On Nov. 3 at the Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland Democratic Congressman Mike Honda of San Jose reportedly invoked the question “What Would Jesus Do?” to a group of “little people” and “average citizens” as part of the Occupy Oakland Movement. The orchestrated answer came from the crowd: “spend money;” in other words “tax the rich.”
A four-minute video of the event can be found here.
The main slogan of the broader Occupy Wall Street Movement protesters has become “We are the 99 percent,” referring to the presumed growing difference in wealth in the U.S. between the so-called “1 percent” at the top of the social class levels and the remainder of the population.
It takes roughly $344,000 to qualify in the 1 percent category in the U.S.
In Pasadena the median home value in 2010 was $510,000 and about 865 houses sold for more than $344,000. A very rough estimate is that about 2,400 households in Pasadena make more than $344,000 per year in gross income.
But what about Congressman Honda’s question: “What would Jesus do?”
It was Karl Marx’s fellow traveler and writer Friedrich Engels who was one of the first modern day leaders of a proletarian social movement who tried to appropriate Christianity for Communism when he wrote:
“The history of early Christianity has notable points of resemblance with the modern working class movement. Like the latter, Christianity was originally a movement of oppressed people: it first appeared as the religion of slaves and emancipated slaves, or poor people deprived of rights, of peoples subjugated or dispersed by Rome” (Marx and Engels, On Religion, 1894). Karl Kautsky went to so far as to say that Jesus was one of the first socialists and his movement achieved true communism.
In Monrovia, California during the Great Depression it was socialist writer Upton Sinclair who ran for Governor under the slogan “End Poverty in California” (EPIC), formed the A.C.L.U., and in his book “Religious Profits” believed that religion was the “source of income to parasites and the natural ally of every form of oppression and exploitation.” Sinclair never joined the Social Gospel movement of the Depression Era led by Walter Rauschenbusch.
In his book The Social Sources of Denominationalism written in 1929, American theologian and sociologist H. Richard Niebuhr said that religious movements are “the child of an outcast minority, taking its rise in the religious revolts of the poor.”
In the 1960’s, University of California trained sociologist Rodney Stark advanced a “deprivation theory” of religious social movements that proposed that people sought “religious solutions to their misery when direct action failed or was impossible.” But this theory failed to explain any difference with non-religious social movements and why such movements are typically led by the children of the wealthy, such as the adult children of Muslim elites recrutited into contemporary Jihadist-motivated terrorism.
Stark has turned 180-degrees and now asserts: “religious movements typically are launched by the privileged class.”
Even biblical Christians often seem to overlook verses in Christian scriptures such as Second Corinthians 8:9 where the Apostle Paul wrote:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” While this verse has been “spiritualized” it might be reflective of the truth that Jesus came from a rich family.
For as W.H.C. Frend writes in his The Rise of Christianity (1984:57): Jesus’ parents were well of enough “to have had property in Capernaum as well as Nazareth.” Jesus’ parents could also afford to go to Jerusalem each year for Passover, which most could not have afforded, let alone leaving their farm fields unguarded.
Having two houses today and going on annual vacations would be a sign that one had reached the proverbial “1%” of the Occupy Movement.
In Jesus’ Parable of the Talents he indicates his family was rich and that he had some knowledge of banking and investment. Jesus spoke to privileged audiences. As George Wesley Buchanan noted in his chapter “Jesus and the Upper Class” in his Novum Testamentum (1964: 205): Jesus’ parables “would be pointless if told to people who had not enough wealth to entertain guests, hire servants, be generous with contributions, etc.”
Jesus did reach out to the poor and the marginalized but he associated and preached to the wealthy such as Zacchaeus, a rich tax collector, Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy convert, Joanna, a steward of Herod Antipas, and Susanna, a wealthy woman and benefactor to the Jesus movement.
“What would Jesus do?” I agree with sociologist Peter L. Berger that there is no way of knowing and that solutions to such complex economic issues as the current day financial crisis cannot be found in what was written about him.
But in Matthew 26: 6 to 11 we find an intriguing story. Jesus was ready to have dinner at the home of a Pharisee and an unidentified “woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head.” His disciples became outraged because it could “have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor.” But Jesus is said to have replied: “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.”
As noted in the book The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius by Paul Trebilco (2004:406), the price of the ointment was equal to a year’s wages for the typical worker of that time.
From all that we can know, Jesus would be one of the one-percenters of today’s Occupy Wall Street Movement whose leaders are also drawn from the upper middle class if not from the top 1 percent.
Which leads to a proposition: be skeptical of those appropriating Jesus, whether they are part of the “system or the horde.”
Officials are looking for ways to trim $3.6 million more from the city’s 2012-13 budget as revenue falls short of expectations and health-care costs for workers increase.
With the economy stagnant and the state in dire fiscal straits, city leaders had planned for a $4.7-million deficit next year, Pasadena Finance Director Andy Green said. But revised projections released last month bumped the gap to $8.3 million. The city’s overall General Fund budget is $215.8 million.
City department heads are examining options to present to the City Council — including possible layoffs — to close the gap.
“Nothing is being held back as far as recommendations to the council,” Green said. “I can’t say for sure [that layoffs are] not going to happen.”
The City Council is expected to vote on proposed cuts Nov. 28, officials said.
Declining sales and utility tax revenues are major factors hurting the city’s bottom line.
City officials originally projected sales tax revenues of $31.3 million, but now have lowered that estimate by $1 million.
Sales tax revenues were about $29 million in the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years, the lowest since $28.4 million in 2002. The effects of the recession are lingering longer in Pasadena than elsewhere, Green said.
“Sales tax in the city of Pasadena has really taken a beating in the last couple of years, whereas surrounding cities like Glendale seem to be coming out of that,” Green said. “Pasadena has yet to show sustained increases.”
The city lost 11 auto dealerships in the past 10 years, spurring a 31% decrease in taxable sales from what was once the city’s highest-producing retail sector.
“The city was trying to make an effort to keep the auto dealers here, but the economy chased them away,” Green said. “That decline is going to be a continual hit.”
The city had also anticipated $32.6 million in revenues from its utility users tax, which is applied to residents’ use of water, electricity, telephone and cable service. Under recently revised figures, the city now expects only $30.2 million.
The drop in water-related revenue is a product of the city’s success in convincing residents to conserve water.
“That’s the challenge,” City Manager Michael Beck said. “But you still want to encourage people to save water.”
As officials deal with a loss of revenue, employee health costs are on the rise. Pasadena officials are anticipating an 8.5% increase in 2012. The city paid an increase of $1,064 per full-time employee in the past two years, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
City leaders are not looking forward to the prospect of reducing staff. In the past three years Pasadena has eliminated 286 positions.
“We’re at a point where the next level of reductions are going to be difficult for us,” Beck said.
It's unfortunate – but nevertheless political reality – that the Capitol almost never moves beyond money in its perpetual debate over how our 6 million-plus public school students should be educated.
While money is certainly important, it's just as certainly not the only factor, and likely not even the most important one, in how well students fare.
Family engagement, language barriers, popular culture, peer pressure and quality of teaching all contribute to, or subtract from, outcomes that are, according to the latest national academic tests, among the nation's worst.
The California Budget Project, a liberal group that advocates for more spending, continues the money obsession with a new report contending that public education is being woefully underfinanced.
The CBP calls it "a decade of disinvestment" that has "left public systems and programs ill-equipped to cope with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession and the challenges of a growing population and an ever-more-competitive global economy."
The report, citing data from the National Education Association and federal agencies, declares that California is 46th among the states in per-pupil spending at $8,908 per year, nearly $3,000 under the national average; 47th in school spending as a percentage of personal income; 50th in the number of students per teacher, and so forth.
It's a selective array of data, perhaps chosen to support a proposed tax increase for schools. It does not, for example, include the fact that California teachers are very nearly the highest paid in the nation.
Moreover, it paints a much darker picture than data from other sources. The Census Bureau, for instance, surveys all forms of school spending and pegs California's per-pupil number at $11,588, just $662 under the national average and 27th highest in the nation, not 46th.
And it's much higher in some big-city school systems, such as Los Angeles Unified, which has more than 600,000 students, spends $14,100 per pupil, and has about a 50 percent high school dropout rate.
But even assuming the CBP's numbers are valid, it misses a more important point. California's state-local tax burden is one of the nation's highest, so if schools are being shortchanged, it's a political choice, not necessarily an overall lack of money.
We – as voters or through those we elect – chose to have the nation's most expensive prison system, costing at least $5 billion more a year than it should, which would equate to $800 per public school pupil.
We chose, with 12 percent of the nation's population, to have nearly a third of its welfare caseload, to have the nation's lowest community college fees, and to have a very expensive public pension system.
So if we want to spend more money on schools and less elsewhere, that's also a choice.
Pasadena asked for this. It has favored the anti-war Left with anti-war declarations and relaxed public signage rules to allow political statements on private homes. Now the Left want to ruin the Rose Parade. Why not appoint Peter Dreier as the Grand Marshall and have proletariat floats that bash corporations? Watch the corporate sponsors pull out.
EXCERPTED FROM CAL POLITICAL NEWS
Want to kill an iconic event? Allow gangsters and terrorist to disrupt the Rose Bowl Parade on New Years Day.
“Peter Thottam is the creator of Occupy Los Angeles and is also the progressive force behind Occupy the Rose Parade.
Thottam’s been planning this occupation disruption of the Rose Parade for the last six months — at least that’s how long he’s had the “Occupy the Rose Parade” Twitter feed going.”
The organizer is also a very sleazy attorney. “But what the LA Times and others in the Make-Believe Media apparently missed, or overlooked, are the public records: From the California Bar Journal Discipline Summaries we learn that back in 2004, while a lawyer, Peter Thottam pled guilty to the crime of petty theft. Then, in violation of ethics rules, he failed to report his criminal conviction to the state bar. Once discovered, Thottam suffered the disgrace of having his law license suspended by the California State Bar in 2008.”
This man should not be arrested, he needs therapy and a commitment. If not, we will have a new reality show on January 1st–”Riot at the Rose Parade”.
The Pasadena Sun newspaper is claiming that there is mud slinging going on in the PCC Board race between incumbent Dr. Jeanette Mann and challenger Brian Fuller. But no one is slinging mud as the PUSD Board and the Pasadena Weekly did at Sean Baggett when he ran for PUSD school board. Dr. Jeanette Mann took a figurative mud bath when she allegedly violated the law and used her address for her non-resident adult children to vote in Pasadena elections. You can read the slanted story in the Sun here:
According to up to date records from Political Data, Inc. which they got from the LA County Registrar, Stephen Mann's ballot has been cast and returned. In other words, Stephen Mann, 19 year resident ofWaterloo, Ontario, Canada, has voted in this election.
A PCC student was supposed to deliver the statement below tonight at the PCC Board of Trustees meeting regarding the allegations that Dr. Jeanette Mann is implicated in voter fraud. Believing that thugs should never be appeased here is the statement:
Good evening members of the Board of Trustees.
The Last time I spoke to the Board, I spoke of the need to hold people to account. I said that if the Board of Trustees is not held to account, no one on campus can be. I referred to the actions of Dr. Jeanette Mann during her current term on the Board, including her intervening in the Presidential hiring process that resulted in the disaster named Perfumo. That cost PCC two years and a million dollars.
I mentioned her ethical lapses of judgment, including the disclosure of the District's negotiating position to the Faculty Union and her seeking endorsements and money a few weeks ago by using PCC employees' on-campus e-mail addresses and work time. I mentioned how rude and disrespectful she is.
Now I am compelled to talk about something even more serious.
Dr. Mann's son Stephen went to Cal Berkley for his undergraduate degree. Then he moved out of the State of California. First to Washington where he got his Master's degree in 1988 and then his Ph.D. in 1992. Then he moved out of the country, when he accepted a teaching assignment at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. He has been a permanent resident in Canada where he has a family and earns his livelihood. All of those things are perfectly acceptable.
What is not acceptable is that to this day, Dr. Stephen Mann continues to have absentee ballots sent to him. Worse, they were submitted and his votes were cast as recently as March and April 2011 in the local Pasadena school board election. Now, one of two things is true: either Dr. Mann filled them out and cast his votes, or they were sent to her son in Canada, then mailed back and submitted. In any event, any ballot cast by a non-resident of the State of California in a non-federal election is illegal.
The Election Codes I am referring to are as follows:
Election Code: 18501. Any public official who knowingly violates any of the
Provisions of this chapter, and thereby aids in any way the illegal
casting or attempting to cast a vote, or who connives to nullify any
of the provisions of this chapter in order that fraud may be perpetrated, shall forever be disqualified from holding office in
this state and upon conviction shall be sentenced to a state prison
for 16 months or two or three years.
Election Code: 2300. (a) All voters, pursuant to the California Constitution and
this code, shall be citizens of the United States. There shall be a
Voter Bill of Rights for voters, available to the public, which shall
(1) (A) You have the right to cast a ballot if you are a valid
(B) A valid registered voter means a United States citizen who is
a resident in this state, who is at least 18 years of age and not in
prison or on parole for conviction of a felony, and who is registered
to vote at his or her current residence address.
Election Code: 18500: Any person who commits fraud or attempts to commit fraud,
and any person who aids or abets fraud or attempts to aid or abet fraud,
in connection with any vote cast, to be cast, or attempted to
be cast, is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for 16
months or two or three years.
So Dr. Mann, it appears you committed a number of felonies, which could may include election fraud, conspiracy to commit election fraud, aiding or abetting in a fraud, mail fraud, forgery, and/or perjury. Or have you been a willing dupe for the past twenty years and just remained silent.
I ended the last time by demanding that Dr. Mann resign before the election on November 8. I still demand that. People have got to be held to account, and that must start with you, the Board. When Board members break policies, rules, regulations, and commit felonies, and it is just ignored or papered over, what have we come to?
Dr. Mann, why don't you finally show leadership and step aside?