keep driving. Just watch for the “Moose Crossing” signs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The “Bottom Line

"Stock prices have resumed their historic decline; and foreign currencies, precious metals, oil, and other commodities have also resumed their declines which, along with real estate prices, will likely prove crushing to most investors. Declining monetary aggregates and rising interest rates on all but the highest quality short-term debt are resuming as the credit crisis returns amidst a scramble for liquidity in the emerging “Greater Depression”.

ALL prudent investors, who are not astute traders, should now be out of stocks and bonds. Expect stock prices to decline farther and faster than they did in the Fall and Winter of 2008-09 and than they declined in 1929-32.

While U.S. Treasury bond yields may drop somewhat as stocks sell off stongly, interest rates must continue their rise over time as the finances of the U.S. and most other nations become increasing unwieldy.

This may be investors’ last chance to get their assets out of harm’s way. Those who are properly prepared may yet profit and live in relative abundance as global wealth is devastated and chaos reigns.

Economic Fundamentals Remain Very Weak

Home sales, consumer debt, and rising unemployment/underemployment offer brutal evidence that the economy here and globally is still, more or less, flat on its back. 43 states saw rising unemployment in December, sharply up from 36 in November. Nationally, many workers are not being tallied in unemployment statistics because they are discouraged from looking for work (600,000 in December). True U.S. unemployment is approaching 20%. Many are seeing their unemployment benefits run out.

An estimate of $350 billion for the States’ fiscal 2010 deficits will surely be revised higher. Also, those deficits are artificially reduced by Federal stimulus which, itself, will soon have to be withdrawn. As I reminded in the August 31 Bulletin, persistently rising consumer credit and real estate problems and growing weakness in commercial real estate, along with steadily rising unemployment and underemployment will eventually and cumulatively reassert sufficient gravity that will also cause hopes for recovery to turn to fear and then to panic. Those concerns are growing.

Growing inability of nations to borrow and spend to support their economies and also to remain solvent will result in more of their “stimulus” programs being reduced before long. Reported growth in economies is largely due to such borrowing and spending. (U.S. GDP statistics do not disclose the source of sector spending.) Spending by government – that can only consume or redistribute and cannot produce wealth – cannot build productive wealth of nations or of their citizens.

In the U.S. all reported economic growth is the result of these irresponsible and short-sighted practices.

Meanwhile, the real collateral and capital base of nations necessary for their borrowings and growth is dissipating at accelerating rates. Nations, not just homeowners and businesses, are becoming “upside down”. Severe recession and deflation devour tax revenues at all levels of government so expect their deficits to become even more problematic and alarming.

How could real prospects be positive when government interventions are draining our substance and strangling incentives of producers, frustrating efficient and profitable asset allocation, and encouraging foolish and unproductive investment and spending decisions within our economy? And when mountains of debt in all sectors of the global economy are unserviceable and deflating? And when the fierce but futile efforts by government and financial system to keep prices and wages high will extend and deepen the “Greater Depression” ahead.

Lack of confidence is growing in mythical “green shoots” economic recovery. Recognized inabilities of governments and their central banks to borrow, spend, and inflate their way back to prosperity is returning and will predictably turn from extremes of unfounded optimism to panic as deflationary declines accelerate. Securities valuations are increasingly seen as optimistic given economic performance that is, at best, soft; and markets – stocks, bonds, commodities – are poised for sharp declines.

Creditworthiness of national governments is showing increasing signs of fracture. Dubai, Greece and Portugal, France and others in the Eurozone plus Great Britain are the latest names to add to Iceland, Ireland, and Eastern Europe. Bailouts of the largest financial institutions and of governments, such as Dubai recently, reveal the global enormity of our harm’s way economic crisis. I discuss the looming “debt trap” of historic proportions in Harm’s Way Financial Planning and Asset Management.

Japan, the second largest national economy, has far higher debt levels than any major country, and with their interest burden at near zero rates has nowhere to go but to dramatically larger borrowing costs and deficits. Indeed, that is the future for most large countries, including the U.S. China has overreached on stimulating their own economy and is seeing customers for their exports struggling. Nations are adopting protectionist policies back home that will further reduce economies of major exporters like China and isolate them from global trade. To assume that China will continue to hold large amounts of debt of the U.S. and others is foolish.

While the U.S. benefits from “flight to quality” with both dollar strength and demand for our (especially shorter maturity) Treasury debt, the U.S. debt crisis remains just over the horizon.

Deflation is again raising its ugly head. Deflation, deleveraging, and global economic decline are resuming here and globally as the broadest measures of the money supply contract. Deflation reigns despite frantic efforts to reinflate through governments’ “stimulus” borrowing of massive amounts and through the Fed and other central banks buying that debt and debts of others in order to create new “money” in their economies. Nonetheless, broad measures of money and credit are dropping, and the “global village” is under great pressure.
The total bank credit shows that the economic sluggishness is consistent with the new downtrend in money and near-money assets.

M3, the broadest monetary aggregate, plus total bank credit trends turning down show that that the deflationary threat is very real. It includes large time deposits, institutional money funds, and other large liquid assets along with narrower aggregates that include coin and currency and deposits of consumer, business, and government deposits in the banking system (M1 and M2).

EWI does not expect inflation to return until, at least 2012, and probably not until at least 2014. The signs are saying that a more rapid and powerful decline in the current Primary Wave 3 bear market leg could end sooner the most powerful portion of the deflationary decline. Possible shortages in food and other key commodities, like energy, could cause those prices to rise in crisis. Commodity prices react to fear of shortages and not to optimistic social mood. Indeed, panic can fuel powerful spikes in commodity prices, hence the need to prepare for shortages of critical tangibles.

High global debt levels are both financially destructive and deflationary because they require increasingly scarce cash to pay interest, much less principal. How can real growth occur as assets and incomes are deflating, debts are turning sour and people save and shrink debts instead of spend and invest? People have been realizing that their cash is more valuable to them than what they can buy with it. This reality should be seen even more powerfully in months ahead.

Since “money” is borrowed into existence by the banking system, shrinking bank deposits and credit outstanding equals deflation and economic decline.

Market and Economic Analysis Highlights

The break of the 10-month trendline of the Dow Jones Industrials Average from its March lows indicates the next major decline of the greatest bear market in at least 290 years has begun. That rally in stock prices reached highs (10,729.90 in the Dow) on January 19th. Just two days later, the Dow index closed decisively beneath its uptrend line on an increase in volume and the strongest downside breadth (issues sold greater than bought) in the last two months. The decline continues and, despite rallies, such as a counter-trend bounce that began today, should accelerate to the downside. Such rallies provide opportunities to exit or go short.

Recent declines also broke the late-November and mid-December lows, erasing 10 weeks of gains in just three days as prices in all indexes declined impulsively. The rally ending satisfied many analytical price and time targets. Market internals have been weakening for months as optimism, by some measures, was even stronger than at the October 2007 highs. of Investor optimism extremes signal significant tops. Optimism has begun to decline as the crowd begins to grasp reality and market volatility increases.

Expect that, for several reasons, the Primary Wave 3 decline which appears to be in its earliest stages, will drop farther and faster than did the 1930-32 decline, though we should also experience powerful snap back rallies along the way as I illustrated in the October 31st Bulletin for 1929-32. Each rally, however, should be more than fully retraced as stock prices continue to work their way lower. Expect that pattern to be similar to the 5-vave impulsive decline seen above in the second chart that tracked the Dow’s 17-month Primary Wave 1 decline into the March lows of last year.

In the global scramble for liquidity as over-priced and over-financed assets deflate, the dollar has begun a major advance against other currencies that will likely last through 2010. Dollar strength corresponds to valuation declines in gold and silver, oil, and in other commodities which are also under pressure because global demand resumes its decline as recession becomes depression. The Elliott Wave Int’l price target for gold is “below $680 per ounce”.

Be Ready for the “Big One”
Before this extremely large degree Primary Wave 3 down ends, the Dow should be below 4000, perhaps even below 1000, as the following projection chart by EWI suggests. After a relatively weak rally then, Primary Wave 5 down should eventually find a final bottom below Dow 1000. EWI’s target is “below Dow 400”. Expect stocks to be crushed for many years.

Expect the current first leg down in Primary Wave 3 (Intermediate wave 1) to break the March low of 6470, or at least roughly 40% below the final January 19th high of Dow 10,729.90. Dow 4000 would be 63% below that high and more than 70% below the final bull market high reached in October 2007. While broader stock indexes, such as the NASDAQ and smaller capitalization issues, fell further, they also tended to rally more but should now again experience even greater declines than the Dow.

We cannot know how long the decline will take or its final bottom, but we can be confident that investor pessimism will be significantly more negative than in late 2008 and early 2009. The most powerful point of decline should occur at its center (at the center of wave 3 declines of various degrees). At that point, investors will stop focusing on possible upside potential for the markets and start worrying about how far down it will go.

This “point of recognition” occurrence (“Prechter Point”) should be stunning enough to set all-time records for financial panic. Thereafter, pessimism becomes the dominant expression of social mood. EWI’s projections for reaching the all-time lows in social mood are around 2016. Regardless of when pessimism bottoms, be prepared for meaningful recovery to be deferred for much longer".

Saturday, February 6, 2010

There is a whole lot of shaken going on.

Whatever Can Be Shaken Will Be Shaken‘For thus says the Lord of hosts; Yet once more I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land, and I will shake all nations’ (Haggai 2:6). ‘Yet once more I will shake the earth and also the heavens. Now this expression, “Yet once more”, indicates the final transformation of all that can be shaken – that is, of that which has been created in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Let us therefore, receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship’ (Hebrews 12:25 to 28). God is not only shaking things on earth – He is also shaking things in heaven. ‘All the foundations of the earth are shaking’ (Psalm 82:5). ‘The powers of the heavens will be shaken’ (Matthew 24:29 & 30). Every Christian needs to be prepared to be shaken, and that is not easy.
Why would God shake His people? To purify us for theKingdom of God (Titus 2:14); to separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:32).Remember, this Gospel is a Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14); it is the power unto salvation. The Kingdom of God is the only thing that can never be shaken, andChristians who make Jesus their Rock and Fortress will not be greatly shaken. ‘He is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defence and my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken’(Psalm 62:2 & 6). God is at work in all the world, shaking everyone and everything everywhere.
There is no use asking God not to shake us, because it is in His will and power to do it. ‘Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases’ (Psalm 115:3). It is His purpose to shake everything so that only the things that cannot be shaken will be left. What can be shaken? Empires, nations, governments, monarchies, banks, businesses,churches, families, individuals and anything else that is not eternal. The only way we can cope with God’s shaking, is to commit ourselves into the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6).He is the only security mankind has (Psalm 91). We are told very firmly not to love the world or the things in it (1 John 2:15 to 17). We cannot mix the love of God with the love ofthe world. If our hearts are set on the world and the things the world can offer, the love ofthe Father is not in us; that means we would love the world more than we love God. The love of things in the world are not of the Father – that is they are not of God. The three sins that lead to eternal destruction; the lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life – of which pride is the single biggest problem – These are sins from the world, and can keep us trapped and bound to the things we have in the world.
This world along with some of heaven, is eventually going to pass away and be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
Nobody has a permanent home here on earth. If we try to make our home in this world,then we will be greatly shaken, but he who does the will of God lives forever. Even when we are shaken, if we are founded on the Rock (Jesus) and are doing the will of God, we will not be swept away (Matthew 7:25 to 27).

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dirty Hands

It seems that everywhere you look we see hand sanitizers. It seems that every thing and every one we touch anymore, has germs.
Sickness is passed just by a person touching someone, yet the Bible tells us if there are any sick, to lay hands on them and pray for their healing.
It is only logical if sickness can be passed through touch, why cant healing be passed by the same means. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.
If a man or woman is holy, I mean they have clean hands before God, then something should pass through them that is grater than any sickness the world seem to put upon us.
We live in a day where it would be difficult to know when people at church lay their hands on us if we will get sick or healed.
I pray we have holy hands,
I pray we pass on life not death by our touch.
I pray we can see gods hands when we lay on our hands,
I pray we see the sick healed, but most of all
I pray for men and women to have holy hands.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dose God make you angry?

I talk to many people who are upset with God, they say he didn't answer prayer, or he took their child or wife.
Why would anyone think that Gods ways are our way, when the bible teaches just the opposite.
Who are we to argue with the one who with his breath breathed out the stars in heaven.
Who are we to contend with the almighty God.
The bottom line is not that God didn't answer, but our faith is weak, so weak that we think God is our servant rather than our King. We think in lines of time, and limit ourselves, as well as our vision of God.
Everything we have and work for on this earth will perish, only what we do for him will last forever.
My dad told me to always buy the best, because it last longer, he said never get caught up in fads, as they just fade away.
I want to make my investments into that which last, and eternity seem like it would last a long long time..
Faith, not anger, faith. You just might see a mountain move with it. God is a big big God.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to have peace in your life

We live in a world that is always in a hurry, whether going or coming home, we are always rushed.
We live in a world that is filled with people wanting what they want when they want it.
We live in a world that is filled with sorrow, heart ache, and death.
Yet the bible teaches that we can have a peace that passes all understanding, but if we focus on the problems of our day, we know any peace would be beyond our understanding.
If we could fist look at ourselves and find all of our selfishness, every ounce of it, we would find the truth about what angers us, and what is always stealing the peace from our lives.
A selfish person is a lonely person, a selfish person is always wanting more, and never content with anything. Paul said I have learned to be content. Contentment with life, understanding that God himself knows where we are, what we have, and why we are in the circumstances we are in.
Trusting God, and denying ourself, is the key to living a peaceful life.
Try it, after all, our selfish nature, always thinks that if it gets its way, that will bring peace.
How is that working out for you?
Try denying yourself and accepting the contentment god can bring through faith. God Bless

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lawmaker says SEC hindering House's Madoff probe

WASHINGTON – House lawmakers on Wednesday accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of impeding their probe into the agency's failure to uncover the alleged $50 billion Bernard Madoff fraud.

The clash between lawmakers and high-ranking SEC officials at a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing came after the man who waged a decade-long campaign to alert the regulators to problems in Madoff's operations denounced the agency for its inaction. Whistleblower Harry Markopolos also said he had feared for his physical safety and would turn over new evidence that Madoff had not acted alone.

In loud, angry exchanges, lawmakers threatened to issue subpoenas to SEC officials to compel their testimony in the case.

Pennsylvania Democrat Paul Kanjorski, the panel's chairman, vented frustration after the SEC's acting general counsel said the five officials appearing at the hearing couldn't answer lawmakers' questions about the Madoff case because it's under investigation. The five SEC commissioners voted earlier to assert a privilege in not having officials answer lawmakers' questions.

Kanjorski accused the agency of impeding the panel's investigation, calling it a "lack of cooperation" and an "abuse of authority."

Linda Thomsen, the agency's enforcement director, said the SEC takes the Madoff case very seriously, but asserted there were confidential areas related to the ongoing investigation that could not be publicly discussed.

The SEC officials said the agency is looking at possible changes in the wake of the scandal, including more frequent examinations of investment advisers and improving its process for assessing risk.

Because of the SEC's inaction, "I became fearful for the safety of my family," Markopolos said.

"The SEC is ... captive to the industry it regulates and is afraid" to bring big cases against prominent individuals, Markopolos said. The agency "roars like a lion and bites like a flea" and "is busy protecting the big financial predators from investors."

While the SEC is incompetent, the securities industry's self-policing organization, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is "very corrupt," Markopolos charged. That organization was headed until December by Mary Schapiro, President Barack Obama's new SEC chief.

Markopolos discovered additional funds that funneled money to Madoff — whose managers he said willfully turned a blind eye to his improprieties because they were paid generous fees. Markopolos said he will present his findings to the SEC's inspector general. If proven, they would substantiate the assertions of many analysts that the alleged fraud was far too large for Madoff to have conducted alone.

In New York, a trustee liquidating Madoff's investment firm told a federal judge Wednesday that nearly $950 million in cash and securities has been recovered for investors. Trustee Irving Picard said $111.4 million in cash had been recovered from financial institutions and about $300 million in securities were identified although it was unclear what they were worth.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. last week said they would transfer a combined $534.9 million from Madoff's investment firm accounts to Picard. Investors have until July 2 to place their claims.

European investors who feared they lost millions investing with Madoff have a chance to recoup some or all of their money from the banks that marketed the stricken funds, according to lawyers in Europe who are preparing a possible U.S.-style class-action lawsuit.

Back in Washington, the SEC has been sustaining volleys of criticism from lawmakers and investor advocates over its failure to discover Madoff's alleged $50 billion fraud, which could be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, despite the credible allegations brought to it over years. Against the backdrop of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, the SEC is being accused of further eroding investor confidence and lawmakers of both parties are calling for a shake-up of the agency.

Madoff, a prominent Wall Street figure, was arrested in December after allegedly confessing to bilking investors in what the authorities say was a giant Ponzi scheme, possibly the largest ever. His repeated warnings to SEC staff that Madoff was running a massive pyramid scheme have cast Markopolos as an unheeded prophet in the scandal.

"The SEC was never capable of catching Mr. Madoff. He could have gone to $100 billion" without being discovered, Markopolos testified. "It took me about five minutes to figure out he was a fraud."

Markopolos, a former securities industry executive and fraud investigator, brought his allegations to the SEC about improprieties in Madoff's business starting in 2000 after determining there was no way Madoff could have been making the consistent returns he claimed using the trading strategy he touted to prospective investors.

Markopolos and his team of four investigators fruitlessly pursued the quest through this decade with agency staff from Boston to New York to Washington, raising 29 specific red flags regarding Madoff's operations. But the SEC never acted.

Now thousands of victims who lost money investing in Madoff's fund, which was separate from his securities brokerage business, have been identified. Among them are ordinary people and Hollywood celebrities — as well as big hedge funds, international banks and charities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. At least one investor apparently was pushed to commit suicide.

Markopolos disclosed that he anonymously conveyed a package of documents on Madoff to former New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer, but noted Spitzer took no action. Spitzer's family trust was among the victims that lost money investing with Madoff.

Markopolos also suggested that senior editors at The Wall Street Journal may have prevented a reporter from pursuing leads he provided because the newspaper "respected and feared" Madoff.

Madoff, who was at one point chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market and sat on SEC advisory committees, was "one of the most powerful men on Wall Street and in a position to easily end our careers or worse," Markopolos said.

Markopolos recommended ways to revamp the SEC, including replacing its senior staff and establishing a central office to receive complaints from whistleblowers.

In December, Christopher Cox, then the SEC chairman, pinned the blame on the agency's career staff for the failure over a decade to detect what Madoff was doing. He ordered the SEC's inspector general, H. David Kotz, to determine what went wrong. Kotz has expanded his inquiry to examine the operations of the divisions led by Thomsen, who has been the enforcement chief since mid-2005, and Lori Richards, who has headed the inspections division since mid-1995.

Schapiro has said that because Madoff carried out the scheme through his investment business and FINRA was empowered to inspect only the brokerage operation, it wasn't possible for the organization to discover it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This is a great first step

WASHINGTON -- Human rights activists and advocates of open government are cheering U.S. President Barack Obama's decisions to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and to signal the start of a new era of clean government by signing strict new rules on transparency and ethics.

His actions on January 21 -- his first full day in office -- overturned policies enacted during the administration of George W. Bush that cloaked the government in secrecy and prevented reporters from obtaining information. Obama declared that his administration is making a "clean break from business as usual."

With a stroke of his pen, the new U.S. president froze the salaries of his top aides, limited the influence of lobbyists, and opened government agencies to public scrutiny.

It was a fulfillment of his campaign promise to change the way Washington operates and make government more accountable to the people.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," Obama said. "Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made. It means recognizing that government does not have all the answers and that public officials need to draw on what citizens know."

'That Era Is Now Over'

Obama's two executive orders and three presidential memorandums reversed controversial policies enacted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, that made it easier for the government to deny requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and to keep secret the papers and records of former presidents.

...the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism, and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively, and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values.Obama called the Freedom of Information Act "perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent, and for holding it accountable." He said he expects members of his administration to carry out not just the letter, but the spirit, of the law.

"For a long time now, there has been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed," Obama said. "That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known."

Obama signed the orders in a room filled with his cabinet members and new staff, and told the group that public service is about "advancing the interests of Americans," not themselves.

That philosophy underpinned his decision to eliminate what is known as the "revolving door" in Washington, a lucrative practice rife with conflict-of-interest concerns that involves former government officials working as lobbyists, and former lobbyists working in government.

Obama said he decided to freeze the salaries of his top aides because most Americans have had to make financial sacrifices and his administration should not be exempt from the same hardship.

'Optimistic Start'

Ann Weismann, chief counsel of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility In Government -- a Washington group that promotes ethics and accountability in government -- said Obama has set a clear tone of transparency by taking such sweeping action so quickly.

"We were especially thrilled that he [signed] all of these openness initiatives on his first day of office," Weismann said. "It just really highlights the serious commitment he seems to have and his administration will have towards transparency. So we thought it was an enormously important and optimistic start to the administration."

She said for the past eight years, the Bush administration had thrown up "a blanket of secrecy" around its actions and the work of governmental agencies, and Obama has made a "radical break" with the past.

"There was essentially a presumption of withholding during George W. Bush's administration, his eight years in office. And his attorney general had issued a memorandum that said, 'We'll defend your withholding'," Weismann said. "I think what this is signaling is the complete opposite, which is the presumption of disclosure, and really the burden now is going to be not on the [Freedom of Information Act] requester, but on the agency, in the process, to justify why it needs to withhold something. So I think it's a 180-degree shift."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Batteries Not Included

How many time have we bought something and then we read batteries not included?
Then we make another trip to the store and make another purchase, and buy the batteries.
This is a good analogy of life itself.
We are born into this world, bone of the flesh. It looks like we have everything we need.
Yet there always seems to be something missing.
We think life should not work like this, life is too hard, to depressing, to difficult.
Then we hear about the new birth, the second purchase.
Being born of the spirit, seeing God for who he is, and our life in a whole new light.
Receiving the power source that will see us through the hard times in life.
Lift us above the difficulties.
You must be born again, because at your first birth the batteries were not included.

If you give your child a toy, and you do not tell them about the batteries, they will play with the toy, they will know something is missing, but what is missing,
and how would the toy work if it had the power it was designed to have.
It is our job as parents and grandparents, to make sure our kids know about the second purchase. The second birth.

This year let's all live with the light shining through us, so everyone can see there is a power source. Let the world see us using it to guide our lives.
Whosoever shall call on the name of the lord shall be saved.
God Bless

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Rich Man

A rich man is a man.
That his wife loves him.
His children respect him.
His grandchildren admire him.
and His community trust him.

What more would anyone want.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are you a Bible believer? a little test.

The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
That says that the word and Jesus Christ are one.
Let me ask a few questions.
The answer to all questions are yes or no.
The answer for all Christians should be yes.

Do you believe the bible?
Do you believe in a real heaven?
Do you believe David was king of Israel?
Do you believe that Jesus ministry changed the world?

These may be a little harder, because the world can not accept or explain these,
they take faith to believe.

Do you believe Jesus was born of a virgin?
Do you believe Jesus healed the blind man?
Do you believe Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?
Do you believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Do you believe in creation?

These are the hardest, because they take more than just believing,
they take sacrifice on your part. Faith without works is dead.

Do you believe as a Christian you should turn your cheek when assaulted?
Do you believe in attending Church?
Jesus said forsake not the assembling together.
Do you believe in tithing your income, that is 10%.
The Bible say where have we robbed God in our tithes and offerings.
Do you believe in telling others about Jesus Christ?
Jesus gave the great commission to everyone.
Have you been baptized, since you believed?
One the day of Pentecost three thousand were saved, baptized, and added to the church.

If you answered yes to all the questions, then you do believe the Bible.
If you answered no to any of the questions,
then you can not honestly say you are a Bible believer.

The Bible is a book that you either believe it is Gods book, or you do not, there is no in-between.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
If you choose which Scriptures you believe, and some you do not,
then you have done what Revelation warns against.
You have added to, or detracted from the Bible, and there is a Stern warning against doing that.

I pray that all believe the Bible.
I pray that all who say they believe the Bible, honestly do, even when it calls for sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election of President Elect Obama

I am an American, I count it a privilege to have the right to vote.
I will pray daily for President Elect Obama, as I have for the Presidents before him.
I pray God will give him wisdom, and a clear path to follow.
We are all Americans, we are all different.
With those differences, we become what America is all about.
I Believe God has had and will continue to have his hand on America.
The freedom of speech has given us the ability to be the greatest nation in the world.
May God help the mending of relationships, that have been strained,
because of differences, in our views of who has the best policies for America.
Blessed are the peace makers, it is time to accept the election, and move forward.
The road ahead is not easy, it is never easy,
it will take a united America to face the challenges ahead.
United we will stand, divided we will always fail.
May God Bless President Elect Obama.
May God keep him safe, is my sincere prayer.
May God Bless America.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When will banks give loans: Joe Nocera Oct 24,2008

“Chase recently received $25 billion in federal funding. What effect will that have on the business side and will it change our strategic lending policy?” Oct. 17, just four days after JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, agreed to take a $25 billion capital injection courtesy of the United States government, when a JPMorgan employee asked that question. It came toward the end of an employee-only conference call that had been largely devoted to meshing certain divisions of JPMorgan with its new acquisition, Washington Mutual. Which, of course, it also got thanks to the federal government. Christmas came early at JPMorgan Chase.The JPMorgan executive who was moderating the employee conference call didn’t hesitate to answer a question that was pretty politically sensitive given the events of the previous few weeks. Given the way, that is, that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. had decided to use the first installment of the $700 billion bailout money to recapitalize banks instead of buying up their toxic securities, which he had then sold to Congress and the American people as the best and fastest way to get the banks to start making loans again, and help prevent this recession from getting much, much worse. In point of fact, the dirty little secret of the banking industry is that it has no intention of using the money to make new loans. But this executive was the first insider who’s been indiscreet enough to say it within earshot of a journalist. (He didn’t mean to, of course, but I obtained the call-in number and listened to a recording.) “Twenty-five billion dollars is obviously going to help the folks who are struggling more than Chase,” he began. “What we do think it will help us do is perhaps be a little bit more active on the acquisition side or opportunistic side for some banks who are still struggling. And I would not assume that we are done on the acquisition side just because of the Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns mergers. I think there are going to be some great opportunities for us to grow in this environment, and I think we have an opportunity to use that $25 billion in that way and obviously depending on whether recession turns into depression or what happens in the future, you know, we have that as a backstop.” Read that answer as many times as you want — you are not going to find a single word in there about making loans to help the American economy. On the contrary: at another point in the conference call, the same executive (who I’m not naming because he didn’t know I would be listening in) explained that “loan dollars are down significantly.” He added, “We would think that loan volume will continue to go down as we continue to tighten credit to fully reflect the high cost of pricing on the loan side.” In other words JPMorgan has no intention of turning on the lending spigot.It is starting to appear as if one of Treasury’s key rationales for the recapitalization program — namely, that it will cause banks to start lending again — is a fig leaf, Treasury’s version of the weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Treasury wants banks to acquire each other and is using its power to inject capital to force a new and wrenching round of bank consolidation. As Mark Landler reported in The New York Times earlier this week, “the government wants not only to stabilize the industry, but also to reshape it.” Now they tell us.Indeed, Mr. Landler’s story noted that Treasury would even funnel some of the bailout money to help banks buy other banks. And, in an almost unnoticed move, it recently put in place a new tax break, worth billions to the banking industry, that has only one purpose: to encourage bank mergers. As a tax expert, Robert Willens, put it: “It couldn’t be clearer if they had taken out an ad.”Friday delivered the first piece of evidence that this is, indeed, the plan. PNC announced that it was purchasing National City, an acquisition that will be greatly aided by the new tax break, which will allow it to immediately deduct any losses on National City’s books. As part of the deal, it is also tapping the bailout fund for $7.7 billion, giving the government preferred stock in return. At least some of that $7.7 billion would have gone to NatCity if the government had deemed it worth saving. In other words, the government is giving PNC money that might otherwise have gone to NatCity as a reward for taking over NatCity.I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel as if we’ve been sold a bill of goods.The markets had another brutal day Friday. The Asian markets got crushed. Germany and England were down more than 5 percent. In the hours before the United States markets opened, all the signals suggested it was going to be the worst day yet in the crisis. The Dow dropped more than 400 points at the opening, but thankfully it never got any worse.There are lots of reasons the markets remain unstable — fears of a global recession, companies offering poor profit projections for the rest of the year, and the continuing uncertainties brought on by the credit crisis. But another reason, I now believe, is that investors no longer trust Treasury. First it says it has to have $700 billion to buy back toxic mortgage-backed securities. Then, as Mr. Paulson divulged to The Times this week, it turns out that even before the bill passed the House, he told his staff to start drawing up a plan for capital injections. Fearing Congress’s reaction, he didn’t tell the Hill about his change of heart. , he’s shifted gears again, and is directing Treasury to use the money to force bank acquisitions. Sneaking in the tax break isn’t exactly confidence-inspiring, either. (And let’s not even get into the less-than-credible, after-the-fact rationalizations for letting Lehman default, which stands as the single worst mistake the government has made in the crisis.)On Thursday, at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, the chairman, Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, pushed Neel Kashkari, the young Treasury official who is Mr. Paulson’s point man on the bailout plan, on the subject of banks’ continuing reluctance to make loans. How, Senator Dodd asked, was Treasury going to ensure that banks used their new government capital to make loans — “besides rhetorically begging them?”“We share your view,” Mr. Kashkari replied. “We want our banks to be lending in our communities.”Senator Dodd: “Are you insisting upon it?”Mr. Kashkari: “We are insisting upon it in all our actions.”But they are doing no such thing. Unlike the British government, which is mandating lending requirements in return for capital injections, our government seems afraid to do anything except plead. And those pleas, in this environment, are falling on deaf ears.Yes, there are times when a troubled bank needs to be acquired by a stronger bank. Given that the federal government insures deposits, it has an abiding interest in seeing that such mergers take place as smoothly as possible. Nobody is saying those kinds of deals shouldn’t take place. But Citigroup, at this point, probably falls into the category of troubled bank, and nobody seems to be arguing that it should be taken over. It is in the “too big to fail” category, and the government will ensure that it gets back on its feet, no matter how much money it takes. One reason Mr. Paulson forced all of the nine biggest banks to take government money was to mask the fact that some of them are much weaker than others.We have long been a country that has treasured its diversity of banks; up until the 1980s, in fact, there were no national banks at all. If Treasury is using the bailout bill to turn the banking system into the oligopoly of giant national institutions, it is hard to see how that will help anybody. Except, of course, the giant banks that are declared the winners by Treasury.JPMorgan is going to be one of the winners — and deservedly so. Mr. Dimon managed the company so well during the housing bubble that it is saddled with very few of the problems that have crippled competitors like Citi. The government handed it Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual because it was strong enough to swallow both institutions without so much as a burp. Of all the banking executives in that room with Mr. Paulson a few weeks ago, none needed the government’s money less than Mr. Dimon. A company spokesman told me, “We accepted the money for the good of the entire financial system.” He added that JP Morgan would use the money “to do good for customers and shareholders. We are disciplined to try to make loans that people can repay.”Nobody is saying it should make loans that people can’t repay. What I am saying is that Mr. Dimon took the $25 billion on the condition that his institution would start making loans. There are plenty of small and medium-size businesses that are choking because they have no access to capital — and are perfectly capable of repaying the money. How about a loan program for them, Mr. Dimon?Late Thursday afternoon, I caught up with Senator Dodd, and asked him what he was going to do if the loan situation didn’t improve. “All I can tell you is that we are going to have the bankers up here, probably in another couple of weeks and we are going to have a very blunt conversation,” he replied.He continued: “If it turns out that they are hoarding, you’ll have a revolution on your hands. People will be so livid and furious that their tax money is going to line their pockets instead of doing the right thing.
Let’s hope so