Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Primary elections: What we owe Donald Trump....

I want to address what we, as patriotic, Constitution-loving Americans, owe Donald Trump today.

Because we actually owe him a great debt.

Due in large part to Donald Trump, the grassroots effort that began with tea parties in the streets of America a few years ago has grown and morphed into a massive movement that has the potential of shifting our nation. Trump has personified and embodied an underground current of discontent with the Establishment -- a distrust of government that spans party lines.

So here's what we owe Donald Trump today....

We owe Donald Trump our thanks for giving a voice to a massive Outsider movement, slaying the dragon of political correctness, elevating the importance of several core issues, and taking down the "chosen" Establishment candidates.

So we owe Donald Trump our thanks. Mr. Trump, take a bow.

But here's what we do not owe Mr. Trump...

We *do not* owe Donald Trump our votes.

If you're like me and millions of patriotic conservatives in our land, you've been struggling with two sentiments. You know from the facts that Trump is not a conservative. After all, he has more consistently supported Democratic candidates over his lifetime than Republicans. Until very recently, Trump was far to the Left of distrusted GOP RINOs like Mitt Romney on core issues like immigration and healthcare, to name just two.

And let's be honest about Mr. Trump's deportment. He's a hard-driving, verbal killer -- a brash and at times vulgar candidate who has turned this campaign into a reality TV show.

Yet something inside of you has been telling you that Trump just feels right. Finally, someone with the internal fortitude to stand up to the bully of Big Government!

And you're right. We've been maligned by the Left and betrayed by the GOP Establishment. Trump just feels like the right guy to stick it to the system! But let's be honest and acknowledge that Trump is not, nor has he ever been, a limited government conservative.

So here's my advice: understand what you owe Donald Trump today. You owe him your thanks. But not your vote. Be thankful for Trump because his candidacy and his impact on this presidential race has done something truly amazing...

Trump has created real space and a real opportunity for a real conservative to win.

And who is that candidate?

Ted Cruz.

Rush Limbaugh called Cruz "the closest living thing to Ronald Reagan we're ever going to have in our lifetimes. I don't know what more I can say about Ted Cruz."

Cruz's record and his rhetoric back up Rush's statement. Perhaps most importantly, Ted Cruz is the best qualified among the three GOP leaders to actually nominate to the Supreme Court originalists who will interpret and not re-write the Constitution.

So, yes, we owe a great debt of thanks to Donald Trump. He is the first public figure to represent on a truly national platform the growing grassroots Anti-Establishment movement which may well be the last, best hope for our nation.

So, as you go to the polls, give a hearty "thanks" to Donald Trump.

But vote for the strongest conservative in the field: Ted Cruz.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar....and Absolutely Right!!!

Tucker Carlson, to his credit, nails it. And coming from the Politico, that's saying something.

No, he's not my first choice; at this point, Ted Cruz is.

But it is nice to hear someone say the Truth, loudly and proudly.

* * * * *
Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar and Right

And, my dear fellow Republicans, he's all your fault.
By Tucker Carlson
1/28/2016

About 15 years ago, I said something nasty on CNN about Donald Trump’s hair. I can’t now remember the context, assuming there was one. In any case, Trump saw it and left a message the next day.

“It’s true you have better hair than I do,” Trump said matter-of-factly. “But I get more pussy than you do.” Click.

At the time, I’d never met Trump and I remember feeling amused but also surprised he’d say something like that. Now the pattern seems entirely familiar. The message had all the hallmarks of a Trump attack: shocking, vulgar and indisputably true.

Not everyone finds it funny. On my street in Northwest Washington, D.C., there’s never been anyone as unpopular as Trump. The Democrats assume he’s a bigot, pandering to the morons out there in the great dark space between Georgetown and Brentwood. The Republicans (those relatively few who live here) fully agree with that assessment, and they hate him even more. They sense Trump is a threat to them personally, to their legitimacy and their livelihoods. Idi Amin would get a warmer reception in our dog park.

I understand it of course. And, except in those moments when the self-righteous silliness of rich people overwhelms me and I feel like moving to Maine, I can see their points, some of them anyway. Trump might not be my first choice for president. I’m not even convinced he really wants the job. He’s smart enough to know it would be tough for him to govern.

But just because Trump is an imperfect candidate doesn’t mean his candidacy can’t be instructive. Trump could teach Republicans in Washington a lot if only they stopped posturing long enough to watch carefully. Here’s some of what they might learn:

(1) He Exists Because You Failed

American presidential elections usually amount to a series of overcorrections: Clinton begat Bush, who produced Obama, whose lax border policies fueled the rise of Trump. In the case of Trump, though, the GOP shares the blame, and not just because his fellow Republicans misdirected their ad buys or waited so long to criticize him. Trump is in part a reaction to the intellectual corruption of the Republican Party. That ought to be obvious to his critics, yet somehow it isn’t.

Consider the conservative nonprofit establishment, which seems to employ most right-of-center adults in Washington. Over the past 40 years, how much donated money have all those think tanks and foundations consumed? Billions, certainly. (Someone better at math and less prone to melancholy should probably figure out the precise number.) Has America become more conservative over that same period? Come on. Most of that cash went to self-perpetuation: Salaries, bonuses, retirement funds, medical, dental, lunches, car services, leases on high-end office space, retreats in Mexico, more fundraising. Unless you were the direct beneficiary of any of that, you’d have to consider it wasted.

Pretty embarrassing. And yet they’re not embarrassed. Many of those same overpaid, underperforming tax-exempt sinecure-holders are now demanding that Trump be stopped. Why? Because, as his critics have noted in a rising chorus of hysteria, Trump represents “an existential threat to conservatism.”

Let that sink in. Conservative voters are being scolded for supporting a candidate they consider conservative because it would be bad for conservatism? And by the way, the people doing the scolding? They’re the ones who’ve been advocating for open borders, and nation-building in countries whose populations hate us, and trade deals that eliminated jobs while enriching their donors, all while implicitly mocking the base for its worries about abortion and gay marriage and the pace of demographic change. Now they’re telling their voters to shut up and obey, and if they don’t, they’re liberal. 

It turns out the GOP wasn’t simply out of touch with its voters; the party had no idea who its voters were or what they believed. For decades, party leaders and intellectuals imagined that most Republicans were broadly libertarian on economics and basically neoconservative on foreign policy. That may sound absurd now, after Trump has attacked nearly the entire Republican catechism (he savaged the Iraq War and hedge fund managers in the same debate) and been greatly rewarded for it, but that was the assumption the GOP brain trust operated under. They had no way of knowing otherwise. The only Republicans they talked to read the Wall Street Journal too.

On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.

Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals — these are the ravings of a Nazi? This is the “ghost of George Wallace” that a Politico piece described last August? A lot of Republican leaders think so. No wonder their voters are rebelling.
And frankly, Tucker, even the point about cross-border crime--which includes rape--is the hard truth.
(2) Truth Is Not Only A Defense, It’s Thrilling

When was the last time you stopped yourself from saying something you believed to be true for fear of being punished or criticized for saying it? If you live in America, it probably hasn’t been long. That’s not just a talking point about political correctness. It’s the central problem with our national conversation, the main reason our debates are so stilted and useless. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t have the words to describe it. You can’t even think about it clearly.

This depressing fact made Trump’s political career. In a country where almost everyone in public life lies reflexively, it’s thrilling to hear someone say what he really thinks, even if you believe he’s wrong. It’s especially exciting when you suspect he’s right.

A temporary ban on Muslim immigration? That sounds a little extreme (meaning nobody else has said it recently in public). But is it? Millions of Muslims have moved to Western Europe over the past 50 years, and a sizable number of them still haven’t assimilated. Instead, they remain hostile and sometimes dangerous to the cultures that welcomed them. By any measure, that experiment has failed. What’s our strategy for not repeating it here, especially after San Bernardino—attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere? Invoke American exceptionalism and hope for the best? Before Trump, that was the plan.

Republican primary voters should be forgiven for wondering who exactly is on the reckless side of this debate. At the very least, Trump seems like he wants to protect the country.

Evangelicals understand this better than most. You read surveys that indicate the majority of Christian conservatives support Trump, and then you see the video: Trump on stage with pastors, looking pained as they pray over him, misidentifying key books in the New Testament, and in general doing a ludicrous imitation of a faithful Christian, the least holy roller ever. You wonder as you watch this: How could they be that dumb? He’s so obviously faking it.
They know that already. I doubt there are many Christian voters who think Trump could recite the Nicene Creed, or even identify it. Evangelicals have given up trying to elect one of their own. What they’re looking for is a bodyguard, someone to shield them from mounting (and real) threats to their freedom of speech and worship. Trump fits that role nicely, better in fact than many church-going Republicans. For eight years, there was a born-again in the White House. How’d that work out for Christians, here and in Iraq?

(3) Washington Really Is Corrupt

Everyone beats up on Washington, but most of the people I know who live here love it. Of course they do. It’s beautiful, the people are friendly, we’ve got good restaurants, not to mention full employment and construction cranes on virtually every corner. If you work on Capitol Hill or downtown, it’s hard to walk back from lunch without seeing someone you know. It’s a warm bath. Nobody wants to leave.

But let’s pretend for a second this isn’t Washington. Let’s imagine it’s the capital of an African country, say Burkina Faso, and we are doing a study on corruption. Probably the first question we’d ask: How many government officials have close relatives who make a living by influencing government spending? A huge percentage of them? OK. Case closed. Ouagadougou is obviously a very corrupt city.

That’s how the rest of the country views D.C. Washington is probably the richest city in America because the people who live there have the closest proximity to power. That seems obvious to most voters. It’s less obvious to us, because everyone here is so cheerful and familiar, and we’re too close to it. Chairman so-and-so’s son-in-law lobbies the committee? That doesn’t seem corrupt. He’s such a good guy.

All of which explains why almost nobody in Washington caught the significance of Trump’s finest moment in the first debate. One of the moderators asked, in effect: if you’re so opposed to Hillary Clinton, why did she come to your last wedding? It seemed like a revealing, even devastating question.

Trump’s response, delivered without pause or embarrassment: Because I paid her to be there. As if she was the wedding singer, or in charge of the catering.

Even then, I’ll confess, I didn’t get it. (Why would you pay someone to come to your wedding?) But the audience did. Trump is the ideal candidate to fight Washington corruption not simply because he opposes it, but because he has personally participated in it. He’s not just a reformer; like most effective populists, he’s a whistleblower, a traitor to his class. Before he became the most ferocious enemy American business had ever known at the time, Teddy Roosevelt was a rich guy. His privilege wasn't incidental; it was key to his appeal. Anyone can peer through the window in envy. It takes a real man to throw furniture through it from the inside.

If Trump is leading a populist movement, many of his Republican critics have joined an elitist one. Deriding Trump is an act of class solidarity, visible evidence of refinement and proof that you live nowhere near a Wal-Mart. Early last summer, in a piece that greeted Trump when he entered the race, National Review described the candidate as “a ridiculous buffoon with the worst taste since Caligula.” Virtually every other critique of Trump from the right has voiced similar aesthetic concerns.

Why is the Party of Ideas suddenly so fixated on fashion and hair? Maybe all dying institutions devolve this way, from an insistence on intellectual rigor to a flabby preoccupation with appearances. It happened in the Episcopal Church, once renowned for its liturgy, now a stop on architectural and garden tours. Only tourists go there anymore.

(4) He Could Win

Of all the dumb things that have been said about Trump by people who were too slow to get finance jobs and therefore wound up in journalism, perhaps the stupidest of all is the one you hear most: He’ll get killed in the general! This is a godsend for Democrats! Forty-state wipeout! And so it goes mindlessly on.

Actually — and this is no endorsement of Trump, just an interjection of reality — that’s a crock. Of the Republicans now running, Trump likely has the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton, for two reasons:

First, he’s the only Republican who can meaningfully expand the pie. Polls show a surprisingly large number of Democrats open to Trump. In one January survey by the polling form Mercury Analytics , almost 20 percent said they’d consider crossing over to him from Hillary. Even if that’s double the actual number, it’s still stunning. Could Ted Cruz expect to draw that many Democrats? Could Jeb?

It’s an article of faith in Washington that Trump would tank the party’s prospects with minority voters. Sounds logical, especially if you’re a sensitive white liberal who considers the suggestion of a border wall a form of hate speech, but consider the baseline. In the last election, Romney got 6 percent of the black vote, and 27 percent of Hispanics. Trump, who’s energetic, witty and successful, will do worse? I wouldn’t bet on it.
(In fact, when I remember that Governor Pete Wilson won a GOP record of about 30% of the African American vote in California for his stance on illegal aliens, and STILL won the usual 1/3 of Mexican American Republican voters, I have to wonder how many American-born "people of color" really like the illegal alien invasion either.)
But the main reason Trump could win is because he’s the only candidate hard enough to call Hillary’s bluff. Republicans will say almost anything about Hillary, but almost none challenge her basic competence. She may be evil, but she’s tough and accomplished. This we know, all of us.
But do we? Or is this understanding of Hillary just another piety we repeat out of unthinking habit, the political equivalent of, “you can be whatever you want to be,” or “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Trump doesn’t think Hillary is impressive and strong. He sees her as brittle and afraid.

He may be right, based on his exchange with her just before Christmas. During a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump said Hillary had been “schlonged” by Obama in the 2008 race. In response, the Clinton campaign called Trump a sexist. It’s a charge Hillary has leveled against virtually every opponent she’s faced, but Trump responded differently. Instead of scrambling to donate to breast cancer research, he pointed out that Hillary spent years attacking the alleged victims of her husband’s sexual assaults. That ended the conversation almost immediately.

It was the most effective possible response, though more obvious than brilliant. Why was Trump the only Republican to use it?

Republican primary voters may be wondering the same thing. Or maybe they already know. They seem to know a lot about Trump, more than the people who run their party. They know that he isn’t a conventional ideological conservative. They seem relieved. They can see that he’s emotionally incontinent. They find it exciting.

Washington Republicans look on at this in horror, their suspicions confirmed. Beneath the thin topsoil of rural conservatism, they see the seeds of proto-fascism beginning to sprout. But that’s not quite right. Republicans in the states aren’t dangerous. They’ve just evaluated the alternatives and decided those are worse.
* * * * *

You know, the popularity of "The Hunger Games" books and movies should have been a hint to the Washington Establishment. I recall the excess in the depictions of "the Capital" in The Hunger Games when reading this Tucker Carlson piece.

No, they aren't *quite* sacrificing us Middle Americans in such a fanciful and shocking way as they tried with Katniss and her friends.

But they are, in fact, doing so.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Majority: The Rule Of The Anus

Three decisions ruined liberty today. The Rule Of Law is being destroyed and the Rule Of The Anus is rising to replace it, and not just because of “teh ghey” issue forced upon us all by judicial 14th amendment fabrication fiat either.

No, gays were not freed African Americans!

If you REALLY believe in same sex marriage and aren't just using it as a tool to bully Christian bakers and Silicon Valley executives who don't, then go fight for it state-by-state, as women's suffrage was done, back when people still believed in a Constitutional Amendment process.

And then, in a second Court decision, statistical variations can be used to "prove" racial discrimination now in housing, regardless of who actually purchased a home in a neighborhood or had the ability to do so.

I know, I know, income to debt ratios and credit history are "white privilege" or inherently racist, so let's just get that out of the way.... :-P

The ultimate coup de grace for liberty came with the Obamacare ruling, where regardless of how the law was explicitly written about subsidies for state or federal exchanges, somehow there was magical "intent", to write it differently.

Scalia’s dissent: “We lack the prerogative to repair laws that do not work out in practice, just as the people lack the ability to throw us out of office if they dislike the solutions we concoct.”

That is a DISSENT. 

In a sane world that would be the 9 – zip decision.

But that’s the thing isn’t it?

The Rule of Law is dead.

Under this ruling, you could literally shit on a piece of paper, have it passed by Congress and signed by the President–then interpret it to mean whatever you want–because intentions!!! So never mind "Teh Gheys", this decision is the ultimate Rule Of The Anus.

The Blackmailed (I firmly believe this) John Roberts and Obama have broken the United States of America. The Humpty Dumpty Principle is now operative. Under the socialist Obama:
--The USA is bankrupt.
--We are no longer a world leader.
--Our middle class is dwindling.
--The destruction of the family is nearly complete.
--Nearly fifty million Americans are on food stamps.
--Almost 100 million Americans are out of the work force, hence "lower unemployment figures" (which count people actively seeking work).
--And there is no functional opposition to any of this.

But, Confederate battle flag! And statues !!

And the Leftist Smear Machine gets cranking up.

Some years ago, Julian Bond, living on the fumes of his Civil Rights cred, ranted that “Tea Party Members long for the Confederacy”.

Meanwhile, Julian Bond longs for the Soviet Union.

Once I believed that with enough Real Republicans to overwhelm the RINOs, we could actually make a difference.

But now I believe that the Left Media Smear Machine is too strong. And where that doesn’t silence opposition, the Left Blackmail Machine does. How else to explain Justice Roberts and former Speaker Hastert?

Meanwhile, too many people are tuned out on twerking or drugs or sports or The Bachelor(ette) or who knows what.

And perhaps they are correct to be, as we can no longer win.

I think it’s time to admit that the tide has turned against liberty and responsibility and the rule of law.

Obama and his ilk won for a reason.

Same sex marriage is being accepted for a reason.

“Politically Correct” mau-mauing is being accepted for a reason.

Our economy is in the shitter for a reason.

The GOP can’t effectively respond for a reason.

The media can lie and obfuscate for a reason.

And so forth.

The reason, sadly, is that the "low information voter" sheeple majority in the country believes those actions or situations are okay.

We’re on the minority side, and probably will be from now until “they run out of other people’s money”, and the cumulative effects of these uninformed and ill conceived ideas overwhelm the country. And perhaps even beyond that point, as some Commiecrat decides he can nationalize everything like Allende in Chile, or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The importing of millions of illegal aliens from the banana republics may be no accident.

Perhaps another Reagan or an American Thatcher can arise and try to turn the tide, but we would need a planned succession of at least 4 terms of their minions–and solid Tea Party Congresses in place concurrently.

Perhaps another Tailgunner Joe McCarthy can arise to counter-demonize and neutralize the “Politically Correct” mau-mauing, but he would probably be driven to drinking himself to death, just like the original Tailgunner Joe was.

Perhaps The Obamunist and his successors will try to overreach like Allende did down in Chile, but will the only response be to get a Pinochet of our own to have a dictatorship and rule over the nation of socialist dupes for 16 years until the mess is straightened out and the dupes grow up, die off, or wise up, depending upon their ages? That certainly wasn’t libertarian.

Well, just some happy thoughts for the day….. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Victor Davis Hanson: Goodnight, California

This bears repeating entirely. A once Golden State is slowly rotting. The Liberal coastal elites are still too pampered and don't see it, but those of us inland can see the warning signs all too well .....

* * * * *

I offer another chronicle, a 14-hour tour of the skeleton I once knew as California.

8:00 AM

I finally got around to retrieving the car seat that someone threw out in front of the vineyard near my mailbox. (Don’t try waiting dumpers out — as if it is not your responsibility to clean up California roadsides.)

An acquaintance had also emailed and reminded me that not far away there was a mound of used drip hose on the roadside. That mess proved to be quite large, maybe 1,000 feet of corroded and ripped up plastic hose. I suppose no scavenger thinks it can be recycled. I promise to haul it away this week. One must be prompt: even a small pile attracts dumpers like honey to bees. They are an ingenious and industrious lot (sort of like the cunning and work ethic of those who planted IEDs during the Iraq War). My cousin’s pile across the road has grown to Mt. Rushmore proportions. Do freelance dumpers make good money promising to take away their neighborhood’s mattresses and trash without paying the $20 or so county dumping fee? And does their success depend on fools like me, who are expected to keep roadsides tidy by cleaning up past trash to make room for future refuse?


9:00 AM

My relative has sold her 20 acres to a successful almond grower; that was the last parcel other than my own left of my great great grandmother’s farm. All that remains is the original house I live in and 40 acres. Almost all the small farming neighbors I grew up with — of Armenian, Punjabi, German, or Japanese descent — are long gone. Goodbye, diversity. And their children either sold the parcels and moved away (the poorer seem to head to the foothills, the middle class go out of state, the better off flee to the coast) or rent them out. Most of the surrounding countryside, piece-by-piece, is being reconstituted into vast almond groves. I plan to rent out mine next year for such conversion.

Almonds can net far more per acre than raisins and do not require much more water and require almost no labor. Tree fruit, given its expenses and risks, can lose your farm. The last vestiges of small, agrarian farming in these parts died sometime in the 1990s. Oddly, or perhaps predictably, the land to the naked eye looks better in the sense that the power of corporate capital and savvy scientific expertise has resulted in picture-perfect orchards. The old agrarian idea that 40 acres also grows a unique family, not just food, is — how do we say it? No longer operative?

10:00 AM

I drive on the 99 freeway past Kingsburg on the way to Visalia. It is a road-warrior maze of construction and detours. The construction hazards are of the sort that would earn any private contractor a lawsuit. (How do you sue Caltrans — and why is it that four or five men always seem to be standing around one who is working?) Only recently has the state decided to upgrade the fossilized two-lane 99 into an interstate freeway of three lanes. But the construction is slow and seemingly endless. Could we not have a simple state rule: “no high-speed rail corridors until the 101, 99, and I-5 are three-lane freeways, and the neglected Amtrak line achieves profitable ridership?” It is almost as if California answers back: “I am too bewildered by your premodern challenges, so I will take psychological refuge in my postmodern fantasies.”

12:00 Noon

I try to drive by the Reedley DMV on the way home to switch a car registration. Appointments take a long waiting period, but the line of the show-ups is still far out the door and well into the parking lot. I pass. The state announced that it was surprised that “unexpectedly” (the catch adverb of the Obama era) nearly 500,000 illegal aliens have already been processed with new driver’s licenses. The lines at the office suggest that many DMVs simply have transmogrified into illegal alien license-processing centers.

The last time I had visited the office, I noticed the customers were also dealing with fines, tickets, or fix-it citations as part of the process. I thought, how will they pay for all that, given that “living in the shadows” and ignoring summonses and threats is far easier than paying what the state wants? And then, presto, the governor just announced a wish that the poor should be given “ticket amnesty.” So much for Sacramento’s idea of fining California drivers into becoming a reliable revenue source for a broke state, given that it has affected far more drivers than the shrinking and hated middle class that could supposedly afford the new sky-high tickets.

It reminds me of Obamacare: after my accident last May, I had lots of procedures and hours in waiting rooms. I discovered something listening to the desk people deal with Obamacare signups: a vast number apparently have not regularly paid the monthly or quarterly premiums. An even larger group has no idea what a deductible is, or that it actually applies to themselves. And some had no notion of a copayment. The reality of all three sends many into a near frenzy, reminiscent of the idea that a driver’s license means keeping up with registration, smog rules, and paying outstanding warrants — until the state provides the expected amnesties.

2:00 PM

I’m at the local supermarket two miles away. Three observations: many of the shoppers seem to be here for the air conditioning (the forecast is for 105 degrees by 5 PM). No one in the Bay Area, whose green agenda has led to the highest power rates in the country, seems to have thought that all of California does not enjoy 65-75 degree coastal corridor weather. My latest PG&E bill reminds me to apply for income-adjusted reduced rates — if I qualify. I don’t, so keep the air conditioner off all day.

Obesity among the shoppers seems epidemic and no one is talking about it. It is striking how young the overweight are! Almost all our small towns now have new state/federal dialysis clinics. Is this not a state emergency? Cannot the state at least offer public health warnings to the immigrant community that while diabetes is alarming among the population at large, it is becoming epidemic among new arrivals from Latin America and Mexico?

Stories that 25 percent of all state hospital admittances suffer from high blood sugar levels circulate. I argue in a friendly way with a customer in line about the new “green” Coke. He claims it is diet, but tastes like regular Coke. I remind him that it is so only because the artificial sweetener has been energized by some cane sugar and it is not so diet after all. (He is buying eight six-packs in fear of shortages.)

I don’t understand the EBT system. How is it that customers ahead of me pull out not one, but often go through three or four cards before they cobble together enough plastic credit for the full tab? Where does one acquire multiple cards?

4:00 PM

I am talking ag pumps at home with some farmers. The water table here has gone from 40 feet in 2011 to 82 feet now — the result of four years of constant pumping combined with below-average rain and snow runoff, and the complete cut-off of contracted surface water from the Kings River watershed (don’t ask why). I lowered one 15-hp submersible to 100 feet (the well is only 160, which used to be called “deep” when the water table was 40 feet). “Lowering” means less water pumped, more energy costs, a waiting list for the pump people, and sky-high service charges. The renter promises to lower the other one, whose pump is pumping air, now well above the sinking water table. My house well is only 140 feet deep. I just lowered the pump to a 110-foot draw, and decided to get on the “waiting list” for a new domestic well. (Prices for drilling by the foot have increased fivefold, and are said to go up monthly).

If the drought continues, one will see two unimaginable things by next spring: thousands of abandoned older homes out in the countryside from Merced to Bakersfield, and tens of thousands of acres on the West Side (water table ca. 1,000 feet and dropping) will go fallow if they are row-crops. And if orchards and vineyards, a mass die-off will follow of trees and vines. (Note that Silicon Valley’s Crystal Springs reservoir on freeway 280 is “full.” No Bay Area green activist is arguing either that the deliveries through massive conduits should be stopped at the San Joaquin River to be diverted for fish restoration, or that the entire project is unnatural and a scar on Yosemite Park, warranting shutting down the huge transfer system in favor of recycling waste water for showers and gardens.)

5:00 PM

I’m on a PG&E off-peak rate schedule, so I’m waiting until evening to turn on the air conditioner. It is 104 degrees outside and 96 degrees inside the house. As a youth, we used a tiny window, inefficient air conditioner far more in the 1960s and 1970s than I ever do now with central air. Given power rates, the idea of a cool home in the valley is so 1970s.

6:00 PM

I take another walk around the farm. Good — no one has yet shot the majestic pair of red tail hawks yet, who greet me on their accustomed pole. But I do notice someone has forced open the cyclone fence around the neighbor’s vacant house. It was put up to stop the serial vandalizing. (What do you do after stealing copper wire? Go for the sheet rock? Pipes? Windows? Shingles?)

7:00 PM

A friend calls and mentions that local JCs had a spate of car vandalizations. This time targets are catalytic converters (for precious metal salvage?). I get the impression that today’s Gothic looter and Vandal is more ingenious than the state’s work force. Note the new California: the citizen is responsible for picking up trash or keeping a car running clean with a converter. The idea that a bankrupt state would create a task force to go after such thievery is absurd. I appreciate California logic: don’t dare suggest that massive new commitments to ensure social parity for millions of new arrivals through increased state legal, medical, criminal justice, and educational programs ever come at the expense of investments in roads, bridges, reservoirs, airports, or public facilities — or even the accustomed state services that one took for granted in 1970. To do so is nativist, racist, and xenophobic. What an illiberal state we’ve become.

8:00 PM

I’m on the upstairs balcony looking out over miles of lush countryside. It’s quite scenic, something in between verdant Tuscany and the aridness of Sicily. I can hear the ag pumps of the surrounding farms everywhere churning 24/7. In a normal year they would never be turned on, as river water irrigated the fields and recharged the water table.

Then come two sirens. Will the power go off? Quite often, someone after too much to drink goes airborne and hits a power pole on these rural roads. I got back inside in case things go dark to review the mail. The local irrigation district has not delivered water in four years (what do ditch tenders do when canals and ditches are empty?) and now wants a tax hike to keep up with increased expenses. In fact, half the mail seems to be drought information from various agencies. What was so awful about building just two or three one million acre-foot reservoirs, or raising Shasta Dam? We could begin today. When the taps at Facebook or the Google toilets go dry, will the state again invest in water storage?

10:00 PM

I turn on the local news and channel surf for 10 minutes. How well we take refuge in the absurd. This litany blares out: Bruce Jenner’s new sexual identity, the latest racial controversy, this time over the crashing of a private pool party and the police reaction, the Obama’s new stretch Air Force One jumbo jet, Marco Rubio’s one ticket every four years, Miley Cyrus’s bisexuality. I suppose if one cannot grasp, much less deal with, $19 trillion in debt, a foreign policy in shambles, the largest state in the union on the cusp of a disastrous drought, a Potemkin health care system, zero interest on passbook savings, and the end of all federal immigration law, then the trivial must become existential.

Goodnight, once great state…

Friday, June 12, 2015

Devin Nunes: Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California's Water Wars

Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California’s Water Wars
BY REP. DEVIN NUNES, Investors Business Daily, 6/12/15

In the summer of 2002, shortly before I was elected to Congress, I sat through an eye-opening meeting with representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council and several local environmental activist groups. Hoping to convince me to support various water restrictions, they argued that San Joaquin Valley farmers should stop growing alfalfa and cotton in order to save water — though they allowed that the planting of high-value crops such as almonds could continue.

Then, as our discussion turned to the groups’ overall vision for the San Joaquin Valley, they told me something astonishing:

Their goal was to remove 1.3 million acres of farmland from production. They showed me maps that laid out their whole plan: From Merced all the way down to Bakersfield, and on the entire west side of the Valley as well as part of the east side, productive agriculture would end and the land would return to some ideal state of nature. I was stunned by the vicious audacity of their goal — and I quickly learned how dedicated they were to realizing it.

How To Steal Water And Get Away With It

For decades, extreme environmentalists have pursued this goal in California with relentless determination. The method they have used to depopulate the targeted land — water deprivation — has been ruthless and effective.

Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley’s water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor. From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.

Working in cooperation with sympathetic judges and friendly federal and state officials, environmental groups have gone to extreme lengths to deprive the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of much of the U.S. agricultural production, of much-needed water. Consider the following actions they took:

1. The Central Valley Project Improvement Act: Backed by the NRDC, Sierra Club and other extreme environmental groups, large Democratic majorities in Congress passed the CVPIA in 1992 after attaching it to a must-pass public lands bill. The act stipulated that 800,000 acre-feet of water — or 260 billion gallons — on the Valley’s west side had to be diverted annually to environmental causes, with an additional 400,000 acre-feet later being diverted annually to wildlife refuges.

2. Smelt and salmon biological opinions: Lawsuits filed by the NRDC and similar organizations forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to issue, respectively, biological opinions on smelt (in 2008) and on salmon (in 2009). These opinions virtually ended operation of the Jones and Banks pumping plants — the two major pumping stations that move San Joaquin River Delta water — and resulted in massive diversions of water for environmental purposes.

3. The San Joaquin River Settlement: After nearly two decades of litigation related to a lawsuit filed in 1988 by the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and other environmental groups, San Joaquin Valley agriculture organizations agreed to a settlement in 2006, later approved by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The settlement created the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. The program, which aims to create salmon runs along the San Joaquin River, required major new water diversions from Valley communities. Despite warnings from me and other California Republicans, agriculture groups naively approved the settlement based on false promises by the settlement’s supporters that Valley water supplies would eventually be restored at some future, unspecified date.

4. Groundwater regulation: In September 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown approved regulations requiring that water basins implement plans to achieve “groundwater sustainability” — essentially limiting how much water locals can use from underground storage supplies. But these pumping restrictions, slated to take effect over the next decade, will reduce access to what has become the final water source for many Valley communities, which have increasingly turned to groundwater pumping as their surface water supplies were drastically cut.

A Litany Of Hypocrisy

As radical groups have pursued this campaign to dry up the San Joaquin Valley, it’s worth noting some of their stunning contradictions, hypocrisies, fallacies and failures:

“There’s not enough water in California”: Environmentalists often claim that the California water crisis stems from the state not having enough water to satisfy its rapidly growing population, especially during a drought.

However, the state in fact has abundant water flowing into the Delta, which is the heart of California’s irrigation structure. Water that originates in the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada Mountains runs off into the Delta, which has two pumping stations that help distribute the water throughout the state.

But on average, due to environmental regulations as well as a lack of water storage capacity (attributable, in large part, to activist groups’ opposition to new storage projects), 70% of the water that enters the Delta is simply flushed into the ocean. California’s water infrastructure was designed to withstand five years of drought, so the current crisis, which began about three years ago, should not be a crisis at all. During those three years, the state has flushed more than 2 million acre-feet of water — or 652 billion gallons — into the ocean due to the aforementioned biological opinions, which have prevented the irrigation infrastructure from operating at full capacity.

“Farmers use 80% of California’s water”: Having deliberately reduced the California water supply through decades of litigation, the radicals now need a scapegoat for the resulting crisis. So they blame farmers (“big agriculture,” as they call them) for using 80% of the state’s water.

This statistic, widely parroted by the media and some politicians, is a gross distortion. Of the water that is captured for use, farmers get 40%, cities get 10% and a full 50% goes to environmental purposes — that is, it gets flushed into the ocean. By arbitrarily excluding the huge environmental water diversion from their calculations — as if it is somehow irrelevant to the water crisis — environmentalists deceptively double the farmers’ usage from 40% to 80%.

If at first you don’t succeed, do the exact same thing: Many of the Delta water cuts stem from the radicals’ litigation meant to protect salmon and smelt. Yet after decades of water reductions, the salmon population fluctuates wildly, while the smelt population has fallen to historic lows. The radicals’ solution, however, is always to dump even more water from the Delta into the ocean, even though this approach has failed time and again.

The striped bass absurdity: If the radicals really want to protect salmon and the Delta smelt, it’s a bit of a mystery why they also champion protections for the striped bass, a non-native species that eats both salmon and smelt.

Hetch Hetchy hypocrites: The San Francisco Bay Area provides a primary support base for many environmental groups. Lucky for them, their supporters don’t have to endure the kinds of hardships these organizations have foisted on San Joaquin Valley communities.

While the radicals push for ever-harsher water restrictions in the Valley, their Bay Area supporters enjoy an unimpeded water supply piped in across the state from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park. This water is diverted around the Delta, meaning it does not contribute to the Delta’s water quality standards. Environmental groups have conveniently decided not to subject Hetch Hetchy water to any sort of litigation that would cut the supply to the Bay Area.

We’re from the government, and we’re here to help: Government agencies that catch smelt as part of scientific population measurements actually kill more of the fish than are destroyed in the supposedly killer water pumps.

Hitchhiking salmon: The San Joaquin River Settlement is estimated already to have cost taxpayers $1.2 billion — and it’s clear to me that the total price tag will likely exceed $2 billion — in a disastrous effort to restore salmon runs to the San Joaquin River.

Moreover, the settlement legislation defines success as reintroducing 500 salmon to the river, which means spending $4 million per fish. The salmon, which have not been in the river for more than half a century, have proved so incapable of sustaining themselves that agents have resorted to plucking them out of the water and trucking them wherever they are supposed to go. It is a badly kept secret among both environmentalists and federal officials that this project has already failed.

A man-made state of nature: The radicals claim they want to reverse human depredations in the Delta and restore fish to their natural habitat. Yet the entire Delta system is not natural at all. It’s a man-made network of islands that functions only thanks to upstream water storage projects. In fact, without man-made storage projects, canals and dams, in dry years such as this the rivers would quickly run dry, meaning there would be no water and no fish.

A Three-Step Solution

The radicals have pursued their plan methodically and successfully; between the CVPIA, the biological opinions, and the San Joaquin River Settlement, around a million acres of farmland have been idled. What’s left of the water supply is inadequate for sustaining Valley farming communities: South of the Delta, we now face an annual water supply deficit of approximately 2.5 million acre-feet, or 815 billion gallons.

In fact, with the state groundwater regulations announced last year, the radicals are poised to achieve their goal. The depletion of groundwater is a direct effect — and indeed, was an intended result — of the radicals’ assault on our surface water.

(After all, if farmers, churches, schools and communities can’t get surface water, they’ll predictably resort to ground water.)

But the radicals have perversely cited the groundwater depletion they themselves engineered to justify regulating the groundwater supply. This is the final step in their program, since many farmers will not be able to keep growing food if they continue to receive zero water allocations and are restricted from tapping enough ground water.

The Valley cannot endure this situation much longer, but the good news is that it’s not too late to save our communities. Led by the Valley’s Republican delegation, the U.S. House has passed legislation twice that would bring a long-term end to the water crisis. The solution comprises these three simple measures:
  • Return Delta pumping to normal operations at federal and state pumps. Because normal pumping levels are already paid for, this measure would cost taxpayers zero dollars.
  • Fix the San Joaquin River Settlement. Instead of continuing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on an unworkable scheme to recreate salmon runs, we should turn the San Joaquin River into a year-round flowing river with recirculated water. This approach would be good for the warm-water fish habitat and for recreation, and it would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars that will otherwise go down the salmon-run rat hole.
  • Expedite and approve construction of major new water projects. This should include building the Temperance Flat dam along the San Joaquin River, raising Shasta dam to increase its reservoir capacity, expanding the San Luis Reservoir and approving construction of the Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley. Because water users themselves should rightfully pay for these projects, they would cost federal taxpayers zero dollars.
These measures would not only end the water crisis, they would improve the environment for fish and wildlife — all while saving taxpayer dollars.

The Price of Inaction

I warned of the likely outcome of the radicals’ campaign in my testimony to a House committee back in 2009:

“Failure to act, and it’s over. You will witness the collapse of modern civilization in the San Joaquin Valley.”

That is indeed the grim future facing the Valley if we don’t change our present trajectory. The solution passed twice by the U.S. House, however, was blocked by Senate Democrats, who were supported by the administration of Gov. Brown as well as the Obama administration. These Democrats need to begin speaking frankly and honestly with San Joaquin Valley communities, and with Californians more broadly, about the effects of idling 1.3 million acres of farmland. This will ruin not only Valley farming operations, but will wipe out entire swathes of associated local businesses and industries.

The damage is not limited to the Valley. Although residents of coastal areas such as Los Angeles, the Bay Area and San Diego have been led to believe they are being subject to water restrictions due to the drought, that’s not actually true. As in the Valley, these areas and many others ultimately depend on the Delta pumps for their water supply. If the pumps had been functioning normally for the past decade, none of these cities would be undergoing a water crisis today.

And it’s a safe bet that Brown’s mandatory water reductions will not alleviate the crisis, leading to a drastic increase in restrictions in the not-too-distant future. Watering your lawn, washing your car and countless other everyday activities will be banned up and down California. In their mania to attack Central Valley farming, the radicals are inadvertently running the entire state out of water.

Endgame

Many organizations representing California agriculture, including water districts and — shockingly — even some San Joaquin Valley cities and counties, became part of the problem instead of the solution, having lent no support to the House-passed water bills. Suffering from a strange kind of Stockholm Syndrome, many of these groups and agencies hope that if they meekly accept their fate, their overlords will magnanimously bestow a few drops of water on them.

This mousy strategy, which willfully ignores what the radicals are really trying to achieve, hasn’t worked out well for growers of almonds and other high-value crops. Although the radicals had been promising them a free pass back when the groups met with me in 2002, these growers have now become the radicals’ primary scapegoat for the water crisis. This condemnation is reflected in articles such as The Atlantic’s “The Dark Side of Almond Use,” The Guardian’s “Alarm as Almond Farms Consume California’s Water,” and Bloomberg View’s “Amid a Drought, Cue the Almond Shaming.”

Sadly, the end is near for communities whose land will be forced out of production. One hopes the affected families will eventually find a more welcome home in some other state where those who wield power appreciate folks who grow our food instead of demonize them.

But for now, the pitiless, decades-long assault to deprive them of their livelihoods is hurtling toward its apex. Meanwhile, many of those capable of advancing a solution are content to wring their hands, blame global warming and continue whistling past the graveyard.

Agriculture groups, water districts and municipalities that refuse to support the two House-passed bills owe their constituents an alternative solution that will resolve our water shortfall. Water bureaucrats who ignore or oppose the most prominent, viable solutions while offering no alternative are, in effect, complicit in the radicals’ long struggle. They should publicly declare which land ought to come out of production and which Valley industries should be eliminated since they have no proposals to steer us away from that outcome.

The Valley’s critical situation today demands unity around constructive solutions. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we must all hang together, or we will surely all hang separately.
  • Nunes is chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He represents California’s 22nd congressional district.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Commiecrat Mentality: Bernie Sanders and Salon

It is the usual cant of the Left and smears of the Right at Salon, from the ever nauseating Bill Moyers, but one quote sticks out:
"At their core, the New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society programs were aimed at assuring every child of a decent education, every worker a decent wage, and every senior a decent retirement; if that’s extreme, so are the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution."
Gee, except that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were a set of articles of incorporation for a new nation, and bylaws for that new nation aimed at (1) allowing people to determine for themselves what is best for them, and (2) keeping the federal government limited enough in scope that it cannot supplant the individual's conclusions with its own.....

On the other hand, the New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society were initially about government making great and grandiose promises about what it could achieve with enough of a surrender of individual sovereignty and freedom...and of course, "RICH" people's money, (now "WHITE" people's money, too apparently). 

All three of those have since morphed into a sick and twisted dependency based on the retention of government power by a cynical admission that while government's administration of such things have been a mess, that the individuals made dependent would be so much worse off without constantly exchanging their votes for this bleak and debilitating half-life in exchange for the crumbs benevolently given to them by a government determined to always take more and more of other people's money to engage in this largess.

But other than that, it is a spot on analogy.

"Give me EBT, an Obamaphone, and Medicaid, so I don't have to provide something better for myself!" - Anonymous Democrat Voter

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

And why is that, you wonder?


And why is that, you wonder?

Because the agenda is to destroy the normal heterosexual male, that's why.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Election Time Again

CONGRESS, STATE ASSEMBLY, STATE SENATE:

In elections past, I could just say “Vote Republican or Die!” However, now, with the new “jungle primary” system, you may have two Democrats running against each other in many places. So use your best damage control judgment.


GOVERNOR: Neel Kashkari

This is probably futile, as Governor Brown is too entrenched. And in fairness, “Governor Moonbeam” has not been as bad as I had feared. Still, I will protest vote for Mr. Kashkari on these issues:
1. Judicial Appointees (see “California Supreme Court Judges” section below)
2. The “high speed rail” (sic) boondoggle
3. Neel Kashkari hasn’t signed onto a “Transgender Bathroom Bill” or other such nonsense.
4. The 2nd Amendment
5. Prison realignment / early prisoner releasing (see also Proposition 47 below)
6. “Cap and Trade” Tax Increase and other “Climate Change” fraudulent “science” (no, fudging data to make it fit your computer model is NOT science), in order to bilk us proles filling up our gas tanks
7. Pension reform of state workers

What is sad is that apparently back in the Republican Primary, the GOP Establishment pushed Mr. Kashkari over the Tea Party favorite, Tim Donnelly, because Mr. Donnelly dared address the Elephant In California’s Room—the illegal alien problem. And the GOP Establishment is too afraid, or perhaps too greedy for cheap gardeners and maids, and doesn’t want to address that.


LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Ron Nehring

For the same reasons as Governor above, plus Gavin Newsom’s truly smarmy character.



SECRETARY OF STATE: Pete Peterson

The Issue: Voter IDs.

The Democrat Dishonesty here, claiming “discrimination”, is enough to make any sensible person disgusted. Although I suppose we are discriminating against key voting blocs such as Non-Americans, Deceased Americans, Fictional Americans, Canine Americans and Feline Americans. All important Democrat voter groups.

On a lighter note, I am reminded of the classic 1980’s teenage movie “The Breakfast Club”, where, when the Jock high school character asks the Nerd high school character why he has a fake ID, since the Nerd is shunned by the “in” crowd at school and can’t drink and party with them anyway, the Nerd replies, “So I can vote!” As a kid in the 1980’s, I understood that well.


CONTROLLER: Ashley Swearengin

While her opponent, Betty Yee, has done nothing particularly Demunistic or Commiecratic, Ms. Swearengin deserves massive kudos for her financial acumen as Mayor of Fresno, keeping the City Of Fresno in the black—at a time when most San Joaquin Valley cities and towns were and still are on the skids.


TREASURER: Greg Conlon

Given the term limits rules, California politicos have to play “musical chairs”. Current Controller John Chiang is now trying to make the jump to Treasurer.

However, Greg Conlon has championed realistic pension reform, something badly overdue in the state government.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Ronald Gold

Current Attorney General Kamala (Commie-lah) Harris has a hostility to self-defense and a propensity to coddle criminals if they are the right color, and it is nauseating. We are lucky not to have a Ferguson, Missouri incident in this state yet.

And lest you think Ronald Gold is just another crusty conservative Republican, he has actually talked about legalizing pot, on the grounds that the Prohibition laws we now have are not realistic.


INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Ted Gaines

A former State Assemblyman and now State Senator in my area, and all around good guy. He also opposes Propositions 45 and 46 (see below).


CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT JUDGES:

This issue has not been discussed much, but this up or down, yes or no plebiscite is probably *the most important matter* on this ballot, given the Left’s propensity to appoint judicial tyrants who impose their whims upon us all. We must remove judges who read into the Constitution what blatantly does not exist, and read out of the Constitution what blatantly *does* exist. Hence, I have this bolded.

Where I do fault Governor Brown, it is mostly *here*. Brown’s appointments have been abysmal.

We must restore the Rule of Law, rather than continue the Rule Of Whims that we have had ever since the overturning of Proposition 8. Even if you DO think homosexual relationships deserve the *exact* same legal status as a marriage, then such matters are to be hashed out in the legislatures, not imposed by tyrants in black robes. The Constitution is utterly silent on this matter. There is NO reference to sexual orientation whatsoever in the Constitution. Not even so much as "I'm a little bi-curious..."

However, the Tenth Amendment tells us that the powers not delegated to the United States federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. That means this issue needs to be hashed out in the legislatures, not subject to Roe-style hijacking.

See also: http://www.judgevoterguide.com for judges in your local area. Meanwhile, for the state as a whole:


Justice Goodwin Liu: NO!!!!!!!!!!

Perhaps the most nauseating and Rose Bird like justice we have now is Goodwin Liu, appointed by Jerry Brown after the Republicans in the US Senate blocked Obama from appointing him to a Federal Bench. Ever wonder why we can’t get a death row murderer the execution he so righteously deserves? You can thank Goodwin Liu and his ilk for that. See also Affirmative Racism and forced School Busing.

“Liu's criticism of Judge John Roberts and especially his statement during Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination: "Judge Alito's record envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse; where federal agents may point guns at ordinary citizens during a raid, even after no sign of resistance, where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man, absent [an] analysis showing discrimination, is not the America we know. Nor is it the America we aspire to be"[25] was targeted by Senate Republicans as proof of his lack of judicial temperament and partisanship. Liu later apologized and said that his words were "unduly harsh".[26]

Enough said. Kick this tyrant in black robes out.


Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar: NO!

Goodwin Liu’s understudy.


Justice Kathryn Mickle Weredegar: YES

Has been there since the days of Governor Dukemejian, and she has not let the Power Of The Bench go to her head.


COUNTY COURT JUDGES:

For Santa Clara County:

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 6
Miguel Marquez–  NO
Adrienne M. Grover–  NO
Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian–  YES
Franklin D. Elia–  YES
Eugene Milton Premo–  YES

Judge – Superior Court; County of Santa Clara; Office 24
Matthew S. Harris-- YES
Diane Ritchie-- YES

For Sonoma County:
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 1, Division 1
Jim Humes–  NO
Kathleen M. Banke– YES

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 1, Division 2
Therese M. Stewart–  NO
J. Anthony Kline–  NO

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 1, Division 3
Stuart R. Pollak–  NO
Martin J. Jenkins–  YES

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 1, Division 4
Ignazio John Ruvolo–  YES

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 1, Division 5
Terence L. Bruiniers–  YES
Mark B. Simons–  YES


For Sacramento County:

Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 3
Vance W. Raye–  YES
Louis Mauro–  YES
Andrea Lynn Hoch–  YES
William J. Murray, Jr.–  YES
Jonathan K. Renner–  NO
Elena J. Duarte–  NO
Ronald B. Robie– YES


SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION: Marshall Tuck

Mr. Tuck may be talking a Big Reform Talk, and we shall see how well he walks the School Reform walk. Still he is much better than Teacher Union Stooge Tom Torlakson.


STATE BALLOT INITIATIVES: 
I am increasingly of the mind to get rid of these, since they seem to be very prone to manipulation and take the onus away from our elected state representatives to actually legislate as they should. However, since they do in fact exist, here we go:


Prop 1 – Water Bond: YES, albeit qualified.

This is a long way from a perfect measure, but it’s as good as it gets in California these days: a $7.545 Billion water bond that spends $2.7 billion of that bond for new water storage!!! In other words, Real Dams! This is much better than the “bait and switch” of the so called “water bonds” of the last decade or more, which were environmental initiatives in disguise. However, the latter still exist in this initiative.

The rest of the bond? It consists of:
--$725 million for water recycling and possible desalination—sort of useful.
--$810 million for “regional water projects”—sort of nebulous, as the wording of the initiative includes environmental gimmicks, but the wording also includes rainwater capture and wastewater reuse. See “Text Of Proposed Law, Chapter 7, sections 79740 to 79747”
--$1,495 million (or $1.495 Billion) for “Watershed protection and restoration”-- wildlife programs in disguise
--$1,420 million (or $1.42 Billion) for “Water Quality”—environmental gimmicks in disguise.
--$395 million for flood protection—perhaps worthy, but not increasing water supply!

If that sounds breathtakingly underwhelming, remember that’s $2.7 billion more than the multi-billions of dollars of “water bonds” that were nothing but wildlife programs in disguise that we’ve spent in recent decades.

Sadly, this initiative doesn’t overhaul the environmental laws that vastly inflate costs and it squanders a great deal more that won’t be used for storage, but it is a step away from the lunacy of the Watermelon Left (or “Green” Left) that adamantly opposes it (see “Arguments” section) and this alone merits support.

While I tend to regret bond financing because it is more debt rather than pay as you go, and the actual costs turn out to be about double the actual price tag, at least this initiative finally *builds more dams*, something long overdue,. So I must say YES, albeit a qualified YES.


Prop 2 – The Rainy Day Fund, a.k.a., Stop Us Before We Screw Up Again: YES.

This repeals much of Prop 58, a vat of Schwarzenegger snake-oil sold to voters as the panacea to the state’s budget woes. It wasn’t. Prop 58 promised an iron-clad reserve, but in reality, the governor could suspend it any time he wanted. He did.

What I like most about Prop 2 is that to raid the required budget reserve, both the governor AND the legislature must agree and then, only for a specifically declared emergency. In a nutshell, it requires the legislature and governor to do what they did voluntarily during the Governor Deukmejian era in the 1980s. Still plenty of loopholes, but better than what we have today.

The opposition to this initiative is coming from the school boards who like the spending straitjacket we were put into by Proposition 98 of 1988. Prop 98 means that a minimum percentage of the state budget *must* go to Education spending—regardless if California has a natural disaster that year, regardless if a serious crisis happens in this state’s economy, no matter what. I oppose spending mandate “budgetary straitjackets” in general.

NOTE: I do, however, support mandates that *additional*revenues get spent in certain ways. For example, since the California Lotto was sold to us as “for the schools”, then by gum, the revenues from it should go *to the schools*, and not get raided for other government programs. Since fuel taxes were sold to us as “for roads and transit”, then by gum, the revenues from them should go *to the roads and transit*, and not get raided for other government programs. Surplus from the Lotto? Then dole out more prizes. Surplus from fuel taxes? Then lower the fuel taxes. You get the idea.


Prop 45 – Price Controlling Health Insurance, a.k.a., If You Thought Obamacare Was Bad: NO!!!

This is a trial lawyers’ measure that give the state insurance commissioner the power to set health care rates. Sound good? Doctors and other health care providers are already opting out of Obamacare because of artificially low rates; this compounds the problem for California. The good news it you’ll have cheap health insurance. The bad news is you won’t have a lot of providers accepting it.

This kind of mentality was what led to California’s Car Insurance Fiasco of 1988, where people thought they could just *price control* car insurance without addressing why car insurance was and is so costly in the first place. Price controls are indeed the Demunist mentality at its most Commiecratic. And surprise, surprise, one of the major backers of this terrible proposition is “Pee Wee Harvey” Rosenfeld, who also brought us the Car Insurance Price Control Fiasco that was Proposition 103 in 1988.


Prop 46 – Trial Lawyering Health Care, a.k.a., If You Thought Prop 45 Was Bad: NO!!!

Another trial lawyers’ measure that quadruples the amount they can get for pain and suffering awards. Prop. 45 means lower provider reimbursements and Prop. 46 means higher provider costs. It also requires drug testing for doctors, which is a stupid idea but I appreciate the poetic justice in making THEM pee into little cups for a change. Anyway, it won’t matter because your doctor will be out of state.

Prop 47 – Decriminalizing Property Crime, a.k.a., Rose Bird’s Revenge: NO!!!

We have gone overboard on drug-related offenses, which makes *part* of the Proposition a good idea.

However, this Proposition can only be described as a drug-induced hallucination, in the way that it *decriminalizes* many crimes against property. Sorry, property rights matter. Robbery, Burglary, Theft and Grand Larceny are serious “strike” crimes and deserve serious time. This initiative reduces many grand-theft crimes to misdemeanors and would release an estimated 10,000 incarcerated criminals back on the streets. Basically, it is a burglar’s get-out-of-jail free card. Good news for alarm companies and the handful of 60’s radicals nostalgic for Rose Bird – bad news for the rest of us. Hide the silver.

But this Proposition, along with recent moves by Governor Brown and the Legislature, is part of a disturbing trend: the watering down of the “three strikes” felony laws. When the Brown Administration boasts of keeping within the budget, even while building the “high speed rail” (sic), keep in mind that they are achieving this by moving some state inmates down to County Jails, and letting some County Jail inmates out early. This will come back to bite us all in the future.


Prop 48 – More Indian Gaming: NEUTRAL / Undecided.

Argument For: This ratifies Indian Gaming compacts for two tribes in economically depressed regions of the state that would allow those two tribes to open a casino near a major highway. This will be an economic boon to the struggling local communities there.

Arguments Against:
1. Opponents see this as a gateway to letting *any* tribe move its casino wherever it wants.
2. Is encouraging more games of chance just encouraging more of a “something for nothing” mentality in general???

Observations:
1. One of the big contributors to the NO campaign is—surprise surprise—ANOTHER Indian Casino! Gee, I thought the gaming tribes were supposed to share revenues with the non-gaming tribes, because not every tribe is lucky enough to be near the main highway.
2. Let us once and for all debunk the notion that somehow those lofty “Native Americans” have deep respect for the land more than any of the rest of us: “We found the bones of our sacred ancestors on that parcel when they were building the freeway by it—so naturally we put a casino on top of them!” :-D

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mountain Lions and Foothill Suburbs

Mountain Lions are definitely on the upswing and are more and more bold with their range. They are prowling my old neighborhood.

Contrary to sentimental belief, it is NOT the the suburban foothill developments are intruding on the mountain lions' traditional range. On the contrary, the mountain lions are *coming down from the mountains* to explore what food the suburbs have to offer.

The ranchers and fruit growers in days gone by, who used to occupy the places where the foothill subdivisions are now, had no qualms about shooting the big cats. Moreover, the ranchers and growers were not likely to leave food out for them.

The growth of suburban areas that are not keen on firearms discharge, combined with increased pet food left out (and sometimes the smaller pets *themselves* as mountain lion food) and scraps to forage, have ironically led to more mountain lions.

Another key fact is, contrary to the oft repeated saw that "we are shrinking their land" - given the vast green belts and open space preserves surrounding the Bay Area, *lobbied for by the environmentalists*, and the conversion of hinterland usages from things like logging, ranching, farming and mining, to things more like second homes, primary homes and "country estates" for wealthy Silicon Valley people, the habitat for Mountain Lions and all other large mammals has become a lot less challenging than it was 40 years ago.

A lot less lead flying at the critters (not to mention, a lot fewer traps).

It is ironic. The more citified (or more properly, suburbanized) the Bay Area became, the more bold and overpopulated some of the wildlife became.

Suburban shrubbery attracts more deer, and suburban gardening and garbage cans attract more skunks and raccoons, as well.

Contrary to the notion that increased homes mean decreased wildlife at all times, for some species, the arrival of Suburban Man is a downright boon.

Monday, September 22, 2014

When the "Planners' complain about "Sprawl", what do they really mean?

"Sprawl" = affordable pleasant single family homes with yards for people, and the commercial enterprises that come along to serve people and employ some of them. Industrial parks can sometimes come along too, but usually the industrial site came first, which caused population influx (see below).

"Sprawl" draws the wrath of wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners", more on them later.

However, "sprawl" is a simple result of population influx and The Two Out Of Three Rule.

The Two Out of Three Rule is the simple principle that while buyers want homes that are (1) affordable, (2) convenient (usually to/from work), and (3) safe and pleasant, in the Real World most people can only have Two out of those Three.

(3) Safe and Pleasant, for most people, means (a) no or at least minimal criminality, (b) a yard for themselves and their families, (c) a park nearby that is also non or at least minimally criminal.

"Sprawl", therefore, is the result of homebuyers giving up, or going short on, convenience (usually to/from work), in favor of having, or going long on, affordability and safety and pleasant conditions.

This is anathema to the wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners", who would rather demand that we the people (who they view as Petty Bourgeois or Aspiring Proles) give up our desires for a yard for ourselves and their families.

The even more extreme wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners", insist that we Petty Bourgeois or Aspiring Proles give up our desires for no or at least minimal criminality, and forget or never mind a park nearby that is also non or at least minimally criminal. Why, that's ray-cist!

The wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners", pay lip service the "alternative" idea that "New Urbanism", or "infill development", meaning more dense development in the inner city, can house us, the Petty Bourgeois or Aspiring Proles. However, when it comes to *actual* infill development, the same Commissars who claim to want it often *then* turn around and call it "Manhattanization", and end up *curtailing* it, in favor of a "People's Park" here, or a "Community Garden" there, or just restricting denser development in general. And yet they still tut-tut and cluck-cluck about the "Sprawl" that is exacerbated as a result.

Meanwhile many families still want a yard for themselves and/or their families. While dense infill development *can* appeal a good many people, most notably the childless, the single, and the non-heterosexual, a good many people are still simply *not* served by the "New Urbanist" model.

But of course, we are Petty Bourgeois and Aspiring Proles, and our petty bourgeois aspirations must be snuffed out in the warped minds of a good many of the wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners".

When New Urbanist infill developments do succeed, they become pricey, because they are convenient and nice and pleasant (at least they are to the the childless, the single, and the non-heterosexual anyway), and so, they are *no longer* affordable.

The Two Out Of Three Rule still holds in any area with significant population influx.

A good many inner city neighborhoods remain definitely *not* pleasant, and thus they fail. They often fail because the same wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners" have ideological bents, such as:

--the view that the "authentic" behavior of people in said inner cities is to behave like thugs and criminals because they are racial/ethnic group X, and those of us who are not racial/ethnic group X have some kind of "privilege" that makes us behave like decent citizens. This is known as Turning Crime Into A Civil Right.

--the view that we Petty Bourgeois or Aspiring Proles must not arm and defend ourselves against thuggery and we must depend upon the benevolence of the same wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners". This is known as "gun control".

The solution is to tell the wanna-be Party Commissars who euphemistically call themselves "urban planners" to "Put up or SHUT UP."

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Donald Sterling kerfluffle

So the Left media noise machine is generating outrage about Donald Sterling's stupid remarks (and yes, they were rather stupid). But no one asks the real questions:

1. Gee, maybe Mr. Sterling doesn't like being cuckolded? Although the douchebag's cheating on his spouse with this mistress of his certainly does not say much for him. Can't say which side of "too much" she is on the enhancement surgery scale. What is evident, though, is that she could suck a bowling ball through 50' of garden hose.

2. Mr. Sterling may be the greatest douchebag alive at the moment, but it is somewhat amusing to see that somehow saying something somewhat "racist" now trumps at least misdemeanor wiretapping laws. Didn't we once impeach a president over wiretapping? Of course, he was an evil white guy, but...

3. It is also amusing to see liberal douchebags like Mr. Sterling dole out millions to the NAACP and other black liberal politicos. How did that work out for him?

4. What about all this kerfluffle makes me think that this was a shakedown by a jilted ex at her former sugar daddy? This girlfriend who was sued in court by Sterling's wife to return the Lamborghini and Ferrari and pricey apartment given to her by Sterling.

Sterling is an old fool, to think that his girlfriend would NOT be cheating on him massively with various Alpha males, never mind the blackness of Athletes like former Rihanna boyfriend Matt Kemp.

At any rate this seems a way to generate some quick TMZ cash ... listening to the full tape, you can just sense her lawyer coaching her to bait Sterling into saying "Black" when frankly, he's really concerned more about the Athlete/Alpha Male part. I really doubt Mr. Sterling would be happy with his trophy hootchie cheating on him with a strapping *white* athlete either.

All that said, It's impossible to feel sorry for the old fool, being a stupid old man thinking some young "Adventuress" would actually be interested in him for anything other than his money.

Mr. Sterling may be a despicable person, but his former trollop is far worse.

Friday, April 25, 2014

“Clinton Library Reveals CRA Fueled Subprime Bubble”

The Community Reinvestment Act is the gift that keeps on giving....
Newly released memos from the Clinton presidential library reveal evidence the government had a big hand in the housing crisis. The worst actors were in the White House, not on Wall Street.

During the 1990s, former Clinton aides bragged that more aggressive enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act pressured banks to issue riskier mortgages, lending more proof the anti-redlining law fueled the crisis. 

A 2012 National Bureau of Economic Research study found “that adherence to that act led to riskier lending by banks,” with “a clear pattern of increased defaults for loans made by these banks in quarters around the (CRA) exam, (and) the effects are larger for loans made within CRA tracts,” or low-income and minority areas. 

To satisfy CRA examiners, Clinton mandated “flexible” lending by large banks. As a result, CRA-approved loans defaulted about 15% more often, the NBER found. 

Exhibit A in the 7,000-page Clinton Library document dump is a 1999 memo to him from his treasury secretary, Robert Rubin.

“Public disclosure of CRA ratings, together with the changes made by the regulators under your leadership, have significantly contributed to … financial institutions … meeting the needs of low- and moderate-income communities and minorities,” Rubin gushed. “Since 1993, the number of home mortgage loans to African Americans increased by 58%, to Hispanics by 62% and to low- and moderate-income borrowers by 38%, well above the overall market increase.

“Since 1992, nonprofit community organizations estimate that the private sector has pledged over $1 trillion in loans and investment under CRA.

”Other documents reveal how the community-activist group ACORN and other organizations met with Rubin and other top Clinton aides on “improving credit availability for minorities.”

Clinton’s changes to the CRA let ACORN use the act’s ratings to “target merging firms with less-than-stellar records and to get the banks to agree to greater community investment as a condition of regulatory approval for the merger,” White House aide Ellen Seidman wrote in 1997 to Clinton chief economist Gene Sperling.

“Community groups have come to recognize how terribly powerful CRA has been as a tool for making credit available in previously underserved communities,” Seidman added.

Seidman later boasted that Clinton’s 1995 CRA revisions created not only the subprime mortgage market but also the subprime securities market. Of course, subprime loans and their high default rates ruined minority neighborhoods when the market crashed.

Memos also reveal how Clinton aides held repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act hostage to strengthening the CRA. They gave Republicans deregulation of banking activities in exchange for over-regulating how those banking activities applied to low-income communities.

[...]

In 2000, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo lit the fuse on the subprime bomb by requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase subprime, CRA and other risky mortgages totaling half their portfolios.

A 1993 memo, “Racism in Home Lending,” captured the tone of Clinton’s affordable-housing crusade. It proposed coordinating with the Washington Post and Congressional Black Caucus on bank investigations. 

These White House papers are smoking-gun evidence of Clinton’s culpability in creating the subprime bubble. The mainstream media’s silence is deafening.
 Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom asks,
It consistently amazes me how the American people re-elect to office the very kinds of people who cause them so much harm, be it to liberty or property. Maybe we’re a nation of masochists.
What we are is a nation that can be race-baited. This was all about the “Affirmative Action” in home lending.

And as long as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were underwriting it, why should any thoughtful banker care?

Go along to get along, or face shakedown lawsuits from the race pimps.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Dow Paradox

How is it, despite the utterly counter productive and business bashing moves of this Obama Administration, is the stock market reaching new highs?

First, we must understand that these highs are *nominal* highs, and they are achieved with "Quantitatively Eased" dollars. In real terms, a 16,469 Dow closing today simply *does not* mean what a 12,000 Dow meant in 2006, let alone what an "irrationally exuberant" Dow of 14,000 meant in 2007.

And what of the irrational exuberance of today? What is truly underpinning this economy? And more importantly, what isn't?

For all the Leftist Rhetoric about the "99 percent", it is the politically connected 1%, like big time Obama donors at General Electric for example, who are making out big in this easy credit driven market boom.

Rahm Emanuel famously said that a crisis should not be wasted. Well, the Obama administration has made a very good use of this one. By relatively shielding the wealthy and the educated, the Obama bureaucracy loving elite has used the crisis to make the less prosperous and less educated poorer and more dependent on government largess. How? By using tax payer money to employ the grad school educated in more and more government administrative jobs and by pumping money into the stock markets through near zero percent bank lending.
 
The result? Two Americas. (1) A mostly employed graduate degree America increasingly drawn to secure, well paid, prestigious if unproductive government jobs, and (2) the increasingly underemployed rest.

How come? The promise of continued low interest rates emboldens those who have gobs and gobs of money to afford risking losing it, i, e., hedge funds and other professionals.
 
Meanwhile, other individuals with just a little bit of savings are too worried by the dire economy (high unemployment, poor housing markets and record national debt) to risk what remains of their funds. So, they missed the bull market.

What do they do with their money? They put it in the bank for very little return. For as Charles Schwab poignantly notes, Low Interest Rates Punish the Savers and the Prudent.  To make matters worse, American saw their personal income decline by by 3.2% during the Obama presidency. Not to mention that “At the end of last year, debt averaged $43,874 per American, or about 122% of annual disposable income,” though economist debt should exceed 100%.

Ironically, to jump start the economy, Americans, and not merely wealthy ones, are encouraged to spend more, not less of money many do not have. Some fear their money is going to be worth less and less not to mention the probability that an increasing percentage of it will be lost to regressive taxes. They are getting more and more dependent on food stamps, unemployment checks and soon to come government health care.
 
The big question, of course, is when all these quantitatively eased chickens come home to an inflationary roost.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Black Democrat Smear on Immigration Backfires

Karen Bass (pictured) is a black congresswoman who held a townhall in Los Angeles. She made sure to attack Steve King, and accuse those Republicans who refuse to back the farce of "Comprehensive immigration reform" of being secretly racist:

But it turns out her own constituents aren't happy:
About 300 people attended the meeting, and despite Los Angeles' deeply liberal bent, the crowd was sharply divided over what should be done with the millions of people who are living in this country illegally.
(....)
Several spoke out against a pathway to legalization, saying it would reward those who broke the law by entering the country illegally. Others pointed to the economy and unemployment and argued that the job prospects of Americans — particularly African Americans — would be harmed.

Keith Hardiner, 57, said he is the descendant of slaves.

"They were separated from their families, but we had to fight and struggle," said the Silver Lake resident. "And now I feel like we are being set back and the country is being kind of stolen from us."
In 1994, when Pete Wilson *tripled* the share of votes he and other Republicans usually get from African Americans becuse of their stance on the illegal alien issue, did anyone in the GOP Establishment pay attention? Or, like the Wall Street Journal, they so want their cheap maids and gardeners they have to do everything to smear border patriots?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How to REALLY win Hispanic votes

Allan Wall nails it:
OK, here's an interesting result from a California State Senate special election in a district that is 60% Hispanic, in which Republican Andy Vidak beat Hispanic Democrat Leticia Perez.

According to Breitbart, "Vidak, a working class candidate, resonated with working class Hispanics in the district who also saw how coastal California elites were not putting their bread-and-butter interests first." 
Breitbart also reported that: "Vidak ran broadly on "the bifurcation of California: the coastal liberal elites versus the Valley folks." On a more local level, Vidak's theme of "fish versus farmer" resonated with Democrats in a District where the unemployment rate is 15% and as high as 30% in some communities in the District." 
Rather than allowing hysteria about the Hispanic vote to provoke them to pander to the leftist Hispanic establishment, some astute Republicans might be able to use local issues to win elections. They could at least try to campaign against amnesty on the grounds that it hurts employment prospects among American citizens. It's worth a try.
THIS is how the GOP wins Hispanic votes.

Not by "Hispandering" amnesties that import a larger underclass that will vote Commiecrat, but by engaging those Mexican Americans who actually *run businesses*--as farmers, as restaurateurs, as contractors, as oil and gas drillers, as truckers, as "Jose' the Plumber". All of whom are being hurt--badly--by the Eco-Fiend Left in this state.

The "Green" Demunists in California have been shutting down agribusiness, "fracking" for oil and natural gas, road improvements, irrigation water and hydro power.

Wake up, GOP, and turn the "Brown Businesses" against the "Green" Eco-Fiends, who are really "Watermelons", "Green" outside, but Pinko Red inside.

How is allowing more illegal aliens in going to help the actual Mexican American and other Latin American CITIZENS who have always been here?

Update (08/02/13): Maybe not. Vidak is already pandering, too.