Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Friday And A Touch Of Ferguson

Ahh, nothing like the annual bacchanalia of Thanksgiving on Thursday and when you finish your meal, head on off to the mall to join in Black Friday on Thursday.
Huh? Well, whatever.
But this year, while you might have been partaking of the shopping frenzy, you may have been entertained a bit courtesy of the Ferguson Players.
The following are a few of the agitprop that the Ferguson Players took part in throughout the United States.
Here's a nice "die-in" at the Chesterfield Mall in St. Louis, Missouri, somewhat the epicenter of the events of Ferguson involving the former police office, Darren Wilson, shooting the youth Michael Brown.
And here is one from the flagship Macy's department store in New York City.

And the photo on the far top are a group of protesters blocking the main BART train station between Oakland and San Francisco. The photo below shows the agitpropers getting a little out of control in San Francisco's shopping area of Union Square. Nothing says agitprop like a little violence and a few arrests.
But remember, my friends. These are all peaceful protests against the St. Louis county grand jury that failed to indict the former White police officer, Mr. Wilson, on any charges in the shooting death of the Black, unarmed Mr. Brown.
This is a confluence of events.
There is the fact that the biggest shopping day of the year for most retailers is Black Friday, which is now moving into Thanksgiving Thursday evening.
I do have some views of  Black Friday. And they do conflict.
The capitalist in me sees nothing wrong with offering convenient shopping times for people. After all, many are already together for Thanksgiving. Many come in from out of town to visit friends and or relatives. So they are already in town, why not use the occasion to offer some bargains.
But where I find that it has gone off the rails is that it went from stores opening at 6am on Friday. Then 5am. Then midnight. Now as early as 5pm on Thanksgiving Thursday.
Really, do people need to desperately go to any given store to maybe, maybe get a come-on item at an unbelievable price and only a few available? And while I am not fanatical about people having to work on Thanksgiving like so many are on the left in particular, I think that the stores really can let employees actually digest their turkey and all the trimmings dinner.
Which leads to the several-year old event known as the WalMart protests.
Yes, for several years now, for some reason, WalMart is seen as the retailer of all evil for not only paying their employees barely minimum wage, which is not true, and not offering more than part-time hours, also not true. The left has truly focused on WalMart as if they are doing something out of the world of retail. Why the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union had this website to organize protests against the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll of WalMart.
WalMart is not really alone for most retailers have part-time workers and pay not much more for entry-level employees than the federal or state minimum wage, depending on what is higher. And WalMart is no different for offering any benefits to full-time employees than any other retailer.
But for some reason, the focus every Black Friday is WalMart.
And this year, this year the Ferguson Players, a slew of many left-wing organizations, teamed up with the WalMart protesters to shed the light on the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll of  retail and the obvious racism of the St. Louis county grand jury for not indicting Mr. Wilson on at least a charge. Any charge for the obvious murder of Mr. Brown.
You know how I spent Black Friday?
From the comfort of the RVFTLC Manor and helping Mrs. RVFTLC with our day after Thanksgiving turkey dinner. I did not contribute to the mass hystreia that has become Black Friday. I did not get to participate in the agitprop of the Ferguson Players or Black Friday Protests for the poor souls taken advantage of by the eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll that is WalMart. Nor did I get to see the protesters and tell them where they could take the protests.
For one day out of the year, there seemed to be a lot of pent up anger. Whether it be the hordes stomping over each other for that must have item or people protesting a retailer that provides jobs or protesters hating the racist legal system, I am glad I stayed in the Manor.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Ferguson One Big Dreckstorm*

Yes indeed, this was the week, Monday to be precise, that the St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury, was to render whether or not to indict Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, for the shooting death of Michael Brown this past October.
And sure enough this past Monday evening, the St. Louis county district attorney, Robert McCulloch, in excruciating detail explained all that he presented to the grand jury and told the world that they will not indict the White police officer in the shooting death of the Black youth on August 9 of this year.
And the reaction ended up being the dreckstorm of the 21st century.
It appears that from the start of what should have been a tragic but routine story, everything surrounding it was problematic from the start.
No question that Mr. Wilson did kill Mr. Brown. But that is the only thing that all agree about.
As Mr. McCulloch said in his statement, it was within minutes that social media caught wind of it and the information being provided was muddled at best. But the seemingly damning piece of "eyewitness" accounts came from the friend that was accompanying Mr. Brown on the fateful night, Dorian Johnson. It was Mr. Johnson who claimed that Mr. Brown was being harassed and that his friend did escape a scuffle with Mr. Wilson. According to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Brown turned around and raised his hands as if to surrender and then, Mr. Wilson played shooting gallery with Mr. Brown. An unarmed Mr. Brown.
Only, that is not quite what happened.
Let's look at Mr. McCulloch's statement regarding the so-called hands up of surrender:

The description of how Mr. Brown hands, raised his hands, or the position of his hands, is not consistent among the witnesses. Some describe his hands as being out to his sides, some said in front of him with palms up, others said his hands were raised by his head or by his shoulders. Still others describe his hands is being in a running position or in fists.

Only Mr. Johnson still insists that Mr. Brown had his hands up in the air as if he was surrendering as he went towards Mr. Wilson.
Thus, again according to the statement of Mr. McCullogh, Mr. Wilson feared for his life as he had already endured being roughed-up by Mr. Brown. That is when he started shooting for he did not know if Mr. Brown had a weapon or not.
That is the basic story.
But a lot of what happened after that was the dreckstorm on steroids.
Clearly, no one thought that it would have been a good idea to at the very least cover-up Mr. Brown's body as the immediate investigation was taking place. As people were believing that Mr. Brown was trying to surrender to Mr. Wilson, they also saw this as a sign of disrespect. And I agree.
But now this was becoming a cause celebre. The likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were beginning to sink their fangs into another case of a White cop killing a Black kid indiscriminately. The town of Ferguson itself was a town of change for only about 25 years ago it was a majority White town and now the majority was Black. Yet the police department was overwhelmingly White. Now I am never certain about whether it matters that law enforcement and or firefighters and the like have to absolutely reflect the make up of any community. But in this case, the fact is there were very few Black officers.
So, many of the people of Ferguson were beginning to think, hm, there must be something to it. Mr. Wilson was merely suspended pending an investigation per the law. There was a build up of hostility and there was days of a show of force fit for a third-world nation. The reason is that little was done and when it was done, it was too late. Eventually, the Missouri governor, Jay Nixon, appointed a member of the Missouri highway patrol, Capt. Ron Johnson, as a point man to coordinate a better response from the Ferguson police department, the St. Louis County police (there is no sheriff as in almost all other counties in the United States.) and the Missouri highway patrol. Now to many, myself included, Capt. Johnson seemed to be way to accommodating to people meaning to cause trouble. But, what he was trying to do in the best way possible is to stop the dreckstorm from an all out explosion. and he did a decent job under horrible circumstances.
In my estimation, the Ferguson police and St. Louis County police were in over their head. They had no clue that by then this was, to coin a phrase, a big f---ing deal. It was not their finest moments.
But many were complaining that the grand jury, which was convened on August 23, was taking a long time. And there was a reason for it.
No doubt that Mr. McCulloch could have avoided such a circus. He had the power himself to charge Mr. Wilson with one of four potential charges, the most serious being first degree murder all the way down to involuntary manslaughter.
So why didn't Mr. McCulloch do that?
I will state that this is pure speculation on my part, but Mr. McCulloch looked at very similar cases around the United States. Although the George Zimmerman shooting of Trayvon Martin was not a case involving a police officer, it was the most recent case of a White shooting of an unarmed Black youth. We all know what happened with that one. And what could he charge him with? It is clear that it would be all but impossible to charge with first degree murder as that means having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Wilson premeditated, or planned, to kill Mr. Brown. Involuntary manslaughter would be the minimal charge and even if convicted, also not an overwhelming possibility, Mr. Wilson probably would serve less than 10 years.
In other words, Mr. McCulloch handed it off to the county grand jury. But not in a usual way.
As Mr. McCulloch noted, there was mountains of evidence, 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses and the police officer facing charges, Mr. Wilson and over 4,700 pages of transcript for all to see. And the grand jury came back with the only decision that it could.
No true bill, or no indictment on any charges.
But to add insult to incompetence, Mr. McCulloch thought, gee, I'll make my statement at 8pm on Monday evening. Maybe all those wanting to stir up trouble will be tucked away in bed.
I know that everything is earlier in the Central Time Zone. All television shows in prime time is 7pm to 10pm unlike the coastal time zones, which are from 8pm to 11pm. You know for all the farmers and the like.
But the fact is that it was known that there was a decision in the early afternoon. Yet Mr. McCulloch made his announcement while the buildup of potential anger only had more time to grow.
And of course the dreckstorm blew its lid and it was on.
Businesses were looted throughout the city and cars and buildings were set ablaze. It was a full-fledged riot. Little if anything was done to stop it. In fact, Gov. Nixon had deployed the state national guard to the region. Where were they? Sure as hell not doing a damn thing to stop the conflagration.
Later that evening, St. Louis county police chief, Jon Belmar and Capt. Johnson of the highway patrol expressed, I can't believe that I am writing this, shock that the events escalated to full-scale rioting.
Are those two kidding?!
I am but a humble blogger in Pasadena, California and just doing a cursory look around the internet and they would know that trouble was going to be made by every race-huckster extremists along with far-left allies. Hell, even pro-Palestinians were gonna hijack it and link the events of Ferguson to their cause.
But Laurel and Hardy, well they just could not believe it.
And the dreckstorm went nationwide and has even disrupted the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday.
Now a little more background I chose to save to this point of the post.
Mr. Brown was not just harassed then killed by Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson heard a radio call of a robbery at a convinence store. As he was finishing up another call, he heard another call with a description of the suspect. And then, he saw Mr. Brown.
A video later surfaced from the convenience store showing Mr. Brown with Swisher Sweet cigars and shoving and pushing a clerk trying to stop him from stealing the cigars.
Mr. Brown after three separate autopsies and blood samples was shown to have marijuana in his system.
Going back to the robbery, Swisher Sweets are also known as blunts and used to smoke marijuana.
There is A+B=C.
Mr. Wilson never knew if Mr. Brown was armed or not until after the shooting.
A question was brought up where was there a taser gun? Mr. Wilson said that he did not have a taser gun.
Now while we are given the impression that all the elected officials involved were eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll, raaaaacist (remember, there are five a's in raaaaacist!) Republicans, that is not true. Every elected official involved, the governor, Mr. Nixon, the St. Louis county DA, Mr. McCulloch, all the county elected officials and the city council of Ferguson were all Democrats.
Darren Wilson has resigned from the Ferguson police department and I doubt he will ever be involved in law enforcement again.
Could things have been done differently? Possibly but that is requiring a great deal of hindsight. Is systemic racism involved in this case? Doubtful as I see it. A crime was committed and there is no doubt a chain of events took place that probably would have turned out the same way no matter the race of those involved.
The one thing is certain.
That Ferguson, a town few heard of before August 9, 2014, sure has caused one helluva dreckstorm.

*Dreckstorm-dreck is a Yiddish word. A kinder way of saying s*it. Thus, a kinder way of saying a S*itstorm.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is Thanksgiving A No-No Holiday Now?

Take a good look at the photo above.
Note what it says. And what it doesn't say.


OK, so here is the background on this photo and why I am at the very least confused.
Yesterday on my way to an appointment, I noticed the sign in the above photo. This is at the Vatican of Whole Foods in Pasadena, California, my home town. So needless to say I whipped out the ol' cell phone camera because I am just curious.
What is the holiday the sign is speaking of?
The only holiday this month is, you guessed it.
And I thought, is Thanksgiving now a no-no holiday?
I know, some Indians rank Thanksgiving up there with Columbus Day as the two American holidays to hate. And Thanksgiving is special to the Indians because they would argue that it was the beginning of the end of their way of life. And there is some marginal truth to that, I suppose.
To the American left, well it is all about the European, more English, conquest of North America and the exploitation of the Indians and the beginning of the horror to the world that is the United States of America.
But these are the fringes, right?
I am afraid not.
Now I shared the above photo on my Facebook page and there was a seemingly logical thought a couple of people shared with me that they thought it was just going to stay up through to the Christmas season. Then one had the same reaction that I had. And another shared a tale of a pastor scolding her for celebrating Thanksgiving in the first place.
OK, I get it that certain precincts in the United States that like to promote the idea, as I noted, that the beginning of what we today call Thanksgiving was the beginning of the end of a romanticised way of life. That being of the Indians.
Let me be clear that I am not anti-Indian. But it's not fair to make it out that they were all but a peace loving people. Tribes were fighting each other for land just like everyone else all over the world. And they were no better or worse in how they treated the spoils of their conquests.
This is to be fair and explain that the first Thanksgiving was not as much the beginning of the end for the Indians because those people did not have any gripes with each other. That, regrettably, did not come until later.
So, the first Thanksgiving was both a celebration of a good harvest and of good people being together.
But I don't think that the history is as important of the holiday as what it is and should be today.
Giving thanks is not specifically religious. Non-religious people can give thanks as well as the person of faith. The fact of the matter is that it is not an absolute religious holiday. But it has become so important in the American celebration that, until recently, almost every retail establishment was closed on Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, most markets were closed. And invariably, we would have to find somewhere to find something that was an important ingredient that was forgotten. There was always Thrifty drug store! That is why as so many major retailers are pushing the envelope and starting the traditional Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping season on Thanksgiving evening. Some are open all day on Thanksgiving. And that is upsetting to a lot of people. I am one of them. And for me, there is the conflict with business and tradition. I'm all for the tradition.
I do not see why it has to be hidden and given the trite "holiday" label that we have done to Christmas for we don't want to offend anyone. Is Thanksgiving an offensive holiday? What about Independence Day? Memorial Day? Labor Day? Martin Luther King Day? Washington/Lincoln Birthday, aka President's Day? Don't all of these celebrations offend someone or some group?
Here is the thing.
I really, really believe that we all need to grow a thicker skin.
Really, does it offend a non-Christian to be given a Merry Christmas greeting? Can someone greet another person not of their tradition with their greeting? Such as Happy Hanukkah? Blessed Ramadan? I don't feel offense as much as that person happy with who they are and sharing their religious tradition. Or national tradition. If one is not a believer in any religion, you have to understand that the majority of people in the United States do have a religion. Instead of crying "I'm offended", why not use it as an opportunity to share why you do not believe? And I just noted that you who are non-believers can give thanks for the blessings in your life for you do have such things.
The more that we know about each other and what we are all about in human terms, we can avoid the fear of a retailer having to have a sign that reads

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Islamics Take Over The Parish Of St. Peter And St. Paul In Washington, D. C.


And it is known by the more familiar name of the Washington National Cathedral.
Last Friday, the dean of the cathedral, essentially the rector, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, hosted an unusual event. That event was the Friday prayers of practicing Muslims led by the ambassador to the United States from South Africa, Ebrahim Rasool
Now, the fact that it was held on the very day of the 100th anniversary of the last caliph of the Ottoman Empire declared a jihad and, surprise, 1,000,000 Armenian Christians were massacred is to be igorned, I'm sure. However, this piece over at Breitbart is a reminder to Mr. Rasool. And Mr. Rasool has an interesting response to it:

 “It’s deliciously appropriate.”

On it's own, it is very damning. But there is more:

“We stand in a Christian cathedral, make common cause with the Christian middle ground, and make a commitment, that never again must there be intolerance towards Christians or any other faith. We stand up against extremism from the house of Islam and wherever it else it may emanate.”

Why it all sounds great, doesn't it?
But, Mr. Rasool then goes on to give the Muslim Brotherhood victim status along with a lot of other questionable groups.
I will let you read that for yourself.
And this is what was seen in the Washington National Cathedral

St. Peter and St. Paul and the Washington National Cathedral are part of the diocese of Washington, D. C. and part of The Episcopal Church.
As most who even glance at this blog know, I am a Christian and worship in The Episcopal Church (to be referred to from here as TEC).
And as I wrote on my Facebook page it was an embarrassing moment as a Christian and an angry moment as an Episcopalian.
For some inexplicable reason, there are many, especially in leadership, that place the highest value on ecumenical relations. Such a value that it is above everything else including the basic Christian witness of baptising the nations in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost and seeking to serve Christ in all.
To say that this has created a firestorm is putting it very mildly.
Why do I think that it was not a good idea?
One very important reason is optics to radical Islamics.
Does anyone not think for a moment, to repeat a phrase, how delicious it is for the Islamic State and or their allies and fellow travellers to see the above photo and not see that Islam has taken over a Christian church? A church that is of national importance in the United States? The very church that then president George W. Bush held a true interfaith service on the Friday after the horrors of 9/11?
Maybe it pays to understand that the Very Rev. Hall is as modernist as they come in his view of the Christian church. Here is the Hall story courtesy of the Washington National Cathedral website. The Very Rev. Hall served for a time in ministry at All Saints Episcopal church here in Pasadena, California. If you go to the All Saint's link, or as I am prone to refer to it as All Socialists, you will find the plethora of leftist causes and activities. Not really a lot about Jesus Christ and his ministry on earth nor much about spreading the Gospel. The Very Rev. Hall when named as dean of the cathedral in our nation's capital went on a gun control rant and began to perform same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia. Oh yeah, and he does not really think as a Christian minister he should be bringing people to Christ.
So this is why I think it is easy for the Very Rev. Hall to put his ecumenical outreach above everything else.
OK, what else is wrong with what happened last week?
It was a closed service. It was not open to the public. In fact, a mosque can not be used for non-Islamic activities. But to be fair, a mosque in Sacramento in 2012 did allow it's space to be used by a Christian church that lost it's lease for Easter Sunday services. But even in the link, the article notes that it is not common practice for any mosque to do such a thing. So again, in an ecumenical spirit, the Muslims not only worshiped in a Christian church, but got to set the guidelines.
Which leads to an addendum to the point I made above about perception.
The worst aspect of the appearance is that the Washington National Cathedral and it's leadership looked like dhimmis.
Those are the non-Islamic people in jihad-conquered lands. And as part of being "protected", the dhimmis are expected to pay a special jizya, or tax. And as part of their second-class status, they can not do anything that would promote their non-Islamic faith. Which is aimed directly at Christians.
This is what really happened in the Washington National Cathedral last week.
I do not believe that is the intent, but to those who are radical Islamics, that is what they see and will use in their propaganda to recruit more men to the death cult known as the Islamic State.
Who were the participants of the closed Friday prayer service?
Well, as noted, the South African ambassador to the United States, Mr. Rasool. But one group that has been mainstreamed yet is really extreme is the Council of American-Islamic Relations. CAIR is very much an Islamic victimology group and is known to have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, the extremist group that assassinated the late Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat. Another of the Islamic groups participating in the service is the Islamic Society of North America. Both organizations have been somewhat tied to terrorist groups. ISNA was particularly tied to the Holy Land Foundation which was convicted of funding terrorist groups. So was CAIR. Both groups are also accused of promoting the radical Wahhabi sect of Islam, which is what is practiced in Saudi Arabia. For balance, why was not M. Zhudi Jassar and his organization, American Islamic Forum For Democracy, a participant? If any does not know Dr. Jassar, he is one of the leading people involved in modernizing Islam and trying to defeat the vocal and dangerous radical element. I can maybe give the benefit of the doubt and maybe the Christian folks that helped set up this service do not know of this group. Maybe they are just tuned in to more well-known groups. Or maybe, just maybe, the Christians do know of Dr. Jassar and his group but because they are not of the victimless cult, they are not deemed legitimate by people like the Very Rev. Hall and his sycophants.
To me the bottom line is this.
I am all for knowing of and learning about other religions and or faiths. In doing so it can actually challenge why I believe the way I do. Or it can cement why I believe the way that I do. I would probably not find an interfaith service being held in the Christian Washington National Cathedral a big deal. But, when the Christian leadership asks a group of Muslims not only to pray but close the prayers and celebrate the Islamic religious practice, in a very heady time in Islamic history, I wonder if the people laying out the welcome mat get what people think of such things. I laid out the case as to the overall perception the world sees, like it or not. But the fact is that it is a done deal. What I would like to see is a more serious discussion on how Islam can rid itself of such a dangerous and deadly radical element. I would like to see modernist Christians not go back to the Crusades to suggest that somehow Christians have such a radical element today. I would like to see the so-called mainstream Islamic groups stop playing victim and mainstream themselves and their fellow Muslims into American society without giving up their religion and practices. I don't see how this service in the Washington National Cathedral did anything but stir up trouble.
And why did I insert the Islamic crescent with a slash through it above?
Because of what I wrote. We have to speak with one voice about defeating, not accommodating, radical Islam. We can not give such perceptions of Muslims taking a Christian house of worship as their own. That is what was wrong about the prayer service.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Big Red Wave Came A Crashin Successfully!

I just love all of the surfing analogies to the recently concluded totally awesome 2014 mid-term elections.
Some quick observations.
Our Dear Leader, President Obama, is a kinda sore loser, isn't he?
Republicans were supposed to lose governorships. Yes, they lost one (Pennsylvania), but gained in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Taxachusetts, er Massachusetts. And the GOP even kept the Maine's governor's office after an all out assault by the Democrat party to take it away.
The GOP not only recaptured the senate but did so with ease. The final total should be a 54-46 GOP majority in the senate.
And it appears that the GOP will have no less than 245 seats in the house with some outstanding races not called yet.
And the GOP now controls this much of the United States, in particular in congress.
Yes, it is a damn red map, isn't it?
But let's start at this map.
As Michael Barone notes in this analysis of the 2014 election, yes it does look very red. But the splotches of blue are some of the highest-populated areas of the United States. So while the map does look favorable for the GOP, there is still work to be done to make any inroads into many of these urban Democrat strongholds. These strongholds can still in a great year give the Democrats the White House. But for the foreseeable future, congress is more than likely be in the hands of the Republicans.
My message is that the GOP can not and should not rest on it's laurels. The party needs to go anywhere and everywhere to win elections. No city, county, sheriffs office, state, or nation should be written off.
So how about that senate?
Your humble blogger seems to have gotten the winners right on election night. I was off on the numbers, but the results seemed to be correct. Out of the five big races I commented on, the only one that did not pan out was the race in New Hampshire between current Democrat incumbent, Jeanne Shaheen, and former Massachusetts senator, Scott Brown. Sen. Shaheen won exactly by the margin I thought Mr. Brown would win by. But I noted that a drawback would be the accusation of carpetbagging could hurt Mr. Brown. And I think that it did.
One thing that was learned is that the polls were kinda sorta off. Many of the races won by Republicans were by larger margins than the polls were indicating right up to election day. Interestingly, it appears that Democrats were polled on average more than Republicans. But here is the thing. Polls are but a snapshot in time. There is something called election day. THAT is the only poll that counts. Really, it is.
How is it that Republicans have gained governorships in a year that they were supposed to lose? And as I noted above, in some damn unexpected states.
Take Maryland.
No one, and I mean no one, saw Larry Hogan as a serious candidate against the sitting Lt. governor, Anthony G. Brown. But things started shifting dramatically towards the end of the campaign. But almost all believed that Mr. Brown would still win and handily because after all, Maryland is a solid Blue Democrat stronghold. Not only did Mr. Hogan win, but rather handily. The result was 51% to 47% in favor of Mr. Hogan. And in a state like Maryland, this is a landslide.
And how about Massachusetts?
Once again, the state attorney general, Democrat Martha Croakley, er Coakley, proved that she is so bad a candidate, she lost state office again to a Republican and this time for governor and Charlie Baker defeated the hapless Croakley, 49% to 47%. Mrs. Croakley also lost to former Sen. Scott Brown in the special election to replace the late Sen. Edward "Teddy" Kennedy in 2010. As for me, I want her to move to California and run for any statewide office as a Democrat. It's the way we can win something in 2018.
The two above elections are what happens in a year in which there is a big wave and some candidates that would never win pull off good upsets.
And there are the wins to complete a through take over of a state and that is what happened in Arkansas.
The governor's office is now that of former Republican congressman, Asa Hutchinson as he defeated former Democrat congressman, Mike Ross, by the handy margin of 55% to 42%. Republican Tim Griffin was elected Lt. Governor. Another Republican, Leslie Rutledge, is now the state attorney general. The GOP controls the state senate, 24-11 and the sea change was in the house of representatives where the minority GOP gained 13 seats and are now in the majority, 64-36. The congressional delegation and two senators are Republicans. And Arkansas is now the last state in the old Confederacy to be in the Republican column. There are no Democrat governors in the old Confederacy. Only Bill Nelson in Florida and until the December runoff, Mary Landrieu, are Democrat senators in the old Confederate South. The Democrats basically are down to representing racial minority districts in state houses and in congress.
To be fair the Democrats took away the governor's office in Pennsylvania in one of the few highlights of the election night. But the GOP increased their margins in the state legislature.
And the Big Red Wave did ripple here in California as the GOP gained two, maybe three, congressional seats and have denied the Democrats super majorities in both houses of the legislature meaning they will not be able to raise taxes without GOP votes. And a couple of state office races were close giving hope that the GOP could be competitive in the 2018 elections.
So, how did our Dear Leader, President Obama, the titular leader of the Democrat party, take the election results?
Well, lets just say not all that well.
The day after the thrashing that his party took, losing the senate, ground in the house of representatives and even governorships and state legislatures, the Dear Leader, President Obama, said the following:

“To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”

No, sorry, you can't give the back hand and claim that people too bothered to vote count the same. In fact, those people may have not voted for the Democrats had they taken the time and effort. But give it to the Dear Leader, President Obama. His delusion went even further:

“The American people sent a message, one that they’ve sent for several elections now.“They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done. All of us in both parties have a responsibility to address that sentiment.”

With all due respect to the office sir, no that is not why voters turned to the Republicans. They turned to the Republicans to reign you in. They want to bring you and your party back to the center. They want you to stop with legalizing as many illegal aliens as you can questionably. They don't believe in the climate change propaganda and want policies that will lead to economic growth. Not in a pipe dream of a government-made green economy. They voted for people that said we will work where we can with the president, but to no longer be patsies. And they want at the very least major changes in Obamacare. Most would be willing to scrap the whole monstrosity and start again.
This election was about a stark contrast between the Republican party and the Democrat party. It showed that the GOP at least was listening to the public overall much better than the Democrats. The Democrats thought that they could win supposedly tight races by the spectre of the Republican "War on Women" and that they want to take birth control away and put 'em back in the kitchen and for sure barefoot and pregnant. And if that did not work, stir up Black voters with the spectre of Ferguson and a national effort by all police forces, at the hands of the Republicans of course, to use Black youth as target practice. And if that did not work, why they would suggest that because many GOP voters were not in favor of same-sex marriage to look out for a GOP win would probably force all sexual alphabet voters back in the closet or some kind of reorientation camp.
The reason for the lack of effort on accomplishment and fanning the fires of fear is because there are no accomplishments. O-Care is a continuous disaster. The economy may be recovering, but at such an anemic rate most Americans do not feel it at all. We look and are absolutely feckless in the face of the rise of the Islamic State and the unrest throughout the Middle East. Our relationship with Red China looks like we are giving up the store at any given opportunity. In other words, to coin a phrase, the American people feel in a malaise.
But the GOP has to deliver. It has to pursue the policies of seeking to streamline the tax code and seek changes that will be accessible to the middle class. It needs to fight the attempts of massive regulation that is keeping the economy from maybe having a stronger recovery. It needs to stop the government from legalizing millions of illegal aliens and must, must support border security first, then reform. It must have the confidence of the American people that it can govern.
But the fact is that the Big Red Wave was just that. And it crashed on the Democrats hopes and dreams. Hopefully it will restore hope in the GOP and the American experience.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Will The GOP See Any Success In California

While the Republican party will enjoy very good success tomorrow evening, there are some precincts in the Union that the GOP will not make a huge wave and one of those places is California.
There are many reasons for this.
The most obvious reason is that the current governor, Democrat Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, built a $21,000,000 war chest that most respectable Republicans looked at and figured that they had no chance to compete against such a boatload of cash on hand for Gov. Brown. And the Republican candidate, Neel Kashkari, literally swooped in at the last possible moment to challenge state assemblyman Tim Donnelly for the Republican nomination. Because California now has an open, non-partisan primary, the top two finishers go on to the general election. Mr. Kashkari finished second and is the patsy against Gov. Brown. A good night for Mr. Kashkari will be if he can match the numbers of the last GOP gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman as far as votes. Mrs. Whitman spent about $140,000,000 to lose to Gov. Brown and attain 41% of the vote. If Mr. Kashkari can equal that at the limited money he has, he will have spent his money wisely. If he gets higher numbers, its gravy and shows that the GOP can be competitive in the once Golden State.
So, California has seven "constitutional" offices which means that those offices the voters decide. After the governor, there is the Lt. Governor. Can the GOP win this one? Probably not as Democrat incumbent Gavin Newsome should have similar numbers as Gov. Brown. What about Attorney General? Nope, for Democrat Kamala Harris has actually been an adequate A. G. for a a Democrat. Again, she will ride the Brown coattails. Mr. RVFTLC, is there any damn office left? Why I'm glad you asked. There are a couple of offices in which the GOP has a fighting chance. The first one is for Controller. The GOP candidate is the Republican mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearingen. She finished first in the open primary and is facing off against Democrat No. Cal., Betty Yee. This appears to be a close enough race where Mrs. Swearingen can pull it off. I think that it will be close. If Mrs. Swearingen wins, she will be de facto leader of the California GOP. Even if Pete Petersen should win the Secretary of State, more on that shortly, Mrs. Swearingen will be the one seen as the leader. Now Mr. Petersen finished an agonizing close second in the open primary. Most analysts think this is also a winnable race for the GOP. If the GOP wins one or both, it will be seen as a sign the state GOP is making a comeback.
Another sign the California GOP would be showing signs of a comeback is to gain seats in the state legislature and even in the delegation to congress.
Currently, there are 15 Republican members of the 53 member congressional delegation. The state assembly has 24 Republicans and the state senate has 12 GOPers.
The state legislature is where the GOP needs to make some gains. Because the Democrats had a 2/3rd majority in both houses, a super majority, they did not need any GOP input on any legislation. But three senators have been embroiled in legal battles and are either out of the state senate or "on leave". That reduces the total number of senators from 40 to 37, thus ending that super majority. This maybe a tough hill to climb, but the GOP can get three seats and that will end the super majority when the state senate is back to 40 full members. The Democrats will still be in control, but the number will be 25 to 15. Considering there are only 12 members now, three more will make a huge difference. The same holds true in the state assembly. The magic number for the GOP is to hold their seats and win three more to bring their number to 27. That kills the super majority in the assembly. But again, the Democrats will be in charge 53 to 27.
O.K., I am the first to admit that seems to be small ball. And it is. But considering the Democrat juggernaut of 2010, to at least have a minority that puts something on money bills and gets some Democrat concessions is a start.
So what about congress?
One race to watch for is the 52nd congressional district. That pits incumbent Democrat congressman Scott Peters against Republican Carl DeMaio, the man that should have been mayor of San Diego. This is high on the GOP radar and money has been spent hand over fist on this one. It appears that this is in the too close to call category. A Republican win here will be a series of firsts. One, Mr. De Maio will be the first homosexual elected to congress as a Republican. Second, he will be the first to be married to a man under California law. Some very conservative groups are either sitting this one out or supporting the Democrat. Of course this being California, it is a big mistake for not supporting DeMaio. He's wrong on some of these issues, but he will be a good, reliable Republican vote. Another race is in the 33rd district in which is a open seat as Democrat Henry Waxman is retiring (thank Almighty God!). The Democrat is state senator Ted Lieu and the Republican is Elan Carr, a prosecutor in the Los Angeles county district attorney's office. Mr. Carr won a strong second place to face Sen. Lieu and is in contention. The district was redrawn in 2010 and is, surprisingly become a competitive district. That is why the GOP is helping Mr. Carr try to win here. Imagine the 40-year reign of Henry Waxman ends with the GOP winning his seat. Eternal justice if there ever was any!
Unlike 2010, the Democrats are not exactly pumped up for this election. After all the top of the ticket is already a winner in Gov. Brown. It's just a question of how badly Mr. Kashkari will be beaten by.
While the GOP is not in the greatest shape, the voters will have more motivation to actually vote. Although only 28% of registered voters, this maybe an election that they make inroads with decline to state (independent) voters. If that happens, then the party is on the comeback.
The Republican wave tomorrow night will be a good sized ripple in California. But will it be a strong enough ripple to help a beleaguered state GOP? I think it will be a better night than 2010 for state Republicans.

Tomorrow Will Be A Huge Republican Night

Tomorrow evening, probably pretty early here on the left coast, we will know the margin of  Republican control of the senate, an increased majority in the house and how many state houses will look like for the next two years.
One important reality is that my state, California, will not see much of a change as Gov. Jerry Brown will cruise to reelection. But there are chances for the GOP will make gains and begin a long march to respectability in the once Golden State. But that is for another post.
Let me say now that the GOP will get the six seats needed to take the majority and I think with a lot more ease than we are seeing in the polls to today.
And I will stipulate the three seats that are currently in Democrat hands most if not all analysts believe go the the GOP. Those seats are in Arkansas, South Dakota and West Virginia. There is nothing to comment on those seats except that it boosts the Republicans to 48 seats in the senate.
So, where do the votes come from to get the three more seats needed?
Well, there are a lot of places and these would be the three seats I believe will get the GOP over the top in no particular order.

State senator Joni Ernst (R) is ahead of the Democrat candidate, congressman Bruce Braley in the Real Clear Politics average of polls by 1.4% and that is the margin of error. But almost all polls are showing Sen. Ernst ahead and the highly respected Des Moines Register poll shows her ahead by seven points. And that may end up being the margin of victory. Sen. Ernst has ran a pretty flawless campaign while Rep. Braley has done everything possible to alienate a lot of potential voters, especially farmers which is a large voting bloc in Iowa.

The RVFTLC prediction:        Joni Ernst(R)     53%     Bruce Braley(D)   47%    GOP gain

This has turned into the bizarre race of the cycle. Current Democrat incumbent, Sen. Mark Udall should have been winning this race but decided he would run his campaign on the so-called "War on women" meme. Current Republican congressman, Cory Gardner, like Sen. Ernst, has run a flawless campaign by essentially taking much of the sail off of that made-up issue. But by running on such a non-issue, it appears that Sen. Udall is running himself out of a job. And the voters seem prepared to reward Rep. Gardner with a six-year term. According to the RCP average, Rep. Gardner is up about two percent.  And that maybe enough to even pull in a GOP governor against the equally hapless incumbent, John Hickenlooper. An aptly named pol if there ever was one.

The RVFTLC prediction:      Cory Garnder(R)  55%     Mark Udall          45%     GOP gain

The current Democrat incumbent is Sen. Mark Begich. Sen. Begich is lucky to be in this position because in 2008, he was able to ride a wave of one Barack Obama and a conviction of then-Sen. Ted Stevens (later overturned) to victory. A narrow one at that. This time around, the GOP has a strong candidate in Attorney General Dan Sullivan and he has had Sen. Begich on the ropes throughout this cycle. And it has been so strange to see Sen. Begich declare that the president of the United States, fellow Democrat Obama, to be irrelevant. It is not helping Sen. Begich anymore than anyone else to run away from the Dear Leader, President Obama. And Mr. Sullivan is ahead in the RCP polling average also about two percent.

The RVFTLC prediction:      Dan Sullivan(R)    55%     Mark Begich(D)        45%     GOP gain

And those are what I think will be the sure GOP bets to get to the magic number of 51 seats to control the senate.
So is there anywhere else that the GOP can win? Can they add to the senate majority they are expected to win tomorrow night?
Why yes, there is.
How about North Carolina? Well, this race has been one of the toughest fought on both sides. The current incumbent is Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan. Her Republican challenger is the speaker of the North Carolina house, Thom Tillis. The fact is that Sen. Hagan has been ahead this whole race but her margins are within the margin of error, usually between three to five percent either way. Sen Hagan is now averaging a lead of 0.7% in the RCP average of polls. That means as long as Mr. Tillis is this close and closing in, the chances are at minimum 50-50 he can pull off a close win. Will I dare to predict this one? Sure will. Here it is:

The RVFTLC prediction:      Thom Tillis(R)     50%     Kay Hagan(D)         48%     GOP gain

OK, there is an equally tight race in New Hampshire between Democrat incumbent Jeanne Shaheen and former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown. Now I'll totally be fair here and while I like Sen. Brown, he can not live down the label of carpetbagger. Finding a place where he thought he could win election. He could have ran again in Massachusetts this year, but would have lost to the incumbent Sen. Ed Markey. It is the one thing that I believe may save Sen. Shaheen. But like Sen. Hagan, Sen. Shaheen is falling and her RCP poll average is also bellow a margin of one percent (0.9%). Mr. Brown is in range to win this and has to make a super strong closing argument and I think that he could. So, the fearless prediction is:

The RVFTLC prediction:      Scott Brown(R)     50%     Jeanne Shaheen(D)  48%    GOP gain

Now there are a couple of races that I will say could potentially hurt the GOP and dent some of the predictions made here. Meaning that all of the above need to happen to offset at least one or maybe two losses.
Kansas is one that may be a loss for the GOP but it may have happened no matter what. The GOP incumbent is Sen. Pat Roberts. Really he is a solid conservative. But what I think really hurt him is his inability to identify with his home state. He does not own a home in Kansas and rarely visits the state. And he had a bruising primary with Tea Party favorite, Milton Wolf, a cousin of the Dear Leader, President Obama, and only this past Friday Mr. Wolf endorsed Sen. Roberts reelection bid. He is being challenged by "Independent" candidate Greg Orman who, because of his showing in the polls, caused the Democrat candidate to bail out and the state supreme court said that was just fine. Mr. Orman is being blatantly endorsed now by the Democrat party. But Mr. Orman is very coy as to what party he will caucus with in Washington. In the past, he has been a active Democrat. But if he should win and the GOP is in the majority, he may well just keep the seat for the GOP. But it is a bad chance to take. I think that this goes to Mr. Orman but by a small margin.
In Louisiana, there is a strange way general elections are held. There is no primary. Essentially the primary is on the day of the general election. If one candidate, no matter what party, gets 50% plus one, they win. Since that rarely happens, there is a runoff between the top two vote getters in early December. The Democrat incumbent is one Sen. Mary Landrieu. She is facing two strong Republicans, one being current congressman Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness. One of those two will go on to the election in December. Most polls show that Rep. Cassidy will be that candidate. There is the polling for tomorrow here in which Sen. Landrieu is ahead but in December she will lose to Rep. Cassidy. I see this as a GOP pick up. Louisiana is just turning more and more Republican and this is an icing on that cake.
Is there one race, one race that is off the radar that could be a surprise win for the GOP tomorrow night? Any race?
One to look for could well be in Virginia. Democrat Sen. Mark Warner is facing former GOP chair Ed Gillespie. Polling has shown Sen. Warner consistently ahead. But Mr. Gillespie is closing the gap. How close can he get? Probably not enough to win. But if this race is not called right away by the networks tomorrow night, it could be a huge upset in the making.
All of this at the end gets the GOP control of the senate. If my predictions hold out, the GOP gets seven seats and the number in congress will be 52 seats. If there are huge upsets other than Virginia, it well could be ten seats and a lot of breathing room. But I am sticking with 52 to 48. Unless Greg Orman in Kansas surprises everyone and caucuses with the GOP. Then its 53-47.
So, what about the house?
No one has been talking much about the house, but I see really big gains that no one else does. Currently, the GOP has 234 house seats. There is a goal of gaining 16 to get to 250 seats. Not only do I think that it is doable, but more than likely. And many of the gains will happen in Blue states.
There are at least two to three seats that can go the GOP way in California. Yes, California. In New York state, two seats will change to the GOP for sure. Illinois and Ohio are possible GOP pickups. I see that the GOP will probably gain 20 seats and give them 254 seats.
One other thing that could pad the GOP majorities is Democrat defections. It is very possible. If Mr. Orman wins and decides he will caucus with the GOP, a possible defection is West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. He may look at the landscape and think being in the minority sucks. And that he is more aligned with the GOP on some key issues. It's a possibility, but not overly likely.
Maybe some house members will come to the same conclusion. I would not be surprised if it happens.
On the state level, the GOP may pick up the governor's office in Colorado, Illinois and Massachusetts. But they may lose in Alaska to an Independent backed by former Gov. Sarah Palin. They may lose Florida to the insufferable Charlie Crist. And also Kansas. That leaves a wash at the governor's level. But they could pad their control of state legislatures and or make gains in some they do not control. In California, the GOP has to gain only one seat in each house to end the Democrat super majority they gained in the 2012 presidential election year. That would be substantial.
Tomorrow will be a huge night for the Republican party. They will gain control of the senate and make gains in governorships in Blue states. They will increase the majority they have in the house.
The big question we can start asking on Wednesday is what will all this mean for governing in the United States?