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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Open Letter to CRA Leaders calling for response to the Ron Nehring amendment


CRA has been a leader in California Republican Party politics for over 75 years. One distinctive that has always set CRA apart from other groups is the emphasis on pre-primary endorsements. In the wake of the passage of Prop 14, the pre-primary endorsement is no longer possible. However, I think most in CRA would like to have our local chapters have a voice in deciding who wins in the June election. The Nehring proposal will effectively make the endorsement of any republican candidate not selected by his process illegal.

CRA members who are delegates to the endorsing conventions must literally tow the party line or risk expulsion for four years from any party activity. The CRA no longer has a prohibition on officers also serving on county committees but the inverse is about to be true. The CRA will be muzzled on its choice of candidates or lose its right to participate in the selection process.

Nehring’s proposal implements at top-down leadership style much like he ran in San Diego County as its Central Committee Chair. CRA is a grassroots, bottom-up organization.

Nehring is advocating a “smoke filled room,” behind closed doors event, populated by party insiders and is disenfranchising millions of republican voters by excluding them from the process. Whatever process is adopted, it must include the opportunity for rank and file republicans to have a voice. If regular republicans are told by party bosses who their nominee is then haven’t we crossed the proverbial Rubicon and become the Democrat party. After all that’s how they got Jerry Brown.

Nehring’s proposal has many shortcomings that we still have time to fix but in order to do so we must organize enough to vote this down at the spring convention and work to substitute a better framework for adoption in September. This is the crucial issue of the 2012 election and we need to start acting now.

I think CRA needs to adopt a statement of principles about what would be an acceptable process for endorsement. I suggest the following as a basis for that discussion.
• If the CRP is to establish an official party nominee, all registered republicans should be afforded an opportunity to have input into that system. I don’t think a majority will actually participate but the fact that they could if they chose to will be the difference between the nominee being accepted or ignored. If our voters think they are being dictated to by the party, then I think many will sever their ties to Republican Party. Ronald Reagan had faith in the American people and so should we.
• No incumbent should be given a free pass for endorsement just because he won the last election. We can all name a host of RINOs that deserve to have a challenger from within our own party. Candidates that lose touch with their constituents always move decidedly to the Left.
• The entire process must be open to the public. Transparency and the rule of law will set us apart from the Democrats. When California goes off the cliff, we must show that we are offering something different and better not just more of the same if we hope to gain the trust of the electorate.

The Republican Brand is tarnished and Nehring’s plan will relegate us into obscurity. If it passed, in four short years we will be hearing of the Tea Party versus the Democrats because no one will be a Republican any more.

I implore you to stop the Nehring plan and work to open the process to all republicans.

Posted by william on 02/23 at 10:15 PM
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CRP Says Forget about 1099s

Oops. I just got word that the California Republican Party neglected to send Form 1099s to their campaign workers. The forms were legally required to be sent by January 31st. Their position is it is a matter of conscience whether you wish to report the income. They reported it to the FEC as services rendered. I guess they missed the part about getting a corporate ID number or needing to report the workers paid over $600.

Did they learn nothing from all the BS Meg Whitman went thru with her maid?

Posted by william on 02/23 at 10:03 PM
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SCRP Crab Feed & Million Dollar Budget for 2011-12

The Sacramento County Republican Party met Thursday night (Feb 10) for their monthly general meeting. The two main pieces of business that were discussed were the crab feed that was held the following night and the adoption of the two year budget.

Here is a brief summary of the crab feed.
The crab feed was held in Elk Grove at the SES hall. Like much that the Central Committee has done lately it was the things missing that were most noteworthy. Neither Republican group based in Elk Grove was contacted prior to the event being planned and asked for help or input. Neither club was asked for volunteers in exchange for part of the ticket sales. At the event, there was no formal program. It is the first event that I have attended since the “Christian Conservatives” took over the committee three years ago that did not include a Flag Salute, opening prayer—including grace before the meal—and a headliner or guest speaker. Only wine was available during the meal. No water or soda was offered or available for purchase once serving began. The only person formally introduced was chair Sue Blake. After about 25 percent of the folks had gone home, the drawing for the raffle was begun. The desert promised in the flyer advertising the event was never served.

The other item of business was the two year budget.  The budget was put together by political consultant Duane Dichiara who was appointed head of the Finance Committee. It was presented to the Executive Board—however; notice to the general membership for this meeting was ever given. The budget was not given to members of the committee prior to the meeting. I first saw it when I arrived at the Thursday night meeting. Amazingly enough, this budget was over one million dollars!

The 2011 budget is $150,000 and the 2012 budget is $975,000. That’s $1,125,000 for you and me. $750,000 of this is allotted for pass-through of funds to various campaigns.

As is now the practice, what we weren’t told is where my interest is focused. We had a two year budget for 2009 & 2010, logically; one would like to know how we did on that one before approving another. Since the committee went thru four treasurers in the last term, this might require some work by the new treasurer—the fifth since Blake rose to the Chair in 2009.

This budget coupled with the current bylaws is a formula for malfeasance. There are no checks and balances from here on out as the executive committee proceeds to spend like drunken congressmen. As long as they stay in “the black” nothing will happen to the committee. The real question is how liability will be apportioned to the membership if this group ends up in debt? The irony that such a group (lead by lawyers) has such contempt for the rule of law is a marvel to behold.

Unfortunately, two features that dominate the committee leadership are that they are government employees and none have any children. Thus private sector experience and affordability of events are lacking as important values in the current group.

As I watch this group, my mind keeps harkening back to book that Gary North wrote about the confrontation of Moses and Pharaoh. In the book Moses and Pharaoh: Dominion Religion versus Power Religion, North discusses that Pharaoh was all about “power religion”—to him the State was all powerful and he was its god. The SCRP seems to have embraced power as the quick path to success. The notion of serving those who elected the committee members is a very foreign concept to the current leadership. This will no doubt end badly but the full extent of the carnage will be somewhere in the future.

Posted by william on 02/15 at 10:26 PM
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Organizational meeting Sacramento County Republican Central Committee 2011-12

Every time I go to a meeting like last night, I’m reminded of a statement that someone once made to me about moving on from the central committee and getting involved in meaningful politics. Anyway, the bulk of the meeting was predetermined prior to last night. Having been on the planning end of such meetings, I know ‘em when I see ‘em.

After the opening ceremonies of the meeting, county elections officials administered the oath of office and then the business portion of the meeting began.

The center of contention was not the slate of candidates because those were a foregone conclusion, but the bylaws. As was predicted to me several weeks ago, the ruling majority from last time lead by Sue Blake and Terry Mast under the tutelage of Duane Dichiara implemented much of the bylaws from San Diego County.

Minutes prior to the meeting, one of my friends did manage to negotiate a few minor concessions from Terry Mast; however, two major points that we objected to survive motions to remain in the document that was adopted.

First, a provision was added to require mandatory dues of $100. This provision reads:

Section 6.  Annual Dues.  Annual dues for Members, Alternates, and Associates shall be $100 per year, payable no later than the regular March Central Committee meeting. These dues shall qualify Members, Alternates, and Associates for membership in the Century Club. Those individuals who can demonstrate financial hardship to the Chairman may be allowed to “pay dues” at a rate of $10 per hour “volunteering” at the Republican Headquarters or Central Committee events, as approved by the Chairman, for a maximum of six and one half (6.5) hours.  Members must pay a minimum of $35 cash.  Members who have not paid dues or arranged to work off their dues will have their voting rights suspended until such dues have been paid.

The second provision that survived last night’s voting requires any new business to go to the Executive Board or it cannot be brought up at the regular meeting of the Central Committee without a 2/3 vote of members. Reluctantly we did get them to agree to strike the portion that a majority vote was required by the Executive Committee to bring something to the committee.

Section 1.  All resolutions, bylaws amendments, or other business of the Central Committee shall be first brought to the previous meeting of the Executive Board. A majority vote will bring this business to the full Central Committee. In the alternative, business may be brought before the full Central Committee for placement on the agenda, and will require a two-thirds vote of the Central Committee to be considered.

Jeff Allen was nominated as First Vice-chair. Carl Brickey was nominated also. A motion was then made and passed to close nominations. After this was done Mr. Allen informed the chair that he had not taken the oath of office. The chair administered the oath on the spot and then proceeded with the vote. After several motions about whether the vote should be voice, roll call or standing, the vote was held and Allen was resoundingly elected.

Today a friend reminded me that Jeff Allen had won election to the Placer County Republican Central Committee in June 2010 for the term beginning this month. He said that Jeff was not at their organizational meeting this week but his alternate—Tom Hudson—was. He also told me that Jeff had turned in his voter registration card for Sacramento County yesterday just hours before the meeting. Both Sue Blake and Tom Hudson are members of the California State Bar.

No other offices were contested. The Composition of the Executive Board is five elected members and six members appointed by the chairman. We did get them to agree that these appointments should receive the consent of the full committee.

In the new business portion of the meeting the chair announced the crab feed that was scheduled in February. Most of the way thru her presentation she was asked if the Committee needed to authorize funds for the Event. Sue was bewildered. After being reminded that no budget yet existed for the committee and that per her bylaws any expense over $1,000 needed authorization, she finally agreed to request funds up to $5,000 be spent on the event.

Today a friend spoke at length with the Executive Director of the Committee. He was told that the actual cost of the crab feed was far in excess of the $5,000 that was authorized. He inquired why only this amount was requested. He learned that the money was spent in December. The reasoning was that since this was under the old committee, no one needed be informed of this information. He then pointed out that no funds were authorized by the previous committee. The ED just shrugged.

As the expense issue was winding down, the chair then remembered that it would be a good idea to actually appoint her Events chair and get the consent of the group. That went so well she also announced her Finance chair. Now that she was really warmed-up she decided to do the rest of her slate in one vote.

Thinking that the meeting was over she asked if there were any other issues, I raised my hand and when called upon (after all, my wife is a teacher) I asked what was going on with the Executive Director? We were told that he was part time during January. The follow-up question is how much is part time? We were told $1,700. The chair was then reminded that she needed this expense to be authorized also. The motion was made to authorize the Executive Board to spend up to $5,000 for the Executive Director. Others on the committee questioned the number and said shouldn’t we authorized something more like $2,500. The makers of the motion were firm that $5,000 was the correct figure. After a few grumbles, the question was called and passed.

After puzzling this over last night the epiphany occurred what was really going on. If half is $1,700 and full time is $3,400 this is suspiciously close to $5,000. They have him on half salary this month and plan to go up to full salary in February without coming back to the body. Sure enough he confirmed this when my friend talked to him today. This was the plan all along.

This group is amazingly tone-deaf to the electorate and many of their own members. It costs nothing to file to run for county central committee, we appear on the ballot and are either directly elected or represent candidates that are but now we must pay a $100 fee to vote on behalf of the people that elected us? This is both illegal and contrary to our republican form of government. We even must take the same oath of office as the Governor of our state!

Furthermore these same people now assert that this elected body is private and can exclude members of the public at will. Imagine that, you can vote for us on the ballot but have no right to know what we do or how we conduct our business on your behalf. This is the Soviet style of governing not the model of American Democracy. Refusing to publicize their meetings and invite the public just makes the group more insular and less accountable.

The irony is that the same people that just tripled the dues and made them mandatory are the same folks that said it was illegal to charge any dues just four short years ago. Now like their former benefactor Roger Neillo, they think the solution is to triple the dues in the midst of an economic slowdown.

The Republican Party is in decline in California. Less transparency and more barriers to participation are not the way to grow the party. It is doubling down on a suicide pact. With the changes coming in the next election cycle, behavior like this can only hasten the decline of the party.

Posted by william on 01/15 at 12:31 PM

Friday, November 05, 2010

Democrat Tactics in California

The Democrat Party in California did something the national party could not do; they ran a unified campaign for the entire state. The themes of the Democrat campaign was attack Republican opponents and avoid their own records. Unlike most campaigns however, they did not rest with attacking their Republican opponents, they actually attacked the Republican base. Democrats employed focus group results, push polls and targeted mailing.

The Democrats employed a “campaign in a box” strategy. Republican candidates were classified into categories and then attacked by the same accusations that were used on the neighboring Republican candidate. It was literally a form letter “insert name here” approach. For example, Jack Sieglock and Abram Wilson were attached with the same accusation with the exact same wording in several flyers mailed into their districts. The only difference was the color scheme of the flyer. By centralizing printing operations and using “cookie cutter” mailers, not only did they save lots of money but they were able to use tested materials to maximize the damage inflicted on Republicans.

In their mailers Democrats divided the electorate into three groups. They tried to increase their own base, sway the fickle Decline to State voters and depress Republican turn-out. Many mailers appeared with subtle variations to micro-target various sub-groups of voters. Many districts saw 30 to 40 different mailers with different distributions.

In addition, high propensity Republican voters were targeted with “push polls” to try to reduce their support of Republicans and if possible discourage them from voting. “Push polls” disguise gossip and distortion into a Dr. Seuss style litany. They ask questions similar to these: If you knew your candidate was an axe murderer would you still support him? If you knew he beat his wife and liked the New York Yankees would you still support him? If you knew Sarah Palin sent him an email would you still voter for him? The voters are subjected to psychological warfare to separate them from their candidates.

By waiting for the month before the election, they caught the Republicans flatfooted again. Republicans knew that the Dems would “go negative” but by running decentralized campaigns with no coordination they had no idea what hit them. What I wrote in this blog is known only to a few outsiders to the Democrat campaign machine. The beauty of this strategy is that it uses the strength of the Republicans against themselves. Democrats divide and conquer by uniting.

Posted by william on 11/05 at 08:33 PM
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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Ok so how did I do on my election eve predictions?

My overall score for election night was 15/23 or 65%.

I am not counting the correct statement that Meg Whitman had no coattails and did nothing to advance the rest of the Republican ticket. In fact Meg established herself in the primary as a vindictive bitch in her treatment of Steve Poizner and continued that image through-out the campaign. Nicky-gate continued and reinforced that image. It is likely that she hurt Carly and the rest of the field. She was robbed blind by her consultants and up until the end she was happy to shovel out the cash to them. I hope to look in detail at the race in a future post.

I did better than fifty percent in picking the winners.

Winners 5/9 Correct with one undecided
Wrong Carly Fiorina—US Senate
Awaiting results Steve Cooley—AG
Right George Runner—BOE-2
Right Dan Lungren CD-3
Wrong Andy Pugno AD-5
Wrong Jack Sieglock AD-10
Right Prop 20—Redistricting commission draws congressional lines
Right Prop 26—require 2/3 vote for fees
Partial credit Republicans win House with 70+ seats and win 51 in Senate
    Republicans won sixty House with ten undecided
    Republicans won at least 6 with a few not decided election day

As a certified nerd, I can spot a looser a mile away and did well in this category.

Losers 8/9 Correct
Right Abel Maldonado—Lt. Governor
Right Tony Strickland—Controller
Right Mimi Walters—Treasurer
Right Damon Dunn—Secretary of State
Right Abram Wilson AD-15
Wilson was the worst Assembly candidate in the Sacramento area but he was the darling of the California Republican Party and had much of Jack Sieglock’s resources diverted to himself. Wilson’s consultant also was able to keep Sieglock from any independent expenditures by undercutting Sieglock. I will touch on this in a future post.
Right Prop 19—Pot
Right Prop 21—More car taxes
Wrong Prop 25—drop 2/3 vote for budget
Right Prop 27—abolish redistricting commission

This is what you get with hope and not listening to what you know in your heart to be true.

On the Bubble 2/5 Correct
Wrong Meg Whitman—Governor (likely win but no coattails)
Right Mike Villines—Insurance Commissioner (likely loose)
Right Larry Aceves—public instruction (likely loose)
Wrong Prop 23 (election will bring change but not enlightenment to voters)
Wrong Prop 24 (class envy card may propel this to victory)

Posted by william on 11/04 at 08:43 PM
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Election Day Predictions

Carly Fiorina—US Senate
Steve Cooley—AG
George Runner—BOE-2
Dan Lungren CD-3
Andy Pugno AD-5
Jack Sieglock AD-10
Prop 20—Redistricting commission draws congressional lines
Prop 26—require 2/3 vote for fees

Republicans win House with 70+ seats and win 51 in Senate

Abel Maldonado—Lt. Governor
Tony Strickland—Controller
Mimi Walters—Treasurer
Damon Dunn—Secretary of State
Abram Wilson AD-15
Prop 19—Pot
Prop 21—More car taxes
Prop 25—drop 2/3 vote for budget
Prop 27—abolish redistricting commission

On the Bubble
Meg Whitman—Governor (likely win but no coattails)
Mike Villines—Insurance Commissioner (likely loose)
Larry Aceves—public instruction (likely loose)
Prop 23 (election will bring change but not enlightenment to voters)
Prop 24 (class envy card may propel this to victory)

Posted by william on 11/01 at 09:14 PM
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Sacramento Republican Voter Registration 2010

The Sacramento County Republican Party (SCPR) has completed their voter registration drive for the 2010 election cycle. The program featured the most generous bounty program I have ever seen in politics.

The program was actually run for the State Party by a consultant that worked thru the Committee to pass on the necessary funds to operate the program. The going rate per registration was about $15 each with both the consultant and SCPR getting a cut. Some local elected officials also contributed part of the funds.

The main purpose of the registration drive was to help targeted seats. The three main beneficiaries were to be Dan Lungren in Congressional District 3 and challengers to Assembly Districts 10 and 15—Jack Sieglock and Abram Wilson respectively. All three seats overlap each other and until the 2008 election were all in Republican hands. Only Lungren survived the wave that swept Barack Obama into office. The previous office holders of AD 10 & 15 left due to term limits and the GOP was unable to handoff the seats to fellow members of their Party.

The immediate result of the drive was 51,210 registrations. This sounds like an impressive number until you start digging into the results. Due to software issues and lack of early tracking, only 30,824 registrations could be tracked by district. Of these only 10,518 were in Lungren’s District. 6,410 of these were in AD 10. A token amount was in AD 15.

Per the report to the Committee, the Sacramento County portion of CD3 started with 130,272 Republicans in January and ended with 137,483; a net increase of 7,211.

Assembly District 10 saw Republicans in Sacramento beginning with 46,033 and ending with 49,256; a gain of 3,223.

In AD-15, Sacramento Republicans began with 22,017 and end with 23,143; a gain of 1,126.

If the 51,210 registrations were new Republican registrations and all increases were due to the voter registration drive then:
14 % were in CD-3
6% were in AD-10
2% were in AD-15

While this estimate does not take into account how many of the 51K were people that reregistered, I think it makes the point that the voter registration drive was not targeted and largely a waste of resources. A more targeted approach would have been more cost effective and yielded better results.

A new element was introduced as a result of the program that historically has been the purview of Democrats—voter fraud. The county clerk has received many reports of life-long Democrats that are learning that they are now registered Republican. The October 15th article in the Sacramento Bee was probably not the last that the Committee will hear about this issue. I expect the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) to be going after the SCRP or some of its venders following the election.

Posted by william on 10/22 at 11:49 AM
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roger Neillo: the Primary Crasher

Rick Cua did a song many years ago called “Crash the Party.” More recently there was a movie about the “Wedding Crashers.” In this election cycle there is a new kind of crasher. This one is the termed-out assemblyman that desperately wants the California senate seat vacated by the death of Dave Cox.

Roger Neillo—the Primary Crasher—has shown-up at several events that he was never invited to attend to try to further his political career.

Several weeks ago the Cosumnes Republican Assembly in Elk Grove contacted both Ted Gaines and Roger Neillo to check the availability of both men to speak at their September meeting. Ted Gaines responded first so he was scheduled in September and Neillo was told he would be welcome at the group’s October meeting. Not to be dissuaded, Neillo invited himself to the September meeting anyway and spoke after Gaines.

This meeting fortunately was covered by the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper that accurately quoted Neillo as saying he was a better candidate because he would collaborate with Democrats. “And you’re only going to be effective if you collaborate. Collaboration is extremely important.”

Last Saturday Neillo did it again. This time it was a large precinct walk in Rancho Cordova for Dan Lungren and Jack Sieglock. Neillo pulls up in a motor home with billboard decals all over it touting his campaign. Out of the motor home jump about a dozen staffers in matching Neillo t-shirts. As a sitting assembly member, Neillo got a shot to speak after Sieglock and Lungren. Neillo didn’t say I’m here because we need to get these men elected or anything like that. My impression was that he wanted to be seen with the “right people.”

Neillo’s behavior was tacky and inappropriate. I asked after the event was over who invited Neillo and was told by a staffer for another campaign that no one did. Neillo invited himself!

This says to me that Neillo has been in politics for too long. He is one of the professional politicians that the Tea Party should try to retire. Neillo has forgotten the purpose of representative government. He does not represent his constituents. He likes the power and gamesmanship that he exercises because he is the California version of Lindsey Graham. He not only voted for the largest tax hike any state has ever passed but to this day he justifies this voter as the right thing to do to save California. No one ever asks Neillo if this vote really “saved California from going off the cliff” then why was the State Controller issuing IOUs five months after the vote?

The only principle Neillo has left is the one about winning. Unfortunately, his idea of winning seems to be at any price.

Lastly, have you noticed the campaign strategy that he has adopted? In addition to the usual advertisements you might see in a campaign, there are an abnormal amount of ads for the Neillo car dealerships in places that they never usually advertise. Neillo is getting an “in kind contribution” from his family. These ads try to make people feel confident in the Neillo brand. What other car dealer ads are you hearing now? None is the correct answer. My only question is does that family want Roger to win to further his career or to keep him away from the family business?

Posted by william on 10/13 at 09:19 PM
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Employer Perspective on SSN and “No Match” Letters

Most people I’ve heard today talking about the almost October surprise that Gloria Allred sprung on Meg Whitman don’t know what they are talking about. Since most folks never get to sign the front of a paycheck, they are uninformed about how businesses deal with hiring and firing of employees.

First, an employer will interview candidates for a job.  Then they will make an offer to hire someone. At that point the employee is supposed to provide the necessary documents for an I-9 form. The employer has to accept the documents at face value. There is no legal requirement to make copies of the documents or attempt to verify their authenticity. In fact the employer is subjecting himself to legal peril if they rescind an employment offer on the basis of identification documents. At most places where I have worked, we kept copies of the I-9 and supporting documents in the employee files. Also, there is no government agency that an employer can send the documents to for verification if they have a doubt.

Please note that you do not need to show a Social Security Number (SSN) as a condition of employment. The card is only one of a litany of documents that can be submitted for identification purposes.

Nothing more happens with an employee SSN until year end taxes are filed. The W-2s are submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the name on the W-2 does not match the name on file with the Social Security Administration, they will eventually send the employer a “Don’t Match” letter. This letter has language that many people would be surprised to see. Two points I would like to highlight concerning this letter. It is illegal to terminate an employee if their SSN does not agree with their name. The letter also makes it clear that this is a matter between the Social Security Administration and the employee.

“Employers should not assume that the mismatch is the result of any wrongdoing on the part of the employee. Moreover, an employer who takes action against an employee based on nothing more substantial than a mismatch letter may, in fact, violate the law.”

“An employer that receives such a letter and terminates employees without attempting to resolve the mismatches, or who treats employees differently based upon national origin or other prohibited characteristics, may be found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination.”

In most cases, by the time an employer gets a “No Match” letter, the employee is no longer with the company. These letters are simply a multi-column list of social security numbers. The employer must look-up each number to find the name associated with the number.

If employer attempts to verify the name and SSN, the government will not help. They will only say if it matches or does not match. They won’t tell you what is wrong. This is especially frustrating when dealing with folks from south of the border. The SSN template cannot deal with the way Spanish people are named. SSA wants first name, middle initial and last name. I’ve seen Spanish employees that have six names by our government’s way of reckoning.

For example if you hire Mario de Jesus Garcia Esperonza, how do you make him fit the First name, middle initial, last name format? Also, many Spanish folks are barely literate in their own language and they know no English. It is common to see their first and last names transposed on their documents. Is he Valentine Edwardo or Edwardo Valentine? Again, SSA can’t deal with properly documenting Spanish names and won’t help correct errors when they occur.

One year I went thru this with 75 employees and we never could successfully resolve a single instance of “No Match”. The E-Verify system was not any better plus it was all tied to my personal SSN and not the employer tax ID number. I left the company over three years ago and as far as I know, my SSN is still tied to their employee verification account with SSA.

Lastly, the ACLU took the “No Match” letters to court in 2007 and got a favorable ruling that blocked the SSA from sending employers “No Match” letters. Here is their press release.

I don’t know how this court action was resolved or if it has been. It appears likely that the letters are still blocked. They certainly were when the current Administration came to power. Given the political leanings of President Obama, I doubt he would fight hard to have the government begin issuing these letters any time soon.


Posted by william on 09/29 at 09:33 PM
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Doug Ose, Roger Neillo, Per Diem and the SD1 Special Election

As things heat-up in the special election to fill the California Senate seat vacated when Dave Cox died, it would be a good time to note the genesis of how state legislators and Per Diem became an issue.

In a word it was Doug Ose (pronounced O-see).

When Vick Fazio decided not to run for re-election for his congressional seat back in 1998, the Republicans sensed that the gains made in the district by Tim Lefever could finally more the seat from Democrat to Republican. Ose’s chief rival in the race was Assemblywoman Barbara Alby. Alby had refused to collect the Per Diem that she was entitled to collect as a legislator.

Per Diem is intended to allow legislators that live some distance from the Capitol to keep a residence near Sacramento while the legislature is in session. Since Alby lives only a few miles from the Capitol, she did not collect Per Diem on a regular basis. Ose took her Per Diem records and turned them into an attendance record and claimed that Alby had one of the worst attendance records of any legislator in the State. In short Alby did not do her job. Ose succeeded in crucifying Alby on the attendance issue and went on to win the seat.

In 2008, Ose again ran for Congress and Per Diem was once again the main issue. This time Ose went after Tom McClintock for collecting Per Diem when McClintock lived just down the road in Elk Grove. McClintock represented a southern California district and kept a second home in Elk Grove. This is what Per Diem was intended to be used for. Somehow Ose never skipped a beat when he did his 180 on the Per Diem issue.

Now Roger Neillo is making Per Diem an issue in the SD1 race. Can you guess who one of his biggest backers is? If you guessed Doug Ose then you got it right.

All-in-all, I think Ose did a good job during his three terms in Congress. I did walk precincts for him and even got a thank you call from him for my letter to the editor supporting him back when Bill Clinton was bombing Bosnia. I still keep the wave file on my computer. However, Ose’s lasting legacy seems to be making Per Diem a political club to beat-up on other Republicans.

If all Neillo has is Per Diem to go after Ted Gains then I think he is sunk. Gains can beat-up on Neillo all the way to November on the fact that Neillo proudly voted to impose the highest State tax hike in the history of the country. Roger is proud that he was able to “collaborate with Democrats” in the Assembly. Those are not my words; they were uttered by Neillo ironically enough in Elk Grove just two weeks ago.

If you want to get even more ironic, the remaining wildcard in the race is Barbara Alby. She has made some noises about getting into the SD1 race. If she does that, then Neillo might have a chance of winning. Alby can’t win but she can split the Conservative vote and give Neillo an opportunity. We are days away from the end of the filing period. If Alby files it will likely be on the last day to do so.

Posted by william on 09/15 at 07:38 PM
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brett Daniels Endorsement of Jim Cooper—Emails, Lies and Audio Files

Brett Daniels was one of three candidates that ran for Sacramento County Sheriff on the June ballot. He also is a former member of the Citrus Heights City Council. He is running again for a City Council seat in Citrus Heights and sought the endorsement of the Sacramento County Republican Party (SCRP). The SCRP met for their regular meeting last Thursday (September 9th). The main agenda item was endorsement for non-partisan races.

The way the endorsement process worked was that a committee of five people—one from each supervisorial district—met and voted their recommendations. The full body then treated the recommendations as a consent calendar unless someone wished to consider a recommendation separately. Mr. Daniels was pulled from the list and on a separate vote; he failed to get the endorsement. This was based solely on his recent endorsement of Sheriff Candidate Jim Cooper. Cooper—a Democrat—is running against Republican Scott Jones. Jones got the SCRP endorsement over Daniels prior to the June election.

In fairness to Daniels, he was at the SCRP meeting and not allowed to speak. I can understand that he was frustrated by this and that he did not prevail in a group that would normally support him. Anyway, when I awoke on Saturday, I was greeted by the message below. It was sent not just to members of the SCRP but to other candidates and elected officials. It was addressed to the chairman of the SCRP.

Daniels began his lengthy email by criticizing the endorsements process and the fact that he was not allowed to speak at the meeting. Further frustrating him was the fact that one of the people leading the effort to block his endorsement is involved with the Scott Jones campaign. I think this individual should have kept his mouth shut and let others go after Daniels but he doesn’t even consider this a problem. (It is and just not in this instance but that is beyond the scope of this entry.)

Daniels claimed that he had inside information on Jones that caused him to change his mind. Below is that portion of his email. (Note some spelling errors in the emails below have been corrected but they are otherwise unchanged.)

Because a few vocal hypocrites have decided it’s ok to put party over principle, I have decided to share the information the I shared with the Endorsement Committee with the remainder of the central committee and have attached it to this message. This contained document clearly shows that Scott Jones engaged in an on-going criminal relationship with known ex-felons to provide confidential information for financial gain. Since the document (mainly the Affidavit for a Search Warrant, pgs 14-22) can be somewhat confusing to the general public, I offer to explain it to any one that cares to ask.

In talking with the Endorsement Committee, I didn’t even get the chance to explain another troubling fact about Mr. Jones that I became aware of during the primary involving another deputy who was convicted of a misdemeanor trespass charge after he lied about a 911 call to get into the home of a woman he hoped to pursue romantically, where her two daughters were alone. A federal civil case that resulted in a more than $200,000 settlement charged the deputy with rifling the woman’s dresser drawers after ordering the two girls - then 8 and 12 - to stay in the living room. The deputy’s conduct was so egregious that the judge issued a stern rebuke as she handed down his sentence. “You traumatized those two children,” she said, calling the deputy’s actions a violation of “public trust.” Mr. Jones was a close friend of the deputy, indeed previously lived with the deputy’s wife, and it was Mr. Jones who was in Legal Affairs that lobbied to keep the deputy on the department. It is widely known that Mr. Jones plans to have his friend serve as his Legal Affairs Officer.

Daniels concludes his letter with one last complaint. Namely, others endorsed that night endorsed Cooper so why was he singled out?

Lastly, an attachment was sent with the above email. The attachment is from the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association—the union that gave Jim Cooper about $200,000—and can be found here

When people push my button on something, I’m not shy about firing off a response. Brett Daniels got such a response from me. I have nothing against Brett, but Jim Cooper is on my list of bad guys that need to lose elections. Here are few exerts from my response.

The disciplinary records of Scott Jones have been released to the public. The disciplinary records of Jim Cooper have not and never will be.

Mr. Cooper has subjected other Council members to the wrath of the Sacramento County Grand Jury because they dared to publicly disagree with him on Council issues. He has used bully tactics on other Council members both publicly and behind the scenes. He is a bully with a badge that abuses his public trust. In July, Mr. Cooper tried to remove Sophia Scherman as Mayor because she called a special meeting about a group home for juvenile sexual offenders that happened to be the same night he had a scheduled fundraiser for his Sheriff campaign. I know, I was at the Council meeting.

Mr. Cooper has been chastised by the Sacramento County Grand Jury on multiple occasions for his behavior on the Elk Grove City Council. I am confident from what I have seen and know of him that if his disciplinary records as a law enforcement officer were released that we would not be having the email exchange.

The document that you emailed us today is a political hit piece on Scott Jones that was filed in April of this year to try to influence the outcome of the June election. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association has pumped about $200,000 into the election and this document was filed at the same time their contributions began to flow into Cooper’s campaign. This is not coincidence but part of a carefully coordinated election campaign.

Mr. Daniels fired off a lengthy response. I want to focus on the first paragraph.

I am in complete agreement with you that Mr. Cooper has not handled himself properly in certain situations. He should have recued himself in all matters that involved the Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept, which he did eventually but should have from the beginning. I also agree that Mr. Cooper has at times not handled matters in the manner that I would. And specifically to the Ms Scherman issue, that issue was the result of Ms Sherman on several occasions stepping outside her boundary as a Mayor of a “strong-City Manager” form of local government and culminated when she called a “Special Meeting” with 24-hrs notice outside the parameters of recognized legitimate “Special Meeting” guidelines, regardless of the topic of concern (which I agree was a serious one nonetheless). Somehow, I think you know these things already but refuse to acknowledge them.

The comments on Elk Grove Mayor Sophia Scherman were curious to me. They are almost verbatim what Jim Cooper, Steve Detrick and Gary Davis said when trying to oust Mayor Scherman. The phrase “strong mayor” was used many times to describe her calling of special meetings. I suspect that Daniels had been in communication with Mr. Cooper in the course of these exchanges. The assertion that Scherman did not have the power to call the meetings is a lie as I will illustrate in a moment. Cooper definitely found them damn inconvenient.

My final response to Daniels began:

As Mayor of Elk Grove Sophia does have the right to call a special meeting with 24 hours notice.
The City Council procedures manual clearly states under the heading for Special Meetings that “Special meetings and emergency meetings of the City Council may be called by the Mayor or majority of the City Council and held from time to time consistent with and pursuant to procedures set forth in the Ralph M Brown Act.”

The Brown Act states:
Twenty-four hour notice must be provided to members of legislative body and media outlets including brief general description of matters to be considered or discussed.

Brett Daniels was wrong to endorse Jim Cooper. In the June election he was the spoiler that prevented Scott Jones from winning. This forced a run-off in November. Daniels stated publicly that if he lost in June that he would endorse Jones. He has been around the block more that once as a politician and a deputy sheriff. For him to play dumb about the obvious “hit piece” by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association that was posted on their website back in April with much press and fanfare is unbelievable. Daniels was promising to support Jones after these documents were posted on the Internet and published in local media. Why is it dismissed as a “hit piece” in April and the silver bullet that slays Jones in July? There is more to this than Daniels has admitted.

To prove that I am right on all points stated here try these exerts from the debate held April 30th between Jim Cooper, Scott Jones and Brett Daniels. All quotes below and audio of the debate can be found here.

As it relates to their resume, Bret Daniels was fired over his incident years back, while Jim Cooper and Scott Jones have been cleared of any wrong doing after extensive internal investigations more recently.

The scuffle has been Captain Scott Jones’ investigation – Cooper’s crew has been stating publicly that it was a cover-up, and Jones was never vetted properly by the department and the FBI.

While Jones has been taking the brunt of these shots from both Cooper and Daniels, Scott’s camp had asked for the personal records of Jim Cooper to be released for the public eye.
The first response from Cooper was no; doing so would be a violation of the union protection clause. Then, surprisingly during Friday’s 1380 KTKZ radio debate, Cooper made the announcement that he would be releasing his records.
The immediate complaint from Daniels and Jones was the limited release. Cooper was releasing some of his records, but he was holding back all of his internal investigation records from open review.

With Cooper’s news on Friday, it may tone down some of the rhetoric, but both Daniels and Jones believe his limited released is nothing more than window dressing.

As you can clearly see, Brett Daniels is lying about his July epiphany of Jones’ record. Further, when he says that Cooper has nothing left to release that he is lying. Daniels was the one leading the charge to get Cooper to release his records—including the internal investigation records.

Too bad Brett didn’t stay out of making any endorsement in this race if he had a change of heart about Jones. I would respect that a lot more than having him make a bunch of bald-faced lies not only to the Sacramento Republican Party but to a plethora of candidates and office holders in the county.


Posted by william on 09/12 at 09:41 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meg’s Missing Millions

The California Republican Party was promised 30 million dollars by the Meg Whitman campaign to fund “Victory Headquarters” throughout California. The CRP planned to have the money in hand over a month ago so they could hit the ground running for the November General Election. This had the potential to boost the entire statewide ticket and move many seats from safe for Democrats to competitive. However, Mrs. Whitman has yet to write the check.

It now appears that this promised money will not happen and the CRP is scrambling to scale-down their plans accordingly. Four years ago Governor Schwarzenegger did a similar thing. While he had 100 million dollars in his campaign war chest, the Governor left the state party with about a six million dollar debt that he never helped to repay even though most of this money was spent to re-elect him. It looks as if Meg is going to follow Arnold’s precedent. Once again the party will leverage themselves up to their fiscal eyebrows and Meg will be happy to leave them hanging. 

It sure looks like Tom McClintock was right about this being Arnold’s third term. Meg certainly has done nothing visible to boost the whole ticket to victory. This is all about Meg and any hopes of her being a uniter and party builder are vanishing quickly. As a result, I think she will find that Sacramento is a lonely place when you are in the corner office with no allies.

Posted by william on 08/25 at 08:03 PM
News & PoliticsPermalink

Saturday, August 21, 2010

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty


It took me 9 days to play thru the entire game on Normal difficulty level. Wow what an experience. The story-line of the game picks up where the previous one left-off. There is some explanation of the back-story in the enclosed booklet and some cinematic cut scenes through-out the game that fill new users in on the major details.

The game engine has been totally redesigned. The units are recognizable but much more beautifully detailed than the previous game. The texture of the game is rich and well done. I was really worried about the balance of the game but the individual missions are well designed. There are several that depend on time. The player is forced into acting even when they are not ready. These were the most challenging ones for me. I prefer to build-up defenses first and attach when my technology and units have accumulated, sometimes the game makes this very difficult.

Between missions, players can buy mercenaries and technology upgrades. The mercenaries seem much more useful than the unit upgrades; only a few seem worth the price. Mining vespian gas without SCVs, fire turrets and bunker enhancements are more useful than other upgrades in the game because they get more use. By the time you get upgrades to the high-end units, the game is about over.

You need Internet access and a Battlenet Account even to play the single player missions. The game takes 12 Gigabytes of hard disk space. In addition, a multi-core CPU and good video card are a must. See this link for details.,2611.html

My son’s computer was scored lowest in all video settings by the game even with a quad-core CPU. I bought a new motherboard and video card for him at Fry’s. I installed the new motherboard with all his old hardware and turned on the computer. With Windows 7 it was able to boot all the way up without a blue screen of death or resorting to Safe Mode. I installed the drive DVD rebooted and then installed the new video card and we went from a score of Low to Ultra high in all video settings. Microsoft definitely got it right this time.

Blizzard—the game makers—have a real winner on their hands. This was worth the almost $60 price tag. Oh, online game play is free unlike World of Warcraft.

Posted by william on 08/21 at 04:53 PM

Friday, August 20, 2010

Prop 8 is Right

My sister-in-law posted a link to this article on Facebook the other day. I can’t understand why. Here are my comments upon reading this essay.  Red are my comments and Blue are biblical and historic quotations.

Link to original post

Monday, November 03, 2008

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage

A brilliant playwright (and close personal friend of mine) recently sent this editorial out regarding Prop 8. I thought I’d share.

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage
by Jeff Goode (Californian)

About a decade ago, as a young playwright, I was hired to write a script for the Renaissance Festival of Kansas City. It was a period piece about knights and jousts and intrigues of the court, building up to a lavish royal wedding between a prince and a princess, restoring peace to the troubled land.

This was one of my first professional writing assignments, so I was really excited about doing all the research and making sure that everything was historically accurate, especially the royal wedding which needed to follow all the traditions exactly.

Over a summer of research, I learned a lot of surprising facts about the history of marriage and weddings, but by far the most shocking discovery of all was that the tradition of marriage-as-we-know-it simply did not exist in those days. Almost everything we have come to associate with marriage and weddings—the white dress, the holy vows, the fancy cake and the birdseed—dates back a mere 50 or 100 years at the most. In many cases less.

The purpose of marriage and the traditions of marriage are two different issues. The author misses the point that marriage traditions are different around the world and thru history but the fact that marriage is a world-wide phenomenon is never explained is this essay. As you will see in the following paragraph the author attempts to force supporters of marriage to defend every practice associated with it throughout history. That fallen men apart from God can devise new ways of perverting something that God intended for our good is no surprise to us as Christians. This after-all is the reason why we oppose gay marriage; sinful men are trying to pervert something God gave us for our good and twist it into something that is so disfigured it is virtually unrecognizable. Gay marriage is an attack on God.

And the handful of traditions that do go back farther than that are, frankly, horrifying. The tossing of the garter, for example, evolved from a 14th Century tradition of ripping the clothing off of the bride’s body as she left the ceremony in order to “loosen her up” for the wedding night. Wedding guests fought over the choicest bits of undergarment, with the garter being the greatest prize.

Savvy brides got in the habit of carrying extra garters in their bodice to throw to the male guests in hopes of escaping the ceremony with some shred of modesty intact! It turns out that marriage, in days of old, was a barbaric custom which was little more than a crude exchange of livestock at its most civilized, and a little less than ritualized abduction at its worst. That’s why you’ll find no reference to white weddings in the Bible, or the union of one man and one woman.

This statement is false and easily disprove by such Scriptures as those quoted below.

Because up until fairly recently, there was nothing religious about it.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.“7 10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”  Matthew 19:1-10

You will of course find plenty of biblical bigamy, practiced by even the most godly of heroes—Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon—because that’s what marriage was in those days. Even in more enlightened New Testament times, the only wedding worth mentioning (the one at Cana) is notable only for the miraculous amount of wine consumed.

According to the biblical account, Noah had one wife.

And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Genesis 7:7

Abraham disobeyed God by fathering a child with his servant Hagar. Isaac was the child of promise with his wife Sarah. Only after Sarah’s death did he marry again and father other children. All other children of Abraham were the ones that later lead Israel away from their Covenant with God.

In the New Testament, the marriage mentioned most is the marriage between Christ (the Bridegroom) and his Church (the Bride). Marriage is also the model of God with Israel. Ancient Israel was guilty of spiritual adultery by going after other gods. This was the great indictment of the Old Testament prophets. Marriage is the chief theme of both Old and New Testament.

The passage below is an indictment of Solomon and his foreign wives. Scripture in the Old Testament has little to say about polygamy but much about foreign wives leading men of the Covenant away from God to worshipping false gods.

1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. 7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. 9 The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake1 of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” I Kings 11: 1 - 13

In the 21st Century, we’ve heard a lot about the sanctity of marriage, as if that were something that has been around forever, but in reality the phrase was invented in 2004. Google it for yourself and see if you can find a single reference to the “sanctity of marriage” before the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in that state. The proverbial Sanctity of Marriage sprang into being because opponents of gay marriage needed a logical reason to overturn an established legal precedent. And the only thing that trumps the Constitution is God himself.

This is untrue. Quoting Google like this is a cheap rhetorical debate trick. This is called the “strawman fallacy”. The claim that traditional marriage is a recent invention is untrue.

DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Episcopal Prayer Book: The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony 1662

This is the service which my wife and I used when we were married.

Unfortunately, God is still pretty new to the whole marriage game (or he might have made an honest woman out of the Virgin Mary, am I right? Try the veal!)

Illustrative of how seriously the author takes the biblical record.

The truth is that marriage has always been more a secular tradition rather than a religious one.

Bald faced wopper.

Up until the early Renaissance, in fact, couples were traditionally married on the church’s front doorstep, because wedding ceremonies were considered too vulgar to be performed inside the building: After all, there was implied sex in the vows and shameless public displays of affection. No clergyman in his right mind would have allowed such an unholy abomination on the premises.

Contrary to both Scripture and tradition. Another argument without foundation.

But as times changed, ideas and attitudes about marriage also changed. So when people became religious, matrimony became holy. When people became nudists, clothing became optional. And so on throughout history.

The strawman liveth.

And the wonderful thing about the institution of marriage—the reason it has remained strong and relevant through thousands of years of ever-changing times—is its unique ability to change with those times.

The root of marriage is a man and woman starting a family, ways of celebrating that may change over time but they do not diminish the purpose or meaning of marriage. The author and those who agree with him have taken on this task.

Marriage is, and always has been, a constantly evolving tradition that never fails to incorporate the latest shifts in culture and climate, changing social habits, fashions and even fads. (Because, seriously, that chicken dance is not in the Bible.)

Thus, in the 1800s when the sole purpose of marriage was procreation and housekeeping, marriage between an older man and a hard-working tween girl was considered perfectly normal. Today we call it pedophilia.

Here is another cheap shot from someone who has no respect for marriage; once again using extremes to taint everyone that believes in marriage.

For thousands of years marriage was essentially a business transaction between the parents of the bride and groom. But in the last century or so, we’ve finally seen the triumph of this new-fangled notion that marriage should be about a loving relationship between two consenting adults.

The strawman again; also notice the ease of changing marriage from a loving couple to two consenting adults; talk about being stuck in the 1980’s. Author is trying to inject his opinion as a historic fact.

Followers of the Mormon faith can tell you that the traditions of their forefathers included a devout belief that polygamy was appropriate and sanctified. But modern Mormons generally don’t support that vision of happiness for their daughters.

Author clearly has no personal knowledge of Moron theology but is simply using one point of their belief to try furthering his argument.

And during the Civil Rights era, when opponents of interracial marriage tried to pass laws making such couples illegal, we came to realize that they, too, were wrong in trying to redefine marriage to prevent those newfound relationships.

This is the part where author starts to equate interracial marriage with homosexuality as a civil right. Skin color is different than behavior. Dr. King’s offspring also disagree with this equating of the two.

Always marriage has triumphed by becoming a timely celebration of our society, rather than a backlash against it. It’s strange, then, to see “tradition” used as a weapon against change, when change is the source of all its greatest traditions.

Marriage means whatever the author wants it to mean. We are now invoking situational ethics and moral relativity. Notice the sleight of hand, author earlier invokes the Bible and then dumps it when it gets in the way of his argument. No one is arguing that wedding traditions must become static, tradition in that sense is not the issue; it is the author trying to change the core meaning of marriage into something that it is not and has never been before in human history. In the sense that all law is religious, the author is advocating nothing less that removing the biblical God as the author and finisher of marriage and replacing him with one created in the image of the author. The end result of gay marriage is spiritual adultery and idolatry.

Just ask the white dress: In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert wearing a beautiful white lace dress—in defiance of tradition—in order to promote the sale of English lace! The image was so powerful that practically overnight the white wedding gown became de rigueur for the well-heeled bride. And then it became de rigueur for every bride.

By the dawn of the 20th Century, the white dress had also inexplicably come to symbolize chastity. (Even though blue was traditionally the color of virginity—“something borrowed, something blue…”)

Author now confuses fashion with passion. What does the color of the wedding dress have to do with marriage? It is not part of the central meaning of marriage. It is a cultural preference and peripheral to the entire issue. Dresses, candles, rings, rice, flowers and all the rest may be used to make the occasion special for the bride and groom but they are of secondary importance to the fact that a man and woman are vowing to begin a new family.

And the new equation of white with virginity eventually achieved such a rigid orthodoxy that older readers may remember a time when wedding guests who happened to know that the bride was not perfectly pure would have felt a moral obligation to demand that she change into something off-white before walking down the aisle.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6: 23

These issues should be dealt with before a couple takes their vows. The ability to stay faithful to your wedding vows is the object of a focus on virginity. The issue of virginity harkens back to Christ and his Church and wedding traditions in the Bible of which the author has no knowledge. Because our society has lost this emphasis on saving yourself for marriage; fornication, adultery, STDs, teen pregnancy, abortion and a host of other societal ills have been unleashed. As you will see in the next section, the author has high praise for the idea of sex with no consequences.

Fortunately, as cultural norms eased during the Sexual Revolution, a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy took hold where all brides were required to wear white regardless of their virtue and the less said about it the better.

In recent years, as a generation of divorcees have remarried and a gene
ration of young people have entered wedlock with some degree of “experience”, the pretense of a connection between literal virginity and the bridal gown has become entirely obsolete. A colorful journey for a custom which has always seemed iron clad, even as it was evolving over time.

The sexual revolution devalued marriage; the author seems to view this as an improvement.

And not all traditions have to do with changing sexual standards. The long-time custom of pelting the newlyweds with birdseed did not exist before the 1970s when animal-lovers realized that songbirds were bloating on dried rice that they found on the ground after the former custom.

So what?

Economic times have caused families to rethink the age-old convention of the bride’s father paying for the entire ceremony—a last vestige of the days of dowries when a young man had to be bribed to take a free-loading daughter off her parents’ hands—that well-established custom has gradually given way to a more humane approach to sharing the financial burden.

The biblical model of the dowry was that the Groom would pay a dowry to the Bride, the opposite of this alleged expert. Had the author understood a biblical worldview, passages like Jesus saying “I go to prepare a place for you” and “no man know the hour but my Father in Heaven” would take on their obvious meaning because they hearken back to Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as his Bride.

Another lie put out as truth. There’s enough strawmen in this essay to start a forest fire.

Even religious traditions of marriage have experienced constant metamorphosis over the years. As more interfaith couples have wed, we have seen the emergence of multi-disciplinary ceremonies where couples have chosen not to follow the out-dated tradition of rejecting one or both of their faiths as a prerequisite of holy matrimony.

Sorry but Scripture has different values.

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbelievers 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the LORD. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” II Corinthians 6: 14-18

One of the most beautiful weddings I ever attended was between a young Jewish fellow and his Catholic fiancé, whose mother was born in France. The ceremony was performed by both a rabbi and a priest with intertwining vows in English, Latin, Hebrew and French. A perfect expression of the union of their two families, yet one which would have been unthinkable just a generation before.

But, again, marriage has such a long history of changing with the ever-changing times, that the last thing we should expect from it is to stop growing and changing. We know today that marriage is not a rote ritual handed down by God to Adam & Eve and preserved verbatim for thousands of years.

Since author doesn’t believe in the authority of Scripture it is easy for him to dismiss it as mythology.

It is, rather, an expression of how each community, each culture, and each faith, chooses to celebrate the joining of loved ones who have decided to make a life together.

The author once again tries to circle back once again to moral relativism. The question on why “each community, each culture, and each faith” has a tradition of marriage is accepted without comment. The biblical explanation is that marriage was established in the beginning by God and since we have a common ancestor it only makes sense that we would share a common tradition with variations reflecting our various human cultures.

Christians do not expect Jesus to be central to a Buddhist wedding, nor do Jews refuse to acknowledge Lutheran unions because they didn’t include a reading from the Torah. Marriage is what we each make of it. And that’s the way it always should be.

The biblical norm of marriage is presented in Scripture as for all and is not limited to any faith or denomination. Marriage—how ever distorted the imagery—occurs in virtually every culture in the world. The author again acknowledges this while rejecting the obvious reason.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history.

If marriage means nothing then why is the author hell-bent on making the case that gays need to be able to marry? Marriage truly means something and clearly the author needs to have gay marriage to validate his lifestyle. Instead of conforming to the requirements of marriage, the author is flushing all of human history and substituting something else in place of marriage. You can put all the lipstick you want on that pig but it can never truly be marriage.

Because, honestly, which traditional definition of marriage do we want our Constitution to protect?

We’re off to see the Wizard… Here is the final parade of the leading strawmen.

...The one from Book of Genesis when family values meant multiple wives and concubines?
...Or the marriages of the Middle Ages when women were traded like cattle and weddings were too bawdy for church?
...Since this is America, should we preserve marriage as it existed in 1776 when arranged marriages were still commonplace?
...Or the traditions of 1850 when California became a state and marriage was customarily between one man and one woman-or-girl of age 11 and up?
...Or are we really seeking to protect a more modern vision of traditional marriage, say from the 1950s when it was illegal for whites to wed blacks or Hispanics?
...Or the traditional marriage of the late 1960s when couples were routinely excommunicated for marrying outside their faith?

The author’s examples above all have one thing in common; a man is marrying a woman to form a family. Supporters of marriage do not have to agree with the particulars of each example cited, whether they are historically accurate or urban legends, a man and woman leave their families, “become one flesh” and form a new family unit. 

No, the truth of the matter is, that we’re trying to preserve traditional marriage the way it “was and always has been” during a very narrow period in the late 70s / early 80s - just before most of us found out that gays even existed: Between one man and one woman of legal age and willing consent. Regardless of race or religion (within reason). Plus the chicken dance and the birdseed. Those are okay.

But there’s something profoundly disturbing about amending the Constitution to define anything about the 1970s as “the way God intended it.”

One last fallacy to end the essay.

Posted by william on 08/20 at 09:16 PM
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