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21/25/40: California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03

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[2/27/04 Friday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:05 am [link]
Uh, what media bias? These Democratic debates are growing tiresome. We hear the same things over and over again . . . unmediated by any sense of responsibility to the truth. The entire Democratic campaign has become an exercise in Bush-bashing, but in contrast to the 1996 campaign, when President Clinton received a lot of press sympathy for the vitriol of some of his opponents, the press reports even the wildest statements as somehow representing a valid point of view. One question: With activist judges reading a "right" to gay marriage into the Massachusetts Constitution and a scofflaw mayor in San Francisco ignoring a state law passed by an overwhelming majority of fellow Californians, how is it that President Bush -- who was obviously reluctant to step out and support a constitutional amendment -- is the Great Divider? Obviously, he's responding to events surrounding the gay marriage issue, not seeking to drive them. As for Rosie O'Donnell, she is the best thing that ever happened to those who oppose gay marriage. So far, it's not the much feared "Religious Right" that has shown hatred and intolerance -- it's people who behave like Rosie.

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 5:04 am [link]
Homosexual Welfare in San Fran!
What is the end result of ALL of the Same-Sex Marriages in San Fran? It will be the payouts of the lawsuits in a year or so! What San Fran is actually offering is "illegal licenses" for a contract of 'marriage'. These 'couples' WILL begin to 'activate' their illegal certificates of marriage contracts by offering this fraudulent status in other legal contractual negotiations. An example was mentioned in the Sacramento Bee on Sunday. One of the same-sex couples will apply for, let's insurance as a marriage couple on Tuesday morning. What happens when one of these couples have an accident? The Insurance Company will NOT recognize an 'illegal contract' of marriage, so they will call the insurance contract as null in void due to a false contract offered by the city of San Fran. The end result will be thousands of lawsuits directed toward the city of San Fran. Legal damages will be awarded amounts to the level of $10,000 per person involved in the fraudulent offerings of the city. So, in the end, this is actually "Welfare for Homosexuals" in San Fran! There is a 'win-win' end game for the Gays and Lesbians, celebrate today and sue tomorrow when the fraudulent document is used to enter a legal contract...that in the end will be void! A "Homosexual Welfare Program" for the gays and Lesbians in San Fran...a cash cow!

[2/26/04 Thursday]

[in the ebag - Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association] 5:14 am [link]
Look Who's Funding Prop. 56: Proposition 56 proponents claim to be League of Women Voters good government-type groups. But campaign finance disclosure statements reveal something quite different: public employee unions are the biggest -- and almost exclusive – driving force behind Proposition 56.

Based on official campaign reports, these are the campaign's backers as of 2-24-2004:

$ 8,964,829.24
$ 2,205,856.67
$ 1,320,809.71
$ 938,841.87
$ 500,000.00
$ 450,000.00
$ 324,000.00
$ 275,000.00
$ 264,643.85
$ 200,000.00
$ 81,261.40
$ 50,000.00
$ 50,000.00
$ 50,000.00
$ 46,118.35
$ 45,600.00
$ 10,000.00
$ 4,725.00
$ 3,200.00
$ 2,450.00
$ 2,000.00
$ 1,808.34
$ 1,000.00
TOTAL (excluding minor contribitions)
$ 15,792,144.43


[2/25/04 Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:07 am [link]
What double standard? The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson's film about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, opens today. The Drudge Report states that (big surprise!) The New York Times will slam the film. Other detractors have criticized the film's violence, like Kenneth Turan, writing in yesterday's L.A. Times (he also faults the movie for opening "fissures" among religions, although it's hard to see how any film propounding any particular religious belief wouldn't have the same potential).

How refreshing that liberal commentators -- many of whom loved blood-soaked fare like Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction -- have finally found a movie that's unacceptably violent, now that it depicts the murder of the man Christians believe to be the Son of God. Isn't the gore "integral to the storyline," as a Frank Rich might insist in another context? Go see for yourself. Buy a ticket for The Passion of the Christ.

[2/24/04 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard] 5:01 am [link]
Republicans Resurgent:
It was great seeing so many friends at the weekend California Republican Convention in Burlingame. There was plenty of debate with the head-to-head meeting of our four candidates for the U.S. Senate and plenty of drama with election contests for four party offices. The undercurrent of the whole convention was the resurgent attitude that the Republicans are coming back in California. Voter registration drives are going well. The sense of those in attendance was that with President Bush and Governor Schwarzenegger leading there are tremendous opportunities for California in the November elections. I continued my tradition of serving coffee, tea and cocoa to the delegates before the Sunday morning session. I find it is a great opportunity to get a sampling of opinion from Republicans from all over the state that stop by for morning refreshments.

No state party convention can avoid dissenting arguments. (That may not be a law but it might as well be). Republicans share so much in common that any differences -- no matter how minor-- get magnified in the heat of a debate. Those who live in those districts with competitive Republican primaries are now seeing the proof of this in their mailbox. Probably the biggest issue facing California is its fiscal crisis, but you would never know it if you are in one of those competitive GOP districts because almost all of our candidates agree that the solution is to cut spending. That up front agreement means that the intra-party disputes devolve to secondary issues that soon take over entire campaigns.

The campaigns this last weekend for party offices seemed to focus not on how to win in November but who was in the right place at the right time for last October's recall election. All the candidates share the desire to win this November and have similar ideas for how to do that. Therefore, in order to differentiate themselves from each other, some of the candidates started the discussion on who was the most important to the recall. In truth, none of them were.

The truth is that there were really only four people who were the important to the recall. One was Congressman Darrel Issa for his leadership, his financial support and his dedication to making the recall a reality. One was Governor Schwarzenegger, who ran an almost error-free campaign, spoke to Californian's optimism about the future, and gave the money to be seen as a real candidate and more than just a famous name. One was Lt. Governor Bustamante, who ran an error-prone campaign that started out defying the Democrat party leadership and ended up defying the Fair Political Practices Commission. One was Governor Gray Davis, who allowed himself to be taken hostage by the left wing of the Democrat party and added fuel to the fire burning around him by ignoring crisis after crisis until the flames engulfed him.

These four get the credit (blame) for making the recall possible. [From Leonard Letter 2/24]

[2/23/04 Monday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:45 am [link]
Questioning the Senator's Honor?
"If they're going to challenge my commitment to the defense of this country, I'm going to challenge them right back." - Senator John Kerry in the LA Times

Oh, come on... Senator Kerry is all upset that he’s taking heat for a 32 year career of selling the defense of this country down the muddy river of progressive ideology. And he sanctimoniously cites his service in Vietnam as proof that he cares about the strength of this country and the rightness of our cause.

Please, Senator, get off your paper mache pedestal. The four months you spend in Vietnam fighting for this country are a convenient “indiscretion” in the minds of your fellow travelers... Wasn’t it fighting men like you - Lt. Hero - who Bill Clinton called a “baby killer” from the safety of London's streets? Ah, well, yes – you did come back to this country and condemn the war and slander the men fighting it, thereby passing the Jane Fonda test. So which is it? Are you a war hero or an anti-war hero? Can you really have it both ways? How do you throw war medals over the Capitol fence in anger at this country yet still take honor from the set of war medals hanging on your office wall?


On the Sunday shows, Senator Kerry stares down his patrician nose at those who would question his unquestionable integrity. Yes, keep them off the topic of your voting record, Senator... and you and Max Cleland must constantly claim that no one has any business questioning your patriotism because for four months you fought the good fight in the deltas of Vietnam.

Hmm. It’s sort of like the aged, coiffed and powered prostitute who is horribly upset that anyone would question her virginity... Yes, she was a virgin, but it was a long, long time ago... for about four months.

[2/20/04 Friday]

[Bill Leonard] 5:01 am [link]
How I Voted: I filled out my absentee ballot this week and wanted to share with Leonard Letter readers how and why I voted on the statewide ballot measures. Prop. 55: I voted “YES.” This is part of the regular schedule of school and college construction bonds. Unlike debt money, these funds are spent immediately and gone. This money will build needed schools that will last for years to come. Prop. 56: I voted “NO.” Despite the proponents' attempts to convince me that this measure would reform the budget process and make legislators accountable, I know better. This measure makes it easier to raise taxes, and the tradeoffs for an “on-time” budget are not worth it. I read a great quote to that effect in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin from Janice Rutherford, Mayor Pro Temp in the City of Fontana: “I'd rather have the paradox of predictable uncertainty than guaranteed new taxes.” Prop. 57: I voted “YES.” This measure does not raise taxes, but allows us to refinance and put behind us the Gray Davis deficit. Prop. 58: I voted “YES.” This companion measure to Prop. 57 gives Governor Schwarzenegger the tools he needs to prevent another Gray Davis budget disaster. It mandates a balanced budget and prevents future borrowing. [From Leonard Letter 2/19]

[2/19/04 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:09 am [link]
Doctor, Doctor, please don't go: Somehow, it was sad to see Howard Dean say goodbye. So much hope, so much promise -- for a no-brainer win for the President. But Dean is the gift that will keep on giving. At the outset of the campaign, it seemed that Al Sharpton might be the Republicans' best friend -- forcing the other candidates to discuss issues in a way that revealed how truly out of the mainstream all of them are. Well, the Reverend Al has flamed out, but Howard Dean stepped up to the plate. Thanks to him, all the contenders engaged in over-the-top rhetoric that will come back to haunt them, especially about the war in Iraq -- not to mention Edwards and Kerry voting against the $87 billion to sustain our troops, even after voting in favor of war. So thank you, Howard Dean. The best news I heard all day was during your statement, when you made it clear you don't intend to leave the national scene any time soon.

[2/18/04 Wednesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:45 am [link]
On the Western Front: We watch another battle over gay marriage erupt, now in San Francisco. So, some see it as ghastly and illegal, some as annoying and dismiss it and others see it as a light hearted party for the this poor victim class who just want what everyone has, equality.

But that’s not what’s going on. Mayor Gavin Newsom is not simply authorizing worthless marriage licenses as a memento for these couples. On a strategic level, each one of those pieces of paper represents a lawsuit. When either the Attorney General does his job and stops the gambit (which he’s unlikely to do because a Democrat who has his eye set on being elected Governor can’t afford to get the gay bloc or liberal sympathizers mad at him) or when a judge orders it stopped - the lawsuits will start. By that time there will be maybe 5,000 or so opportunities to file suit. And very likely when it gets enjoined in San Francisco another city will jump in to take its place. Maybe Oakland or Santa Cruz or maybe even LA because Jim Hahn might start to daydream of the lovely liberal accolades Newsom is going to get and, of course, Hahn’s going to want it too... Could become a rolling wave of civil disobedience – a civil rights struggle - instantly moving into the courts with a flood of lawsuits all based on the foundation of “equal protection.”

Now that Massachusetts is a fierce legal battleground on the Eastern Front it’s time to ignite a court battle on the Western Front. Instability, distraction and visibility.

Will either of these battles succeed? Maybe yes, maybe no. Will the process for a countering federal constitutional amendment start plodding its way to the states? Could be.

But winning battles is not the point. Winning the war is... These high profile and newsworthy legal tactics raise the issue of mainstreaming homosexuality to a new level. Just to stem this clamor for gay marriage, lawmakers and voters will fall all over themselves to agree to strong civil unions, adoptions, mandating more “acceptance” in school curricula and eventually some form of punishment to those who dare call it wrong.

When Governor Schwarzenegger finally speaks out on this, do we suppose he’ll condemn this civil disobedience? It’s more likely that he’ll be sympathetic (Maria can be very persuasive) and be the one to propose with Mark Leno even more dramatic legislation that strengthens California’s current laws so that homosexual rights are indistinguishable from marriage and add even more depth to homosexuals as a protected class. Just to be a “good guy” the Governor might even back off his previous support for Prop 22. And surely Attorney General Lockyer and his staff will study hard on on the issue and find a major conflict between Prop 22 and the California constitution. And then there are the judges – the ruling class.

Sure the voters spoke with Prop 22, but so what? Liberal elites don’t care what the voters want. It’s much more important for liberal strategy to divide, divide and divide again to gain more control and remake this country into their own image – ah, yes, “can’t we be more like Canada?” Well, we certainly can. Vermont, Massachusetts and now California are leading the way.

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:05 am [link]
The Contrast: Over the past two days, news has been full of stories about two men who couldn't be more different: John Kerry and Mel Gibson. One is nothing more than a creature of his times -- and a politically craven one at that. The other is trying hard to transcend his times, in a way that is inspiring.

On his show yesterday, Hugh Hewitt became the first to play the entire transcript of John Kerry's 1971 testimony to the members of the Senate about the Vietnam War. Aside from the despicable slander Kerry leveled against men whose heroism he now invokes when today he refers to them as his "band of brothers," what was most interesting was to hear the unmistakably Boston Brahmin accented Kerry either had at the time and has lost -- or was affecting at the time. His talk was full of self-important "idears" and "rawther" outrageous charges. This recording, of course, dates from an era when John F. Kennedy's voice still rang in many Americans' ears, and so having a similar accent doubtless seemed "cool" to John Kerry at the time. One thing was clear to anyone who has studied oratory: The remarks were well rehearsed, and drafted for maximum rhetorical effect. From both the substance of his statement and the style of its delivery, it's clear that John Kerry was certainly a man of the times in 1971. The problem is that there's no evidence that Kerry's world view has changed in the intervening 33 years. It's just that now it's "cool" to be a Vietnam hero -- and so he wears the mantle of his heroism today as easily as his Boston accent tripped off his tongue then.

In contrast, rather than swimming with the tide of his era like Kerry has, Mel Gibson has taken a courageous stand for beliefs that have resonance for all time. His interview with Diane Sawyer was hard to watch -- she drips condescension for anything verging on the religious (I remember being appalled at her breathless incredulity as she quizzed Ken Starr on his religious beliefs during an interview in November of 1998). But Gibson did a great job, particularly when he pointed out that anti-Semitism runs counter to his religious beliefs. Now the critics will have to choose: Is Gibson a hard-core religious nut, or is he an anti-Semite? They can't have it both ways. Ha. By far the most poignant moment of the interview came when Sawyer tried to get Gibson to criticize his own father, Hutton Gibson. In effect (and this is pretty close to a direct quote), Mel Gibson said "The worst are the people who are trying to drive a wedge between me and my father. He's my father and I love him. Leave it alone." It was an emblematic moment. Yes, Gibson was responding to critics of his earthly father, but he could just as well have been talking about his Heavenly one. Those who want to support Gibson may remember that early ticket sales will do the most to disprove those who are desperately hoping that Gibson's film -- praised by people I trust (like Hugh Hewitt) -- will fail. Let's not give them the satisfaction. Win one for the "Gibber" and for the cause he has given so much to forward, at great personal cost.

[2/17/04 Tuesday]

[Doug Gamble - speechwriter, columnist] 5:15 am [link]
Leadership? With each passing hour, California law is being broken again and again in San Francisco, as the city continues to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and perform same sex marriages, on the orders of Mayor Gavin Newsom.

What is absolutely astounding is that neither the chief law enforcement officer of this state, the attorney general, nor the governor have had any comment whatsoever. Is there any other state in the country where either the governor or attorney general would allow a mayor to openly flout the law and not make so much as a peep? It reminds me of the early hours of the Rodney Kings riots in Los Angeles when the police stood back and watched looters make off with merchandise from stores without lifting a finger to stop them. What is being looted in San Francisco is the sanctity of marriage.

If Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the very least, will not take the cigar out of his mouth long enough to condemn the law-breaking in San Francisco, he should be challenged for re-nomination by a conservative in 2006. The failure of Schwarzenegger and Lockyer to speak out or to act can be summed up in two words: Political cowardice. This issue is just too hot for either of them to handle, and their cowardice is a disgrace.

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:05 am [link]
Silberman is an excellent choice: The nomination of Judge Laurence Silberman as co-chairman of the panel investigating U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq has provoked a barrage of criticism from Democratic senators -- who want President Bush to withdraw the nomination because they think that Silberman is too "partisan." On what do they base this conclusion? Accusations from David Brock, author of a tome castigating Anita Hill -- and then, after a political about-face, a book called "Blinded by the Right", where he attacks his former friends in the Washington Republican establishment.

As a law clerk for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1992-93, it was my distinct honor to have the opportunity to become well-acquainted with both Judge Laurence Silberman and his wife. This was during the period when David Brock was writing "The Real Anita Hill" -- and purportedly being "advised" by Judge Silberman.

The myriad falsehoods and inaccuracies propagated by Mr. Brock -- most egregiously in his recent "anti-conservative" incarnation -- merit neither reporting nor response. The fact that U.S. senators would seek to smear a respected jurist based only on charges canvassed by Brock, a thoroughly discredited polemicist, is testimony to the lack of any meaningful objections to Judge Silberman's nomination.

For years, Judge Silberman and his wife have served as confidantes, advisors and mentors to countless young people beginning their careers with public service in Washington, D.C. Their wisdom and guidance have been invaluable to many of us -- and it has always been distinguished by an emphasis on integrity, coupled with clear-eyed realism. In the considerable time that I spent with Judge Silberman, he never behaved in any way that would lead any fair-minded person to doubt his absolute integrity or impartiality -- and the history of his years of public service in the Justice Department and elsewhere reveal that he is as willing to confront Republicans as Democrats in the pursuit of fairness.

Judge Laurence Silberman does possess a brilliant legal mind -- coupled with a disdain for pettiness and contempt for those who would use judicial or investigatory processes for partisan ends. Perhaps it is these qualities, as well as his stubborn independence, that constitute the real reason his nomination elicits such vehement opposition from the left.

[2/16/04 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 5:14 am [link]
Dems Promise No New Taxes, What? Promises from the Democrats in Sacramento - the "Belly of the Beast" - that they will NOT raise taxes. The Democrats also agreed, courtesy of the party chairman Art Torres, to support propositions 57 and 58. What's happening with the Dems? Can you say "Proposition 56"?

The Dems are placing ALL of their rocks in the "56-wagon" people. If 56 passes, they can raise taxes at will (55% simple majority vote versus the super majority of two-thirds) and nullify what Arnold has created in 57 and 58!

Remember, 57 needs to have 56 fail!

56 is no fix, and 57, 58 - together they are great!

Here is what will happen after a 56 win. The Dems will pass bill after bill centering on tax increases and deliver it to the Governor's desk. Arnold will have to veto and veto again. The Dems will use this to create an image of Arnold as an obstructionist. The pressure will mount and taxes will be increased by a Republican governor's vote! Save Arnold by saying NO to Prop 56...and save our future by saying YES to 57 and 58!

[2/13/04 Friday]

[Bill Leonard] 5:01 am [link]
Parents Beware:
While California may not be able to guarantee that students graduate knowing how to read and write, California law does allow school districts to dismiss minors from campus for confidential medical services. The state does not require parental consent for their children to leave school for medical services, but school districts may, as a matter of local control, choose to require parental notification and consent before releasing minors from campus for any reason. If you are the parent of a high school student, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your district’s policy so that you will know whether your child can seek medical attention without your knowledge. A debate was held at the Folsom Cordova school district last week, driven by parents who wanted that district to change its policy. Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute, speaking for the change, said, “Parents simply want to know where their kids are during the day and want the opportunity to be a part of important decisions made by their kids.” Advocating for keeping the school district policy open to allow students to leave campus without parental consent was Planned Parenthood. School board members sided with Planned Parenthood on a 3-2 vote. [From Leonard Letter 1/20]

[2/12/04 Thursday]

[N. X. Winter] 5:09 am [link]
Accidental Citizenship: A CRO friend, Claremont’s John Eastman, comments on the Yaser E. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld - “...the government's detention of an enemy combatant captured on the field of battle in Afghanistan who later was discovered to be an American citizen. The Fourth Circuit's decision is clearly correct; historically and as a matter of just plain common sense, federal courts have never had authority to interfere with the detention of combat prisoners. The fact that Yaser Hamdi is a U.S. citizen does not alter that longstanding conclusion, but it does gives us the opportunity to reconsider a profound error the Court made more than a century ago.” Error? Whaaa? Eastman makes the case that the mere fact that a child on U.S. soil does not make that person a citizen.He believes that a wrong reading of previous Supreme Court cases has lead everyone to make a wrong assumption... In fact, Eastman cites SCOTUS decisions that clearly state the the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause “...was designed to ensure that all persons born in the United States were as a result citizens both of the United States and the state in which they resided, provided they were not at the time subjects of any foreign power.” Meaning that if your parents are citizens of another country, then the child is a “subject of a foreign power” just like the parents --- Now, the Supreme Court will rule on this Hamdi case - a Taliban combatant who was only in this country in his toddler years while his father worked here on a temporary worker visa and then returned to the family's native Saudi Arabia --- You know what? Sure, this will decide whether the government can detain Hamdi as a combatant, but won’t it have to determine if citizenship by accident of birth is mandated by the Constitution? To my un-legal mind I’d jump to the quick conclusion that either way the decision is going to have a big impact on basic issues of illegal immigration as well as the President’s misguided guest worker notion... Don’t ya think?

[2/11/04 Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 7:16 am [link]
Gay Marriage and Judicial Activism: Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts upheld its earlier opinion finding a constitutional right to gay marriage -- and in fact ruled nothing short of marriage, including civil unions, would comply with its earlier holding.

The timing, of course, couldn't have been worse for Massachusetts liberal John Kerry -- and that's good news for President Bush. What's even better news for the President? That the issue motivates legions of conservative activists who have otherwise been alienated by the Administration's big-spending budgets and its immigration proposal.

Certainly any opposition to gay marriage will be portrayed by its proponents as bigotry. But President Bush needs to spell out that there is another issue that's implicated -- judicial activism. A panel of appointed judges, acting alone, has taken it upon themselves to tell Massachusetts' legislature that it must rewrite the marriage code to conform to a ruling based on the Constitution drafted originally by John Adams -- a document in which even the most careful reader would have difficulty locating text outlining a "right" to gay marriage.

Setting aside the substance of the ruling, when a non-elected panel of judges can take it upon themselves to order such sweeping legislative and policy changes, can Americans truly consider themselves to be living in a democracy? After all, a political system where a small elite makes policy and political decisions for their fellow citizens -- with minimal input from the citizens themselves -- is known as an oligarchy.

President Bush will need to make clear that he supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But in explaining his rationale to moderates and liberals, he needs to help them understand that -- whatever their views on the issue at hand -- a court that can order gay marriage can also someday place such sweeping restrictions on, for example, abortion rights that "choice" becomes a meaningless concept. Explaining that a class of jurist/legislators puts every other member of a free and democratic society at risk will help Mr. Bush both to solidify his support among conservatives, while interpreting the gay marriage decision issue in a way that has resonance even for those who are slightly more to the left.

[Joe Armendariz - columnist ] 7:06 am [link]
More Thinking on 57: BOE boardmember Bill Leonard writes (see post below) "Prop. 57 allows the state to consolidate its existing debt and pay it off at reasonable interest rates. I encourage voters to support this effort to bring some stability to our state budget so that Governor Schwarzenegger can begin working with the Legislature to curb their spending habits."

If voters allow the Sacramento politicians to borrow $15 billion to pay off debt it had no legal right to assume in the first place, what incentive is there for this same Democrat controlled State Legislature to "curb their spending habits"? Because Arnold asks them too? Give me a break!

Moreover, what if these very same voters listen to these very same politicians and vote to approve Prop-56? Or are they supposed to believe Steve Westly is right about Prop-57 but wrong about Prop-56? As we all know, by now, the spending lobby and their wholly-owned proponents of Prop-56, are running extremely disingenuous television commercials designed to fool voters into believing the source of our current budget crisis is middle-aged politicians behaving badly. And, tragically, our "Republican" Governor has - so far - refused to lift a manicured finger to help kill this hideous anti-taxpayer measure, the only aim, of which, is the systematic undoing of Proposition-13. Jarvis must be spinning in his grave.

Imagine this scenario; come March 3rd, taxpayers are faced with $15 billion dollars of recycled debt; a constitutional requirement to balance the state budget and a Democrat controlled Legislature with the power to raise taxes without a single Republican vote. You won't need to read the next chapter to find out what happens next.

The only sensible thing, for taxpayers, is to vote NO on Prop(s) 56, 57 and 58!

If voters allow the Sacramento politicians to borrow $15 billion to pay off debt it had no legal right to assume in the first place, what incentive is there for this same Democrat controlled State Legislature to "curb their spending habits"? Because Arnold asks them too? Give me a break!

Moreover, what if these very same voters listen to these very same politicians and vote to approve Prop-56? Or are they supposed to believe Steve Westly is right about Prop-57 but wrong about Prop-56? As we all know, by now, the spending lobby and their wholly-owned proponents of Prop-56, are running extremely disingenuous television commercials designed to fool voters into believing the source of our current budget crisis is middle-aged politicians behaving badly. And, tragically, our "Republican" Governor has - so far - refused to lift a manicured finger to help kill this hideous anti-taxpayer measure, the only aim, of which, is the systematic undoing of Proposition-13. Jarvis must be spinning in his grave.

Imagine this scenario; come March 3rd, taxpayers are faced with $15 billion dollars of recycled debt; a constitutional requirement to balance the state budget and a Democrat controlled Legislature with the power to raise taxes without a single Republican vote. You won't need to read the next chapter to find out what happens next.

The only sensible thing, for taxpayers, is to vote NO on Prop(s) 56, 57 and 58!

[in the ebag - reader Scott Dillard] 6:55 am [link]
Birds of a feather: I saw from my San Francisco Chronicle yesterday morning that John Burton will introduce a bill in the Senate to ban foie gras ["I mean, would you like somebody cramming food down your throat?"]. I am SO glad the Senator is on top of this pressing problem! Never mind the state is bankrupt, the budget is soon due, workers' comp legislation is due on the Governor's desk in three weeks. Obviously none of that is terribly important to Senator Burton. He is consumed with concern for ducks.

[2/10/04 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard] 5:07 am [link]
Thinking on 57: I have received several questions about Prop. 57, the measure on the March 2nd ballot asking Californians to approve $15 billion in bonds to help keep the state solvent. Most people who are questioning the measure wonder why they should continue to give money to a state that cannot stop spending it. It has been likened to giving a new credit card to a shopoholic. While that is an intriguing analogy, it is false. It is the equivalent of financing the shopoholic’s (or in this case, the Legislature ’s) previous buying binges, but it does not bring in new revenue to spend any new money on any new programs. While that may still be distasteful to some, I caution that the alternatives are worse. Without this money, the state would still have to borrow the money from somewhere and the costs go up dramatically if we do it through another mechanism, perhaps to the tune of $30 billion before 2005. Prop. 57 allows the state to consolidate its existing debt and pay it off at reasonable interest rates. I encourage voters to support this effort to bring some stability to our state budget so that Governor Schwarzenegger can begin working with the Legislature to curb their spending habits.[From Leonard Letter 2/2]

[2/9/04 Monday]

[Doug Gamble - speechwriter, columnist] 5:05 am [link]
Rightly Discontent: With President George W. Bush trailing likely Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in one poll and leading the senator only slightly in another, the president may have to turn more of his attention to bolstering his right flank.

Much of the right wing is angry at Bush, and some of the pent-up frustration is starting to show. A speechwriter in the Bush 41 White House, wishing to remain anonymous, told me this past weekend he will probably sit out this November's election because he cannot bring himself to vote for a supposedly conservative president whose spending is out of control, who has advocated virtual amnesty for illegal aliens and who has embraced such liberal causes as increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. He said that he has spoken with six former Bush 41 staffers and all of them share his anger.

Bill Clinton was slick enough to get away with being all things to all people for votes without losing the liberals in his party, but Bush may not have the same luck with conservatives. Many are aghast, especially, at the spending spiral launched by Medicare overhaul. Once you have Rush Limbaugh on your case, as Bush now does, it may be time to pay attention to the discontent on the right. For a Republican, pandering to the left is a fool's game anyway. Do Bush and Karl Rove really believe that increased funding for the NEA, for example, will cause liberals to cross over and vote Republican this November?

The president can't seem to buy a break these days. David Kay's assertion that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has put him on the defensive, Democrats hammering Bush dominate the news cycles and, I thought, his interview with Tim Russert was just so-so. The election is still his to lose, but if enough discontented conservatives decide to sit home in November, lose is what he might do. Many on the right did not like the hokey "compassionate" in the "compassionate conservative" label Bush affixed to himself in 2000. Now they're wondering if the "conservative" part applies.

[2/6/04 Friday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:16 am [link]
The Gipper at 93: Happy Birthday wishes go out to the greatest President of the 20th century -- and one of the greatest leaders of all time. Ronald Reagan's vision, his courage and his fortitude helped liberate millions trapped behind the Iron Curtain; his love of freedom was beautifully reflected through his policies both at home and abroad. Though his voice may have been silenced, his words live on -- and as long as there remains honor, conviction, patriotism, piety and compassion throughout his "city on a hill," President Reagan's spirit will never die.

[Bruce Thornton columnist] 5:15 am [link]
Campus PC: If you don't think anti-Christian bigotry isn't alive and well on our college campuses, consider the fate of Dr. James Tuttle, a Catholic philosopher at Lakeland Community College in Ohio. He's been stripped of his courses and threatened with dismissal for disclosing his faith on his syllabuses. Just imagine the outcry from the ACLU if one of higher education's numerous Marxist professors--followers of a discredited ideology no more rational than any religion, and infinitely more bloody in application--were told the same thing. You can advocate anything you want in a college classroom--the violent overthrow of the government, the glories of sadomasochism, or the misogyny of hip-hop thugs--but God forbid you should reveal your faith in Jesus Christ. The good news is that FIRE--The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education--is on the case. If you don't know about FIRE, they have been stalwart defenders of faculty who have fallen victims of PC college administrators who seem to think they can ignore the Constitution.

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 5:14 am [link]
Arnold's Dance with SB1160, Concerned?
I know that the Governor's support for Gil Cedillo's return of SB 60, in the form of SB1160, is cause for concern for ALL conservative Republicans, but we cannot throw the baby out with the bath water.

This is a situation that is comparable to President Bush and his 'Guest Worker's Program'. We hate it, but what is the alternative? John "F-bomb" Kerry? Bush must win re-election for this country to win the war against terrorism!

The same goes for Arnold Schwarzenegger. California - And Arnold to a lesser extent - must get 57 and 58 passed for this state to survive the 'terrorist finances' of the past five years of Democrat 'tax and spend' leadership. We, the state as a whole, hate the driver's license issue for 'illegal immigrants' - it stinks!

But, we cannot lose focus...57 and 58 have to pass for Arnold to continue to turn this state around. Yes, we can communicate at this time with the "People's Governor". He is coming to a city near you during the ramp up for the March 2nd Primary and vote on 57 and 58. Speak to him and respectfully express your opinion on SB1160 - but DON'T make it a 'hostage vote' situation for him. That would play into the hands of the Democrats and Cedillo, who have created this bill for a time such as this!

Communicate and support the recovery propositions of 57 and 58...and then follow-up your communication AFTER the success of 57 and 58 by saying, "we helped you pass the recovery, now help us say no to illegal driver's license for illegal immigrants!"

He is the People's Governor, as he is empowered by the conservative plank of the Republican Party, so to will we be empowered to have a say - an integrity voice - on issues like immigration for California.

Remember, there is also a statewide election coming in November. We have a chance to gain 4-8 additional seats in the "Beast", (and what if President Bush 'wins' California), don't slow the train down...or should I say Hummer? Prepare for a seat at the table in the future - and the future of this Golden State.

[2/5/04 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:03 am [link]
Race to the Bottom: As a reaction to normal Americans being confronted with the sight of Janet Jackson's bare breast during the Super Bowl half-time show last Sunday, CBS has said that it will air the Grammys with up to a five minute delay. In addition, for the first time, ABC may use a five-second delay when they broadcast the Academy Awards. What a sad commentary on today's "entertainers." Are they so congenitally weak-minded that they can't restrain themselves from uttering (or acting out) obscenities for the scant, precious (to them) moments that they dominate the small screen? It's as if they're being put in TV time-out. When I was a child, teachers told us that profanity was the last refuge of those who were sadly incapable of expressing themselves through more sophisticated means. So are the Hollywood nitwits -- who behave this way in a pathetic attempt to generate attention -- more to be pitied than blamed? Maybe. But I still blame them when they hijack mass culture and take it to the lowest common denominator.

[2/4/04 Wednesday]

[Nick Winter] 5:09 am [link]
Growing Opinionists: Claremont Institute's Publius Fellows Program is taking applications. This great program builds up constitutionally-minded editorialists... We like that because we'd surely appreciate more opinionated conservative writers here at CRO...

The fate of freedom rests on the shoulders people who understand basic principles of right that must guide America if the Republic is to endure. Teaching those principles to the best young minds, and how to articulate those principles for others, is precisely what the Claremont Institute's Publius Fellows Program aims to do.

The Claremont Institute's Publius Fellows Program is a summer resident seminar designed for college seniors and graduate students who aspire to write for newspapers and opinion journals. More than 140 students have graduated from the program since its inception in 1979. Many of them have gone on to places of prominence within political, journalistic, and academic institutions. Past Publius Fellows include best-selling author Dinesh D'Souza, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, White House speech writers Michael Anton and Cheryl Miller, and Public Interest Executive Editor Adam Wolfson, among many others.

Applications are now available online. Application materials are due March 12. Acceptance in the program is competitive, so interested students should soon begin to apply soon. If you have any questions, please contact Tom Karako or Melanie Marlowe, at (909) 621-6825.

[2/3/04 Tuesday]

[in the ebag: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association] 5:19 am [link]
HJTA Recommendations for the March 2 Election:

PROP. 55: HJTA strongly urges a "NO" vote on this $12.3 billion state school bond. Voters just approved a $13.05 billion state school bond in November of 2002, just a little more than a year ago. HJTA believes that in these times of economic uncertainty, it would be foolish to add to the public debt.

PROP. 56: Vote "NO." >>> TAXPAYER ALERT: Defeating this measure is a must for taxpayers. Approval of Prop. 56 would open the flood gates to billions of dollars in higher state taxes. Promoters of this abysmal proposition will spend millions of dollars talking about accountability but the real purpose of Prop. 56 is to destroy Proposition 13's mandate of a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve new taxes. Over 100 tax increase measures totaling nearly $65 billion were introduced in the Legislature last year. If Prop. 56 had been law, virtually all would have passed.


PROP. 57: HJTA recommends a "yes" vote. Proposition 57 is not new debt. It is a consolidation refinancing of existing Gray Davis debt. In fact, Gray Davis and a majority in the Legislature tried to force massive debt on Californians without voter approval. Governor Schwarzenegger is asking for your help on a "work out" of California's budget crisis WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. Passing Prop. 57 WILL NOT RAISE TAXES, but it will allow us to put the Gray Davis era behind us. So on Proposition 57, HJTA recommends a "yes" vote. This measure is tied to Prop. 58 below.

PROP. 58: HJTA recommends a "yes" vote. Proposition 58 mandates a balanced budget -- NO MORE BORROWING. It does not take affect unless Prop. 57 above also passes.

Finally, HJTA asks taxpayers to review all local bonds carefully. Unlike state bonds, which are repaid by everyone through sales and income taxes, local general obligation bonds are repaid through a tax increase exclusively on property owners.

[Joe Armendariz - columnist ] 5:15 am [link]
Just Vote No!
There is something troubling, at least to me, about a multi-millionaire Governor raising piles of cash, mostly from other multi-millionaires, to convince middle, lower-middle, low-income and unemployed voters, to borrow their way out of the debt. Debt, it should be remembered, assumed by mostly wealthy and upper-middle-class politicians.

The bottom line: California has too much debt, not too little. California can't borrow its way out of debt and we also can't tax our way to prosperity.

The best way, the most compassionate way, to balance the state budget is by cutting the waste, the fraud and the abuse from each and every statewide department and adopt real, performance-based budgeting principles and limit annual spending to the rate of increase in inflation and population. Oh and also, we need to end the three-ring circus of duplicative government bureaucracy(ies).

Finally, let's get about reforming those state programs that need reform (which is all of them) and break down the barriers - once and for all - to economic growth, starting with our irretrievably broken workers-compensation system that serves the plaintiffs lawyers first and injured workers and their bankrupted employers last.

The politicians just don't get it. Proposition 56, contrary to the claims of the straight faced proponents, makes it easier to raise taxes, PERIOD, end of story. Proposition 57, maxes out the state's wandering credit card in order to pay off the debt run up by the people who used it last. Proposition 58 pretends to limit state spending by claiming to reconcile government spending with government revenue. Nice try, but it also allows government to spend every dollar it takes in and that is a loophole big enough to accommodate Joe Lieberman's political delusions.

Taken all together, these three propositions are a recipe for disaster in a state already too well known for disasters.

Arnold campaigned on a pledge that he wouldn't raise taxes unless there were a natural disaster requiring him to do so. With Prop - 56, 57 and 58, the politicians are asking for permission to beg, borrow and steal while making an already bad fiscal situation worse. Therefore, California taxpayers should vote no, across the board, on March 2nd, lest we have a natural disaster of our own making.

[2/2/04 Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:05 am [link]
Vulgarians at the Gates: What's with the whole Janet Jackson breast-baring silliness in the middle of the Super Bowl? Well, when CBS lets MTV decide what constitutes "family entertainment," that's what you get. What a shame -- how does anyone raise healthy, normal children in the midst of such crudity? And what a great message for young women -- Janet Jackson should certainly be proud. I could live to be 80 without hearing Nelly's backup singers talking about taking their clothes off, and without seeing any more of Janet Jackson's anatomy. What would have been so wrong with bringing Toby Keith or Josh Groban back to sing -- or even Willie Nelson? I'm not too keen on the latter's music (plus he's a Kucinich supporter) but at least he keeps himself TO himself -- so to speak. What a sad commentary that that's how low the bar's been set.


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