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Friday, April 17, 2015
Allah akPark—An Army of Two
Aaron Park has done something that I have not seen in the California Republican Assembly in many decades; the organization is united against a common threat. Unfortunately for Aaron, the threat to CRA is him and his brother.
Aaron has gone off the rails trying to flame on anyone and everyone in the organization in an effort to get the Board to vote in favor of a July 25th meeting called by President John Briscoe. Aaron, who along with his brother, claims to be the final arbiter of the rules of CRA—apparently due to his run as CRA Master-at-Arms—has no clue how Robert’s Rules of Order work or what the CRA Bylaws say on this issue. The May 30th meeting has been called; end of discussion. The July 25th meeting is viewed by him as an alternative. It is not. The question currently before the Board is do you want a second meeting in addition to the May 30th gathering? I’m hearing that the NO vote is expected to win by about two thirds.
Aaron’s vitriol has gone nuclear. Thus far he is up to five posts on this issue today. Here are the links.
The documents linked to these posts include names, addresses, bank account numbers, personal email addresses, business information, voter registration data and other things that were never intended to be released to the public on the Internet. Yes, no passwords are required to get this information. Just click on Aaron’s handy links in each article. Plus these are private records of a private corporation. Both Parks sit on the Board of Directors which is about sixty members strong. They never sought or received permission from the Board to release this information to the public. In fact, the only public disclosure of this whole episode has been from them.
Furthermore, many of the accusations made in these posts concerning alleged membership irregularities would have been dealt with by the Charter Review Committee prior to the last convention if George Park had not denied the Committee access to the records which they needed to do their job. In short, Park created the crisis and then has the gall to say that only he can resolve the issue—which he now calls corruption. This is suspiciously like saying the solution to bad government is more government.
Oh, the membership data was denied to the Charter Review Committee because George said he was concerned about protecting the privacy of CRA members. Now he and his brother furnish all the ingredients for Identity Theft on a silver platter to every Internet user in the world. This action also exposes the CRA to liability and all Board members to any legal costs associated with this data breach. George—as an insurance broker—probably has an umbrella policy to cover this sort of malfeasance but I doubt that the CRA or its Board members are cover by such a policy.
And the results of Aarons nuclear option on the Board?
Just today, Aaron has moved at least five Board members from either supporting him or wishing to remain neutral to voting NO on the July meeting. That’s leadership.
Also, the mood on the other side has been changed. Instead of just removing George and Aaron from the Board and letting them have Placer County RA as was the original intent, the mood now is to remove them from CRA. The only way to stop this from happening now is for George and Aaron to resign and go quietly into that good night.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
CRA Smackdown 2015
Recently re-elected CRA President, John Briscoe, has failed to act on many items and issues within his organization and within the Republican Party at large. At a time when action has been requested by many in his organization, Briscoe failed to respond to multiple emails, texts, and phone calls.
Following the last convention, Briscoe failed to make the customary committee appointments necessary to keep the group operating. One area in particular that he failed to act was the appointment of a Charter Review Committee. As a result, all statewide chartering business has fallen on Membership Secretary, George Park. George, unfortunately, has gone all Peggy Mew on the organization. He has been withholding membership lists and information from other Board members and committees, handling financial transactions without involving the Treasurer, and he has not been willing to be open and accountable to the Board.
President Briscoe had originally planned a meeting for May 30th and gotten the approval of at least seven of the ten area Vice-Presidents. (Unfortunately, the areas VPs don’t have areas because Briscoe failed to assign them at the last Board meeting.) Briscoe then decided to cancel the meeting; well he sort of cancelled it. He forgot to tell the Santa Barbra RA that he cancelled it, after they already reserved a room and made other arrangements. Briscoe made it perfectly clear that he did not want to deal with the problems in the organization, many of which he created or made worse.
Also, of concern to many in CRA is the state Party Platform. Briscoe has done nothing to try to get people elected to the Party’s Platform Committee. The election is happening right now. After the Log Cabin fiasco at the last CRP Convention, Briscoe’s judgment in supporting Jim Brulte as CRP Chair is suspect. By the way, Brulte has a secretive meeting scheduled for Saturday with leaders of the various CRP volunteer organizations concerning the Party Platform. The sense that I and others have is that this meeting is to tell these groups that the Platform as we have known it for the last few decades is gone. We expect Brulte to strong-arm Briscoe and others into either outright support or at least neutrality on the new Platform—which theoretically has not even been drafted yet. Think of this as the victors dictating terms of surrender to the losing side. I expect that Brulte will push Briscoe to put a happy face on this betrayal of conservative values in the name of Party unity.
As a result of these things and others, members of the Board have exercised their right to call a meeting for the same date and time as the meeting that Briscoe has once planned. The Bylaws require 25% of the Board to call such a meeting. About 40% of the 60 Board members signed their names to the document calling for the meeting. Others on the Board are supportive but did not sign the document. Actually, support for this meeting is about half of the Board.
One thing you need to understand about Briscoe is that he is a CPA. Despite what you see on TV and movies, CPAs are, by profession, very risk averse. They don’t take chances and don’t like confrontation. George and Aaron Park have had his back since he decided to run for CRA President. As a result, Briscoe listens to their advice and typically does as they suggest. Unfortunately, the Park boys have done things that they shouldn’t and Briscoe has failed to rein them in.
After getting the meeting notice yesterday, Briscoe met with his small pool of supporters and decided to counter with a July 25th meeting. He called for an online vote for this alternative meeting date. This call was countered with an immediate reply from the other faction asking members to vote NO to Briscoe’s proposal.
The Bylaws don’t really allow for this to be an alternative meeting. The May 30th meeting will happen regardless of whether the July 25th meeting happens. This is in fact a proxy vote to measure Briscoe’s support within the Board. Clearly Aaron and George gave Briscoe bad advice because the faction that called the May meeting is now talking that perhaps Briscoe can’t be saved and maybe CRA needs a new President.
The original plan was that the Parks would be asked to resign from the Board; but more mercy would be shown to them than they showed to others by not expelling them from CRA. That too may be open to re-examination. The Park boys have used divide and conquer as an effective strategy in the past but their playbook may not work this time.
The other strategy employed by the Parks that is already backfiring is that they are going to the CRP leadership to try to apply pressure to CRA members. In the past, the CRP would stay out of such internal conflicts but the Parks have burned too many bridges within the CRA. They lack the allies within CRA to fight this battle.
The move to force Briscoe to do his job is underway. The implications for CRA are enormous; many scenarios seem to foreshadow the dissolution of the group. Is this the final circular firing squad or an opportunity for renewal?
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Today’s Spam Box
This appeared in my Spam email folder today. Oldest message is on the bottom.
Saturday, April 04, 2015
My prayers go out to those persecuted for their faith.
Take hope, for He is risen.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
CRA After Action Report
The California Republican Assembly’s 80th Annual Convention is now officially over. I would like to give my analysis and comments in no particular order.
First, the circular firing squad report.
Prior to the convention, three known targets were scheduled; Nevada RA, and Steve Sarkis and Baron Knight.
After weeks of raising hell about this chapter, the Park boys just let it go. Literally nothing was said at the Convention concerning this chapter even though George and Aaron Park had been denying access of information and reports to the Charter Review Committee for weeks. They wasted dozens if not hundreds of manhours of the committee’s time over this issue and then simply dropped it.
Appeal of Sarkis and Knight
Nobody actually had the guts to put this on the convention schedule but saved it for the last item of business on the last day under the euphemistic label of Other Business. The CRA Board presented their case against Sarkis first. The Board was given 10 minutes to show why a lifetime ban was a fair and just sentence. Sarkis was not present so his case was made by Knight. Knight finished most of his defense case in the allotted 10 minute timeframe. Then Tom Hudson and CRA President John Briscoe advanced a motion that changed the sentence from life to five years. This motion was approved. Then Knight—via a motion—was given a one year suspension instead of five. After the motion was approved, Knight objected and asked that the one year suspension be reversed. He claimed he was innocent; so now the Board gave a 10 minute presentation on Knight and then Knight was able to offer his defense. A series of votes were then held; a one year suspension was defeated, then a five year suspension was defeated. In the end, Knight’s suspension was overturned and he is now a member in good standing with the group (assuming his dues are current).
This outcome is most unsatisfactory for me. Knight clearly did things deserving of some type of disciplinary action.
The biggest loser in this was John Briscoe. Briscoe’s team was thrown under the proverbial bus by their leader. I agree that the original sentences from the September 2014 Board meeting were too severe but John agreed to the punishment at the time. His failure to defend his Board is an inexcusable lapse in leadership. Unfortunately, other leadership problems were on display at convention.
Convention shortcomings were evident even before it began. Missing were printed schedules, handouts of relevant materials and lack of meeting rooms. Delegates were exposed to a form of politics that even one-ups Nancy Pelosi’s famous you have to vote for it to know what’s in it. CRA delegates got to vote on stuff they never even saw. They adopted committee reports that weren’t complete or had been edited for content after the committees had met. Thus what was voted on was not the same as what committees had voted upon when they had met. Not even electronic copies or overhead projections of relevant documents were available prior to votes. Occasionally, selected parts were hastily read. Again President Briscoe was apparently OK with this also.
The scheduling was very inefficient. The Saturday afternoon session began over 30 minutes after the lunch banquet was finished and was concluded 2 ½ hour before the evening meal; thus 3 hours of business could have been conducted on Saturday instead of Sunday. (The entire general session on Sunday was scheduled for three hours and forty-five minutes.)
Folks like me wondered why the Resolutions Committee killed the Saturday Only convention resolution when there was literally enough time to do everything in one day and then go home. Oh, but nobody except the Resolution Committee ever saw the resolution because it wasn’t in the committee’s report when it was submitted for adoption on Sunday.
On Sunday, the officer elections were held. Only two contested races were on the ballot; Membership Secretary and National Committee Man.
George Park faced challenger, Rick Marshall for Membership Secretary. Park wasn’t my first choice after doing his best Peggy Mew impersonation for the last several weeks. I was willing to consider Marshall as a worthy candidate until he opened his mouth to say why he was running. Marshall was clearly a leader of the malcontent wing of the group. His whole platform was griping about the move to annual dues which we just implemented in January of this year. Marshall has clearly never been the Treasurer of a local chapter before and was talking non-sense. I think Solomon said that even a fool is regarded as wise when he remains quiet. Marshall could benefit from this advice.
Bill Cardoza faced-off with relative newcomer, Johnnie Miller for National Committee Man. Miller is from a new chapter in south-central Los Angeles. Miller, a rare black face in a very white crowd, looked good in his three piece suit and with a name that could be mistaken for an adult beverage, he proved a formidable foe. Miller was the third person Aaron Park had tried to recruit to oppose Cardoza.
Cardoza tried to campaign for the office while Miller did not. Cardoza started his campaign on Saturday morning by forwarding an email from Aaron Park informing Bill that he would face an opponent. When I first saw the mail, I thought Park had sent it as a hit piece. Upon further examination, Cardoza had sent it. Unfortunately for Bill, it was not a hit piece and the mail was several days old.
The next campaign efforts that I noticed were on Sunday morning. Cardoza had three pieces that he gave out; mostly while folks were in line waiting to vote in his race. This is the first time I ever saw someone soliciting votes during polling. I kept joking with my neighbor in the line that Cardoza couldn’t do that within 100 feet of a polling place.
Cardoza is a follower. Watching him try to say he is a leader was rather pathetic. Yes, he’s been in CRA for many years. He very well could be the oldest active member in the group. He and I are definitely in the top five folks still active. Anyway, he has always found his way to the side in power. He’s a lieutenant and will never be anything more.
Every time Cardoza was able to get in front of a microphone during the convention, he trumpeted his position as chaplain of CRA. Too bad he knows nothing about theology, the group desperately could use a chaplain like that. Cardoza talked repeatedly of being there since the Christians took over in 1988. Hey Bill, this might be a newsflash to you but there was nothing Christian about how Barbara Alby and company took over the CRA. Machiavelli couldn’t have been prouder of your efforts in ‘88. We are still dealing with the fruit of this poisonous tree.
Morgan beat Cardoza handily in the race. After the results were announced, Cardoza was allowed to speak. What most thought would be a concession speech was instead an awkward, rambling recitation of all Cardoza’s accomplishments which was then followed by a brief congratulation to the new officeholder.
This reminds me of Aaron Park’s introduction of a State Assembly member at the Saturday luncheon. Aaron finished his introduction by saying something to the effect that this Assembly Member was so popular in his district that not even Jesus Christ himself could beat this guy. Many of us including the elected official were clearly uncomfortable with these words.
While talking about the convention with the Sith Lord, he speculated that the Nevada RA fiasco was partially a diversion to keep the Charter Review Committee from knowing the current membership numbers in the group. Based on what I know, I think his speculation has merit. It stands to reason that if the state party is hemorrhaging members that its chartered clubs would be too.
Oh, lastly the Board meeting held after the convention was a truncated affair. Newly elected President Briscoe did not fill any vacancies or appoint any committees; even though business was moved from the convention to a Bylaws Revision Committee.
I sense the days of everyone having a chance of being on a committee are over. I fully expect the remaining inner-circle to occupy most vacancies. Briscoe holds power now only because he didn’t face an opponent for re-election. He won’t get a pass next time…if there is one.
My final thought is that CRA is woefully equipped to deal with the new political realities of California. They are too stuck in the past with a broken and defective paradigm. They really think they can control the CRP platform in 2016 and laugh in my face when I tell them that they already lost it last month. They are like a person exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, they are dead but still walking around waiting for their body to catch up with reality.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Funny Headlines from March 10th
Today, two headlines really caught my attention. Both were worthy of Jay Leno’s headline segment…too bad he’s off the air.
The first entry is from Indonesia.
This Indonesian House Is for Sale and Comes With a Pond, a Backyard and … a Wife.
Yeah, that’s right buy a house get a wife. When I was single, my New Year’s Resolution for many years was “get a life, get a wife.” Someone finally did me one better. I’m glad some enterprising woman has found a way to prosper in Obama’s economy; however, I think you should get title insurance in case what you find under the burka really belongs there. Actually, she’s not bad. See her photo below. Do you think Obama could try this in Detroit?
And the Beatles said money can’t buy you love.
The second story is from Southern California.
Health Officials Warning Of Incidents Of Ocular Syphilis Along West Coast
Ok, let’s analyze this one. In this news story, doctors are advised to keep an eye out for this rare form of syphilis. Where are people putting their body parts to get this disease…in their eyes? Yeah, I know your momma said it could make you go blind but did she really mean this? Yuck….
“Funny” can mean humorous but it can also mean “peculiar” or “just not right”. This next story certainly meets that definition.
Feds have 6.5M Social Security numbers for people 112 years old, and up
Yes, even though worldwide there are only 35 people aged 112 and older, our government has 6.5 million social security numbers for folks in that age bracket that are currently receiving benefits. Just remember this statistic when you hear a politician talk of the pain that would result in people’s lives if government tried to reduce fraud and waste.
Well at least these articles distract me from the thought of the circular firing squad drill this week-end.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
A Modest Proposal for Convention 2015
The California Republican Assembly has often touted the quote attributed to Ronald Reagan that the CRA is the “conscience of the Republican Party”. But what happens when Republicans do the unconscionable? What happens when the California Republican Party throws Reagan under the bus?
Reagan often said that he never left the Democrat Party, they left him. Now the Republican Party has left Reagan too. So what do we do now? Do we stick with a suicidal Party that has blocked all grassroots access to the Party while consolidating all power at the top or tell them to kiss our grits? If the Log Cabin debacle is not the proverbial bridge too far then what is?
When Lincoln was President and in the era thereafter, the Episcopal Church was known as “the Republican Party at prayer”. The troubles in the Republican Party have finally reached the place that they mirror where the Episcopal Church has been for decades. Apostasy is rampant and the leadership has locked out the true believers. So like the proverbial frog in the pot do we get out of the boiling water or stay until we are turned to soup?
I, for one, tire of tilting at windmills or to quote the Kenny Rodgers song, “you got to know when to fold ‘em”. In this spirit, I have proposed that the CRA pass the resolution that appears below. My question to skeptics is, “if not now when?”
Resolution to Terminate Affiliation with California Republican Party
Whereas, the CRA is a grassroots Republican organization; and
Whereas, the CRA believes in the rule of law; and
Whereas, the CRA affirms the Judeo-Christian values upon which or country was founded, and
Whereas, the CRA is committed to promoting the values of life and traditional families; and
Whereas, the CRA has dedicated itself to promoting conservative candidates; and
Whereas, the California Republican Party is a top down organization that does not follow its own bylaws in matters of candidate endorsement and chartering of volunteer organizations; and
Whereas, the California Republican Party has insulated itself from any accountability to rank and file Republicans by abolishing Party Primaries and Central Committee elections and failing to implement any system of binding input from the millions of registered Republicans in the State; and
Whereas, the California Republican Party has betrayed the core principles of traditional family values as stated in its Party Platform, and
Whereas, in top two races, the California Republican Party requires the CRA to support their endorsed candidates even at the expense of supporting candidates better aligned with our stated principles; and
Whereas, this incongruity between the values of CRA and behavior of the California Republican Party has become so divergent as to be irreconcilable,
Therefore be it resolved that the California Republican Assembly hereby severe its association as a chartered volunteer organization of the California Republican Party.
Friday, March 06, 2015
2015 CRA Convention Preview
The 80th Annual Convention of the California Republican Assembly begins one week from today. The good news is that Michael Reagan is the keynote speaker on Saturday night. The bad news is that the event—which should be a celebration of effectiveness of CRA—is instead poised to be the biggest circular firing squad assembled since Karen England tried her hostile takeover in 2011. Ironically, this convention is being held at the very same venue.
Already on the docket are Baron Knight and Steve Sarkis. Both men are appealing CRA Board votes concerning their suspensions. These votes are the result of the Anaheim Republican Assembly mismanagement under then Chapter President Sarkis. Knight was given a five year ban from CRA and Sarkis was handed a lifetime ban. Both men have appealed to the full convention to hear their cases.
I think it is likely that both sentences will be overturned or severely truncated. While the order of appearance before the body may matter to the outcome, I just don’t think folks come all the way to Sacramento to burn fellow members at the stake…whether they deserve it or not.
The biggest likely winner in this dust-up is Tom Hudson. Hudson has emerged as leader of “the loyal opposition”. The biggest losers from this confrontation are sitting President John Briscoe and the Park brothers—George and Aaron.
Plans are afoot to change the number of high value targets on trial from a double header to a trifecta. If they get their way, Park, Briscoe and Park plan to paint a target on the Nevada County Republican Assembly and then go nuclear on them. By a four to three vote, the Charter Review Committee voted to defer sanctions on Nevada RA until a after the Convention. Nevada is slowly bringing itself into compliance—albeit, kicking and screaming much of the way.
The Parks are on Charter Review, and they are not happy that they lost on their motion to punish Nevada RA now. Please understand that they need a 2/3 vote to decharter Nevada RA, and already failed at the last Board meeting. In fact the January vote by the Board was either a tie or one vote over half depending on whose count you believe. How they think they have the votes at Convention is just insanity. In fact, they want to decharter Nevada RA on the first night of the Convention at the Friday afternoon Board meeting. Nevada RA could then appeal the vote to the full body on the following day. If Nevada wins there, they have defacto immunity for the rest of their existence.
If this were to unfold this way, I predict that John Briscoe will be defeated for re-election and Tom Hudson will emerge as the supreme leader of CRA. Furthermore, the Parks will quit CRA. Yes, they are that angry and taking all this that personally. Why Nevada has gotten under their skin like it has is just amazing.
To prevent this scenario, I have let it be known that if this topic comes up when I’m at the Board meeting, that I will motion to defer this matter to a Board meeting following the Convention. To employ the old phrase, “there are bigger fish that need fryin’”. Why the Parks are expending so much energy on a tangent like this is shortsighted.
At the January Board meeting, President Briscoe did everything that he could to disrupt and undermine the debate and vote on Nevada RA and now he lets it be known that he was for the action recommended by Charter Review?! John, your future in CRA might be dicey but you could always utilize your parliamentary skills as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The other adventure in bomb throwing and self-immolation at the Convention is my resolution to sever the relationship between CRA and the California Republican Party. CRA existed before CRP and is a private corporation but it also has subjected itself to the CRP because CRA is an officially recognized charter organization of the California Republican Party. Thus CRA must support the CRP endorsed candidate in the General Election even if a better qualified Republican is running in the race.
Some folks have said that we should wait to break with CRP until we see if the platform is lost. Newsflash; we lost the platform a week ago, 861 to 293. The proverbial pot is boiling; do the frogs stay or go? We will have the answer next week-end.
I foresee a high probability that I will be a Decline-to-State voter very soon if things continue as they are. Reagan said, “I didn’t leave the Party, the Party left me.” I’m feeling that way now.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Yet Another CRP Convention—So Who Cares
Freedom in the United States is experiencing a “cascade failure” as even more power is taken from citizens and given to Washington. I don’t think that it’s a matter of folks not caring; it’s that they seem powerless to stand up to the rising tide of evil and lawlessness that is modern politics. What was once the dynamic of the Evil Party versus the Stupid Party has changed into the Evil Party versus the Enabling Party.
In much of modern American politics, Republicans are irrelevant—especially on both Coasts. There is nothing to unite them except they’re not Democrats. As a group, the current crop of office holders stands for nothing and offers less. The Republican Party has forsaken the way shown them by Ronald Reagan and instead created a leadership vacuum within our country. This lack of principled leadership has transformed the Party into a playground for egotistical rich people that want instant political power without earning it. You know the names: Bush, Robertson, Romney, Isa, Munger, Trump, Fiorina, Whitman, etc.
In California, this situation is especially dire. The leadership of the California Republican Party has contented themselves with establishing a top-down organization that is nothing but a “good ‘ole boys club”. They do not care what rank and file party members feel or what is important to them. In fact, regular Republicans are nothing but sheep to be led and a macro group of potential donors.
The CRP waste millions of dollars each election cycle by hiring the most inexperienced and often incompetent people that money can buy. They filter out men and women of integrity with their ineffectiveness. As a group, their paid staff is just as useless as their consultants.
Every two years, this broken political apparatus is thrust upon well-meaning candidates who are then led to their political slaughter while staffers and consultants rape their campaign war-chests. The Party then discards the candidates that loose and promote the weakest staffers to work in Sacramento as their reward for helping to maintain the status quo. Then in two years, they do it again to a new crop of candidates.
In this dystopian political world, they do manage to persuade some to volunteer. However, the number of folks willing to volunteer in campaigns is in rapid decline. Once exposed to campaign dysfunction, many volunteers disappear long before Election Day. Few will return for the next cycle. The shortage of volunteers is regarded not as a symptom of a Party in trouble but “just the way it is”.
The trend of declining Party registration appears irreversible. The folks in power have little incentive to change. The smaller the pool of California Republicans, the bigger fish they become. That the pond is evaporating is beyond their ability to comprehend.
Barring Divine intervention, this generation of leaders and the next few are a lost cause.
Friday, February 13, 2015
CNN’s Cuomo v Moore is Really Age Old Debate
In a heated debate over same-sex marriage with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Thursday, CNN morning anchor Chris Cuomo exclaimed that Americans’ rights “do not come from God.”
Cuomo’s abrupt response came after Judge Moore stated, “Our rights, contained in the Bill of Rights, do not come from the Constitution. They come from God. That’s clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.”
Cuomo, a licensed attorney, sharply interrupted Judge Moore, arguing, “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that.
“They come from man. … That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”
I know Judge Moore. I met him about 20 years ago, shortly after he posted the Ten Commandments in his court room. He is the epitome of a “Southern Gentleman”. He is soft spoken and has a spine of steel. Unlike most Ivy League and public school graduates, he actually has an education and believes in the principles on which this country was founded.
Chris Cuomo is the son of “Mario the Pius” as Rush Limbaugh often called the former New York Governor. Cuomo is just another North-East Liberal who is Catholic in Name Only. He—like many others in our country—managed to spend years being indoctrinated in classrooms while avoiding an education.
The author of the article quoted above points out that Cuomo is a licensed attorney…as if I’m supposed to be impressed. Most attorneys that I know are bumbling, incompetent, and so unfamiliar with the law that most of their legal advice is in fact contrary to the laws they are sworn to uphold.
What you see in the brief exchange quoted above is the centuries old debate between two worldviews represented by John Calvin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I had to read Rousseau in college and I’m sure Cuomo did too since his answer is just a regurgitation of Rousseau’s Social Contract; “Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”
What they don’t teach in college is that Rousseau did not write his Social Contract in a vacuum. The key is where did he live when he wrote his famous book on political theory? Geneva. Once you know where it was written (and when), then you are a big step closer to understanding its content. Rousseau’s famous work is in fact a rejection the teachings of John Calvin and an attempt to substitute a secular humanist worldview for a Christian and biblically based one.
Rousseau and Thomas Hobbs (Leviathan) are the two pillars of modern, secular, political theory. The fact that neither man is correct doesn’t seem to bother anyone. The important thing is that both man rejected any biblical basis for the existence of government. Once Scripture can be ignored then government becomes all about power. In a sense we are back the Pharaoh v Moses (the thesis of Gary North’s book on Exodus).
People like Cuomo think Judge Moore is some wild “cowboy” off doing his own thing or a scofflaw for ignoring the US Supreme Court. Federalism issue aside, Cuomo again is displaying his ignorance of history. Moore is exercising the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate. For those who have never heard of this here is part of the Wikipedia article.
The doctrine of the lesser magistrate is a concept in Protestant thought. A lesser magistrate is a ruler such as a prince who is under a greater ruler such as an emperor. According to many figures of the Reformation and Post-Reformation eras, the lesser magistrate has the authority to rebel against the tyranny of a supreme ruler.
The doctrine of the lesser magistrate finds its origin in John Calvin, who wrote that whereas private Christians must submit to the ruling authorities, there are “popular magistrates” who have “been appointed to curb the tyranny of kings”. When these magistrates “connive at kings when they tyrannise and insult over the humbler of the people” they “fraudulently betray the liberty of the people” when God has appointed them guardians of that liberty.
The lesser magistrate is prominent in the Lutheran Magdeburg Confession of 1550, which argued that the “subordinate powers” in a state, faced with the situation where the “supreme power” is working to destroy true religion, may go further than non-cooperation with the supreme power and assist the faithful to resist.
Surprised to see John Calvin’s name here or Martin Luther? I’m not. So again, this conflict is Calvin v Rousseau.
The bottom line is that Cuomo wants the power of the State to be wielded against biblical values and see “gay marriage” imposed at the point of the sword. My response to that is what we pray in the Litany, “Good Lord deliver us”.
Monday, February 09, 2015
Amazon and Diablo 3
Amazon Dot Com has some peculiar pricing practices. My son has wanted to play Diablo III with his dad. Please understand that you need the full game of Diablo III before you can install the expansion pack so at list price this is $39.99 twice or basically $80.
Back in September I bought the expansion pack “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls” for $19.99. This price only lasted a few days. Typically each part of the game sells for between 29 and 32 dollars on Amazon. Blizzard has only dropped off their $39.99 suggested retail price once and that was only on “Black Friday” where each was $19.99. I have been waiting since December for a price drop so I can get my son a copy. Well, on Friday February 6, the original game dropped to $19.99 for one day. I placed my order. The expansion pack price did not drop at the same time. However, Diablo III went back up and then the expansion pack dropped to $19.99 on Sunday. So guess what I bought yesterday?
I don’t know if this happens to other software on Amazon but it sure makes me curious. I’m looking forward to spending time playing with my son. In the meantime, Terraria will keep us busy.
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Obama Opines About Ills of Christianity
Obama had a more non-denominational message for the audience that also included prominent leaders of non-Christian faiths. The president said that while religion is a source for good around the world, people of all faiths have been willing to “hijack religion for their own murderous ends.”
“Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
“So it is not unique to one group or one religion,” Obama said. “There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”
Obama called for all people of faiths to show humility about their beliefs and reject the idea that “God speaks only to us and doesn’t speak to others.”
Letting President Obama speak at a prayer breakfast is just wrong. This man is openly hostile to Christianity and has appointed likeminded people that choose to wield the power of the State to subjugating people’s religious beliefs to his will. Christianity is the belief that Jesus is Lord; even of the State. Obama on the other hand is a secular humanist that believes that you can believe whatever you like as long as you keep it private and out of the public square and acknowledge the State as Supreme.
Ironically, this is the same conflict that Christians faced in the Roman Empire. Romans proudly proclaimed, “Caesar is Lord” and the Christian belief that “Jesus is Lord” became viewed as treasonous.
Allowing Obama to officiate a traditionally non-denominational Christian event is like the Mormon Chaplain that was on my ship—back in my Navy days—leading the Protestant worship service. We might use similar terms but in fact we were worshipping different gods.
Read the first paragraph quoted above and then read between the lines. What Obama is doing is equating all religions and then saying that anyone who takes their beliefs too seriously is a potential danger to the rest of us.
All religion claims to be the path to Truth. Logically, if religion leads us to Truth and we don’t follow where it leads, how can that be virtuous? The fact that religions contradict each other means that they cannot all be true.
Couple this with Jesus’ statement that “I am the way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14: 6) and suddenly the idea that all religious beliefs are equal can’t coexist with Christianity. Christianity claims to be Truth to the exclusion of all other beliefs.
Obama then invokes the Crusades and Inquisition to prove that Christianity is just as corrupt as all other religions because terrible deeds have been done in the name of Christ. The Church has done bad things and some good ones too over its history. It is the doctrinal and human failures of Rome that led to both the Crusades and Inquisition. Some argue that the Crusades were in part a defensive reaction to Islam but the method of recruiting soldiers employed by the Pope is without biblical warrant. Forgiving sins is Christ’s job not the Pope.
Originally, the Inquisition was a church trial to prevent heresy and uphold orthodoxy. It was used as a way of suppressing movements viewed as conflicting with Roman doctrine. Typically, I think the Spanish Inquisition is in mind when the “I” word is used.
As bad as these things might be, the number of casualties is nothing compared to the number of deaths just in the 20th Century as a result of socialism. Between National Socialism and international socialism, hundreds of millions of people were killed—many by their own governments.
Slavery then gets blamed on Christianity. Ironically, it was Christian folks that were the leaders of abolition of slavery. Yes, people that thought themselves “good” Christians did own slaves but only because they did not have a proper biblical worldview. Some Christians thought better of slave ownership and freed their slaves but this doesn’t fit the narrative. Blacks in America owed slaves too but again we don’t talk about that.
Slavery in the Bible was only supposed to be for a period of up to seven years. Slaves as property can only be found in Exodus and is not portrayed as a “good” institution. Somehow the fact that Muslims in Africa were enslaving their fellow blacks and selling them to Europeans tends to be overlooked in this discussion. Pardon the pun, but the narrative of slavery in the United States has been “whitewashed” by folks with other agendas.
Christians then get blamed for Jim Crow Laws. Really? Not all those good southern Democrats. It was a majority of Republicans and minority of Democrats that passed the civil rights legislation in the 1960’s but somehow the Democrats always get a pass. It was Democrat Governors and Mayors that used Billie clubs, dogs, and water cannons against Blacks in the 60’s but Democrats get a pass. Sorry Barry, Jesus had nothing to do with Jim Crow Laws, only Democrats.
Obama then opined, “There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.” Yes, it’s called a “sin nature”. Scripture warns us “not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought” and elsewhere says “pride comes before a fall”. We are commended to “love one another as I have loved you”. Only when we lose sight of the fact that all men are created in the image of God do we elevate ourselves at the expense of others.
In the last paragraph, Obama asked that we “reject the idea that ‘God speaks only to us and doesn’t speak to others’”. Wrong again. Christians believe that God speaks thru His word—the Bible. God the Holy Spirit is in our hearts to instruct us in all Truth. Whether we listen to God’s leading is a matter of faithfulness.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Finding Adobe Acrobat 9 Updates
At my work, we use the full version of Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional. Unfortunately, Adobe has scrubbed their website of any updates for their software because this version is too old. Officially they ended support as of June 26, 2013. http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/end-support-acrobat-8-reader.html
Our IT department is deploying new Windows 7 Enterprise boxes and I get to go behind them and install Acrobat 9 Pro. Version 9.0.0 does have some bugs and security holes—which clearly doesn’t bother our IT guys too much or they would have a more up to date version. Anyway, users are experiencing some glitches—especially when opening PDF files in their Internet Explorer 9 web browser (I know, different blogging item).
Anyway, I figured that the best way I could help them was by updating Acrobat 9. Running the update within Acrobat 9.0.0 does not work on our network. Getting past our Active Directory group policies and out of the firewall seems like a constant hindrance to network performance. Anyway, I decided to try and find updates on the Internet while avoiding malware and phishing sites. After several searches and a few trips to Task Manager to kill IE 9 when I stumbled on suspicious websites, I found both an upgrade path and a secret Adobe file server.
While Adobe no longer links their webpages to any updates, it does still show the upgrade path to Acrobat 9.5.5—the final version of Acrobat 9.
http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/update-patch-acrobat-reader-7.html All upgrade links take you to error page for file not found.
I downloaded all files and installed them in order and was successful. Every few updates, you need to restart the computer.
Regrettably, I did not bookmark the site where I found Adobe’s FTP server. But as of this writing, it is located here.
As an experiment, I skipped a few updates. Skipping resulted in failed updating of Acrobat. If that happens restart the computer and then try the correct upgrade again. Here is the experiment that I did on a computer.
I started with a machine that had 9.0.0 installed.
I then ran updates in this order
9.1.2; 9.2.0; 9.3.0 restart
At this point Acrobat’s Update utility wanted to run. Just to see what happened I let it run. It tried to jump Acrobat to 9.5.5. After the computer restarted, I tried to run Acrobat. I got an error. Then I went to the Control Panel and opened Programs and Features. On Acrobat 9, I ran Uninstall/Change and ran Repair option. Then Acrobat self-repaired and 9.5.5 was able to run.
Based on this, try installing a few more updates and then if 9.5.5 wants to install, you can try it.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Federal Government Recognizes Gay Marriage Despite State Laws to Contrary
Crippled though it may be, I thought the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) signed by President Clinton was still in effect; so I was surprised to read in the 2014 tax instructions that the Federal government recognizes gay marriage even if your state does not.
Same-sex marriage. For federal tax purposes, individuals of the same sex are considered married if they were lawfully married in a state (or foreign country) whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, even if the state (or foreign country) in which they now live does not recognize same-sex marriage. Form 1040 Instructions pages 12 - 13
The US Supreme Court has not issued such a ruling. Is this another Executive Order from Obama? I’m surprised there is no pushback from defenders of traditional marriage. Also, where is Congress on this issue?
Monday, January 26, 2015
CRA: Battle of Tom Hudson Part 1
This weekend, I attended a Board meeting of the California Republican Assembly. This spectacle was chaired by their president, John Briscoe. It is the first of three board meetings he has scheduled for the first three months of 2015—technically there are two on the same weekend in March, but I digress. Briscoe can’t find a way to do the business of the Board by either email; teleconference or other modern means so he has the Board make the trek to the other end of California every few weeks to handle their business. 2014 saw at least five such meetings.
The main highlights of the meeting were the endorsement of CRP officers running for reelection (their convention and elections will be held next month) and the farce that is the Nevada County Republican Assembly.
Former California senator and current head of the California Republican Party, Jim Brulte, dropped by the CRA Board meeting and gave a speech about his accomplishments as chairman. He found a way to paint a rosy picture of success by denying the Democrats 2/3 majorities in the Senate and Assembly but left a few small items on the cutting room floor.
Under Brulte’s leadership, no California counties held regular Central Committee elections last year; in fact several counties have abolished the practice altogether. Others might hold elections once every four years but whether this will actually occur in 2016 remains to be seen. This means the current leadership in many counties will remain static; their succession is no longer elected by or accountable to voters but only an internal matter determined by a small insular group. However, these Central Committees still presume to speak for all Republicans in their county without any voter input. It is rule by oligarchy.
Brulte, like many in CRA and other Republican groups, thinks that rules are only for others and not binding on them as well. He claimed that the State Party respected to endorsement decisions of Central Committees and declined endorsement in races where Central Committees had spoken. This was a bald-faced whopper but nobody on CRA’s Board seemed to care.
John Briscoe muffed the endorsement vote for Brulte. He allowed Harmeet Dhillon (CRP Vice-chair) to remain in the room as well as many others not on the Board. Such votes are supposed to be closed decisions. Brulte got two NO votes from the Board. During the endorsement votes, Briscoe never asked for abstentions and neither the current or former parliamentarian—who were both present—corrected him on the oversight. This was some sloppy meeting management by the CRA President.
Next Dhillon was also endorsed. This time she was outside the room but Brulte was present when the vote was held. Later in the day, a regional VP from the central valley was also endorsed. The Sith Lord says this guy was missing from action for most of the last election cycle but he talks a good game.
Next was the Nevada County RA.
Charter Review wanted to discipline the group since the Jeopardy Letter had not had the desired effect. They have been messing with this group for four years but Nevada RA will not follow the rules everyone else has to follow. The vote Charter Review scheduled was to suspend the group and put them in the care of the regional vice-president; in this instance Aaron Park who was not present at the meeting.
This portion of the meeting was again mishandled, this time by Charter Review Chairman, Tim Thiesen, and CRA President, John Briscoe. First, Thiesen failed to make a cogent case as to why Nevada RA was in trouble to start with. Thiesen did not lay out in a concise format what happened or when. We were given disjointed fragments of information. Had this been done via email with an executive summary and a request to vote, I think it would have been a slamdunk; however, done in real time it was a disaster.
To add to the confusion, a representative from Nevada RA appeared to speak in defense of his unit. A motion was made from the malcontent wing of the CRA to allow this man to speak for five minutes. This motion was made after Thiesen’s disjointed presentation was concluded. The motion was approved and the Nevada RA rep was granted five minutes to speak. In addition three speakers from each side were allowed two minutes each to speak. Briscoe made two critical mistakes at this juncture. First he allowed the three speakers on each side their two minutes speaches to occur first and then allowed the Nevada RA speakers five minutes at the end to wrap this up.
The old axiom of he who frames the issue wins the debate proved true here. Thiesen failed to prove why the chapter was in trouble so the Nevada RA guy muddied up the waters even more. President Briscoe did not defend his Charter Review Committee and declined to vote on the matter. This was the last straw. The vote which required a two-thirds vote could not break fifty percent. The malcontents prevailed again. Nevada RA begged to be given until the March Convention and this was granted. I don’t think the extra time will solve the issue.
The malcontent wing as I label them consists mainly of Tom Hudson, all members present from the Sacramento RA and San Joaquin president Jim Shoemaker. They view their function in the group to oppose the current leadership just to be a pain in their butts. I think their real beef is not with President Briscoe but any member with the last name of Park. Since the Park brothers support Briscoe, they must oppose him. Simple and childish but it seems to be the only explanation.
Another thing I found out about the event was that several in attendance did not pay for lunch but helped themselves anyway. While the rest of us had to shell out thirty bucks; these guy thought they could just freeload. Thiesen was in charge of the event and they took roll at the door so how did this occur? Tim clearly does not run a tight ship. I was disappointed but not surprised. Having been stuck with the bill before, I am sensitive to this particular form of theft. In my case however, Denny’s would not give out individual bills and people were left on the honor system. Instead of paying some literally left us with the bill. Sith Lord and I split the $100 tab that nobody else paid.
The last item that will certainly be back with a vengeance is the Convention committee assignments made by Briscoe. Briscoe said his criterion was that nobody from last time would be a chairman again this year and one person per committee. Tom Hudson about had an aneurism when he found out his assignment. Under previous CRA Presidents he typically was on the three or four most powerful committees and usually served as chair or vice-chair, but this time he was just “Joe Member” on one committee. He had a tantrum from the floor but was shutdown by Briscoe. Sith Lord says that following the meeting Hudson vowed to oppose every item coming from the Bylaws Committee. I think he will oppose just about everything at the convention from every committee.
Hudson is setting himself up as the alternative to Briscoe but the real question is will he run a slate at the convention to try to wrest control of the CRA from the current leadership?