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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Why Repeal and Replace Will Not Happen

Here are some quick reasons why Trump and Republican’s promise is not being kept to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Medicare
Medicare was effectively abolished and rolled into Obamacare. The pyramid scheme ran out of steam. Instead of fixing it, they created a new scheme to kick the problem down the road by adding millions of young and health people into the program, thus subsidizing others. In short, Obamacare is a massive wealth transfer from those who have to those who need.

Software
Medical providers are highly dependent on billing services to both government and insurance companies. Obamacare scrapped the previous system and replaced it with a new one. My sources tell me that software vendors are writing code two years into the future so any change today would take at least two years to roll-out. Also, previous technology is obsolete so we literally can’t go back to the old ways.

Politicians Like It
Obamacare is so far reaching that the political class can’t agree on what to keep or scrap. The only thing that they agree on is that Obamacare is crap and they will keep their insurance no matter what they mandate for the rest of us.

Unions Exempt
Democrat’s biggest donors—except for the illegal overseas contributors—are unions. All unions are exempted from Obamacare thus much of the donor base is insulated from any direct financial impact. Since most unions are either government workers or receive subsidies from government directly or via corporate welfare, rank and file don’t have to pay their fair share when compared to private sector workers.

Republicans
Republicans have been lying for years that they don’t like Obamacare. Remember when Ted Cruz and company were saying during the last campaign that they would get rid of it? Truth is that there was no legislation that they believed in. It is proven by their actions now that it was all for show. The only good news is Ted at least has a bill this time. (Took him a failed presidential campaign to introduce any legislation even if it’s just symbolic.) If Republicans really had a bill they believed in like—maybe the one they kept passing when Obama was president and he kept vetoing—then we wouldn’t be in this mess today. Oh wait, those feckless guys never sent a bill to Obama to veto. Truth is they wanted the issue to campaign on but never believed they would really have the chance to fix it. Do you think for a millisecond that McCain and company thought Trump had a chance in hell against Hillary?

So what now? Look for Trump to look harder at bipartisan solutions. Trump has more reason to campaign to replace incumbent Republicans in the next election. Meanwhile, he may find working with Democrats will get him part of what he wants which is more than Republicans can deliver which is nothing. Behind the scenes Trump will be doing much that will result in meaningful change incrementally instead of in big and very public changes.

Posted by william on 07/19 at 07:29 AM
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Friday, July 14, 2017

ABC News Labels Freedom Defenders Hate Group

According to ABC News and a host of Liberal illiterates if you believe in liberty, freedom of religion, freedom, of speech, private property, hiring the best qualified people for employment, or having a choice in where and how your children are educated then you are officially a member of a hate group.

Ironically, when I was a kid people holding such beliefs were called Americans and patriots.

But no longer is that true according to Disney owned news conglomerate ABC News.  On Wednesday, two days after I posted about the crazy lady that owns “The Crystal Ship” (she holds similar views); Disney’s ABC News labeled the Alliance Defending Freedom a hate group. This group defends conservative folks from governmental tyranny. ABC is angry that our new Attorney General spoke privately to the group.


Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks

ABC leads with this:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a speech to an alleged hate group at an event closed to reporters on Tuesday night, but the Department of Justice is refusing to reveal what he said.

Short thereafter, the article quotes US Senator Tammy Baldwin

“This sends a very troubling message that our Attorney General, America’s top law enforcement official, is not committed to standing up to anti-LGBT hate.”

The ABC reporter goes no to write:

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy group founded in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1994 that “specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally.”

The group is representing Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who is challenging the state’s nondiscrimination protections after he was found in violation of the law for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case in June 2017.

Do you see what the Left is saying? To state that “homosexuality is wrong” or “marriage is between a man and woman” is a hate crime. Hate crime means fines, imprisonment, and the full weight of the State falling on your little head; or so they hope.

So when Liberals take away my freedom, attack my God, my marriage, and my family and I dare to defend myself within the law, then I’m a hatemonger  and should be banned from the public square. That’s the clear message of this news story. In addition, many Liberals believe I should forfeit my job, my children, and my freedom because I disagree with them. Such beliefs are being implemented now in California. I’m warning you here and now (once again) that these beliefs will shortly be enacted into law here in California. Folks we aren’t far behind Canada.

For different view than Disney’s see:
Link: ABC—Christians Who Defend Religious Liberty Hate Group

 

Posted by william on 07/14 at 01:54 PM
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What the Hell, CRA!!!!!

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By X

I must admit I am beginning to lose what little faith I had left in the CRA, and that’s probably a good thing.  From the same group that brought you an endorsement of Ted Cruz long after Donald J Trump had wrapped up the nomination process for President, they have recruited a second Republican to run for Governor.  Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-who cares) has been talked into running, thus assuring a run off between two Democrats for the top job in California. 

If you are related to Aaron Park, registered to vote at Wal-Mart, or been living under a rock; you might have missed the enactment of the law many years ago that gave California a “top two” election system where the two highest vote getters—regardless of party—advance to a general election run-off in November.  (This law was funded and passed by the current majority shareholder of the California GOP, Charlie Munger.) Think the 2016 Senate Election which pitted Comrade Loretta Sanchez against Socialist/Black Lives Matter Kamala Harris—notice no Republican in that group. 

My point is this; we already have a Republican running for Governor, John Cox. Cox is very wealthy and has showing a willingness to spend quite a bit of his own money.  I don’t know much about Mr. Allen or his finances, except that he is very far to the right of center, and that’s fine but not viable in the Peoples Republic of California.

Several questions need to be raised about this.  Why doesn’t Allen run for one of the other statewide offices in California?  Like I don’t know any of them since none currently have a Republican seeking the office?  Does the CRA believe Gavin Newsome vs Antonio Villaraigosa really offers us the best choices?  What the hell, the CRA!

(Editor’s Note: many Republicans in California would rather have an all Democrat gubernatorial race next time because they don’t believe a Republican can win. Many have voiced tentative support for Democrat and former State Treasurer John Chiang.)

Posted by william on 07/11 at 03:45 PM
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Monday, July 10, 2017

Firefighter Runs Aground for Comments About The Crystal Ship

A Placerville business put a rainbow flag above their store. A person that saw it prominently displayed over the fourth of July weekend was offended—as we supposedly can be under the first Amendment—and posted his feeling on Facebook—also something that we supposedly have the right to do.

The owner of the post has the power to delete the comment and probably block the person—depending on their settings—but instead she goes ballistic and it ends up being a news story.

Per shop owner, Jessica Martin, “He said to, ‘Take down that gay ass flag and it should be replaced with an American flag or a confederate flag.’”

Political action evokes political speech, happens every day in real life.

The store owner’s reaction is puzzling to me.

We are talking about discrimination, racism, we are talking about so many horrible atrocities of man in this country,” said Jessica Martin who owns The Crystal Ship.

Let’s pull this grammatically rocky quote apart.

Discrimination
• Why is discrimination bad? We all do it every day hundreds of times.
• Do I have a donut or cereal for breakfast?
• Should I eat salad or pizza for dinner?
• Should I park on the street or in the lot?
• Should I buy a green shirt or the blue one?
These are the types of discrimination we use in everyday decisions.

• Likewise, should I shop at the store with the rainbow flag or the one without?

In America, we used to call such reasoning “freedom of choice.”

Racism
Even Martin Luther King’s daughter says that homosexual claims of equivalence with race are BS. Since Dr. King has an acknowledged track record endorsed by Liberals, who am I to argue?

I don’t know about Jessica, but I sure can’t tell who someone sleeps with just by looking at them. Is thinking you can discriminatory?

Horrible Atrocities
• Like maybe voting for Donald Trump?
• Going to church?
• Believing that marriage should be between one man and one woman?
• Believing the Bible is true?
• Believing that homosexual behavior is sinful?
• Believing that Jessica and people like her are under God’s judgment for rejecting the clear teaching of His Word?

Man
• Isn’t it discriminatory to point-out that the author of the Facebook quote is a man?
• Why does gender matter?

Volunteer Firefighter
• Who cares what this guy does for a living or that he is a volunteer firefighter?
• Was he claiming to represent the department? (NO)
• If Jessica’s store caught on fire would the guy show-up to extinguish the fire? Yes, so who cares?

So one thin skinned Liberal gets offended by one guy making a post of Facebook, and the local television station thinks its news?

I get offended on Facebook all the time but I usually don’t let people know how I feel (I have this blog for that).

Oh, the local fire district made the guy retract his comments and apologize to Miss Jessica.

What happened to, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”


Link: Volunteer Firefighter’s Post About Gay Flag Sparks Outrage In Amador County

Posted by william on 07/10 at 11:51 AM
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Friday, July 07, 2017

California Moves Toward Test Oath for Citizens

If you want to see where California is heading in the next few years then look to The Great White North. Canada has implemented some of the most far reaching and onerous laws promoting homosexuality on the planet. Canada has erected a series of human rights commissions that are charged with enforcing these laws. Both freedom of speech and religion have been severely curtailed in the last few years. Parents are in danger of losing their children to the state and preachers are forbidden to talk about sin from the pulpit.

To see where California is heading between now and the end of Gavin Newsom’s administration (and yes I think he will be the next governor) let’s look north. In Canada, a Christian group had created a charter school a few years ago. Now that these human rights commissions and other legislation are in place, the environment has become hostile to Christianity. The school district mentioned in the article below is Battle River School Division (BRSD). The charter school is Cornerstone Christian Academy.

Christian School Defunded Over Bible Verses
But that has come to an end in a dispute over the school’s use of two biblical passages that BRSD board members contend “denigrate” and “vilify” LGBT individuals.
•Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
•Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. – Galatians 5:19-24

Please note that these verses in the Bible were written almost two thousand years ago. The Scriptures didn’t change in the nine years that the charter school has been running.

Earlier this year, Cornerstone removed the Corinthians passage from its website at the request of BRSD, but planned to include it and the Galatians passage in the student handbook.

BRSD sent the email following last month’s change in legislation adding “gender expression” and “gender identity” to Canada’s Human Rights Code and to the Criminal Code’s hate-crime section.

A BRSD spokesman said trustees believed the verses might contravene Alberta’s human-rights legislation.

BRSD chairwoman Lauri Skori called it inappropriate to share “any teachings that denigrate or vilify someone’s sexual orientation.”


Note: Colorado also has a human rights commission. In 2012, this commission was responsible for prosecuting a baker for refusing to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. (This happened two years before the Supreme Court forced “gay marriage” upon the fifty states.) This is the case scheduled to be heard this fall by the Supreme Court.


It is my belief and has been for several years that California will eventually require a test oath in order to allow access to employment, student loans, and other government benefits.  But we Americans always do things to extremes so why not include the private sector as we implement these rules?

The first sign of this oath was last year in the bill to restrict student loans to schools that affirmed the gay rights agenda of the State as a condition of giving loans to California college students. This bill was withdrawn but I fully expect it to be passed by the end of the next legislative cycle (2018).

Today in the news is the next plank of this movement.

California Bill Would Require Workplace Transgender Training

The bill would apply to every employer in California with 50 or more employees requiring training on gender harassment, as part of current sexual harassment training. And it reaffirms that transgender workers are allowed to go by their preferred names and pronouns.

If this bill doesn’t get signed by Jerry Brown it certainly will by Newsom. So how will employers prove they are complying with the law? They will have to have another poster in the breakroom and a signed form from each employee that they have been trained about the special treatment that must be given to sexually and morally deviant people. Failure of businesses to comply will eventually mean they will be forced to cease operations and failure of employees to sign will eventually cost people their jobs.

This law is not the end; it’s just the next step. These laws are to legislate morality (or in this case immorality) and to attack traditional Christianity. Remember that all law is religious. This is an establishment of religion albeit a foreign one.

We are very close to going full circle back to Rome. In ancient Rome you could have any god you wish as long as you acknowledged Caesar as Lord. Those that said Jesus is Lord were attacked not on religious grounds but as political enemies of the State. Christianity was high treason.

California is trying to criminalize Christianity—not just banish it from the public square but cleanse it from the culture.

Posted by william on 07/07 at 08:27 AM
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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Kraft-Heinz is a disaster under Warren Buffett

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By X

By now you should know that X hates three things: The CRA, Aaron Park (and his idiot brother I’m calling Igor from now on), and Warren Buffett; it’s time to Buffet Buffett again.  I’m going to tell the story of Buffett and his Brazilian friends at 3G Capital and how they are destroying American family jobs and lifestyles.  Warren Buffett is lauded as the most successful investor ever and 3G Capital is a group famous for cutting expenses to the bone and deleting unnecessary expenses—think zero based budgeting.

(Editors note: this is not the zero based budgeting often proposed in bygone years as a solution to federal spending but taking budget line items to zero for short-term gain of shareholders.)

This particular example of Buffett malfeasance started in February 2013 when Buffett and 3G Capital announced they were buying iconic American ketchup maker Heinz for the price of 23 billion.  Like most companies who take over or buy a competitor, there are “synergies” or opportunities to cut jobs etc. to save the acquirer money.  These “synergies” started immediately with the laying off of 350 workers in the Pittsburgh headquarters.  X doesn’t like layoffs but most of these were likely duplicate jobs or as X likes to call them “so we got rid of the assistant secretary’s secretary?”  These jobs were white collar, but X figured innovation or something would save the day.  Nope. The maker of ketchup, ORE-IDA, and several other brands did nothing other than “reformulate their mustard.” 

Several manufacturing plants were closed, hundreds of workers laid off.  But Buffett/3G continued cost cutting with such innovations as:
• No more mini fridges in your office or at your desk.
• No more free products.
• Coupons would be phased out as well as deep discounting of products. 
• Copies must be in black ink only, and must print on both sides of each page. 


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Remember this is good ole, all-American, folksy Warren Buffett folks.  Yeah, the guy that causes Democrats to wet themselves with pride and envy every time they hear his proclamations.

This process of downsizing went on for about two and a half years. Through those years, efficiency increased, but layoffs increased as well. There were cuts every year, as well as plant closings.  That raise you thought you were getting?  Yeah, no. 

3G’s President Bernardo Hees—who by the way has no experience in consumer packaged goods—became president and CEO of Heinz.  Hees has experience in…..you guessed it railroading.  Hees has been quoted numerous times stating employees should have no life outside of work, and need to always work faster and harder.  So I guess you can say he no longer railroads with trains, he railroads humans now.  Buffett—for what it’s worth—basically insulates himself saying he provided the financing not the daily operations, 3G does. 

Herein lies the problem when you cut, cut, cut. Year-over-year revenue at Heinz has declined every year since they were acquired by Buffett and 3G.  The reasons?  Well there are several:
• Employee morale being bankrupt doesn’t help.
• Consumer tastes changing plays a part.
• No more couponing or discounting.
• Lack of any meaningful innovation. 

If the best you can do in 3 years is re-doing your mustard recipe, then maybe you used to run a railroad.

Given the train wreck they made out of Heinz, guess what Buffett and 3G did in 2015?  Buy Kraft Foods. Buffett/3G returns Heinz to public stock market and Kraft-Heinz was born.  Make no mistake; Buffett got his $$$ back. His vehicle of investment—Berkshire Hathaway—and 3G Capital own 51% of the shares outstanding so what they say and want goes.  In addition Buffett financed the deal and is paying himself back with a 10% interest earning note.  Again this sounds like a wonderful gig, where do I sign up?

Kraft is a maker of all kinds of iconic brands, and is in nearly every single North American household, so Buffett and 3G were smart and wouldn’t let the same mistakes foil them again right?  Nope.  First they decided to move Kraft headquarters to Chicago from Northbrook, and downsize 30% of employees.  Again the zero based budgeting started and the old company perks were gone.
Free Jello?  Gone
Mini fridge?  Gone. 

Then came massive layoffs and the shutdown of 5 plants.  This process was repeated in 2016, and again in 2017. These guys are so ruthless they moved Oscar Mayer out of Madison, Wisconsin and into Chicago.  Apparently they think Oscar Mayer is a variation of the Chicago Dog (or soon plan to market Soylent Green).  However, innovation has also been slim to none and this company has north of 100 brands.  Once again, to this date layoffs at the company have reached nearly 5,000 since, nice guy, folksy Buffett took over.

Not trying to defend Buffett here but the consumer packaged goods scene is not very good right now. American tastes have evolved and they are closely reading label ingredient lists.  Also why by a Heinz picnic pack for $7.99 when you know in a week or so they will be on sale 2 for $5.  One other factor, Millennials are helping drive changes in tastes. Kraft-Heinz has ignored them, at least until now.  Recently Kraft executives have been working to revive and revitalize many of its old products, including; Oscar Mayer, Miracle Whip, mac n’ cheese, Kool-Aid (a favorite drink of the CRA I may add), Jell-O, Lunchables, Kraft Singles, Velveeta, Maxwell House Coffee, and Capri Sun.  Despite their efforts, sales still have not improved; actually they have dropped company wide.  As I address these issues one at a time, remember Kraft-Heinz owns many iconic brands. 

The biggest issue at Kraft-Heinz is perception. Most Millennials and Generation X see their products as terrible for your health; those stereotypes are hard to break. As more baby-boomers die off, it will be harder and harder to replace lost sales and revenue.  The all-important demographic females 18 to 34 are moving away from Kraft and Heinz brands.

Here’s some examples of their corporate tone-deafness:
Oscar Mayer is built on heavily processed mystery meat sold in all sorts of containers, so you removed the preservatives?  I think I will still pass. 
Miracle Whip is heavily processed egg based products similar to mayonnaise, once again, strong pass here. 
Kraft Mac N Cheese has the same issue; younger generations remembers it as dust mixed with water to create a gooey cheese sauce for the mac, never trying that again. 
Kool-Aid?  Last time I drank that was at a CRA meeting, no seriously it’s a powder that is chocked full of preservatives and other things I cannot pronounce, pass. 
Jell-O, nothing says hospital healthy more than a processed cup of….well maybe we don’t want to know, never buying that stuff. 
Lunchables are another thing of the past for X; in addition to meat that was… well, boiled or something, and the cheese that could be rolled up and bounced like a basketball… yeah not giving this to my grandchildren. 
Kraft Singles, aren’t bad on a burger that’s been grilled, but I’m not putting that processed cheese oil product on anything resembling real food. 
Velveeta is a block of cheese product you can melt down and cook in a skillet to make cheese product. In related news, shares of Tide are down due to a reduction in children having accidents related to the consumption of Velveeta cheese. 
Maxwell House and Capri Sun have the same issues, it’s an old tired product that’s very bland and many better offerings are available at the same price point.

My main goal is not to attack Buffett, but to expose him for who he really is.  Buffett says that he wants the masses to pay more taxes—especially the rich; however, he structures his compensation to be mostly dividends and returns of capital which are taxed at far lower rates than regular income taxes.  These tax dodges are not available to any but the super wealthy robber barons.

Buffett also calls himself a champion for the middle class, ha! What says middleclass more than 2 iconic American companies he is slashing and burning with thousands of middleclass folks laid off and plant closures in the name of short-term shareholder return?  Buffett profits every step of the way and benefits more as each piece of the carcass is liquidated.

Ever been laid off in a job like these factory workers before?  Livelihoods are lost, families can be broken apart. It isn’t easy to pack your family up and move from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Springdale, Arkansas.  The ones that can move to find jobs often end-up with the same fate a year or two down the line.  The ones who cannot?  Usually they find themselves taking a pretty hefty haircut in salary & benefits and find themselves working longer hours for less.  Just remember that in every step of these “synergies” people lose benefits, livelihoods and careers, but Buffett and his ilk profit at every single step. 

After reading my series on Buffett, hopefully this sheds some life on the so called “oracle of Omaha.”

I’m not through with you yet Buffett, but til next time,

X

Posted by william on 07/05 at 07:23 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

California Adds More States to Suggested Retirement Locations

California maintains an enemies list of other States that don’t go along with their Liberal, humanist, intolerant, and anti-Christian worldview. However, I view this list as suggested places to retire or generally get away from the tyranny of California. Places where traditional views of marriage and family are still in fashion. Yes, the home of Obama’s “bitter clingers” those places that still believe in God and guns as ways to enjoy freedom and safety both in this life and the life to come.

Instead of letting conscience be your guide—a freedom that government cannot allow—California has to do the thinking for you in order to make sure you make the” right” decision. They take the idea of “there ought to be a law…” very seriously.
Note that one metric of tyranny is the number of laws on the books that are only selectively enforced. This is contrary to equal justice for all.

Oh, and for those Liberals that might stumble across this blog, don’t ever try to tell me that you can’t legislate morality. Gary North and others rightly have pointed-out that all law at its core is religious. Here is a gem from the State of California which mandates morality and religion.

AB 1887 adds section 11139.8 to the California Government Code and prohibits state agencies from requiring any of its employees, officers, or members to travel to any state, or approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel, to any state that after June 26, 2015, has enacted the following:

• A law that voids or repeals, or has the effect of voiding or repealing, existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
• A law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

In order to help agencies comply with the provisions of AB 1887, the California Attorney General (AG) will develop, maintain, and post on his or her website a current list of states that, after June 26, 2015, have enacted the aforementioned discriminatory laws or practices. At this time, we believe Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee meet the criteria of states that have enacted discriminatory laws after June 26, 2015.

FOUR NEW STATES ADDED: URGENT!  As of June 22, 2017, four additional States have been added to California’s ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel.  The additional states include Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas, in addition to the previously banned states of Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kansas.  For additional information regarding Restricted State Travel, please review the Attorney General’s link Attorney General - AB 1887’s Travel Prohibition.


California wants to be its own country so instead of seceding all at once, it is excommunicating one state at a time until it will finally be offended by all. Thus far, 14.2 percent of the country is off limits. Look for this list to grow significantly later this year when the Supreme Court upholds the right of religious people to not have to bake cakes for homosexual “marriage” ceremonies.

Meanwhile, I have yet another reason to consider Texas as a retirement destination.

 

Posted by william on 06/28 at 07:27 AM
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BOE Update

Governor Brown signed AB 102 today which kills off the State Board of Equalization on July first. (Yes three short days from now.) Virtually all power and staff assigned to BOE are now under the direct control of the governor and not members elected by the voters of California. The new agency—California Department of Tax and Fee Administration—has spring fully formed from its parent’s corpse.

Sadly, tyranny marches on and I have yet to find anyone that even cares.

Posted by william on 06/27 at 09:07 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Feinstein Lies on Healthcare

Mark Twain is often credited for popularizing the statement, “there are lies, damn lie, and statistics.”

Here’s an example from today’s news.

Sen. Feinstein: 4 Million Californians Would Lose Health Care Under Senate Republicans’ Bill

California’s senior senator said Tuesday that 1.6 million Californians would lose coverage next year.


Per Cover California’s March 2017 enrollment numbers, they insure 1,386,280 people.
Thus more people would lose coverage than are even on the program!!



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This includes both legal and illegal residents of the State. And furthermore, “Obamacare” (which is actually “Arnoldcare”) is the law for California whether it is nationally or not. The real issue is how much will the national government subsidize California’s utopian dreams?

 

Posted by william on 06/27 at 04:02 PM
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Obituary: State Board of Equalization 1879 - 2017

Comedian Joan Rivers used to lament that she liked Las Vegas more when crime was organized.

Her eye was original. Twenty years ago, when everyone was talking about how wonderful it was that Vegas had been cleaned up and the mob had been thrown out, Joan said no, no, no, they are ruining the mystique. First of all, she said, those mobsters knew how to care for a lady, those guys with bent noses were respectful and gentlemen, except when they were killing you. Second, she said, organized crime is better than disorganized crime, which will replace it.

—Peggy Noonan

We here in California are in the transition from disorganized crime to organized; also known as one party rule. The consolidation of power has been breathtakingly broad in its scope and rapidity, and it’s just getting started. Last month we had the bogus transportation tax that was whisked thru the entire legislative process in seven days—yeah all committees, approval by both legislative houses, and the signature of the governor.

This month, the governor and his fellow travelers are putting on another display of raw power politics. Their latest target is the State Board of Equalization (BOE). Over the last several months, a carefully crafted plan has been systematically and flawlessly executed to do to BOE in six months what Charles Munger Jr. took a decade to do to the California Republican Party—abolish it in all but name. BOE will exist only as a vestigial organ of the State Constitution that serves no purpose.

While this could very well be one of the longest blog posts that I have ever written, I think you will be just as amazed as I was when I started digging into this campaign. Part of the length of this post is to preserve in the public domain quotations that tend to end-up behind paid firewalls of various media outlets and also to insure that I am not accused of taking things out of context.

My introduction to this subject was a peculiar post from former CRA bigshot, Steve Frank. Steve has a very abrasive way of writing and often exaggerates but given his recent humiliation in having to retract a story about Charles Munger Jr last month, I figured that he must be forced to vet his material better; at least for now.

Steve and I both know folks that work at the Board of Equalization so I figured that he must have something good. On the face of it, the claim in his post was outrageous; however, it was easy enough to verify it. The other curious thing was the dates. This article was posted on June 19th from a press release by Diane Harkey, Chairwoman of BOE, dated June 13th about a Constitutional budget deadline on June 15th.

Frank writes:

The Board of Equalization is dead.  Thanks to the Democrats, bureaucrats, instead of elected officials will decide tax cases.  In a comparatively short time—a whole government agency, elected by the people exists, now, in name only.

Death of California Board of Equalization: SB 86 and AB 102

OK, so why did Frank take so long to get this posted? He is a prolific blogger and often posts five times a day. (I think the short answer is that Harkey got no traction with the mainstream media in trying to shed some light on the governor’s actions.) I cannot find her press release on the BOE website or her linked page as Chairwoman. Also, a quick Internet search turns up nothing on this. Steve, by default, actually scooped everybody else. As I will illustrate, it’s a pyric victory because the fix was in.

Some background about BOE would be helpful to understand what is about to happen.

Established in 1879 by a constitutional amendment, the BOE was initially charged with responsibility for ensuring that county property tax assessment practices were equal and uniform throughout the state. Currently the tax programs administered by the BOE are concentrated in four general areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes and the tax appellate program.
Link: BOE History

As currently configured, BOE has five members. Four members are elected every four years with each representing a particular area of the state and the fifth member is the State Controller.


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Link: BOE map


Currently, George Runner (1) and Diane Harkey (4) are Republicans on the Board and Fiona Ma (2) and Jerome Horton (3) are the two Democrats. Ma and Harkey represent San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively. Please understand that these districts are drawn-up by population, (this issue will come up later in my discussion). The swing vote is interesting because the State Controller, Board member number 5, is a former member of BOE, Betty Yee. She formerly represented San Francisco.

Often the members of the BOE are legislators that were termed out under the legislative term limits laws. Harkey, Horton, Ma, and Runner were all in the legislature before being elected to BOE. Yee seems to have cut her political teeth in the Executive Branch.

Interestingly, no media coverage places any blame for the actions of the Legislature or Governor in this controversy on either Harkey or Runner. What has transpired is largely a Democrat operation to deal once and for all with BOE.

BOE has long been a thorn in the side of California’s elected officials. They can create precedent and have the right to modify regulatory actions enacted as a result of changes to law touching on the tax code. Arguably their most important function is as an appellate body when taxpayers want to appeal actions of the State. These appeals are not just limited to the actions of BOE but appeals of most taxing authorities in the State are routed thru BOE. BOE has been a buffer and interested third party in tax disputes. On their website you can easily find appeals of Fire Fees, Franchise Tax Board, Sales and Use Tax, and property tax matters.

The next thing to keep in mind as you read thru the material that I’m about to present is that many actions taken by BOE members with regards to civil service versus political appointees are identical to those of staff in the legislature. Legislative staffers often draw simultaneous paychecks for their civil service job at the legislature—their “day job” if you will—and also income from political consulting work for their member or other candidates. The transition from one to the other might involve carrying two cell phones or alternating schedules to accommodate the political cycle. Things during “election season” frequently operate in the gray areas of the campaign finance laws. Since the legislature writes and funds enforcement of campaign finance laws they tend to get a pass on enforcement as long as they don’t get too far out of bounds.

In short, BOE members learned how to navigate the legal minefield of civil service versus political appointee issues by their time at the legislature. My purpose is not to debate the merits of the current system, just to acknowledge how it works and to warn reads that they may encounter some hypocrisy as the story unfolds.

For most people, the current dust-up first appeared in newspapers like the Sacramento Bee in March of this year. The article below is coverage of a Department of Finance Audit.


March 24, 2017

Audit: California tax collectors on ‘parking lot duty’ for promotional events as politicos push boundaries

The audit takes particular aim at board member Jerome Horton, finding that he has reassigned public employees to work for him, arranged events that strayed from the agency’s mission and opened a call center in his district without securing the consent of his fellow elected leaders. Horton has defended his outreach events as a way to reach large numbers of taxpayers. His staff did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Later on the article states:

It’s the first of several audits on the Board of Equalization that are expected to be released in coming weeks. The Legislature requested the investigation last year following another audit by State Controller Betty Yee in November 2015 that showed the agency had misallocated $47.8 million in sales tax revenue.

Further on

In one instance, the Finance Department found that 113 Board of Equalization employees spent a workday last November helping with parking and registering guests at a “connecting women to power” conference in Escondido sponsored by Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey.

Horton did what?

Unlike other elected members, Horton offers a rotational program that allows civil servants to spend a year working in his office before returning to their normal assignments.

His use of BOE resources has come under scrutiny over the years. Last year, The Bee revealed that Horton decorated his Sacramento office with $118,000 worth of designer furniture. The story prompted the agency in April to revise its procurement policies in a manner that improved transparency on smaller contracts.

Horton’s “connecting women to power events” have gained press attention intermittently since 2010, with reports in Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times noting the connection between his Board of Equalization events and a nonprofit foundation that his wife created. Last year, Horton solicited $81,500 in donations to the nonprofit, California Educational Solutions, to support the business conference and a project he promotes that helps lower-income families get help filing income taxes.

Please note that Betty Yee moved from BOE to SCO (State Controller’s Office) in 2015 and one of her first acts was to audit BOE. Her audit found an error rate of 0.07967 percent for an agency that handles 60 billion dollars. Folks, that’s statistically zero. This and the fact that BOE employees move back and forth from political to civil service jobs in exactly the same way as the legislative staffers is the basis for all that follows.

Three days later, BOE member Fiona Ma chimed in


03-27-2017
Link: Ma Letter #1

Dear Governor Brown: 

I am writing to ask that you immediately appoint a Public Trustee to manage the day-to-day affairs of the California Board of Equalization. This extraordinary step is necessary and appropriate to restore public trust and to address the various serious issues outlined by the recent Department of Finance audit.

At this point, you have Yee and Ma both tag teaming to paint a bullseye on BOE as the focus of scandal while throwing their fellow Democrat Horton under the bus.


About two weeks later, Governor Brown jumps on the bandwagon and calls for an investigation.


April 13, 2017

Gov. Brown calls for an investigation of alleged mismanagement at California’s tax board

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday asked state prosecutors to investigate allegations that employees of the state Board of Equalization misused state resources.

He also suspended the board’s ability to approve new contracts, hires and promotions, requiring those actions to be approved by other agencies including the Department of General Services.

In a letter to board members, Brown also said he would ask legislative leaders to come up with new laws to address “serious problems” with the agency that were identified in a recent state Department of Finance audit. The audit uncovered mismanagement in the agency, which is responsible for collecting $60 billion in taxes annually.

Once Governor Brown chimes in, BOE is not just a local or state story; it is elevated to a national story.


April 14, 2017

California’s Tax Collection Agency Engulfed in Scandal

Five weeks later, Ma is back and proclaiming that things are even more dire than she thought back in March.


May 23, 2017
Link: Ma Letter #2

In response to my letter to the Governor on March 27, 2017 (see attached), I am encouraged by the Governor’s actions that instituted additional controls of the BOE operations by suspending BOE’s delegated authority for making decisions on personnel, contracting, and technology matters.

However, more still needs to be done. I am writing to strongly urge the Legislature to immediately direct the State Auditor to investigate the day-to-day affairs of the BOE, and issue a report to the Legislature and Governor on or before February 1, 2018. The report should include recommendations to the Legislature and Governor on administrative and legislative remedies to immediately address the findings in the various audits.

Two days later, this editorial was published


May 25, 2017
California Board of Equalization, classic case of going astray

The board’s refusal to embrace a single governance policy this week makes no sense. Meanwhile, board member Fiona Ma wants another state audit. What a mess. If the Board of Equalization won’t reform itself, Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature should force needed changes upon it.

Three weeks later, Steve Frank is announcing that BOE is no more because of SB 86 and AB 102.


What happened?

In a nutshell, we just got scammed.  This whole progression was a carefully crafted campaign to discredit and then diminish the State Board of Equalization. Yee and Ma were working hand-in-hand with their party leadership to destroy BOE and replace it with a new agency controlled by handpicked people loyal to the governor. This kind of tactic and its scale were once common in the Soviet Union but are unfamiliar to most in this country.

My primary piece of evidence is the fact that the legislation to abolish BOE and replace it with handpicked bureaucrats appointed by the Governor was introduced in both house of the legislature in January of this year. Yep, over two months before the media campaign against BOE was launched.


Below is a summary of the legislation as it appeared earlier this week.

SB 86 introduced January 11, 2017

This bill would establish, in the Government Operations Agency, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and would place the department under the control of a director appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate. The bill would also authorize the Governor to appoint a chief deputy director and a chief counsel.

This bill would transfer to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration the various duties, powers, and responsibilities of the State Board of Equalization relating to the administration of various taxes and fees except for those duties, powers, and responsibilities imposed or conferred upon the board by the California Constitution, as specified, and the duty to adjust the motor vehicle fuel tax rate for the 2018–19 fiscal year. The bill would, for these purposes, also provide for the transfer to the department of the board’s employees serving in civil service, the rights and property of the board, and the board’s funding, as provided.

This bill would authorize the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to adopt regulations, including emergency regulations, necessary or appropriate to carry out these provisions. The bill would authorize the department to conduct certain inspections and examinations related to the administration of the taxes and fees under its jurisdiction. The bill would prohibit the director, the chief deputy director, and the chief counsel from divulging information concerning the business affairs of companies reporting to the department and would make it a crime to violate this prohibition. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would rename the secretary of the State Board of Equalization as the executive director and would specify that the board retains the authority to appoint the executive director and prescribe and enforce his or her duties. The bill would require each member of the board elected by the voters of an equalization district to have one office in Sacramento and one district office. The bill also would require each member of the board elected by the voters of an equalization district to have 2 staff persons who are exempt from civil service and other civil service staff persons, as specified. The bill would require board member procurements to be processed through the Department of General Services. The bill would repeal the authority of the board to request that the Governor convert one civil service position of the board into an exempt position, to obtain copies of licensee photographs from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and to conduct district investigations. The bill also would restrict ex parte communications in relation to a board adjudicatory proceeding.

Link: SB 86

AB 102 is virtually the same wording and was introduced January 10, 2017
Link: AB 102


The Legislature is famous for “gut and amend” bills in the eleventh hour of their closing session but this action is a magnitude of difference that is of astounding proportions. Gut and amend an entire agency and the biggest revenue generating one in the state. Wow!

The Board of Equalization will continue to exist in name only because to abolish it would require a constitutional amendment and a vote of the people. This would allow the actions of the Governor and Legislature to come under scrutiny and be subject to debate. In a one party state, this is a waste of time and resources and who knows? Having the BOE might be a good political tool to wield at some future date. If it can be unmade then it can just as easily be made into something else. (Think Mary Shelly does politics here.)

Each BOE representative will be allowed one office in Sacramento and one office in their district.

Oh, the effective date for creating the new agency and transferring all assets and responsibilities is July 1, 2017.

Today is June 23 and the bill has yet to be signed by the Governor. If the fix was not in, how would you expect a new agency to be up and running in less than a week?


Other thoughts

BOE would have had the lion’s share of the work collecting the new transportation tax enacted last month. Now the Governor can direct the money as he sees fit. Don’t be surprised if some finds its way to the bullet train to nowhere.

Lastly, BOE was the last Republican bastion in California. It was a safe harbor for people like George Runner to speak about fiscal conservatism and common sense tax policy. This bully pulpit is no more. Gone also is the safe haven for current CRA President Tom Hudson and former Sacramento County Republican Chair Sue Blake. Both Hudson and Blake are staff attorneys at BOE. The 2018 election cycle will be a much different environment for both.

 

Posted by william on 06/23 at 07:42 AM
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Flee the Wrath to Come

John the Baptist warned those of his generation to “flee the wrath to come.” Instead of heeding his warning, he was beheaded for his trouble. Those that crucified his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, a few years later said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

True to their wishes, the wrath-to-come arrived in the form of a Roman army about forty years later. The wrath visited upon them and their children resulted in the death of most, the systematic and total destruction of their nation, and the enslavement of the few survivors. True to his warning, no loss of life is recorded for the Christians that obeyed the prophecy given by Jesus to flee when they saw the signs foretold.


Whether any of us can truly avoid the wrath to come upon our nation is doubtful but clearly some areas and people will do better than others. In my opinion, ground zero of the “wrath to come” is California. The late columnist Herb Caen used to call San Francisco “Bagdad by the Bay.” That was seventy years ago. Now, I think California can be thought of as “Sodom by the Sea.”

California is hell-bent on becoming “anti-America.” The people of California wish to remake the State into a dystopian socialist paradise devoid of petroleum, hydroelectric or nuclear power, water storage, commercial farming, privately owned automobiles, liberty, Christians and other bigots that insist on such Victorian ideals as right and wrong or personal responsibility, firearms, prisons, and small businesses. Instead, they want free college for all, publicly subsidized transportation, free healthcare, their own foreign policy, only electric vehicles within their borders, more government jobs, multiculturalism, legalization of recreational drugs, government backed pensions for all, and a bunch of other neo-Marxist crap dreamed up by baby-boomers.  Oh, and all this will be paid by taxes on “the rich” whoever they are.

Liberals here have successfully turned the Constitution from a document that insures liberty into the suicide pact that protects evildoing and punishes the righteous. Nothing in California escapes the corruption of the almighty State. They are going places that not even George Orwell envisioned. California and other places dominated by Liberals have metastasized into a Tim Burton-like modern twist on the Roman Empire.

While many have attempted to stem this precipitous decline in Western Culture, my wife and I, like many before us have concluded that our time in California is coming to an end. As a result, my family has developed an exit strategy. Seven years from now, we plan to be far away from the formerly golden state. The apocalypse is coming but hopefully we will time it so we are long gone when everything comes apart.

Posted by william on 06/21 at 08:47 AM
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Friday, June 16, 2017

You Can’t Afford to Live Here

“A new report says that in California, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,608 and to afford this level of rent and utilities—without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing—a household must earn $5,359 monthly or $64,311 annually.”
Link: You Can’t Afford to Live Here

The article then goes on to point out that this equates to $30.92 for a 40 hour workweek. For those of us in “the Valley” things are slightly more favorable but…

 
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Posted by william on 06/16 at 09:45 AM
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

GOP Hunting Season

Today some guy that was identified as a crazy leftwing nut that supported Bernie Sanders opened fire at several Republican Congress members playing baseball.

Link: Congress baseball gunman was a Trump-hating Bernie supporter: Hero cops kill white Illinois man, 66, who opened fire on Republican lawmakers on the President’s birthday, leaving five injured

Right on cue, leading Democrats were calling for stricter gun control laws; however, none were calling for civility and an end to calls to kill President Donald Trump.

Link: Gov. McAuliffe on Scalise Shooting: ‘There Are Too Many Guns on the Street’

Link: You Can Brutally Kill Donald Trump In A New Video Game. Progressive Outrage Nowhere To Be Found.

Link: Actors ASSASSINATE ‘Trump’ in SICK Theater Play

Link: GOP rep. received threatening email with subject line ‘One down, 216 to go…’ after lawmaker shooting

It’s time for Liberals to shut up and admit that they lost in November, Get over it. This blood is on your hands.

 

Posted by william on 06/14 at 12:12 PM
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When Cookies Attack

Cookies are what advertisers use to track your browser history and try to get you to buy stuff on the Internet but sometimes they don’t know when to say when.

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From Foxnews website today


A guy dies in a car wreck so of course I need to go to the Cars movie.

This kind of inadvertent social insensitivity is where artificial intelligence could help advertisers. The keyword “die” should trump any other word in the headline. If only Google had the money to prevent such stupidity…but they get paid for views and clicks.

Posted by william on 06/14 at 06:20 AM
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Friday, June 09, 2017

X Nailed It on Warren Buffet

In case you missed the dispatch from Davey Jones, no not the one with the nautical locker or the guy that used to be in the 1960’s band, The Monkeys, but the one from Sacramento that is now the State Insurance Commissioner. Yeah, that Davey Jones just nuked Berkshire Hathaway using the full faith and credit of California (and believe me the credit of California is vast). Anyway, take a look at this.


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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After a year of legal wrangling, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that the California Department of Insurance has reached a settlement agreement with Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries to stop the bait and switch marketing tactics used to sell a workers’ compensation insurance product, which led to numerous complaints from employers caught up in the costly and complicated policies.

In May 2016, in response to a complaint by a small business owner and after a hearing by an administrative law judge, the commissioner determined California Insurance Company and Applied Underwriters, both subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway, were selling a workers’ compensation product with illegal side agreements that modified the obligations of the parties under the policy.

Link: Settlement Press Release

I will let X tell you more if he is so inclined but once again we are proven Really Right.

 

Posted by william on 06/09 at 02:41 PM
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