Christmas in a Time of Apostasy

I was hoping just to post something light in honor of Christmas and then take a few days off but then I went to World Net Daily and saw an article that really got me upset.

‘Fairy tale’: Many pastors don’t believe Jesus born of virgin

More people might come to church if Christians would drop “fairy tale” tidbits like the Nativity story.

That’s the belief of a minister in Cairns Church in Milngavie, Scotland.

According to Scotland’s Herald, Rev. Andrew Frater wants Christians to “move on from the ‘fanciful, fairy tale’ Nativity story and ‘disentangle the truth from the tinsel.’”

The report said Frater believes telling the traditional story of the birth of Jesus “had the effect of keeping people with doubts about their faith away from the church, as the Nativity was too easily dismissed.”

Christian preacher nativity story just fairy tale

With the widespread rejection of a six-day creation in favor of evolution, it’s no wonder that the Virgin Birth of Christ should be so easily rejected. To reject one and hold to the other is a logical contradiction. What this also means is that once you reject Creation and the Virgin Birth, then you logically must also reject the Resurrection of Christ. Once you reject the Resurrection, then you are no longer a Christian.

Which brings us to the next part of the article.

According to a 1998 poll of 7,441 Protestant clergy in the U.S., the following ministers said they didn’t believe in the virgin birth:

• American Lutherans, 19 percent

• American Baptists, 34 percent

• Episcopalians, 44 percent

• Presbyterians, 49 percent

• Methodists, 60 percent

With so many clergy rejecting the authority of Scripture, is it any wonder that the Church is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the West? Wolves in sheep’s clothing are the norm in many denominations. If clergy are willing to publicly disclose their disbelief, it seems likely that others doubt but are afraid to say so. These statistics are gathered by religious Virgin Birth Surveys

I’m sure the heresy in these denominations has grown worst since 1998. Can you say “gay marriage”?

What is interesting on this website is that more regular people believe in the Virgin Birth than clergy by a wide margin.

Some ministers think they can deny the clear teaching on such core issues such as the Virgin Birth and Resurrection and be Christians but Scripture contradicts such nonsense.

The Virgin Birth is not optional; it is the core of the Incarnation. If God did not become man then there is no hope for us. Creation, the Virgin Birth and Resurrection are all core doctrines of the historic Christian Creeds.

The Biblical account is not ambiguous. The Virgin Birth is an historical fact. Here are some passages supporting this core doctrine:

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew

1:18-25 emphasis added

Luke, a physician by train, wrote not only the Gospel bearing his name but also the book of Acts, begins his narrative by stating that he interviewed eye witnesses and investigated the facts to write his account of the life of Christ.

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 1:1-4 emphasis added

Contrast this with Rev Frater, “For me, it’s time to travel beyond the literalists’ landscape; time to acknowledge that Luke and Matthew were not newspaper reporters. Although facts were for them significant, they were also secondary.”

So we have a choice, believe the written account of eyewitnesses or the rambling of a Scottish hypocrite who swore an oath of fidelity to a God he doesn’t believe in.
Like Matthew, Luke is not ambiguous.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God.”  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 2:34-38 emphasis added

There are other mentions of the Virgin Birth in the Gospels that are beyond the scope of this article that create even more problems for Frater and other doubters.

Likewise the Resurrection is not an optional doctrine for Christians.

But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Acts 13:37

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 1 Corinthians 15:14

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 1 Corinthians 15:17

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— Galatians 1:1

I would like to close this blog with some portions of the Athanasian Creed that are relevant to this topic. There are 44 lines to the complete Creed.

1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.

36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;

38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;

39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;

44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

emphasis added

CRI’s Legacy of Failure Continues

According to the Los Angeles Times, Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) has concluded its 2015 fund raising campaign. The organization has used several failed attempts to overturn the “bathroom bill” via the initiative process as their latest source of fundraising and mail list building.

From the LA Times., “Karen England of the Privacy for All campaign said in a statement that the volunteer-led effort fell short of the 365,880 signatures needed to get the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.”

This is the least amount of signatures required to qualify a ballot measure in the modern era and CRI doesn’t even have enough signatures to submit them to be counted!

CRI has never qualified any ballot initiative they have attempted. This has been their pattern for about fifteen years now. They either find an issue or try to highjack someone else’s and use it to fund their operations. Furthermore, they never seem to raise enough money on their efforts to file any reports with the Secretary of State’s Office. I have been told by those that have investigated CRI ventures in the past that SOS doesn’t really care about failed attempts because statewide there are too many to follow up on. This has been fortunate for CRI because they have skirted the campaign finance rules and possibly some provisions of the tax code for non-profits.

CRI does not act ethically and follow the law—which most people would assume a Christian family values lobbying group would naturally do.

However, I have criticism that needs to be leveled at CRI different than those mentioned above; this is related to the fact that CRI is acting in the name of Jesus Christ.

First, Jesus told us to “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Luke 14:28-30

CRI knows how much a ballot initiative costs to run in California and they never have the money to complete what they set out to accomplish. To qualify a ballot initiative usually costs about three million dollars. As mentioned earlier, they never even get to the threshold of having to file electronically with the Secretary of State—$50,000. Once something is qualified for the ballot, you need additional funds to run the campaign. Depending on the issue and degree of opposition—which in CRI’s case would be significant—a campaign will cost on average 20 to 30 million dollars.

CRI not only looks foolish and makes themselves an object of ridicule but they do something even worse; they embolden the other side to become even more radical. The mockers of biblical authority and of Christ wrongly think that God is impotent because of the bad witness these folks are giving to our Lord.

In short, CRI has found a way of taking the Lord’s name in vain.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. “ Exodus 20:7

The people involved with CRI have a proven record of failure. As much as it pains me to say it, I think we would be better off without CRI. A bad witness is worse than none at all.

California Agency Struggles to Comfort Employees

De Nile is not just a river in Egypt; it’s a way of life when liberals run the government.

Yesterday, another missive was circulated entitled “Emergency Situation Preparedness.” Citing the San Bernardino shooting and closure of Los Angeles schools (based on a hoax), this state agency sent out the “…following information copied from a large university’s safety update includes valuable information from their Campus Security on preparedness and what to do if you are involved in an active shooter situation.”

The email goes on to try to describe the difference between an active shoot and a hostage situation. “Hostage or barricaded subject situations often take place over a longer period of time, and usually there is no ongoing injury or loss of life. “

Somehow the Beslan terror attack is omitted from these discussions. (see Wikipedia article on Beslan school siege) The Beslan terror attack involved 1,100 hostages taken at an elementary school. Over the three day siege, 385 were killed. Most Americans have never heard of this event. A documentary on this event—narrated by actress Julia Roberts—is well worth viewing.

The memo then goes on to describe how to respond when a shooter is in your area. The reader is offered three options after they dial 911:
1. Run
2. Hide
3. Fight

Option 3, Fight is the most entertaining section to read. Remember government buildings including schools and offices are “gun free zones”. This means only bad guys can be armed in these areas. They are the aggressors and we are the targets (victims).

3. Fight.
Take action against the active shooter as a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

• Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her.
• Throwing items and improvising weapons.
• Yelling.
• Committing to your actions.

Todd Beamer comes to mind when I read this section but then I remember it is addressed to government workers and my heart sinks. Just for fun, let’s go thru these.

Acting aggressively—OK that guy has a gun, he has just shot up your office and now you walk up to him and do what, growl? Oh, sorry be aggressive and yell. When you yell what do you say, “Get off my lawn”? “Bullying is wrong and you should stop it?”

Throw items—perhaps staplers and tape dispensers. Yeah, tape dispensers, they are heavier and more aerodynamic than coffee cups and flat screen monitors. Like zombie movies, aim for the head.

Committing to your actions—means what exactly? Contrary to popular culture, John Wayne never took unnecessary risks in his movies; he just did what needed to be done. I guess if you plan to fight, be willing to “take one for the team”.

Apparently this is why the last memo we got said keep your ID card with you at all times, so they can identify your body after you miss with the stapler.

Review: Childhood’s End

This week I watched the three part presentation of Childhood’s End on the SyFy channel. The program looked interesting. It was a modern take on the 1953 story by Arthur C Clarke. I have not read the book by Clarke but I did read the summary on just to get a feel for what the story was about.

During the six hour program, there were some iconic scenes in this drama that I have seen in other movies. It appears that Clarke was influential on others. The spaceships arriving over the large cities of the world seemed like a redo of Independence Day or the TV show V. Part 3 had some portions that reminded me of the last part of 2001—a much later novel by Clarke. Some parts were like the movie portrayal of Carl Sagan’s Contact. Some of the Midwestern farm scenes were similar to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. One scene with the farm house was reminiscent of Poltergeist.  I also thought of Hellboy and the video game series Diablo for a couple of reasons.

These other movies all came between the novel publication and the miniseries of Childhood’s End. Who properly deserves credit for copying whom is probably debatable. The photography and visual effects were really good for something produced by this NBC owned cable network.

The story was tweaked to fit a 21st century setting as opposed to one at the height of the Cold War and prior to the “Space Race”. The story was about aliens coming to our world to end, war, poverty, and disease. They established a utopia for man’s existence. Had the story gone a different direction at this point, it could have become the famous Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man.

The story goes that the utopia or “golden age of man” not only ended war, poverty, and disease but all organized religion as well. In fact, part 2 of the miniseries opens to a cover of John Lenin’s song Imagine. The world created by the alien race was a verbatim fulfillment of the song.

So who were the aliens that brought all this about? I was expecting E.T. , or some guy in green make-up, but no; in the last five seconds of part 1, we get to see the Overlord, Karellen. Karellen is an alien that is a dead-ringer for ol’ scratch himself. I’ll let Steve Taylor describe him:

When the wind came hissing through the vents,
And I felt my sneakers growing tense
My forehead broke in a cold, cold sweat
In the rearview was a silhouette
Then I heard the doorlocks take a dive
And a whisper screamed “Don’t turn around, just drive”

Scratch! Dressed in red—pointy tail and horn-rimmed head
And a widow’s peak like Eddie Munster

From Drive, He Said 1985

Yeah, the aliens looked like Diablo or Hellboy without big muscles.

Clarke did this on purpose. Not only did he have to do away with organized religion but he had to do it in a way that directly tries to confront Christianity. Here are some things that came to my mind as I think about the program.

Satan and those that look like him are the good guys.
“Five decades after their arrival the Overlords reveal their appearance, resembling the traditional Christian folk images of demons: large bipeds with cloven hooves, leathery wings, horns, and tails.” –Wikipedia
Satan doesn’t look like Scratch but appears as an angel of light. The time frame in the TV show was less than the fifty years in the novel.

What we know as manifestations of demon possession are really demonstrations of psychic power
The Bible teaches that demon possession happens, whether it is common or exceptional is a matter of some debate amongst Christians. Scripture has no warrant for telekinesis or psychic powers.

Ouija boards are good
People with psychic powers use Ouiji board to find the homeworld of the Overlords.
In the Bible, seeking knowledge from the spirit world is forbidden. We are to rely solely on God.

All humans are rendered incapable of having children
Children are a gift from God and part of the mandate to take dominion over the Earth. Infertility is not normal. A closed womb can be a sign of divine judgement.

Children are mutated (or evolved) into higher beings
Man will never change or evolve; our technology may change but only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can transform mankind.

God is the creation or a least the consciousness of it
“Karellen reveals the Overlords’ purpose; they serve the Overmind, a vast cosmic intelligence, born of amalgamated ancient civilizations, and freed from the limitations of material existence.” –Wikipedia
This contrasts with the Biblical teaching that God is separate from the creation but interacts and sustains it.

The portrayal of Christians on the show is of deluded souls who deny reality.
The false dilemma of faith being not only at odds with science but in direct opposition to it is perpetrated. Christians believe that God made the material world and that because God is a God of order and perfection that the creation is in fact knowable. Christianity is the basis of science not its adversary. The universe is not random chance, probability, and time. Such a world would be unfathomable.

Clarke’s metaphysics are nonsense and not internally consistent.
Since Childhood’s End is an earlier work than 2001, the portion of the miniseries dealing with the death of a main character is less of an LSD trip than the Star Child junk at the end of 2001. In Childhood’s End, it’s a cross between that scene and John de Lancie’s Q running amok on the holodeck in TNG.

Clarke wants an afterlife but without God. It’s appointed for man to die and after death to face judgement, but it’s a prospect that Clarke tried to avoid.

Childhood’s End is more like Clarke’s childhood tantrum.

We believe that the world was created, has a purpose, and will end someday. Some Christians believe we are living near the end times while others say we are still in the age of the early church. I know some that say we will go to the stars and populate other worlds. They see no contradiction with such an idea. My friend David Chilton was one who held this position.

Science fiction does not have to be hostile to organized religion. Babylon Five is a great example of such a futuristic place. Clarke, Sagan and others want to abolish it. Gene Roddenberry was another. He got very upset when he learned Christians embraced much of his vision of the future. In fact, one episode of the original Star Trek was devoted to Christianity but it has rarely ever aired in syndication. The episode is of a parallel Earth where it took two thousand years for Christianity to finally overcome the Roman Empire.

Childhood’s End starts with much promise but implodes completely before the end of the second part. The final installment becomes laborious to watch. The most interesting part was the man that travels to the Overlord’s homeworld. Their home looks suspiciously like Hell, complete with fire and brimstone. Unfortunately, all we get is a brief glance of the planet followed by some more metaphysical nonsense and the poor guy is whisked off to a dead Earth.

Islam or Christ

I saw this headline today, “Evangelical preacher on trial after branding Islam ‘satanic’”

LONDON (AP)—An evangelical preacher from Northern Ireland who branded Islam satanic has been charged with spreading a “grossly offensive” message.

In a May 2014 sermon, James McConnell told worshippers at the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast: “Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic.”

Let’s look at the facts, Islam denies the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Here is a sample of Biblical quotes:

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 1:7

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

OK so should I believe the testimony of 1,600 years of prophecy and its fulfillment with a promise of life or a cult of death stuck in the seventh century?

If the Bible is from God then Islam is from something not God and therefore has its origin in Satan. The followers of Islam are deceived and without intervention will end-up in hell. Sounds like the preacher is preaching the Gospel to me.

Catholic Church Reaffirms Repudiation of Gospel

On the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church has affirmed its agreement of a basic tenant of dispensational theology. Namely, the Catholic Church should not actively work to convert Jews.

The document also states “…God never annulled his covenant with the Jewish people…”

“Dr. David Kessler…said it was the first time a repudiation of active conversion of Jews had been so clearly stated in a Vatican document.”

Contrast this with Jesus’ own words to a Jewish audience, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Romans 5:9–10

The New Testament affirms that salvation is only through Jesus. This is true for both Jew and Gentile. Salvation is not different for different folks.

The apostle Paul, a Jew by birth and Pharisee by training wrote, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” Romans 10:1

All have sinned (both Jew and Gentile) and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Contrast this with another quote from The Guardian article, “The report also said that while it is only thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection that all people have the chance of salvation, Jews can benefit from this without believing in him.”

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

Paul the Jew wrote, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Romans 10:14

Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia, “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” Galatians 3:22

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” I John 5:12–13

Clearly this teaching of Roman is heresy and stands at odds to the core message of the Christian Gospel. Somehow Rome has been confused.

The article also mentions, “The council, widely known as Vatican II, disowned the concept of collective Jewish responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ, decried antisemitism, emphasised the shared heritage of the two faiths, and launched a theological dialogue that traditionalists have rejected.”

Yeah, you knew the Holocaust was in here somewhere. Somehow, certain folks have twisted the Scriptures related to the crucifixion of Jesus where the Jews says, “All the people answered, ‘Let his blood be on us and on our children!’” Matthew 27:25

Secular historians have concocted this idea that people like Martin Luther—citing this verse—evolved into a justification for the Holocaust under Hitler. This is a perversion of the Scripture and history. Hitler was not a Christian. His Eugenics, National Socialism, and other ideas have roots in Darwin not Scripture. Some of these ideas might have been wrapped in the language of patriotism and faith but they are neither.

“Let his blood be upon us…” was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Both the prophecy of Matthew 24 and most of the book of Revelation describe the fulfillment of the Jews being punished for their disbelief.

Look at the chronology of Matthew. In chapter 24, the judgement of Israel is foretold, the reason why occurs three chapters later. Its fulfillment was within the generation that heard Jesus speak the words just as he foretold. “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Matthew 24:34

To perpetually blame the Jews as the reason Jesus died is just wrong. It was part of God’s Plan. The Bible is clear that the Jews may have wanted Jesus to be crucified but only the Romans had the power to make it happen. Furthermore, the Gospel is that we deserve to be on the cross because of our sin but Jesus—who was innocent—died in our place; a sacrifice that was pleasing and acceptable to God. The Gospel is that we died with Christ and are raised into his Life.

California Agency’s Lame Response to San Bernardino Shooting

Yesterday the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) sent employees a memo concerning security. This comes on the heels of the shooting at a county facility in San Bernardino.

Before I present the memo, please keep the following facts in mind:
• The San Bernardino shooter was employed at the location where the shooting occurred for five years.
• He knew the people he was shooting.
• His act was premeditated.
• He had access to the building where the shooting occurred.
• He knew that his building was a “gun free zone”.
• He brought friends to help him commit his murderous rampage.

It has come to our attention that many staff are lax in complying with the requirement to carry their identification card on their person while on work premises as instructed in Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations. (see inserted language below)

For safety considerations, we ask that you make a habit of carrying your ID and key card/fob while at work. The reception desk will be tightening access into suite C1.
In light of recent events and the fact that our building lacks an onsite security detail, the Administrative Unit wants to be as vigilant as possible to maintain a safe work environment.

State of California
California Code of Regulations
Title 15. Crime Prevention and Corrections

Section 3414. Identification Card.
Every employee will be issued a departmental identification card. Employees must, while on duty, carry such card upon their person and produce the card upon request. An employee must promptly report the loss of his or her identification card.

Emphasis in original memo

There you have it, carry your state issued ID card and don’t lose your card key. The remainder of the memo was concerning the policy of issuing a temporary card key if you left yours at home or it was stolen.

My immediate thoughts on the memo were these:
• I guess the ID card requirement is to make identifying our bodies swifter in the event of a similar tragedy.
• I actually forgot my key card on Tuesday and never had to wait more than two minutes to get into any door in the building.

Again, the San Bernardino shooter had a county issued ID card and a key card to get into his building and how many people did he kill?

In contrast, two buildings further down the street from CDCR is the state headquarters of the National Guard. There they have two Humvees and three guys with M-16s controlling access to their parking lot; plus several concrete barriers erected around their building. In my experience, such security is traditionally conducted with unloaded weapons but if you were a bad guy which would you choose as a target. A state building that has a bunch of paper pushers in it or one where guys are brandishing weapons and most people in the building have some training on how to kill?

Given those choices and a hearty amount of criminal intent, I’d pick the known soft target.

Criminalizing the Otherwise Lawful

Last Saturday, I was hunting for parts for the Facebook car that my wife purchased for my daughter. It took multiple stops to track down a replacement seat for this vehicle. In the course of my journeys, I encountered something that would make my friends at the Board of Equalization tremble. I wasn’t that surprised but still it seemed worth a mention on my blog.

While I was waiting to get my item pulled from inventory, some Hispanic fellows came into the store to get some parts for their week-end project. The sales guy asked what parts that they needed. The salesman then quoted them some prices. They seemed reluctant to pay that much and then the sales guy said, “No sales tax for cash purchases.”

I know I was told my part would be one hundred dollars plus tax. Then these other guys come into the store and are offered a different deal. I began to ponder this. It seems that this moral dilemma has many aspects to it. Oh, I’m not jealous that they got a different deal than me but it does make you wonder.

Let’s look at this situation:

• First, the State of California already got their pound of flesh from these used cars back when they were new. In effect, to tax these very used parts again is double taxation.  On the face of it, this seems wrong.

• Second, if some guy like me buys these parts, aren’t we keeping them out of the landfill just a little longer? I thought recycling was supposed to be good public policy so why should I be punished with taxing these parts again? To most folks these items are just junk. The axiom, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” comes to mind.

• Third, aren’t we expected to give breaks to folks that might be of dubious citizenship? President Obama and Governor Brown sure think so. Their stated policy is don’t ask, don’t check.

• But fourth, shouldn’t we follow the law however unreasonable as long as it doesn’t violate God’s law? Romans 12 anyone?

• Fifth, tyranny is wrong so must we obey stupid laws that turn otherwise law abiding folks into criminals?

To summarize; is the simple statement about cash purchases not paying sales tax really that simple? It seems to be a microcosm of modern life.

As for me, I was just glad that I didn’t need to pay freight on my parts.

GOP Throws Scott Jones Under the Bus

Often a political candidate makes exactly two decisions for his entire campaign; the first is to run for an office and the second is hiring his political consultant.

In the case of Sheriff Scott Jones, after much arm twisting and pleading, Jones agreed to run against Ami Bera in the 7th Congressional District.

The second decision—that of choosing a political consultant—is often a function of the decision making process.

Often candidates recruited by the Party are handed off to one of their loyal consultants. Republican consultants have proven track records of consistently loosing every two years but somehow it is never their fault.

The first thing to know about consultants is that once hired, they treat candidates as their employees. They tell candidates what to say or more importantly not say, where to go, how to dress, etc. Typically, from the date they are hired until after the election, consultants functionally lobotomize their candidates. Candidates fail to realize that the consulting firm is supposed to work for them. Consultants do what makes money for them, not what helps candidates to win.

The other thing consultants do is load balance their schedules. They calculate that half their candidates will not make it past the June election so they plan on loosing half their races. They then go to November hoping to win half that number. So a successful consultant has a seventy-five percent loss record with twenty-five percent victories. The loosing employees in June are the ones assigned to Jones’ campaign in November. Try that level of success in the private sector and see how long you would remain in business.

Since Jones will likely have no credible Republican opponent in June, his consultants have already decided not to do any campaigning until after the summer. It has been a month since he announced his candidacy and there is no one at his consulting firm assigned to his campaign. Posts to his campaign Facebook account and calls to the consultant’s office are all but ignored. As they are able, the consulting firm will respond—typically weeks later. The Jones campaign currently has zero people on the campaign staff. In addition, there are no plans of opening any campaign headquarters in the district. Clearly Jones’ campaign is on the back burner.

But never fear, things are even worse than I just described. Jones’ consulting firm has no clue about him. Jones won every precinct in Elk Grove when he ran against Jim Cooper for County Sheriff but his consultants didn’t know that. Like the Ose campaign before them, the consultants were planning to write-off Elk Grove and cede it to Bera.

Furthermore, the consultants have no clue who the influence makers are in the district. It’s just another job to them. How Jones got to be Sheriff or what base of support he may have from previous campaigns is beyond their ability to even investigate. They have their campaign in a box already figured out.

A friend described this to me as a “Groundhog Day” campaign. Repeat the same mistakes and expect a different outcome…sounds like insanity to me. Actually, both are true.

Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Lastly, there is no way that the RNC, RCC, or CRP will give Jones any meaningful financial support in the race. The national Party gets more bang for their buck in other states and has too many seats to defend in this cycle. Taking out an incumbent like Bera in a state like California is too costly to be achieved. The best they can hope for is pinning down some money that Bera would otherwise spend in other districts.

Thus Jones is being thrown under the bus; just more grist for the consulting class to chew-up in 2016 so they will be there in 2018 to do likewise to some other schmuck.

Scott Jones is a good man and deserves better.