Reflection of the court and Obama Care

Writer and theologian Francis A Schaeffer (30 January 1912 – 15 May 1984) declared that we are living in the Post-Christian West. This was the impetus for his book How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (1976). The Court ruling today has pushed us further down the road of Western decline to the era of Post Constitutional America. The phrase was popularized in the book Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America (2012) by Mark Levin. The premise of Ameritopia is that people will trade constitutionalism for utopianism. While I haven’t read the book, the contrast would seem to explain the environmental movement and parts of the welfare state. This would dovetail nicely with the Obama agenda.

Scoffers think that conservatives like me are way off base about the ramifications of today’s Supreme Court decision on Obama Care. I would like to use a few illustrations to express my view of what happened today. All analogies breakdown at some point but here are a few good ones to try to share my point of view.

I spent over two decades in various parts of the Episcopal Church. The last two years was with outcasts from ECUSA (Protestant Episcopal Church). In the 1979 Prayer Book, much of the theological heritage that would get in the way of theological liberalism was relegated to the section in the back of the book for historical documents. These documents contained ideas contrary or embarrassing to the atheists in robes that pretend to be representatives of Jesus Christ. In the same way, the Supreme Court has relegated the last shreds of the Constitution to the index in the back of the history books on the American experiment.

Another way to explain this decision is from the book that I just finished called Ben Hur. Written in 1880 by Civil War General Lew Wallace, the book bears little resemblance to any of the subsequent movies. Towards the end of the book, Judah—the character played by Charlton Heston—enters Jerusalem to find that Jesus had been tried and convicted in the dead of night and that the injustice of his arrest was upheld and compounded by both Pontius Pilot and Herod. Judah tries to rally his troops to stop the proceedings only to find his men were active participants in the crowd yelling “Crucify him”. In much the same way, the injustice of Obama Care was upheld by those sitting in judgment of the law when they clearly knew that they were partaking of a grievous evil for the sake of political expediency. Judge Roberts played both Judas and Herod in this tragedy.

Another illustration is the conflict between Jesus and the religious rulers of his day. The leader in the time of Christ had so distorted the Law that it no longer bore any resemblance to the writings of Moses. Jesus was the one that spoke with Moses in the burning bush but when he tried to explain the Law to the rulers of his day they tried to stone him for blasphemy. They had so distorted and perverted justice that they could no longer recognize it. They called evil “good” and good “evil”.

My last illustration to explain today’s ruling is lethal exposure to radiation. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it but by the time you know it happened you are already dead. Yes you may walk around for a few minutes, hours or days but the effects are irreversible because by the time you exhibit symptoms the damage has been done. The ruling today forever laid to rest the concept that the national government has any limits. The government now has license to tell us what to buy, what to eat, where to live, what to drive and to literally determine how long we should live. Today the State declared itself as our “god”. It will take a while for this new found power to manifest itself to much of the populous but the nanny government of Michael Bloomberg has been pumped full of steroids and granted a nationwide franchise. The ruling elites now have the tools to bring us the dystopian worlds of 1984, Brave New World and Atlas Shrugged. The Republic is dead and it will take a period of time before the mind of the populous notices the death of the body politic. (If they have their “bread” will they even care?)

We often have used the analogy of the frog in the boiling pot dying as the heat has been turned up ever so gradually over time. The frog is dead before it realizes that it is boiling. Well today the water evaporated out of the pot and much of our populous yawned.

The words of Deuteronomy 28 verses 15 thru 68 echoed in my head all day today. Verse 15 reads,

But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

Today’s decision may be an historic day but it is not one to be celebrated. The Rule of Law and the Constitution received an ignoble end.

Microsoft Tablet Surfaces

Microsoft recently unveiled some prototypes of a Windows 8 Tablet called Surface. The devices are interesting because they bridge the divide between Tablet devices and laptops. They are faster than the Apple or Android counterparts and run more programs. The Intel version will run Office and most other programs that you can run on your desktop machine but in a portable format. They come with a physical keyboard as well as touch capability. They will support a midgrade CPU and solid state drive.

The Surface computers will make tablets mainstream and not just toys with email and GPS capability. The only concern I have is with the rumors that these tablets will be wifi but not 4G capable.

The tech press is divided into two camps on these Surface prototypes. One group says that Microsoft is just trying to push their hardware partners into going forward with a tablet design that is beyond what is on the market now while the others say that Microsoft needs more products for their Microsoft Stores. The wifi only capability gives some credence to the camp that believes the Surface devices are only prototypes and not the actual Windows 8 tablets that will be commercially available.

The almost simultaneous advent of Apollo (Windows Phone 8) will be an interesting twist to the roll-out of Windows 8. Microsoft is clearly pushing for a unified experience that is scalable from the smallest to the largest consumer computing experience. Both Operating Systems will be able to run virtually identical applications on either platform. Apollo is Windows 8 light and both share similar programming code.

Microsoft has a golden opportunity to reign in Apple and bring competition to hand held devices. Apple can’t thrive in a competitive market because they are not willing to drop their prices beyond a certain point—even in the face of competition. Apple historically will always take shareholders over market share. The boys in Redmond might be late to the party but they will be formidable once they join the battle this fall. If the press conference is to be believed then look for ARM devices in October and Intel ones around Christmas.

Movie: A Man Called Peter

I rarely do movie reviews on this blog but last night I saw a movie worth writing about. It does not have the action of The Avengers or the special effects of Prometheus but the story in this movie was better than either film. Last night I watched a film on Netflix titled A Man Called Peter. The movie had been sitting in our instant cue for the better part of a year but last night my seven year old son asked to see it. The synopsis of the film is:

Based on a true story, this drama centers on young Scotsman Peter Marshall, who travels to America and becomes pastor of the Church of the Presidents in Washington, D.C., on his way to becoming chaplain of the U.S. Senate.

Peter Marshall was a Presbyterian minister with a gift of communicating his faith in a way that could be understood by the simple and the learned. Much of the film gives you a feel for the type of man that could go from such humble beginnings to the seat of power in a short period of time. Much of the movie covers the period of the Great Depression and World War II.

If you want to know why the people of this period were called the Greatest Generation, this film will give you the answer. This film touches on many themes that are still plaguing our culture today. It has the best rebuttal of feminism that I have ever encountered and the movie was made in 1955. Marriage and family are spoken of at length as is the subject of death. The film’s depictions of the events of December 7, 1941 are haunting and very memorable. In a sense, the timeline of the movie revolves around the events on this date.

Toward the end of the film, Marshall is made the Chaplin of the U.S. Senate. As I heard Marshall’s prayers for the beginning of each day in the U.S. Senate, I thought that here was a clergyman that even humorist Will Rogers would agree had the correct view of the Congress and partisan politics.

Peter Marshall is played by Irish actor Richard Todd. Todd was a very prolific actor in the 1950s. His bio on Wikipedia reads in part,

He later appeared in The Dam Busters (1955) as Wing Commander Guy Gibson. Americans remember Todd for his role as the United States Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall in the film version of Catherine Marshall’s best selling biography, A Man Called Peter and as Robin Hood in the 1952 Disney film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men. Todd was the first choice of author Ian Fleming to play James Bond in Dr. No, but a scheduling conflict gave the role to Sean Connery.

Wife Catherine Marshall is played by actress Jean Peters. Peters starred in movies with Marilyn Monroe, Clifton Webb and other top stars in Hollywood during the 1950s. Amazingly, her last film was A Man Called Peter. She then married billionaire Howard Hughes and stopped acting until the 1970s. Her last roll was on an episode of the television series Murder, She Wrote.

This film was nominated for an Oscar. It is great for the whole family and has a message that families need to hear.

Obama Preempts Supremes

President Obama’s Administration leaks like the proverbial sieve. Our government appears incapable of keeping any secrets.

It is clear that today’s Executive Order to enact portions of the “Dream Act” is the result of information that the White House was given that the U.S. Supreme Court is about to issue to rule in favor of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

Lastly, why is it—when Democrats are in office—that we never hear complaining about the “Imperial Presidency”?

Verizon Kicks Customers in the “Family Plan”

Verizon is touting its new “family plan” as some type of an improvement over what I have now. How can that be?

My current plan has two smart phones and two regular phones. Look what this does to my bill.

Here are some of the details:
• A regular phone will go from 9.99 to $30.
• Talk goes from 1400 minutes to unlimited. Currently we use about 350 minutes per month.
• Texting—which most of us never use—will be unlimited. (If you really need texting you can run it thru your data plan and not pay extra. Yes, there is an app for that.)
• Data—which I do use—will go from unlimited to pay as I go.
• Currently two Gigabytes is $30, under the new plan one gigabyte will be $50. A 300 percent increase in cost!


To have the same number of phones that I have now will cost $25 more under the family plan. That feels like a kick in the family plan to me. Only a mafia family could offer such a deal and expect us to like it. I would like to add more devices to my plan but not at the kind of prices that Verizon is offering. The price point is too high.

To avoid this plan you either need to upgrade your phones before the plan goes into effect later this month or pay full retail price to keep the unlimited data plan. Verizon doesn’t even offer a 4G Windows Phone and won’t until at least the fourth quarter of this year.

If AT&T will fix their network so it doesn’t drop calls and be competitively priced I just might consider switching. They clearly have a larger variety of offerings than Verizon. AT&T will respond with their idea of a family plan soon. Let’s see if they respect my budget or want to rape and pillage my wallet too.

CNET even agrees with me;related

Davy Jones Monkeys with Worker Comp Rates

In case you thought Barry Obama was the only one out of touch with the real world…

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones went against a unified front of labor and employer representatives siding with the insurance industry and the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) in approving a 8.3% increase mid-year rate hike for California employers. Added to the 37% rate increase he approved for January, July and later renewals are facing an average rate increase of 45.3% over last year at the same time.


emphasis added.

CA GOP—A Broken Organization

It is clear to me that the California Republican Party is broken. What we learned from the leadership during the June election cycle is that they are not only unwilling to follow their own rules but think that the existing rules are a hindrance to power. The last vestiges of a bottom up organization were shed during this cycle. From this point forward, rank and file average voters will no longer have a voice directly or indirectly in determining who will bear the Party endorsement.

With the top two election structure that we now have in California, the Party chose not to implement an alternate system to allow voters that are registered as Republicans to vote on who will be their choice for nominee. After more than three years of inaction, direct representation was officially scrapped. Instead, a system that only those candidates endorsed by 2/3 of each County Central Committee that was included in a district could endorse a candidate and furthermore only when all counties in a district were in agreement would a candidate be called the Party nominee in the June election. The rules further stated that failure to meet this high standard would result in no nominee in the race. These rules were ignored at every opportunity where a current office holder did not achieve endorsement thru the established process. Instead a small group of unaccountable people within the State Party leadership just did whatever was expedient to get the result that they desired. The California Republican Party is now a top-down organization that has successfully insulated itself from any responsiveness or accountability to those that identified with the Party. They have rejected both direct democracy and representative democracy in favor of an elitist aristocracy.

The only issue remaining is why would anybody care to associate with an organization that not only doesn’t care about them but is openly hostile to their views and values? I didn’t leave the Republican Party but clearly they have left me—and many others as well.

The last hope we have of saving this state is thru the initiative process and if the Democrats prevail, that window will be closed to us soon. I’m rather pessimistic about our short term prospects for any positive change. I think that we will be wandering in the wilderness until the so-called “baby boomers” are taking a “dirt-nap” and a new generation comes along with a willingness to return to the bedrock values that made us a successful and prosperous nation. I believe this will happen one day but the likelihood of it being in my lifetime is clearly diminishing.

Adios California Republican Party

As a former political talk show host, my political rhetoric is usually saved for democrat elected’s and the Democrat Party, however what I witnessed in the days leading up to June 5th election have me furious. The CA Republican Party is broke, and very quickly becoming irrelevant in California politics.  As a result they had to rely on financial donations from one Charles Munger Jr. a liberal financier from the Bay Area who has already tried to water down the state party’s platform.

The CA GOP in coordination with Munger spent over 100k on negative ads in the 6th Assembly district.  The ads were used to attack republican Andy Pugno—a probate lawyer who was a lead counsel for prop 8.  The ads included a quote from CA GOP chair Tom Del Baccaro who referred to Andy as a “trial lawyer” using “misleading tactics to attack incumbent Beth Gaines.” Not to be outdone Jon Coupal—Director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association—claimed Andy “called Beth a moderate republican.”  Neither statement is true. The fact is Andy Pugno is an Estate and Probate Lawyer who very seldom is involved in trials and truthfully referred to Mr. Munger as the “moderate supporting Beth Gaines.”

One must ask why would Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway want to spend over 400k to support Assemblywomen Beth Gaines in a primary where she and challenger Andy Pugno have no major policy differences?  Wouldn’t that money be spent more effectively in November trying to hold more than a 1/3 minority in Sacramento? Maybe the money could have been better spent helping Peter Tateishi win a primary against a complete nut like Barbara Ortega?  No! Apparently Connie Conway ordered the hit pieces be sent attacking Andy Pugno. Well the legislature won the battle for Beth Gaines but at what price? We know their poor decisions resulted in a very wounded Peter Tateishi who likely will lose in the run-off in November, further hurting the GOP cause. The unknown factor in all this is what did the Republican leadership have to horse-trade with Munger to get him to bail-out Beth Gaines?
As a result of this week’s elections I have decided I’m done with “California Republican Politics”.

For those not familiar with me, I have walked more precincts and done more for the conservative movement than most in this county. If the Sacramento County GOP decides they want to nominate moderate candidates and spend donors’ hard earned money attacking conservative candidates, good bye!  Frankly, as a southern born conservative, the GOP in California is going to get exactly what they deserve in November—a very small, irrelevant minority!  Additionally; I am calling on Tom Del Baccaro and Jon Coupal to resign immediately before they do any more damage to their organizations.  I’m sure President Reagan was thrilled that his “11th commandment” was violated by the “latte drinking, Volvo driving, country club, liberal republicans both in the Capital and representing conservative groups on election night.”
—John M. Slamkowski, Elk Grove

Karen England’s PAC Fires on Adny Pugno

Karen England and her splinter group—California Conservative Republicans—have gone nuclear yet again in their attacks on fellow Republicans. This time their ire is directed at proven conservative leader Andy Pugno. Andy has a twenty year track record of working in the trenches for the conservative cause.

In his time at the University of California Davis he built the college republican group to over 700 members and took over student government of this notoriously liberal campus. He went on to be chief of staff for Pete Knight. (Knight was the first to lead the charge that marriage should be between a man and a woman.) Andy then worked in the private sector as an attorney for local governments too small to afford a fulltime legal staff. This is where I first met and worked with him. I found him to be professional, knowledgeable and prepared. Andy later went on to Proposition 8 and the defense of traditional marriage.

Character is often defined as what you do when no one is looking. This certainly describes Andy.
His priorities are God, family and country.

In their ad, Karen and her gang are hitting Andy below the belt. They start the ad by purposely wrongly pronouncing Andy’s name and then accusing him of doing things that he has never done; including calling Gaines a liberal. (Charles Monger is the only liberal identified by Pugno in any of his ads. Monger is the billionaire liberal that is saving Beth Gaines’ butt in this race with his independent expenditures.) Then they make their main charge that Andy was allegedly not at a particular meeting of the CRP platform committee. If this is such big deal then why is there no documentation to back-up this ad on their website? Instead, this is just what it appears to be, a slimy last minute “hit piece” unfairly directed at Andy.

We all know that the CRP is both broke (financially) and broken (institutionally). The platform committee vote was the subject of much manipulation and most of the real work was done behind closed doors by a small subcommittee. The CRP chair should be the villain of this ad not Andy. I’m sure Aaron Park has this well documented on his blog should you care to look. But why should the truth get in the way of a good hit piece?

I responded as any person would in the face of such an attack on a friend, I sent Andy a check. I thought I was done with contributions this cycle but Karen crossed the line and made me contribute one last time.