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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

From the Mouth of Babes: Woman President

This morning I got the following text from my 11 year old son.

“Dad, I know why in the constitution there is nothing about having a woman president. I think it is because the people who wrote it had wives.”

wink

Posted by william on 07/27 at 06:53 AM
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Democrats and Revolution

Modern Liberals have a fraudulent and counterfeit alternative for just about everything. Take the American Revolution for instance. They love to claim that our revolt against the British was the template for the French Revolution. They love the French Revolution.

Yeah, there was a war and a king, that’s about the extent of the comparison; after that the whole idea crumbles rapidly. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?

The French Revolution was great in the eyes of Liberals because first and foremost, they ran those evil Christians out of the country or executed them on the spot. The French also killed off their version of the one percenters and pretty much everyone else that owned a business. Just like their new friends at ISIS, the French cut-off people’s heads and the Liberals admire that. They had peasants with pitchforks; Liberals have Occupy and Bernie Sander supporters to fill the same role. Everywhere the Liberals gather, filth, crime, censorship, and suppression of opposing ideas can be found. This too is modeled on the idyllic French.

The French had Napoleon; Liberals have Presidential Executive Orders, a living Constitution, and judicial legislation.

To lift a phrase from Rod Serling, their boundaries are that of imagination. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” The Liberals do; and they flaunt it in your face and your living room every chance they can.

All this makes watching the Democrat Convention this just a bit more entertaining.

• Trump can’t have a wall but the Democrats have one four miles long around their convention (and most of their multimillion dollar mansions).

• Sanders supporters are trying to storm the convention even after their beloved leader sold them out.

• Sanders signs are confiscated from delegates but somehow that’s not censorship.

• Democrat leaders are apologizing that 21,000 emails were leaked that prove the fix was in on Bernie and they hate Jews and homosexuals. They aren’t apologizing for the contents of the mails just that they were leaked.

• No America flags are proudly displayed only those of Palestine and the former Soviet Union.

• The Convention is characterized by filth, traffic jams, a horde of protestors, and other nonsense.

• 61 speeches into the event and still no mention of the threat of ISIS.

• Featured speakers at the Convention advocate the indiscriminate killing of policemen, yeah, those same guys keeping the riffraff out of their convention.


Like the French that started the Revolution, the conflagration that has been fed by Obama, Clinton, and Sanders may very well get away from them. Instead of a path for victory in November, it could very well be their undoing.

Posted by william on 07/26 at 12:15 PM
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Bye Republicans

A week ago, I finally threw in the towel and changed my voter registration from Republican to No Party Preference. This was hard for me to do but I feel that it was time.

Several factors contributed to this decision. First, the Republican Party is dead in California. Second, it’s dead in the area where I live. Third, I’m tired of the personalities left as leaders.

Before I begin, let me preface by saying that I’m not a Ted Cruz supporter that is having a tantrum. I am a proud supporter of Donald Trump because he seems to have a spine. I’m tired of Republicans that retreat at the first sign of opposition. Their first impulse seems to be unilateral surrender. As a group, they have no core.

Rush Limbaugh always castigates the Democrats for using the same old playbook; unfortunately, Republicans are guilty of the same thing. How many times have you heard one claim the mantel of Ronald Reagan because he is for less government, lower taxes, more freedom, and favors small businesses…at least until they get in office? Unfortunately, that is all the depth that most have. They have no vision, no real answers, and no clue how to positively counter the Democrats. All Republicans end up being is the Party of “NO”.

Republicans have no vision for what the world would or should be like if they ran things. Look at Congress. John Boehner was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives when the Republicans became the majority. Instead of passing legislation that they thought the President would veto and directly challenging President Obama—and thus setting-up a difference between what the two parties wanted for the country—Boehner did nothing. He famously said that we are one half of one third of the government; thus excusing his legislative ineffectiveness. Silly us, we believed Boehner and elected a Republican majority in the Senate too. Guess what? Legislatively, nothing changed. If anything, Congress became more feckless and ineffective. Boehner proved that Republicans were part of the problem. Paul Ryan has continued to be ever more incompetent.

The Republican Party is dead in California. Demographically, this fate was assured when George Bush (the first one) agreed to closing the military bases in California after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Tens of thousands of conservative voters were no longer living in the state any more. Lockheed, Boeing, and other defense contractors left the Golden State as a result of the base closings. This demographic shift created a political shift as well that tilted the scales much more towards the Democrats.

At the same time, the Machiavelli tactics employed by Barbara Alby and her hostile takeover of the California GOP also contributed to its decline. Participation of volunteers, activists, and donors steadily declined. Barbara and her fellow travelers gutted the GOP and ran roughshod over those in her way. Ironically, this was done in the name of Jesus Christ. Somehow, the question of “What would Jesus do?” never occurred to her or those in her camp.

Barbara characterized her takeover of the California Republican Assembly and later the State Party as taking the Party away from the enemy and casting out those who were not with us. She did this with the sword and not the love of Christ. She wanted political power and used the evangelical churches as her base of operations to launch a guerrilla action to capture the CRA. In retrospect, it would have been better for her to either takeover the CRA in a straight-up way or start her own GOP group.

For example, when Barbara captured the Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly, she showed-up at the last minute with seven hundred paid memberships—almost all from folks that had never been to a CRA meeting—and she then elected her slate of officers. The existing members were forced out of the group; none were allowed even minority representation on her board. At the time, there were five CRA chapters in Sacramento County. The other four folded. Barbara took over their charters so she had even more delegates for the statewide convention. Members of these four smaller groups were from the local Operation Rescue organization. Once she had control of the state CRA Board, the other four chapters were collapsed into her unit.

The situation in Sacramento County’s Republican Central Committee is just as bad. Conservatives took over the group in the Alby era and then gave-up control. In 2006, a new conservative movement was begun with the Support the Platform PAC. This group was involved in trying to elect people to the Placer and Sacramento County Republican Central Committees.  The efforts in Sacramento County resulted in the election of Sue Blake as the Central Committee chair.

Electing Blake as chair was an unmitigated disaster.  I encouraged Blake to do something that would have been revolutionary; have the Central Committee create a county platform. The GOP brand was damaged nationally and also as a result of failures at the statewide level (Arnold Schwarzenegger.) I hoped that having a separate identity would inoculate the county party from being defined by the actions of others. My proposal was simple: “What would Sacramento County be like if Republicans ran it?” I wanted to give us a vision to work towards as well as a positive reason for voters to pick Republicans. This idea was greeted with laughter and dismissed out of hand. Blake’s advisor, political consultant Duane Dichiara told me that it was their job to elect Republicans, what candidates believe is up to them.

As the GOP faded in the county, Blake chose to erect barriers to participation in the Central Committee and adopted Dichiara’s advice to model the new bylaws after the San Diego bylaws. As a result, the Central Committee viewed itself as a private club with a pay-to-play membership fee of $100 annually. (Remember that most Central Committee elections were on the ballot every two years and even those that won by a vote of the people in their district were denied the right to vote unless they paid this $100 fee.)

In addition, no new business could be brought up during a meeting. Everything must be prescreened by the Executive Committee. The County Party became insular and unresponsive to voters. Meetings were no longer public. They claimed the right to eject anyone. When California voters adopted the top two primary system; this benefitted Blake’s regime by abolishing elections every two years. 

The Central Committee cratered under Blake’s leadership. Last I heard, she finally threw in the towel on being the Chair.

Oh, during her leadership in Sacramento County, all Republican office holders in the Assembly, Senate, and Congress were defeated and replaced by Democrats . Republican registration in the county declined and the county is lost to the GOP for at least a generation if not forever.

Locally, the GOP club that I used to belong too—until I changed my registration—has decided to stop working to elect Republicans due to the 14 percent registration deficit and opted to work on local races. Unfortunately, the President has decided to spend his time backing a school board candidate that is wholly unqualified. The candidate is 21, and has yet to attend a single school board meeting. Yes, he took out papers to run but doesn’t even know what the job is.

If this is the future of the GOP, then I need to spend my time doing other things. When I was 18, I voted for Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton on the same ballot. Both men have left their mark on the political scene. I think I’ve done my penance for voting for Clinton—he lost in 1980 by the way.

Posted by william on 07/25 at 10:11 AM
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: AMD RX480

I went toCho- Choo” Fry’s in Roseville last week-end and bought their last AMD 480 video card. It was made by Diamond.
Link Fry’s: Diamond AMD RX 480 8GB PCIE GDDR5 Graphics Video Card
(For those that don’t know, AMD and NVidia make video chipsets and sell them to various manufactures that customize them and sell them under various brands.)

This is the super-duper video card that has very high specs even when compared to cards costing more than twice as much. (NVidia’s comparable version is GTX 1060.) The card has 8 GB of video memory and this particular model has three Display Ports and one HDMI connection.

I bought a two pack of Display Port to DVI cables for $21.99 since the old monitors have DVI connectors.
Link: Amazon Display Port to DVI Two Pack

image


Like most video cards, this one takes up two expansion slots on the motherboard and it is long, almost ten inches.
Diamond Spec Sheet
Diamond Video Card

When the Display Port to DVI cables arrived, I installed them to the computer and nothing happened. The cables did not seat properly on the video card. After a visual investigation, I determined that the video ports on the back of the computer were too close to the metal support between the slot openings on the back of the computer case. (If you recall, the video card is two expansion slots wide.) I had two choices, either cut the metal support on the case or try a different set of video cables. I opted for different video cables. I swapped the cables that I bought on Amazon with some older ones at work. My work computer is happy with the new cables and the computer at home is happy too.

The other challenge was getting the video driver to install. Simply downloading the driver from AMD and clicking “RUN” was a miserable failure. To make it work, download the driver. Uninstall your existing video driver. Then in your Download folder, right click on the driver file and select “Run as Administrator” or the equivalent.

Now I just need my son to put it to the test when he gets back with from his summer trip with Grandma and Grandpa.

Posted by william on 07/14 at 02:08 PM
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Monday, July 04, 2016

Jerry Brown and Homelessness

A few days ago, I saw that Governor Jerry Brown had signed a bill granting 2 billion dollars to building housing for homeless folks.

I have two concerns with this legislation. First is the optics. The Governor’s approval of this bill says that “fleece the rich and give to the poor” is a moral action of the government. He is using class envy and homelessness for his political advantage. Second, the numbers used in the discussion of mentally ill homeless folks are seldom analyzed in a critical manner.

Here is the first paragraph of the story that I wish to discuss.

The measure allows the state to sell bonds for homeless shelters and repay the debt with money from a 2004 voter-approved tax on millionaires.

Link: Brown approves 2 billion to house mentally ill homeless

image
Photo from Bing

For those of you that are low information voters, the 2004 voter approved tax on millionaires (Prop 63) is about to expire. It is up for renewal on the November 2016 ballot. Brown’s press release about signing the bill is political propaganda on display. Brown needs that tax to stay so Democrats can continue their spending binge.

Why does the state need to sell bonds for this when the tax has yielded billions to the state? Why not pay cash?

Thus far, the state of California has collected 14. 65 billion under this tax. Prop 63 now accounts for 24 percent of the State’s mental health budget.
Link: MHSOAC History

Is Prop 63 effective?

But beyond anecdotal examples, there is no common data pool to show how the money raised is being spent and if it is making a dent in the state’s mental health crisis, according to the commission.

Link: Impact of millionaire tax to fund mental health care still hard to gauge



Despite all the money being spent, institutional care is almost nonexistent.

The California Hospital Association says 20,000 people sought treatment for mental illness in county hospitals last year. John Boyd is with Sutter Solano Medical Center.

“It’s not the right place,” he says. “Many communities throughout the state have open crisis stabilization units or psych emergency rooms and in those cases, people go to an environment that’s designed to provide the kind of specialized care that they need and that they benefit from in both the short and the long term. Sacramento closed that back in 2009.”

Link: Few Psychiatric Beds For Tens Of Thousands In Need


When looking at the issue of homelessness, many numbers just don’t make sense.

Legislative analysts expect the measure to fund at least 14,000 units. Federal housing officials estimate more than 29,000 homeless Californians were living with serious mental illness in 2015.

Link: Brown approves 2 billion to house mentally ill homeless


Here is our first math fact. Per the above story, 29,000 homeless Californians have mental illness.

An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

Link: Mental Health by the Numbers


Our second math fact is from the National Alliance on Mental Health. 26 percent of those in shelters and 46 percent of all homeless have mental health and/or substance abuse disorders.

Ok, using the above numbers:

29,000 divided by 46 percent is 63,000 homeless in California.

California has one third of all welfare cases in the United States (because we pay more in benefits than other states) it would seem logical that we would have a large share of mentally ill also.

2 billion divided by 14,000 is $142,857.14 per homeless person.

Remember, this isn’t total expenditures on the homeless, this is just one program.
There are an array of government and private assistance to the homeless. Plus homeless can get welfare and SSI payments each month.

When it comes to the mentally ill, lots gets spent every year but the State has nothing to show for it. Government only has one solution for failure: more programs and more money are required. Some of these folks need to be in institutions but there aren’t any. And this brings us to my second issue.


A Brief History of Homelessness
Governor Jerry Brown has a history with mental illness issues. No, not because he was called “moonbeam” when he was previously governor. Much of the current homeless problems lead back to his previous time as governor. Brown helped put the mentally ill on the streets. Yet somehow he gets a pass and Liberals have laid this at Ronald Reagan’s doorstep. 

Below are excerpts of an article from the New York Times

In California, for example, the number of patients in state mental hospitals reached a peak of 37,500 in 1959 when Edmund G. Brown was Governor, fell to 22,000 when Ronald Reagan attained that office in 1967, and continued to decline under his administration and that of his successor, Edmund G. Brown Jr.


One of the most influential groups in bringing about the new national policy was the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health, an independent body set up by Congress in 1955. One of its two surviving members, Dr. M. Brewster Smith, a University of California psychologist who served as vice president, said the commission took the direction it did because of ‘‘the sort of overselling that happens in almost every interchange between science and government.’’

‘‘Extravagant claims were made for the benefits of shifting from state hospitals to community clinics,’’ Dr. Smith said. ‘‘The professional community made mistakes and was overly optimistic, but the political community wanted to save money.’‘


Charles Schlaifer, a New York advertising executive who served as secretary-treasurer of the group, said he was now disgusted with the advice presented by leading psychiatrists of that day. ‘‘Tranquilizers became the panacea for the mentally ill,’’ he said. ‘‘The state programs were buying them by the carload, sending the drugged patients back to the community and the psychiatrists never tried to stop this. Local mental health centers were going to be the greatest thing going, but no one wanted to think it through.’‘


Dr. Bertram S. Brown, a psychiatrist and Federal official who was instrumental in shaping the community center legislation in 1963, agreed that Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson were to some extent misled by the mental health community and Government bureaucrats.

But, he continued, ‘‘It happened much faster than we foresaw.’’ The discharge of mental patients was accelerated in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in some states as a result of a series of court decisions that limited the commitment powers of state and local officials.

Link: NYT How release of mental patients began


Starting in the 1960s, there has been a worldwide trend toward moving psychiatric patients from hospital settings to less restricting settings in the community, a shift known as “deinstitutionalization.” Because the shift was typically not accompanied by a commensurate development of community-based services, critics say that deinstitutionalization has led to large numbers of people who would once have been inpatients being incarcerated in jails and prisons or becoming homeless.
Link: Involuntary commitment


OK so what was happening was in the 1960’s was two different movements were developing that both were focused on reversing the institutionalization of the mentally ill.

Government
The federal government was leading the charge to move patients from state hospitals to community clinics. The effort was at the behest of the mental health community. Reducing government’s expenditures and better drugs for patients were factors in this decision.

ACLU
At the same time the community clinic idea is gaining political momentum, the ACLU and likeminded folks were filing legal actions to stop involuntary commitment of the mentally ill.

Mental hospitals in the early 20th Century were much influenced by the Eugenics movement. Practices such as forced sterilization were widespread. By the 1960’s, they had a reputation as sewers where the unwanted were dumped and warehoused. Their reputation was so bad that people wanted to find an alternative.

One person on Democrat Underground described it this way:

Left “reformers” and right ‘budget cutters” came together and deinstitutionalized patients in mental hospitals held against their will.  Left-wing reformers who thought they were protecting the “rights” of mental patients teamed up with right-wing libertarians to discharge patients.

There were many cases of people charging that they were being held against their will and reports of severe abuse and inhumane treatment in large facilities.

There isn’t much the family of a mentally ill person can do to get treatment for someone who refuses it because at least half the states forbid involuntary treatment unless the patient is an immediate danger to himself or others. Many mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, prevent the sufferer from perceiving that he is ill or in need of treatment.

The charge from the left was people were being “jailed” for no good reason and for plenty of bad ones, including discrimination, family retribution and so forth.

There is no easy solution to this, some people will refuse treatment and what mechanism should be in place to protect people from unfairly being held against their will?
Link: Democrat Underground Discussion #10

At the same time that the government was moving to a community clinic model, civil libertarians were creating rights for the mentally ill not to be institutionalized.

I know that there was (is?) a movement on the part of civil libertarians (ACLU, etc..) that wanted to halt the practice of institutionalizing people against their will. They felt that this practice was at odds with the concept of a free society. There comes a point were even a mentally ill person has a right to refuse treatment against his or her will.
Link: Democrat Underground Discussion #2


Please note that it was a combination of Democrat leadership including: the President, Congress and California Governor Pat Brown that started this migration from state run facilities to local ones here in California. This practice was continued under both Ronald Reagan and Pat’s son, Jerry. Reagan tried to move the system from state run to a publicly funded partnership with private companies.

The paragraph from the New York Times needs to be mentioned again.

In California, for example, the number of patients in state mental hospitals reached a peak of 37,500 in 1959 when Edmund G. Brown was Governor, fell to 22,000 when Ronald Reagan attained that office in 1967, and continued to decline under his administration and that of his successor, Edmund G. Brown Jr.

So under the eight years that Pat Brown was Governor, the mental hospital population went from 37,500 to 22,000. This is a 41 percent decrease. Over the next 16 years, the population under Reagan and Brown Jr. declined to the point where the hospital system was no longer financially viable.

Jerry Brown did nothing to reverse the policies of his father. In fact, he was forced to release virtually the entire population onto the streets.

The final nail in the coffin of the mental hospital system was the June 26, 1975 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in O’Connor v. Donaldson.

O’Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975), was a landmark decision in mental health law. The United States Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends. Since the trial court jury found, upon ample evidence, that petitioner did so confine respondent, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s conclusion that petitioner had violated respondent’s right to liberty.
Link: O’Connor v. Donaldson

In this case, the majority found no constitutional grounds for most confinement:

May the State confine the mentally ill merely to ensure them a living standard superior to that they enjoy in the private community? That the State has a proper interest in providing care and assistance to the unfortunate goes without saying. But the mere presence of mental illness does not disqualify a person from preferring his home to the comforts of an institution. Moreover, while the State may arguably confine a person to save him from harm, incarceration is rarely if ever a necessary condition for raising the living standards of those capable of surviving safely in freedom, on their own or with the help of family or friends.

May the State fence in the harmless mentally ill solely to save its citizens from exposure to those whose ways are different? One might as well ask if the State, to avoid public unease, could incarcerate all who are physically unattractive or socially eccentric. Mere public intolerance or animosity cannot constitutionally justify the deprivation of a person’s physical liberty.

In short, a State cannot constitutionally confine without more a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by himself or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends.

Writing for the majority—Associate Justice Potter Stewart
Link: Caselaw O’Connor v. Donaldson


The Supreme Court decision was in the first year of Jerry Brown’s administration. Brown had seven years to create an alternative system but did nothing. The only thing left after the court decision was the local clinics and that is what he went with.

Brown could have created some sort of sanctuary system so those turned out on the streets had places to go. If this was a voluntary system then it would not conflict with the Supreme Court ruling. Instead communities enacted no loitering and vagrancy statutes. Homeless camps are periodically razed by law enforcement and public health officials. There is no safe place for the homeless. Some communities have shelters for sleeping at night but many of these are only open in the winter.

I don’t believe that anyone has a complete solution but giving many a safe place to call their own with a laundry, bathing facilities, mailbox and a small storage area would seem helpful.

Perhaps no politician wants the tag of “Hooverville” attached to their legacy so they never tried this approach. I know that private citizens who have wanted it have been rebuffed by local government. Maybe the logistics of policing such an area are too difficult under modern theories of how law enforcement should work. Perhaps many of these folks just don’t want any one telling them what to do.

One thing life has taught me is that some people would rather be homeless than live under rules: any rules. This is freedom to them. Bob Dylan had it right when in 1980 he said, “You gotta serve somebody”. If you don’t, this is how low you have to go to escape in our society.

Clearly, after a century of trying, the government is ill equipped to deal effectively with the mentally ill.

Lastly, before closing this topic, I wish to circle once again back to the number of homeless.

The final part of this blog is an examination of population.

Many mentally ill people were let loose as a result of O’Connor v. Donaldson. The numbers grew thru the rest of the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. In the 1980’s, Mitch Snyder, was going around the country claiming that the homeless population was three million people. Snyder was proclaiming that this was a crisis. Many media outlets latched on to this issue as a way to attack the policies of President Ronald Reagan.

Snyder’s campaign was effective and he was able to get more government funding for shelters—even though most of what he said was based on a series of lies that were willingly parroted by the media.
image
Mitch Snyder 1943 - 1990

Ultimately, when Snyder was pressed on his figure of 3 million homeless, he admitted that it was a fabrication. Journalists had been hounding him for a specific number, he said, and he hadn’t wanted them to walk away empty-handed.
Link: Seattle Central


A statistical analysis of the available data for the 1980’s has found that the national homeless population varied between a low of 200,000 and a high of 400,000—depending on which year and statistical model that you use.
Link: Homelessness Paper See Table 4

Despite increases in the general population, the number of homeless folks has not increased accordingly. There is a steady base of people—many enslaved by drugs and alcohol, while others enter and leave homelessness. It is not a permanent condition or station in life for all.
Conclusion
Governor Brown started the State’s policies on the treatment of the mentally ill homeless over 40 years ago.  He and his Party have owned all the levers of power in California for many years but neither they nor their counterparts in other states have found any solutions for the homeless. Is this another instance where a Party would rather have the issue at election time than fix the problem? Or perhaps Jesus was right when he said, “For ye have the poor always with you.” Matthew 26:11 In which case it’s not a government solution that’s needed but a spiritual one.

Posted by william on 07/04 at 10:24 PM
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

California State Workers to Strike?

The SEIU is at an impasse in their contract negotiations with the State of California.

As you will recall, the SEIU was promising workers that they would fight for a 22 percent across the board pay raise for all state employees. This raise would be over a four year period beginning tomorrow, July first. 2 percent of this raise would go to employee retirement.

Today I learned that the state has offered a ten percent raise over four years (the same time period) with 3.5 percent going to employee retirement.

As you may recall from contact law, a condition of a valid contract is a “meeting of the minds”. Clearly the sides are far apart.

To add insult to injury—at least in the view of SEIU—the Governor already signed the budget. The new fiscal year does not have any part of a 22 percent state employee pay increase in it. In addition, the Governor has been predicting deficits in future years. (These future years just happen to be about four years in the future.)

A few minutes ago, the SEIU released a statement which reads in part:

After three months of bargaining in good faith, our negotiations with the state have reached a crossroads. In an era of healthy state finances, our bargaining team feels that the state’s offer does not meet the priorities that you shared with us through town halls and bargaining surveys.

The SEIU plan seems predictable at this point:
• First, hold a series of town hall meetings around the state to work up the frenzy of members to their cause
• Call for a strike authorization as a bargaining weapon
• Strike just before Labor Day

I think the SEIU is hoping that Brown’s diversion of money into the “rainy day fund” is in fact money that they can get from the state to make this pay increase happen.

Because of the SEIU backing of the statewide minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, anything less than a 22 percent wage increase will hurt much of their membership—especially at the rank-and-file level.

Posted by william on 06/30 at 01:36 PM
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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

On Friday, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, had his opinion piece published in the religion column of the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper. This article was titled “Is abortion sin?”

In it, this alleged minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ wrote about a women that came to him in a crisis pregnancy situation. Here is a portion of the column.

She, too, had a good reputation or I wouldn’t have let her babysit my kids. She didn’t want the embarrassment of a child born out of wedlock.

“You don’t want to keep this child, do you?”

She shook her head. Not even for adoption.

She raised her head, knowing that my wife and I had an adopted sibling group of three.

“No,” she said, tears soaking her blouse.

“Is abortion a sin?” she asked.

Some would give a quick answer, but I couldn’t. This was the woman I trusted with my children. I knew her heart.

She continued her worry list. She wanted to go to school. She wanted to date without having a baby in tow. She couldn’t handle the perceived embarrassment to her family.

I could’ve spouted Bible verses, but so could she. Instead, we talked pros and cons. I told her that abortions are never easy on anyone, pro-life or pro-choice. I told her that the spirit of Christianity is on the side of life and redemption and that I’d known women to suffer from abortion trauma for years.

After an hour, Sandy stood to leave. As she did, I reminded her that God had room for both mom and baby on this earth. However, no matter what she decided, nothing would separate her from the love of God.

Sandy had her abortion the next week. While she eventually finished school, married and had children, her decision to still a beating heart still troubles mine. That’s because there’s no easy answer to Sandy’s sin question. There never is.
Link: EG Citizen: Is abortion sin?

This case of spiritual malpractice really makes me angry. Did you get that “I knew her heart” and “her decision to still a beating heart still troubles mine”? He also says that he could have “spouted Bible verses” I wonder which ones?

Romans chapter 6 immediately comes to mind. Paul writes,

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

The real situation was this. The woman in this article liked to practice fornication (sex outside of marriage) but after repeatedly practicing that behavior she became pregnant. Her pregnancy was the direct consequence of sin in her life. She was following the lust of her flesh not the biblical standards of righteous living. She knew what God’s standard is in this situation; namely, bear the responsibility of her actions, have the child and give the child up for adoption or raise the child.

Killing her baby is a second sin, not a corrective to her disobedient lifestyle.  Going to this pastor was her attempt at taking the weasel way out of this situation. She wanted absolution for killing her child. The pastor knows that he gave bad council or he wouldn’t be haunted by “her decision to still a beating heart”.

There is a reason that I used to carry the sign “Abortion: One dead, one wounded, one rich” in front of the local abortion clinic. Abortion is an evil and violent act that has lifelong consequences. The premise that justifies abortion is a lie.

This lady and her pastor have both refused to acknowledge their sin. They conspired to sin so that grace may abound. They have cheapened the blood of Christ and made it to no affect.


Suppose there were two brothers. One brother decided to kill the other because that brother seems more loved by his parents. Well he knows that God wouldn’t like him to commit murder. He needs an out, a loophole if you will, to justify the crime in his own mind. So the brother seeks the advice of Reverend Scratch. Rev. Scratch says,

I could’ve spouted Bible verses, but so could he. Instead, we talked pros and cons. I told him that murders are never easy on anyone, pro-life or pro-choice. I told him that the spirit of Christianity is on the side of life and redemption and that I’d known men to suffer from murder trauma for years.

After an hour, he stood to leave. As he did, I reminded him that God had room for both him and his brother on this earth. However, no matter what he decided, nothing would separate him from the love of God.

He murdered his brother the next week.

Oh, and God’s response to this exercise of “choice” can be found in Genesis 4:8-11

  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

The Christian counselor wrote, quote
“Who is the only humane choice ahead
If you can’t support it
Why don’t you abort it instead?”

You say you pray to the sky
Why? When you’re afraid to take a stand down here
‘Cause while the holy talk reads like a bad ad lib
Silence screams you were robbing the crib

Say it ain’t none of my business, huh?
A woman’s got a right to choose
Now a grave digger, next you pull the trigger what then?
Whatever happened to sin?

—Steve Taylor
Whatever happened to sin? 1983

Posted by william on 06/26 at 06:07 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit Vote

Great Britain has just voted to leave the European Union. I think the main reasons were immigration and money.

image
Vote totals from BBC


Immigration
In a formerly Christian nation that is now overrun with immigrants that support jihad and Sharia Law, I’m not surprised. Mohammed has been the number one boys name in that country for many years now. The only way to counter Islam is with Christianity. Secular Humanism and its values of equality of worldviews and pluralism can never defeat Islam. In a nation that has forgotten God, Brexit is too little too late. It may slow the Islamization of Britain but only a wholesale return to Christ can change their fate.

Money
Germany and Great Britain have been bankrolling the EU for many years now. With Britain out, the entire EU is in danger of collapsing. Germany’s bail-outs of Greece and other nations places them on dangerous financial footing and Brexit may be hard for them to absorb.

Look for financial markets to dive on Friday as uncertainty prevails. Why people in American financial circles didn’t see this coming is beyond me. (Wishful thinking or too many Democrats on Wall Street?)

I’ve expected Brexit to win for a few weeks now. People are unhappy with status quo politicians that won’t protect their citizens from internal and external threats. Call it the Trump phenomenon if you will but it is real. Maybe as a result, we will get to see how bad government leaders have been cooking the economic books.

“May you live in interesting times” is a phrase that comes to mind.

Posted by william on 06/23 at 08:59 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Verity Baptist get booted

The Huffington Post and other outlets are reporting that Verity Baptist is getting booted by their property management company.

A Baptist preacher who made headlines last week after praising the June 12 mass shooting at the LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, might be out of a church soon.

The property owner of the Sacramento, California, business park where the Verity Baptist Church presides has opted not to renew the church’s lease, The Los Angeles Times reports. Although Verity’s lease doesn’t end until March 31, 2017, officials for Harsch Investment Properties have asked the church to leave without any penalty for breaking the contract.
Link: Huffington Post story

Looks like Mrs. Jimenez will be having services in her house again.

Posted by william on 06/23 at 08:52 PM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: Verity Baptist Church

I am reluctant to unchurch other Christians from other branches of Christ’ Church; however, when they get off the path and into non-sense, I’ve been willing to call them on it. The folks at Verity Baptist seem a ripe target for such a critique. Had their pastor—Roger Jimenez—not become a news story recently, I’m sure he would have escaped my notice.

The comments below are based on material available or linked to their website. See it for yourself at Verity Baptist

After looking through their website, you have to conclude that this is not your run-of-the-mill Baptist church. Their statement of faith is partly contained on the page about What We Believe

Portions of this page are Protestant and/or Baptist but others appear contrary to the mainstream of Christendom.

After reviewing the website of Verity and their affiliates (they don’t like the word “denomination”), I am reminded of the old joke, “What do you call a room with 40 people in it that each have their own opinion? A Baptist church.”

Verity is a different breed but their website is rather poorly done so it requires some digging to figure parts of their theology.

I would love to set their beliefs side-by-side with the Apostle’s or Nicene Creed but there is so much missing on their website that it is impossible to do a thorough comparison with the entire Creed.

The Nicene Creed is the most ecumenical of creeds. Except for one clause, all branches of the Christian Church agree on this Creed. Think of the Creeds as the fence around the flock of Christ’s Church. There God’s sheep may wander anywhere within the boundaries of the Creed—some emphasizing some parts more than others—but always within these boundaries. If a person or group strays outside of the boundaries set by the Creeds then they are no longer Christian. Thus the Creeds can be used as a measure of the Orthodoxy of any group or sect.

Below are parts of Verity’s website that can be compared to the Creeds or other documents.


Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. 

Yes Jesus was God in the flesh but he was also man.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made.  For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:  by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
Nicene Creed 381 A.D.

As stated on their website, Verity is not in agreement with the historic Creeds. Their bullet point is either incomplete or incorrect.


Universal Church

Verity summarily rejects one clause of the Creed when they say, “We believe in the “local church” we reject the teaching of the “universal church”.

The whole of Christianity has always held that “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Nicene Creed 381 A.D.

Christ has one body, the Church. The church includes all believers in all times and all ages; past, present, and future. This is the historic understanding of the term “Universal Church.”

If Verity is not part of this body then it is outside of Christ.

This is red flag number one when examining this group.


The Bible

Verity gives not one but two bullets to the King James Bible (KJV).

We believe that the King James Bible is the Word of God. We believe God inspired and preserved it.

This is not an all inclusive list; we believe anything and everything found in the King James Version of the Bible.

While this doctrine is not unique to Verity—I encountered the same claim about the King James Bible when visiting The Church of God of Prophecy back in my high school days—such claims are nonsense. This idea in not much different from Episcopalians clinging to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as the superior expression of worship.

Just to contrast, let me quote another Baptist group on their view of the Scriptures.

We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally and plenary inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore has truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
– First Baptist Church Woodland, CA 1967

This view is more correct than that espoused by Verity.

The Bible was written in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

By the time of Jesus, the books we know as the Old Testament were translated into Greek. This was known as the Septuagint. From the word for seventy because seventy scholars did the translation. Jesus frequently quoted from this version of the Bible.

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The whole Bible was later translated into Latin. Many of the manuscripts used by the translators of the King James Bible were from Latin sources.

I prefer the King James Version but it is not always the most accurate translation.

One problem that Verity has in proclaiming the KJV as The Word of God is that they are saying that the books of the Apocrypha are the Word of God also.  You see, the original King James Bible was not just the 66 books recognized by the historic church (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) but also these other books. Here is a scan of the original edition (1611) of the King James Bible showing its table of contents.
Link: 1611 KJV Table of Contents

Another issue confronting Verity’s claim is that the English language was much different in 1611 as can be seen from this part of Genesis. I promise you that the version of the King James Bible that they use for worship is not the same as this screen shot of the 1611 version.

image
Scan of Genesis from original King James Bible—1611

Lastly, those that claim the King James Bible over all others is THE Word of God are intellectually lazy. Remember, in their world, every other version of the Bible on the planet past, present, and future is not the Word of God; it is defective.

Verity’s sister church in Texas says,

We believe that the King James Bible is the perfect Word of God. We believe that it is inspired and preserved. We believe that all other English translations of the Bible are corrupt and are perversions of God’s Word.
Link: Steadfast Baptist Doctrine

Most ministers whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox are expected to know some level of Greek and Hebrew. These guys seem to use the KJV as a crutch so they don’t have to bother learning all that other language stuff. I think this is in part, a way to get around having to deal with seminary education.

After further research I found that this was in fact the case. No minister of a church linked to Verity’s website claims to have any formal Biblical training. Apparently if you learn the Roman’s Road and say you are called, you too can be a minister.
This passage is typical:

Pastor Anderson started Faithful Word Baptist Church on December 25, 2005. He holds no college degree but has well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word, including approximately half of the New Testament. Today, most Baptist churches are started by Bible colleges. However, the Bible makes it clear that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, not a school.
Link: Faithful Word Baptist



We aren’t statements

We are Non-dispensational.

Verity rejects Dispensationalism but embraces Premillennialism and believes in a mid-tribulation rapture.
Link: Prophecy Timeline

Verity’s view of the “end times” can be found via Links page of their website. They seem to be especially hostile to other pre-mills that believe the “Rapture” occurs before the beginning of the “Great Tribulation”. 

What Verity uses in place of Dispensationalism is another moot point on their website. There is no indication of what they view as the relationship of the New Testament church with the Old. This is concerning especially since they anti-Semitic (see Reading List below).

We believe in the autonomy of the local church. This means that we are independent of all denominations, conventions, and fellowships. We have Jesus Christ and the Bible as the head of our church and not some Pope, Prophet, President, or Board of directors.

Their zeal to dis the papacy and any other form of church government is so extreme as to unchurch everybody but themselves. Churches have a hierarchy of some sort because fallen men need to be held accountable; especially those in the pulpit. If we learned anything from Jim Baker, Robert Tilton, Jimmy Swaggart and others like them, accountability is important. Church hierarchy was the model of the early church.

“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre”
Titus 1:7

This is another red flag.


We take a stand against the Charismatic and Ecumenical movement of our day .

The Pentecostals and Charismatics of our day are just splinter groups of mainstream Baptists. Their theology is much the same except for the obvious emphasis on the Holy Spirit and their belief that spiritual gifts are still in effect today; whereas most Baptists believe that the gifts like speaking in tongues ended with the apostolic age. Most of these groups are Dispensational and Pre-mill.

We reject the teaching of Calvinism and believe that God wants everyone to be saved.  

Verity earlier in their list of what they believe rejects a universal church but here appeals to universal salvation. This is the logical outcome of Arminian theology but it is not based in Scripture.

“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
John 10:26-28

Only those given to the Son by the Father will be saved, not all men. This was predestined before the world was created.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” 
Ephesians 1:4

Only those God chose before they were ever born will be saved. God chooses not man. If it makes you feel better, you don’t have to call it Calvinism, just the say the Bible teaches us … and call it good.

We oppose worldliness and believe in a holy separated life.

Dear readers when you see a phrase like this, a big red flag should be waving in your mind. This is command and control language which means the church has an absolute right to decide what you do in your spare time and even what jobs you can or cannot hold. This is an opportunity for cult-like behavior which depends solely upon the whim of the pastor and how he defines “worldliness” and “separation”.

Example: When I was in the Navy, I knew a guy named Scott. We went thru training together but he and I were assigned to different bases. One day I got a letter from him explaining that he could not play organized sports because they were worldly and he was to abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22). He was unable to provide any further explanation; his church said organized sports was the appearance of evil and that was the end of the discussion as far as he was concerned. To him, it just made sense.

In groups that want to control their members, this verse in Thessalonians is frequently used as a proof text that members must follow the dictates of their shepherd.

Any group that substitutes arbitrary rules in place of the Christian Liberty of their members is a group to be avoided.

Yet another red flag.


The Black List

Buckle-up as we take a wild ride way down the rabbit hole.

image


Not to be confused with the NBC TV show with James Spader, Verity Baptist and their denomination literally has a Black List of other Baptists that they have declared heretical because these folks say that non-believers need to repent.

This list includes Billy Graham, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon, and many more. Link: Repentance Blacklist

image
Verity’s smoking gun purporting to prove repentance is a work of man


These guys are trying to play Three Card Monty with this supposed proof text.

Walter Martin, a Baptist minister that dealt frequently with the cults used to say; “A text without a context, is a pretext…usually for error”.

Let’s take a look at the story of Jonah.

God was going to judge Nineveh if they didn’t repent. God was judging their works. A repeated theme of the Wisdom Literature in the Bible is that out of evil men proceed wickedness. God sent Jonah to Nineveh. Jonah preached and the people believed his message and as a result, the people of Nineveh repented “turned from their evil way” so God withheld the judgement that he had threatened them with.

The word “turned” in this verse means repented. Look it up in Strong’s

Jonah 3:10—taken in context—says the exact opposite of what these guys are trying to claim.

The fallacy of their argument is the assumption that men have the ability to exercise free will and choose God instead of evil.

Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh, they listened; their response was repentance, based on their putting on sack cloth and ashes and crying mightily to God. This is the work that God saw in the verse quoted above (Jonah 3:10) and God changed his mind and spared them.

Jonah was upset with God that the people of Nineveh repented. Jonah wanted God to nuke the city ala Sodom and Gomorra. Jonah was not mad at the people for listening to his preaching and exercising their free will to repent. Instead he was angry with God for opening the ears of the people and causing them to repent. It was God’s working that brought the repentance; Jonah was just God’s chosen instrument.

This is the point of Jonah chapter 4. This chapter is an illustration of God’s Sovereignty. He is ruler and His will shall be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Man’s reaction when encountering God is always to fall to his knees and know he is unworthy to be in God’s presence. We are stained with sin and only by being washed in Christ’s blood can we be cleansed. If you encounter God and do not have a changed life then you are not saved.

Anybody what to say Pharaoh?

Repentance is a change in direction. We go from darkness to light, hell to heaven, bondage to freedom; or whatever metaphor you wish to use to describe it. Jesus told the harlot go and sin no more.

Repentance is a work of the Holy Spirit. Man left to his own devices can never be saved. He will never choose it. If he could then Christ died in vain.

To quote the song, “Changed hearts make changed lives and I see one in you.”
—Sweet Comfort Band 1982

Repentance is a part of genuine conversion. To divorce conversion from repentance is unscriptural. The two are inseparably linked.

For Verity to claim that you have any part in your conversion or salvation is salvation by works. This especially includes claiming that a man can choose Christ of his own free will. We all deserve hell but God choose some for himself. He is the potter, we are the clay.

Once saved, always saved?

I’m not going to go into a full throated discussion of this topic but I have to inquire about the logical contradiction in the various What We Believe statements. Five need to be viewed together instead of separately.

First Group

We believe that salvation is by grace, through faith, and not of works. This means that salvation cannot be earned by any work (church attendance, baptism, repenting of your sins, etc, etc). Salvation is putting your faith in Jesus Christ and that he died, was buried, and rose from the grave to pay for your sin. You receive salvation by simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.

We believe in the eternal security of the believer (once saved always saved). Just like there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose it.

We reject the teaching of Calvinism and believe that God wants everyone to be saved.

I already talked about the fact that men cannot—in a free will sort of way—put their faith in Jesus Christ, only God can give us saving faith. We love Him because he first loved us. However, for this discussion, let’s take the three statements above at face value.

The last sentence of the first statement quoted in this section says, “You receive salvation by simply asking the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.” The second proposition quoted above says, “…once saved, always saved…” The third proposition says “that God wants everyone to be saved.”

Let’s look at how this might play-out in the life of some young person we will call “Martha”. I am making up a name for the purposes of this discussion and not trying to get anyone that might really be named Martha into trouble with Verity or their leadership.

Martha is thirteen and attends Verity when she is in town visiting with her cousin. Pastor Jimenez really impresses her with his sermon and she walks the aisle and prays the sinner’s prayer just like they have it on their website.

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I know I deserve to go to Hell. But I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and rose from the grave to pay for my sins. Please save me and take me to Heaven when I die. Amen.   Link: Verity Bible Way To Heaven

She is really sincere when she does it.

A few years later, Martha is nineteen and attending college at U.C. Berkeley. In order to graduate, she is required to take a women’s study elective. In her class, the teacher says that ten percent of the population is homosexual but don’t always know it. Over several months, Martha is encouraged to explore her sexuality and decides she is bisexual.

She then visits her cousin and goes again to Verity. She is interested in joining the church when she encounters these statements from the church website.

Second Group

We believe that church membership is a privilege and not a right and church members are subject to be removed from membership and not allowed to attend the services if they violate the qualifications of church membership as set forth in the Holy Scriptures and the by-laws of Verity Baptist Church.

We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin and an abomination before God which God punishes with the death penalty. No sodomite (homosexual) will be allowed to attend or join Verity Baptist Church.

Do you see the contradiction that Martha faces? On the one hand Martha is promised that she is saved “there is nothing you can do to lose it”  and “that God wants everyone to be saved” while at the same time she is told that God will punish her “with the death penalty”. This death penalty includes everlasting torment in hell.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. “
I Corinthians 6:9-10

But once saved, always saved, right?

In Fact Pastor Jimenez says, No matter what you do after you receive “the gift of eternal life” it can never end. Otherwise God lied, and we know that God “cannot lie”.

Anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved forever. Being saved is a one time event. All you have to do is ask.
Link: Verity Bible Way To Heaven

Oh and Martha can’t repent because that is works and not faith.

• Verity says that God wants everyone to be saved but how do they wiggle out of this box?
• How can they promise both Hell and Heaven simultaneously to the same person?
• How is someone able to be saved but not able to be counted as a member of the body of Christ?

This is the ecclesiastical version of Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru.

Given my scenario—which I think is realistic in today’s society—either once saved always saved is wrong or the condemnation of homosexuality is wrong. Since the latter is clearly taught in the Old and New Testaments then the former is clearly false.

Verity’s answer about God having to save you if you say the right incantation (sprinkled with faith) smacks more of Harry Potter or Celtic Druids than the Christian religion.

Reading list

A disturbing window into the soul of Verity can be found on their Links page under the innocuous title of After the Tribulation. This link redirects you to www.framingtheworld.com

Look at the books offered on this website. Many are by authors such as Texe Marrs.

This guy really hates the Jews. Here’s the description of his book Serpent of the Jews

“Amazingly, the Jews have proven to be exactly what Jesus prophesied. They are the People of the Serpent, unregenerated hypocrites whose religion is unparalleled in its treachery, its wickedness, and its unbounded filth. The Kabbalah and the Talmud, authored by the rabbis, are the very code of hell, the doctrines of devils.”
www.texemarrs.com

On his website, Marrs also is promoting ideas like 9/11 was an “inside job” by the Bushes, Mossad, and the CIA. This is John Birch Society craziness on steroids.

Another book featured on this website is The Holocaust Hoax Exposed by Victor Thorn.
So, akin to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and any other figment of the imagination, the tale of six million Jews being exterminated in National Socialist death camps is nothing more than a deceptive ruse.
Amazon.com review The Holocaust Hoax Exposed

Another book featured on the website is Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
Per our friends at Wikipedia, this book was a forgery that was first published in 1903 and is still available in print today.

“Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the US in the 1920s. Adolf Hitler was a major proponent. It was studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazis came to power in 1933, despite having been exposed as fraudulent by The Times of London in 1921.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protocols_of_the_Elders_of_Zion

Here’s another reason Verity and their fellow travelers reject Dispensationalism. In Dispensational theology, God does a special work at the end of time that causes many Jews to repent and convert to Christianity. I guess if you think Jews will usher in the end of the world and the Great Tribulation, it might not make sense that God would go out of His way to redeem them.


Conclusion
If the historic Creeds of Christianity are used as a guide that establishes the boundaries of the Christian faith, then Verity seems to have hopped the fence in search of greener pastures. At best they are like the crazy uncle that lives in the church basement and at worst they are a Cult that has departed from the faith.

 

Posted by william on 06/19 at 09:08 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Tale of Two Baptists

In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, two very different reactions were reported by Baptists groups.

Chick-fil-A in Orlando was open the following day-a Sunday-to provide chicken and lemonade to blood donors wishing to help wounded victims. Just because Chick-fil-A is supportive of traditional marriage does not mean that they turn a blind eye to their community in a time of extra ordinary need.
Chick-fil-A responds to Orlando massacre


image
Photo from Washington Times


Meanwhile, here in northern California, KCRA-TV was featuring a local pastor that was preaching a different message on the very same Sunday. Here are parts of their story.

During a portion of his teaching, Pastor Roger Jimenez, of Verity Baptist Church on Northgate Boulevard, was talking about sodomites, saying that it is “unnatural to want to be with some of the same sex.”


“People say, ‘Well, aren’t you sad that 50 sodomites died?’ Here’s the problem with that, it’s like the equivalent of asking me, ‘Well, aren’t you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?’” Jimenez said. “No, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think that Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”


“The point that I was making is if God puts the death penalty on it, God says they deserve to die, and they die, this is not something that we, as Christians, need to be mourning,” Jimenez said. “In the same way that this gunman who went in there and killed all these people, he violated Scripture. God says that he deserves to die for taking their lives. We don’t need to be mourning his death either.”

Jimenez went on to say that the main focus of his sermon was about how the government and media is going to use this even to push their agenda, which is to take away gun rights and limit freedom of speech.

KCRA: Pastor upset more didn’t die

Pastor Jimenez is mixing Scripture with current events and some of his own ideas and the whole combination is falling short. I would like to try to separate some of the threads in this story into components that can be more easily analyzed.

I’m going to look at the subject of this news story thru a worldview influenced by a Reformed point of view. As such, let’s begin with the first point of Calvinism, Total Depravity.

The short version of Total Depravity is that men are spiritually dead.  We are all sinners separated from God.

Some sins; however, are condemned in both Testaments; among these are murder and homosexuality. The Bible is clear that murders and homosexuals will not go to heaven or inherit the kingdom of God.

One word used in the New Testament that includes homosexuality is Pornia which is defined as: adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
—Strong’s Concordance, Word 4202

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Roman1:25-32

That all sinners are separated from God is a given, but clearly some sins are the result of the rebellion of a people under God’s judgment. This was true when Paul wrote it back in the days of ancient Rome and is again true of the West.

It is true that homosexuality is a sin that is worthy of death under the Old Testament system established by Moses. However, there is no warrant for belief that a vigilante that goes around killing notorious sinners is allowed by Scripture. A sinner killing other sinners is still a sin and not something worthy of celebrating.

Sorry but The Punisher and Death Wish are both entertainment and not meant as guides on social reform for willing citizens.

Only government is allowed to use the sword to punish evil doers. Yes self-defense is also biblical but anyone that says playing judge, jury, and executioner is wonderful is not speaking in accord with Scripture.

Pastor Jimenez somehow thinks two wrongs make a right action. On this point I dissent.

I think that Chick-fil-A giving folks food and drink is a much more biblical approach. Jesus said it is ok to do good on the Sabbath.

“Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?”
—Luke 6:9

As I dug deeper into Verity Baptist Church, I found enough to do a blog on their group but I will let that wait for another day. I would like to close on a quotation from their website so you can get a flavor of what Pastor Jimenez has to say about the “rainbow people”.

We believe that sodomy (homosexuality) is a sin and an abomination before God which God punishes with the death penalty. No sodomite (homosexual will be allowed to attend or join Verity Baptist Church.
Verity Baptist Church-what we believe

Posted by william on 06/15 at 10:12 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Friday, June 10, 2016

1984: Joe Miller Agrees

More proof I’m ReallyRight as today Joe Miller publishes 5 Ways Orwell’s 1984 Has Come True Since Its Publication 68 Years Ago.

It’s debatable whether George Orwell surmised the ominous threat of totalitarianism that inspired him to pen the dystopic vision, 1984, would extend worldwide and resurface nearly seven decades after its publication. But the novel’s apt description of a world on end have undoubtedly come to pass.

Innumerable examples evidence how 1984 would better be described as a dark portent than a fascinating read, but one thing — the political language dubbed Newspeak, employed by the ruling government, Ingsoc — seems to have served as an instruction manual for the American empire. —Claire Bernish
Link: 5 Ways Orwell’s 1984 has come true

 

 

Posted by william on 06/10 at 06:12 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Thursday, June 09, 2016

1984: Orwell’s Dystopia has Arrived

For those that haven’t read this book in a while, here is a portion of the plot synopsis from Wikipedia. I have added emphasis to a portion; you will learn why in a moment.

The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line. The instructions that the workers receive specify the corrections as fixing misquotations and never as what they really are: forgeries and falsifications. A large part of the ministry also actively destroys all documents that have been edited and do not contain the revisions; in this way, no proof exists that the government is lying.
Wikipedia 1984

In his novel 1984, Orwell envisioned that it would be an all present and all powerful government that would be running the Ministry of Truth ; however; in modern America, we prefer to let large corporations do the unpleasant lifting for government. This allows something Orwell overlooked in his dystopian world, plausible deniability .

Plausible deniability is the ability for persons to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation, even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully ignorant of the actions.”
Link: Definition of Plausible Deniability

The irony that this particular book—1984—is the victim of document destruction is all the more poignant.

The perpetrator of this action happens to be Amazon.com

Amazon Secretly Removes “1984” From the Kindle
Thousands of people last week discovered that Amazon had quietly removed electronic copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from their Kindle e-book readers. In the process, Amazon revealed how easy censorship will be in the Kindle age.

In this case, the mass e-book removals were motivated by copyright . A company called MobileReference, who did not own the copyrights to the books 1984 and Animal Farm, uploaded both books to the Kindle store and started selling them. When the rights owner heard about this, they contacted Amazon and asked that the e-books be removed. And Amazon decided to erase them not just from the store, but from all the Kindles where they’d been downloaded. Amazon operators used the Kindle wireless network, called WhisperNet, to quietly delete the books from people’s devices and refund them the money they’d paid.

An uproar followed, with outraged customers pointing out the irony that Amazon was deleting copies of a novel about a fascist media state that constantly alters history by changing digital records of what has happened. Amazon’s action flies in the face of what people expect when they purchase a book. Under the “right of first sale” in the U.S., people can do whatever they like with a book after purchasing it, including giving it to a friend or reselling it. There is no option for a bookseller to take that book back once it’s sold.
Joe Miller: Amazon Secretly Removes 1984

Gizmodo’s original story can be found here

This action by Amazon, which has happened before as the article in Gizmodo points out, is one of the reasons that I don’t purchase eBooks. It is also a reason I have grown adverse to buying downloadable music if I can get a physical CD instead.

The fine print in the Licensing Agreements is that you don’t really own the eCopy, the seller does. You just paid for permission to use it. Furthermore, after you give them money, they have the right to unilaterally change to the Terms of Use Agreement.

Ultimately, this is also true of your Windows or Apple Operating System. In fact, most of this stuff actually has an expiration date buried in the software —although it us usually two or three decades in the future.

This is what I dislike about anything proprietary. With the flick of a switch, someone can delete your entire library of eBooks, adobe PDF docs or anything else. Worse yet, they can secretly edit these same works and you would never know. As in 1984, there is no paper trail to follow because there is no paper.

Also, storing things on other people’s servers is problematic. It is common knowledge that Google reads everything you send or receive via Gmail or store on their servers.

Even without this ability, look what things have been purged from our culture.

I dare you to find a copy of Disney’s Song of the South. The plot is black folks on a plantation help to keep a white family together. Yeah, the blacks are the heroes in the movie but Disney has buried it.

Leslie Neilson did a live action Mr. Magoo movie in 1997 but again you can hardly find it.

If things run afoul of Political Correctness they get purged from popular culture.

Any references to Indians or Christians in our country are experiencing the same purge: Braves, Redskins, Warriors, Crusaders, etc. How did Star n’ Bars become a symbol of racism?

If you recall, following 9/11, Hollywood briefly wanted to digitally remove the Twin Towers from movies previously filmed in New York. Yeah, really! They wanted to purge any images that the Towers ever existed instead of getting mad at the folks that blew them up. As far as I know, the only Hollywood movie to purposely delete the Twin Towers was the first Spiderman movie. If you can find the first theatrical preview for the movie, it had a helicopter suspended between the Towers in a large web. Based on the preview, the men in it had just committed a bank robbery. Also, the final battle at the end of the movie was scrapped and re-shot because it had footage of the Towers.

In the computer age, with the flick of a switch, Amazon can delete a book from your library or update it to remove offensive content. Apple can drop music from your iTunes library; Netflix can edit offensive religious material from a movie. Need I go on?

Then there is social media. Express support for traditional marriage or call homosexuality a sin and you might have your account banned from Facebook. (I Know people this has happen too.)

Support traditional family values and the day is near when you will be denied government employment and student loans.

Doubt global warming and some politicians in California want you to be subject to criminal sanctions. (Yes this is a real bill in the state legislature.)

The brave new world is here. Failure of citizens to conform in thought and deed is slowly being criminalized. Freedom, Truth, Patriotism, and Faith are the enemies of the Liberal State.

Posted by william on 06/09 at 08:20 AM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Jesus the Only Way to God Under Attack Yet Again

I have several articles in various stages of being written for the blog but this story just seems to be the most important in its own way.

Once again, it touches on Calvin’s Five Points which is really ironic considering it’s about a Baptist church. Just for context please remember that Portland Oregon is regarded as the most atheist city in America. The website—World Net Daily—where I found this article is also based in Oregon.

The sign below hinges on a key claim of Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6


image


This doctrine is under constant attack by our culture (and many so-called Christians). It is nice to see someone standing for the truth of Scripture instead of itching the ears of sinful men.

“I’m not politically correct. I’ve never been politically correct, but I think I’m biblically correct, and that’s what matters to me”— Rev. Michael Harrington
Tiny Church in Holy War with Islam

Posted by william on 06/08 at 06:55 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Compassion of the Wicked is Cruelty

Did you marvel when you saw these news stories last week?

U.S. President Barack Obama has cited the biblical Golden Rule to defend the controversial “federal guidance” he issued instructing all public schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of the opposite biological sex or risk losing federal funding.
Obama Cites Golden Rule to allow boys into girl’s bathrooms

Rescuers are scouring bear-infested woods in northern Japan for a little boy who was abandoned by his parents as punishment.
Japanese boy left in woods as punishment

• Ever wonder how Liberals can claim that abortion is a good moral choice?

• Ever wonder why Peter Singer can be hailed as a champion of ethics when he advocates animal rights, abortion, euthanasia, and the killing for children under the age of two that are deemed defective?

• In short, have you ever wondered about a world where wrong is right, up is down, perverted is normal, and criminals are virtuous?


We here at ReallyRight.com are here to help. The answer has probably been in your hands all along, it’s just that no one pointed this out to you. Let us introduce you to Proverbs 12:10.

I’m sure this verse has been one that had you read it, you would just sail bye it, but let’s take a closer look. In particular, the second part of Proverbs 12:10 has not been rendered correctly into English in many popular translations.

New King James
A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

King James Version
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

American Standard Version
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

The following versions are closer to the mark:

New American Standard Version
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

God’s Word Translation
A righteous person cares [even] about the life of his animals, but the compassion of wicked people is [nothing but] cruelty.

In short, the second part of Proverbs 12:10 should be rendered, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty.”

I have to give credit for this to David Chilton, although I don’t know if he ever put it in writing anywhere.

Here are some commentaries that I felt helped to understand the passage.

But the tender mercies ; literally, the bowels, regarded as the seat of feeling. The wicked cannot be supposed to have “tender mercies;” hence it is best to take the word in the sense of “feelings,” “affections.” What should be mercy and love are in an evil man only hard-heartedness and cruelty.
Pulpit Commentary on Proverbs 12

In 10b most interpreters find an oxymoron: the compassion of the godless is compassionless, the direct opposite of compassion; i.e., he possesses either altogether no compassion, or he shows such as in its principle, its expression, and in its effects is the opposite of what it ought to be (Fl.). Bertheau believes that in the sing. of the predicate אכזרי he is justified in translating: the compassion of the wicked is a tyranny. And as one may speak of a loveless love, i.e., of a love which in its principle is nothing else than selfishness, so also of a compassionless compassion, such as consists only in gesture and speech without truth of feeling and of active results. But how such a compassionless compassion toward the cattle, and one which is really cruel, is possible, it may be difficult to show. Hitzig’s conjecture, רחמי, sprang from this thought: the most merciful among sinners are cruel - the sinner is as such not רחוּם. The lxx is right in the rendering, τὰ δὲ σπλάγχνα τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνελεήμονα. The noun רחמים means here not compassion, but, as in Genesis 43:30 (lxx ἔντερα or ἔγκατα) and 1 Kings 3:26 (lxx μήτρα), has the meaning the bowels (properly tender parts, cf. Arab. rakhuma, to be soft, tender, with rḥm), and thus the interior of the body, in which deep emotions, and especially strong sympathy, are wont to be reflected (cf. Hosea 10:8). The singular of the predicate אכזרי arises here from the unity of the subject-conception: the inwards, as Jeremiah 50:12, from the reference of the expression to each individual of the many.  Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary on Proverbs 12

This rendering of Proverbs 12:10 also happens to fit into Calvinism’s idea of Total Depravity. (For a detailed discussion you can refer to site such as this: Five Points of Calvinism Chapter 1)

So next time you want to quote Romans chapter one to someone but they won’t sit still long enough to let you, just remember this passage.  Solomon distilled much into one succinct phrase, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty”. Almost a thousand years later, Paul built upon this in his letter to the Romans.

So in our world of soundbites and bumper stickers, add this to your mental toolbox; then next time you see the wicked acting according to their nature, you’ll understand that the compassion of the wicked is cruelty.

Posted by william on 06/06 at 08:30 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink
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