Monday, May 8, 2017

Josh Cockcroft Stabs Democracy In the Back

Oklahoma's Own Bull Conner
Representative Josh Cockcroft Stabs Democracy in the Back

Many agree that the Saturday GOP State Convention was well run and efficient, something that probably contributed to Pam Pollard's success in retaining her job as Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman. Pollard had done a good job building connections with the county GOP groups and the last minute attack by the Airy campaign didn't help Robert Airy who suffered from the fact that he was supported by the State Chamber of Commerce and probably using Fount Holland or one of the other mega consultants for the dirty tricks.

However, the Convention Chairman of the event pulled one of the dirtiest and disgusting acts that I have ever seen at a political convention. Representative Josh Cockcroft (Yeah, I know the real spelling, my way is better, look up the word croft and focus on the "small" aspect or the small scale food production aspect, whatever floats your boat) railroaded the destruction of several major rule changes including one that strikes at the heart of the Republican Party and the key to not losing the coming mid term elections. His partner in crime was AJ Ferratti (AKA the rat) the Parliamentarian convention for the event.
Ferratti is quite unusual in that he have zero internet notoriety if you Google his name, something that we intend to rectify.

Going to conventions and meetings is always a lot of fun. You will have politicians trying to make friends, even the worst ones, especially the worse ones. Matt Pinell is running for Lt. Governor, he tried to shake my hand in front of a several people, I snubbed him of course, he did an elbow bump move like that was a substitute for a hand shake but everyone knew he was being disrespected. Later I walked outside to read a document where it was quiet and Pinell followed me out and tried to get me to support him. Instead he learned that we would be going after him , he knew that already, and the time he threw a young black woman out of GOP headquarters was brought up. These guys are so shameless, he left finally saying "Call me, call me..."  Yeah, we are going to call that boy plenty.

So you set down waiting on the convention to start and every few minutes someone stops by, saying they are a supporter or newsletter reader, wanting to introduce themselves. No doubt there are others that would love to say other worse things but don't have the nerve. The best are the politicians that have been smacked around over the years. One was a retired state rep that had been exposed having an affair with another married person back in 2011, part of a story that covered a half dozen cheating married state representatives. A few months later this guy walks up at a convention and introduces himself, saying he just wanted to meet face to face and shake hands. His politics are very bad, very liberal and corrupt so STP makes a running joke out of the guy and expose his bad voting record while he is in office. He retires, term limited out, and this year shows up as a private citizen. Comes up after lunch and chats like he is an old friend. Talking about being conservative while I correct him on things like that, but he isn't leaving, sticking around trying to become likable I suppose. It is kind of like old soldiers meeting the other old enemy soldiers after a war, they have a lot in common and both survived the fight so there is some sort of weird connection. Nice guy really, doesn't make up for the bad voting record though.

Met quite a few of the new legislators, usually those that are conservative leaning. When asked about the new Platform Caucus they replied that they had received the email about the new conservative Republican Caucus at the Capitol and are going to look into it. If you haven't heard, their goal is to encourage the following of the GOP Party Platform, something that the Sooner Tea Party (STP) uses as our own bible and template for legislative issues.

But around 3:00 pm we are voting on a key rule. The rule would have required the politicians running as Republicans to take a copy of the Party Platform and mark which Platform parts they agreed with by initialing the copy and turn it in to the Republican Party. We have had this same fight for seven years, conservative Republicans want it to force the politicians to honor their campaign pledge, the corrupt politicians and their liberal Republican supporters hate it because it exposes the corruption and hypocrisy.  We usually lose by five to 10 percent but this time it was by a small amount of votes.

It was very close on the voice vote, so close they asked people to stand if they supported the new rule and I am certain we had more than 60% of the votes judged by the people standing. Now Chairman Cockcroft had a problem, they were losing and he hated the idea of this rule passing so Cocksmall...uh, Cockcroft called for a written vote.  Everyone gets out their voting slips and writes yes or no, they are collected, and counted.  I went back and watched the counting for my county and we lost fairly, 31 to 39 votes.   Trust me, they weren't going to tell me I couldn't watch. Oklahoma County has always had liberal Republican leadership and thus conservative Republicans are always in the minority. So the convention chairman, state legislator Josh Cockcroft, is calling the names of the counties and they are posting the yes and no votes using a laptop and an overhead projector that shows three huge screens on the walls with the spreadsheet showing the changes in real time. The last county is called, they go back to check a few counties that didn't report their votes (probably went home early) and suddenly the screens go dark! They had shut down the overhead projectors, probably to quickly adjust the excel formulas to change the vote total because they had lost the vote.

That puts people up on their feet in outrage, this has been pulled before, I quipped how long was going to take them to change the formulas and cheat us on the vote, lots of others are raising hell. Both the Republican Party chairman, the committee chairman, and the rat parliamentarian realized that they have a big problem so they waved their hands and said they would review the formulas and confirm the results.

Meanwhile the others that were upset and got together and laid out a plan to confront them if the vote wasn't counted properly.  I go up to the stage and politely ask the convention chairman and the rat parliamentarian when the proper time was to put forward a motion, they asked what the motion was and I said to send a copy of that spreadsheet via email or thumb drive to a half dozen independent delegates after the vote was measured. Cockcroft and the rat both got mad, said I was accusing them of cheating, I said no, I was asking for a copy of the spreadsheet so that I could have experts look at the computing formulas they used to count the votes and weigh the votes. If they had nothing to hide, they wouldn't mind sharing the spreadsheet as it was just numbers saying how many voted yes or no and the weighting formula for each county and the formula for computing the totals and tallying everything up.

Cockcroft and AJ Ferratti puff up at me, very upset, but I stick to my guns. Finally they say they refuse to allow me to make the motion, something that is illegal under Roberts Rules of Order, and the rat threatens to have me thrown out for raising my voice, I told him that I had yet to raise my voice and to go ahead and throw me out if he thought he could get away with it. He backed down, cowards usually do. His nickname is the rat for good reason, small in stature, narrow features, looks like a rat..acts like a rat... is a rat in my opinion.

Meanwhile they came back admitting that they had found mistakes in the formula, lo and behold.  Sometimes with certain versions of Excel when you move a batch of cells the other data on the line doesn't move with the moved cells and it mixes the data up till it is useless. They claim they fixed it, but that wouldn't be a quick fix of course, and their "fixes" made a small improvement in the vote total that left us losing by.008%, eight thousandths or one percent. Around four to seven votes depending upon what county was used and their vote weighing schedule.

So they announce the vote and convention chairman Rep. Josh Cockcroft tries to ignore the line of people that are waiting at the microphone to make objections and points of order. Roberts Rules of Order are quite specific on this, when someone shouts point of order the entire convention has to stop what is going on and listen to the problem being pointed out and fix it or get a ruling on the matter, hopefully form someone other than a rat. Well the three or four men in front of me were being polite and Cockcroft had the microphones shut off so it was hard to hear them and the convention chairman was steam rolling right over the top of them, trying to bully them into giving up.

But I have a loud voice when needed so I shouted "Point of Order". Now the convention chairman has no choice so he looks over toward our group with hate filled eyes and acknowledges my call. The first guy up on our side is an Excel expert, much experience working with Excel and formulas. He carefully and clearly points out three more major problems with the spreadsheet that are obvious and he actually did the spreadsheet work for a previous Republican convention and was a Republican County delegate so they had to listen to him. But the convention chairman and parliamentarian (AKA the rat) said his motion was not allowed and they tried to bully their way again so I yelled Point of Order again and the others made room to get to the microphone. I made the motion that the spreadsheet be shared publicly so that independents and experts could verify that it was done correctly and the vote was correct.  They again refused to allow the motion, an illegal maneuver again. I made it clear that they were openly cheating on a vote and did they think they could get away with it.

The newly re elected Republican chairman Pam Pollard got up on the other microphone and agreed that we had to settle the issue and agreed to turn over the spreadsheet to an internal group of Republicans after the convention.  Since she basically agreed that there was controversy and the Republican Party looked corrupt I pressed the motion again only to be refused.  The others got up and made the same points, it was crooked and dishonest, it harmed the reputation of the leaders of the Republican Party, and asked for more motions, all of which was refused by Cockcroft and the rat.

I went back to my seat fuming, then got up and found the Excel expert that was on our side and we were discussing our next move out in the hallway when the Republican chairman came up and agreed to give us a copy of the spreadsheet. David Van from Tulsa had convinced her, the Republican chairman, that she didn't have a choice but to comply and get ahead of the scandal.

This is in a huge church with a huge balcony, probably seats 2000 people in the place, around 827 delegates and maybe a hundred visitors. There are large stairways at the front of the room so the entire crowd got to see me and two allies following the Republican chairman up the stairs to where the overhead projector and computer is located. Copies of the spreadsheet, the original that had three major problems that they said they fixed, and the fixed copy that they claimed they used, were turned over for analysis. Could the formulas have already been changed by that point? Of course, but looking at the raw votes and computing the weighting and tallying everything manually will show any corruption.

The sad thing is that we lost by such a small margin, most likely because of crooked vote counting, but the fact that half of the Republican delegate thought it is okay for the politicians to refuse to follow the Republican Platform. That in itself shows the deep rooted corruption of many of those that attend political conventions which are more social clubs to them than organizations focused on building the party or holding up standards. They had a very short memorial for conservative legislator David Brumbaugh who had had died last month and one person told the story of a local Democrat going down to the Election Commission and changing from Democrat to Republican so they could run for office as a Republican and then vote Democrat once they were in the House of Representatives. They guy made the point that the dead legislator was laying in his coffin while this party changing went down and that if Republicans didn't start forcing the elected Republicans to follow our Platform and values then nothing would ever change.

And this is actually a mild case of convention corruption. There are stories of them calling for an hour lunch recess, causing most of the people to leave and they would have their people drive around the block and come back and do the vote. It is so corrupt and dirty in Party politics.

David Van did an excellent but polite write up of the event with David being far more polite and diplomatic on how things turned out.

Below is the attack ad that was emailed to everyone prior to the state convention:

Everyone knows Pam. She has been involved in OKGOP politics for twenty years. Here are some highlights of her political career:

  • In 2017, Pam embarrassed President Donald Trump's administration by causing an ethics complaint against Oklahoma's own, Scott Pruitt. Listen to Administrator Pruitt set the record straight. Click link here.
  • For 2017, Pam does not have a single person on staff dedicated to helping candidates. Here is the staff page, but note that not all of these individuals work for the party, and they haven't for several months. Click link here.
  • For 2016-17, Pam has had one of the lowest amounts of individual contributions to the Republican Party in recent history. Instead, she pressures elected officials for money out of their campaign funds. The Party should be donating to candidates, not the other way around.

Since becoming Chair, Pam has helped more DEMOCRATS get elected than Republicans.
  •  In 2016, Pam's inaction at the State Party helped get Democrat JJ Dossett elected in a safe Republican Senate seat.
  • In 2015-16, Pam's inaction helped elect and re-elect Democrat Cindy Munson to a historically Republican House seat.
  • In 2016, Pam's interference helped get Democrat John Whetsel re-elected as Oklahoma County Sheriff.
  • Pam's record of leadership is an embarrassment. The 2015 State Convention got it right...Pam Pollard doesn't deserve to be State Party Chair.
  • We must stop the erosion and continued loss of safe Republican seats...NOW! If not, our elections successes in 2018 will be few.

Ultimately the Airy kid, and yes he is a mere boy, lacked experience and age to run on a platform of leadership. He got a lot of protest votes from those that realized he could be controlled and was better than Pam Pollard but not enough to overcome the 18 months that Pollard had to entrench herself.

What it is Going to Take to Take Back the Republican Party
and Save the State, the U.S., and Maybe Our Own Families

Whistle blowers within state government are afraid to come forward as they know their jobs are at stake as well as any family mebers that work for the state, depend upon benefits from the state, or are employed with the large companies that form the donor class in Oklahoman. If they come forward they might lose everything and even be accused and made a scapegoat. The news cycle might just move on with no change, the media is even very likely to ignore the scandal, and you will be smeared to the point where getting a new job is impossible. Kids, mortgages, sick family members suddenly having no insurance, there are all sorts of obligations that society puts up to keep workers in line.

So people find themselves risking ethics or family when they stand up against tyranny or corruption. Far easier if you have no family nearby, no mortgage, you can make your choice based upon morals not obligations to others.
Different societies used various methods to gain the compliance and loyalty of allies and subordinates. The hostage situation is most common, family members are sent to live with the king or a loyal vassal, ensuring that the family complies and isn't likely to plot. The Chinese would steal children, castrate the boys, and impress them into a eunuch class along with the female servants. No family nearby, no where to run, far more dependable and trustworthy than hiring locals. The founder of Mary Kay cosmetics used the same principles when they helped women buy those pink Cadillac, work to pay the payments or have the car repossessed and be humiliated.
The wealthy have always been more free, as long as their holdings were safe and secured. But they will have families that are vulnerable even if it is as simple as them having to move about in the world, go to school, participate in online activities, to live is to face risk. Yet as a society we generally do not hold people's family responsible for crimes or treachery. While the Old Testament did hold generations of people responsible or punished entire societies for transgressions we generally don't do that in modern life.
Yet the liberals and RINOs constantly attack or derail conservative plans by using insulated people to do the dirty work. AJ Ferratti, the parliamentarian at the convention is one example, or a term limited politician or one in what is considered a "safe" district will trade dirty work and risk for large campaign donations. Rest assured that Rep. Josh Cockcroft knows this, he can buy his way out of his lies and dishonesty come election time. If these traitors are insulated, how can we provide the needed repercussions to prevent corruption like occurred this weekend at the GOP Convention?

Like it or not the answer will lay in the families, employers, institutions they belong to, and friends of these insulated corrupt individuals. Their reputations and good will are vulnerable. They won't be inured against the viciousness of politics. The hit men of politics, the pit bulls like James McCarville or Mike McCarville, aren't known as competent men or even very smart men, they are known for their willingness to go where others will not. But do we have enough Republicans and freedom loving Libertarians that are willing to step outside social norms to do what is needed?

Collective Punishment

This isn't a new idea but one that has been practiced for eons throughout history and throughout the world. Noah's Ark is an example from the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Quin Dynasty's use of familial exterminations that reached down through siblings, grandparents, nearly any and all descendants and offshoots of the family to a depth of nine levels, indeed the Chinese turned this into an art form and kept the punishment up into the 18th century for traitors.
Then in Europe there was the Peace Pledge or tithing, where men were formed into groups of ten or more families with those bound together by this pledge being responsible for bringing a criminal from the group to justice or the entire group would suffer the punishment as well. Britain imposed the Intolerable Acts upon Colonial America, General Sherman charged commanders with destroying the countryside in proportion to the attacks upon his force as they marched across the South, collective punishment was practiced in the Boer War and the Franco-Prussian War.
Of course collective punishment was the order of the day for the Germans in WWII and afterward many countries in Europe expelled German blood citizens in what was recognized as blaming them for the acts of the German state. As late as the fifties the British used collective punishment in Kenya and in Cyprus. North Korea has the practice of three generations of punishment, a criminal or political prisoner will have three generations of descendants living in prison before the fourth generation will be allowed to live free, be that what it is in North Korea. Imagine going to prison knowing that your family goes with you, your grand kids will live in prison too, and your great grand kids will also remain in prison for life.

Israel practices collective punishment for terrorists, bulldozing their homes after terror acts. The Indians punished the Sikh after a Sikh bodyguard murdered one of the Gandhi family. South Africa maintains a law on its books called Common Purpose where members of a group like striking miners can be punished for any violence that occurs even if the other miners are innocent of violence.
.Perhaps one solution to terrorism and the corruption of the Republican Party and corruption of politicians in general is to begin to practice collective punishment again. Not jailing or killing anyone of course but making these political terrorists understand that they cannot act with impunity, they will pay a price for their acts or people close to them will pay a price. Otherwise there will continue to be a payoff for these crooks, no down side to betraying their Party and their constituents.

We are rarely able to defend ourselves from terrorists or politicians willing to go as far as needed to accomplish their acts. Watching someone like Mary Fallin, Josh Cockcroft, or Leslie Osborn turn their position into cash or future assistance is little different than a Muslim strapping on a suicide vest. Perhaps punishing the friends, associates, and families of these political terrorists is a way of gaining some measure of safety, a deterrent when no other form of restraint will work. But letting the Josh Cockcrofts of the world know that doing the dirty work of corrupting a vote or killing legislation in committee isn't just going to lead to them losing reputation with the short term memory public but will lead to their families and associates incurring a burden and shame. If we can make a country pay for war crimes then we can certainly shame and expose those who support these crooked political terrorists.