Friday, February 27, 2015

Is President Obama A Christian? Yes, But . . .

Let me get this out of the way right now with the affirmation that the Dear Leader, President Obama, is a Christian as he has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; or if you prefer Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
The reason I come to this conclusion is simple.
Not just because he says that he is. There is knowledge that indeed, then Messiah Barack, was baptized at Trinity United Church of Christ. He has spoken of his faith. He does use his understanding of Christianity to be the King Social Justice Warrior.
The latest reason I have to write this piece is that two Washington Post "reporters", Dan Balz and Robert Costa asked the now GOP 2016 presidential front-runner, Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, if he believes that the Dear Leader, President Obama, is a Christian. Gov. Walker did the right thing and said that he does not know, nor does he care, if the Dear Leader, President Obama, is a Christian or not. In fact, Gov. Walker said that the question itself was not really all that worthy or important in terms of the political direction of the United States at this time.
But the Dear Leader's defenders thought that Gov. Walker's answer was weak because it was not a full-throated defense of his belief in Christianity.
Of course, they are wrong as those on the other side who have gone so far as to suggest that the Dear Leader, President Obama, is in fact an atheist.
It does not help the Dear Leader, President Obama, that his once trusted top political aide, David Axelrod, wrote in his recent book that the Dear Leader, President Obama, was really always for same-sex marriage and that, essentially, lied about it during the 2008 presidential campaign. Needless to say, there is this on the internets that show how far then Sen. Messiah Barack went to affirm traditional marriage. Of course those of us paying attention knew that it was kinda sorta, well a lie.
Running for the Illinois state senate in 1996, Messiah Barack was given a questionnaire by a left-wing newspaper, Outlines, that he was for same-sex marriage, "unequivocally". Follow this timeline here and one sees that he went all over the place on the subject. But it must be noted that he was for chipping away at government recognition of traditional marriage only. Had the Dear Leader, President Obama, not said on national and by extension international television, at Saddleback Church, to the face of Pastor Rick Warren that he was for traditional marriage, may these questions would not dog him and make many wonder is the Dear Leader, President Obama, a Christian.
Another area is the Dear Leader, President Obama, seemingly going out of his way to all but defend radical Islam. In these remarks before the National Prayer Breakfast, the Dear Leader, President Obama, seemed to try to draw an equivalence between the Crusades and the Islamic State. And his going out of his way to not make a reference to radical Islam or Islam as the leading force in international terrorism and indeed war.
Again, this does not mean the Dear Leader, President Obama, is not a Christian.
But I alluded to his brand of Christianity above.
It's Social Justice Warrior Christianity.
To me, it's no secret that the Dear Leader, President Obama, found his way to Trinity United Church of Christ and the "Rev." Jeremiah Wright. The "Rev." Wright was all about the social justice. Why he even believes and supports the concept of Black Liberation Theology. The "Rev." Wright is one of those that likes the Social Justice Warrior Jesus up against the deity of Christ. That Jesus Christ was sent to earth by God himself to bring all the world to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and thus with God and the Holy Ghost. What Trinity did was affirm what the Dear Leader, President Obama, was pursuing as a "community organizer" and that he could cite God himself as to why it was all good.
In fact, the United Church of Christ is the most liberal/modernist Mainline Protestant denomination around. Why the UCC makes The Episcopal Church look like a bunch of slow-moving right-wingers.
Social justice can be secular and religious. But the religious component is more of a earthly rather than a spiritual response as to what God supposedly wants in the world. And yes, some social justice is good and has already been done in history.
But understand that SJWC has a component of a more Unitarian approach to God. In fact, in The Episcopal Church, one of the "heroes" is an absolute heretic and, sadly, a former bishop by the name of John Shelby Spong. Why is Bishop Spong a heretic? Among some of what he believes is that there was no virgin birth of Jesus Christ. And no bodily resurrection. They are kinda some of the main beliefs of the Christian faith, no matter what denomination one belongs to. One can say that, essentially, Bishop Spong pretty much rejects the Nicene Creed, which is the statement of belief for most Christians. At best, Bishop Spong is a Unitarian. At worst, he reduces the Christian faith to being a glorified social service agency.
Again, when one understands the version of Christianity that the Dear Leader, President Obama, believes, it explains why he would go out of his way to defend Islam. To be for same-sex marriage. To see everything in terms of the haves and the have-nots. It is in some ways a celebration of victimology.
If one takes the time to understand SJWC, then one can understand where the Dear Leader, President Obama, is coming from. Why he commits self-flagellation that is so common among the SJWC. Why he easily takes up the side of the underdog.
Anyone who has read this blog knows that I consider myself a traditional, somewhat conservative Christian. Sure, I belong to The Episcopal Church, but there are many like myself that want to see the denomination move away from what I believe is destructive modernism.
I believe in the Nicene Creed as the simple statement of faith. Sure there were a lot of politics behind  a lot of the wording, but it has stood the test of time. I'm standard Protestant that there are two outward signs of being a Christian. Bapitsm and partaking of the Holy Communion. I believe that the Holy Bible (King James Version, of course) is the inspired word of God and necessary for all salvation.
That is the simple version of my faith in Christ.
Yet in my denomination, I might as well be a multi-horned fundamentalist.
Which is to show how far the Mainline Protestant denominations have strayed.
So yes, the Dear Leader, President Obama is a Christian. Just not a traditional Christian. Once people get that, one will understand his world view.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Prop. 14 Not Exactly Working Out Says . . .The Los Angeles Times?!

A few election cycles ago, the voters of California passed Proposition 14, which changed the primary elections statewide to a total open primary, regardless of party, and the top two go on the general election.
What Prop. 14 did was change how state and federal legislative districts were drawn and made a total open primary, regardless of party, in which the top two finishers go on to the general election. The first two also applies to federal senate elections It also includes elections for all the state constitutional offices starting with governor.
Add that to Proposition 11, passed by California voters in 2008, which took the redistricting of said lines from above and put it in the hands of an "independent" commission, and the so-called good government folks had their orgasm.
See, some folks are worried that people are just not voting in elections. Save for the presidential elections, voter turnout in California does not really break records. Except going the other way. So the same folks figured, lets see if taking redistricting out of the hands of the legislature. Get a group of non-partisan types and regular folks together and figure it out. And of course there is the terrible partisanship that goes on in Sacramento and Washington. Why let's get the parties out of the way and just have an open primary. Sure, we will put on the ballot what party each candidate belongs to. But it does not matter because it will be the top two. Period.
Without partisanship in the redrawing of lines and essentially the primaries, a slew of "moderates" would be nominated and win elections and harmony would reign in California.
I am now inserting the laugh track here.
According to this post over at, it appears that voters, those that even bother nowadays, are not all that happy with the current system we have in place.
But the biggest surprise is that in this past Sunday's Los Angeles Times, writer Mark Barabak wrote that Prop. 14 is not exactly working out as the proponents thought.
Shock of all shock!
Remember, all of this reform was to boost voter turnout because after all  there would be this wave of middle-of-the-roaders and all would be well once again.
Let's take a look at the last primary election last June. As I noted in this post shortly after the primary election, a grand total of 18%, yes you read that right, 18% of voters bothered to cast ballots. And it did not vastly improve in the November general election as 31% bothered to vote in that election.
Folks, that is not exactly a positive for a process that was supposed to improve everything in voting.
In the HotAir link, the "independent" reapportionment commission was essentially hijacked by, you guessed it, Democrat activists. The Democrats in California had been the primary drawers of all district lines for decades. They were not going to let a pesky little "independent" commission get in the way. Hell, they openly violated the rules and had people, including a Democrat hack from Idaho and lives in Sacramento to testify before the commission. As the saying goes, read the whole thing.
The reality is that the Democrats worked the new system like a Stradivarius while the Republicans, as usual, looked and acted DUH.
So, strong Democrat districts, a Democrat incumbent governor that built a huge war chest and enjoys, mystically, high approval/popularity ratings and a Republican party still trying just to pay off bills from the 2010 campaign and having no serious candidate for governor and you get . . .low turnout and an even more who cares type of electorate.
In regards to the open primary of Prop. 14, the reality is that there are really more partisan districts. There are more general election races that are between two Democrats or two Republicans. Many districts at all levels, state assembly, state senate, congress and the state constitutional offices have no primary or general election,opponent. The whole point, supposedly, was to get more moderate candidates eventually elected and that the two big parties would work together. The reality is that in heavy Democrat or Republican districts, the other side would not support a candidate in the top two not in their party.
Say, what about third parties?
Another reality that I think is the main thrust of Prop. 14 was it completely shuts out the minor parties recognized in California except in the Presidential election.
The American Independent, Greens, Libertarians, Natural Law, Peace and Freedom, will almost never ever finish in the top two. Thus eventually they will shrivel up and die and the voters will be stuck with twiddle dee and twiddle dum.
One thing that has not happened but very well might is in a high-profile race such as governor or senate, the two general election candidates could be from the same party. It could very well happen in 2016 in the race to replace Sen. Barbara Ma'am Boxer. Already the Democrat state attorney general, Kamala Harris, has announced her candidacy. It is expected that the former Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villar, aka Villaraigosa, will also run. Unless the Republicans can muster up a very, very credible candidate, that could be your two finalists for the general election.
Will more people really come out to vote for two candidates that are essentially the same but from different ethnic groups?
No, no and nope. Not. Gonna. Happen.
I had been against an open primary and am totally against this system. But I will concede that a semi-open primary would be a better alternative.
It was tried earlier and the Republicans did not open their primary to non-Republicans. It's time we did.
Let all political parties be represented and voters can go to the polls and vote in the party primary they choose. If Democrats want to vote in the GOP, fine. If Republicans want to vote in the Democrat primary, fine. If one wants to vote minor party, fine. And the winner in each primary goes to the general election. Thus minor parties are represented and the two big parties also will have more candidates and voter interest.
The "independent" commission in charge of drawing the lines must be willing to solicit information from all parties about the lines. They must be able to know what interest any person or group has regarding testifying before the commission. It must have multiples maps to vote on. It must weigh multiple factors including and especially legal factors. It must make the lines as least partisan as possible.
And one last thing.
All parties need to realize that if they want to have higher voter turnout, have compelling candidates. Candidates willing to go out of their comfort zones. Candidates willing to break free from the interests of their party. To say what they think and how they would govern.
I think that these are better ideas than the continuing reinventing the wheel.
When you lose the Los Angeles Times on election reform, you have to realize that so far, all reform has made it worse.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Can The Dear Leader Stop Lecturing Long Enough So We Can Fight The Radical Islamics?!

OK, I get the feeling that the Dear Leader, President Obama, does not really think we are in a long term struggle to defeat radical Islamics and or their allies.
The National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, pretty much said so this past Friday in a speech regarding long-term national security goals of the United States.
But it was the Dear Leader, President Obama, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this past Thursday that rankles me and many who disagree about the most pressing long-term national security struggles of the United States.
In the speech, as he is wont to do, the Dear Leader, President Obama, found the need to remind the Christians assembled that hey, we did some pretty gnarly things in the name of Christ many a moon ago. And even in that portion of his remarks, the Dear Leader, President Obama, conveniently left out some pertinent facts to make the case that really, Christians are no better than the radical Islamic conflagration gripping the Middle East especially, but many other nations as well.
Here is the exact part of the speech that has many of us scratching our collective heads:

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

Where, oh where to begin?!
Of course he started where all moral equivalency advocates start and that is The Crusades.
The Crusades as bandied about these days never, ever, tells the whole story and reasons of The Crusades in the first place.
One of the most suppressed, yet important, reasons of The Crusades was to restore safety for European Christian pilgrims making their way to the Holy Land. The reason that pilgrims' safety was at risk is because of the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land and Jerusalem. By 1076, when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, travel to and from was extremely dangerous.
Thus in 1096, Pope Urban ordered what is now referred to as the First Crusade. By 1100, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Crusaders.
But of course it did not occur without bloodshed.
As this link notes, the monk, Fulcher, is the one that chronicled the bloodshed that occurred. Basically the Christian Crusaders killed anyone and everything that they could. The fact is that the Muslims are the ones that claimed upwards of 70,000 people were killed. Those that survived got the pleasure of taking the dead, rotting bodies out of the walls and gates of Jerusalem. As far as the Jews were concerned, they through their lot with the Muslims and fought along side of them to defend Jerusalem. Needless to say, when the Crusaders went on their blood lust, there was no difference to them regarding Jews and Muslims and anyone else.
Yes, there was a conquest and irrational bloodshed. This was a time where might was right. And once the Crusaders defeated the Jews and Muslims, they made the most of their might.
Again, most observant Christians know about this history. And yes, we are talking about 800 years ago.
Another aspect was the Inquisition that the Dear Leader, President Obama, made a very similar passing reference to.
Since he said inquisition with a broad brush, most people, Protestant and Roman Catholic, knew the reference is to the Spanish Inquisition.
No question that the Spanish Inquisition is the one of the numerous inquisitions that the Roman Catholic church had over the years. Looking at this link, it is clear that there were many others. But it is the Spanish Inquisition that was the most brutal and longest lasting.
If you note the timeline, the Spanish Inquisition began under the reign of Kind Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. It was shortly after the Christian unification of the Spanish peninsula. Before that, Spain was an Islamic foothold in Western Europe. Not unlike the Crusades, this was a case of the might makes right gone off the rails. One difference between the Spanish and numerous other inquisitions of the day is that Spain and the monarchy totally controlled it. It was as much a political as well as spiritual set of actions.
One of the reasons for the eventual decline of the inquisitions is the rise of Protestant Christianity. Not to say that Prostestants did not have problems as well, but no where near the extent of the inquisitions.
So, in the short and very sorry attempt for the president to lecture us on the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllllsssss of historical Christianity but made it to Christianity in the United States.
Of course we were lectured as to the fact that many Christians supported and defended slavery and the Jim Crow laws.
Major face palm and headshaking.
What the Dear Leader, President Obama does not mention that in the two subjects he brought up, the church was at worst divided. What the president does not point out is those who would be referred to today as Evangelical Christians, were some of the most ardent abolitionists. The leader agaisnt the Jim Crow laws and the horrible indignities that black Americans suffered was a Christian minister by the name of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Christians have evolved from the Crusades. The Inquisitions. Slavery. Jim Crow. Really, we have. We are not perfect and can always do more.
So lets come to today, Monday, February 9, 2015.
The most brutal religious force in the world today is Radical Islam. It is the Wahhabi's of Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda. And the most awful of all, the Islamic State.
There nothing, not one thing in modern Christendom and or Judaism. In fact, one of the great debates in modern Christendom is the death penalty in general. Do we see that in any form of Islam?
What is happening in the Middle East especially has far reaching implications. No matter what our Lecturer In Chief says.
Say all of Iraq and Syria fall to the Islamic State. How long will Jordan last? Lebanon? The Arabian peninsula? And Northern Africa?
Even though we are told that the Islamic State and all Islamic terrorists are not all that worrisome, it is that attitude that led to 9/11. And yes, it was bipartisan inertia that pervaded.
Today there is not one bit of credible numbers as to the size of and the strength of the Islamic State. It is the most successful of all the groups because they have actual territory. They are setting up the paradisaical Islamic governance right before our eyes. They are scarring several generations of young people with it's meting out of "justice". And while they may be stalled in taking more territory now, they have no problem in throwing hundreds of thousands of fighters as little more than cannon fodder.
The game the Dear Leader, President Obama, is playing is that of moral equivalence.
In other words, look we Christians have not been all that great in our history. We have done some bad things. So now it's Islam's turn one supposes. But you know, the overwhelming number of Muslims just want to live in peace and be left alone. This is but a few at most. Maybe not even a percent of all the Muslims in the world. If we give them credibility, well we make them more than they are.
Actually, in poll after poll in the Muslim world, even among Muslims in the United States, the percentages of those that have at least sympathy with terror groups is much higher than a percent. Anywhere from 10 to 20%. Of course any poll can be skewed especially in the way questions are asked and in context. But it is almost constantly those numbers.
The reason the Dear Leader, President Obama's logic is flawed is because he has to go back really far in religious history to make the case that we should not get on our high horse about this radical Islam. Islamic radicals are running roughshod all over Northern Africa and especially Nigeria. It is so bad that the government recently announced that is has to postpone elections scheduled for this Saturday until next month. And yes, Christians in the Central African Republic have been committing atrocities. In reaction to Muslim atrocities. When there is a civil war and religion is one of the main reasons, there are going to be bad things that happen to the innocent people in the middle. The CAR violence is used by some modernist Christians as a moral equivalency. But there is not one here. It is simply a breakdown of law and order and religious groups have taken advantage of the situation.
What I would like to see our president, no my president, do is not lecture us about some events that happened eons ago. Most Americans know of the Christian atrocities. Most Christians today do not look to all Muslims as evil. We can really tell the difference between the radical extremists and the people just wanting to live in peace and practice their religion.
What I want to see the president have is  a basic blueprint as to how we are going to defeat the radical Islamics. And I want him to say the fateful words. Radical Islam. By not saying that and trying the lecture about historical Christian evils, it makes many Americans wonder more about whether or not all of Islam is some bad deal. And is that not what we want to avoid?
To be blunt Mr. President, you need to stop lecturing and start planning to defeat radical Islam. Period.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Unintended Consequences Of Minimum Wage Hikes In San Francisco

I saw this article from the local San Francisco ABC news and immediately chuckled for it proves a point that governmental hikes in the minimum wage has the consequence of driving small businesses out of business.
The result of a minimum wage hike, voted by the residents of San Francisco takes the current city minimum wage from $11.05c an hour to $15 an hour in 2018.
Of course when minimum wage proponents talk about the wonders of this, they often fail to point out that there will be some businesses that can not absorb such a hike, especially in a city such as San Francisco.
As I noted in a Facebook debate with my sister, who supports the wage hike, larger businesses will be able to, grudgingly, pay that minimum wage. And they will just simply pass the cost to the very people that are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the wage hike in the form of higher prices. One way or another, this proposal will hurt more people in the long run than help.
And here is where Borderlands bookstore comes in.
It is a small, independent bookstore. Again the kind of business that many of the minimum wage hikers claim to love. It has been essentially a money loser but did turn in a rip-roaring $3,000 profit for the whole of last year. According to store founder and owner Alan Beatts, that one-time profit will eventually turn into a $25,000 a year deficit. Something that is totally unsustainable for a one-man operation.
Of course it is not a one-man operation in total. Mr. Beatts has six employees. Who will be facing the unemployment line soon.
Some people, who do not believe that Mr. Beatts is being totally honest, think that it is more of a case of incompetency and or bad decisions on his part. That could be a possibility. But Mr. Beatts points out that even in the most difficult times, he and his workers were able to overcome almost everything by "working our asses off" as he said.
But he can't overcome, by force of law, even a gradual hike in the minimum wage. By May of this year, the city minimum wage will be $12.25c an hour.
Mr. Beatts explained that in his business, he can not raise the book prices because the prices of books are usually imprinted either on the inside of the book cover or on the book flap. It is possible to have a sale, but again Borderlands books is an independent bookstore and can't afford to have sale prices constantly. The overall change in the minimum wage would be a 39% hike in payroll. The total operating expenses would rise 18% according to Mr. Beatts. And to offset the two things, sales would have to increase 20%. Something that just is not going to happen.
Many cities, counties and states have hiked their minimum wages more than the federal mandate of $7.25c in recent years. Many very Democrat-dominated cities have rallied around the concept of the "living wage" and have done what San Francisco has done and deemed that $15 an hour is a "living wage".
Of course there is a problem with the idea of a "living wage".
It is by nature undefinable.
Let me give you an example where the market is actually dictating how pay works in a strong economy.
The state of North Dakota is in the middle of a huge economic boom due to oil and fracking. The many small towns that make up the state are growing very fast. There are not enough places like WalMart, McDonalds and many other retail establishments needed for the rise in population. Thus these very places are offering salaries starting at $17 or even higher. Thus even a worker in what is a minimum wage job someplace else is making a lot of money at such places throughout North Dakota. Of course there is the factor of whether or not people are going to want to move to a state in which winter is about nine months a year. Where temperatures often are -30 degrees below zero on a good day. There is also the fact that one needs a very reliable form of transportation for North Dakota is not exactly an urban landscape with strong, reliable mass transit. So of course the establishments I mention and others have to offer a high salary to get any kind of workers.
Urban areas are different and the thought is hey, jobs are much more plentiful and people can find more opportunity.
Another thought is what does the minimum wage mean? Is it something that most people are at? Or is it still traditionally young people, some retirees seeking extra income? Or is it an entry-level way to work one's way up a company? Or take the skill learned at such a job and go somewhere else for higher pay and or more opportunity?
Well, by and large it still is yes to all. But it is true that many of those who are still victims of the current economy find themselves having no choice but to take such jobs. Some are working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. There is no doubt that because of that, it is squeezing out many of those who would be perfect minimum wage candidates. and justifying the push for a "living wage". No doubt people are making very difficult job choices because of a variety of factors.
But one thing a hike of the minimum wage takes away is incentive. Incentive to move up the ladder in a company. Incentive to learn new responsibilities. Even the incentive to work hard. It is especially hard to give people who are either in high school and or starting college a high starting salary for what will their expectations be later in life?
Alan Beatts says that he is for the the concept of a "living wage" in principal, and it could even be good for San Francisco, for his particular business, it just won't work. And he has to close the doors.
How many other San Francisco businesses like Borderlands books will face the same fate? The unintended consequences of a "living wage".