Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Joys Of Jury Service

Last Tuesday, I completed my annual visit to Downtown Los Angeles and the county courthouse to serve my jury duty.
In Los Angeles county, the policy is one day and or one trial. In other words, one is on call for a week. If you call everyday and are not asked to go to the assigned court in your summons, you are done.
However, I did not dodge that bullet.
And I should make the admission that I am one of the few people that actually likes jury duty. I see it as a huge contribution to the American idea of citizenship. What amazes me is how much so many people will do and or say anything to get out of jury duty.
On Monday, August 18, I had to make my trek on the Gold Line light rail system. It is one of the few conveniences of local public mas transit. Its a short walk or bike ride from Union Station to the courthouse.
I arrived at the appointed time, went through the metal detector putting my backpack through and all my other stuff in a large plastic bowl. After going through that, I went to the 11th floor assembly room and went through the orientation that I have head and seen so many times that I could give it. After that, it was time to wait to see if I would be called as park of a larger panel to a courtroom. And before lunch, a nice short hour and a half, I was part of a group of 30 called to a courtroom.
After lunch we were told by the judge that the case we would hear would be about a residential first degree burglary and it would be a short trial. As it turned out, a short trial of six days. It took two full days to pick and seat a jury. Twelve jurors and two alternates, a standard for a criminal case.
So we were treated to the opening statements of the prosecutor and the defense attorneys. And to be clear, I thought that the openings left a lot to be desired.
The short version of the trial is that a 20-year old guy went to Hollywood with his brother to "pick up chicks" as was described in not so many words by both sides. The one brother supposedly hooked-up with a gal and went back to her apartment. That left the defendant all by his lonesome. After about five minutes, he did not think that his brother would come back for him and he began to wander. Wander all the way up the Hollywood Hills to a nice, large home that had a For Lease sign. After finding a way to break into the home, which was a sizable dumbbell, the defendant opened the door and went inside. He went to the kitchen and pulled out a lot of food and drink. But the one thing he did not count on was that the homeowner would be home. She was and called the police, who responded quickly. Quickly enough to prevent the defendant from doing anything more. He tried to escape but ended up leaning in a hiding position next to a tree.
But the defense had an amusing version of events. They did not argue that the defendant did not break into the home. But the reason they used is that the defendant was tired, hungry and was looking for a place to sleep. And that the Metro train subway stopped running after midnight, when the event occurred. And he had no way to get home because he did not have a cell phone. But he did have $9.60c in his pocket.
A note here for pick-up artists, aka PUAs.
If you expect to pick up chicks, you kind of really need more than $9.60c in your pocket. Really.
Mind you this is Hollywood. There are many fast food establishments. There are gas stations. There are even such archaic things as pay telephones. He could have called his parents that he lives with. He could have even done that as a collect call. He could have grabbed a bite at a fast food establishment or even a gas station. In other words, there were many other ways to get home to sleep that the defense was trying to convince us jurors of.
So in the trial we heard from three uniform police officers, a detective and the defendant himself. No one was especially memorable except the defendant. For he was unbelievably bad. He did himself no favor whatsoever. In fact, it was his testimony that cemented what I believed to be the outcome. Much of his testimony was contradictory and of him trying to sound smarter than he was.
After the testimony, we heard the closing statements. Twice from the prosecutor and once from the defense. And each time the prosecutor made her argument stronger. The defense attorney, a very able public defender, just stuck to the story.
We received the jury instructions and then proceeded to the jury deliberation room.
At some point, I had mentioned that on my last trial, I was the jury foreman. And someone remembered and they all asked if I would want to be foreman for this trial and I agreed.
The first thing that we did was take a vote. And it seemed ominous to me. Seven of us said guilty. Five said not guilty. So there were going to be deliberations. And there should have been. And FTR, we were a helluva lot more serious than the O. J. Simpson jury that took a whole four hours of deliberation. In fact it did take us about seven hours of deliberation. And between a couple of us, including my self, four of the original jurors that voted not guilty changed to guilty. But there was one woman, one woman that held the defendant's fate. And he should be damn thankful to her. The problem for that juror is one of the two elements the prosecutor had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And the one that the woman juror was having problems with was intent. Because there was nothing stolen from the home, it made her not sure he intended to take any items from the said home. However, if he had even taken a bite of food and or a swig of wine, that would be enough to prove intent. But this juror just could not come around. Even after two different read backs and her  conceding some points that we agreed to, she still could not come around. There was nothing more we could talk about. We took one more vote and it was 10-2 for a guilty verdict. But in a criminal case, the jury must be unanimous for conviction. And we were not. And we would not be.
So I called the bailiff and we eventually went back to the courtroom and were questioned by the judge. After a couple of private consults with the attorneys, the judge declared a mistrial.
I have to admit, I was disappointed and just a wee bit bitter. I thoroughly believe that had the police not acted quickly, the defendant would have ate the food, have some drink and would have taken whatever he could fit in his pocket. But we all had to agree. And we could not.
A couple of things that made me realize it was not a total waste of time.
First, the defendant had been in jail since he was arrested in late March. How do we know? A couple of jurors made mention that while he was wearing a nice dress shirt, he had jail-issued pants and jail slippers. So he either was not given bail or the amount was more than his parents wanted to pay. Or they wanted to teach him a lesson.
Second, even though he probably will not be recharged and may already be out on the streets, he spent time in jail. More than likely, had we found him guilty, he probably would have been credited for time served. Because of state prison overcrowding, many cases like this a convicted burglar serves time in a county jail. And Los Angeles County jail is like a state prison with constant overcrowding.
My initial reaction of dismay and bitterness was wrong. It was wrong because the system did work.
The defendant had a speedy and fair trial. A jury of his peers, us, looked at all of the evidence seriously and studiously. We talked, talked and talked. And because, rightfully, in a criminal case the bar is that all jurors must agree to convict or not convict. If a juror can not agree as was the case in this trial, we had no choice. The judge realized we were serious and deliberative and declared a mistrial.
Throughout this post, I have referred to it as jury duty. Yet I realize that it is in fact jury service. We should not look at it as a duty but that we are serving our fellow citizens. Yes, it is about a week of our time that we could be working or doing whatever, but do we really want to not be a part of the process? Do we really want to not participate in a compact of what it means to be a citizen of the United States? I do not and if one really thinks about it, they would not want to give up that right. They would not want to have a bunch of so-called professional jurors that have been proposed many times in American history.
It is a joy of citizenship to be asked to participate in jury service, even when it does not turn out the way one thinks that it should.
Oh, but once, just once, I would like to be assigned to my local courthouse about four blocks from home!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ann Coulter, You Ain't A Christian Theologian

Once again I find myself at odds with someone that I know, like and respect and that is Sweet Ann Coulter.
No, I am not being sarcastic when I refer to her as Sweet Ann.
But the latest column from Miss Coulter regarding the doctor and his nurse that contracted Ebola in Liberia in Africa and the decision to bring them back to the United States for treatment was not over the top. It was a total lack of knowledge and understanding of Christian mission and what that means.
Of course those on the left and or Christian modernists already despise Miss Coulter and their reaction is not worth mentioning here.
So I will give you two reactions from respected evangelicals. The two that I would like to share the comments of are former Bush administration official Pete Wehner and the current president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler. I choose these two because one, Mr. Wehner, has been involved in politics. The other, Dr. Mohler, has been involved in Christian theology. Both would seem to be allied with Miss Coulter in many ways. But this time, they, to be blunt, give her a new one.
First, the point of Miss Coulter's column seems to be that Dr. Kent Brantly and his nurse, Nancy Writebol were nothing but Christian narcissists that were asking for it. And that they would have been better off either trying to save souls in Hollywood or New York City. And to buck up her point, she even cites the Holy Bible, the Old Testament passage from Deuteronomy 15:11:

For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Oh, she was good enough to also quote the Holy Gospel of Matthew 28:19:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

But I don't think she really cares about ALL the nations. Just the United States really. I mean, we need all of the saving. The rest of the world, eh not so much.
Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol are Christian missionaries with Franklin Graham's Samaritan Purse. So, I guess according to Dr. Coulter, in reality, the Rev. Franklin Graham is a Christian narcissist for he believes in that quaint passage in Matthew. The Rev. Franklin Graham, and by extension his father, the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, are not good, American Christians  because they also wanted to save the world for Christ.
Before I continue my own thoughts, let me share the response of Mr. Wehner. It is a classic because it calls Miss. Coulter out for being especially cruel to beat up Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol when they are down. And she is. He rightfully mocks Miss. Coulter and her strange way that the two should really be sharing Christ. That she was suggesting, no telling the two that they should have focused on power broker types in Los Angeles/Hollywood or New York City. According to Ann:

If Dr. Brantly had practiced at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia.

Or this:

If he had provided health care for the uninsured editors, writers, videographers and pundits in Gotham and managed to open one set of eyes, he would have done more good than marinating himself in medieval diseases of the Third World.

Of course there is not one shred of knowable evidence that any of the above might have happened and thus it is total speculation on her part. Which is what is wrong. As Mr. Wehner pointed out, Miss Coulter is divining the heart and mind of Dr. Brantly and Mrs Writebol. Something that we can not nor should ever do. And Mr. Wehner and all other critics of the column point out that there are millions of committed Christians spreading the Gopsel of Christ right here in the United States of America. To places like Zavala county, another place Miss Coulter thought the good doc should have used his God-given talents instead of Africa and specifically Liberia. There is an outreach center right here in El Monte, California that my particular church has been, in my estimation, spreading the Gospel of helping thy neighbor. And yes, we have sent a missionary to Mongolia of all places to teach children and yes, spread the Gopsel of Christ.
So let's examine what Dr. Mohler had to say about Miss Coulter and her descent to Crazyland.
As Dr. Mohler pointed out, Miss Coulter said that the kind of missionary work Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol did would get a lot of praise from people like New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof. Here is what Miss Coulter wrote:

Evangelize in Liberia, and the Times' Nicholas Kristof will be totally impressed.

It appears that he was. Yes, Mr. Kristoff did indeed heap praise on Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol. To me in this case, so what? Where Dr. Mohler equates both Miss Coulter and Mr. Kristof is that both are off the mark. Dr. Mohler:

Kristof argues that we should be very appreciative of these two American missionary doctors and others from the western world who are fighting this contagion in Africa because if the disease is not stopped there, it will indeed come here. That is an argument that is certainly superior to the argument of Ann Coulter, but it is also an argument that is far short of the Christian worldview. These two American missionary doctors did not go merely as humanitarians. They did not just join some kind of merely humanitarian effort. They were sent by American Christian missionary organizations. Their concern was not just the bodily health of those they would serve through medicine, but the spiritual condition and indeed the spiritual fate of those they would meet as they went to West Africa.

I italicized the important point of Dr. Mohler. That the two are committed Christians that were sent to do what they did by Christian missionary groups. That they are caring not just for the immediate needs of the people but their spiritual needs as well. They are not just humanitarians as Mr. Kristof wants folks to believe.
Here is what I think about this.
One, if Miss Coulter had written about whether or not it was a good idea to bring two people back with a disease that has no cure and the merits on that, I think that would make a good potential column.
But Miss Coulter went for the jugular and assaulted the very nature of the work the doctor and nurse was doing. She was saying that the place that needs the most missionary work is their home nation, the United States. She misrepresents the very essence of the ministry of the church and the Great Commission that Jesus Christ laid out for all who follow him to do. Again that is to go to ALL the nations to spread the Gospel. Not just one nation and not just the United States.
The fact of it is that Ann Coulter, you ain't a Christian theologian.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When Your Computer Is Attacked By Viruses . . .It sucks

FINALLY!
I am finally back after a month of problems beyond belief with my home PC.
Most important I found a reliable computer repair guy locally and that is why I am finally able to get back to blogging.
As I found out today, my computer was attacked many times by a slew of Trojan viruses. It was about 20 different ones over the course of the last month. Needless to say, I barely know how to turn a computer on let alone know the ins and outs of the thing.
No matter.
It is fixed and I am ever so greatful.
I do have a lot to say so there really will be a lot of posts in the coming days.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Islamic Caliphate Revealed

Today this map of the Middle East, Central and North Africa and a swath of Southern Europe appeared on The Daily Mail Facebook page.
It is a map of the Caliphate of the Islamic State as envisioned by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq.
In this photo of the Islamic map as envisioned, it is in Arabic. But in this accompanied article, we are treated to the names of regions in English.
The above maps are a restoration of the Sunni Islamic Caliphate of the 7th century.
In the linked article, The Islamic State wants the map to be a reality within the next five years.
I suppose that many if not most of the brain trust in the Western world pretty much dismisses all of this as wishful thinking.
But these are the same people that did not see the rise of ISIS in the first place and how they all but became the dominant force in the Syrian civil war. And with their power expanded that war directly into Northern Iraq with little to any resistance. This is the current area under control of The Islamic State.
I do not know about you, but this is a very wide area under control of what we have been told is but a rag-tag army of maybe 10,000 men. And consider that as the Iraq army in Northern Iraq essentially turned tail and ran, The Islamic State obtained a lot of hardware including many, many American arms including HumVees and tanks and possibly fighter planes, and most important, new recruits.
When one puts all of that together, it does show the above caliphate map to be as The Daily Mail wrote, Chilling.
Maybe The Islamic State picked their battle in the weakest areas of the Middle East and by doing so are stronger than they appear.
But then what about this parade of the spoils of war? Does anyone think that The Islamic State does not have some people knowledgeable enough to use a SCUD missile? And forget that they would only be happy to do what Saddam Hussein did during the First Gulf War and lob some to Israel. They would be more than glad to use them against Shi'a fighters in Iraq. Needless to say that they also are freshly gaining conventional weaponry as well.
Make no mistake about this.
The Islamic State will make trouble around the region beyond what they control. They will try to undermine Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabian peninsula. They will then try to wrest control of Lebanon from the Shi'a, Syrian and Hezbollah influence. At this writing, Lebanon has the largest Christian population in the region. If The Islamic State takes over, they will flee as fast as the Iraqi Christians are doing today.
But, as is wont of many Americans, there is a substantial minority that would like to bury it's collective head in the sand and retreat to a semi-Fortress America. While most of those who would, essentially, like to do nothing, are on the left, there is a substantial number of libertarians and yes, some conservatives that want us out of the region entirely. Many believe that the United States is simply blindly following an "Israeli" foreign policy. That if the United States was not so enamored with Israel, we might even get some love from those that are now our enemies.
Sadly, this is where they are wrong.
This radical Islamic hate for anything non-Islamic precedes the founding and, before that, settling of the United States. As the United States has developed and became the world's superpower, radical Islam sees the United States as a threat period. The nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson, had the first encounter with Islamics in Tripoli and this quote is worth reading. Pretty current, isn't it?
And as far as Israel goes, let me point out something that I have said before with this caveat. What I have said is actually happening before my scenario. If tomorrow, Israel ceased to exist for whatever reason, after the two minutes of joy among all of its enemies in the Arab, radical Islamic world, they would turn their guns on each other. That is what we are seeing now in Syria, Northern Iraq and between Sunni and Shi'a and everything else in between. There is even hope against hope among some that current allies of The Islamic State will turn against them because of their strict interpretation of Islam.
This the radical Islamic figures that eventually, they will just wear down those opposed to it. It may be on it's way in Western Europe. However there are people waking up to the real threat. Note that the map of The Islamic State goes to the. . .Gates of Vienna. That is why they fight. That is why they show the brutality. That is why they propagate fear to wear down opposition. Maybe this is why the army in Northern Iraq fled. They just are tired of fighting. Being that the current Iraq army is pretty corrupt (and the biggest mistake Team Bush made, disbanding the Iraqi army after ousting Saddam.)
and they are defending a predominantly Sunni area, many thought better to defend their Shi'a brethren in Baghdad and the south of the country than people in the north.
We in the United States have to take this The Islamic State seriously. The fact that they have such a wide swath of territory and are bold enough to proclaim their new caliphate is a serious matter. If they didn't have advanced weapons of war, they sure as hell do now with the retreat of the Iraqi army and leaving behind advanced American weaponry.
The caliphate has been revealed and the protagonists believe they can fulfill their dream in five years or less. The job of the West is not just to contain that threat but to defeat it.
 
 

 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mississippi Keeps Tea Party Vs. Establishment War Into Overdrive

As a conservative, Tea Party Republican, last Tuesday's election result in the Mississippi senate runoff between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel hurt a lot as Sen. Cochran pulled out a dramatic, come-from-behind victory.
It was in all ways the worst of what politics has to offer. And no doubt because Sen. Cochran did win the runoff, he is being tarred and feathered by a lot of Tea Party folk. Some of it is righteous and some of it is as bad as the criticisms of the Tea Party from the other side.
But where I think one of the blames does lie in the person of Thomas Carey.
Who the heck is Thomas Carey you ask?
Well, I thought the same thing. As it turns out, Mr. Carey is the third Republican candidate for the U.S. senate seat on the ballot on the initial primary day on June 3, 2014. Mr. Carey received a grand total of 4,789 votes or 1.5% of votes in the Republican primary. In Mississippi, a candidate needs to get 50% of total votes plus one to avoid a runoff. As you can see here, because of Mr. Carey's 4,789 votes and 1.5%, neither of the two top candidates, Sen. Cochran nor Sen. McDaniel passed the 50% plus one threshold.
And that, my friends, is what sent the primary into overtime. And that overtime was fierce, sloppy and pretty dirty. And it revealed a lot of things.
First, Sen. Cochran is a pork-laden Southern Republican. And damn proud of it as the runoff campaign proved.
Before I go on, Sen. Cochran is not a moderate Republican in the least. Sen. Cochran's overall American Conservative Union life rating as a senator is 80%. That is 40 plus years worth of votes. But he certainly is not a conservative that really talks a lot. Very low key kinda dude. As a comparison to others of his way, Sen. John "F--- You McCain (R-Az.) has a lifetime 81% rating. Sen. Goober Graham (R-S.C.) has an 88% lifetime rating. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) has a ACU lifetime rating of 89%.
What unifies these senators is what they get their press about.
As noted, Sen. Cochran is a pork-barrel, earmark kinda dude. Sens. Graham and McCain are very pro-amnesty for illegal aliens. Sen. Hatch has been around Washington over 40 years. As has Sen. Cochran. All represent what we call the Washington establishment.
As Sen. Cochran barnstormed across Mississippi, he knew that he had lost conservative Republicans that would consider themselves to the right of himself. He needed to find votes somewhere. And some of his advisers pushed him into seeking Black, Democrat votes in Hinds county, the largest in the state and where the state capitol, Jackson, is located.
But, Sen. Cochran did not campaign as some kind of Republican that would be interested in gaining Black voters for the long term. Not in the least. It was clearly targeted to get enough crossovers to make up for those votes he knew that he could not get from his fellow Republicans. Why, Sen. Cochran went so far as to point out all the money that he got from the feds for Mississippi. And especially how much of that went to Black Mississippians. And how he was always with them on all the civil rights stuff.
In other words, Sen. Cochran sounded like a born-again Democrat to gain these new voters. Voters that would vote now for Sen. Cochran to deny state Sen. McDaniel the GOP nomination and then come November turn around and proudly vote for the Democrat nominee, Travis Childers.
But worse it maybe that Team Cochran actually paid a Democrat operative, James "Scooby Doo" Warren, to work with a prominent Black pastor, Bishop Ronnie Crudup, Sr., to spread more money around for Black votes
It is very possible all of the above is totally true. And much of this is what irks Team McDaniel so much that they may very seriously challenge the election results. Now it just maybe way too much to challenge an election in which Sen. Cochran appears to have won by roughly 7,000 votes. And to challenge based on potentially singling out Black voters, I hate to say this, but it will not help the Tea Party at all.
But make no mistake, what Sen. Cochran did was not present those potential voters with a conservative, Republican message.
Ronald Reagan did in fact do that during the 1980 presidential campaign. Mr. Reagan went so far as to visit a South Bronx neighborhood to discuss his economic program. Sure, he was shouted down and reacted to the shouts. But he did make the effort in an area he had no chance of winning. He gave a conservative message, not one touting bringing in federal dollars and especially targeting that money to Black Americans.
That is what really bothers me about the whole way Sen. Cochran went for the Black vote.
It is not the way the Republican party should be doing so. For then we are nothing but Democrat Light. If even that.
But it's not just the feeling among the rank and file that many a Republican is finding themselves are not listening to them. For the leadership, especially in Washington, D. C., is not. There is a feeling that the congressional leadership especially is doing a Kabuki Theatre on issue after issue. So called "comprehensive immigration reform", tax policy, regulations, over-reach in general of the federal government. The leadership talks tough but behind the scenes are trying, still as this writing, for some kind of "comprehensive' immigration reform. This even as our Southern border is literally being invaded by children from Central America.
What the base and or the Tea Party want is leadership and elected officials to speak and act like an opposition that is ready to lead, not a bunch wanting to cut deals and take the road of least resistance. And also to mean what they say. Especially about cutting the size and scope of government, especially the federal government. That is what has the rank-and-file voter and Tea Party folks so frustrated.
It is not a good thing to see a stalwart Republican senator so desperate to cling to power that he would do anything to win an election. Even so far as trying to buy votes.
But this was not an election about Chris McDaniel. At least it should not be. But what I fear is happening is that Sen. McDaniel is doing what we accuse, rightfully, of RINOs* of doing when they lose.
Being a sore loser.
Remember Mike Castle in 2010 when he was running against Christine O'Donnell for the senate seat of now Vice-President Biden? Mr. Castle was the RINO, a real RINO, that was suppose to win the nomination in a cake walk. But a little publicity and push by some conservative talk radio hosts and Miss O'Donnell ended up winning the nomination. Mr. Castle refused to endorse her candidacy. He went away sulking. Ditto that for Sen. Richard Lugar who also lost his bid for renomination in 2012.
Did we conservatives not rightfully complain about their sour grapes? Did we not suggest that their personal piques more than the candidates that bested them may have cost the Republicans control of the senate in 2010 and 2012?
Yes, we did.
To see Sen. McDaniel go down the same road, I honestly believe, will make us no better.
I am not alone in thinking that we should let the Mississippi results stand and live to fight another day. After all, Sen. Cochran is not a RINO but a center-right conservative. He did a very bad thing is apparently winning the Republican nomination for the senate. But we should learn from that experience. That some candidates will stoop to any level to attain and or hold on to power.
David Freddoso of The Washington Examiner explains that because of the Tea Party and it's revitalizing the conservative movement, the Republican party as a whole is moving more to the right. Mr. Freddoso explains also how it took 16 years from then Sen. Barry Goldwater's defeat for the presidency to Ronald Reagan's triumph. That there were a lot of bumps along the way. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, real RINOism front and center. Conservatives were truly in the minority of a minority party. And since Ronald Reagan, we have had to deal with Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush and their serious lapses of conservatism. I think the old man would have to be the less conservative of the two.
But what has happened since George W. Bush left the White House in 2009?
Conservatives have fought to get the party back in the right direction. It was the Tea Party that put the testicles back into the Republicans. Many candidates, especially in the House and Senate were Tea Party supported and won election.
What the Tea Party has done is put fight back into the party. And we still do by keeping those in leadership from themselves and cutting bad deals in Washington.
We have to accept this loss in Mississippi. Its not because of anything but to drag it out does not do any side any good. Yes, I would vote for Sen. Cochran in the general election over the Democrat, Mr. Childers. Not because I think that he is an honorable man. He has proven that he is not. But because we can't let one state and the shenanigans done there ruin the chance of the Republican party gaining the senate majority. Yes, it is principled because Sen. Cochran will be a reliable no vote if the Dear Leader, President Obama, gets a chance at another supreme court nomination. On most issues he will be with us. And I think he will not support so-called "comprehensive" immigration reform. Not at all.
It hurt to lose this election in Mississippi. It really did. But it would be even more painful if the Democrats can somehow pull the rabbit-out-of-the-hat and win this seat. We don't always win the battle, but we can win the war.

*RINO-Republican In Name Only



Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Games The Sudan Are Playing With Meriam Ibrahim

Yes, yes, Sudan is playing games is regards to the continuing saga over Meriam Ibrahim.

Mrs. Ibrahim is the Christian woman that had been charged with apostasy for "rejecting" Islam under the Sudanese interpretation of Sharia law. Mrs. Ibrahim was convicted in a kangaroo court based on so-called relatives "evidence" who essentially turned her in to Sudanese "authorities". And she was pregnant with her second child at the time of conviction. A conviction of 100 lashes for adultery (she is married to a Christian man), and once the baby is born two years after the child is weaned death.
Yeah, that Sharia law is no joke especially when interpreted in the worst way.
Well, this past weekend, a Sudanese appeals court voided the lower court sentence and the court ordered Mrs. Ibrahim freed. It seemed like sanity was about to prevail, right?
Oops! My bad!
So sorry to fib about that because as Mrs. Ibrahim was with her husband, Daniel Wani, and both of her children were at the Khartoum International airport waiting to get the hell out of the hellhole known as Sudan, she faced the wrath of the crazies once again and was rearrested on a unique charge to say the least.
Mrs. Ibrahim was arrested and charged with forging her travel documents. And this time, the Sudanese "authorities" had the whole family to throw in jail.
The best part of the second arrest?
That one of Mrs. Ibrahim's half brothers went to the "authorities" to claim that she was kidnapped from the Islamic side of the family and should not have been returned to her Christian husband, Daniel.
Such a wonderful family they are.
It is important to explain that Mrs. Ibrahim did have an Islamic father and a Christian mother. The dad left the family high and dry when Mrs. Ibrahim was a young child. Mrs. Ibrahim's mother raised her in the Ethiopian Orthodox church. In fact, the mother remarried a Christian man and the marriage certificate is available. For some reason not really explained, a relative from the dad's Islamic family turned her in to the "authorities" claiming that she is really an Islamic woman and committed adultery by "marrying" a Christian man. Thus charges were filed and a trial was commenced. Now Mrs. Ibrahim could have prevented this from going where it did. So long as she renounced being a Christian and nullified her marriage to Daniel Wani. But Mrs. Ibrahim did not renounce the only faith that she knew. That of the Christian faith. And according to Sharia law, it was wrong for her to be raised as a Christian because even though daddy left mommy, one has to be raised in the faith of the male.
Kind of neat that the males can marry whoever they want but if one is a gal, too bad. That's Sharia law for you.
Again, all this occurred because a half-brother that Mrs. Ibrahim did not know by the name of  Al Samani Al Hadi Mohamed Abdullah. The real reason he used Sharia law is so that he and his Islamic wife could take Mrs. Ibrahim's successful businesses.
Sharia law my a*s!
But the court that the trail was held found Mrs. Ibrahim guilty of rejecting a religion she never knew, Islam, and being an adulterer because she married a Christian man that she should not have done. She was supposed to marry an Islamic man. Even though she said throughout everything that she was never, ever Islamic.
Thus came the development of her sentence being thrown out on appeal and the appeal court freeing Mrs. Ibrahim.
And the rearrest of Mrs. Ibrahim, her husband, Daniel Wani, her 21 month old son, Martin and one month-old daughter, Maya, born in a horrible women's prison named Omdurman Federal Women's Prison. As I noted, the whole family was jailed.
But today, it appears that the whole family has been released from jail under the condition that they remain in The Sudan for the time being.
While that seems to be good news, there is no word as to when the family can leave the hellhole of The Sudan for freedom. Originally, the family was going to go to the Christian South Sudan. But now once they are allowed to leave The Sudan, they will all come to the United States.
But this just shows what happens when a government implements Sharia law. A law that totally discounts anything that a woman may or may not say. A law that takes whatever a male says, even if it is all lies, as the truth. That is exactly what happened here. What has to really gall the fanatics is that at no time, even while giving birth to Maya, Mrs. Ibrahim would denounce her Christian faith. She was going to be a martyr for the faith.
Radical Islam claims a lot of things but it claims Islam is so much the only way, truth and light that one can be killed if they renounce that religion. Islam is such a loving, life giving religion in these fanatics' eyes that one has to be kept in that religion at the point of a sword. Or the end of a gun.
And the fanatics in The Sudan that lied about Mrs. Ibrahim almost were going to get their pound of flesh.
The reason that they did not is that in the end, such a sentence could not be carried out because many disparate forces unified to point out what a horrible act the carrying out of the sentence would be.
Yet the "authorities" played some more games quite possibly in a last ditch effort to get Mrs. Ibrahim to reject Christianity and become Islamic and her children become Islamic. And while using a trumped-up charge, they gave it their best shot.
Hopefully very soon, Meriam Ibrahim, Daniel Wani, Martin and Maya will be on a plane for the United States and real freedom.
The Sudan government will not be able to play their games with the family here in the United States.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An OH SO CLOSE Night For The Tea Party

Well, tonight saw a heart breaker of  a loss for a Tea Party backed candidate in Mississippi in the senate runoff, an actual fossil getting another two-years in congress and a win in Oklahoma in the latest round of primary elections.
The Fight Of The Century is probably over in Mississippi as state senator Chris McDaniel fell about 6,300 votes short of ousting the dinosaur Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican senate runoff. It was a total reversal of fortune for Mr. McDaniel who defeated Sen. Cochran in the original primary a couple of weeks ago. Because neither candidate got 50% plus one, there was today's runoff. At 50.8%, Sen. Cochran barely cleared the mark to probably dispatch Mr. McDaniel.
Why do I not say this with absolute certainty?
Because, Mr. McDaniel may challenge the results.
Why not? After all if the results hold as is, a case can probably be made that there was some shenanigans in the vote.
In a strange voting rule in Mississippi, a voter from another party who did not participate in their own party primary could have voted today in this primary. So if one is a Democrat and did not vote in the primary election a couple of weeks ago, they could participate in today's Republican runoff. And Sen. Cochran decided to go for Black and Democrat voters to make up his deficit and may have them to owe for his apparent win. I look for Mr. McDaniel to decide in the next 48 hours if they would in fact be able to prevail in court to challenge the results. If Mr. McDaniel does not challenge the results, that does not mean he will go away anytime soon. After all there will be future elections and maybe a race for governor in the future.
Sen. Cochran owes his almost guaranteed seventh term as senator to Black and Democrat voters. I don't see how this helps the Republican party in Mississippi much, but that did not matter to Sen. Cochran who wanted to help himself.
While I am more than disappointed with the Mississippi result, I think that I am more disturbed that this fossil, Rep. Charles Rangel, will continue in congress and serve his 23rd term for New York state's 13th congressional district. Although in terms of a Republican chance in this race, there is none as no Republican chose to run. But Rep. Rangel was heroically challenged by state senator Adriano Espaillat. And while Sen. Espaillat is in worse shape to challenge any result as he is about 1,800 votes behind and almost four points down. But Sen. Espaillat is not giving up as of this writing. Sen. Espaillat believes that there are still votes to be had. I sure hope that is the case.
Charles Rangel is a reprobate in every sense of the word. Besides being a tax cheat, he loves to stir up the rhetorical pot big time. Why just before today's election, Rep. Rangel found time to compare the Tea Party to Hamas, the terrorists running the Gaza Strip. In other words, yeah, the Tea Party are nothing but a bunch of terrorists. I just recommend watching the video at the link.
The voters of the New York state 13th congressional district obviously does not seem to care just how awful Rep. Rangel is and I swear he could die and they will still vote for his propped-up corpse. You get what you deserve.
My last highlight race is in Oklahoma between current congressman James Lankford and former Oklahoma speaker of the house, T. W. Shannon. There were five others, but they were insignificant.
Mr. Shannon was very much supported by the Tea Party and folks like Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum. Rep. Lankford got more establishment support, but Rep. Lankford rode the Tea Party wave to congress in 2010. No matter who won this race will be a solid conservative Republican in the senate. This election is to finish the remainder of Sen. Tom Coburn's term as he is retiring.
In the end, it was not even close as Rep. Lankford defeated Mr. Shannon  57% to 34%. It was not even close.  The fact is that Rep. Lankford won huge in and around Oklahoma City and just enough in the Tulsa area to blunt the Shannon challenge. In the end, being a federal legislator helped Rep. Lankford while Mr. Shannon may have been seen as inexperienced. Who knows. In the end, both are and would be solid conservatives and are more of an overlap than a battle as was in Mississippi.
I wanted to see Mr. Shannon and yes, it is a reason I don't necessarily like but needed in the current climate.
Had Mr. Shannon won, he would be the first Black and Indian senator from Oklahoma. He would have joined Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who should win election in the November general. I thought that Mr. Shannon was the more reliably conservative of the two front runners. And my advice to Mr. Shannon is stay politcally active. Mr. Shannon is only 36 and should think about a run for governor in 2018. He will make a great governor as he was a great speaker of the house.
So this round of primaries was a kind of palate cleanser for us. It does not mean that it was a disaster for the Tea Party. The Tea Party exposed Sen. Thad Cochran as the establishment tool he is. We have a good candidate in Oklahoma for senate. In other words, it was a wash at worst.
It was an OH SO CLOSE night for the Tea Party.


Are You Ready For Six Californias?

Yes, not one, or two Californias but if venture capitalist Tim Draper has his way and the voters approve, we could see the once Golden State split into six states.
Yes, there have been multiple proposals to split California into two states with the most recent being in 2011 and it was proposed by Jeff Stone.
And there is the ongoing attempt to get some of the most northern counties to split off from California and with some Southern Oregon counties getting together to form the State of Jefferson.
But this plan by Mr. Draper could make the general election ballot in 2016. And with about a year and a half to get about 806,000 signatures, it should make that ballot.
I don't find myself drawn to this plan because it is too many divisions and has a lot less chance of seeing the light of day as opposed to simply dividing the state by north and south or east and west.
And while this is only a potential ballot initiative, judging by the people on this Facebook link with KNBC 4 News, the beyond low information voter is rearing their collective heads in a really bad way.
Overwhelmingly, the majority of commenters are against the general idea of splitting the state in any way. And that is fine in and of itself. Yet few if any give a substantive reason as to why it would be a bad idea.
A lot of people think that because Mr. Draper is a venture capitalist, that automatically disqualifies him from even promoting such an idea.
Still many think that Mr. Draper is an eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll Republican and just trying to give the GOP some kind of electoral advantage.
Too bad that Mr. Draper is not a Republican but a Libertarian.
And really, if California were to be split in an east/west way, it would guarantee that it would be a GOP electoral gain. Even a north/south split would be better for the GOP than six separate states.
Look at the map below.
 

I look at three states that will be Democrat and or Democrat-leaning. That would be North California, Silicon Valley and West California.
And three states that would be Republican and or Republican-leaning. Those states would be Jefferson, Central and South California.
In terms of presidential elections, it would probably be a wash regarding the electoral college. The same in terms of representation in the senate. And possibly each state House of Representatives would be more competitive.
Nothing in this life is a guarantee, but in this being some eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll Republican plot, eh, not so much.
There would be some very wide economic disparities in each state.
The three coastal states of North California, West California and Silicon Valley would be pretty invested in technology.
Central and South California would be heavily invested in agriculture.
Jefferson would probably be the most economically depressed of the six states for a variety of reasons.
So if that is the case, and I am only generalizing based on the current economy in each of the proposed states, again what is the possible benefit?
Well for one thing each state would be able to exert greater control over issues that they find to be important for each state's citizens. Each state could determine tax policy and what kind of taxes they want.
Each state would be able to determine their own policies towards education, law and order, prisons, whether they want to continue the policy of the ballot initiative or not.
In other words, each state determines it's fate on it's own terms. That is that does not violate the United States constitution.
One of the problems is that local control, cities and counties, seems to erode year after year. More and more matters that cities and counties should handle are being taken by the state.
An example are plastic bag bans.
As I noted in an earlier post, my hometown, Pasadena, passed a city ordinance that supermarkets could not continue to provide plastic shopping bags for customers. That customers could purchase a paper bag for 10c if they do not want to bring plastic, reusable bags. Besides it being crony capitalism at its worst, I think that it will not help in the matter of litter and the like. Now there is a push to take this ban state-wide. Thus no matter where you go to shop, no matter what city, better have those reusable plastic bags if the legislature has its way.
That is not the state's business. Let the local governments decide such issues.
That is sort of the point of why Mr. Draper believes its time to break up the state.
I think that this is worth discussion. I think that if the required signatures are made, this should go to the voters. We need to have a serious talk with each other. I fear that the reactions of the commenters on the KNBC 4 Facebook page is a bad sign. It is clear if you go to the link that many are the lowest of the low information voters.
I'm not sure that this has any more of a chance than the many other proposals to break up the once Golden State, but let's have a serious, adult, conversation about it. About the possibility of six Californias.


A Busy News Day

WOW!
Today there is lot in the news that I want to comment on.
The re-arrest of Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman convicted of being a heretic for not becoming Islamic and was going to be thrashed and beheaded. Now it appears that they have the husband too. Something very suspicious about that.
There are some big primary elections today with implications for both the Democrat and Republican parties. Watch Mississippi for the Republican senate race. New York state for the result of the 13th congressional district primary between 22-term incumbent Charles Rangel and Hispanic state senator Adriano Espalliat. In Oklahoma is a tight race between congressman James Lankford and former speaker of the state house of representatives, T.W. Shannon. Mr. Shannon is very supported by the Tea Party but Mr. Lankford could get a lot of the religious conservatives' vote. To say the least, it will be an interesting election night.
An attempt to get a ballot innititive here in California to divide California not into two states but six states brings out the low-information voter en mass as I will prove here.
Lots to write about and I will give each one the individual attention they deserve.