Monday, January 09, 2017

Mark on Paul Harrell Program

Start at minute 24:20 for a "theological" take on the legislative bribery case, Speaker Gillam's penchant for advancing dubious crossover Democrats ahead of long time Republicans. That an more on this segment of the Paul Harrell Program.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Neal Bribery Case Illustrates Office Holder Abuse of the Christian Faith

State Representative Micah Neal (R) Springdale, has pled guilty to taking bribes in order to steer taxpayer money from the General Improvement Fund (GIF) money to specific entities - including tiny Ecclesia College near Cave Springs.

This was done in collusion with a former State Senator who is not named in the Federal Indictment, but matches the description of Jon Woods, also of Springdale. Talk Business has a report out naming Woods and Lobbyist Rusty Cranford as two of the parties named in the allegations. I don't think this will be the last case of this. Something tells me the FBI has a bead on a number of legislators.

We used to be a one-party state controlled by Democrats. Now we are a one-party state controlled by Republicans. Just last month on the Paul Harrell Program I pointed out that one party states tend to go corrupt very quickly. The more devotion there is to party over principle the faster things go bad. It does not matter if the one party is the Republican or the Democrat Party. If you want a one-party state it means that you are willing to impose corruption on our political process because that is what happens when there are no checks and balances. That is why I advocated a more decentralized way of electing political representation, as advocated from Neighbors of Arkansas.

As bad as it might be though, I think the worst part of it is Representative Neal's reaction to being caught taking a bribe. The attitude he displays in his tweets makes me cringe, but I have seen it before. There is a class of person who abuses (in my view) the Christian faith and turns it around completely from what it is supposed to do in one's heart. This attitude can be described as one in which the individual makes themselves the point of it all and God as merely someone who exists to serve them. True faith puts God at the center and makes servants out of us. If we think that we are the point we don't question ourselves, we question Him. If He is the point we have the more healthy attitude of questioning ourselves and trusting God.

I want to show you some recent tweets from Mr. Neal to show you what I am talking about. I want to emphasize that I am not singling out Mr. Neal as an especially wicked sinner. We are all sinners, me included, who require a constant attitude of repentance when we sin. But I don't see that from him, or a number of the other members of our political class who often use religion as a cloak to justify whatever they are doing.

What He is doing? Where is the introspection? Where is the acknowledgement that Mr. Neal did wrong? Why is this about what "God is doing" as if God is acting in a puzzling manner? This is about what Mr. Neal did. He accepted a bribe. He took public money and spent it on the basis of who bribed him. He let down his constituents. He broke the law. And he brought shame on his family and His God.

Don't worry though, God is big enough to take the hits for the mis-steps of His people. But aren't we supposed to have some little bit of contrition or take some sort of personal responsibility for our actions? As for what God is doing, the answer is right there in Hebrews 12.

5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
So what God is doing is exactly what the scriptures say that God will do when His sons misbehave. This should be a relief to Mr. Neal because it means that God has not rejected him, but rather He cares for him too much to allow him to operate in this soul-corrupting manner without consequences. Its the ones that get away with it who should be most concerned!

God leads us? Again there is no recognition that his own sins led him to this place. His reasoning seems to start with the assumption that he was just following along after God's leading! He does not distinguish between his own choices and God's leading. Wherever Micah Neal wanted to go, he just figures that this is where God was "leading" him to go.

.I have seen too much of this in Arkansas politicians, and obviously citizens too. Again the problem is that they don't start with God, they start with themselves. They are God's chosen. If you oppose them, or even question them too closely, why you are against God's chosen, so you are misguided at best and possibly even evil.

This is a very dangerous mindset to have, especially for politicians. True faith supports liberty because the politicians understand they are accountable to a higher power outside of and beyond themselves. This knowledge is supposed to humble the official, and lead them to critical self-examination.

Empty religion undermines liberty because those in power no longer have to act with humility or introspection once they come to believe they are God's man of power for the hour. Not only is there no critical self-examination, but examination from the outside is also dismissed as religious "persecution" of God's chosen. "Repentance" is a religious concept, but there is no room for it, or any of the other Christian practices I have referenced in this article, in the false religious mind set which is corrupting our politics.

So long as we are quoting scripture, here is one that applies...

Psalms 26: 9 "Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: 10 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes."

and Isaiah 33:15 tells us who shall dwell on high....

"He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;"

We, each of us but especially those ministering in government service, should understand that we are not the "good people" who are opposed by "the bad people". We are all the bad people. We are all going to sin, and we are all going to need to recognize and repent of it when we sin. If we sin in a public trust then publically is how we ought to own up to it.

Jesus said there is One good- God alone. We all like sheep go astray from His leading. And we all need to listen to people who love us, and search within our own hearts and His Word to constantly monitor for where we might be walking outside the ways of righteousness and peace. When (not if) we find ourselves doing so then our place is to quickly repent and ask God to help us get back on the right path. Any other attitude will find us on the road to destruction.

Update- this was one of the topics we discussed on the Paul Harrell Program Monday. Go to minute 24:20 of this audio

Friday, January 06, 2017

Where Have I Been Lately?

I realize that I have not been posting much since, well at least the Summer. Not here or even on the other two blogs, or The Localism Blog. I want you to know that I have not been idle. Instead, in addition to working a day job and being a husband and father to my three young children, I have been working on a book on theology. It is by far the most important thing that I have ever written. Look for it by the end of January on Amazon, in either print or e-book versions. I was writing on government and culture less because I was writing on theology more.

Writing about the higher things has been very draining for me, but at the same time uplifting. Draining because these things are too great for me without a Divine nudge, which I believe I received. You may judge for yourself. I think that I am about to change gears again and go back to government and culture writing. It will almost be a rest after the joyful exertions spent on this one.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Early Nominee for Most Anti-Freedom Bill of the Session

******* UPDATE *******************************

Rep. Brown has agreed to pull the bill as soon as the session starts. It is still disturbing that a legislator would be so out of touch as to even sponsor such a bill, but the way for an out of touch person to get in touch is to listen, and it appears that she listened.

Would be Karilyn Brown's (R) Sherwood bill to remove the philosophical and religious exemptions for vaccination for Arkansas School children, as well as added a slew of new mandatory vaccinations. The bill could have been written by Merck it is so pro-vaccine. Many people repeat the lie that it has been proven that vaccines do not cause autism. Not true. They studies that show there is no link tend to ask the wrong questions or if evidence of a link is found the evidence is destroyed and the test groups altered so that no link is found. Courts, even vaccine courts because vaccine companies in American actually have their own special courts where these cases get tried in, have found that there is a connection and who knows how many settlements like it are under a non-disclosure agreement?

Once upon a time we were a one party state of Democrats. Now we are close to a one party state of Republicans. Not even the Democrats gave us rules that are this anti-freedom. Power corrupts. If you want corruption, keep putting all of your political eggs in one basket. If you want good government, you cannot just trust a DC based party to handle it for you, you are going to have to work for it. It won't happen on its own while you are busy doing other things. For more information check out Arkansas Neighbors.

Arkansas Supreme Court Not Crazy Enough for Homosexual Culture Warriors

The Arkansas Supreme Court recently overturned a lower court ruling that same-sex couples could have both of their names listed as "parents" on the birth certificates of children that one of them gave birth to. Obviously with our current state of medical technology two lesbians cannot both truly be the "parents" of a child which one of them gives birth to. But that "truly" thing is the problem, The left is waging a war on truth. They are trying to stamp it out as something that is outrageously offensive to them, as are people who won't redefine what is true to fit whatever feelings they have at the moment. The left wants a world where feelings determine truth. The wise want a world where people have trained themselves to desire what is true so that truth and feelings can work together.

The lefties at the Arktimes are of course outraged that the Arkansas Supreme Court refused to say that people who clearly cannot be parents of a child are legally recorded as parents of the child. That is, the court refused to legally codify untruth as "fact". When untruth is legally codified as legal "fact" the laws become insane, and the same person is either forced to lose their respect for the law or their sanity.

Their main complaint is that the Arkansas Supreme Court did not follow the tenor of the Federal Supreme Courts in the Obergefell Decision to its ultimate conclusion. Notice I did not say the "logic"of the Obergefell Decisison because the Arkansas Courts did not violate the logic of that decision, as twisted and erroneous as it was. Rather the tenor of the decision was that the courts were going to impose untruth as truth by judicial fiat. The left now expects every court to make the same commitment to deny reality in every matter as it relates to promoting the absurd lie that homosexual relations are in every way equal to heterosexual ones. That the courts refused to deny the reality that both of those people cannot actually be the parents of the child infuriates the left, who expect reality to yield before their feelings.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Committee Intrigue and When to Get Upset About It

Mark and Paul visit about that in minute 24 of this link to the Paul Harrell Program.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Independents Make Their Mark in County Races

As you may know, I am with Neighbors of Arkansas, an outfit which encourages decentralization and diversification in government. Specifically, we encourage citizens to go around the terminally corrupt two party system which has mismanaged this nation into fiscal and moral bankruptcy. One way they can do this is to run for office as something besides a Republican or a Democrat. We like the independent route because then it is clear they owe their offices to the folks back home, and not a party label managed from Washington D.C.

Going down the list of the election results, we noticed that quite a few independents either won or did well in their races. I went to the Secretary of State's website and made a quick list. I am sure that I missed some. I do not count races for city offices, or for constable, but only for paid positions in public office.

Here is the list of those candidates. If they got 25% or less of the vote I did not include them. If they lost, I put the vote percentage. If they are in a runoff I put an "RO" beside their vote percentage.

First Name Last Name County Office Sought Won/Lost
Beth Rush Ashley Assessor w
Sue  Croswell Gwin Ashley Assessor L 44
David "Keith"  Medders Ashley Coroner L 41
Corliss MCCain Ashley JP 1 W
Glenn Latham Benton Sheriff L 28
Mark Steven Fowler Boone JP 3 L 36
Bobby  Woods Boone JP 6 W
Tom Calhoon Clark JP 6 W
Ricky Arnold Clark JP 11 RO 35
Larry Goff Cleburne JP 11 W
Ken  Stacks Craighead JP 1 W
Barbara Weinstock Craighead JP 5 W
Connie Beyerle Crawford Assessor L 31
Elaine  Stanfield  Crawford JP 10 L 30
Butch  Barnes Crawford JP 13 W
Hess Michael Cross JP 6 L 37
Jerald Clarke Drew Sheriff L 36
Jim Kendrick Fulton County Judge L 48
Lynn Guffy Fulton JP 2  RO 44
Billie J. Gibson Fulton JP 7 RO 36
Clay Herrmann Garland County Judge L 30
Cash Mike Hot Spring County Sheriff RO 21
Damon Dyer Hot Spring JP 6 L 33
James Elbert Izard JP 9 L 43
Mike Rowe Lafayette County Judge W
William "Bill" Powell Lawrence JP 1 W
Debbie Anhalt Logan JP 6 W
Bob  Krepps Logan JP 7 W
Gerald Hodgson Logan JP 9 W
Jim St. Clair Madison JP 9 L 35
Michael Scrima Marion JP 1 W
Jerry L.  Mitchell Monroe JP 8 L 44
Harl Bohannon Newton County Judge L 31
John D.  Phillips Newton JP 9 W
Russell Weaver Perry JP 3 L 44
Barbara Whiteley Scott Circuit Clerk W
Randy Shores Scott Sheriff/Collector RO 35
Bill  Bates Scott JP 2 W
Alvin Carnarhan Scott JP 5 L 43
Tommy Roberson Scott JP 6 RO 39
Gene Moore Sharp County Judge RO 27
Tommy Estes Sharp Circuit Clerk W
Darrell Kehrli Sharp JP 2 L 44
Jimmy Qualls Stone JP 5 L 45
Kenneth R.  Horton White JP 7 W

Again this does not count city races, where they are all independents in almost all Arkansas cities. Nor does it count constables, or people who did not get a quarter or more of the vote (though I missed a few). I probably also missed a few because they were elected without opposition and so their totals did not show up- they were just grouped with those who automatically won. 

Of course the two party system, and its mostly the Republicans now in this state, are pushing back. They have been altering state law to make it harder to run as an independent for some time now. In fact, Neighbors of Arkansas is currently suing the state to try and roll back one of those laws. It is shameful the way the Republicans in this state are acting on the issue of ballot access for independents. It was not too long ago that they were on the outside looking in. Now that they are on top, they want to pull the ladder up after them so that people have to keep voting for Republicans and Democrats no matter how badly we feel they are doing at running our nation. If you want to help us fight back, go to the Neighbor's website and click the "Join Us" button!

Friday, November 04, 2016

This Campaign Brought to You By the Letter "D"

Mark on the Paul Harrell Program

Go to minute 24 to hear about the condescending "turn out the vote" tactics that the Democratic Party in the swing state of Ohio. Plus what law needs repealing to fix the way we have been jerked around on ballot measures. Plus the benefits of ranked choice voting....minute 24 on this link.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Death Threats in Jonesboro Mayor's Race?

There are six candidates for Mayor of Jonesboro. The only female candidate, Amanda Dunavant has announced she is filing a police report for a death threat she has received. She has also been the subject of hacking of both her Facebook and campaign E-mail accounts according to this report. I have heard that she has been very outspoken against corruption in city government. If the local police don't handle it, maybe its time to bring in the state police.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

How Rotten is the Legislature? Alan Clark Shines in Battle for Families

Trust overall is reaching new lows, but then Alan Clark fights for families and we get a taste of how right things could be if the good ones had more help. Start at 24:30 on this audio link to the Paul Harrell Program

Thursday, October 20, 2016

On the Ballot Issues

There will be seven issues on your Arkansas ballots this November. I advise voting "NO" to all of them. Since Conduit for Action gave a pretty good synopsis of why you should not vote for six of them I will leave you with this link to their report rather than re-invent the wheel.

The only one I disagree with is on Referred Issue #2. They say "Yes" to that one. I am going to be the model of consistency and advise you to vote "NO" on that one too. The Issue will remove the constitutional requirement that the powers of the Governor's Office devolve to the Lt. Governor when the Governor is out of the state.

First of all, a bad tree will not give good fruit. This bill is from an Arkansas Legislature which, with a few notable exceptions, proven itself to be rotten to the heartwood. They fooled people on Question 3 last year, marketing it as an "Ethics Reform" measure which "Established Term Limits". Conduit acknowledges that the other two measures they sent us are also terrible. I think this one is terrible too, in ways that we just don't know about yet. First the legislature should demonstrate greatly improved character and integrity, then we should give the measure they refer to us the benefit of a doubt- not before.

One thing I think they are trying to do with it is start a process whereby they abolish the office of Lt. Governor. A lot of people think the office should be abolished because it "does nothing". Well, the state constitution says that the Lt. Governor is supposed to be "The President of the Senate." What the Senate has done is taken most of the authority from the Lt. Governor, who is picked by all Arkansans, and given that authority to the President Pro Tem of the Senate- which is one of their own who is selected by them.

Hey, you take away the primary function of any of the state offices and it looks like a joke. In other states where the Lt. Governor is the functioning President of the Senate (instead of passing it off to the Pro Tem) that office is very important. The Pro Tem is a player as a Senator and a ref as pro tem. He is trading votes, sponsoring bills, and also deciding whose bills get decided how. That is a conflict of interest. In at least one legislative body it would be nice to have a ref who is not also a player in the game of getting bills passed or killed. A ref who is accountable to all of the voters in the state, not just from one safe district for either party.

The staff that the Lt. Gov. has should not be a waste of money. The only reason they are is that the Senate has given the Pro Tem his own staff to do the stuff that the Lt. Governor's staff should be doing if they followed the constitution. Give the Lt. Governor his function back and eliminate the Pro Tem staff. That is where the duplication came from.

But this ballot question does not eliminate the office of Lt. Governor, it only takes away his duty of filling in for the Governor while the Gov. is out of state. The cannard is that "advances in technology means the Governor can still do his job while out of state." Hey, if you believe that, try it with your boss. If tech means he can now do his job even though he is out of state then the reverse should be true as well- he should be able to use tech to stay here and do whatever he was going to do out of state from right here at home. The argument cuts both ways.

This state has had two governors in recent memory who kept collecting a paycheck from us while they were wandering all around the country running for President. They did that in spite of the fact that it meant the Lt. Governor was in charge during their absence. Let's keep them on the job, not running off to D.C. or to some party function so that they can listen to some foreigners tell them how they ought to run the state when they should be listening to us.

I understand the argument that continuity in government within the term of an office holder is good. Realistically, the Lt. Governor has never done much to change that, and continuity is only good when it is within the parameters of what the people want. Corruption without interruption is continuity, but its not good. Division of power is how you make it harder for government to do anything that does not have the broad approval of the public. Consolidation of power is how government is taken out of reach of the individual citizen. That is why I am a localist.

This November, channel your inner Grumpy Cat. Just say "no" to the ballot questions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Senator Alan Clark Challenges the System on State Abduction of Children

Most reasonable people will acknowledge that there are times children need to be removed from homes for their own protection.  Sometimes parents are on drugs, or so crazy that they can't even take care of themselves, much less children. Sometimes there is a live-in boyfriend or relative who is a sexual predator. When parents fail to do their duty there are times when it is just and right for others to step in, including the state.

But when I says "parents fail to do their duty" it is understood that it is their duty to do. It is not the state's duty. The parents are not doing a job on behalf of the state. Rather it is the duty of those who created that human life to nurture and protect it. Where there is a duty, there is a responsibility. Where there is responsibility, their should be authority. Where there is responsibility and authority, there should be a right.

While parents sometimes fail to live up to their responsibilities our total modern state tends to intervene more than it should. Right now, families in Arkansas are losing their children to a Child "Protective Services" division which is too quick to remove children from families for reasons that are insufficient. That is a big reason why there has been an explosion in the number of children "needing" foster care. Parenting has not suddenly gotten worse, but the state of Arkansas has grown quickly more assertive in using its power to remove children from homes "for their own protection."

State Senator Alan Clark (R) of Lonsdale has led the charge in pushing back against a system which has become overly aggressive in removing children from their homes. Every parent in the state should thank him for pushing back against an arm of the state which is going beyond its just duties. When writing the headline for this article, I started to write that Clark was pushing against the state's "Child Protective Services" because that is what they call themselves. But what they call themselves is not what Clark is pushing against. What he is protecting against is the State abducting children from their homes even when they are not in real danger. Maybe they are in danger of being safely and lovingly raised in a manner and according to beliefs that a hyper-liberal judge does not approve of, but that's not a "danger" children are supposed to be "protected" from in what purports to be a free society.

Indeed, Clark pushed back against one of those judges too, Patricia James. Judge James ordered the removal of children from homes even when the DHS caseworkers thought the children should not be removed. He issued the judge a subpoena to answer before a legislative committee for some of her rulings. Of course the establishment press got in a tizzy about this, because they represent the elites. The elites want to separate what happens in state government from the will of the people as far as they possibly can. This means that, for one thing, they want the legislature to be utterly supine before the courts. And until this they mostly have been. Do we elect judges too? Sure but they have rigged it so judges can't talk about any issues so people are voting in the dark. And when you vote in the dark, dark money of the sort which has found its way into judicial elections in this state almost always wins.

The papers asked a bunch of judges and lawyers what they thought of the legislative branch showing the least little bit of gumption in pushing back against a lower-tier member of a judicial branch which orders them around all the time. Naturally the judges and lawyers thought that giving the Legislature any authority to investigate any aspect of the Judiciary was a terrible idea. I think its a great idea because I believe in checks and balances just like the Founders. I also believe in separation of powers, but not the way these people define it- where there is no check or balance on the judiciary and so they separate the legislature from their powers!

Clark did not get anywhere with his subpoena of James because the usual suspects, the "leadership" in the legislature Sen. Jonathan Dismang and Rep. J. Gilliam, shot down the attempt. But he is getting somewhere with his investigation of DHS procedures. It turns out that there is a pre-disposition to remove children from the home, and this has precipitated a rise in foster care. I think he will be able to successfully roll back some of this abuse of power, if we stand behind him. In other words, I am reporting good news for a change and on this issue in particular that is very refreshing.

Look, parents who live a little different life style from what the elites think is proper should not live in fear of having their children abducted by the state. Raising children is the duty and responsibility of the parent, and I know most of you will agree that unless the child is in real danger, like mortal danger or danger of sexual abuse, the state should not be in the habit of removing children from the home. I have often said that the next revolution is going to be fought over this issue. If the state keeps overplaying their hand, one day they are going to try and take the wrong redneck's kids. Not some isolated loner, but someone with lots of friends and family in the woods around them. If the worst happens, I don't think the Prosecutor would want me on that jury. Alan Clark should have support from both the people and from the elites for his work in diffusing a potentially devastating situation.