Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Is This Good Stewardship?!

I will just say that this is a perplexing tale of politics and religion that make me as the headline question.
According to this article, the former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate, John Ellis Jeb! Bush, charged St. Martin's Episcopal church $50,000 for a speech a year ago September and it was on  . . .stewardship.
This is what a church does to encourage people to give money and or more money?!
Let me write this.
If my church spent that kind of money to encourage people to give more money to pay for the functions of the church and it's outreach ministries, we would probably recall our vestry, the governing board, and ask for our rector and or priest-in-charge to be removed.
You have to understand that St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, is the largest and one of the wealthiest churches in The Episcopal Church. It has some of the cream of the crop of the Houston establishment as members including former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. And Mr. Bush's top long-time crony, James A. Baker. That is just the political establishment. You get the picture that this is high-end folks.
There is no doubt in my mind that this church could have found something more worthy than lining the pockets of the then future Republican presidential candidate.
I do agree that it takes money to make money, but giving one's time, talent and or money for one's church is not the same thing.
People will do the above if they believe in what the church has done, is doing and will be doing in the future. Yes, there needs to be encouragement, but to spend $50,000 to encourage people to give more to a church seems strange. And to giving to a son of a particular parish as is Jeb! Bush just has cheese written all over it.
I have been to many a stewardship dinner in my 23+ years at my Episcopal church and the most exciting, if one can say that, was held at a private country club. Probably paid for by the member and used as a tax write off as a charitable contribution. Not a give me $50,000 and I might give some of it back.
The Episcopal Church is not a "tithing" church in the sense that everyone is expected to give a tenth of their income, based on the Holy Bible, but more what they can and when they can not, use one's time and or talent in such a way that can be beneficial to the particular parish. Many a communicant/congregant do give a tenth of their salary to the church. Some more, some less and some can't give money at all.
The best way of encouragement I have found are the personal stories of those that have been touched in a positive way by the church's ministries. It is knowing that which has made us dig deep to pledge more than we might have in the past.
But to be honest, Mrs. RVFTLC and I would really have a hard time with a famous person speaking at a stewardship dinner and making off with a speaking fee as if this was just another notch of speaking fees. Which I think in any other setting is cool. If any group and or organization wants to pay a fixed fee for any famous person to speak, mazeltov.
But the cheese factor in which Jeb! Bush charges a HIGHER speaking fee from a church is, well disgusting.
That, to me, is not good stewardship. Even if the church can afford it.
This is but one more reason I do not find Jeb! Bush an attractive candidate for president.

H/T:  Jeff Bradshaw.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Politics Of Mass Murders

It is not very often that you will read it on this blog, but for once Donald J. Trump is right about something.
And surprisingly, the Dear Leader, President Obama, is wrong.
Yesterday another mass murder took place and this time it was at a community college in Southwestern Oregon that took the lives of 10 people and injured another seven. It was an act of madness as is seemingly all of these mass killings have been. They always are.
My friend and fellow blogger, Mr. Social Extinction, juxtaposed the reaction of the current GOP front-runner for president, the Donald, and that of the Dear Leader, President Obama.
It appears that, of course, the Donald is cold and almost callous when you just read what is below:

"You're going to have these things happen and it's a horrible thing to behold, horrible. It's not politically correct to say that, but you're going to have that will be for the next million years, there's going to be difficulty and people are going to slip through the cracks. what are you going to do, institutionalize everybody?"

Good question since in almost all cases there is some kind of mental issue involved. And we will not completely know because this gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, was killed by police that arrived on the scene of the carnage. Of course there are many accounts on Mr. Mercer's life, but one thing is clear that there was some kind of issue. Mr. Mercer graduated from the Switzer Learning Center in 2010. It is a high school that specializes in youths with learning disabilities. It is a broad term, learning disabilities. But more will come out, that is certain. And to note, Mr. Mercer had multiple weapons that, at this writing, he passed all the background checks and appeared to purchase legally.
Which leads to the Dear Leader, President Obama.
We know that he is pissed off because the gloves came off in a news conference yesterday.
An aside.
Why do we have to hear from any president on such a situation before everything is known? Whoever the next president is, I sure as hell do not want hear that president go on the air to pontificate without ascertaining all the facts. Period.
Now back to the Dear Leader, President Obama.
Why now, instead of just offering prayers and condolences, the Dear Leader, President Obama, said that we should just out and out politicize these events until there is "sensible" gun control laws.
Of course.
And now the Dear Leader, President Obama, claims that there is something "routine" about these reports. No, in fact these are still isolated incidents. That is why it is still big news.
But then the Dear Leader, President Obama, outright lied when he claimed that states and or localities that have strict gun laws have less violent crime. May I remind the president that his hometown of Chicago has some of the strictest gun restrictions and the highest murder, murder, rate at the hands of guns than many states with such laws as open-carry. And let me throw in a few cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and now even Los Angeles that the murder rate at the hands of a gun are up drastically.
So here is what our Dear Leader, President Obama, had to say about this matter:

"Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine, my response here at this podium ends up being routine. And what becomes routine is the response those who oppose any sort of gun control legislation."

Let me remind the readers here that the Dear Leader, President Obama, and the Democrats controlled the legislative (congress) and executive branches for the first two years of his presidency. And the senate was a veto-proof one at that. Hell, he could have done what he cited yesterday, the massive gun confiscation done in Australia after a mass shooting in 1996. And it was done under a conservative government there. Of course it would have been ruled unconstitutional under that pesky second amendment to the United States constitution. It reads in it's entirety:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,  the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 

I highlight people because it means law abiding citizens that could be called up in the case of war and or insurrection.
The American left hates this and intentionally blurs the plain meaning every chance that it gets. And here it is once again.
While the Donald often makes little if any sense and has a sketchy record on gun control, his statement made perfect sense. All the laws other than outright confiscation of all firearms might have stopped this. But reality is that it probably would not have done a thing.
Thus, mass murders will constantly be a source of great division for many Americans. But it would behoove Americans to have a sane, tempered approach rather than a knee-jerk We can solve the problem if only.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Is The American Left Intentionally Diminishing Our Role As The Leader Of The Free World?

Of course they are.
Think about this for just a moment.
The Middle East is about to become a vassal state of Russia/Syria/Iran on one side and Sunni/The Islamic State/Israel on another. What is the current administration's standing in all of this? Essentially letting Russia and Vladamir Putin prop up the Bashar al-Assad regime of terror, by extension allowing Iran to join in the fun and their vassal state within a state, Hezbollah (the state within the "borders" of Lebanon) trolling for enemies to their Shia branch of Islam.
And a seemingly unholy alliance of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and yes, Saudi Arabia and even more perplexing but understandable, the Islamic state, all Sunni's except for Israel, obviously.
The result of this war has been a mass exodus of people from the region to Europe, well pretty much everywhere that will in one way or another take them.
This is just one way America is weakened in the world.
But is this all by design?
The reason I believe that it is the case is simple.
Defense spending, the most important and only constitutionally mandated duty of the federal government, takes a huge bulk of spending that the left would like to see spread out in other ways. The only way to cut defense spending is to curb our role in the world. Once that is done then more of the defense budget can be cut and funnelled into favored left-wing programs.
Do you remember growing up seeing something that went like this:

It will be a great day when the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

That was because of schools having to hold fundraisers for various things. In a perfect world, I could agree with that. But unlike the lefties that still today parade that around, I live in the real world. A world in which there are nations and radical ideologies that would love to destroy our way of life. Radical Islam does not care if we hold a bake sale for a bomber or spend more money on education. They have their own, perverse, ideas about education. Iran looks to us as some Great Satan. We have to be put in our place. And bye-bye to Israel.
But why? Why would we either outsource and or abdicate our role in the world?
Because at the end of the day, to complete the Europeanization of the United States, the defense forces, again the only constitutionally mandated entity called for in the constitution, must be gutted. And that includes the State department and the C. I. A  as well. Once all of that is done, the left will make a case to expand the welfare state beyond the wildest dreams of even 20 years ago.
So yes, the American left, led by the Dear Leader, President Obama himself, is trying desperately to lower our standing and prestige around the world. There is even a segment of the isolationist right that would welcome this, but for different reasons.
Once that is done, then the Great Society can ramp up in earnest.
The fact is that, like it or not, the United States is the only superpower in the world that is a responsible one. The other actors such as Red China and Russia  could go half-cocked over something most would find innocuous. Without a strong United States at home and abroad, can you imagine what would happen if things continue to deteriorate in such places as the Middle East?
It is all the more reason that the Republicans need to nominate someone who has a clue on how a responsible superpower is supposed to act.
Because we all know the Democrats and the left-wing will not allow an actual candidate that believes in what we call American Exceptionalism.
As long as the left continues to diminish our role around the world, it becomes clear that they do not care. And that is a tragedy for the United States.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pat Sajak For California Governor?

With the California governor, Jerry Moonbeam Brown, being term-limited out of office in 2018, no time like now to begin to see a replacement for the four-term left-wing governor.
So why not Pat Sajak?!

Pat Sajak?!
Isn't he the dude that hosts the Wheel Of Fortune game show?
And what, pray tel, makes him worthy of consideration for California governor? Haven't we already had an actor screw up the state once?
Normally I would be in agreement.
But Mr. Sajak is NOT Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Well, Mr. Sajak is a Republican, right?
Yes, he is.
So he must be a squish, right? Just like Benedict Arnold, right?
In reading this I do not think so in the least.
Mr. Sajak is a solid conservative.
One huge difference is that Mr. Sajak is, to be blunt, a Globaloney Warming/Climate change denier. And while not a certified meteorologist, Mr. Sajak was a weather reporter for KNBC channel 4 in Los Angeles before he made it big in Wheel Of Fortune land. Along the way one has to assume he learned a thing or two about weather. And where it all fits in on the great ecological debate of this era.
Mr. Sajak is not shy about the fact he believes in what we now call American Exceptionalism. Here is from the profile article:

"The Wright Brothers, what was it, 1903, they got about 20 feet in the air and went about 180 feet. Sixty-six years later we put a man on the moon and brought him back. Oh, and in the meantime we fought two world wars and fought a great depression."

A very short, succinct history of the United States in the 20th century. I would add that, under Ronald Reagan, the United States defeated and literally ended expansionist Soviet communism.
Mr. Sajak is a college dropout but serves on the board of Hillsdale College. And a vice-chairman, no less.
Unlike Benedict Arnold, who ran for California governor on a lark, I would expect Mr. Sajak to think about it with seriousness. He is 68 years old and a very young looking one at that. He would be about 70 years old if he were to take the challenge. And he is not annoying about his politics. It rarely, if ever, shows up on Wheel Of Fortune. One of the extreme times it did it was not so political as it was somewhat endearing. Mr. Sajak was talking to a contestant and he said to the contestant "You're engaged - some woman agreed to marry you!" the man told Mr. Sajak, "Some gentleman." to which Mr. Sajak retorted in an innocuous way, "Oh, I'm sorry - wrong again. I had a 50-50 shot." Of course the gay crusaders noticed it during the summer reruns and gave Mr. Sajak a hard time. When Mr. Sajak is not hosting a television gold mine, he is doing some writing over at the Ricochet conservative website.
Mr. Sajak is a lot like Ronald Reagan in that he does not take himself seriously but the ideas matter to him.
But in a clearly moribund California Republican party, he very well could be a shot in the arm in making the party truly competitive statewide.
While he is not thinking about it now, Mr. Sajak has nothing to prove in Wheel Of Fortune land. It is more successful than he ever imagined. Mr. Sajak literally saved the show. He is a wealthy man.
Maybe it will be time for Mr. Sajak to save California from the excesses of the leftist power structure.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kevin McCarthy In Speaker Race

No surprise as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield, Ca.) announced that he will run in the election to replace John A. Boehner as speaker of the house.
In Rep. McCarthy's announcement, he sounded the right themes. And he did address the growing chasm between the GOP base voters and the representatives in Washington, D. C. in both the house and the senate:

 "If elected speaker, I promise you that we will have the courage to lead the fight for our conservative principles and make our case to the American people. But we will have the wisdom to listen to our constituents and each other so that we always move forward together. I look forward to fighting for our conservative principles."

Forgive us in the rank and file but part of the problem is that Rep. McCarthy is a part of the GOP house leadership. The same one that has been led by John Boehner. The same leadership that ignored the base. The same leadership that cannot point to a meaningful, conservative accomplishment under this leadership.
It is possible that Rep. McCarthy, watching what happened to Mr. Boehner, gets the message. Rep. McCarthy has the chance to make amends with conservatives in the congress by not punishing opposition to leadership. And pursuing measures that conservatives want to see at least come to a vote. And to use his bully pulpit to pressure the senate GOP leadership to take up some of if not all the measures that go that way.
There will be more than Rep. McCarthy running for sure. It all depends on if conservatives can, once and for all, rally behind one candidate.
Are you ready for another election campaign?!

How Boehner Screwed Up The GOP

Well, it's not all John A. Boehner's fault as much as the wing of the GOP that continues to pretty much ignore the base and pursue a "we're better at running the Welfare State than the Democrats" strategy.
Yesterday, the soon to be former speaker of the house took to the Sunday morning snore-fests to, essentially, diss the conservative base not just of the rank and file but of his own GOP caucus itself.
On Face The Nation, Mr. Boehner hung out the white flag in an obnoxious manner:

"And so, we've got groups here in town, members of the house and senate here in town, who whipped people into a frenzy believing that they know - they know - are never going to happen."

Great, Mr. Boehner. Then why are there two parties in the first place? Talk about feeding into the conspiracy theories. We give you a substantial majority in the house. We give Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a majority in the senate. And now you tell us it was all on falsehoods? Now you tell us that we need a Republican president; No kidding, Sherlock?! And a supermajority in both the house and senate. For what? To just drip the socialism slowly or to actually do what we, the voters, want?
I get it that there is a Democrat in the White House, the Dear Leader, President Obama. If Sen. McConnell had testes, he would force the nuclear option and block filibusters and send some of the legislation to the Dear Leader, President Obama, and let him veto it. That is what the Democrats did to then President Ford after the 1974 mid-term elections when they sent bill after bill that President Ford vetoed. Some were over ridden and became law. Other vetoes were sustained.
Taylor Millard over at Hot Air explains part of the problem and that is people being elected to do one thing, stay in Washington, D. C. way too long and become part of the problem.
John Boehner is but a perfect example of such a problem.
Mr. Boehner was elected in 1990 and joined with the Newt Gingrich forces that eventually ousted long-time house minority leader, Robert Michel. And he was all in on the Contract With America that was the cornerstone of the Republicans taking the house of representatives in 1994 for the first time since the 1950s. And when he saw that Mr. Gingrich was becoming politically toxic, Mr. Boehner was part of the so-called group that  led to the ouster of Mr. Gingrich as speaker.
So, Mr. Boehner for a while knew how to deal with the internal politics of the GOP caucus. And he moved up the ladder in leadership. And of course in 2010, he became the speaker of the house and the game seemed to change for Mr. Boehner, already a house member for 20 years.
Instead of talking about the efforts to fight the so-called health care "reform" and the other multitude of excesses of Team Obama, the is what Mr. Boehner thinks are accomplishments.

The Ryan-Murray budget and or sequestration. 

Extending most of the George W. Bush tax cuts.

Passage of the so-called "Doc-fix" bill. 

Mr. Millard, as I am, is not impressed with this record of accomplishment. I suspect most members of the house are not impressed either. And the rank and file GOP voter, forget it.
The problem is that there is just this obsession about the "institution" and "process" among the GOP leadership. Thus what happens is the conservative message is co-opted for elections and then we get crap. All the "accomplishments" Mr. Boehner cites are beyond inside baseball. Did Mr. Boehner have a tax reform plan? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! How about a plan to at the very least force some reform of Obamacare? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Those are but two issues that separate the GOP from the Democrats. And yet, yet nothing! NOTHING!
Now to many voters, the GOP is not a party of reform but of basically greasing the wheels for their clients.
THAT is how Mr. Boehner, and Sen. McConnell are screwing up the GOP.
I pleased that Mr. Boehner is retiring but mad that he did not appreciate the mandate that he was given to be bold and lead. He became the very establishment that he fought against in his early years.
Whoever replaces Mr. Boehner needs to remember that an opposition party can still get what it wants even if the end result is not a absolute victory.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Letter Of James

The letter of James is much more interesting now that I have taken to writing about it.
I did not realize how much importance there is to the letter.
Today's reading from the Letter of James is important as it speaks of bringing a Christian believer (although not specifically referred to as such since the Christian church was not distinct from first-century Judaism yet) who strays back to the fold.
The reading (James 5 13-20):

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them., anointing them in the name of the Lord with oil. The prayer of the sick will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
My brothers and sisters, if anyone wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul and from death and cover a multitude of sins.

There is so much to unpack, as they say. But I want to deal the last sentence because that is something that I know affects every believer at some point in the Christian journey.
As a Christian, I believe in the truth of Jesus Christ. That he was born of a virgin and lived and died as one of us. That he was betrayed, crucified, died and buried. And that he rose on the third day and is sitteth at the right hand of the father and will come back to judge the quick and the dead. And that He died on the cross to absolve me of my sins if I just believe in him as Lord and Savior.
That is the very, very short version of the truth of Christianity.
But many people, many actually brought up in the church from baby to young adulthood end up at some point rejecting that truth. Some look at other religions. Some look to the "earthly" things such a success and drive to achievement. In the process, they lose that understanding of the simple truths of the faith.
One of the most prolific reasons, I believe, is the reality that all organized religion of any kind is led by human beings. Some of those human beings are driven by their own agenda and not that which is God's agenda.
Think about before the Protestant reformation and the fact that the organized clergy kept the Holy Bible from the people. Only they could read from the Holy Bible and it was in a language that, as the Book of Common Prayer notes in the 39 Articles of Religion, not understandeth by the people. Latin was not understood by the average German. Spaniard. English-speaker. By translating the Holy Bible into the language of the people where ever they lived, it took so much of the mystery of of the Holy Bible.
It also meant that we could all study the Holy Bible and understand such a powerful reading as the one above.
Do you have someone that you care about who has left the Christian fold? One that you wished you could bring back to the fold but did not know how?
What I understand this reading to mean is that the power of prayer can work. It may not be the way we think, but by prayer and asking God to directly intervene, which he also can do in his way, not ours, is all that it takes. It may not be some way to beat to the power of Christ but simply and sincerely saying to that person, "I'll pray for you." maybe all that it takes.
Remember, God is the one in charge.
And that is what makes this letter so important to remember.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Ultimate Friday News Dump; John Boehner To Resign As House Speaker

The Flaming Skull over at the Ace of Spades and Allahpundit's updates are proof of the ultimate Friday news dump.
That is that the speaker of the house, John Boehner, will resign as speaker and the house at the end of October.

The likely replacement will be the house majority leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
Ahh, not so fast.
According to one of Allahpundit's updates, some conservatives may try to "Livingston" the likely successor, Mr. McCarthy.
The short history of what "Livingston" means is when Newt Gingrich resigned in the late 1990's, his successor was to be the then house majority leader, Bob Livingston (R-La.). But then it was exposed that he was having an affair and he stepped aside for the eventual winner, Denny Hastert (R-Ill.)
And there has been speculation, of course not confirmed, that Mr. McCarthy is a married man cavorting. And not just with any gal but another Republican congressman, Renee Elmers (R-N.C.)
If that is the case one of two things can happen.
Mr. McCarthy will be a conservative dream, held hostage in a sense, to be at the seat of power. Or he will try to be like a Boehner and seen as to willing to compromise. That will lead to either a drip of a possible McCarthy affair or an outright exposure that will lead Mr. McCarthy to stand down and also resign a la Livingston. And if it is with another member of congress, that congressman will probably resign as well.
So what other candidates are there out there?
One to watch is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Oh.), a solid conservative and one that I believe will unify clearly disparate forces within the GOP majority.
Of course there is Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N. C.) who started the latest round of Boehner hate by filing a motion to "vacate the Chair" of speaker. Bet on him to run no matter what. Why not? He has nothing to lose, right?
My guess is that unless there is a serious attempt to oust Mr. McCarthy, he will become the next speaker of the house. And before people get all upset, Mr. McCarthy will be on a short leash by conservatives. Look for a possible McCarthy speakership to be more confrontational with Democrats and the Dear Leader, President Obama. Whoever is the new speaker that will be the case no matter what.
It really is the ultimate Friday news dump for John Boehner to resign as speaker while Pope Francis sucks up the news cycle on his first visit to the United States ever.