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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEIU Going for 22% Pay Increase

Taxpayers and business owners of California, lest you thought that our beloved Legislature was done with you, think again. The other shoe is about to drop on your fiscal head.

While you are toiling away at your jobs with the shadow of a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage hanging over your head, standby. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has big plans for you. They are advocating an across the board 22 percent raise for all state workers that they represent. Of this, two percent of this increase will go towards retirement.


image
SEIU Flyer


Still time to go to Texas or face the wrath of these economically illiterate elites running this crazy state.

Posted by william on 05/24 at 06:42 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pregnancy Scare on Airplane

When speaking about popular culture, I have heard it claimed that movies with historical settings often show you more about modern culture than they do what really happened in the past. Movies like Mel Gibson’s The Patriot ” and Russell Crowe’s Noah ” come to mind. I’m sure that my readers can name several other flicks that also fall into this category.

It is not often that much of pop-culture can be distilled to one single event or news story but I think I found one that covers many bases at one time.

I wish to present this gem that was offered by Microsoft Network (MSN) earlier today.

Kim Kardashian Has Pregnancy Scare on an Airplane
Article: Kim Kardashian has pregnancy scare on an airplane

Many questions and issues are raised by this one celebrity puff piece.

What is a pregnancy scare? And how does one experience a “pregnancy scare” on an airplane.

Normally I would ignore such an article but look at the context this week.

• The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is having a systematic breakdown in commercial airports all over the United States. Lines are three hours long in many areas just so passengers can get thru the security checkpoints.

• Two days ago a terrorist attack caused the crash of a flight from Paris to Cairo, Egypt. Even having three air marshals on the flight did nothing to prevent this attack.

• Now we have a genuine “pop tart” in the news because of something that happened on a plane.

Air travel is definitely in the news this week.

So how does a big time celebrity have a “pregnancy scare” on an airplane?
Did some TSA guy pull her aside for a cavity search and then act like Bill Clinton?
Did she behave stupidly and try to get into the mythical “mile high club” only to later regret it?

As the article points-out, Kardashian is married and a mother of two children. So what does pregnancy have to do with a plane flight? Doesn’t the phrase “pregnancy scare” seem like a backhanded way of portraying pregnancy as a bad thing? It seems like the language someone who identifies themselves as “pro-abortion” would use.

So the set-up is this: sex symbol woman that has virtually every crevasse of her body all over the Internet, seems worried about the consequences of sex catching up with her behavior, and somehow this all involves an airplane too . What a strange mixture of issues is converging on this one article.

As it turns out, Kardashian decided to take a pregnancy test in the midst of her flight and broadcast the results live on the Internet to all of her followers.

Kim Kardashian had a small pregnancy scare on Thursday, so she did what anyone would in that situation: She took a pregnancy test on an airplane and broadcast it to the world via Snapchat.

“I’m legit in the airplane bathroom about to take a pregnancy test because I’m having a little bit of a scare,” Kim announced in her first Snapchat video.



I’m sorry but why would someone ever share this on the Internet? Is Kim on the fetish channel?

Think about it; she is live streaming her streaming of pee to test for female hormones and then look for a plus or minus.

The letters T.M.I. come to mind. Too Much Information.

Kim do the rest of us a favor and keep your privates parts private and your martial behavior in your bedchamber.

Whoever wrote this story claiming that Kardashian “did what anyone would in that situation” is clearly living in a different world that I am.

Like I said at the beginning, this story touches on lots of aspects of pop-culture. It is a sad commentary on societal decay. As the Litany would say, from this too good Lord deliver us.

Posted by william on 05/20 at 08:29 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Minors and Microsoft Band 2

My son is an avid reader and as an incentive to push him, we offered him some cash if he would get a certain point value by the end of the school year. (Each book he reads at school has a point system based on content and grade level.)

Earlier this month, he achieved the goal set for him and wanted to use his money to buy a Microsoft Band 2. About a week ago, the Band arrived from Amazon. It was on sale again for $175.

I had him charge it while I was at work and when I got home, I told him that I would connect it with his Lumia 640.

image


What should have been a five minute procedure ended up taking 3 ½ hours.

First, the Band is designed to sync with the Microsoft Health application. Unlike Apple products, the Microsoft Band works on Windows, Android, and Apple phones. What I learned is that on a Windows phone, there is no ability to log off of the Microsoft Health app. It is defaulted to use the user signed into the phone. Well the Lumia 640 was my old phone. I uninstalled the app and then reinstalled, hoping to get a log-in prompt. This failed.

I deleted my email accounts, entered my son’s email account, and tried again. The Microsoft health app then tried to log into my son’s account.

I need to give you a bit of background to understand what happened next. My son is listed as my son on my Microsoft Live account. As such, I have some ability to monitor his Internet activity and control things like purchases that he makes on the phone. By having his age listed, I can also control what he does on the XBOX.

When the app tried to log on to my son’s Microsoft account, it gave him an error stating that he was too young to use the Band and locked him out of the app. We deleted the app and reinstalled. The app jumped to this same blocked message.

I ended up wiping the phone completely and starting over. After I tried to run the Microsoft Health app, it once again locked him out due to his age. Please remember that without the ability for him to connect to this application, the Band is a $175 brick.

I researched this on the Internet and found that the Microsoft Health app will only allow connections with people 18 and older . Nowhere is this documented on Microsoft’s sales information on the Band. I then researched how to change his age on the youth account. Once I changed his age to 21 in my Live account, I was told by the website that this made him an adult and he could no longer be under my supervision. Reluctantly, I agreed to this.

Then we tried the MS Health app again. We were still locked-out. So once again I had to wipe the phone and start over. This time when the Microsoft app was installed, it reluctantly allowed him to connect. My problem is that the version of Windows 10 on the phone is a beta copy and not an approved production release. By wiping my account, I’m sure I broke the link to get further updates on the phone.

I think it is stupid that Microsoft targets youth to buy their Band and then won’t let them use it because they are youth. Thus we need to lie to MS about the age of our children to use their products.

What kind of society are we living in? We aren’t supposed to care which bathroom our children use or if they get an abortion but they have to be over 18 to buy a glorified watch?

Clearly there are lawyers involved in this somehow. You’d think Microsoft would get their highly paid lobbyists to fix any issues that might prevent youth from using their products. I’m sure Fitbit has no such concerns about their products. In fact I doubt many people in Fitbit’s ads are over 18.

The bottom line is when you get your kids a Microsoft Band 2 be sure and lie about their age before trying to connect it to the Internet. Great product, but lying is not good behavior to model for your kids.

Posted by william on 05/17 at 09:41 AM
TechnologyPermalink

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review: Golden 1 Forces Quicken Use

A week ago, my financial institution killed my ability to use Microsoft Money. Up to this point, I’ve been happy with Golden 1 Credit Union but this move has given me pause to consider moving my finances to another business. 

Three reasons why I’m not happy:
• Golden 1 lied
• Quicken is inferior
• Privacy and Security concerns


Golden 1 Bad IT Guys
Golden 1 lied to their customers when they claimed that their software upgrade just made their site more secure and gave customers more options. They never stated that they would be discontinuing support for Money ahead of the upgrade. Not in emails to customers nor on their website. This is lousy customer service. In fact, they state just the opposite.

Does everything work the same as before the upgrade?
We worked hard to make sure that all functionality within Online and Mobile Banking remains the same.
https://www.golden1.com/OnlineServices/NewLook

The above statement has clearly been proven false.

My wife and I wrote to Golden 1 about this and got the following response. In effect, we were told to go pound sand.

Thank you for your email. Microsoft Money was discontinued in 2009, therefore it is not compatible with our website. Although you may have been able to use the service after it was discontinued, technical support is no longer offered. Golden 1 supports Quicken for Windows 2014 and 2015, Quicken for Mac 2007 and Essentials, as well as Buxfer and Mint.

When Golden 1 upgraded their website, the Quicken file format changed from QIF to QFX. I think they hosed some Quicken users as well.

Again, money was compatible with their website before the upgrade.


Quicken Inferior by Design
You may ask why I’m so upset? Quicken has always been an inferior product to Money.

Here are some samples of the differences:

Transaction entry screens

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Microsoft Money entry screen


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Quicken entry screen

Money gives you a way bigger area to enter a transaction on the same screen as your account register. In Quicken you have to resort to pop-up windows to find something comparable. This is a clunky design that is not user friendly.

Money lets you hide items that are reconciled without affecting the bank balance.  This allows you to limit your day-to-day interaction to recent items. Historical data is one mouse click away. If you try this in Quicken it will literally change the numbers that it shows for your bank account. This is stupid behavior.

I do accounting for a living. My bank balance is a record of withdrawals and deposits and that is the only things that should change it. If I want to slice and dice my financial information, I can run a report. Reporting is a separate tab in both programs.

In Money my ending balance is my ending balance and the check register stays the same (reconciled items are older and to see them you just scroll up).

In Quicken, this is a convoluted question. If you select to show only unreconciled items instead of all transactions then the running balance in the account goes into crazy land.

imageimage

Here are screenshots for the same transactions in Quicken toggling between All Transactions and Unreconciled Transactions. In money the running balance would not change.

The download and matching of transactions in Quicken also seems inferior to Money. Matching transactions in Money was intuitive but Quicken requires much more clicking to do the same task.

The other gripe I have is the invasiveness of Intuit. When I install Money, I click on setup.exe and install the program and go. If I have a Money file, I just double click on it and I’m off to the races but Intuit is different and not in a good way.

When I installed Quicken, it offered to import my Money file. Once I did that, I was forced to go to a registration screen and either create a new Intuit account or login and tie-in my Quicken account to my Turbo Tax account. Without your financial data being tied to Intuit via the Internet you cannot run the program. 

Quicken also gladly offers to keep a copy of all your banking data on their website. As invasive as their program is, I wonder if they are anyway.

The Quicken program does not have a product key required for installation, just the requirement that you have an Intuit account. Without a product key, Quicken can be installed on as many devices as you wish but the program needs an Intuit account in order to run.


Quicken Bugs
I did experience two bugs in the program while messing with all this nonsense.

First, on my Windows 10 desktop, Quicken was unable to connect to the Internet. After messing around for longer than I should have, I finally found the “Mondo Patch” for Quicken 2016.
Link to Mondo Patch
Once installed, I was able to get beyond the registration screen.

I later installed Quicken on my wife’s Lenovo laptop and did not experience this issue. After waiting about 10 minutes, the program finally patched itself before completing setup.

A second bug that I experienced was the mess Quicken made of my Money file. Quicken duplicated about twelve transactions in my check register and overstated my bank balance in excess of $4,000. Quicken created duplicates of items that had been reconciled in the previous month plus some other nonsense. I really hated going into my check register and deleting transactions but that’s what it took.

Not a good first impression!


Price
Before I get to my next section I did want to mention price.
Microsoft Money Sunset is a free download Money Download is here

Of course I couldn’t just get the basic version of Quicken, I needed Quicken Deluxe to import Money files. The program sells at Fry’s and Best Buy for $75. Thankfully, it sells at Sam’s Club for $55.

I wish back in the day that Microsoft had purchased Intuit but the Clinton Administration nixed the deal.

The Microsoft Corporation, in the software industry’s largest acquisition ever, agreed today to acquire Intuit Inc., the producer of the leading personal finance program, Quicken, in a stock swap valued at about $1.5 billion.
Microsoft to buy Intuit


Privacy
I have problems with all my personal information being retained by Intuit. Over the years my concern has grown. I have come to understand that they are retaining large amounts of data on users of their products.  This information is a lot of knowledge and corporate power that they could wield. Intuit is maintaining files on millions of people.

Writing about Mint—another Intuit company—and online privacy concerns I found this:

Finally, besides security issues, there are also privacy issues associated with using such sites. The sites are sitting on financial behavior information that would be extremely valuable in aggregate to marketers and others if they chose to sell it, an option Mr. Patzer of Mint.com has spoken about in the past.

Plus, even if a site promises now not to sell aggregate data about customers, it could change the agreement at any time and go ahead and sell the data. In addition, if such sites go bankrupt, even if they currently don’t sell data, trustees may decide to sell it to maximize the value of the assets.
Should you trust Mint?

I found this in the Quicken privacy policy.

If Quicken or its assets are acquired by another company, or in the event of a merger, consolidation, change in control, transfer of substantial assets, reorganization, or liquidation, we may transfer, sell, or assign to third parties, information concerning your relationship with us, including, without limitation, personal information that you provide and other information concerning your relationship with us.
Quicken Privacy Policy

See also Quicken-Intuit privacy hole

Bottom line is “we might keep your info safe but if we transfer it elsewhere, you’re on your own”.

Also, in the privacy notice, it says NOTE that on April 1, 2016 Quicken has changed ownership and is no longer a part of Intuit.

The notice then goes on to say that Quicken will continue to use the Intuit ID
This will remain in effect as a service that Intuit provides to the Quicken organization.

So presumably Intuit gives Quicken a copy of my financial data because I use their log-in services?
So does this mean hackers have two sets of data they can target? Or can be sold to a third party?


Security Concerns
Intuit seems to have better image control than the University of California at Davis campus.
However, every once in a while, their company makes the news.

As you might recall, there was a security scare with Intuit just last year.

On Thursday the company had stopped transmitting state returns filed via TurboTax because of “an increase in suspicious filings and attempts by criminals to use stolen identity information to file fraudulent state tax returns and claim tax refunds,” Intuit said in a blog post at the time. The company began transmitting state returns again on Friday afternoon Pacific Time after determining that the faked filings “did not result from a security breach of its systems,” according to a follow-up post.
http://www.cnet.com/news/turbotax-back-to-full-speed-after-fraud-concerns/

Intuit glitch affects one percent of their users.

A programming glitch in Intuit Inc.‘s TurboTax software has posed a potential security problem for as many as 150,000 users and may force them to change their passwords, the company said Thursday.
ABC News Technology story

That’s right, one percent is 150,000 thousand users. That means over 15 million use Turbo Tax.

As more people move to web based solutions, I think the likelihood that Intuit or Quicken gets hacked increases. I wish consumers like me could reduce this part of our digital footprint to minimize the impact that this will have.

Conclusion
I sure miss the old days of keeping my finances between me and my bank.

Posted by william on 05/15 at 11:01 AM
TechnologyPermalink

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jim Cooper’s Funny Business

I was minding my own business today when I saw the most incredible thing, this framed sign was next to the ice tea dispenser in the Elk Grove Dos Coyotes restaurant.

Jim Cooper—our local Democrat Assembly member is the small business of the month. Where is this award from; perhaps Texas?
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Cooper is a waste of a politician. He wants to take away our freedom and give more power to the state. His only legislative claim to fame was introducing a bill to require Apple to put a backdoor into their phone operating system so government could snoop on its citizens any time they wanted.

Cooper, et al, hostile to business
Cooper and his Party have made California the worst business climate of any state in the union.

Lest you think I exaggerate, here is a small sample:

2014

California is the Worst State for Business for the Tenth Year in a Row
http://chiefexecutive.net/California-is-the-worst-state-for-business-2014/

Meanwhile, California, New Jersey and New York are ranked as the worst places to own or relocate a business due to their complex tax structures with comparatively high rates.
http://www.nfib.com/content/playbook/california/10-best-and-worst-states-for-small-business-taxes-64479/

2015

It must be rainbows, butterflies and unicorns for Sacramento liberals, as California successfully defends its crown as America’s CEOs again named California the worst state to do business-for the eleventh straight year.
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/05/27/california-wins-worst-state-to-do-business-for-11th-year/

California’s Worst Rankings
#50 Regulatory climate
#50 Incentives climate
#50 High school attainment: 82.1% of adult population
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2015/11/19/californias-business-competitiveness-where-it-ranks-best-and-worst/#1c70f126af6c

California has received a grade of F in small business friendliness, according to Thumbtack’s fourth annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, which surveyed over 2,000 small businesses in the state on a broad range of policy factors.

California not only earned an F in overall friendliness, but in ease of starting a business, business regulations, labor regulations, tax regulations, licensing forms and environmental regulations. The state also received a D+ in health and safety regulations and zoning regulations, as well as a C- in training and networking programs and C in ease of hiring.
http://www.turlockjournal.com/archives/30100/

Cooper lives off public sector
Before getting to the Assembly, Cooper ran for sheriff on a platform of financing the department solely by revenue from traffic cameras. Somehow the media didn’t think this was noteworthy enough to document at the time. The only reference I can find is listed below.

Proposed new taxes. Big proponent of red light cameras (in fact, it was the first thing he brought up when asked about budget issues on the 1380 KTKZ debate).
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-292887.html


Lastly, California government—including Cooper—doesn’t produce anything. Cooper is getting $173,000 in retirement plus his salary as an Assembly member.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, $173,820. Cooper retired two years ago at age 50 as a captain with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
http://www.redwoodtimes.com/article/zz/20160410/NEWS/160419866

At least 16 other state lawmakers collect two checks each month, including Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), who retired two years ago at 50 as a captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. When added to his legislative pay, Cooper’s annual pension of $173,820 brings his total income each year to $273,000.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-pension-stacking-20160410-htmlstory.html

The idea that Cooper could be called a small business man is ridiculous.

Do you believe in coincidence?
Lastly, I find it suspicious that a business based in the liberal enclave of Davis, just happens to pick Cooper as the business guy of the month at the same time ballots are being mailed to voters in his district.

Dos Coyotes has never had a business of the month until Cooper’s name just happened to show-up on their wall. I know, I frequently eat there.

I think this is backhanded in-kind contribution for some unnamed favor that Cooper did for them.

Posted by william on 05/14 at 06:22 PM
BloggingPermalink

Monday, May 09, 2016

Kirk Uhler’s Troubling Record

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

I Thessalonians 5: 22

The modern version of this advice might be rendered as “avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest”. This advice is a command of Scripture and considered both good public policy and ethical behavior in the business world.

However, a glaring exception to this principle of right conduct is Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler. Kirk could benefit from the sage advice of Kenny Rodgers about knowing when to hold ‘em and when to walk away. Kirk just can’t seem to do that. He seems willing to plunge headlong into the gray areas with abandon and he just can’t walk away when he should.

Kirk has ethical lapses and potential conflicts of interest about as regularly as a ranch hand encounters “landmines” when walking thru his pasture.


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Photo from Placer County website


We’ve talked before about Uhler’s involvement in looting the treasury of the Placer County Republican Assembly in May of 2015.

This year, Kirk even has trouble getting the endorsement of the Placer County Republican Party. This should be a slam-dunk for an incumbent politician.

Below are a few other colorful incidents of this public servant.


Rico Oller
Uhler allegedly tried to entrap Rico Oller to knock him out of an Assembly race in 1996. Uhler clandestinely recorded a conversation with Oller. Oller was supposed to do a few “favors” for Uhler if Kirk dropped out of the race. However, Uhler claimed the evidence of a bribe offer was stolen just when he was ready to make it public. My thoughts on this incident are as follows:
• Secret recordings worked much better for the FBI when they went after Senator Joseph Montoya—of course they had a court order.
• Recording someone without their permission is illegal in California.
• Uhler’s allegation sounded quite similar to the one made against Doug Ose by Congressional candidate Charlie Schaup in 1998.

Since then however, Kirk has settled into his career as a county supervisor. He has learned to make the most…of his situation.


Uhler got his wife a plush county job
In 2009, Uhler got his wife a job with the county in violation of government hiring practices. Speaking of Uhler, the Auburn Journal wrote that he:

has been dogged in recent weeks with nepotism allegations related to a county department’s hiring of his wife. Tami Uhler was hired by the Placer County Department of Child Support Services July 7 as assistant director at a salary of $92,000 after a decade out of the work force. The job was unadvertised and the county’s union has been critical of the selection process.
Auburn Journal article

Ironically, the information about Uhler’s wife is in an article about Uhler criticizing a fellow supervisor for her spending practices.

In 2014, Placer County paid Tamara Uhler wages and benefits worth $177,851.32.


Uhler more than doubled his salary
In 2014, Uhler supported a measure to double his salary plus give county supervisors the same benefit package as county employees. Uhler voted to raise his pay from $30,000 per year to $71,755 annually plus health and retirement.  Some have estimated the benefit package alone is worth $30K per year. This is in addition to his salary. $100,000 plus is not a bad gig for a part-time job.
Placer County Supervisors bid to increase pay

Uhler’s ballot measure for a pay increase—2014’s Measure B—passed 62.62% to 37.38%.
2014 Placer election results


Uhler King of Pay-to-play Contributions
Uhler does receive much of his campaign support from developers desiring to conduct business in Placer County. In fact he and other supervisors has been accused of pay-to-play or quid pro quo politics.

Well, of course, the supervisors approved it because the board received a “donation” for $5,000 from Bickford Ranch for the supervisors’ campaign to increase their pay 139 percent plus benefits. You don’t “donate” $5,000 and expect nothing in return.

Imagine how that conversation must have started: “You want your project approved and we want a 139-percent pay increase; we can work together.”

Can you prove that? Yes, the mailers for the “Yes on Measure B” (the supervisors’ 139-percent pay increase) contained the disclosure of “Paid for by the Placer County Taxpayers for Common Sense.”
Supervisors shouldn’t take donations

Further down in the same article you will read,

A couple of the Measure B “donors” were privately asked why they “donated,” knowing full well they opposed the 139-percent supervisor’s pay increase. The response was, “You have to donate, it is part of doing business, things go smoother .”

Not surprisingly, in 2014, Uhler got the most money from developers—$21,000. Please note that he was not even up for election during that cycle.



1700 Eureka Road
I don’t know who owns the building at 1700 Eureka Road in Roseville but they are making good money off Uhler and some of his associates.

There is a curious convergence of forces in Uhler’s circle that all seem to find a nexus at this location. If Roseville was the size of Jackson, perhaps having all these folks in the same single story building would be understandable but in a town the size of Roseville it’s damned peculiar.

Uhler’s day job at Rensa Group is located in Suite 150A. Uhler’s Field Office is next door in Suite 160.

Uhler is in tight with a group of developers. These developers frequently appear before Uhler—in his capacity as a county supervisor—to seek approval for various projects. Coincidently, one is located a few steps away from his doorstep—Maverick Partners West in Suite 110.

I checked both the Secretary of State corporate website and the Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB) for more information on Maverick Partners West but there is nothing current listed at either website. I did find an expired listing that was several years old but unlike disreputable bloggers I’m not making wild accusations.

The go-to guy for developers in Placer County seems to be attorney Marcus Lo Duca. If you check the January, February, and April 2016 minutes of the Granite Bay Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), you can see Lo Duca advocating for his clients.


The Granite Bay Municipal Advisory Council is run by Ashley Brown, Uhler’s District Director.


Rensa Group
This brings us to Rensa Group. Rensa is many things, but the focus is public relations. Rensa describes themselves this way:
To the outside world, we are you. We meet your needs. We advance your interests. We fulfill your mission.

Uhler has a rather curious photo on his corporate website. My sources have identified three of the four in the photo. From left to right Marcus Lo Duca, Ashley Brown, Kirk Uhler and unknown person.


image
Photo from Rensa Group


This photo asked more questions than it answers.


Why is Lo Duca promoting Rensa? We have established that he is the go-to attorney for developers with projects in Placer County. Oh, he is also a contributor to Uhler’s political campaigns—as are many of the developers that petition for Supervisor Uhler’s votes.

Ashley Brown is a county employee so why is she in the photo?

Is Uhler telling clients that he has a turnkey solution for getting things done in Placer County?

Is Rensa’s statement about their company really an admission of how Uhler gets things done as Supervisor?

To the outside world, we are you.  We meet your needs.  We advance your interests.  We fulfill your mission.

Reminds me of Aaron Park’s “If you advertise here – it means an endorsement.”

(Kirk did give Aaron $1,000 after Park attacked Uhler’s opponent but I’m sure it’s just coincidence.)


Gambling
One of Rensa’s biggest clients is U.S. Digital Gaming. Rensa represents this company whose goal is “legitimizing and regulating the multi-billion dollar online gaming industry”.  Uhler has more than just a tangential relationship with U.S. Digital Gaming. Kirk Uhler is described as their “vice-president of governmental relations”. Internet Poker bill in Iowa

The same article states, “If Iowa legalized Internet poker, U.S. Digital Gaming could profit by becoming the “hub operator” for Internet poker.”

I guess I’m old fashioned but I remember when it was considered evil and sinful to have anything to do with gambling. Now I guess you can be up to your neck in vices and still be a “good” Christian. The Disciples did cast lots to replace Judas Iscariot but somehow I think that was different.


Conclusion
Supervisor Uhler has a checkered history of bad decisions, questionable ethics, and no clear concept of avoiding conflicts of interest. He seems to have blurred the lines between his business and his fiduciary responsibility to those that elected him. He is unashamedly a career politician.

Come June 7th, Uhler is betting that nobody is watching. Sadly he may be right.

Posted by william on 05/09 at 02:48 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Kirk Uhler and The Just Us Brothers

In Star Wars lore, when speaking of the Sith, “always there are two”. Similarly, the Just Us Brothers always seem to need a third member of the team to get into higher levels of mischief. In Placer County politics, their go to guy is County Supervisor Kirk Uhler.

Uhler you might recall, famously helped to loot the treasury of the Placer County Republican Assembly (PCRA) last May. Why any elected official would willingly interject himself in such a toxic situation and act so foolishly should be a concern to his constituents.

The short version was that George Park was Treasurer of PCRA and statewide Membership Secretary of the California Republican Assembly (CRA). He and his brother decided to leave CRA and metaphorically torched the place on the way out. In addition to purposely deleting all electronic records of the statewide organization, George Park liquidated the funds in the PCRA bank account on May 25th. Instead of checks, he converted the funds into money orders and disbursed the money as he saw fit. Then on May 30, Uhler—who was PCRA President at the time—presided over a sham meeting of the Board and voted to dissolve the Placer County chapter and disburse the funds of the group. (He knew the bank account had been closed five days earlier.)

CRA is a corporation and Uhler’s actions violated the CRA Bylaws and his fiduciary responsibility as President of PCRA. Had he any sense, Uhler should have kept his distance from Park’s actions. Instead he defended them in an email blast to the CRA Board and signed his name at the bottom. He also sent the email using his business account. (I don’t know about you, but I think emailing a jpg of my signature to 100 strangers is not the brightest idea.)

Uhler and his fellow travelers were threatened with both civil and criminal complaints for their behavior. Uhler’s behavior was described as “embezzlement”.

Embezzlement: Please be aware that the CRA Bylaws require all funds from units that are “seeking to leave” CRA to be forwarded to the CRA Treasurer.  The specific language of Section 5.07 says, “Any chartered Republican Assembly that has ceased to be part of the CRA for any reason, or that is seeking to leave CRA, shall relinquish the name Republican Assembly, surrender its charter certificate to the Membership Secretary, and transfer all of its funds to the CRA Treasurer.”  The Placer County Republican Assembly has ratified and agreed to be bound by the CRA Bylaws.  Failure to forward the unit funds to the CRA Treasurer as required may constitute embezzlement and the persons involved may be subject to very serious civil and criminal sanctions .
Document provided by Aaron Park

CRA decided the cost was greater than their ability to collect damages so they reluctantly dropped the matter.

Aaron Park also has a history with Uhler. Aaron is a gun for hire and worked for Uhler’s Supervisorial campaigns in 2012 and 2016. Aaron’s brand of politics involves hit-pieces and constructing strawmen that he can then knockdown while besmirching the opponents of those who retain his services.

Occasionally, Aaron forgets to pull the pin before tossing his explosives. Somehow he survives to fight in the next cycle but some of his clients aren’t so fortunate. Just Google Aaron Park and Clint Parish. Aaron helped his client, Parish, lose his job and face the wrath of the California Bar. Why? Because Aaron sent a bogus hit piece out on Parish’s opponent.

This year, Aaron has set his sights on Victor Bekhet. Bekhet—like many people in Placer County—is tired of the antics of Supervisor Uhler. Victor Bekhet however committed the unforgivable sin; he had the nerve to pull papers to run against Uhler. Kirk Uhler then decided to retain Park’s services of character assassination and dirty tricks to steamroll Mr. Bekhet.

Aaron created a fake website and assembled a bunch of nonsense to smear the character of Bekhet. Aaron’s antics got a feature story at KCRA TV. KCRA has two slightly different instances of the story.

Video
website-targeting-candidate-heats-up-placer-county-supervisor-race

Article and Video
website-seemingly-attacks-placer-county-supervisor-candidate

In the news story, Park claims “the website was created of his own accord.” The proof that this was a lie is two-fold.


First Uhler knows the contents of the fake website and approves.

Uhler responded to Bekhet’s claims in a statement to KCRA that reads in part:

“I wish my opponent the best of luck managing through what is obviously a disconcerting issue for him. Perhaps if there are items publicly available about my opponent that he doesn’t want publicly discussed, he should have considered that before running for public office.”

Any politician with an ounce of common sense would denounce Park’s tactics and distance himself from these kind of tactics. Uhler is OK with the fake website (VictorBekhet.com) and what Park said on it. Look at his quote above. He is blaming Bekhet for the content not Park. 


Second, Park is on Uhler’s payroll for the current campaign. Per Uhler’s 430 filing for January 1 to April 23, 2016, Aaron scored $1,000 for Campaign Paraphenalia/Misc.

That Uhler and the Parks are thick as thieves has been well documented on Aaron’s blog and other places. All three (George, Aaron, and Kirk) claim to be good church going folks so why do they treat Bekhet like crap?

Aaron is a bully. He’s no Dirty Harry but I can picture him saying this to Bekhet

Listen, punk. To me you’re nothin’ but dogshit, you understand? And a lot of things can happen to dogshit. It can be scraped up with a shovel off the ground. It can dry up and blow away in the wind. Or it can be stepped on and squashed. So take my advice and be careful where the dog shits ya!
Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact



A Christlike attitude would be more in line with Glen Kaiser’s quote, “The way you treat the person you love the least is the way you love God the most.”


My complaint with these guys is similar to my gripes about Ted Cruz; power politics is their goal. Their faith has no effect on their public conduct.

Park claims in a May first blog post that Bekhet has only raised $2,500. I don’t know if this is true but let’s assume that it is. Why does Uhler need to spend over $22,000 during the same period to beat this newcomer? Look at how much he paid Park to attack Bekhet. Would anyone call this a measured response?

Sadly, I think Uhler will be un-phased by my post. I picture him and Park discussing new ways to beat Bekhet like a piñata while humming the Tina Turner song, What’s Love Got To Do With It?

In a nutshell, this is why the America Church is so ineffective.

Posted by william on 05/04 at 11:53 PM
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Ted Cruz: Crusader of Light

Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz, and Glen Beck have spent the last few weeks characterizing the Republican Presidential Primary Contest as the forces of light (Cruz) versus darkness (Trump). The Senior Cruz has stated that it is the duty of all Christians to vote for Ted and that Ted is God’s candidate. Why? Because only Ted fears God and honors the Constitution.

Lest you have forgotten, here are some links that were on Drudge yesterday.


Choose between good and evil


Beck’s fast


Beck: We have Almighty God on our side


Divine Intervention


This is only a fraction of the stories on the subject. These guys (Cruz, Cruz, and Beck) really believed this stuff about divine intervention and God thwarting the will of the electorate in order to save us and our nation. Many of Cruz’s supporters believed the gospel according to Rafael. Frankly this hustle sounded strangely like the preachers that are on television ; (the word “heretic” comes to mind).

Against this backdrop of the cosmic struggle of light vs darkness, freedom vs slavery, God vs Satan, the focus of their vitriol, Donald Trump, is declared the winner of Indiana seconds after the polls close. Shortly thereafter, Ted Cruz holds a press conference and throws-in the towel! How can this be?

For those of you in the Evangelical community that swallowed this very old line of crap—and I know you are legion—you must have gone to bed last night in shock wondering how could God’s will be thwarted by a reprobate like Donald Trump?

The question that needs examination is “Can man’s freewill thwart God’s will?” Is God sovereign or is he limited by the choices that men make?

Another way to ask this question is who was right Calvin or Arminius? Is Predestination, Election, and Irresistible Grace true or does man’s free-agency limit what God can do? Is this world God’s or Satan’s or man’s? Is there such a thing as “neutrality”? Is salvation man’s choice or God’s?

Clearly, I’d choose Calvin but I believe my answer was predestined before the foundation of the world.  grin

You will find both predestination and freewill in the Bible; however, they are not equal. God is sovereign and foreordains everything but man is still responsible for his actions. Both statements are true. The difference is perspective. From God’s point of view, His will is absolute and nothing comes to pass that is not part of his plan. Simultaneously, from man’s point of view, we freely make the choices and bear the responsibility of our actions.

God is separate from His creation but he is actively involved in what happens. The Bible doesn’t explain how this is true, it just is. You may not like the answer but I think C.S. Lewis explained it well in his Narnia books when Aslan would council the children that it’s not part of your story so don’t worry about it.

You need to trust God
Barack Obama is our President because it is God’s will.
Donald Trump is the Republican nominee because it is God’s will.
• Whichever Democrat wins the nomination of their party is God’s will.
• Whoever wins in November is God’s will.

I can hear it now; someone is asking was it God’s will that a three year old drowned in a swimming pool or some other tragedy happened? Yes.

We all deserve death. God chooses to give some life eternal and some just life for another day (common grace).

God is not the author of evil or sin; if you want to see who is then start with a mirror.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord.

When Cruz, Cruz, and Beck claim it’s God’s will that Ted be the next President and come January, Ted is sitting at home watching the Inauguration on T.V. that is God’s will not the stuff they said to try to get him elected.

This theological schizophrenia is yet another reason why Ted Cruz is not ready to lead. Maybe the extra time Ted has now that his campaign is suspended can be used to get his theology and his life in order. Someday I hope he is a Christian role model and statesman and not just a politician that happens to attend church.

Posted by william on 05/04 at 10:18 AM
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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Indiana Results: Cruz Is Toast

image

Posted by william on 05/03 at 03:11 PM
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Monday, May 02, 2016

Cruz, Boehner, and the Narrative

Last week, John Boehner said Ted Cruz was “Lucifer in the flesh” and I have “never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch.”

Cruz’s response was:

“I’ve never worked with John Boehner. The truth of the matter is—I don’t know the man. I’ve met John Boehner two or three times in my life. If I have said 50 words in my life to John Boehner I’d be surprised, and every one of them has consisted of pleasantries.”
Cruz I Don’t Know the Man

Picking up on Cruz’s explanation, some poor guy named Doug Ross, writes this whole piece painting Boehner as the antichrist and Cruz as this innocent patriot. His thesis is that Trump is the ultimate insider (corollary: Cruz is not) Get a load of this:

…As it happens, Cruz and Boehner barely know each other. They overlapped in Washington for a little over one congressional term, in different chambers. They’ve exchanged few words (none of them cross, apparently) in the few times they’ve spoken, and they’ve never worked together — at least not directly. Cruz, however, is a principled conservative,…
Trump is the Establishment

The only problem with Mr. Ross’ thesis is that it’s not true. While it does echo Ted’s recent speech in Indiana, this is wrong.

The Texas senator, who is deeply (and outrightly) disliked by many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill, encouraged voters to support Republican front-runner Donald Trump if they are content with the legacy of Boehner—who left Congress last fall as the least popular House speaker in three decades. Before a rally in Indiana Thursday, Cruz told reporters he hasn’t spoken more than 50 words to Boehner throughout his entire life.

Cruz, like the Apostle Peter has been proven a liar when he states: “…I don’t know the man”

It was the late 1990s: Boehner was a congressman from Ohio, and Cruz was a rising legal star who had clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. Cruz had not yet turned 30. Boehner was suing Democratic Representative Jim McDermott of Washington state for allegedly defying wiretapping laws, according to The Washington Post.

The case stemmed from an illegally intercepted telephone call that involved Boehner and other GOP leaders in December 1996. The call was about then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, who later admitted to a wrongdoing in an ongoing House ethics subcommittee investigation. A Florida couple intercepted the conversation from a police scanner and recorded it while Boehner spoke on a cellphone, then gave the tape to McDermott, who at the time was the chief Democrat on the House Ethics Committee. McDermott presented the tape to media outlets, including The New York Times. Boehner then sued McDermott, seeking punitive damages for violations of his First Amendment rights.

And who did Boehner hire for his legal team? None other than a fresh-faced Cruz, who at the time had finished two clerkships and was working with a law firm in Washington, D.C. Cruz, who worked at the firm for a year until 1998, was one of the attorneys who briefly defended Boehner during litigation against McDermott. The case dragged on for years, until in 2008 a judge ultimately sided with Boehner, awarding him more than $1 million in legal fees. McDermott was forced to step down.
Cruz Boehner History

I don’t know about you, but if I was a lawyer and won a million dollar settlement that also forced a sitting U.S. Senator to resign, somehow I think I would remember it.

Ever after their shared past was unearthed, Cruz has still not corrected his remarks.

Cruz’s narrative continues:

“John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy,” Cruz told reporters. “So if you want someone that’s a texting and golfing buddy—if you’re happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man.”
Cruz I don’t know the man

Trump is also a texting and golfing buddy of Rush Limbaugh and many other folks whose names you would recognize. For Cruz to equate Trump with Boehner is dishonest and the type of political stunt that I would expect from a seasoned politician.

At the same time Doug Ross is feebly trying to portray Trump as an insider, insider George Will is having a meltdown over Trump. The truth is Will would rather have Hillary for president than Trump.

The Will article is entitled, “GOP Must Oppose Trump Even If He Wins Nomination

Donald Trump’s damage to the Republican Party, although already extensive, has barely begun.

After praising Cruz and Clinton, Will claims Trump will result in Republican Armageddon. Here are excerpts of his scenario of doom.
Trump would be the most unpopular nominee ever, unable to even come close to Mitt Romney’s insufficient support among women, minorities and young people. In losing disastrously, Trump probably would create down-ballot carnage sufficient to end even Republican control of the House.

At least half a dozen Republican senators seeking re-election and Senate aspirants can hope to win if the person at the top of the Republican ticket loses their state by, say, only four points, but not if he loses by 10. A Democratic Senate probably would guarantee a Supreme Court with a liberal cast for a generation.

Were he to be nominated, conservatives would have two tasks. One would be to help him lose 50 states—condign punishment for his comprehensive disdain for conservative essentials, including the manners and grace that should lubricate the nation’s civic life. Second, conservatives can try to save from the anti-Trump undertow as many senators, representatives, governors and state legislators as possible.
Newsmax: George Will: GOP must oppose Trump/

So there you have it, your duty is to vote for Hillary to insure Trump loses all 50 states in a landslide and vote Republican on all down-ticket races.

I don’t know if it’s that air or the water inside the District of Columbia but these guys are nuts. If Trump is unhinging the Establishment this much then maybe he’s not so bad.

George Will left the Conservative ranks decades ago but is still allowed to claim to be one. His baseball knowledge is much better than his political insight or at least it used to be. It’s sad to see how far this guy has fallen.

 

Posted by william on 05/02 at 07:27 AM
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Rafael Cruz: Not a Christian Reconstructionist

More news stories are circulating today about Ted Cruz’s dad and his religious beliefs. All are raising the question of whether Ted agrees with his ole dad. This is not the same as Obama and Rev Wright because Ted is actively involving his dad in his campaign whereas Obama kept his distance from Wright—at least physically, ideologically might be a different story.


Here are the links on Drudge today.
wnd.com/2016/04/cruzs-evangelist-father-re-emerges-in-indiana
motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/rafael-cruz-ted-cruz-campaign-god-sign


The short version is Ted’s dad in a Pentecostal Reconstructionist. While both the Sith Lord and I find ourselves in agreement with Reconstructionism, what that looks like when blended with Pentecostal theology might be something altogether different.

Leaders of the Christian Reconstruction movement are post millennial and Calvinist. Pentecostal folks are pre-mil and dispensational so how that theological system looks to Rafael Cruz could be a different thing altogether. Some of the senior Cruz’s comments also imply an aspect of the prosperity gospel that is so popular in some dubious theological circles.

It is clear that neither Ted nor Rafael has read Gary North’s book on Exodus. Ted is drawing from Pharaoh’s toolbox and not from the faith of Moses. Ted can call himself whatever he wants but he is trying to run his campaign using the Power religion of the State and not biblical faith.

Christian Reconstructionism is a political theory that says what “ought to be” but does not map out how to get there. It does presuppose that it will not be imposed from the top down but from the bottom up. This I think is the Cruz dilemma. Cruz wants to force his idea of a Reconstructionist/Constitutional society from the top down.

I know of no leader of Christian Reconstruction that would agree with the tactics of Cruz. As I have mentioned elsewhere, North—during the height of the Reagan years—was saying that we are not ready. Our society has decayed significantly since that time. Only in the wake of a sustained national revival could Christian Reconstruction be implemented in our nation.

I’m not against standing up for what’s right and bringing reform to our society and government, but I fear that Ted Cruz would have us exchanging one form of tyranny for another.

Lastly, Ted maybe God told you to run for President but that is a far cry from promising you that you will win. Maybe he is refining you and thru this experience He will get the dross out of your heart so you will be a better candidate in the future. Next time do it His way and not yours.

Posted by william on 04/29 at 07:52 AM
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Game, Set, and Match

New York Times says Trump no longer needs Indiana to win.

The main reason is Mr. Trump’s success on Tuesday among Pennsylvania’s 54 unpledged delegates. Even though none of them are officially bound to a candidate, 31 of the 54 spots went to delegates preferred by Mr. Trump. And before the election, others had said they would vote for the winner of their district (Mr. Trump won all of the state’s districts). My colleague Jeremy W. Peters reported that Mr. Trump “appeared to have won about 40 of Pennsylvania’s 54 unbound delegates.”

Trump Doesn’t Need Indiana

These delegates put Trump within spitting distance of 1,000

Also, why did Cruz give Carly half a million dollars? That’s strange.

Posted by william on 04/28 at 09:55 AM
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trump Victory Certain

Trump got 109 delegates out of a possible 118 yesterday. Pennsylvania is a little odd. Of their 71 delegates, 17 are based on the popular vote and Trump got all of those while 54 are based on that screwy ballot as shown in my previous blog yesterday. (Per RPC, these delegates are “At Large” and not pledged to any candidate.) That mess apparently has yet to be sorted out and isn’t included in the delegate totals shown on the Real Clear Politics website. Both RCP and Fox agree that Trump is now at 954 delegates.

image


There are 502 delegates remaining in the delegate hunt. Trump needs 283 to win outright.

Trump will clearly win in California and New Jersey. In California, Trump has increased his lead over Cruz by five points in the last week and Trump is just starting to campaign in the state. California and New Jersey are worth 223 delegates Thus Trump needs to pick up 60 delegates between 8 other states. He is leading in Indiana-another winner take all state—worth 57 delegates.

I’m still saying by this time next week, Cruz will be suspending his campaign.

The next question is who will Trump select as his V.P.?

Posted by william on 04/27 at 07:06 AM
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cruz plus Establishment Equals Mischief

Pennsylvania ballot from today. Don’t tell me the Party Leadership wants an informed electorate. Pick three what?

It’s really bad when the Democrats have a more informed choice.

image
from Sean Hannity


Trump is right when he says the system in broken.

Posted by william on 04/26 at 05:36 PM
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Why Ted Cruz Deserves to Lose

Ted is campaigning as a Christian and a Constitutionalist. Unfortunately, he has failed miserably at both.

As a legislator, Ted has had many years to offer his ideas for solutions to what he sees as ailing this country. Has he done so? NO. Ted has held it back from his constituents and fellow legislators. None of the ideas he is putting forward as solutions now has he previously put forward as proposed legislation. There is no legislative package of bills that he can point to and say this is what I think should be done to make this country great again.

Ted has failed at the most basic of all government: Self-government. The gulf between his actions and words is a vast chasm. Ted claims to be a Christian. At the very least, a Christian should love his enemies and pray for them. He should strive to exhibit the love of Christ to those around him.

So does Ted Cruz love Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and the rest? NO. Ted acts like General Sherman marching on Atlanta. If he can’t have it, then he burns it to the ground. Does he respect the process and system that has allowed him to run for President? NO. He wants to win at all costs and if he can’t then he’s willing to tear down the whole Party just to advance himself. Strip away all his rhetoric and B.S. and you will find that it’s all about Ted.

Another thing a Christian should be is a man of his word. Again, Ted Cruz seems to operate according to “Rules for Radicals” or “The Prince”. Look at what happened this weekend in Maine.

The fiery and controversial governor claimed on Friday that the Trump and Cruz campaigns had previously reached a “unity deal” to elect delegates to the national convention in proportion to results of the state’s 5 March caucuses.

Such an allocation would deliver 12 Cruz delegates, nine for Trump and two for John Kasich, the Ohio governor.

However, LePage, a Trump supporter, said on the eve of Maine’s state convention that the Cruz campaign had reneged on the deal, believing they could fill all 20 elected delegate slots on the ballot. “I can’t stand by and watch as Cruz and the Republican establishment forcibly overrule the votes of Mainers who chose Trump and Kasich,” said LePage.
Maine Governor and Ted Cruz

This pattern of repeatedly stealing delegates that he did not earn is something that is harmful to the political process not just in this cycle but forevermore.

God created government and gave us this nation. Cruz has repeatedly proven that he has a contempt for the system that he says he wants to lead. This is troubling. Isn’t that our complaint against Barack Obama?

Ted Cruz is willing to ride roughshod over anyone to thwart Donald Trump from being President. The allies of Cruz are the Republican Establishment that will do the same thing to Cruz once his utility is no more. Cruz has turned this campaign into a suicide pact. He will win at any cost or burn the place down; at this point, maybe both simultaneously.

Cruz has also joined forces with John Kasich. On social issues these men are opposites but the enemy of my enemy…

Senator Ted Cruz and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio have agreed to coordinate in future primary contests in a last-ditch effort to deny Donald J. Trump the Republican presidential nomination, with each candidate standing aside in certain states amid growing concerns that Mr. Trump cannot otherwise be stopped.

In a statement late Sunday night, Mr. Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, said that the campaign would “focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Governor Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico.”

Minutes after Mr. Roe’s statement, the Kasich campaign put out a similar message. The Ohio governor’s chief strategist, John Weaver, said that his campaign would shift its resources to states in the West and “give the Cruz campaign a clear path in Indiana.”
Cruz and Kasich Team Up

Ted has given up winning outright because he can’t and is now committed to trying for a contested convention. Ted, by your willingness to put your thumb on the scales, you have proven you are unfit to be President.

When words like: lie, steal, defraud; are the hallmarks of your campaign, I think it’s safe to say that you are not doing it for the love of God but for yourself.  Cruz is the worst type of hypocrite because his actions actually blaspheme the Lord he claims to serve.

Many of my peers at church disagree with me but I have seen this playbook up close and personal. Some of us are trying to learn from the past and it makes us angry when folks are hell-bent on repeating it again. I told Ted to beware the Ides of March, unfortunately for us, Ted is charging full speed down the way that ends in destruction. Will he finally see the light or feel the heat?

Posted by william on 04/25 at 08:49 AM
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