Excerpts from Child of Darkness Guild   Leave a comment

Child of the Night Guild Excerpts

 

Excerpt 1:

We’ve been at this for hours! When will he let us rest? Mind numb from hunger and fatigue, Viola placed one weary foot in front of the other. Blood dripped from cuts in her hands, arms, and forehead.

andy-peloquin-child-of-night-coverMaster Velvet refused to let up. “Your past is gone, your families forgotten. You have no names, no identities. You are nothing more than a number until it is deemed fit to give you a name.”

The children called out as one, “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Everything you are, everything you will be, you owe to the Night Guild. We are your masters, your creators, your gods.” The tirade had repeated for endless hours, but Master Velvet never seemed to have enough.

“Yes, Master Velvet!”

Master Velvet’s voice cracked like a carter’s whip. “Disobedience will be punished harshly. Obedience will be rewarded well. Learn this and you will flourish in the Night Guild.”

Viola’s legs wobbled, her shoulders ached, and her arms shook from exertion. “Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Forget everything you know. Forget life outside this room. You eat, sleep, and shit at my command.”

“Yes, Master Velvet!” Viola’s voice cracked from thirst and fatigue. She wanted to lie down, to close her eyes, to sleep.

Master Velvet snarled in her ear. “You live and die at the pleasure of the Night Guild. You belong to the Guild mind, body, and soul. What are you?”

“We are tyros, Master Velvet.”

He crouched beside her. “And what are tyros?”

“Lower than dirt, Master Velvet!”

A satisfied smile spread across his face. “Empty your buckets and set them on the floor beside the barrels. Double speed, my drudges.”

Viola tried to move faster, but her feet refused. By the time she reached the barrel at the far end of the room, only one other child remained. The boy, barely taller than her, had yet to empty his bucket. He strained to lift his heavy load. His hands trembled uncontrollably—a permanent condition that made even eating and drinking difficult. Water splashed down his tunic, turning the dirt to mud.

Emptying her pail, Viola dropped to the sodden ground with a half-sob, half-groan of relief.

“Get up, tyros!” Master Velvet would not let them rest.

Tears of exhaustion and frustration streaming, she climbed to her feet. Though her back protested, she forced herself straight when Master Velvet approached.

Stand tall, no matter what. Mama’s words echoed in her thoughts. I’m trying, Mama, but I’m so tired!

“Chow time, my drudges. You’ll find that table over there loaded with delights to fill your little bellies. Eat. You have done well.”

Someone had piled the table high with fruits, sweetmeats, and treats. She’d been too exhausted to notice. The scent of fresh bread, cinnamon rolls, and pastries wafted toward her. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation.

Master Velvet placed a hand on her shoulder. “Not you, Seven. You were the first to fail, so an example must be made.”

“B-But…” Viola couldn’t put up more than a weak protest.

“Off with you, Seven. To your bunk and reflect on your weakness.” His dark eyes held no kindness. “Pray to the Watcher for strength to survive.”

“Y-Yes, Master Velvet.” She turned away to hide her tears.

“Perhaps you’ll try harder tomorrow, Seven.” He spoke without a trace of compassion or pity in his voice. “If you want to have any hope of survival here in the Night Guild, this will be the last time you fail.”

Hunger gnawed at Viola’s belly, but it could not outweigh the bone-deep weariness. She forced herself not to look at the other children, to block out the sounds of their eating. Feet leaden, she turned to the tunnel that led to their sleeping quarters.

Tears flowed in earnest once she reached the darkness of the passage. Sobs of anger, desperation, and frustration washed over her, shaking her body like a leaf in a whirlwind.

Slamming the door shut behind her, she threw herself onto her bunk and buried her head in the thin pillow. She didn’t care that her clothes were soaking wet or that she hadn’t had any water to drink for hours. She wouldn’t allow any of the others to see her cry.

Bright Lady, hear me and protect me in my hour of need. Her parched throat refused to form the words.

The prayer had comforted her in the past, but now it felt empty. The hunger, exhaustion, and thirst remained. Minutes ticked by in silence. Nothing happened.

She balled her fists and swallowed the ache in her belly. Down here, she was all alone. The Bright Lady can’t hear me.

Why would she? The goddess of healing hadn’t heard when she’d prayed for Mama and baby Rose. The gods were far away, if they cared at all. Mama was gone and Papa had left her here. In this place, she was the only one she could count on. She had to be strong, just as she had been after Mama died.

I will get through another day. Just one more.

 

Excerpt 2:

“Are you sure you’re doing it right, Seven?”

Seven scrunched her face, concentrating hard. “I’m doing it just like he showed us, Three. See?” She attempted to snatch the purse.

Three patted the oversized waistcoat Master Velvet had given him.

“I could still feel it. So you’re doing something wrong.”

Frustration mounting, Seven tried again, doing exactly as Master Velvet had taught them. Walk toward the mark. Bump into him. Dip two fingers into his pocket to hook the purse. Apologize to the mark and touch him with my free hand. Hide the purse in my palm and hurry away.

He shook his head. “That time, too. I can feel you pulling the purse out when you move away. Maybe you need to do it faster.”

“I can’t do it faster, Three. Not yet, at least.” Seven clenched her fists in frustration.

He held up a hand. “It’s okay, Seven. Give it time. You’ll get it.”

“Here.” She threw him the bulging, cloth-stuffed purse. “Let me try again.” Even as she tugged the purse free, the look on Three’s face told her she’d failed.

Her friend shrugged. “Still felt it.”

Seven ground her teeth. Master Velvet said this is supposed to be easy. So why can’t I get it right?

Three tugged the vest over his head. “Let’s give the bump a break for a moment.” He pulled a dun-colored cloak around his shoulders. “What say we give the snatch a try?”

Seven nodded. The snatch required timing and dexterity, but she’d grown adept at it. She walked toward Three, brushed against his cloak, and lifted the purse from the hidden pocket, all without breaking stride.

Three’s eyes widened. “Damn, Seven. I didn’t feel a thing!”

She beamed. “Well, at least there’s one thing I’m good at.”

Master Velvet strode up behind her and took her small, muddy hands. “You’ve got good finger-work, tyro.” He ran his calloused hands over her fingers. “They’re quick and nimble. With the right training, you could become quite the purse collector.”

“Thank you, Master Velvet.” She flushed at his praise. It was the first full compliment she’d ever heard pass his lips.

“Keep it up, Seven. Three.” With a nod, he moved to the next pair of tyros.

Three slapped her on the shoulder. “Look at that! You’re getting there.”

“Yeah. Now if only I could get the bump down properly.” She held out her arms. “Here, give me the vest and cloak. You’ve got to practice, too.”

As Three passed her the clothing, Twelve’s shout echoed through the Menagerie. “Damn it! You’re doing it wrong, you stupid sack of shite.”

Two met Twelve’s glare without a trace of fear. “How in the Keeper’s name can I be doing it wrong, Twelve?” Two was taller than Twelve, though not as broad. “I’m standing here in this vest. You’re supposed to be pulling the damned purse.”

“Well…” Twelve faltered, his face reddening. With a snarl, he threw the purse in Two’s face and stormed off.

Three snorted. “Looks like he’s not doing much better than you are, Seven.”

Seven glared at her friend. “That’s not saying much for me, you know. With those fat sausage fingers, he can barely fit his hands in the pocket.”

“There you go.” He gave her a broad grin. “You’ve got the advantage, at least over him. Just give it time and you’ll get better at it.”

She rolled her eyes. “Well, let’s see how good you are.”

“I’ll bet you a peach I can do the bump better than you.”

“You’re on!”

 

 

Excerpt 3:

Twelve hurried toward the table, his face burning, a storm brewing behind his eyes. His path led him straight at Seven.

She hustled out of the bigger boy’s way. Better avoid him when he’s like this. No telling what he’ll do.

Two, however, ignored Twelve. He remained seated, content to munch at the food spread out before him.

Twelve snarled. “Move.”

A memory flitted through Seven’s head: a man sat at a table, growling at her to work. She couldn’t remember the face, but would never forget the anger.

Two didn’t move. He reached for an apple, turned to face Twelve, and took a noisy bite from the fruit. He leaned back against the table, arms folded across his chest.

Twelve’s face burned and his fists clenched at his side. “Get out of my way, Two!”

“No.” Two returned the angry glare. “You’re just another one of us. You don’t give commands here.”

Twelve swung, a blow aimed at Two’s jaw. The taller boy blocked the punch and slammed the apple into Twelve’s mouth. Blood mixed with crushed apple pulp and Twelve fell back.

“Go away, Twelve.” Two crossed his arms again. “Leave us—”

With a roar, Twelve launched himself at Two’s midsection. The taller boy twisted aside, but Twelve’s heavy arms wrapped around his waist. Snarling, Twelve heaved Two from his feet and slammed him onto the table.

The impact knocked the breath from Two’s lungs and his head struck a cup. He lay there, dazed, as Twelve leapt onto the table. The big boy’s boot slammed into Two’s ribs. Seven winced at the crack.

Twelve dropped atop Two, his elbow plowing into the boy’s face. Blood spurted from Two’s nose and lip. He tried to protect his face as Twelve rained down blow after blow. The heavier boy’s face twisted into a mask of insane rage, his lips curled back, and spittle flew from his mouth.

“Enough!” Master Velvet seized Twelve by the scruff of his collar and yanked the boy off Two. He threw the heavy tyro to the floor, knelt on his chest, and slapped him hard. “I told you I would not abide any sort of fighting.”

Twelve had lost his mind. His eyes were glazed, unfocused, his face red, his fists striking at Master Velvet.

Master Velvet slapped Twelve hard again, twice, three times. The blows cracked across his cheek and rocked the big boy’s head. “Lie still, boy, or by the Watcher, I’ll beat you so bad the Long Keeper himself won’t be able to tell you from a pile of shite!”

Master Velvet’s words penetrated the boy’s anger-fueled daze. Twelve’s fists stopped pumping in the air and his arms dropped. He lay on his back, gasping for air, his teeth still bared in a snarl.

Master Velvet looked over at Two. “You’ll live?”

Two wheezed, coughed blood, and mumbled something incoherent.

“Good. Three, Four, Eleven. Get him back to his bunk. I’ll be in shortly with something for the injuries.”

The three named tyros hurried to help the taller boy and, together, they stumbled from the room.

“Now what to do with you, Twelve?” Master Velvet looked down at the boy beneath him.

He yanked Twelve to his feet and dragged him toward the weapons table.

“It seems my first lesson didn’t penetrate your thick skull. Perhaps this will help you to remember!” Seizing the cosh, he laid into the boy, striking the tyro’s arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, legs, and head. Twelve cried out and tried to protect himself. “You’re a vicious cunt, lad, but there’s a time and place for that!”

Master Velvet slammed his fist into the boy’s gut, doubling him over. He kicked the back of Twelve’s knees. Twelve fell to the floor, weeping and curling into a ball.

He knelt beside the boy, bent low, and whispered something into his ear.

“Yes, Master Velvet,” Twelve sobbed.

“I won’t be repeating myself, tyro. Unless you want to find out what happens to those who disobey, this is the end of it.”

Master Velvet stood, and Seven averted her eyes. She pushed away her bowl of gruel; her appetite had fled.

“Look at him, tyros. Look at him well.”

Seven obeyed, her stomach in knots.

Master Velvet stabbed a warning finger at the sobbing figure huddled on the floor. “Let this be a lesson. No fighting amongst each other. If I am forced to say it again, I will not stop at just a beating. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Master Velvet!”

“Good. Now off with you.” A look in Master Velvet’s eye promised Twelve’s suffering had just begun.

Seven hurried from the Menagerie, the other tyros close on her heels. She cast a glance over her shoulder and caught a glint of steel in Master Velvet’s hand. Rushing into the room, she climbed onto her bunk and buried her head in her pillow. The thick wool failed to block out Twelve’s screams.

Credit Diverts Production   Leave a comment

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate, but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group, but for all groups.

This is an ongoing series of posts on Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. You can access the Table of Contents here. Although written in 1946, it still touches on many of the issues we face in 2017, particularly the fallacies government economic programs are built upon.

 

I love this one because it really gets to the nitty-gritty about some economic habits we’ve fallen into in this country … or should I say, been manipulated into.

Hazlitt could simply have said “beware of government grants”, but he recognized that his readers were probably not all that smart. He knew he was dealing with farmers who receive agricultural credits.

In the eyes of most Congressmen the farmers simply cannot get enough credit … supplied by private mortgage companies, insurance companies or county blanks is never “adequate”. Congress is always finding new gaps that are not filled by the existing lending institutions, no matter how many of these it has itself already brought into existence.

Image result for image of government subsidiesCongress keeps finding “credit deficiencies” to repair. This, by the way, still exists, but it is also applied now to homeowners. Faith is these government policies springs from two acts of shortsightedness. One looks only from the standpoint of farmers who borrow and the other thinks only of the first half of the transaction.

All honest borrowers assume they must repay all loans. Credit is debt. By increasing the volume of credit, you are increasing the burden of debt. If we would keep our eye on the concept of debt rather than mislabeling it “credit” we might not be so tempted.

Hazlitt set aside the ordinary loans farmers received through private lending institutions and focused instead on government-provided and government-guaranteed loans. He also set aside farm subsidies for later discussion. Here, Hazlitt concentrated on the capital loans that farmers use to buy the farm, tractor and other equipment.

At first glance, the case for this type of loan may seem a strong one. Here is a poor family … with no means of livelihood. It is cruel and wasteful to put them on relief. Buy a farm for them, set them up in business, make productive and self-respecting citizens of them; let them add to the total national product and pay off the loan out of what they produce.

Aren’t you enriching the whole community through this loan? Yes and private institutions offer these loans all the time, but there is a qualitative difference between a private loan and a government loan. A private lender risks his own funds or the funds of his depositors, who earn interest on allowing the private lender to risk their funds, while being guaranteed the banker will make good from his own funds if the money is lost. When people risk their own funds, they are careful in their investigations to determine the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

If government operated on the same strict standards, there would be no good argument for its entering the field at all.

Image result for image of government subsidiesBut the government operates on different standards. It makes loans to people who can’t get them from private lenders. Government lenders will take risks with the taxpayers’ money that private lenders will not take with their own money. There is therefore a higher rate of losses in government loans than in private loans but the apologists for public loans will contend that this is offset by added production.

The argument holds water so long as we only look at the borrowers and not the ultimate source of the funds — that taxpayers who have been deprived of their income.

What is really being lent is not money, which is merely the medium of exchange, but capital. What is really being lent is the farm or the tractor itself. These are limited items. The farm or tractor being lent to A cannot also be lent to B.

The real question is, therefore, whether A or B shall get the farm.

We must then look at the merits of A and B. A is the person who would get the farm if the government did not intervene. The local banker knows him and his record. They know he’s a good farmer and an honest man. They consider him a good risk, a man who has accumulated enough cash to pay one-fourth of the price of the farm. They loan him the other three-quarters because his character and prior track record has earned him the banker’s trust. Sometimes things go wrong, but generally people of good character repay their loans, thus bankers are willing to loan money to A.

But the government goes into the lending business with a charitable frame of mind because it is worried that B cannot get a loan from private lenders because he doesn’t have credit with them. He lacks savings, he’s not an impressive farmer … maybe he’s even drawing welfare now. This loan will make him a productive citizen. Government can help with that.

Maybe. Sometimes people of good character fall on hard times, but in general people selected by these government standards are poorer risks than people selected by private standards. More money will be lost by loans to them. People who were previously not as efficient or trustworthy do not suddenly change their character when they are given a loan, which explains the mortgage collapse of 2008. That’s a verifiable fact. But what we don’t see, is the other half of the equation – the effect on A.

Because B has a farm, A is deprived of a farm. A may be squeezed out entirely because interest rates rise as a result of government operations or because farm prices increase as a result of them, or because there are fewer affordable farms available to those using private loans.

[T]he net results of government credit has not been to increase the amount of wealth produced by the community, but to reduce it, because the available real capital (consisting of actual farms, tractors, etc.) has been placed in the hands of the less efficient borrowers ratehr than in the hands of the more efficient and trustworthy.

The proposal for government-backed business loans applies to other businesses too, where the argument is that government “ought to assume the risks that are ‘too great for private industry.’ Bureaucrats are permitted to take risks with the taxpayers’ money that nobody would ordinarily make with their own funds.

This policy leads to favoritisim, cronyism, and out and out bribery. There are recriminations everytime the taxpayers’ money is thrown away on enterprises that fail. Think Solydra. This increases the demand for socialism because “if government is going to bear the risks, why should it not also get the profits?.

What justification could there possibly be … for asking the taxpayers to take the risks while permitting private capitalists to keep the profits.

Hazlitt asked his readers to focus on just one consequence of loans of this type — they waste capital and reduce production. They throw available capital into dubious projects, into the hands of people who are less competent or trustworthy than those who otherwise would have used the capital in a more productive way.

Private lenders want to get their investment back, so they weigh the prospects of profits against the changes of loss. Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but they make fewer mistakes than government lenders because the money is their own (or they are responsible to pay it back to the actual investors), whereas government lenders have an unlimited supply of taxpayers’ money.

The proposal for government loans to private individuals or projects … sees B and forgets A. … It is one more illustration of the fallacy of seeing only a special interest in the short run and forgetting the general interest in the long run.

Now, Hazlitt turned to subsidies. Government lends or gives to business only what it has already taken away from another business. When the New Deal proponents bragged about “bailing business out” with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Home Owners Loan Corporation, etc, the government was not providing any financial help to business that it had not previously taken from other businesses. Government doesn’t create anything of its own. It’s funds all come from taxes. It taxes successful private businesses and individuals to support unsuccessful private businesses.

This is not good for the country as a whole.

Open Book Blog Hop – 16th January   Leave a comment

Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

This week we’re talking about our five favourite foods that we cannot live without.

I’ve never been a ‘foodie’, and was brought up with the motto ‘eat to live’ rather than ‘live to eat’.  Biscuits and cake were rationed as a child; I was forbidden to eat more than three biscuits at a time (“to stop your gut expanding”). Mum always drummed it into me that nobody needs to eat anything after 6pm, and I have kept to this for the majority of my life.  Plus the fact that I have a dairy and caffeine intolerance, and you end up with somebody who only thinks about food when she’s hungry.

I don’t eat the usual things that people love.  I don’t have a sweet tooth, and turn up my nose at anything icky-sweet.  I haven’t eaten chocolate,  cheese or biscuits for more years than I can remember, but I’m lucky in that I don’t feel as…

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Posted January 16, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Introducing Child of Night   Leave a comment

Vicious, ruthless criminals are made, not born. Child of the Night Guild—an insight into the transformation from innocent child to thief and killer.

 

Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)

by Andy Peloquin

“They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken.”

Viola, a child sold to pay her father’s debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves’ trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.

The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman’s rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.

What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

andy-peloquin-child-of-night-banner

Digital Price: 2.99

Pages: 401

ASIN: B01N1TC3VW

 

 

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Night-Guild-Queen-Thieves-ebook/dp/B01N1TC3VW/

Amazon Paperback:

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Child-Night-Guild-Queen-Thieves-ebook/dp/B01N1TC3VW/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33412715-child-of-the-night-guild

 

Book Launch Event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/336765836707837/

Join my Thunderclap: http://thndr.me/fdeiQu

 

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

Website: http://www.andypeloquin.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin

 

www.linkedin.com/in/andypeloquin/

https://plus.google.com/100885994638914122147/about

https://www.amazon.com/author/andypeloquin

https://www.facebook.com/andrew.peloquin.1

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYAKG5k06vcmc02Uy4fGLfA

http://andypeloquin.com/join-the-club/

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs

Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale

Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride

Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it

Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi

Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones

 

Reviews:

“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates — http://peterjstory.com/

“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

“From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!” — Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

“Oh the carnage! Fantastic bloodthirsty carnage! The fight scenes in this book were fast-paced, detailed and thrilling. I love a good sword fight and there is plenty of that here.” — Ami L. Hart

“One could get lost in this novel for its twisting plots, seemingly endless imagination, dark yet irresistible characters, or the mind-numbing paradox of its simultaneously dark and romantic world. One could follow the long and winding road of the dusky, fierce protagonist and fight tooth and nail not to sympathize with him. One could dance in the dizzying, intricate circles of Peloquin’s neo-mythology, or even basque in the black sunlight of a well-crafted gothic novel that both entertains and enlightens.” — Jesse G. Christiansen

Taxes Discourage Production   1 comment

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate, but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group, but for all groups.

This is an ongoing series of posts on Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. You can access the Table of Contents here. Although written in 1946, it still touches on many of the issues we face in 2017, particularly the fallacies government economic programs are built upon.

 

Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Tax dollars come from people and businesses who would otherwise have used to those dollars to do something.

Henry Hazlitt doubted greatly that the wealth created by government spending would fully compensate for the wealth destroyed by the taxes imposed to pay for that spending.

It is not a simple question … of taking something out of the nation’s right-hand pocket to put into its left-hand pocket.

While the government spenders want us to believe that if they only take, say, 25% of the national income from private purposes to spend on public purposes, they neglect to mention that they are taking money from A in order to pay it to B. It’s not simply moving data around in a bookkeeping ledger. Yes, B is helped by the transfer of wealth, but A is harmed by that loss of income.

In our modern world there is never the same percentage of income tax levied on everybody. The great burden of income taxes is imposed on a minor percentage of the nation’s income; and these income taxes have to be supplemented by taxes of other kinds.

Image result for image of an essential government serviceThis affects business policies. Businesses that have less money to invest don’t expand their operations — or only expand into areas with minimal risk because they lack a savings cushion. This deters other observant people from starting new enterprises. Old employers do not provide more employment or better wages and others decide not to become employers at all.

There’s a similar effect on personal incomes taxed at 50-90 percent. People question whether they should work six, eight or 10 months a year for the government when they only take home six, four or two months of income to their families.

Additionally, the capital available for risk-taking itself shrinks enormously because it is being taxed away before it can be accumulated.

[C]apital to provide new private jobs is first prevented from coming into existence, and the part that does come into existence is then discouraged from starting new enterprises. The government spenders create the very problem of unemployment that they profess to solve.

Hazlitt recognized that some taxes are necessary to provide government functions that safeguard private production.

When the total tax burden grows beyond a bearable size, the problem of devising taxes that will not discourage and disrupt production becomes insoluble.

In other words, government should only spend on a very few needed services … roads might come into that … because if it takes too much from the private sector, eventually it destroys the private sector.

Posted January 16, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in economics

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Good Eats   2 comments

January 16 – list your 5 favorite foods you could not live without

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If we’re just talking about foods … this is going to be a hard one. There are entire cuisines I would not want to live without.

Image result for image of alaska blueberriesFruit – pretty much any kind, but if I had to choose one … Alaska blueberries, which are different from Lower 48 blueberries. Much tarter and,  if regular blueberries are a superfood, Alaska blueberries are a mega-superfood.

Lamb – or mutton — I just really like sheep. Growing up in Alaska, I trained my pallet to enjoy game meat, which I can’t buy at the grocery store. Lamb is readily available in the grocery case. I actually like mutton more, but it’s hard to come by here. You have to rent a 4-H kid to raise it for you.

Broccoli – I just love it as an overall vegetable.

Chocolate – Everybody needs something that’s appeals to their sweet tooth and chocolate is that for me. I like mine straight – no nuts, nugets, caramels or toffees.

Bread – It’s the staff of life, so I can’t leave it off the list. I bake my own. It’s based on a sourdough starter, but it isn’t necessarily sour. I add a lot of whole grains and it’s very chewy and artisan, unless I want it to be light and fluffy and then I can do that too.

Posted January 16, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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This is Love   Leave a comment

When Jesus was asked to love the world composed of individuals, He carried His own cross the Calvary. For those of you who think God is a cosmic meanie who delights in abusing mere mortals, just take a pause and consider that for a moment. Jesus was God Incarnate – God in the flesh — and He chose to go to the cross for your sake, even if you hate Him.

In 1945 Roddie Edmonds, a 26-year-old US Army Master Sergeant, was the highest-ranking soldier among the 1292 American POWs in the camp. Circumstances had made him their commander, responsible for their well-being. He’d been in the camp for a month when the German commandant ordered all Jewish American soldiers to line up outside the barracks the next morning.

Edmonds told his men “We’re not doing that. We’re all falling out.”

Image result for image of grocery checkout hellThe commandant knew all 1300 men could not be Jews. He knew there were about 200. When he ordered Edmonds to identify them, Edmonds, an evangelical Christian, insisted they were all Jews. The commandant put a pistol to his head and again demanded that he identify the Jews.

 

Somehow, when most men couldn’t think, Edmonds rattled off his name, rank and serial number. He then reminded the commandant that if he shot Edmonds, he’d have to shoot the entire 1300 and that would assure that the commandant would be tried for war crimes since everybody knew it is was just a matter of time before the Americans won the war. The commandant walked away. Months later, Edmons and his men were rescued.

We’d all like to think we would show the same resolve as Edmonds did in similar circumstances. I suspect I’d wet my pants. Would I have started identifying the Jews? I don’t know. Survival is a pretty high ideal of mine. With a gun to my head, I’m not sure if I could have thought so clearly.

Pastor Chris Edmonds, who only recently learned of his father’s bravery, points out that none of the men under Edmonds’ command pointed out the Jews. “They all stood together.” Chris Edmonds adds that his father’s story “is a clarion call to love one another regardless of our choices or faith. He stood against oppression. He stood for decency. He stood for humanity. This thing we call life – it’s about all of us, not one of us.”

Jesus gave up His human life for all of us, though we still come to Him as individuals. In the Western world, we think of love as a personal relationship with another person, but that “love” appears dependent upon what the other person does for us. The Greeks had a whole vocabulary for “love” that included mere lust, friendship love and agape love, which is the big expansive love for our fellow human beings that can express itself as caring for the well-being of another group of people without thought for our own well-being. It’s more than a personal love. Edmonds showed that love in practice.

That day in 1945, Edmonds’ decision was to love the men under his command with his own life. He didn’t choose to be an individual that day, but to live or die as a member of his troop. Maybe the commandant was actually bluffing that day, but I suspect the authority of agape love somehow overwhelmed his own authority. He couldn’t pull the trigger because he too recognized the love that Edmonds was representing.

Agape love doesn’t just happen on the battlefield. Christians are called to express it in every circumstance. Yeah, the world is full of jerks, but that doesn’t mean we have to become jerks ourselves. Brad absolutely hates to go through the checkout line at the market because there’s always someone there doing something stupid. They can’t figure out how to scan one item or they are in the “less than 15” line with 30 items or they can’t find their POS card. He gets himself all worked up inside his head and he carries that anger with him after he leaves the store. He tends not to say anything aloud. That would be me, but I’m irritated far less often … not that it makes a bit of difference to our relationship with Jesus, our fellow shoppers or with ourselves. The thing about sin is that it occurs within us before it leaks out to the surface. It’s our thoughts and actions that cast a shadow on our day, not the actions of the other shopper. Oh, yeah, we justify our irritation. We were right and they were wrong.

And yet, as we drive away, we may be tense and fuming, causing damage to our own bodies. We blame the world for not yielding up the perfect set of circumstances. We comfort ourselves that the other shopper was at fault, not our weakness of character. We tell ourselves that people like Roddie Edmonds are special and that the range of human choices is different for us than for them.

People like Edmonds will seem rare until more of us honor our mutual interdependence as we encounter the small things in life. When faced with a big challenge our self-serving behavior may kick in because our muscles to practice agape are flabby. There’s no reason to hate ourselves for that. We just need to learn to see the world through Jesus’ eyes. When we give into the anger that the world seems to bring about, then we only hurt ourselves and our witness as Christians.

Take a moment. Take a deep breath. Resolve to do better next time. Remember, we’re all in this world together … and God no doubt had a reason for doing it that way.

Posted January 15, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Examined living

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