Archives for category: Political

I do not understand why someone would file for office as a total unknown.

Take me for instance, if I had filed yesterday, anyone with access to a computer could immediately find reasons to laugh at me, reasons to oppose me, or maybe for the rare few, find reasons to support my candidacy. (Hypothetical, of course.)

There would be no reason to wonder if I might be lying. You can look it up. I’m here. I’m on Facebook. I’ve statements scattered far and wide. You can figure out what I think without asking me to lie about it.

The fee for filing is nontrivial. It costs $1k to file for US Congress. The links are here: https://www.ok.gov/elections/Candidate_Info/Candidate_Filing/ All 794 of these folks plunked down at least $500. I suppose most had someone encouraging them with at least some portion of the fee. (For better or worse.)

Regarding the US Congress, each representative has nearly no significance for the state, except for bringing home some bacon. Not a thing I appreciate, but some find it paramount. My BS detector alarm goes off when I hear too much about “for the people” from candidates for US Congress. I want to know your principles, and I want to know what you intend to work hardest for. Beyond that, Congresscritters just don’t matter to the state, being stuck too close to the political-middle between anything useful.

It is this lot that has me writing at the moment:
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 05
Democrat
00107 W KENDRA HORN, 41, 5909 N Ross Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73112

00295 W TOM GUILD, 63, 2109 Rushing Meadows, Edmond, OK 73013

00444 W LEONA KELLEY-LEONARD, 47, 905 Lincon St, Seminole, OK 74868

00507 T TYSON TODD MEADE, 55, 1728 NW 13th, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

00555 T ED PORTER, 67, 4205 NE 116th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73131

00668 F ELYSABETH BRITT, 39, 13600 N Blackwelder Ave #239, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Republican
00546 T STEVE RUSSELL, 54, 1291 Scenic Trl, Choctaw, OK 73020

00568 T GREGORY DUNSON, 49, 123 NE 2nd St #365, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

00652 F DeJUAN EDWARDS, 36, 13717 Kirkland Rdg, Edmond, OK 73013

(BTW, WTF? What is W, T, or F on each?)

Ms. Kendra filed first. Cool. Gung ho! I found her with no problem. She looks like the Democratic candidate already, but where is her history? All I can see is lies about bipartisanship and pledges to make the Federal Government more meddlesome in Oklahoma. (I say lies because the Dems are no-nonsense when it comes to toeing the party line. Bipartisanship for Dems is purely partisan. Cooperate only when the party bosses tell you to, or you are out.) Regarding Ms. Kendra’s promise to involve the Fed more, I believe you, and that’s the trouble. (Nyves) (Don’t get me wrong; GOP is similar, but not as Draconian.)

Mr. Tom, need I say more than hope springs eternal?

I’m totally unable to find anything worth mention regarding Ms. Leona. Ms. Leona is sufficiently unknown that my internet searches didn’t find that she filed and ran in 2016 and in 2014, receiving about 7,000 votes both rounds, coming in third both times. I happened to notice the fact looking at other candidates on Ballotpedia.

Regarding Mr. Tyson (I’m sticking with first names), he’s a rocker. Cool, but what does he stand for? The name of his old band (in the political sense) just might foretell the results of his run, but who knows how much his celebrity will gain him.

Mr. Eddie was easy to find, although only political. His bio is worth acknowledging. His Facebook page makes me think I’d appreciate his thoughts on corrections. He seems a general contrarian, though.

Ms. Elysabeth was just as easy to identify politically, and reasonably identifiable otherwise. I applaud her for trying to make herself known.

There is this: http://newsok.com/article/5582043/steve-russell-regains-fundraising-edge-kendra-horn-continues-to-lead-democrats

For the GOP, Mr. Steve is incumbent, and minds are pretty made up. I have a lot of respect for him, his experience, and knowledge, but he isn’t a stickler for precision. He doesn’t always bother double checking before he says things. He’s been in politics too long to find anything nonpolitical, but he’s been in politics long enough, you know what you are getting.

Mr. Gregory and Mr. DeJuan aren’t hard to identify, but they don’t seem to have any politics. Perhaps last-minute decisions.

I just keep wondering why anyone would wade into the muck. Well, no, I understand why someone would wade into the muck and the slime and the stench of politics, because I’ve always felt the pull. But it only takes a little exposure to snap me to my senses. These folks not only took time and made the effort to go down and file, they put their money into it. Those campaigning and fundraising have no out-of-pocket expenses. They let the campaign pay for everything. But, per the news-blurb, there are only three of them with any significant funding. Complain all you want about money, but it is just talk. Money really is speech and protected when used as such. It takes a dollar to do a dollar’s worth of getting the word out. Also, money isn’t everything, just ask HDR. She out spent the Donald two to one.

For me, the bottom line is that it costs me no money to find out. If I can research and do my own homework at no cost beside my time, then I’m okay with any money anybody wants to spend on it all. I can look up news articles. I can research at the library and online. I can find folks on Facebook and LinkedIn, et al. I see it as my responsibility to figure out where the candidate is on positions, and where they are talking out of both sides of their mouth, and where they are likely to compromise effectively, and where they are likely to compromise their principles and disappoint me.

Bloomberg complicates the things involved here, but presents some things well. It is clear that if money was the key, HDR would have won. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-presidential-campaign-fundraising/

While about 800 people signed up for about 200 elections, there were still unchallenged positions, with only the incumbent. http://newsok.com/governors-race-tops-oklahoma-candidate-filings/article/feed/2002984 I would like to remind everyone that we were used, especially the teachers. The only real point to the teachers’ strike, especially its timing, was the politics of the Democratic party. Undeniably, we were used and abused, and most people seemed not only eager but happy to oblige. I know it hurt me. I know others suffered in silence.

Elections are messy business. Respectable people will have nothing to do with elections. (Let that sink in.)

That points makes it rather shocking to me that people are willing to give up teaching positions to run for elected office. It will be a rude awakening, a slap in the face. For those few who succeed, the regrets are almost certainly going to outweigh any gains they can point to. I suspect the former teachers who are in office now will admit the life of an elected official is harder than that of a teacher, and generally with fewer rewards.

I’m looking at a lot of research requirements just for the statewide positions and the ones in my district. 15 candidates filed for governor. (15 x $2,000 = $30,000, I would suppose money like that will keep the polls open.) 15 candidates, lots of homework to do, but none of it matters per the experts. The frontrunner is clear. We shall see if the race muddles any. I’d like to see the Libertarians getting some press and stage time. I like their ideas and their flair. (I mean, who doesn’t appreciate that tragic soul, Joe Exotic?)

It will be a relief to have a new representative in District 94. I’ll be doing my homework, but I’m already worried. My main hope is to not have another grandstander.

I noticed something. My initial hypothesis is that there is a causative correlation between district wealth and the number of candidates filing. I’ve tabulated the races with more than four candidates, at least the ones I noticed.

First number is always D, second R, third is L or I, and fourth is I.
Senate 16 has 3 & 3
Senate 30 has 2 & 7
Senate 36 has 2 & 4

House 5 has 1 and 4
House 14 has 2 and 3
House 17 has 2 and 5
House 20 has 1, 6, and 1 (grudge match–people love to hate Bobby)
House 22 has 3, 2, and 1
House 26 has 3 and 3
House 27 has 1 and 5
House 31 has 2 and 3
House 36 has 0 and 5 (Rs)
House 41 has 3 and 6
House 43 has 2 and 4
House 47 has 3 and 4
House 48 has 2 and 3
House 53 has 3, 3, and 1
House 63 has 2 and 4
House 66 has 2 and 3
House 68 has 3, 4, 1, and 1
House 69 has 3 and 2
House 71 has 1 and 5
House 79 has 2, 3, and 1
House 80 has 4 and 3
House 81 has 1, 3, and 1
House 82, jeeze! has 1 and 12
House 86 has 3 and 2
House 91 has 3 and 2
House 95 has 4, 1, 1, and 1
House 98 has 2, 6, and 1
House 99 has 5 and 0
House 100 has 2 and 3
House 101 has 4 and 4

I didn’t double-check my hypothesis or data. I’m mostly noting several races have excessive candidates. The sad part is, it matters so little. No person’s vote really matters. We pretend every vote counts, but it is much more realistic to assume no vote counts.

Larry Norman said it well in many ways so long ago. When he asked who would lead us if none of us would vote, I always knew the loudest mouth or biggest fist would.

I haven’t given up voting, but I sure understand those who neglect it, and those who denigrate it. Voting, democracy, really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. The tyranny of the majority is tyranny nonetheless.

Plato talked about inferiors ruling, but that is inevitable. The only guards are restrictions and limitations on government. Otherwise, the violent do violence, and the manipulative use and abuse us all, far too often in the name of the children or some other vulnerables, never actually helping anyone but themselves.

Bottom line, do your own homework and be an informed voter. Or, forget about it; don’t sweat it, knowing you’ll almost certainly live just and long and die just as happy.

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While teachers and other state workers plan to hold me, the rest of Oklahoma tax payers, and our children hostage, our education leaders do things like extend the contract of the Tulsa Superintendent, paying her roughly a quarter-million per year (plus any official expenses, of course). http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/tulsa-school-board-strikes-three-year-contract-deal-with-next/article_cdd7589c-c7bb-5019-bba9-8a6347b35fd2.html

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/deborah-gist-s-contract-renewed-tulsa-public-schools-superintendent-remains/article_b183e73a-6023-57c2-af55-dbfca517b8f8.html

Apparently, new teachers should only get $31k, and generally not get raises for years (and experienced, proven teachers don’t end up making much more in many instances), but administrators pull in the big bucks, and news editors proclaim how much they deserve it. Hmm…

Still, apparently, the situation is my fault.

I mean, it must be. The teachers and other school officials (and state workers) all clamor that I’m not paying enough taxes. They say shaking me down is the only solution to their problems.

Well, obviously, I disagree.

If the Oklahoma City Superintendent, making only a little less than Tulsa’s, wouldn’t stick it out, I think the problem is not the money. I mean, who walks away from a $220k per year job because of a bad day at the office? It must have been a really bad day.

Sure, the Supers have to be paid something, and that quarter-million won’t cover much of the needs of the districts, but we keep pouring more money into education, and education keeps declining. It isn’t a money problem! The problems aren’t such that money will fix!

If teachers walk out of classrooms in Oklahoma, that says plainly that teachers don’t care about the students. Sorry, no other way to look at it. You can pretend the teachers have no recourse, but that is a lie. It is simply untrue.

In general, in most individual instances, we pay for perceived value. Sure, many things skew this or that, but for the most part, compensation is consistent with perceived value received.

I suspect most people will argue that teachers deliver more value than they are paid for. Well, true. Really, our teachers are delivering more value than they are being paid in compensation, but (you knew there’d be a but) Oklahomans are paying for an education system, not just teachers.

I, for one, think Oklahoma is taking more from me than is justifiable.

Oklahoma governments (including local) take from me in multiple taxes, and they take from me every year–in sales taxes, every day. They take from me with every utility bill, and they take from me every time I buy fuel.

Scott Inman, my representative (who has me blocked on his Facebook page), voted against raising taxes on me. I thank him for that, but he said he did so because the tax increase wasn’t large enough! Good heavens! He shouted that the proposed tax hiked taxes on the little guy, but not on the fat cats. I’m not sure who he meant, but he called them the Republican’s fat cats. Since Scott wanted more taxes on oil, I reject his argument.

Scott Inman and other Democratic representatives insisted on more cost imposition on oil companies. I suppose he thinks “the little guy” is too dumb to realize that the imposed cost is simply passed on in higher fuel prices, higher utility bills. I suppose Scott thinks “the little guy” will feel better about pretending “big oil” is paying a fair share, while each paycheck stretches tighter with increased cost of fuel for getting back and forth to work. I’ll simply remind that no business actually pays taxes. All businesses have costs, and taxes are simply costs. Prices charged must exceed all costs, or the business is bankrupt. Taxes on business, all taxes on business, are simply and only taxes on the little guy.

Overall, the governments of Oklahoma (and the USA) take more from me, by force, than can be justified by the services (including primary and secondary) rendered.

It is too much. Government is too much. The education establishment, with all its state employees, administration, and staff is too much!

We can pay teachers more without tax increases. We should pay teachers more, but it won’t help with the system. Education is broken, and no amount of money will fix it. (Just ask Aurora Lora.) Superintendents have some ability to fix things in their districts, but school board administrators must cooperate. Teachers unions have to get out of the way. Still, all that is only a small part of the problem. The first step is to end compulsion. While we coerce children and parents into State-sanctioned schools, the education cannot but worsen. The plight of teachers cannot but worsen.

Regarding unions in general, they exist to oppose the “boss,” yes?

Of course. Unions exist to collectivise the workers against the employer. The notion, which has sometimes been true, was employers exploited workers for greed.

Okay, but when have parents been greedy and knowingly exploitive of teachers?

Don’t teachers work for the parents?

I know unions disagree, but don’t we all say that teachers work for the parents, for the students? Isn’t that what we all assert?

Then the unions oppose the parents and students.

Yes, there is no way around it. Teachers unions exist to coerce and tyrannize parents, students, and taxpayers in general. That is who teachers work for. That is who unions oppose.

We err with teachers unions. Teachers err with unions.

Union coercion is part of the problem. Nobody likes to be coerced.

Coercion is evil.

 

 

 

Ever notice that for the most part politicians and lawmakers do whatever the heck they want?

They pretend to speak for the people. They pretend to represent our interests, but they just play their power games and do whatever the heck they want. I know there are a few exceptions, but the portion is too small to matter. Even the ones I’m not mad at still play the games; they still just stick it to us any old way that helps them achieve their priorities, priorities that change with the political winds.

On the drive home, I heard some snippets on the radio and composed the following to my legislators. I’ll be surprised if I even get an acknowledgement.

First, I heard on the radio a Democratic congressman blaming everything on the Republicans. Can we stop the childish name calling and blame casting, please? There is plenty of blame to go round, and the problem is spending, not revenue. Focus on the problem and reducing it, not on some preferred band-aid.

I heard on the radio someone claiming “the voters” want higher taxes on oil. Well, no. No, I don’t think they do. I know I don’t.

I really don’t think anyone wants more taxes. Put a volunteer option on the tax forms, and see if anyone donates extra. (I doubt even the outspoken Democratic politicians will.)

Honestly, there are no such things as corporate taxes; there are no such things as taxes on oil. There are only costs to operations, to extraction, and to production. We voters pay for all that no matter what caused the cost. If the oil folks have more taxes, the costs simply go up, and our prices go up to cover it.

I find it disingenuous and deceitful to pretend the gross production tax is simply on the oil companies. No, it is simply on you and me, and we pay it with every tank-full and every heating bill.

I’m good with getting rid of specialty tax laws and exemptions. The leveler the field the better, but let’s be realistic about it. All state taxes come out of the pockets of every Oklahoma citizen, no matter how a given tax is assessed.

We need less spending. We need fewer state programs. We need consolidation in the things we spend on. Mostly, we need the budget reduced.

Figure it out. Do the hard work. Don’t just pass the buck on to me and the rest of Oklahoma’s tax payers and residents.

You can start by repealing the prohibitions. That will lower some budget requirements.

I aver that Martin Luther King Jr. was a pretty good example of a husband and father, and it seems fitting on the day we honor him to note that for the most part, we’ve solved the problems for women of not having husbands.

That is, in most of our circumstances, we support single mothers. We don’t shun them. We typically work with them in personal and public ways.

For the most part, a single mother’s life is hard, but it is not life-threatening as it used to be.

Thus, we have many single mothers. That is, while there are still problems, the biggest problem, the problem that made women fear being a single mother, has been mitigated. While we have improved the lot of women, we have not improved the overall lot.

Fatherlessness, lack of a husband in the family, is a problem for society. It is a serious problem for children. Fatherlessness of families results in harm.

How do we fix that? I think it is obvious money and government programs cannot fix it.

How do we fix it?

~

Are you worried about WWIII? You should read this. Do you love history? You should read this. Do you wonder at Russia, especially the enigma of the old USSR? You should read this. Russia is not the USSR. Putin may be cold, but he is rational, and he is a patriot. Russia plays defense. It does not think offense. Even the unimaginable numbers asserted by the Soviet at the height of the Cold War, Russia thought of defense. Her offense was only intended, at least in the Russian heart, to ensure the battle lines were drawn far from Russia’s heartland.

Perhaps the grand communist experiment, the epic failure (which was and always will be inevitable), was able to happen largely due to the mindset of the Russian-related peoples. Perhaps they had lived in danger so long, that stable dread was tolerable. I hope it cannot happen again. Surely enough people know that communism, socialism, in all its forms, fails, moreover, it kills and destroys.

The article is long. Read it anyway. Grab a mug and learn, enjoy it all.

Mr. Hitchens mentions a movie, a documentary of the sorry conditions in the USSR.

In Russian, of course. No English text. So, learn your Russian or guess.

A note of one who was looking for the movie in 2015. https://www.reddit.com/r/russia/comments/2uhv7b/trying_to_find_a_movie/

From the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100738/

 


The misreading of Russia’s geopolitical situation is especially sad because for the first time in . . . .

Source: The Cold War Is Over by Peter Hitchens | Articles | First Things

Presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma, Representative Scott Inman, posted to his Facebook page an article about the 2005 conversation of Donald Trump, the recording of the crude comments. Of course, Trump had replied that Bill Clinton has said far worse to him directly while playing on the golf course; a statement that cannot be doubted.

As bad as Trump’s comments may be, the presumptive Oklahoma nominee claims to presently represent me as my representative to the State House of Oklahoma. He doesn’t think it a problem to make fun of the majority of Oklahomans who support Trump. There may be a majority of people in this house-district that don’t support Trump, but Oklahoma will probably be the reddest of red states once again on 08 November. Obviously, Scott doesn’t think it is a problem in his run for Governor. I think that is sad, because for the last ten years, I have felt that Scott tells me one thing (because I am libertarian, and somewhat conservative, and outspokenly against progressivism in all its soul-killing forms), and he does another.

Scott has often angered me with public comments that grab headlines that contradict my express views and his polite replies. He claims to be my representative, but he has often taken aggressively opposed stances to all I stand for. He is, obviously, a Democrat. He is a party man, first and last. I understand that, but he offers me platitudes face to face, and takes opposing stances publicly. Worse, he privately scolds me, calling me hateful and angry.

Mr. Inman captioned his Facebook post, “Faith. Family. Forget it.” Nothing else but a link to the Washington Post news article.

His post caused a firestorm of comments, but Mr. Inman has yet to comment further. I posted, “I recall our Lord allowing him without sin to cast the first stone. I also remember it was the elders who left first.” (Mr. Inman’s uncle queried about my point. I chose not to pick up the gauntlet.)

I don’t understand why a politician, especially a normally cordial, polite, and politically minded one, will post jibes at opponents and those of other parties. Scott hopes to get the majority of Oklahomans to vote for him in two years, but he makes fun of their Presidential candidate. He recently ridiculed Rush Limbaugh. Sure, Rush is an obvious target for all leftists, but to make fun and then not bother to explain just seems wrong to me. I see only potential for harm for all involved.

That is the main thing that worries me. I don’t understand why Scott takes the shot then doesn’t elaborate. What kind of a leader is that? How is it helpful to throw jabs and then let the pieces fall where they may?

I’ll repeat that I won’t be voting for Trump. I cannot condone him nor the GOP. Far worse is HDR and the Democratic Party. (A comment from Winston Churchill comes to mind.) I will soon change my voting registration. I cannot stay in the GOP. I do not support the GOP. I’m debating whether to just be independent, or perhaps I can support the Libertarian Party, but they need to be a bit more serious. While I appreciate his sense of humor, and Gary Johnson is a man I can admire, I cannot support him for President. I cannot put my vote of approval on him (regardless the lack of weight and value in a vote nowadays). Johnson has significant flawed views, and he is still progovernment. I cannot support anyone who proposes more of the same when government has become so clearly the primary factor in most all our problems.

Trump has admitted the mistake and apologized. Seems ancient history to me.

HDR continues to lie and deceive. She has shown no signs of honesty, nor of even learning. She only goes on always stepping on anyone and everyone available to advance herself.

It looks to me that my representative is planning to spend his last two years as House Minority Leader running for Governor. He has always touted his Del City roots. Good. I don’t doubt his devotion, but I do question his commitments. I see only signs of political ambition, not commitment to people. I’m sure he will think I’m being hateful and angry, but I only see it as practical. I’ve been watching Scott, talking to him, and writing him, for a dozen years. He sure is a nice guy, but his political ambitions and commitment to the Democratic Party seem to be his core. He has shown me over and over that he is committed to leftist, progressivist values. He has no commitment to individual freedom and individual responsibility. He has shown me over and over his commitment to statism and bigger government with  more spending.

That is my honest view and assessment. If that makes me angry and hateful, well, point out how I should improve, and I will try to implement.

Mostly, I’m hoping that Scott goes home after his term limits force him out of the State House, and I hope he takes care of his young family and stays active working for the people of East Oklahoma County in his occupation and associations.

There will be three candidates on every Presidential ballot in the country. Why on earth would anyone consider not having all three of these candidates in every debate and forum sponsored? Don’t we want the voters informed?

In the late 70s, about the time I started driving, I sat in conversation with my mother, explaining how emerging electronic communications and information storage were going to revolutionize the world by making nearly all knowledge readily available to everyone; anyone who needed the knowledge would be able to access it in minutes, instead of spending days at the public library, as I had done a summer or two prior while researching wind-power and realizing even before my engineering training what a pipedream it was. (I rode my bicycle on those excursions.)

While my vision was significantly different from what the internet has become, the central tenet, readily available information and fact checking at a moment’s notice with easily afforded effort has become true beyond my wildest imaginings.

But has it made any difference?

When faced with a lack of knowledge, or when someone challenges an opinion, nearly everyone appeals to whatever authority they find appealing at the moment. They spout something like, “The greatest minds on the subject disagree with you,” and they go merrily along without ever bothering to think, and, especially, without ever bothering to consider the correctness of the objection, never questioning whether or not they themselves might be wrong.

In the late 80s, I wrote a paper for a college writing class extolling the self-evident virtues of email systems that were coming into their own, at least on college campuses and at research centers.

I detailed why the near instantaneous written communications capabilities would let us all respond as quickly or as thoughtfully as was necessary to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. We could respond immediately to urgent information, or respond with thought and deliberation when emotion seemed to be obscuring clarity.

Of course, email, text, video chat, social media, all have all those qualities, with limits, but no one uses them that way.

I eventually learned there was no substitute for the KISS principle in email. Brevity and abbreviation are forced in texting and twitter.

Still, writing used to involve rather thoroughly stated points with detailed information. It still does, but instant communications muddles more than elucidates.

I find that nearly no one uses Facebook for anything substantial.

I don’t understand that.

Facebook has a significant flaw in its apparently random way it calculates who to show posts to, and how it picks what it shows. I don’t blame Facebook for developing and evolving those picking-algorithms per client preference. Of course, they must maximize the user experience to keep them and to keep growing, but it eliminates the effectiveness of Facebook as an actual communications medium.

It is good for keeping track of family, friends, and acquaintances, but it sucks for trying to coordinate most anything, since it cannot be relied on to transfer information to all concerned.

Facebook would follow us if we changed.

If we used Facebook to try to be substantive, and tried to actually communicate, Facebook would figure out how to facilitate.

Sadly, I think it will never be. The decades have taught me that communication is hard. None of us really care enough about it with most people to make the effort.

That is doubly true, and doubly sad, regarding our politicians.

Scott Adams is correct. We don’t care about facts, we care about emotional motivators, and politicians know that and take advantage of it. We all complain about negative campaigning, but every politician knows it works, either because they succeeded using it or lost because of it.

Well, the flow stopped. So, I end. Let’s all try to communicate better.

Especially, when discussing in social media, let’s try to consider context, not just some point we want to make in response to some small aspect of what was posted. Also, try not to take things personal, but never dismiss how much your words can actually hurt. (I too often find I still need to work on these things.)

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

——————————

Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

My comments on Rodney Stark’s Triumph of Christianity are what strikes me, and not an effort to be thorough.

Constantine’s combining of Church authority with State power was a mistake. It has hurt society and humanity.

Constantine was tolerant and cooperative with the pagans and other religions, yet he was intolerant of dissent within Christianity from Christian orthodoxy. His objection to dissent, and his application of state power against it was probably mostly trying to keep a strong unity, probably largely motivated by political ambition and avoidance of schism, which tends to lead to strife. (I don’t think Constantine was power-mad. I think he was sincere, but perhaps suffering from some noble-cause-corruption.)

I suppose Constantine was generally traditional.

That would mean that he expected people to honor their traditions whether they were different from his or not. It seems the Roman distaste for Christianity from the beginning was rooted in an expectation of following tradition and honoring the beliefs and gods of one’s family and heritage. Conversion to Christianity thwarted that. Conversion to Christianity abandoned one’s religious heritage. Traditionalists are likely to be incensed by such a change. Gradual change over generations was one thing. The dramatic conversion to Christ alone was seen as extreme, extremist, and antisocial.

For Constantine, with his Christian mother, Helena, he probably did not see his own conversion as abandoning his heritage and tradition. However, he probably respected such traditionalism among the pagans and other religions. He probably also tended to judge individuals by the content of their character, their abilities, and their political loyalty. He apparently continued always to honor and promote people around him without regard for their religious beliefs. He probably only considered whether or not they were reliable, and consistent behavior with regard to one’s beliefs, whether Christian or other, was evidence of conviction and reliability.

Regarding Constantine’s conversion, I suspect he was raised consistent with general Roman pagan tradition and beliefs. He probably had significant influence from his mother with regard to Christianity, but as a likely ruler of Rome, Roman religious practice was probably his own before conversion.

If one runs the numbers, given reasonable and plausible mathematical models (as Stark does in the book), one realizes that the Christians, who had been feared as potentially adverse political opponents, were at least a large minority, and probably already a majority, especially in the aristocracy. Constantine probably was mostly an opportunist. He saw the trend of increasing Christian unity and population proportion, and he decided it was time to embrace his mother’s faith. I think he was sincere, but I am nearly certain he saw only advantages for himself politically. Emperors were often assassinated by troops or guards. Applying Christian ethics in his administration and military leadership was very likely to improve his chances of staying in good graces with his subordinates and bodyguards.

I close this comment by reiterating that I consider the use of state power with any regard to religion a mistake and inherently wrong.

Well, I didn’t make sure I was getting things correct in an earlier post. I forgot to make clear distinction between the County Clerk, who deals with county money, property, records, etc., with respect to the County Court Clerk that deals with items specific to the courts, like fines, etc.

http://newsok.com/article/5507042

So, we have a runoff coming Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

In short, Caudill has been in the County Clerk office forever, or maybe longer. I think Hooten looks like a good replacement.

As to the County Court Clerk, the new guy looks good, and the experienced challenger looks good too. She had a good showing against him a few months ago for the fill-in-term. I’ll be thinking. I don’t think I’ll post which one I decide to vote for.

 

I received a flyer from Ms. Mena Samara for Oklahoma County Clerk.

There are no primary races for the Democratic or Libertarian primaries this summer.

The Republicans have two besides Ms. Samara. Ms. Linda Amick Dodson, and Mr. Rick Warren.

Two of those names were just voted on a couple of months ago. The clerk position came open, and we had a special election. Ms. Dodson is in the Oklahoma County Clerk’s office, and she ran a good race. Mr. Warren edged her out though, and then he won the general (special) election for the abbreviated term. So, he is up again, and he has the two challengers.

To be clear, I enthusiastically support the right to ignore the voting booth. If you don’t want to vote, okay. If you want to go and leave a given block blank, I support you. That is our right just as much as to cast the ballot. Either way, we are free. Frankly, in the system as it is now, not voting is probably more important than voting. Either way, I hope you have looked into it and made an informed decision. I encourage all to evaluate the choices available and decide, then act. I hope you don’t just muddle through and find yourself in the ballot booth with no idea what you are looking at, or waking up Wednesday morning realizing you just hadn’t bothered. Life in general, and voting in particular, is worth some effort. Think it through and decide and act.

Mr. Warren has the following description of the Clerk office on his page.

The Oklahoma County Court Clerk presides over the largest, and busiest, Court Clerk’s office in the state. Approximately 120,000 new court cases are filed in Oklahoma County annually, more than any other state, local or federal court in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s primary duty is to record and maintain court records filed in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. From the inception of the office until 2002, records were maintained almost entirely in paper form. That year, the first ever document imaging process began, with approximately one-third of the county’s case files being electronically recorded. The large majority of records kept by the Court Clerk are open for public inspection.

Another important duty of the Oklahoma County Court Clerk is to collect and account for all funds deposited in connection with court proceedings. The Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s office annually receives more than $60 million in criminal fines, court costs, bond forfeitures, child support and other such payments. Fiscal oversight of Court Clerk funds is provided by the Supreme Court, the State Treasurer, the State Auditor, the County Treasurer, by internal audit staff and the dozens of government entities to which the Court Clerk transmits funding.

Other services provided by the Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s office include passport processing; marriage licenses; and licensing of private process servers and low point beer providers.

It is a significant public position.

I’m glad we seem to have three well qualified candidates.

Mr. Warren gives some sound files worth hearing. He’s only been in office long enough to get started, but I can’t find complaints. So far, so good.

Ms. Dodson certainly has the experience, and she seems to have the mindset and attention to detail that would keep her successful in the position.

Interesting news note on Ms. Samara’s current occupation at the link.

My hope for the county, our courts and all the county offices, is that we simplify.

From the 120,000 cases per year information above, that is 10,000 per month, which works out at over 460 cases per day (work days). That is practically a case a minute. Really?

Do we need to have so much going in our county that legally requires government involvement?

That doesn’t even count the city or the fed. It is all such a waste.

At least we can pretend we are free when we consider voting, right?

We need less government. We need fewer laws. We need much less regulation.

I wonder if I can get one or more of these candidates to commit to such reductions?

The wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Oklahoma is brief, but it includes details that should lower the heads of all Oklahomans. We aren’t like that in most regards, but we didn’t always do so well.

One key fact is the state was run by democrats since the beginning. The leaders of Scott Inman’s party ran this state, and they buggered it up pretty bad in over a century. Scott Inman is minority leader in the Oklahoma state house, and he is term-limited after this next election. Public records indicate he has in the neighborhood of a quarter-million in his war chest. Jason Sansone filed to run against Inman, but his funds available will probably be a tenth of Inman’s. Money is unlikely to be a deciding factor, but if it comes to it, I’m sure the state Democrat party would back their leader.

Inman is nearly certain to fill the 12-year max, and he will probably run for statewide office in 2018. His name is being dropped already as the likely Democratic nominee for Governor. Radio hosts even talk that way when interviewing Joe Dorman, last round’s governor candidate, and Dorman has expressed his intention to run again.

I’m not sure what I think of Dorman, overall, but he shoots straight. He is also in favor of drug legalization, but you might have noticed I’ve concluded the war on drugs failed; it was mostly racist anyway, more a war on the poor than anything else. So, I favor drug legalization too. The system is broke. There are no viable alternatives to a fix other than legalizing it and working the new problems from that. Those new problems can’t be worse than the mess we have now.

Inman is a solid guy. Not much negative can be said about him, except that he is a politician, and his party seems to come before anything else in his public presentation. The only real complaint I have of him is he is one of them. One of the politicians that thinks politics can fix things, and if you only give him and his party the power to do it, they will fix everything.

Of course, there is that truism that power corrupts.

Sadly, nearly all politicians are like that. They think they just need a little more power, one more law, a little more revenue to spend, and everything will get better.

Of course, it won’t.

It so happens that the government and politics cannot fix the problem because the government and politics are the problem. Power and authority, authoritarianism, cause nearly all the problems that most of us deal with throughout our lives, at least all those problems we can’t actually do something about on our own.

My main point in my writing here is that Scott Inman keeps saying the problem is those Rs. He keeps saying if the Ds were in charge everything would be better. I see a lot of comments on his Facebook page that indicate many people agree with him.

I point out that the Ds had well over a century to set things wrong in Oklahoma, and they set them wrong in a lot of ways. The Rs have had scarcely 10% of that time to try to set things right. Sadly, they have made a poor show of it, but one can hardly pass judgement so soon.

Still, a good way to gain headlines is to blame the opposition and loudly spin anything and everything they are doing wrong. Representative Inman has been very good at that a few times, so much so that I was embarrassed to admit I live in House District 94. (Not because of the failings of the Rs, but because of the lack of responsibility in the words of my representative.)

I’m sure he will pivot to positive in just about two years, but for now, negative gets headlines.

I almost supported him for a while, several months ago. The Rs were making quite a mess of things, and it just seemed reasonable to support the opposition. I reached out, especially when he seemed offended at some of my comments in social-media. I was hoping for some push for compromise and reason. All I got was finger pointing. It has only gotten worse.

I have no plans regarding writing more about politics. Maybe more, maybe not. I’ll probably write if I do much digging and come to any conclusions. I mostly write to see what I think. I have no illusions of persuading anyone to my views. Life just isn’t like that. Emotionalism, rhetoric, polemic, sensationalism, and the like can push mobs and sway crowds, but sound reason never wins the day. Sound reason is rarely even accepted as such, must less accepted as persuasive.

I’ve become disillusioned and cynical with regard to politics and government on the whole. Such are the past, and the past is dead. Sadly, before the powers that be actually expire, there will be suffering and death. The Gods of the copybook headings, with terror and slaughter return!

I do pray that it will be less severe than the global conflagrations of war of the twentieth century. Perhaps the pains will birth a new sense of brotherhood and respect for the person, each individual. Perhaps we will begin to see that each is invaluable beyond our mortal concerns.

What is socialism, even in the ideal, if not state-enforced charity?

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Is not this a direct injunction directly from the mouth of our lord against socialism?

 With socialism, not only does our left hand know what our right is doing, but so does half the government.

 Forced charity, forced humility, is worthy of no accolades.

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