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Friday, February 02, 2018

San Francisco DA Gives Middle Finger to Law Abiding Americans

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By “X” the man with no name

Welcome back loyal readers, sorry for the long hiatus but I was convinced of a CRA led Coup-de-tat to take over the Presidency of this country so I had to batten down the hatches and look for shelter.  Well, IM BACK! And suffice to say my rage is now firmly directed at the DA of San Francisco County, one George Gascon, who will now be referred to as George Gascan.  Gascan the DA that “prosecuted” and I’m using that term very loosely; Jose Zarate, the illegal 5 times deported, 7 time convicted felon, and still on probation in Texas at the time of murdering Kate Steinle.  Gascan lost the case on all serious charges, thankfully CRA hated, President Donald J Trump is having his justice department charge him federally.  It is of the opinion of William and X that Gascan never wanted to try, charge or convict Zarate, thus a half assed trial occurred, with Zarate being only found guilty of 1 lesser charge.  This blog post is not to focus on Zarate.  It will focus on the policies recently enacted by the chief law enforcement officer in San Francisco County, George Gascan.

Gascan, for those of you in the CRA, or related by blood or incest to Aaron Park, has extreme amounts of voter given power.  For example, run a red light or get caught speeding, a police officer gives you a ticket, and you will pay a hefty fine in court.  Gascan on the other hand, has latitude to overrule police officers, and sheriff deputies.  Kill someone in cold blood, instead of murder 1, you could get manslaughter charges, charges can be enhanced or dropped all together.  I am of the belief power of law enforcement should be given to 1 elected partisan, and Gascan’s next move will prove my point.

On Tuesday, while the unwashed masses were watching President Trump give his brilliant State of the Union speech, Gascan issued an edict saying all prior marijuana convictions will be set aside if they are misdemeanors, and reclassified if they are felonies.  Setting a conviction aside means removing it and sealing it from their record.  Reclassifying a felony as a misdemeanor is far more troubling in my eyes.  With my background in Human Resources I can tell you, if you had a misdemeanor in your background, you check letters of recommendation and you could hire the person in some circumstances, a felony was the electric third rail and was never even considered.  This changes everything, because there is no way to tell if the misdemeanor was a reclassified felony, and for what the felony was for.  Example, felony narcotic trafficking, could be reclassified as misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.  See how Gascan is making a serious crime look very petty?  Word to the wise, a felony conviction almost always carries significant jail time, now these crimes are being labeled as not serious.

I would not have as big of a concern if Gascan implemented this retroactively to when the initiative qualified for the ballot (recently passed in November) but he is going back all the way to 1975!  Circa the time the war on drugs was being fought.  This is why I have a strong dislike for executive type orders, it takes one do-gooder like Gascan to wipe records clean and create a new liberal voter universe.  Orders like these should be voted on by the people, not enacted by an elected partisan hack looking for higher office down the road.  Think about it, if you’re Gascan, you are instantly a hero to the anti-police, pro-drug, pro-crime liberal base of the party.  Looks great on your resume if you desire to be Governor, or Mayor, or Supervisor in the near future. 

However the future of your state/city will look bleak.  The downside about San Francisco is what was a flourishing nice tourist mecca, has turned into a crime and filth ridden skid mark on the underpants of society.  Seriously, would you go visit San Francisco?  Does it even matter if during the day or at night?  San Francisco is great if you are into crime, drugs, prostitution, the smell of human waste and urine, and apparently now anarchy is allowed.  Remember it’s a sanctuary city now.

Now thanks to George Gascan in addition to prop 47 letting criminals out of jail early and de-criminalizing certain crimes, now we are retroactively removing convictions from people’s criminal records. 

Til next time,

X

PS if you’re a member of the CRA you shouldn’t like Gascan, but I heard he might be against smart meters so I guess there is that.

Editor’s Note: When applying for employment with the State of California (STD Form 678), all questions related to criminal convictions have been purged from the job application form.
Question 10 used to read: “Have you ever been convicted by any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?
Question 11 used to read: “Have you ever been convicted by any court of a felony?

Also in the last few weeks, any information on salary history has been forbidden on the form. It has been replaced with the words, “No Longer Required”.

Posted by william on 02/02 at 08:59 PM
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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Trump After One Year

Donald Trump is working wonders in Washington DC. People in Congress are “self-deporting” as Trump has forced them into the spotlight and begun to expect results from them. Trump gets Liberals (and some Conservatives) all upset about what he says on Twitter—as if it mattered—when it’s really a distraction to let him accomplish things behind the scenes. Trump is rightly being compared to Ronald Reagan. Please understand that I love Reagan but Trump may far exceed his accomplishments.

Following the State of the Union speech, I heard some “watercooler talk” at work about what Liberal people thought. They don’t understand that Trump is a negotiator. Much of what he asked for was his opening position to negotiate. Democrats give some ground. Trump gives ground, and they meet in the middle with each side getting some of what they want. This makes senses to a guy who once authored a book called “The Art of the Deal” however, in Washington, the definition of bipartisan is when Republicans capitulate and agree with the Democrats without getting anything in return.

The best thing about Trump as President is that nobody under age 50 has ever seem what a vibrant economy is capable of doing when government gets out of the way. This epiphany for the American people is the weapon the will transform the American electorate. When Trump succeeds, America succeeds.

When I was young, the difference between a politician and a statesman was that a politician was only interested in the next election, a statesman in the next generation. Today, the difference could be defined as a statesman will pay for something with existing dollars while a politician will pay for it with your grandchildren’s economic freedom.

If you want further reading on Trump, start with these articles:

Here’s How Many Times Trump Said ‘I’ in His First SOTU Address… Compare That with Obama’s

Lone Democratic Senator Who Applauded Trump’s Speech: ‘Just to Sit There and Frown Is Not Going to Fix Anything’

Rep. Trey Gowdy announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the year, becoming the ninth Republican chairman of a congressional committee to decide to leave Congress at the end of this session.

Trey Gowdy Is Leaving Politics

Tray, please take Paul Ryan with you.

 

 

 

 

Posted by william on 02/01 at 08:06 AM
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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Folding Tablets Are New Cell Phones

Later this year two design concepts will converge to create a new category of devices.

Always Connected
Windows 10 devices will be entering the market which run on ARM chips. ARM chips are the same ones that power smart phones. This is not Windows RT or Mobile but the same Windows 10 that runs on your desktop and laptop. These always connected devices will hold a charge measured in days not hours and can run most programs that you use at work or home.

Foldable Tablets
In addition to laptops and tablets, a new set of foldable devices will also be marketed beginning later this year. This new technology category is the folding tablet that just happens to be a smart phone. Several Android and PC manufacturers are entering this market space.

Combining Both: Andromeda
I’m particularly interested in Microsoft’s Andromeda devices. These foldable tablets are always connected, run Windows 10, and support touch and pen. Andromeda is believed to be the mythical “Surface Phone”. Now that the top brands of cell phones routinely cost more than one thousand dollars, Microsoft can market this tablet without the sticker shock that would have occurred a few years ago. Also the technology has become both powerful enough and efficient enough to be practical.

Here is are sketches of the Microsoft Andromeda concept.

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Sketch from Patent application


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Render of Andromeda from Engaget

Microsoft ‘Andromeda:’ Everything we know about the rumored foldable device

I’m looking forward to seeing these gizmos at my local electronics retailer later in the year. (and hopefully under the Christmas tree too)

Posted by william on 01/31 at 07:51 AM
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

When Hyper-V Attacks

A coworker has an old program that he couldn’t get to run on his computer, so he asked me to help. From the description of the program it sounded like it was probably written with 16-bit code, so I told him about DOSBox. He had never heard of the program; nevertheless, I convinced him to try it. (I like D-Fend Reloaded mod)  Once he got it installed he tried to run his program. It gave him an error because he didn’t have Windows installed.  After several text messages, we agreed that he would bring the program CD to work, give it to me, and I could try it at home the next day.

In the meantime, I pulled out my old Windows for Workgroups 3.11 CD and tried to figure out how to install it on DOSBox. Yes, I know there is no such thing as a Windows 3.11 install CD, I made it myself almost 20 years ago. The CD is also bootable, I tweaked an image of a Windows 98 (or ME) rescue floppy and added some improvements. It can install WFW and Norton Desktop—a product that looks suspiciously like Windows 95 but is much older. It makes 3.11 have a different desktop experience and features portions of Norton Utilities as part of a graphical interface. It’s really cool software. After fiddling with DOSBox for a while I was able to get Windows installed. Oh, nice thing about having it on CD is no prompts for inserting the next floppy disk.

I then had to configure the sound card and video. Sound was easy, just select SoundBlaster and set Interrupt and IRQ—typical old school stuff. Video was a big problem. I picked Living Books “Arthur’s Teacher Trouble”. Believe me it was trouble too. The video in DOSBox just wouldn’t go. I changed the settings within Windows to every size and shape monitor but they all failed. Finally, I found a complete answer which I’m happy to link to HERE.
Having conquered Broderbund, I decided to revisit Microsoft virtualization in Hypervisor. I clicked on Hyper-V Manager in my Windows 10 machine and found a treasure—or so I thought; a relic of Windows 7, I found Windows XP. I tried running it and it errored out. One error was that the network settings were invalid. I was forced by Windows into a reboot after each failure. Unable to get it running, I decided to use the same virtual hard drive but use it in a newly created session of Hyper-V. I accepted the defaults and tried to create a new virtual PC. After letting Hyper-V run for about ten minutes I aborted to program. I knew something was wrong, it should only have taken a few seconds.

While messing with the virtualization software, I noticed that the virtual network card was running but my regular network card was dead. It said no network cable was attached to my computer. I tried many things, but none worked:
• At elevated Command Prompt: netcfg -d
• Help in Hyper-V had no content when I tried to use it
• Restore Point from a week before
• Delete all network cards in Device Manager
• Delete Hyper-V
• Reinstall NIC drivers
• USB network card (which said no ethernet cable attached to PC)

All these ideas and a few more failed. But things got worse.

In the midst of this, the Wi-Fi for our whole house went down and despite several reboots, nothing happened. I checked with a friend in the area and his connectivity was normal. On my phone, the ISP website assured me that there were no outages in my area. I ended up having to do a factory reset of the cable modem to get anything running. More than three hours after I tried to run my virtual hard drive, I finally admitted defeat and went to bed.

This morning, I was contemplating running a cable from another part of the house to my computer until I could get a wireless dual band NIC. Just for fun, before I left for work, I unplugged my computer from the hub in my wiring closet and plugged the cable into an unused port and immediately the green light came on and my computer was connected. I was glad to have my computer connectivity back but…

Folks think about it, a malformed piece of software on my desktop computer had the power to kill a port on my gigabit hub and my cable modem/router at the same time. Port 8 on my hub is dead and buried and a factory reset was needed to recover connectivity to the Internet. It sounds like I may have stumbled onto a bug or potential exploit. Whatever happened, I hope the boys in Redmond get this fixed. A simple message that this is not a supported operating system would have saved me a few hours of inconvenience.

Posted by william on 01/27 at 12:30 AM
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

State of the CRA

The CRA has graciously invited me to their annual convention in March; an honor that I must respectfully decline.

They will be gathering in once Republican Orange County to considering such weighty topics as:
Battle for Congress—Which seats are at risk
State of our State
Why be activists?
How to engage Non-Republicans?

Also they will vote to endorse candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate.


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However, I must respectfully rip this confab as a relic of a long dead age. The CRA, and Republicans in general, living in California are much like zombies. They move around, make noise, occasionally mumble about brains, and can occasionally be herded about totally unaware that they died long ago.

Conservatives blame Pete Wilson and Charles Munger Jr. while Liberals blame pro-lifers and religious Conservatives for the Party’s demise; however, both are wrong. Two factors deserve the lion’s share of the blame for the decline of the Republican Party in the once Golden State, George Herbert Walker Bush and demographics.

• In 1973, Los Angeles County alone had 270,000 aerospace jobs, mostly due to the military. The aerospace industry was one of the biggest employers in California. While the number of jobs in this industry was declining due to the decrease in spending for the space program and end of Vietnam as well as improvements in materials and manufacturing, it was still an important industrial sector in the state. 
• In the late 1980’s, then San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein refused to allow the USS Missouri to be stationed at Hunter’s Point as a permanent museum.
• A year after Ronald Reagan left office the Berlin Wall fell.

George H.W. Bush created the military base closure commission to celebrate the mythical “Peace Dividend.” This “Blue Ribbon” commission decided which bases would be closed and Congress agreed that no amendments would be allowed, it would be a straight up or down vote, that way if a base in someone’s district closed it was the commission’s fault not theirs. Furthermore, Bush agreed to sign the commission recommendations into law before it ever saw the light of day. This commission stripped most military installations from California. Ironically, the money from the base closures ultimately went to bailing out the Saving and Loan Crisis that was solely created by the same Congress.

Demographics in California changed for a number of reasons but the mass exodus of conservative and Republican voters from the state due to the base closings sealed the fate of the state. This change in the electorate coupled with the influx of people arriving from other countries changed the face of California forever.

It was during this era that CRA saw two things, a precipitous decline in membership and the rise of Barbara Alby and the Christian Right. CRA went from north of 100,000 members to about 20,000. Today CRA numbers less than 2,000 members in a state of 38 million.

For CRA to hold a convention about Republican victories is like the survivors of Pearl Harbor or Civil War reenactors gathering to honor the good old days of a bygone era. They can pound their chests and drink a beer in honor of their fallen comrades but other than being armchair quarterbacks to current events they are as irrelevant as Pete Wilson to contemporary politics.

Posted by william on 01/25 at 08:34 AM
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Oprah Not Interested

Well this didn’t take long.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has no interest in running for U.S. president in 2020, she said in an interview with InStyle magazine published on Thursday after weeks of speculation and calls to run fueled by a speech she made at the Golden Globes.
Oprah says ‘not interested’ in 2020 U.S. presidential run

 

Posted by william on 01/25 at 07:04 AM
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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Oprah Winfrey: Savior of the Left?

Oprah Winfrey’s name is being floated as the Democrat candidate that can rid the political world of Donald Trump and reestablish the Democrat brand in Washington. Under her leadership, we will get a person much like Hillary but with a reputation of making us feel better about being a second rate people.

In the wake of her Golden Globes speech Sunday night, Oprah’s people were talking up the prospect. Her longtime partner Stedman Graham told the L.A. Times, “It’s up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”

And NBC seemed to be on board. “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” the network tweeted…
The pundits swoon over Oprah for 2020 – but running for president is brutal

My wife came home from work yesterday and I asked her about this and the Liberals at work were joyful that Oprah would be their candidate. They were ready to go vote now. The lunch room was ecstatic at the prospect of Winfrey in 2020 and retaking the White House.

However, would Oprah subject herself to the scrutiny of a campaign?

Truthfully, I think it will never happen no matter how good a friend and supporter of the Obama or Clinton clans that she has been. She has much baggage that will haunt her. Below are a few reasons that she will never run.

After Oprah Winfrey’s highly publicized speech at the Golden Globes sparked speculation of a presidential run, actor James Woods tweeted three pictures of her with disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
After Golden Globes Speech, James Woods Shares 3 Photos From Oprah’s Past


Here is one photo that actor James Woods shared on Twitter



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Oprah loves Harvey Weinstein

Another factor that would kill her candidacy is her residence. Lest you forget, Oprah lives in Chicago. Yes, the murder capital of America.  This place is owned, lock, stock, and barrel by Liberals. The guys running this place into the ground are her friends and supporters. Most of the violence is blacks murdering other blacks. Where is Oprah while this carnage is occurring? What has she done to help in her own backyard? She has armed security, drivers, and doormen to care for her. She can never claim to be “one of us” even if she came from an impoverished background.

Oprah is just the latest generic candidate.  Remember Colin Powell? Everybody liked him until he started taking positions on issues and then his political stock fell like a rock. He lost my interest when he came out for abortion on demand and defended Roe v Wade. Powell was just another RINO in a shiny uniform. Likewise, Winfrey is just another Liberal in a different package. If she is really as smart as people claim that she is, she won’t run but will bask in the praise of the moment.

Liberals can’t beat Trump this easily. Besides we just got rid of one President named “O” from Chicago, I don’t think we need another.

 

Posted by william on 01/09 at 10:26 AM
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Monday, January 08, 2018

Elk Grove Teacher’s Union Busted

Congratulations to the Sith Lord on being vindicated about his claim of illegal electioneering by the Elk Grove teacher’s union back in 2016. Unfortunately, at the time he would not put in writing his claim that the union’s Pac was making illegal campaign contributions. However, the local paper reported that the FPPC has given the union their day of reckoning with a fine of $11.5K.

A local political action committee was fined $11,500 after a state watchdog group last month determined they broke a state campaign law several times .

The Elk Grove Education Association (EGEA) has a political action committee that reportedly failed to file campaign documents by deadline during the 2016 election year.

This committee supported three Elk Grove school board candidates and the Measure M school bond campaign in 2016.


The EGEA represents more than 3,000 teachers and other school employees in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Their political action committee received more than $65,000 in contributions and spent more than $110,600 during the 2016 election year, according to a California Fair Political Practices Commission report.

EG teachers union fined for campaign law violations

Folks this is a slap on the wrist considering what these guys could have received. They willfully broke the law and then pleaded ignorance. This is the FPPC version of a “fix-it” ticket. Sadly, this isn’t the only part of this union that’s broken.

Posted by william on 01/08 at 07:15 PM
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Thursday, January 04, 2018

New Year with Teenager

The wife and I have decided to do a course correction in the life of our teenager. We have come to the opinion that both his older siblings have holes in their upbringing that we don’t wish to replicate in his life. Our son is not allowed to use electronic devices including computers, phones, and television during school nights—defined as Sunday evening thru Thursday night; however, this rule has not been enforced in any meaningful way because if we watch television, he is right there with us. This is not just to insure that he does homework but electronic stuff can end up being too much of a good thing.

We are trying three new changes this year to move in what we hope will be a better direction.

First, once a week, our son is responsible to fix dinner. We have set this as a Friday night event with three caveats; first, he can pick a night earlier in the week to complete this task but not later; second, if we eat out on Friday he is off the hook for the week; lastly, he must make a balanced meal. Chocolate cake and milkshakes is not a balanced meal.

Second, Wednesday night is reading night. We can either read by ourselves or aloud but reading is good and we need to do more. I’m thinking about doing a read aloud of a chapter a week from Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story because my son has no idea who that is and I can’t get him to read the darn book.

Third, Sunday night is daddy school. For one hour a week, we will spend time with various aspects of the Christian faith such as doctrine and apologetics. Our son has spent his life in Christian schools but much of their theology is shallow (the Apostle Paul rightly called it, “the milk of the Word”). A few books we will be dealing with include Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults and James Sire’s The Universe Next Door. I want him to have an answer for the hope that is in him and be able to discern truth from error. I also want to make an effort to get him to make the faith of his parents his own. Nothing I’ve seen other parents do seems to insure that result and arguably it is in God’s hands but I want to know I did my best in my primary duty as a father.

This week will be our first attempt at these goals. We have some good ideas, I’m hoping that the implementation will bear some positive results even if it needs some modifications along the way.

Posted by william on 01/04 at 09:39 AM
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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: The Last Jedi

Note: This review contains spoilers as well as commentary that you won’t read anywhere else.


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J.J. Abrams has done for Star Wars the same thing he did to Star Trek; namely, burn the franchise to the ground  and substitute a different worldview in its place. Unfortunately, while the grittier sandbox looks better in CGI, the morality at its core is gone. Any concept of right and wrong has been done away with and replaced with varying shades of gray.

Before I go on, I can hear you asking the question, “Who cares? Why does this matter anyway?”

Look I know these two franchises are just make believe but within them is a view that is optimistic and hopeful of the future and both hold to an idea of right and wrong, the tension of which the franchises are built around.

Star Trek has one big commandment called the Prime Directive which often gets in the way of Captain Kirk doing the right thing. The world of Trek is hopeful and in the past many Post Mil Christians have seen Gene Roddenberry’s world as one where Christianity is triumphant. One episode in the original series is built around the idea that Christianity triumphs but good luck finding it in syndication. Roddenberry was horrified to learn that Christians liked his show because he intended the future to be a religion free universe. Gene didn’t understand that only with Christianity could humans be optimistic about the future. Belief in Progress is a result of a Christian worldview; other belief systems have no basis for such a concept.

Star Wars borrows philosophically from many views and is infused with strong doses of pantheism and duality. George Lucas borrows Christian concepts and morality without attribution  and instead attributes them to impersonal means. The god of Star Wars is impersonal but omnipresent (pantheistic). Like the Chinese idea of Yen and Yang, Star Wars is Light versus Darkness. Mastery of The Force requires training from early youth to keep its followers in the Light or else they will be seduced by evil; the Dark side. (Salvation by works?) George Lucas spent his second trilogy in the franchise showing us that breaking the rules of training will only produce an evil outcome; in the person of Darth Vader. Those outside of the Jedi Order were forbidden to exercise The Force. Lucas based the franchise on “balance” of opposing forces not good triumphing over evil. Nevertheless, good leads to redemption for Mr. Vader; something duality cannot rationally offer.

Star Trek claimed to be a vision of a possible future for our world while Star Wars was always set in “A Galaxy Far, Far Away…”

When Disney bought the franchise, they promised to produce one Star Wars movie per year for the rest of my natural life (or longer).

Link: Disney will release a new ‘Star Wars’ movie every year starting in 2015

In order to do this they brought in J.J. Abrams to “reboot” the franchise so they could have the freedom to use new characters and stories. Abrams had the choice of going to some future period in the Star Wars universe and simply write an off screen epilogue for the original cast or let fans have one last adventure where the old is replaced by the new with Disney reaping the profits all the way.  Disney chose the latter. In the course of the last two movies of this third trilogy, they have killed-off Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. Carrie Fisher was the only remaining cast member left and as Episode VIII was winding down, she died. Fisher’s death will clearly necessitate a major rework of Act 3.

To the careful observer, J.J. Abrams did much more than kill-off the old cast in exchange for a quick dollar, he killed the world of Star Wars as well.  Upon purchasing the franchise, Disney declared virtually everything except Lucas’s movies as null and void as far as the cannon (or mythology) of Star Wars was concerned. Every non-Disney property was nullified by proclamation. All novels, comic books, cartoons, etc. were invalidated by fiat.

Link: Why Disney Blew Up More Than 30 Years of Star Wars Canon

By the end of episode VIII, J.J., killed-off everything in the first six movies as well.


George Lucas modeled the original Star Wars in arch types of a western set in outer space with the theme of good versus evil. The story was designed to have a beginning, middle, and end. How well Lucas thought the whole thing out is questionable in light of some obvious holes in the second trilogy but the basic idea of good and evil permeates all six Lucas films.

J.J. Abrams began his course correction with Episode VII The Force Awakens but the seeds that he planted didn’t bear much fruit until the next and most recent installment, The Last Jedi. Abrams begins with the familiar arch type of Sith Lord and apprentice on the side of evil and a young girl that for no apparent reason has really strong ties to the good side of The Force. Abrams takes these themes and proceeds to violently overthrow the whole structure erected by Lucas.

Abrams took the fairytale-like world of Star Wars and in the course of one movie, did a gut-and-amend that would make Willie Brown blush with its boldness.
• In this movie, the apprentice kills his master, which is no big deal since he killed his father (Harrison Ford) in the last movie. The dialogue in this part of the movie is crucial in understanding what J.J. is doing. The interaction between the two main characters is important to the Disney version of the franchise going forward. The heroine says there is still good in the bad guy and surprisingly, the bad guy says that the heroine has evil in her and she should fully embrace it. The “good” girl and the “bad” guy then team up for a major fight scene and then go their separate ways. Folks here is the new paradigm. No characters are totally good or bad, there are just varying shades of gray. People just live for the moment and do what is in their self-interest (or right in their own eyes). However, if there is no right or wrong, then the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker (episodes 1 thru 6) is impossible. Lucas may have lacked a proper philosophical framework for his world, but he did keep the Christian ideals of good being the superior value and winning over evil and redemption of the vilest being possible—even at the moment of their death.
Luke Skywalker and Yoda destroy the Jedi temple and all their teachings (scriptures). They repudiate thousands of years of the Jedi religion and have no substitute for it. They create their own version of Pascal’s heart shaped vacuum with nothing to fill it. Yoda states the heroine has no need of training but already knows everything that she needs to. Excuse me but we spent six movies debating the premise of training and age; whether Jedi or Sith, they both agreed on this point and now with one simple comment we do away with it?! Luke and Yoda further agree that the Jedi Order is to be abolished (somehow, they seem to imply that this will do away with the Sith too, but this is never explained). Gary North’s words about you can’t beat something with nothing come to mind. Abrams’ switcharoo is totally without foundation. Only Christopher Hitchens would praise such hubris with a straight face.
• Luke sacrifices himself in a selfless way that seems contrived because all he does is use astral projection or a Force-made hologram to toy with the bad guy to allow the last of the Rebels to escape. This sacrifice—which visually harkens back to Alec Guinness in the first movie—seems to serve some greater purpose—likely the next movie. I can hear high school literature teachers screaming about Luke being a Christ figure in this story, but I think Abrams and company sacrificed young Skywalker just for shock value. Mark Hamill expressed his disapproval about how his character was portrayed in the movie but once his comments lit-up the Internet some suit at Disney pulled him aside and put him in his place. 
• At the end of the film, the Jedi Order is abolished, and regular people begin to exercise The Force. Somehow no training is required anymore.


I could mention many more plot points but the Galaxy Far, Far Away was replaced with the angst of secular humanists struggling to find meaning in a world without morality or God. The world of Lucas was dismantled and replaced with another right before our eyes…one that looks eerily like a modern day Liberal worldview.

As I watched this movie, a few thoughts were going thru my head.
• The words of Gary North saying that a change in law is a change in religion certainly applied.
• Also, a line from Pixar’s Incredibles, “If everyone is Super, no one will be.”
• After the movie, my military son was furious because it was clear to him that there was no overarching story, everything from here on out will be character arcs and nothing more.

Star Wars was ripped from a fairytale-like story of good versus evil and thrust headlong into our morally relativist world of self-interest where everyone does what is right in their own eyes and the only taboo is absolutes.

Disney did to Star Wars what other malcontents in our society have done to other things in America, destroy what made them good in the name of making them relevant. So, to a long list of things including marriage, clergy ordination, Boy Scouts, patriotism, capitalism, American Exceptionalism, Western Culture, Christmas, et al, you can now add yet another; the cultural icon Star Wars.

Posted by william on 12/30 at 10:52 AM
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. X and John for their contributions during the year. Also, thanks to the Sith Lord for those occasions when you were either being a listener to some of my ideas or a source of inspiration for some of the ideas expressed on this blog.

Also, thanks to my varied and assorted readers that check in on me from time to time.

Now that Trump is in office, almost everyone I’ve met during this season—even Hindus and Muslims—are wishing me a Merry Christmas. Far fewer people in my life and the places that I’ve shopped are using the Happy Holidays greeting this year; and that is a very good thing. Freedom and Liberty are making a comeback.

Merry Christmas to all. My prayer for you are these words from Randy Stonehill:

But most of all the children, they’re the ones I hope will learn
That Jesus is our Savior and He’s going to return
And Christmas isn’t just a day and all days aren’t the same
Perhaps they’ll think about the word and see it spells His name.

And I know that if St. Nicholas was here he would agree
That Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me
They led Him to the slaughter on a hilled called Calvary
And mankind was forgiven, Mankind was forgiven
We were all forgiven when they nailed Him to the tree.

Christmas song for all year round (1976)

 

Posted by william on 12/24 at 05:48 AM
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Friday, December 22, 2017

Government Accounting v Reality

One of the most frustrating things for Conservatives is the lack of concern that the elected folks and those in government have concerning underfunded promises made by government. This is especially true when we look at government funded pensions and Social Security. California’s State Treasurer admits that California governments (state, county, and local) are 1.5 trillion dollars in debt (Link: Treasurer Debt Watch) and this does not include the estimated 1.4 trillion in underfunded pension liabilities for the State (state, county, and local). From our perspective, the government officials are behaving much like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E Newman who is best known for saying, “What, me worry?”


image


Finally, I have an explanation; mind you it’s not one I like or agree with but I would like to share it with you.

This fall, I took a class on government accounting that was sponsored by the California Department of Finance. Much of the class focused on the way California does things. Please understand that the Dept. of Finance is the government agency that assembles the budget presented each year by the Governor to the Legislature for approval. When the Dept. of Finance speaks, powerful people listen. (Think Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, etc.)

I could get into much vocabulary on things such as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) but it’s not necessary for this discussion; instead you only need to know one term, measurement focus. When this term is applied to governmental accounting, it looks like this:

Governmental fund financial statements are prepared using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting. Revenues are recognized in the accounting period in which they become available and measurable, and expenditures are recognized in the period in which the fund liability is incurred…

Link

The key phrases in the quote above are “current financial resources” and “modified accrual”.

This is radically different from what people do in the private sector. Normally, businesses use accrual accounting. Under accrual; assets and liabilities are recognized when they happen. For example, in a private business when you bill a customer, an accounts receivable is created. The A/R is treated as an asset at that point, you don’t wait until the customer’s payment is in your bank account.

Government doesn’t do that. Instead they purposely ignore certain things because under current financial resources, government only cares about the current fiscal year. In the example above, government only recognizes the receipt of cash as an asset when it is deposited in the bank, except at year end. Assets and long-term liabilities are purposely ignored except on a few special year end reports.

So practically speaking, this is how government treats pensions:
• Employee money withheld from paychecks for retirement are sent to the federal government for Social Security and state retirement is sent to CalPERS. Assets are done.
• Retirees in the system are sent their retirement checks. Liabilities are done.
• Conclusion, pension system is ok.

Seriously, their view is really that simplistic. Why? Because the current fiscal year was taken care of.

Oh, just so you know, they treat bonds this way also. As long as they can cover interest payments for the current year then per government accounting, everything is wonderful.

I realize that from a practical point of view this makes no sense but that is how it is. It goes back to GAAP. Specifically, the Generally Accepted part. If governments agree that things should be done a certain way, then that is the way they will do them. It’s not a matter of what is right or more technically correct or responsible to the next generation, if it is generally accepted not to worry about long term obligations then they don’t have to.

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s straight from the textbook:

The employees earn the right  to the benefits during the periods that they work but don’t receive the cash (or whatever form the benefit may take) until after they retire. The employer, however, receives the full value of the employment exchange during the periods the employees work; therefore, the employer’s obligation for paying both salaries and benefits arises during those working periods.

But what if the government budgets for those benefits on a purely cash basis; that is, by not budgeting for the benefits until the years the actual payments are due, after the employees retire? Is the budget “balanced” if the government fails to set aside money for the benefits in the years the benefits are earned? We suggest such budgets are balanced in form—on a cash flow basis—but not in economic substance.

In fact, some governments consistently do not budget in the current year for the full amount of pension benefits earned by employees in the current year, and virtually every government budgets for retiree health care benefits in the year they are paid, not when the employees earn the benefit.

Introduction to Governments and Not-for-Profit Accounting  Seventh Edition page 24.
Emphasis added by author in red .

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen of the jury. The fix is in and they are all in on it. It is clear that the authors of the textbook are just as indignant as we are about it but as they say, “Such is life”.

So next time you hear someone claiming the California budget is balanced remember the unspoken weasel words they are omitting, “Budgets are balanced in form…but not economic substance”.

Posted by william on 12/22 at 04:06 PM
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

I Predict 2018

2018 will be a pivotal year for American politics.

I look for a huge change in the composition of membership in the House and Senate. The “swamp” is just not as much fun as it used to be before Trump came to town. Also, I think several folks will be challenged in the primaries. Look for President Trump to find more cooperation next year on his legislative agenda. This situation will improve even more after November. Furthermore, look for another Supreme Court vacancy that will impact the November elections.

In contrast, look for California politics to make a marked turn towards the Left within the next 18 months. Look for the bifurcation of Prop 13 as business exemptions are lifted while residential restrictions are left intact—for now. The per mile tax on vehicles will pass. We will have double taxation on vehicles—high gas taxes and mileage tax. The State will set a date to outlaw internal combustion engines. Lastly, no Republicans will be on the ballot for the top two election in November and their registration will continue to decline with them officially being the third party as Decline to State (or no affiliation) moves to second.

I look for “adjustments” in the economy due to “bubbles” in some sectors. Trump’s tax cuts will soften the blow from what it could have been. Investment opportunities will become more varied and the stock market will not be the only place to put your money.

At this time next year, Windows devices on ARM processors and 5G internet speeds will be a big deal and gaining momentum.

Posted by william on 12/21 at 09:56 AM
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

When Baptism Doesn’t Count

Today’s blog is one of several that I’ve been intending to write over the last several weeks but now that my finals are behind me, I have time to get caught-up.

There’s an old tale about some folks dying and upon arriving in Heaven, they are given the introductory tour of their new home by none other than Saint Peter. They visit the Catholic section, the Methodist area, the Pentecostal borough and so forth until at last they get to this one neighborhood and St Peter begins whispering. Sensing this sudden change, one of the tourists softly asks, “Why are we whispering?” Peter responds, “We must be quiet because this is the Baptist section and they think they’re the only ones up here.”

Sadly, this is truer than many folks would like to admit.


My topic today is one that has been hitting close to home because the daughter unit has ventured out into the world to spread her wings and for some reason she has decided to worship at a Baptist church. A majority of Protestants in the United States are Baptists in their theology even if they call themselves something else. If your church teaches “The Sinner’s Prayer”, walking the aisle, “making a decision for Christ”, likes singing Just As I Am, or “every head bowed and eye closed” then you are Baptists or the theological offspring of Baptists. Typically these folks will only recognize baptism by immersion and use grape juice for Communion. A corollary is that these guys unchurch everyone else in the body of Christ because we practice infant Baptism.

Before proceeding, let me say a few words about my own experience with this topic in the hopes that I can be granted some credibility by my readers.

I was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church. I attended Catholic School K – 6. After seventh grade, I walked the aisle at a Baptist Church Camp and “gave my life to Jesus Christ”. A few months later I was baptized again in a local Baptist church. I spent many years in the Baptist world and then after wandering for a few more, I trekked thru Charismania until I came at last to a Reformed understanding of Christianity. I understand the arguments on both sides because I literally have been in each camp at some point or another in my life.


Believer’s Baptism
The Baptist argument is that the Bible says Belief and then Baptism. Hence the name, Believer’s Baptism.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16: 16

For someone coming from outside the Church, belief and then baptism is normal. Where we have a difference is when talking about children born into a Christian home.  The moral high ground that people think that Believer’s Baptism gives them dissolves quickly in this area.

Essentially, the paradigm that Baptists appear to embrace is that nobody is regarded as a believer until they make a profession of faith and then they can be baptized. This position would include their young children. Such a position would be consistent if somewhat harsh; especially in light of these verses:

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 
Acts 2: 38 & 39

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 
Acts 16: 31-33

How can God’s promise be “for you and your children” if children born to Christian parents are just young pagans?


Age of Accountability
Baptists are squeamish about this situation too but their answer is sentimentality not Scripture. You see, they say that they believe that the only way to the Father is faith in Christ but those not professing faith go to Hell. So what happens when a parent has a miscarriage or their child drowns in the neighbor’s pool or said child dies of cancer at three years of age? Surely such innocent children go to Heaven right?

It is at this point that Baptist folks introduce the doctrine of an “age of accountability.” They say that until a child can know the difference between right and wrong that they are in a state of innocence. Thus if a child dies in this state, they will go to Heaven if they die.

I once held this view until “the baby shower.” “The baby shower” was held at Gibson Ranch, here in the Sacramento area. It was in fact an event sponsored by Operation Rescue to crash a company picnic being held by a local abortion clinic. Like others at the event, I got toe-to-toe with some people on the other side. The lady that I got into a discussion with took this concept of an age of accountability and hit me right between the eyes with it. Her argument was simple and effective. “If an unborn child cannot know the difference between right and wrong, where does the child go when it dies?”

I instinctively replied, “To Heaven.”

She continued, “But if that child were born and was old enough to know right from wrong then they could go to Hell for rejecting Jesus, right?”

I answered, “Yes”  and knew that she had me painted into a corner that I couldn’t escape from.

Under this doctrine of an age of accountability, the only way to insure someone would go to Heaven was not by placing their faith in Jesus but being aborted!

Think about it, universal salvation is free to all that are murdered before knowing right and wrong. This principle also allows that the mentally handicapped can be literally put down for their own good and as a bonus we have assurance that we are sending them to Heaven. Could this apply to elderly with dementia too? Lastly, wasn’t this view all the rage in Europe about 80 years ago?

Even though Baptists reject infant baptism, they have a substitute that they practice; baby dedication. They bring an infant before the congregation and make a promise that is very similar to infant baptism to raise their children in the faith in hopes that they will one day believe and make the faith of their parents their own.

Unfortunately, these Baptists that think they are attending “Bible believing” churches are building parts of their faith on the sands of their own creation and not Biblical teaching. Biblically speaking, I could make a better case for Purgatory than for an age of accountability.

Again, what do Baptists do with their children? Are they little pagans or children of the promises of Christ?



Rebaptism
The other situation that you encounter in the Baptist Church (and from their fellow theological travelers) is the kneejerk reaction to unchurch everyone else by saying their baptism is invalid.

However, the Bible only knows one Christian Baptism and one formula for the baptism.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3: 26 – 29

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4: 4–6

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28: 19

Again, there is one baptism in the Church and one formula, baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Baptists try to argue two things, you must believe before being baptized and that the method must be immersion. Why is it that Baptists take the Greek word for baptism literally while the Greek word for wine is figurative?

Baptists are not alone in arguing about methodology as it relates to baptism, the Orthodox Church argues that only infant baptism that includes Chrismation is valid.

Since most don’t know what I’m referring to, here is Wikipedia version of Chrismation

Typically, one becomes a member of the Church by baptism and chrismation performed by a priest as a single service, or subsequent to baptism performed by a layman. While chrismation is often performed without baptism, baptism is never performed without chrismation; hence the term “baptism” is construed as referring to the administration of both sacraments (or mysteries), one after the other.
Wikipedia: Chrismation

Why can’t Christians talk about such things as our preference is better than yours instead of unchurching everyone with a different view?


Alternative Interpretation
There is a different paradigm that can be used to look at this question, one that includes a consistent theological view that treats children as Christian children and deals with the biblical teaching that there is one baptism in the Church. 

The Bible only knows one baptism. It does not attach an age or belief to performing it. Only the parents (or head of the household depending on how you read it) must believe in order for all to be baptized.

Look at Acts 16: 31-33 or other similar verses.

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

The pattern is clear, parents believe and all –including children are baptized. Such verses don’t list exceptions or weasel words. For those that know the Ten Commandments, you might notice this principle is similar to Exodus 20: 8-11

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Sabbath was for the entire household not just Jewish members.

The historic Christian position is not one of individualism and Arminianism, but Covenantalism. Baptism is the New Testament covenant symbol in the same way as circumcision was in the Old. Thus children are baptized as infants because God’s promise really extends to the next generation just as He promised in both the Old and New Testaments.

So what happens if a child grows up and rejects the faith? The same thing that happened in the Old Testament; the child is treated as a Covenant member until such time as they bear fruit that says otherwise. There is an expectation that as a child matures that he will make the faith of his fathers into his own. The Jews have bar mitzvah (or bat mitzvah) while Christians in many parts of the Church have Confirmation. Confirmation is a reaffirming of the vows made at the infant baptism of a child.  This is where the child makes the faith of their parents into their own.

Confirmation also serves another use which biblically solves the rebaptism dilemma. Let me illustrate.

Teddy Texan lives in Houston and is attending the local mega-church run by Joel Osteen. Joel baptizes Teddy in front of thousands of people. For purposes of this illustration, Joel uses the correct formula and baptizes Teddy in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Later, Teddy takes a job in Sweetwater Oklahoma and starts attending the Park Avenue Anglican Assembly. Park Avenue is in a very different theological place than Joel Osteen but Teddy wants to join their church. What should they do? Should they require Teddy to be baptized again? Park Avenue knows that Teddy was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but Joel’s theology is heretical so what should be done? Knowing church history, Park Avenue’s Pastor—because he did have formal biblical training unlike Osteen—knows that this very question was faced by the early church. The answer of the early church was Confirmation. Teddy attends classes to be sure that he believes the historic doctrines of the Creeds and then is welcomed into the church via a Confirmation ceremony.

This has been the historic answer to the rebaptism question, not another baptism but a confirmation of faith. Thus the New Testament position of one faith and one baptism is honored and the doctrine of the Church is defended.


Conclusion

The Bible says, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”   
Acts 2: 39

The truth is that the Baptists are the ones that are building their theological house on the sands of their own making. There no biblical warrant for children to wait until they can experience “Believer’s Baptism”. There is no such thing as an “age of accountability” in Scripture. There is no such concept as a “sinner’s prayer” or “Alter Call” in the Bible. The Bible does not know a baby dedication ceremony apart from receiving the sign of the Covenant. The only rebaptism you can find is when someone was baptized by John the Baptist and then again by receiving Christian baptism.

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples   and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”  So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.  Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 
Acts 18: 1-5

Christians being baptized again by another group of Christian believers is not found in the Bible and in fact is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4-6

I don’t unchurch my Baptist brothers just because they are wrong about one of the core tenants of their theology. I walked in their shoes for the better part of two decades before I was able to set aside their traditions of men and rely on the Bible. I just wish they would grant the rest of Christ’s Church the same grace that we are willing to extend to them.

As for the daughter unit, if she goes forward with joining the Baptists by being rebaptized, she is squandering her inheritance and simultaneously excommunicating her mother and brother. In fact, the practical ramification of rebaptism would be a declaration that she believes her mother and brother are damned and going to spend eternity in Hell. Child, ideas have consequences. I’d like to think you were raised better than that.

Posted by william on 12/14 at 11:15 AM
Christianity & ReligionPermalink

Friday, December 08, 2017

Scandals Explained

Liberals hate Donald Trump and want to attack him. Despite their best efforts, Trump’s base is sticking with him. Most of Trump’s supporters are Conservative and most Conservatives are religious. Liberals have been looking for a wedge issue to peel-off Trump’s base of support. Trump has been married several times and is married to a beautiful woman with perfect children. Further, Trump tends to employ more women than men in his companies. Liberals are sure there is some skeleton in Trump’s moral closet that they can hit him with. But their latest attack has gone horribly wrong…

You see, Liberals lobbed their moral grenades at the President and they bounced off him right back into their ranks and BOOM. First Harvey Weinstein gets fragged. Harvey was the go to guy in Hollywood for fundraising for Democrats including Hillary Clinton. Ironically, one of the first people to pile onto Harvey after the news broke on his conduct was Chelsea Clinton, who got taken to the woodshed about her dad acting the same way as Harvey and arguably even worse. This thread is really worth reading.
Chelsea Clinton Gets Torched After Sharing Thread

Several more dominoes in Hollywood have fallen in the wake of Harvey’s downfall. Many people knew but looked the other way.

Matt Lauer and several others in the media have lost their jobs as well. National Public Radio has lost some executives as well. This trend was ok when it was just Fox News but now it’s a disaster for the Left. Again, people knew and looked the other way.

Al Franken and Charles Rangel have followed in the steps of Jesse Jackson and Ted Kennedy and lost their jobs as a result. Several others in Congress have resigned or decided not to run. Again, for many of these politicians, many knew but did nothing.

The irony of all this is that Trump is responsible for all of this but did nothing to make it happen. This only happened because he is in office.

For those of us that think this country has been racing to transform itself into Hell on Earth, this purge is a welcome change. Frankly, we have been praying for God to intervene in the direction that we have been heading and this seems to be an answer to our prayers. I really don’t care what Trump says on Twitter, but I care deeply about what he does. He has been a champion of religious liberty and promoting Christianity.

The swamp is being drained just because Trump exists.


Give the above; what do I do about Judge Roy Moore?
The accusations against Moore have proven to be false. Dems have tried the guilt by association trick and it hasn’t worked. For me, the jig was up when Gloria Allred did her press conference about a US Senate race in Alabama from New York City. Gloria didn’t even have the good sense to pretend to go to Alabama and meet with the “victims” and do the press conference there. Believe me, there is enough media on the scene to cover her remarks had she chosen to do so. Also, if the allegations were made in Alabama, law enforcement would be compelled to investigate. That was not her purpose; she was brought in to smear Moore’s reputation. The seriousness of the charges is always more important than the evidence for the Left. And the accuser that Allred produced was a partisan Democrat that was active in the Hillary Clinton Campaign, hardly an innocent victim. Other accusers have had their stories fall apart under examination.

Moore’s accusers have had their stories dismantled by people that knew them including parents and siblings. Any detail that you remember has been debunked but the narrative stands in the minds of many. This is an illustration of he who frames the issue will win the debate or at least has the advantage. How many of you could document what you did 40 years ago to prove or disprove such a claim. Unlike the other people, Moore has never been accused of acting inappropriately since he got married. No pattern of continuing conduct has been alleged. This is markedly different than those that have lost their jobs.

Lastly, back in the 1970’s—which is when all this supposedly took place—the age of consent was 16 in his state. Think about it, could you prove you didn’t kiss Sally behind the gym at 3 pm on May 5th 1978?

More reading on Moore

Cop Accuser—-Unsupported Claims
Efforts to Derail Roy Moore Right From Establishment Playbook

Update
Roy Moore accuser admits she wrote part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate

This why I’m ReallyRight ‘cause I told Ya

Posted by william on 12/08 at 08:29 AM
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