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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Oprah Winfrey: Savior of the Left?

Oprah Winfrey’s name is being floated as the Democrat candidate that can rid the political world of Donald Trump and reestablish the Democrat brand in Washington. Under her leadership, we will get a person much like Hillary but with a reputation of making us feel better about being a second rate people.

In the wake of her Golden Globes speech Sunday night, Oprah’s people were talking up the prospect. Her longtime partner Stedman Graham told the L.A. Times, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”

And NBC seemed to be on board. “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” the network tweeted…
The pundits swoon over Oprah for 2020 – but running for president is brutal

My wife came home from work yesterday and I asked her about this and the Liberals at work were joyful that Oprah would be their candidate. They were ready to go vote now. The lunch room was ecstatic at the prospect of Winfrey in 2020 and retaking the White House.

However, would Oprah subject herself to the scrutiny of a campaign?

Truthfully, I think it will never happen no matter how good a friend and supporter of the Obama or Clinton clans that she has been. She has much baggage that will haunt her. Below are a few reasons that she will never run.

After Oprah Winfrey’s highly publicized speech at the Golden Globes sparked speculation of a presidential run, actor James Woods tweeted three pictures of her with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
After Golden Globes Speech, James Woods Shares 3 Photos From Oprah’s Past


Here is one photo that actor James Woods shared on Twitter



image
Oprah loves Harvey Weinstein

Another factor that would kill her candidacy is her residence. Lest you forget, Oprah lives in Chicago. Yes, the murder capital of America.  This place is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by Liberals. The guys running this place into the ground are her friends and supporters. Most of the violence is blacks murdering other blacks. Where is Oprah while this carnage is occurring? What has she done to help in her own backyard? She has armed security, drivers, and doormen to care for her. She can never claim to be “one of us” even if she came from an impoverished background.

Oprah is just the latest generic candidate.  Remember Colin Powell? Everybody liked him until he started taking positions on issues and then his political stock fell like a rock. He lost my interest when he came out for abortion on demand and defended Roe v Wade. Powell was just another RINO in a shiny uniform. Likewise, Winfrey is just another Liberal in a different package. If she is really as smart as people claim that she is, she won’t run but will bask in the praise of the moment.

Liberals can’t beat Trump this easily. Besides we just got rid of one President named “O” from Chicago, I don’t think we need another.

 

Posted by william on 01/09 at 10:26 AM
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Monday, January 08, 2018

Elk Grove Teacher’s Union Busted

Congratulations to the Sith Lord on being vindicated about his claim of illegal electioneering by the Elk Grove teacher’s union back in 2016. Unfortunately, at the time he would not put in writing his claim that the union’s Pac was making illegal campaign contributions. However, the local paper reported that the FPPC has given the union their day of reckoning with a fine of $11.5K.

A local political action committee was fined $11,500 after a state watchdog group last month determined they broke a state campaign law several times .

The Elk Grove Education Association (EGEA) has a political action committee that reportedly failed to file campaign documents by deadline during the 2016 election year.

This committee supported three Elk Grove school board candidates and the Measure M school bond campaign in 2016.


The EGEA represents more than 3,000 teachers and other school employees in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Their political action committee received more than $65,000 in contributions and spent more than $110,600 during the 2016 election year, according to a California Fair Political Practices Commission report.

EG teachers union fined for campaign law violations

Folks this is a slap on the wrist considering what these guys could have received. They willfully broke the law and then pleaded ignorance. This is the FPPC version of a “fix-it” ticket. Sadly, this isn’t the only part of this union that’s broken.

Posted by william on 01/08 at 07:15 PM
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Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Year with Teenager

The wife and I have decided to do a course correction in the life of our teenager. We have come to the opinion that both his older siblings have holes in their upbringing that we don’t wish to replicate in his life. Our son is not allowed to use electronic devices including computers, phones, and television during school nights—defined as Sunday evening thru Thursday night; however, this rule has not been enforced in any meaningful way because if we watch television, he is right there with us. This is not just to insure that he does homework but electronic stuff can end up being too much of a good thing.

We are trying three new changes this year to move in what we hope will be a better direction.

First, once a week, our son is responsible to fix dinner. We have set this as a Friday night event with three caveats; first, he can pick a night earlier in the week to complete this task but not later; second, if we eat out on Friday he is off the hook for the week; lastly, he must make a balanced meal. Chocolate cake and milkshakes is not a balanced meal.

Second, Wednesday night is reading night. We can either read by ourselves or aloud but reading is good and we need to do more. I’m thinking about doing a read aloud of a chapter a week from Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story because my son has no idea who that is and I can’t get him to read the darn book.

Third, Sunday night is daddy school. For one hour a week, we will spend time with various aspects of the Christian faith such as doctrine and apologetics. Our son has spent his life in Christian schools but much of their theology is shallow (the Apostle Paul rightly called it, “the milk of the Word”). A few books we will be dealing with include Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults and James Sire’s The Universe Next Door. I want him to have an answer for the hope that is in him and be able to discern truth from error. I also want to make an effort to get him to make the faith of his parents his own. Nothing I’ve seen other parents do seems to insure that result and arguably it is in God’s hands but I want to know I did my best in my primary duty as a father.

This week will be our first attempt at these goals. We have some good ideas, I’m hoping that the implementation will bear some positive results even if it needs some modifications along the way.

Posted by william on 01/04 at 09:39 AM
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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: The Last Jedi

Note: This review contains spoilers as well as commentary that you won’t read anywhere else.


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J.J. Abrams has done for Star Wars the same thing he did to Star Trek; namely, burn the franchise to the ground  and substitute a different worldview in its place. Unfortunately, while the grittier sandbox looks better in CGI, the morality at its core is gone. Any concept of right and wrong has been done away with and replaced with varying shades of gray.

Before I go on, I can hear you asking the question, “Who cares? Why does this matter anyway?”

Look I know these two franchises are just make believe but within them is a view that is optimistic and hopeful of the future and both hold to an idea of right and wrong, the tension of which the franchises are built around.

Star Trek has one big commandment called the Prime Directive which often gets in the way of Captain Kirk doing the right thing. The world of Trek is hopeful and in the past many Post Mil Christians have seen Gene Roddenberry’s world as one where Christianity is triumphant. One episode in the original series is built around the idea that Christianity triumphs but good luck finding it in syndication. Roddenberry was horrified to learn that Christians liked his show because he intended the future to be a religion free universe. Gene didn’t understand that only with Christianity could humans be optimistic about the future. Belief in Progress is a result of a Christian worldview; other belief systems have no basis for such a concept.

Star Wars borrows philosophically from many views and is infused with strong doses of pantheism and duality. George Lucas borrows Christian concepts and morality without attribution  and instead attributes them to impersonal means. The god of Star Wars is impersonal but omnipresent (pantheistic). Like the Chinese idea of Yen and Yang, Star Wars is Light versus Darkness. Mastery of The Force requires training from early youth to keep its followers in the Light or else they will be seduced by evil; the Dark side. (Salvation by works?) George Lucas spent his second trilogy in the franchise showing us that breaking the rules of training will only produce an evil outcome; in the person of Darth Vader. Those outside of the Jedi Order were forbidden to exercise The Force. Lucas based the franchise on “balance” of opposing forces not good triumphing over evil. Nevertheless, good leads to redemption for Mr. Vader; something duality cannot rationally offer.

Star Trek claimed to be a vision of a possible future for our world while Star Wars was always set in “A Galaxy Far, Far Away…”

When Disney bought the franchise, they promised to produce one Star Wars movie per year for the rest of my natural life (or longer).

Link: Disney will release a new ‘Star Wars’ movie every year starting in 2015

In order to do this they brought in J.J. Abrams to “reboot” the franchise so they could have the freedom to use new characters and stories. Abrams had the choice of going to some future period in the Star Wars universe and simply write an off screen epilogue for the original cast or let fans have one last adventure where the old is replaced by the new with Disney reaping the profits all the way.  Disney chose the latter. In the course of the last two movies of this third trilogy, they have killed-off Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. Carrie Fisher was the only remaining cast member left and as Episode VIII was winding down, she died. Fisher’s death will clearly necessitate a major rework of Act 3.

To the careful observer, J.J. Abrams did much more than kill-off the old cast in exchange for a quick dollar, he killed the world of Star Wars as well.  Upon purchasing the franchise, Disney declared virtually everything except Lucas’s movies as null and void as far as the cannon (or mythology) of Star Wars was concerned. Every non-Disney property was nullified by proclamation. All novels, comic books, cartoons, etc. were invalidated by fiat.

Link: Why Disney Blew Up More Than 30 Years of Star Wars Canon

By the end of episode VIII, J.J., killed-off everything in the first six movies as well.


George Lucas modeled the original Star Wars in arch types of a western set in outer space with the theme of good versus evil. The story was designed to have a beginning, middle, and end. How well Lucas thought the whole thing out is questionable in light of some obvious holes in the second trilogy but the basic idea of good and evil permeates all six Lucas films.

J.J. Abrams began his course correction with Episode VII The Force Awakens but the seeds that he planted didn’t bear much fruit until the next and most recent installment, The Last Jedi. Abrams begins with the familiar arch type of Sith Lord and apprentice on the side of evil and a young girl that for no apparent reason has really strong ties to the good side of The Force. Abrams takes these themes and proceeds to violently overthrow the whole structure erected by Lucas.

Abrams took the fairytale-like world of Star Wars and in the course of one movie, did a gut-and-amend that would make Willie Brown blush with its boldness.
• In this movie, the apprentice kills his master, which is no big deal since he killed his father (Harrison Ford) in the last movie. The dialogue in this part of the movie is crucial in understanding what J.J. is doing. The interaction between the two main characters is important to the Disney version of the franchise going forward. The heroine says there is still good in the bad guy and surprisingly, the bad guy says that the heroine has evil in her and she should fully embrace it. The “good” girl and the “bad” guy then team up for a major fight scene and then go their separate ways. Folks here is the new paradigm. No characters are totally good or bad, there are just varying shades of gray. People just live for the moment and do what is in their self-interest (or right in their own eyes). However, if there is no right or wrong, then the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker (episodes 1 thru 6) is impossible. Lucas may have lacked a proper philosophical framework for his world, but he did keep the Christian ideals of good being the superior value and winning over evil and redemption of the vilest being possible—even at the moment of their death.
Luke Skywalker and Yoda destroy the Jedi temple and all their teachings (scriptures). They repudiate thousands of years of the Jedi religion and have no substitute for it. They create their own version of Pascal’s heart shaped vacuum with nothing to fill it. Yoda states the heroine has no need of training but already knows everything that she needs to. Excuse me but we spent six movies debating the premise of training and age; whether Jedi or Sith, they both agreed on this point and now with one simple comment we do away with it?! Luke and Yoda further agree that the Jedi Order is to be abolished (somehow, they seem to imply that this will do away with the Sith too, but this is never explained). Gary North’s words about you can’t beat something with nothing come to mind. Abrams’ switcharoo is totally without foundation. Only Christopher Hitchens would praise such hubris with a straight face.
• Luke sacrifices himself in a selfless way that seems contrived because all he does is use astral projection or a Force-made hologram to toy with the bad guy to allow the last of the Rebels to escape. This sacrifice—which visually harkens back to Alec Guinness in the first movie—seems to serve some greater purpose—likely the next movie. I can hear high school literature teachers screaming about Luke being a Christ figure in this story, but I think Abrams and company sacrificed young Skywalker just for shock value. Mark Hamill expressed his disapproval about how his character was portrayed in the movie but once his comments lit-up the Internet some suit at Disney pulled him aside and put him in his place. 
• At the end of the film, the Jedi Order is abolished, and regular people begin to exercise The Force. Somehow no training is required anymore.


I could mention many more plot points but the Galaxy Far, Far Away was replaced with the angst of secular humanists struggling to find meaning in a world without morality or God. The world of Lucas was dismantled and replaced with another right before our eyes…one that looks eerily like a modern day Liberal worldview.

As I watched this movie, a few thoughts were going thru my head.
• The words of Gary North saying that a change in law is a change in religion certainly applied.
• Also, a line from Pixar’s Incredibles, “If everyone is Super, no one will be.”
• After the movie, my military son was furious because it was clear to him that there was no overarching story, everything from here on out will be character arcs and nothing more.

Star Wars was ripped from a fairytale-like story of good versus evil and thrust headlong into our morally relativist world of self-interest where everyone does what is right in their own eyes and the only taboo is absolutes.

Disney did to Star Wars what other malcontents in our society have done to other things in America, destroy what made them good in the name of making them relevant. So, to a long list of things including marriage, clergy ordination, Boy Scouts, patriotism, capitalism, American Exceptionalism, Western Culture, Christmas, et al, you can now add yet another; the cultural icon Star Wars.

Posted by william on 12/30 at 10:52 AM
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. X and John for their contributions during the year. Also, thanks to the Sith Lord for those occasions when you were either being a listener to some of my ideas or a source of inspiration for some of the ideas expressed on this blog.

Also, thanks to my varied and assorted readers that check in on me from time to time.

Now that Trump is in office, almost everyone I’ve met during this season—even Hindus and Muslims—are wishing me a Merry Christmas. Far fewer people in my life and the places that I’ve shopped are using the Happy Holidays greeting this year; and that is a very good thing. Freedom and Liberty are making a comeback.

Merry Christmas to all. My prayer for you are these words from Randy Stonehill:

But most of all the children, they’re the ones I hope will learn
That Jesus is our Savior and He’s going to return
And Christmas isn’t just a day and all days aren’t the same
Perhaps they’ll think about the word and see it spells His name.

And I know that if St. Nicholas was here he would agree
That Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me
They led Him to the slaughter on a hilled called Calvary
And mankind was forgiven, Mankind was forgiven
We were all forgiven when they nailed Him to the tree.

Christmas song for all year round (1976)

 

Posted by william on 12/24 at 05:48 AM
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Friday, December 22, 2017

Government Accounting v Reality

One of the most frustrating things for Conservatives is the lack of concern that the elected folks and those in government have concerning underfunded promises made by government. This is especially true when we look at government funded pensions and Social Security. California’s State Treasurer admits that California governments (state, county, and local) are 1.5 trillion dollars in debt (Link: Treasurer Debt Watch) and this does not include the estimated 1.4 trillion in underfunded pension liabilities for the State (state, county, and local). From our perspective, the government officials are behaving much like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E Newman who is best known for saying, “What, me worry?”


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Finally, I have an explanation; mind you it’s not one I like or agree with but I would like to share it with you.

This fall, I took a class on government accounting that was sponsored by the California Department of Finance. Much of the class focused on the way California does things. Please understand that the Dept. of Finance is the government agency that assembles the budget presented each year by the Governor to the Legislature for approval. When the Dept. of Finance speaks, powerful people listen. (Think Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, etc.)

I could get into much vocabulary on things such as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) but it’s not necessary for this discussion; instead you only need to know one term, measurement focus. When this term is applied to governmental accounting, it looks like this:

Governmental fund financial statements are prepared using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting. Revenues are recognized in the accounting period in which they become available and measurable, and expenditures are recognized in the period in which the fund liability is incurred…

Link

The key phrases in the quote above are “current financial resources” and “modified accrual”.

This is radically different from what people do in the private sector. Normally, businesses use accrual accounting. Under accrual; assets and liabilities are recognized when they happen. For example, in a private business when you bill a customer, an accounts receivable is created. The A/R is treated as an asset at that point, you don’t wait until the customer’s payment is in your bank account.

Government doesn’t do that. Instead they purposely ignore certain things because under current financial resources, government only cares about the current fiscal year. In the example above, government only recognizes the receipt of cash as an asset when it is deposited in the bank, except at year end. Assets and long-term liabilities are purposely ignored except on a few special year end reports.

So practically speaking, this is how government treats pensions:
• Employee money withheld from paychecks for retirement are sent to the federal government for Social Security and state retirement is sent to CalPERS. Assets are done.
• Retirees in the system are sent their retirement checks. Liabilities are done.
• Conclusion, pension system is ok.

Seriously, their view is really that simplistic. Why? Because the current fiscal year was taken care of.

Oh, just so you know, they treat bonds this way also. As long as they can cover interest payments for the current year then per government accounting, everything is wonderful.

I realize that from a practical point of view this makes no sense but that is how it is. It goes back to GAAP. Specifically, the Generally Accepted part. If governments agree that things should be done a certain way, then that is the way they will do them. It’s not a matter of what is right or more technically correct or responsible to the next generation, if it is generally accepted not to worry about long term obligations then they don’t have to.

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s straight from the textbook:

The employees earn the right  to the benefits during the periods that they work but don’t receive the cash (or whatever form the benefit may take) until after they retire. The employer, however, receives the full value of the employment exchange during the periods the employees work; therefore, the employer’s obligation for paying both salaries and benefits arises during those working periods.

But what if the government budgets for those benefits on a purely cash basis; that is, by not budgeting for the benefits until the years the actual payments are due, after the employees retire? Is the budget “balanced” if the government fails to set aside money for the benefits in the years the benefits are earned? We suggest such budgets are balanced in form—on a cash flow basis—but not in economic substance.

In fact, some governments consistently do not budget in the current year for the full amount of pension benefits earned by employees in the current year, and virtually every government budgets for retiree health care benefits in the year they are paid, not when the employees earn the benefit.

Introduction to Governments and Not-for-Profit Accounting  Seventh Edition page 24.
Emphasis added by author in red .

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen of the jury. The fix is in and they are all in on it. It is clear that the authors of the textbook are just as indignant as we are about it but as they say, “Such is life”.

So next time you hear someone claiming the California budget is balanced remember the unspoken weasel words they are omitting, “Budgets are balanced in form…but not economic substance”.

Posted by william on 12/22 at 04:06 PM
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

I Predict 2018

2018 will be a pivotal year for American politics.

I look for a huge change in the composition of membership in the House and Senate. The “swamp” is just not as much fun as it used to be before Trump came to town. Also, I think several folks will be challenged in the primaries. Look for President Trump to find more cooperation next year on his legislative agenda. This situation will improve even more after November. Furthermore, look for another Supreme Court vacancy that will impact the November elections.

In contrast, look for California politics to make a marked turn towards the Left within the next 18 months. Look for the bifurcation of Prop 13 as business exemptions are lifted while residential restrictions are left intact—for now. The per mile tax on vehicles will pass. We will have double taxation on vehicles—high gas taxes and mileage tax. The State will set a date to outlaw internal combustion engines. Lastly, no Republicans will be on the ballot for the top two election in November and their registration will continue to decline with them officially being the third party as Decline to State (or no affiliation) moves to second.

I look for “adjustments” in the economy due to “bubbles” in some sectors. Trump’s tax cuts will soften the blow from what it could have been. Investment opportunities will become more varied and the stock market will not be the only place to put your money.

At this time next year, Windows devices on ARM processors and 5G internet speeds will be a big deal and gaining momentum.

Posted by william on 12/21 at 09:56 AM
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

When Baptism Doesn’t Count

Today’s blog is one of several that I’ve been intending to write over the last several weeks but now that my finals are behind me, I have time to get caught-up.

There’s an old tale about some folks dying and upon arriving in Heaven, they are given the introductory tour of their new home by none other than Saint Peter. They visit the Catholic section, the Methodist area, the Pentecostal borough and so forth until at last they get to this one neighborhood and St Peter begins whispering. Sensing this sudden change, one of the tourists softly asks, “Why are we whispering?” Peter responds, “We must be quiet because this is the Baptist section and they think they’re the only ones up here.”

Sadly, this is truer than many folks would like to admit.


My topic today is one that has been hitting close to home because the daughter unit has ventured out into the world to spread her wings and for some reason she has decided to worship at a Baptist church. A majority of Protestants in the United States are Baptists in their theology even if they call themselves something else. If your church teaches “The Sinner’s Prayer”, walking the aisle, “making a decision for Christ”, likes singing Just As I Am, or “every head bowed and eye closed” then you are Baptists or the theological offspring of Baptists. Typically these folks will only recognize baptism by immersion and use grape juice for Communion. A corollary is that these guys unchurch everyone else in the body of Christ because we practice infant Baptism.

Before proceeding, let me say a few words about my own experience with this topic in the hopes that I can be granted some credibility by my readers.

I was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church. I attended Catholic School K – 6. After seventh grade, I walked the aisle at a Baptist Church Camp and “gave my life to Jesus Christ”. A few months later I was baptized again in a local Baptist church. I spent many years in the Baptist world and then after wandering for a few more, I trekked thru Charismania until I came at last to a Reformed understanding of Christianity. I understand the arguments on both sides because I literally have been in each camp at some point or another in my life.


Believer’s Baptism
The Baptist argument is that the Bible says Belief and then Baptism. Hence the name, Believer’s Baptism.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16: 16

For someone coming from outside the Church, belief and then baptism is normal. Where we have a difference is when talking about children born into a Christian home.  The moral high ground that people think that Believer’s Baptism gives them dissolves quickly in this area.

Essentially, the paradigm that Baptists appear to embrace is that nobody is regarded as a believer until they make a profession of faith and then they can be baptized. This position would include their young children. Such a position would be consistent if somewhat harsh; especially in light of these verses:

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 
Acts 2: 38 & 39

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 
Acts 16: 31-33

How can God’s promise be “for you and your children” if children born to Christian parents are just young pagans?


Age of Accountability
Baptists are squeamish about this situation too but their answer is sentimentality not Scripture. You see, they say that they believe that the only way to the Father is faith in Christ but those not professing faith go to Hell. So what happens when a parent has a miscarriage or their child drowns in the neighbor’s pool or said child dies of cancer at three years of age? Surely such innocent children go to Heaven right?

It is at this point that Baptist folks introduce the doctrine of an “age of accountability.” They say that until a child can know the difference between right and wrong that they are in a state of innocence. Thus if a child dies in this state, they will go to Heaven if they die.

I once held this view until “the baby shower.” “The baby shower” was held at Gibson Ranch, here in the Sacramento area. It was in fact an event sponsored by Operation Rescue to crash a company picnic being held by a local abortion clinic. Like others at the event, I got toe-to-toe with some people on the other side. The lady that I got into a discussion with took this concept of an age of accountability and hit me right between the eyes with it. Her argument was simple and effective. “If an unborn child cannot know the difference between right and wrong, where does the child go when it dies?”

I instinctively replied, “To Heaven.”

She continued, “But if that child were born and was old enough to know right from wrong then they could go to Hell for rejecting Jesus, right?”

I answered, “Yes”  and knew that she had me painted into a corner that I couldn’t escape from.

Under this doctrine of an age of accountability, the only way to insure someone would go to Heaven was not by placing their faith in Jesus but being aborted!

Think about it, universal salvation is free to all that are murdered before knowing right and wrong. This principle also allows that the mentally handicapped can be literally put down for their own good and as a bonus we have assurance that we are sending them to Heaven. Could this apply to elderly with dementia too? Lastly, wasn’t this view all the rage in Europe about 80 years ago?

Even though Baptists reject infant baptism, they have a substitute that they practice; baby dedication. They bring an infant before the congregation and make a promise that is very similar to infant baptism to raise their children in the faith in hopes that they will one day believe and make the faith of their parents their own.

Unfortunately, these Baptists that think they are attending “Bible believing” churches are building parts of their faith on the sands of their own creation and not Biblical teaching. Biblically speaking, I could make a better case for Purgatory than for an age of accountability.

Again, what do Baptists do with their children? Are they little pagans or children of the promises of Christ?



Rebaptism
The other situation that you encounter in the Baptist Church (and from their fellow theological travelers) is the kneejerk reaction to unchurch everyone else by saying their baptism is invalid.

However, the Bible only knows one Christian Baptism and one formula for the baptism.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3: 26 – 29

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4: 4–6

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28: 19

Again, there is one baptism in the Church and one formula, baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Baptists try to argue two things, you must believe before being baptized and that the method must be immersion. Why is it that Baptists take the Greek word for baptism literally while the Greek word for wine is figurative?

Baptists are not alone in arguing about methodology as it relates to baptism, the Orthodox Church argues that only infant baptism that includes Chrismation is valid.

Since most don’t know what I’m referring to, here is Wikipedia version of Chrismation

Typically, one becomes a member of the Church by baptism and chrismation performed by a priest as a single service, or subsequent to baptism performed by a layman. While chrismation is often performed without baptism, baptism is never performed without chrismation; hence the term “baptism” is construed as referring to the administration of both sacraments (or mysteries), one after the other.
Wikipedia: Chrismation

Why can’t Christians talk about such things as our preference is better than yours instead of unchurching everyone with a different view?


Alternative Interpretation
There is a different paradigm that can be used to look at this question, one that includes a consistent theological view that treats children as Christian children and deals with the biblical teaching that there is one baptism in the Church. 

The Bible only knows one baptism. It does not attach an age or belief to performing it. Only the parents (or head of the household depending on how you read it) must believe in order for all to be baptized.

Look at Acts 16: 31-33 or other similar verses.

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

The pattern is clear, parents believe and all –including children are baptized. Such verses don’t list exceptions or weasel words. For those that know the Ten Commandments, you might notice this principle is similar to Exodus 20: 8-11

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Sabbath was for the entire household not just Jewish members.

The historic Christian position is not one of individualism and Arminianism, but Covenantalism. Baptism is the New Testament covenant symbol in the same way as circumcision was in the Old. Thus children are baptized as infants because God’s promise really extends to the next generation just as He promised in both the Old and New Testaments.

So what happens if a child grows up and rejects the faith? The same thing that happened in the Old Testament; the child is treated as a Covenant member until such time as they bear fruit that says otherwise. There is an expectation that as a child matures that he will make the faith of his fathers into his own. The Jews have bar mitzvah (or bat mitzvah) while Christians in many parts of the Church have Confirmation. Confirmation is a reaffirming of the vows made at the infant baptism of a child.  This is where the child makes the faith of their parents into their own.

Confirmation also serves another use which biblically solves the rebaptism dilemma. Let me illustrate.

Teddy Texan lives in Houston and is attending the local mega-church run by Joel Osteen. Joel baptizes Teddy in front of thousands of people. For purposes of this illustration, Joel uses the correct formula and baptizes Teddy in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Later, Teddy takes a job in Sweetwater Oklahoma and starts attending the Park Avenue Anglican Assembly. Park Avenue is in a very different theological place than Joel Osteen but Teddy wants to join their church. What should they do? Should they require Teddy to be baptized again? Park Avenue knows that Teddy was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but Joel’s theology is heretical so what should be done? Knowing church history, Park Avenue’s Pastor—because he did have formal biblical training unlike Osteen—knows that this very question was faced by the early church. The answer of the early church was Confirmation. Teddy attends classes to be sure that he believes the historic doctrines of the Creeds and then is welcomed into the church via a Confirmation ceremony.

This has been the historic answer to the rebaptism question, not another baptism but a confirmation of faith. Thus the New Testament position of one faith and one baptism is honored and the doctrine of the Church is defended.


Conclusion

The Bible says, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”   
Acts 2: 39

The truth is that the Baptists are the ones that are building their theological house on the sands of their own making. There no biblical warrant for children to wait until they can experience “Believer’s Baptism”. There is no such thing as an “age of accountability” in Scripture. There is no such concept as a “sinner’s prayer” or “Alter Call” in the Bible. The Bible does not know a baby dedication ceremony apart from receiving the sign of the Covenant. The only rebaptism you can find is when someone was baptized by John the Baptist and then again by receiving Christian baptism.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples   and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.  Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
Acts 18: 1-5

Christians being baptized again by another group of Christian believers is not found in the Bible and in fact is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6

I don’t unchurch my Baptist brothers just because they are wrong about one of the core tenants of their theology. I walked in their shoes for the better part of two decades before I was able to set aside their traditions of men and rely on the Bible. I just wish they would grant the rest of Christ’s Church the same grace that we are willing to extend to them.

As for the daughter unit, if she goes forward with joining the Baptists by being rebaptized, she is squandering her inheritance and simultaneously excommunicating her mother and brother. In fact, the practical ramification of rebaptism would be a declaration that she believes her mother and brother are damned and going to spend eternity in Hell. Child, ideas have consequences. I’d like to think you were raised better than that.

Posted by william on 12/14 at 11:15 AM
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Friday, December 08, 2017

Scandals Explained

Liberals hate Donald Trump and want to attack him. Despite their best efforts, Trump’s base is sticking with him. Most of Trump’s supporters are Conservative and most Conservatives are religious. Liberals have been looking for a wedge issue to peel-off Trump’s base of support. Trump has been married several times and is married to a beautiful woman with perfect children. Further, Trump tends to employ more women than men in his companies. Liberals are sure there is some skeleton in Trump’s moral closet that they can hit him with. But their latest attack has gone horribly wrong…

You see, Liberals lobbed their moral grenades at the President and they bounced off him right back into their ranks and BOOM. First Harvey Weinstein gets fragged. Harvey was the go to guy in Hollywood for fundraising for Democrats including Hillary Clinton. Ironically, one of the first people to pile onto Harvey after the news broke on his conduct was Chelsea Clinton, who got taken to the woodshed about her dad acting the same way as Harvey and arguably even worse. This thread is really worth reading.
Chelsea Clinton Gets Torched After Sharing Thread

Several more dominoes in Hollywood have fallen in the wake of Harvey’s downfall. Many people knew but looked the other way.

Matt Lauer and several others in the media have lost their jobs as well. National Public Radio has lost some executives as well. This trend was ok when it was just Fox News but now it’s a disaster for the Left. Again, people knew and looked the other way.

Al Franken and Charles Rangel have followed in the steps of Jesse Jackson and Ted Kennedy and lost their jobs as a result. Several others in Congress have resigned or decided not to run. Again, for many of these politicians, many knew but did nothing.

The irony of all this is that Trump is responsible for all of this but did nothing to make it happen. This only happened because he is in office.

For those of us that think this country has been racing to transform itself into Hell on Earth, this purge is a welcome change. Frankly, we have been praying for God to intervene in the direction that we have been heading and this seems to be an answer to our prayers. I really don’t care what Trump says on Twitter, but I care deeply about what he does. He has been a champion of religious liberty and promoting Christianity.

The swamp is being drained just because Trump exists.


Give the above; what do I do about Judge Roy Moore?
The accusations against Moore have proven to be false. Dems have tried the guilt by association trick and it hasn’t worked. For me, the jig was up when Gloria Allred did her press conference about a US Senate race in Alabama from New York City. Gloria didn’t even have the good sense to pretend to go to Alabama and meet with the “victims” and do the press conference there. Believe me, there is enough media on the scene to cover her remarks had she chosen to do so. Also, if the allegations were made in Alabama, law enforcement would be compelled to investigate. That was not her purpose; she was brought in to smear Moore’s reputation. The seriousness of the charges is always more important than the evidence for the Left. And the accuser that Allred produced was a partisan Democrat that was active in the Hillary Clinton Campaign, hardly an innocent victim. Other accusers have had their stories fall apart under examination.

Moore’s accusers have had their stories dismantled by people that knew them including parents and siblings. Any detail that you remember has been debunked but the narrative stands in the minds of many. This is an illustration of he who frames the issue will win the debate or at least has the advantage. How many of you could document what you did 40 years ago to prove or disprove such a claim. Unlike the other people, Moore has never been accused of acting inappropriately since he got married. No pattern of continuing conduct has been alleged. This is markedly different than those that have lost their jobs.

Lastly, back in the 1970’s—which is when all this supposedly took place—the age of consent was 16 in his state. Think about it, could you prove you didn’t kiss Sally behind the gym at 3 pm on May 5th 1978?

More reading on Moore

Cop Accuser—-Unsupported Claims
Efforts to Derail Roy Moore Right From Establishment Playbook

Update
Roy Moore accuser admits she wrote part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate

This why I’m ReallyRight ‘cause I told Ya

Posted by william on 12/08 at 08:29 AM
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

When the Gospel is Not Enough

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2: 2

Introduction
Whether ancient or modern, Christians claim that we all need to come to Jesus. Furthermore, while church membership does not save you, most bodies expect that you will affiliate with a group of believers once you have made a profession of faith. This has been the case since the time of the Apostles. It was the practice in the early church that converts would go through a period of two to three years of discipleship and learning before formally joining the church via baptism; often as part of the Easter worship celebration. Catechisms date to the first century; the oldest being the Didache (also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles).

In most Christian groups, baptism is the normative method of adding a person to church membership. Membership for people coming to the church from outside also involves some instruction or agreement with a statement of principles. Children raised in the church may follow a different path than outsiders to achieve full membership and privileges in their particular denomination. Following baptism, Christians can access Holy Communion or Eucharist which involves partaking in the symbolic body and blood of Christ.

Thus far, I think I have avoided stepping on anyone’s theological toes but clearly I’m about to stomp on somebody’s.


Membership Has Is Privileges
Church membership is a means of guarding access to Communion but what if it’s a barrier to people joining your church due to extra biblical requirements.

We sing songs like “Just as I Am” But do we really mean it?

Is your church a hospital for sinners or an exclusive club that only allows “the right kind of people” to join?

Frankly, I’ve been struggling with this very question for many months and I don’t like the conclusion that I’ve reached. Let me set this issue up for you and see if you agree.


Positive Spin
First, there are two different ways to define or describe your beliefs. You can use negative statements or positive ones.

Negative example
“I don’t drink and I don’t chew and I don’t go with girls that do.”

Positive example
“I believe in healthy life choices and avoid the common vices of the ignorant. My ideal life partner will embrace similar views to mine.”

As the old song says, “Emphasize the positive.”

Sometimes by stating the positive answer, you are leaving unstated that the opposite condition is bad.

Have you ever heard someone say something like this? “I believe that faith in Jesus is necessary for salvation and I look forward to spending eternity with Him.”

This is a very positive statement and a true one. However, what is left unstated? The negative corollary can be condensed to this, “If you reject Jesus then you will spend eternity in Hell.”

The Westminster Confession of Faith—when dealing with things like the Ten Commandments—states both what is forbidden and what is commanded by God’s Law.


Remarkable Claims
In the church that I attend, the Preface of the denomination’s Constitution concludes with this remarkable sentence:

Accordingly, we profess that the principles set out in this Constitution are binding on us in the same way as are the historic confessions of faith, catechisms, and creeds of the church listed below.

The church’s constitution is just as binding as the Historic Creeds! Let that sink in for a moment before you continue reading my post.

In light of both the above; namely, people stating their viewpoint in the most positive way and the Constitution of the church being equal to the Historic Creeds, please read the following carefully.

Accordingly, we reject the subordination of the family and church to the State in matters of faith and religious practice. As an extension,

(i) We believe in promoting and supporting the training of our children in Christian educational institutions, especially in the home schooling method.

Book of Church Order, page 6 (B. 2. e. WCF 23)

What is left unstated? What is the negative of these statements?

Positive—what is commanded
“We reject the subordination of the family … to the State…we believe in … training our children in Christian educational institutions…”

Negative—what is forbidden
“We accept the subordination of the family … to the State…we believe in … training our children in State educational institutions…”

Translation: Good Christian parents don’t send their children to public schools.


Here is a portion of Deuteronomy 6  which will be discussed below:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

(Variations of the word “command” appear 14 times in this chapter.)


We promote and support the Christian educational training of children

The Bible gives parents the clear direction in Deuteronomy 6 that they are to train their children in the statutes of the Lord throughout the day. This mandate is compromised when children are sent to public institutions of learning where they are indoctrinated in the principles of secular humanism and influenced by worldly peers and teachers. The result of such secular instruction is a weakened church and divided families. We promote, instead, those educational alternatives which are guided by and serve Biblical principles and purposes. These include Christian homeschooling and biblically regulated covenant schools.

Distinctives

Please note that the “clear direction in Deuteronomy 6 ” is described as a “mandate ” in the next sentence. If a mandate is found in Scripture then I think it can fairly be described as a Command of God.

Using word substitution the second sentence reads as follows:

“This Command of God is compromised when children are sent to public institutions of learning where they are indoctrinated in the principles of secular humanism and influenced by worldly peers and teachers.”

Granted that it’s been a few years since I was in a Sunday school room, but don’t we tell children that sin is the result of breaking God’s Law, His Commandments?

Here is the logic:
1 God commands us to educate children “in the statutes of the Lord throughout the day.” This is God’s Will, His Command, His Instruction.
2 This Commandment (mandate) is violated by sending our children to a State run government school.
3. Disobeying God’s Commands is sin.
Therefore, sending your child to a public school is a sin.


Even if you want to stop short of describing sending children to public school as a violation of God’s Commandment (or you’re just squirmy about it), per the above you are still sinning because James 4: 17 states:

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.



Privileged Have Their Membership
This is the set of rules that governs the church that I have been attending for the last few years. Over time, this distinctive has really grown to bother me. In my previous blog, I spoke of the suspicion of strangers and the simultaneous lament that the church is not growing. Now throw a prohibition against public schooling in the mix. I look at the totality of the beliefs and practices that I have mentioned and marvel at how we have twisted the Gospel of Christ.

So what happens if Bobby Baptist were to experience the Light of the Reformation and as he begins to embrace the likes of John Calvin, he comes to our church? Or Peter Pagan manages to run the gauntlet and get a chair during our service and then comes to a saving faith as he hears the Gospel from the pulpit?

What are we to do?

In a state like California, a married couple with children is likely to be struggling with two college loans, two car payments, a mortgage, and a host of other bills. Both he and the wife work and their children are in public school.

Believing the Gospel is not enough in our congregation. At what point do we have to deny people access to the Lord’s Table because they are openly sinning against God’s Commandment by sending their children to public school?

It is common practice in the church that people in open rebellion and sin are not only prohibited from Communion but will be subject to the discipline of the church including trial and excommunication if they don’t change their ways.

My family is the only non-home school family that is a member of the congregation. We often joke that we were the most conservative members at our previous church and now we are the most liberal. But all kidding aside, this is a serious issue.

We have added a socio-economic barrier to church membership that discriminates not on the basis of the Historic Creeds and Christian Faith but an additional demand of income ; so if God doesn’t bless you materially as much as somebody else then we don’t want you. If you were a young man that made poor financial decisions—as defined by Dave Ramsey—then you can’t be in our little club?

What happened to James 1: 27?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Remember that applying Deuteronomy 6 to the issue of public schools is a serious doctrinal position. The Commands in this passage are clearly not optional.


Consequences of Exclusivity
The culture of distrust of strangers which I discussed in a previous blog and condemnation of those not home schooling their children colors the actions of our congregation. The things that I have described about the church not only keep people from getting in but keep us from reaching out.

We are unwilling to go to the highways and byways and compel them to come in. We systematically refuse to get involved in our community. I can’t help but wonder if this is because we only want to minister to people that already are predisposed to agree with us. However, people that home school for religious reasons are typically already involved in a church somewhere and not usually looking to jump to another congregation.

If we really want to grow our church we need to reach out to the unchurched or those underserved by their current house of worship. We purposely offer no programs for youth or children because we are “family integrated” which means that children sit with their parents during church. We don’t own our own building so there are no mid-week services or events. The net result is that we can’t out do the programs offered by the local mega-church, so we refuse to offer anything. Thus, our only real opportunities for growth lie in converting the heathen or reaching people that left the church earlier in their youth.

Try this scenario. Our friend, Peter Pagan and his wife have experienced a conversion by attending our church. They believe in all the tenants of the Historic Creeds and ask the pastor to join the church. At what point do you ask about having his wife quit her job and moving the children out of the public school?

If the church really believes what it claims, would it be unreasonable to comp the family so they can attend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and help them develop a plan to be able to live off of one income? What about childcare and medical benefits for the family? Can we help the father develop his skills and get a better job to make all this achievable? Sadly none of these things has ever been discussed, let alone implemented.

Christian education—especially home schooling—is not just a preference of the denomination it is a “mandate”. How does Peter Pagan get from where he is to where the denomination says he should be? Sadly, he is left to his own devices.



Conclusion
Now I’ve shared my dilemma with you. Coming “just as I am” is just not good enough. I clearly can’t change the rules of the denomination or the culture of the congregation. But where else would I go? I agree that in theory a Christian Education—however that is defined—is better than the government option in many instances but…

To circle back to the beginning of my discussion, is my church a hospital for sinners or an exclusive club that only allows “the right kind of people” to join?

Meanwhile, if you have paid off your student loans, cars, mortgage, and credit cards; your wife can stay home all day to cook, clean, and teach the children; and you can throw ten percent of your income into the collection basket each month then look us up; we’ll be happy to have you. Oh, and don’t forget about the potluck after the service.

 

Posted by william on 11/18 at 03:35 PM
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stranger Danger or Opportunity

I often critique or admonish the behavior of other folks on this blog. Often it is because of something that I care about or view as a potential learning opportunity for readers. This blog post is about my church and a set of problems that I have been having with them. I can think of three things with which I have real disagreements with the leadership. Two of the three will be discussed publicly and the other will not. The present subject is the first upon which I wish to vent.

Strangers

The Bible has much to say on the subject of strangers. Some folks clearly do better than others in regard to how they treat new people. Here are some sample passages from the Bible:

• Rahab the harlot treated strangers well and became an ancestor of Jesus.
• The people of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to fornicate with the strangers (angels) visiting their cities on the final night of their existence.
• Joseph treated his brothers harshly and with many trials before revealing himself.
• The disciples were told that if they were treated badly to shake the dust off their feet when leaving an unwelcoming town.
• Hebrews tells us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
• Exodus reminds the Jews, “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
• Matthew quotes Jesus, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:...”
• Paul wrote the Ephesians, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
• John said, “Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;”

Given the weight of biblical evidence, it is clear that we are to treat strangers the same way as those we know. People that have one set of rules for themselves and another for the masses are violating Scripture.

Furthermore, those claiming any part in the theology of John Calvin bump into the doctrine of Predestination. One thing that Predestination means is that everything has been ordained by God for His purposes. Unfortunately for my church, that includes encounters with strangers.

My church is openly hostile of strangers. We meet in a rented public building next to a very large park. We place signs out on the street showing folks where we meet and then lock all the doors to the building. We used to have unlocked doors that were guarded. For some reason, allowing folks to enter the building that want to use the bathroom is equated with inviting bad guys into our place of worship.

Many men in my church carry firearms to the service and many of the young men carry as many as three knives. Young children are expected to be escorted to the bathroom and are never left unattended.

Are we hyper-Calvinists or what? Why can’t a stranger entering our door be viewed as a Providential appointment to share the Gospel? Why not expect that people will respond favorably to Christ and stop assuming that everyone that we don’t know wishes us ill or is at least an irritation that we don’t want to deal with? What happened to give a cup of water in the name of the Lord?

It is ironic that members lament that our numbers are not growing and wonder why? “Welcoming” is never a word used to describe our fellowship. It seems to me that we are way too busy hiding under our bushel basket instead of being a light. Yeah, lights may attract moths but it also can lead people to safety.

The final irony is that two members of the congregation are registered sex offenders and nobody is afraid of them. (This policy towards strangers predates the attendance of either man.)

Posted by william on 11/15 at 09:29 PM
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veteran’s Day 2017

I got back into the old uniform for the first time in 29 years and walked in the Veteran’s Day Parade in Elk Grove today. Its was moving to be thanked for my service.

I was also blessed to hear my wife sing three songs at the event. God Bless America, Star Spangled Banner, and Amazing Grace.


image


What a contrast from the time when I got out of the Navy back in 1988 and was looking for a job. I distinctly remember applying for work at a local Filco. I handed the guy my resume, he laughed at me, handed the resume back to me, and told me to get out of here. The thought of this treatment still stings.

Posted by william on 11/11 at 02:55 PM
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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Car Pool Troubles

A story in the news yesterday is gut-splittingly funny on several levels but before I get there, here’s my background on this issue.

During a lazy summer day a few months ago, I met with an occasional contributor to this very blog near the Toys R Us in Elk Grove. As I was minding my own business just walking through the parking lot, I beheld a sight that I shall never forget.

A small car passes me heading away from said toy retailer that is driven by a woman with a most unusual load on the roof of her vehicle. She has one hand on the steering wheel of her little Toyota and the other out her open window holding onto a plastic swimming pool about fourteen inches deep and six or seven feet around. No straps or other safety devices were holding the pool onto her car, just one hand out the window.

Needless to say, I was shocked that anyone would be so brazen (and stupid) to endanger others in her clearly selfish quest to get this pool back to her house. Clearly a gust of wind or a passing vehicle would easily be able to cause her to lose control of the pool and drop it into the middle of the road thus causing and accident and rendering the pool useless.

Clearly this woman was daring the laws of nature and physics to doom her cargo.

Apparently this was not an isolated incident.

A Wisconsin woman is facing charges after her 9-year-old son was tied to the roof of their minivan to help hold down a plastic pool.

Prosecutors allege 28-year-old Amber Schmunk had her son hold down the molded pool they’d just purchased because it wouldn’t fit inside the van.

Boy Tied To Minivan’s Roof To Hold Down Plastic Pool

Schmunk told cops she “had no way to strap it down so she had her [son] climb on the roof to hold it down while she drove,” and later said she did strap the boy down inside the pool, according to the complaint.

Perhaps a rope around his wee ankle to keep him connected to the pool like a surfer to his board?


image
Amber Schmuck: Car pool mom

Schmunk said she “believed it was OK as her father let her do things like that when she was that age”

Mom strapped son to the roof of minivan to hold down plastic pool

Once I saw her name, I thought, did you ever notice that in books like the Bible, that a person’s name often describes a characteristic of their personality? Her name looks a lot like a word you may know: Schmuck. Per the Internet, “the definition in American English is a pejorative term meaning one who is stupid or foolish”. In this case if the shoe fits…

Oh, no surprise that no Mr. Schuck is mentioned in any version of the story that I can find.

 

Posted by william on 11/02 at 01:01 PM
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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Trump, Russia and Other Nonsense

“As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
—Donald Rumsfeld

Candidate Donald Trump was not given a snowball’s chance in hell by the political class when he announced his run for office. The smart money was on people like Jeb Bush. With a full slate of House and Senate races already in the pipeline, Trump had few options available in terms of available personnel when his campaign started picking up traction with voters. The top tier political consultants and more experienced people were already committed to other campaigns. Trump was at a disadvantage in terms of traditional campaigning. Thankfully for him, he was willing to spend his own money to make-up the difference in media buys.

For a while, this served him well but he had huge holes in his organization as he entered the spring of 2016. In many cases, he was left with a combination of inexperienced or disreputable people to run his campaign. Roughly speaking, these folks could be called the “bottom feeders” of the political world.

Such was the case in California. Trump basically had a choice of two consultants to choose from when he began gearing up his California operation. If you recall, it was looking like Trump might need the delegates from the winner-take-all state of California to seal the nomination against Ted Cruz. Trump’s California choices were folks with availability to work for him because they had losing records in running statewide campaigns.

If you apply this personnel deficit on a national scale, you might start to understand why Trump kept changing personnel throughout the campaign and during his first few months in the White House. In fact, even as recently as last month he is still changing people faster than the Senate can confirm them.

The special prosecutor and indictments that were unsealed don’t lead to Trump as the author of any wrongdoing.  The wrongs alleged in the indictment dates back to 2014 and even before; long before Paul Manafort was on Trump’s payroll. The media is still stuck on their Russia narrative but the facts lead elsewhere. Assuming this prosecutor is an ethical guy—which I know is a charitable gesture, if your last name is Clinton or Podesta, you might want to “lawyer-up”.  Trump will survive this sideshow and Hillary will fade away if she knows what’s good for her. 

Addendum
I was contacted by the Sith Lord who shed some more light on the reason that Donald Trump hired Paul Manafort in the first place.

If you recall, as the Trump campaign was winning various state primaries, Ted Cruz supporters were systematically trying to highjack the delegate selection process to get Ted more delegates than he was winning at the ballot box. By doing this, Ted was boosting his delegates in many states with more relaxed systems of delegate selection. Their goal was to deny Trump an outright victory on the first convention ballot and force a brokered convention where Cruz hoped to pick up more supporters in subsequent ballots. Some Trump delegates were actually Cruz supporters that would then be free to vote for Ted after the first vote. Many Establishment types were also hoping for a brokered convention where they planned to dump both candidates and bring in someone like Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney.

It was because of this possibility that Manafort was hired. Per the Sith Lord, Manafort was instrumental in the last brokered convention where he flipped delegates from Reagan to Ford at the 1976 Republican National Committee Convention. Manafort was the “enforcer” for Gerald Ford making offers that delegates simply couldn’t refuse.

As the likelihood of a brokered convention fight between Cruz and Trump dissolved, so did Manafort’s influence in the Trump campaign. He lingered long enough to help with the transition into the White House and then Manafort and Trump parted ways.

Posted by william on 11/01 at 03:40 PM
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Reformation Day Plus 500 Years

Reformation or Revival, we need a little more Jesus in our lives today.

On Oct. 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted 95 debate questions on the door of Wittenberg Church, which began the movement known as “the Reformation.”
Link: 500 Years Ago Today: The Birth of Protestantism

Posted by william on 10/31 at 06:13 AM
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