15 Aug 2022

The Strategic Importance of Microchips

For years, oil was the most important commodity. In the past few years, it has become clear that the microchip has surpassed oil as a far more important commodity. We don’t have a strategic reserve of chips that we can pump into the ground for later retrieval. Oil took millions of years to become useful. Microchips can become outdated in less than 90 days.

The COVID lockdowns forced people to realize how much we use chips in our daily lives. You can open a card that plays a song that wishes you a happy birthday. You check your emails on your smartphone. You check into work at your factory or home office. All these actions are only possible by having access to microchips.

The internet is completely dependent on a system based on chip technology. Trillion-dollar firms like Amazon, Google, and Apple would not exist if it wasn’t for the microchip.

Looking around my room, I realize my phone, electric razor, and light bulbs would not function without this technology. I am mortified that we have fallen into a state where we are totally dependent on a few nations for these microchips.

The point where we realized how behind we had fallen in the production of chips is when we were not able to produce cars because of a shortage. We are so far behind that it will take until 2023 before the backlog is cleared.

At one point, chips were all made in America. As the price of manufacturing them rapidly declined, American companies turned to Asian firms to fulfill orders. It took decades to play out, but we eventually reached the point where our production levels were dangerously low. Taiwan now manufactures approximately 92% of advanced semiconductors; South Korea manufactures nearly all of the rest.

China’s dependence on foreign semiconductors is a key factor preventing a Chinese attack on Taiwan: should China attack Taiwan, Taiwan could destroy its semiconductors and infrastructure. But if China can ramp up its own domestic manufacturing while everyone else is behind, China is in a solid position to blackmail all the world economies.

The government has recently passed the US Chips Act, which is aimed at boosting domestic semiconductor production and improving technological competitiveness in the world. There is no guarantee that new plants will close the gap. We are about two years behind our competitors. Since it will take two years to build a microchip plant, we may find ourselves in the same position when our new factories come online.

Moore’s law is a term used to refer to the observation made by Gordon Moore in 1965 that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years. For several decades Moore’s law was extremely reliable. In recent years Moore’s law began to slow down as we reached basic limits. The component of some transistors is now only a few atoms thick.

Most people have no idea that the Netherlands is the only source for high-end chip-making modules. In the southern Dutch town of Veldhoven sits the only factory capable of assembling a revolutionary machine that’s relied upon by the world’s biggest chipmakers. EUV lithography is the most expensive step in making the advanced microchips that power data centers, cars, and iPhones. The machines are made by only one company: Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography.

“ASML has a monopoly on the fabrication of EUV lithography machines, the most advanced type of lithography equipment that’s needed to make every single advanced processor chip that we use today,” said Chris Miller, assistant professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “The machines that they produce, each one of them is among the most complicated devices ever made.”

ASML has sold a total of about 140 EUV systems in the past decade, each one now costing up to $200 million. The price tag for its next machine, called High NA, will be more than $300 million.

Its EUV machine is “so expensive that most companies cannot afford it,” said Joanne Itow, managing director of manufacturing at Semico Research. “It certainly has eliminated a lot of players out of the market,” including chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries, which decided a few years ago to stop working on more-advanced chips because of the high cost, she said.

We have nothing to fear from the Dutch’s monopoly lithography machines. China is the nation that we need to keep an eye on. China is coming up fast in the chip world, and I know it uses any advantage as a weapon against us. Just as Europe made a huge mistake in trusting Russia for its natural gas supply, we would be in a similar bind if China grained a monopoly in the Chip market.

America would still be the leader in microchips and many other technology fields if it had not faltered in our faith in God. By rejecting our first love, we removed the source of our once great wealth.

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

–Todd


This Drunken Earth

God’s prophetic Word, I’ve always considered, says something profound regarding this wondrous planet. My fascination begins, as I’ve written before, with Jesus’ words upon entering Jerusalem on the little donkey not long before He was crucified.

The people were, you will remember, shouting “Hosanna!” They were welcoming Jesus because they thought He was to be Israel’s Savior—their Messiah, perhaps.

The Judaizers—the Pharisees and others who were His detractors—were trying to make the people stop praising Him. They wanted Him to shut down His ministry because they thought He was taking away their power and authority.

They appealed to Jesus to shut the people up, and He replied that if they were to remain silent, the very stones would cry out.

By this, the Lord meant, I have no doubt, that if they didn’t praise Him at that history-shaking moment, the very geophysical creation would erupt in praise of Him.

Then I think of that day on that boat when the storm on Galilee was raging and the disciples awoke Jesus to ask if He didn’t care that they were about to perish in the tempest. Jesus chided them just a bit for their lack of faith (they didn’t yet know that He was fully God as well as fully man). So they were fearful—as you and I would have been.

He put forth His hands and said, “Peace, be still.”

I believe He said it very softly rather than shouting it. The raging wind stopped. The heaving waters became instantly calm. It is said that not even the convulsions had to settle as waters have to do after being so turbulent. That lake became like glass.

So this planet is under the Creator’s hand at all times. Jesus created all that was created, and by Him all things (every element) are held together.

When God’s prophetic Word says something about planet earth that hasn’t yet occurred, we, as believers that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, can be assured it will happen.

Things are being reported today with prophetic overtones. Scientists have climbed aboard the climate-change panic train, of course, and are using their findings to further foist that mantra.

Now, we admit to climate change because the climate is and always has been changing during various eras of recorded history. But climate change because man is responsible for it in the physical meaning is a lie being perpetrated for political/ideological control reasons.

On the other hand, climate change by mankind in the evil-spiritual sense is indeed taking place.

Here’s what I mean.

Mankind doesn’t have the ability to change the climate in the sense of physically affecting it. We are simply too small. God controls it completely. But, like Jesus said, when mankind doesn’t praise Him, the very elements (the physical earth, for example, will “cry out”).

With the world now getting much like it was in antediluvian times—with people denying God at every level, especially the scientists—perhaps the planet is beginning to “cry out.”

The following further validates this possibility:

“For the first time, scientists have identified why Earth wobbles as it spins.

The decrease in Greenland’s ice mass is the main reason for the wobble, NASA says.

Changes in the Earth’s wobble could impact the accuracy of satellite tools like GPS systems, according to NASA.

Climate change is impacting how Earth spins on its axis, NASA says.

Over the past century, Earth’s axis—the imaginary line that passes through the North and South Poles—has drifted about 4 inches, and a decrease in Greenland’s ice mass is the main contributor to the wobble, the space agency has announced.

As temperatures increased throughout the 20th century because of humans, Greenland’s ice mass decreased.

A total of about 7,500 gigatons—the weight of more than 20 million Empire State Buildings—of Greenland’s ice melted into the ocean during this time period.” (“Climate Change Is Causing Earth to Wobble on Its Axis, NASA Says,” By Pam Wright, weather.com)

Jesus’ pronouncement, as said at the beginning of this article, is the first of the fascinating things about the reactions involving this planet on which God has chosen for us to live. It gets much more interesting even in the prophetic sense. The prophecy I have in mind relates significantly, I think, to the article above.

God, through the prophet Isaiah, says the following about a future time:

“The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again” (Isaiah 24:20).

Today, the ideological mindset of the reprobate mind (Romans 1:28) is that man is physically destroying Mother Earth with reckless fossil fuel carbon emissions, etc. But, God says mankind is making the world corrupt through anti-God activity. Here is the entire body of that Isaiah passage telling why the earth will eventually stagger like a drunkard.

“From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth” (Isaiah 24:16–21)

It is the sins and rebellion of mankind that will make the planet itself drunk on the rebels’ corruption –much like in the days of Noah. For this, God will make those evil ones drink from the cup of His wrath (Revelation 14: 10). 

You don’t want to be part of that drunken time when even the earth staggers and falls, and is unable to recover its equilibrium. Here is how to escape that fate and instead be with the Lord in the wonders of Heaven.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10).

—Terry

8 Aug 2022

Redefining the Meaning of Recession to Avoid Reality

The Biden administration has done a terrible job of handling the economy. Not only has it been blind to the dangers that are headed our way, but it also took steps that made them worse. President Biden ignored inflation warning cries over the trillions we were spending on covid stimulus packages. The Treasury increased the money supply by 40% in less than two years. The Fed bought $5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities.

When all this debt creation caused inflation to rise higher, Biden said it was only a temporary problem. When inflation kept on rising, the American people started noticing the financial pain. Figures that the Fed follows closely show that we now have the highest levels of inflation since January 1982. The president’s nose-diving poll numbers finally forced some action. Interest rates have increased by 1.75% over the past two months. Washington is so far behind on inflation, that rates would need to go up by another 7% to generate real yields on bond investments.

The U.S. economy is facing another financial problem – recession. Last week it was learned that the gross domestic product (GDP) had declined for the past two quarters. The U.S. economy shrank at an annual pace of 1.6% in the first quarter and declined by 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022.

Shortly before the new GDP numbers came out, a post was made to government financial sites that stated two back-to-back declines in GDP do not mean we are in a recession. When asked if the Biden administration was trying to change the definition, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the strength of the labor market and other indicators are “not what we generally see as we talk about recession or even pre-recession.”

Biden addressed the debate, predicting the U.S. will dodge a downturn and similarly highlighting the labor market’s rebound as a sign of good economic health.

“We’re not going to be in a recession, in my view. The [un]employment rate is still one of the    lowest we’ve had in history,” he said. “My hope is we go from this rapid growth to steady     growth.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data is what decides whether or not there is a recession. And most of the data that they look at right now continues to be strong.

The truth-seeking Snopes.com was once a helpful site. Because it is run by leftists, it agreed with Biden’s adjusted meaning of recession. Snopes tried to have things both ways in saying it didn’t want to “give readers the misleading impression that the Biden administration literally tried to revise the criteria economists use to determine when a recession has occurred. But that was not the case.”

Wikipedia has been criticized after the website changed the definition of the term recession and locked the page to prevent editing by the public. Wikipedia said it locked the page to require proper citation and avoid political bias. When you’re editing your content based on the word of the 21st century’s great economist, Joes Biden, no other source is needed.

It is very dangerous to change something that has been the standard way of measuring the economy for over 50 years. Because the NBER doesn’t declare that a recession has occurred until it’s in the past, we will never live through another one.

A bear market is when a market experiences prolonged price declines. It typically describes a condition in which securities prices fall 20% or more from a recent high. An official depression occurs when GDP declines by more than 10% and an unemployment rate that at one point reached 25%.

If we run into a bear market, the Biden administration may declare it to be a bargain market, where investors can buy stocks at a good discount. If we run into a depression, Washington would likely talk it up as just a correction. Biden would say stocks came down so they can go much higher.

The greatest danger we face here is mankind’s arrogance in thinking we have full control of the economy. If something goes wrong, we’ll just rename it. If inflation spikes higher, we’ll raise interest rates. If the economy starts to stall, we’ll print more money.

There have been several times in American history when a financial calamity occurred and people were powerless to fix the situation. The Great Depression and the inflation of the 1970s are two examples. Our political leader tried several plans to restore our nation to a sound economy but failed.

The stock market has remained steady not because our nation is run by geniuses. These people have no idea what they are doing. The financial stability is likely the result of God getting the world ready for judgment. What seems like a blessing is just the calm before the storm.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:120).

–Todd


Love Your Enemies?

This will be a tough one—for me, at least. The enemies faced each and every hour of each and every day are prolific in dispensing their wickedness. We have looked at their perpetration of evil many times. We have no choice, because it never ends, and we are commissioned from on high to “watch” (Mark 13:37).

This incessant raging against our sense of truth–of what is biblically righteous—evokes human anger, no matter the devotion to trying to be Christ-like in our attitude and comportment.

Now, to get into this just a bit–and I don’t want to go too deeply into the weeds—I’ll just begin by telling, obliquely, a little about conversations I have occasionally with family members. I say “obliquely” because I don’t want them mad at me, so I won’t say who.

The conversations sometimes are as early as 4 am. Yes, I’m an early riser, and sometimes, when family members happen to be around at that hour, we discuss things going on in culture, politics, religion, etc. The more adamant among the conversationalists are quite angry at the injustice, the tyranny, the wickedness taking place as we look at the things being reported. To be frank, they often cook up what they would like to see happen to those engaged in perpetrating the injustice, the tyranny, the wickedness. The punitive creativity is not something I would be comfortable relaying in this forum.

My response to one or the other telling just how they would like this evil to be handled is that that isn’t the way a Christian should think. They say things like “I know, Pops, but it makes me so mad I can’t help it.”

In response to the expressed actions, I say things like, “Do you think Jesus would react that way, even to this level of evil, were He here in the flesh today?”

That usually brings down their heated temperaments, to some extent. They then might retort with something like, “Yes. But He’s God and I’m not.”

At any rate, the whole matter, I believe, is a valuable exercise in evaluating ourselves in regard to our own dealing with this injustice, tyranny, and wickedness we as Christians endure each day.

We all know about the outrageous acts, issues, and events that afflict us that challenge our temperaments. We’ve covered all of them so many times in these commentaries.

Those who inflict these evil upon our lives, while we only want to live peaceably, are enemies. We can say this, because they are the tools of the archenemy of God, thus enemies of each of us within God’s family who are living on planet earth.

Those who want to break into our lives and steal our tranquility, our peace, and even our children, not even to mention our welfare financially through unfair-to-absurd confiscatory taxation, can be compared to the “thief” in the following:

“When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils” (Luke 11: 21–22).

Jesus, although in the context of prophecy involving watching for the suddenness of the Rapture, further gave, through analogy, warning about being watchful for evil break-ins:

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up” (Matthew 24:42–43).

So, it is clear that the Bible instructs believers to be aware of enemies wanting to do us harm. We are told even to be armed in order to protect our households–defend ourselves against harm. But nowhere are we told to hate our enemies. On the contrary, we are told the following through a quite lengthy instruction for how to deal with our enemies. It comes from the Lord, Himself:

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6: 27–38).

Now I must admit that I find loving the enemies today who murder babies by the millions, who more and more draw this culture into the cesspool of pedophilia–a thing that has been prevalent in most every civilization at its end—all but impossible. But that doesn’t alter the truth that we are told by our Lord that this is what we should do.

He showed that love Himself, we remember, while hanging on that cross on which He died for us. The martyr Stephen did so while being stoned, and the Lord stood from the right hand of God’s throne to applaud him.

Apart from the love of Christ–of God the Father—ours would be fate much worse than the punitive actions sometimes concocted in those early-morning sessions to which I referred.

I guess the answer to how to begin to appropriate such love–and we cannot do it apart from the Holy Spirit who indwells—might be found in my friend, the late Dr. Tim LaHaye’s, book–The Spirit Controlled Temperament. That book, of course, was filled with God’s Word in coming to its conclusions.

I should probably pick up that book and read it again.

—Terry

 

—Terry