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The Bear Flag

[10/12/05 Wednesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Proposition 76: Live Within Our Means
I have been seeking radical changes to the state's budget process for decades. It is an intractable problem because there are so many entrenched interests benefiting from the existing system's chaos. Those entrenched interests apply great political force against any reform attempt because under a more fair system, they would have to work too hard to get the money they get now, or they might not be judged worthy enough to get it at all. As the Governor says, „We do not have a budget process in this state. What we have is an auction among interest groups.‰ We need to put the overall well-being of the state and its taxpayers above the bidders in that auction.

Prop. 76, the Live Within Our Means Act, begins to do that. It is not the ultimate solution, but it is a step in the right direction. This measure will restore to governors the control of fiscal affairs that a chief executive should have-- and did have in California until 1983. First, it will keep the state from spending more money than it takes in. That is just common sense, but it is common sense that eludes the majority party in the legislature. Second, it prohibits the legislature from stealing from special funds like those dedicated to schools, roads, fire and police. Third, it prevents the annual budget delay from hurting schools, Medi-Cal patients and the like by keeping the previous year's budget in place while the new year's details are hammered out. Fourth, it allows for mid-year corrections. Again, that is just common sense. If you had a serious problem occur in your personal finances, would you just wait a year to deal with it? No, you would make course corrections immediately to prevent late payments, running down your savings, or other bad consequences.

I wish Prop. 76 were even stronger. I would like to see serious spending caps and more protection against fee increases. However, Prop. 76 is the only game in town and it is better than the current system, which is worse than broken. Prop. 76 begins to put common sense back into the state's budget process, and it deserves your "yes" vote.

[10/11/05 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Prop. 75: Compulsory Political Donations I am so torn on Proposition 75. This is the proposed law that would require labor unions of public employees to get written permission from each member before using that member's dues to make political contributions. Normally I would argue that any association has the right to make any rules on its members that it wants to. If I join a church I must confess my faith. If I join a veterans group I have to show my veterans status. If I join a service club I have to commit to giving hours of service. So why should a labor union be barred from using its members dues on politics?

The reason is another older law and if it were not for this law I would not be supporting Proposition 75. This law is the union or closed shop law. The state government of California has agreed to not hire any person who fails to join a labor union. This is a bad law and forces people to become members of a group against their true wishes. Its also leads to abuses like a union leadership that uses union money to support political candidates without the consent of the members.

If I thought there was any chance in the near future that the union shop law would be overturned then I would defend associations where members set their own rules. Where people are forced into associations not of their choosing then it is very appropriate for the government to intervene and set some standards of fairness.

[10/10/05 Monday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
LA Times Opposes Parental Notification for Abortion The LA Times gives all the convoluted reasons possible for opposing Proposition 73, the constitutional amendment requiring parental notification for a minor's abortion, and adds others: Such laws don't work, and the abortion rate is declining anyway.

The parental consent laws do work, as poliltical scientist Michael New has shown in his studies. For an overview of his work see here. New is correcting an LAT report that would have him on the opposite side of the issue. See this excerpt from his unprinted letter to the LAT.

[A] study I presented at this summerís meeting of the Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change specifically examined the effect of parental involvement laws on the incidence of abortion among minors. I analyzed the minor abortion rate for all 50 states for a span of 15 years, holding constant a variety of demographic and economic factors. Not surprisingly, in every statistical model, parental involvement laws were correlated with a statistically significant decline in the minor abortion rate. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[10/7/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Are Indian Tribes Governments or Corporations?
Dan Walters notes the intolerable disparities created by Indian "sovereignty"--wanting simultaneously the advantages of governments and private corporations. Moreover, Indian tribes contribute to political campaigns. These difficulties in California underscore the problem with granting tribal status to native Hawaiians; see our earlier post on the Akaka bill.
[visit Local Liberty Blog]

[10/6/05 Thursday]

[Jim Kouri, contributor] 12:03 am [permalink]
Thousands of Criminals Nabbed by Border Patrol Since October 1, 2004, Border Patrol agents in the Tucson, AZ Sector have apprehended 27,834 illegal aliens with criminal records, 74 of which were for homicide. Last fiscal year, the Tucson Sector apprehended 14,506 illegal aliens with criminal records. These figures do not include the thousands of criminal aliens apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents or those in other Border Patrol sectors.

For example, Border Patrol agents of the Tucson Sector apprehended an illegal alien with an outstanding murder warrant for his arrest in New York City. The suspect killed his victim, escaped back into Mexico and then re-entered the US at a later date.

Last month, Border Patrol agents from the Casa Grande station apprehended a group of 13 illegal aliens west of Sells, Arizona. All 13 subjects were transported to the Nogales Processing Center where their fingerprints were entered into the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), for comparison with the FBI fingerprint database.

One of the individuals, Jose Luis Castaneda-Cardenas, a 23-year-old Mexican National, was identified as having an outstanding felony warrant for “Felony Murder” and “Misdemeanor Criminal Possession of a Weapon,” in New York City. The New York City Police Department verified the warrant, and confirmed extradition of Castaneda. Castaneda remains in federal custody while he's awaiting extradition to New York.

The technology, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System or IAFIS, enables Border Patrol agents to search fingerprint databases simultaneously using the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the FBI fingerprint database. It provides rapid identification of individuals with outstanding criminal warrants by electronically comparing a live-scanned fingerprint with a nationwide database of biometrically indexed fingerprints.

In other incidents, Border Patrol agents of the Tucson Sector arrested two sexual predators. One of which was a United States Citizen, wanted for violent sex crimes. Border agents from the Douglas Station arrested Jose Rodriguez, a 29-year-old illegal alien from Mexico.

At the station, agents identified Rodriguez as having a criminal record in Denver, CO. He was arrested on November 30, 1998 for “Felony Sexual Assault on a Child.” Rodriguez plead guilty and was sentenced to three years incarceration. As a result of his conviction, he was subsequently Ordered Removed from the United States on February 18, 1999.

Rodriguez is currently in federal custody pending removal proceedings and prosecution. Also, agents from the Ajo Station encountered Jorge M. Sam, a 20-year-old United States citizen from Prescott, AZ, on the Tohono O’odham Nation during a vehicle stop. Records checks through the Tucson Sector Communications Center, revealed that Sam had an outstanding warrant for his arrest issued by the US Marshals Service, as a sexually violent predator. The charges on the warrant were “Sexual Assault against a Child” and “Carnal Abuse of a Juvenile under the Age of 14 at Time of Assault.” Sam was arrested and turned over to the Pima County Sheriffs Office to await extradition.

Sources: US Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security, US Marshals Service, American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens

[10/5/05 Wednesday]

[Thomas Del Beccaro columnist] 12:02 am [permalink]
History Awaits Him . . . Does it Await You ? When I spoke to Arnold recently, I told him “History awaits you – just stay true.”

I said that because in a few short weeks, he has the chance to change Sacramento, our State and our Country.

His reforms strike at the heart of the problems that affect our governance and they seek real change.

Arnold has paid a price for such leadership. Having to pay such a price for suggesting real reform is not new. Consider this five centuries old quote:

“The reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it."
-Nicolas Machiavelli, The Prince

In that same vein, candidate for CA State Controller Tony Strickland told me that "if you have not attracted enemies in politics, you have not accomplished much."

So now that we understand why Arnold has enemies, the real question is what his friends will do.

Some have complained about the purity of his leadership and therefore offer lukewarm support. But each must ask themselves, if 3 years ago someone told them they could have a Republican governor replace Gray Davis, no new taxes, a balanced budget and a chance for real reform – would they take it? None could honestly say no.

Nor can it honestly be said that Arnold's reforms can be accomplished by him - without the help of many.

So the question arises about whether you, we, us will stand with him in this quest and convince others to help as well.

If you are fed up with the growth in government, then Prop 76 is for you. Make government live within its means. If you want to de-fund the Democrats and the unions, Prop 75 if for you. And it you think we should have fair voting districts, then Prop 77 is for you.

The breadth of those reforms is considerable. So too will be their impact on History.

Don’t let your place in history pass you by.

[10/4/05 Tuesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
"Flash Report" Goes Live, Happy Birthday!  Congratulations to John Fleishman, today his 'new political website' called The Flash Report went 'live'. You can bookmark  The Flash Report by checking his first day of publication.

John is one of the brightest political minds in the state of California. Know for certain, each morning when I rise, I will be logging onto The Flash Report for the latest commentary, political news and behind the scene strategies.

Congratulations John, from all of the Hogue Blog readers, our best and full support. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[10/3/05 Monday]

[Ken Masugi -- Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01 am [permalink]
OJ Simpson Reemerges Steve Lopez gives us some details of the reemergence of OJ Simpson, on the tenth anniversary of his acquittal.

But don't let wrongful death [the civil suit] keep you from collecting a souvenir from the most elusive and slashing runner in history.

For $125, you can get O.J. to sign a USC helmet. For a mere $80, an autographed copy of the Simpson book "I Want to Tell You" will make a great holiday gift for a loved one. I once saw a remaindered copy in which someone had changed "Tell" to "Kill," but it's not clear whether O.J. would sign such a book.

"It's only for sports-related items," Riccio said. "He won't sign pictures of him in the courtroom, or him running around in the Bronco, or him holding up a glove."

It gets worse. Riccio told me O.J. won't sign a knife, either.

When you're on the trail of your ex-wife's killer, you don't want to come off like some kind of carnival act. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/30/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Claremont's Dreier Rejected for Leadership Role House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, whose district has always included Claremont, was proposed by Speaker Hastert to take over for Tom DeLay in his absence as Majority Leader (Shailagh Murray and Jim VanderHei, Wash Post).

There was one big problem: When DeLay's indictment was unsealed yesterday, conservatives in the GOP caucus immediately erupted in anger over rumors that the selection of Dreier, whom they regard as too moderate, was being presented as a fait accompli.

As the conservatives met to vent frustrations and plot options, Hastert was changing course in a separate meeting on the second floor of the Capitol. Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), the majority whip, was making a personal appeal for the promotion. Hastert agreed, forestalling a possible revolt by conservatives, who regard Blunt as one of their own.

Dreier's traditionally large margin of victory in his gerrymandered district (as are all here) fell just below 55% last November, in a race against an unknown who campaigned on the issue of illegal immigration. The Democrat's campaign, repudiated by her own party, was fueled by talk-show hosts John and Ken.

Michelle Malkin has a host of links on Dreier and DeLay, including this one from Mark Levin, former Lincoln Fellow of the Claremont Institute and author of Men in Black (reviewed here): "I can't find a single sentence [in the indictment] tying Tom DeLay to a crime. That is, there's not a single sentence tying DeLay to the contribution."

Another former Lincoln Fellow, Michael Ramirez, is not amused. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/29/05 Thursday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
The "Moderation" of "Union-Busting" Prop 75 Dan Smith (Sacbee) observes that for all the talk about restricting unions' political rights:

The restrictions [of Prop 75], however, would apply only to members' dues diverted to political committees, according to the initiative. Unions could continue to use money from employees who refused to sign the consent form to advocate on issues before the Legislature or the governor.

Thus Prop 75 does not eliminate the fundamental flaw in union use of member dues. We need a rethinking of the nature and role of labor unions. One place to start is here, a Claremont Institute briefing on the problem in the wake of the last initiative over union politicking. Our last blog on this subject is here; follow the links back. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/28/05 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Once Agan, the Matricula Consular This is the card that buys an illegal immigrant de facto amnesty, as Mark Krikorian puts it. It's an old story, but here is an update on the growth, use, and abuse of the matricula consular identity card (Delson and Gorman, LAT).

To get a card, which is good for five years, an applicant must pay $27 and produce an original birth certificate, a photo ID from Mexico (such as a voter card), and provide evidence of U.S. residency (such as a water or gas bill). The card lists the bearer's U.S. address, whether the person is here legally or not.

At Beyond Borders Blog Conor Friedersdorf's remark on an illegal who attributes her possessions (including a $1000-dollar gold watch) to her m.c. card: "If I had that kind of money I’d hire an immigation attorney and figure out how to get legal status. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/27/05 Tuesday]

[Found in the ebag-CalTax] 12:21 [permalink]
California Taxpayers Association and the Propositions: The California Taxpayers’ Association Board of Directors has endorsed November 8 special election ballot propositions that will reform the state’s broken budget process, empower public employees to say how their political dues can be spent and take the drawing of political boundaries out of the hands of politicians.

Meeting September 23, the board considered the eight propositions on the ballot and decided to support these initiatives:

Proposition 75 – Paycheck Protection. This initiative requires public employee unions to get annual written permission from members to spend any of their dues for political purposes.

Proposition 76 – Budget Process Reform. This initiative is designed to prevent huge budget deficits by tying spending to available revenues. It enhances the state’s ability to fund schools. It stops stealing from special funds, such as the transportation account, to balance the state’s budget. It allows the governor to make mid-year emergency spending reductions to maintain budget balance.

Proposition 77 – Reapportionment. Ending the conflicts of interest inherent when legislators draw their own district boundaries, in essence picking their voters, this initiative puts the reapportionment of voters in the hands of an independent panel of retired federal judges.

Directors decided to oppose Proposition 79, which would create a new state program of price controls on drugs, resulting in shortages and increased costs to taxpayers, and “shakedown” lawsuits.

Cal-Tax made no recommendation on these initiatives: Proposition 73, parental notification before a minor can have an abortion; Proposition 74, teacher tenure; Proposition 78, the California State Pharmacy Assistance Program, and Proposition 80, regulating electricity.

[9/26/05 Monday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
School Daze: Background to Proposition 74 Sutter Middle School in Sacramento was an odd place for Dems to protest the Governor's "education cuts," according to Dan Weintraub, whose son attends the school.

The increase this year is all the more remarkable because it came at a time when the state was facing - and still faces - a $6 billion gap between projected spending and tax revenues. The budget for the schools was almost exactly what was recommended by the state's nonpartisan and widely respected legislative analyst, Elizabeth Hill, and was supported by almost every Democrat in the Legislature, including Núñez.

More from Weintraub's Sacbee column below. His argument--that principals make the difference--was at the heart of our arguments for cutting the education budget and increasing teacher salaries and textbook purchases. So, some background for Prop 74, making tenure slightly harder for teachers.

Once nearly shut down by the local district due to dwindling enrollment, [principal Greg] Sutter now holds an admissions lottery because it gets so many applications from students throughout the city. The difference between then and now is not a big budget but a big-hearted principal, Greg Purcell, who threw himself into transforming the campus and succeeded.

Purcell's attention to detail includes learning every child's name, personally walking the hallways during every class break and policing any litter that falls on the ground. He sets high standards that start with the assumption that every child can learn, and he backs up his staff when they report discipline problems in their classrooms.

Purcell also makes it a practice to hire only teachers who commit to going the extra mile for their kids, even if doing so is not always strictly in line with the letter of the union agreement that governs work rules in the district.
[emphasis added]

I saw Purcell during the treasurer's press conference last week and asked him how the school's budget fared this year. He said his campus suffered no cuts and benefited from the cost-of-living adjustment that all California schools received.... [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01am [permalink]
Agran Versus Greenhut:
Greenhut Versus Unions Irvine councilman (and former mayor) Larry Agran responds to Steven Greenhut's criticisms (OCR) here. Agran compares his endeavors to the creation of NY's Central Park; Greenhut sees little beyond "pretty pictures" and a lot of unanswered questions concerning the creation of parks.

Greenhut also criticizes public-sector labor unions and details a Proposition 75 strategy. H/T to OC Blog.

The LA Daily News also runs a critical essay: "The largest government agencies in Los Angeles and across the state face setting aside at least $110 billion in coming years to pay for promised retiree pensions, health care and workers' compensation benefits, according to a Daily News review of unfunded liabilities." Where are local governments and the State going to get $110 billion?.... [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/23/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Illegal Immigration Decrease and Victory Gardens LA Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik bemoans the loss of illegal immigrant agricultural workers.

The consequences of this attitude are emerging in the state's agricultural zones, where a severe shortage of farmworkers has placed a $29-billion industry at risk. Raisin growers in the Central Valley were 40,000 workers short of the 50,600 needed for the annual harvest that began in mid-August, according to Manuel Cunha, president of the Fresno-based Nisei Farmers League.

As a result, he says, half the crop was still on the vines Tuesday. After that day, unharvested fruit would not be covered by federal insurance if spoiled by rain. The rains came Wednesday. Cunha says crop losses could reach $300 million.

The Central Valley isn't alone. At the start of the lettuce and broccoli harvest in Southern California last November, only 25% of the expected workforce showed up. No one will be surprised if the number is even lower this year.

The key to understanding this shortage is immigration policy

Contrary to the open borders rhetoric that nothing can stem the immigrant flow, it has become evident that this human Katrina can be dealt with. Unless the labor shortage is a result of low wages, the anti-illegal restrictions are working.

They will surely increase the price of our produce. Are we willing to grow Victory Gardens to win this fight? Moreover, Hiltzik seems unwilling to acknowledge the possibility of a more flexible labor market.

The LA Times editorial on immigration legislation compromises might take stock of this news. It is demagoguery to argue that "Ignoring those working here illegally won't fix the problem, and the notion that immigration agents can round up and deport 10 million people and their families isn't very realistic either." Reform means a culture of law-abidingness: We don't have too many immigrants; we don't have enough Americans.

See our latest issue of Local Liberty newsletter, which has four hard-hitting articles on illegal immigration. For now, subscriptions are free. Our next issue deals with the November special election. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/22/05 Thursday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
A Nation Under God? Versus the Growing ACLU The ACLU moves into the OC, opening its first office (Claire Luna, LAT). To combat the ACLU's growth, every Orange County resident (not to mention everyone else in America) now needs a copy of the latest Claremont Institute book, by senior fellows Thomas Krannawitter and Daniel Palm, A Nation Under God? The ACLU and Religion in American Politics. Excerpt:

No organization has been more persistent than the ACLU in the relentless assaults on religion and the natural law, family-based morality that has been the unifying force in the American political tradition.... [I]t appears the ACLU will not rest until every remnant of [our] older moral faith has been jettisoned from the public square, erased from the public mind, and replaced with the new morality approved by the ACLU.

The book details these assaults, their appalling results, and the ACLU's new morality. A particularly useful feature of the book is a compilation of documents from the American political tradition that refutes the ACLU's understanding. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/21/05 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Will Claremont Thank the Troops? A local group in Claremont, Claremont Heroes, received unanimous support from the City Council for banners honoring American servicemen. They would be posted around the Veterans' Day holiday, Nov. 11. But some enraged Claremonters declared that banners thanking the troops would be interpreted as pro-war, so they are demanding the council action be rescinded.

This reminds one of the more serious sanctuary cities movement and the various city resolutions opposing various wars. In the minds of some, there is no ordinary, noncontroversial patriotism, for the legitimacy and decency of the country are in doubt to begin with.

The Council meets Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 6:30. See Debra Mendelsohn's cogent arguments below for sticking to the original approval.


Dear Claremont Heroes supporter,

Our banner program is in serious jeopardy and your help is needed to ensure that our efforts over the past 6 months were not in vain.

At last Tuesday's Claremont City Council meeting, during the public comment portion of the meeting, a group of residents who are opposed to the war in Iraq spoke in opposition to the City approved banner program to thank Veterans and Active Duty military personnel. They urged the City Council to shelve the program or include alternate banners representing a different point of view. In response, Councilwoman Jackie McHenry declared that she wanted to "recind her support" for the banner program and she placed the Banner Program on the agenda for reconsideration by the Council at the September 27th City Council meeting. As a result, all our fundraising and banner production efforts have come to a screeching halt until such time that the Council revisits the proposal.

This action to reconsider the program is an outrage. We have worked dilligently and in good faith with the City for nearly six months to bring this program forward. We worked closely with City staff to develop a program that would work in accordance with the City's banner policy. This proposal was reviewed at two Council sub-committee meetings and also went through a full City Council public hearing. All of these meetings were publically noticed and hours of testimony were heard and considered. At any point during this process individuals could have spoken in opposition to the proposal, and Council members could have voted against it. But they did not.

When the Council UNANIMOUSLY adopted the banner program in July, they directed Claremont Heroes to go out and raise funds to pay for the banners, develop a banner design, and present that design to the City's Architectural Committee for approval. Claremont Heroes worked closely with City staff in good faith each step of the way to ensure we were meeting both the direction and intent of the Council's action. Over the past month, we secured over $9,000 in pledges, worked with a local design firm to develop our banners, and this past week we received UNANIMOUS approval of our design from the Architectural Commission.

We followed the process. We played by the rules. And now, three weeks before the banners are set to be unveiled, our program is in danger of being destroyed.

Please help save the banner program. You can do this by:

1) Send a letter or call Councilwoman Jackie McHenry and urge her to reconsider her request to agendize this program. Remind her that we followed the legislative process. If another group wants a banner to fly in Claremont they should be required to go through the same process. Remind her that the integrity of all future Council decisions is on the line -- that her action to reconsider this proposal is clearly ill-conceived.

2) Send a letter or call Mayor Baldonado and the other members of the Council and encourage them to maintain their vote in favor of the banner program. Remind them that the integrity of all future Council votes is being called into question. Remind them that there is a process in place for banner proposals and that they need to stand firmly behind their decisions. Finally, tell them that regardless of what others may assert, that the Veteran's Day banner program is not about taking sides on a global conflict, rather it is about gratitude for ALL who serve at home and abroad.

3) Come to the City Council meeting on September 27th at 6:30pm to show your support for the banner program. Even if you do not speak, your presence will speak volumes.

I am confident that with your support our Council will step up and do the right thing on September 27th and reaffirm their support for this project.

Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at this e-mail address or at (909) 641-5758.

With appreciation for your continued support of Claremont Heroes and the men and women of our military,

Founder, Claremont Heroes

[visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/20/05 Tuesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
The Governor and the Unions "When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor two years ago as a nonpartisan reformer, it was hard to envision him turning into a union basher" (Bethy Fouhy, Sacbee). Is that so? Schwarzenegger ran on a combination of populist, generally conservative issues such as controlling the budget, opposing illegal immigration, rand epealing the "car tax." The Governor's endorsement of 75's limiting use of public employee union dues for political purposes (along with 74, 76, and 77) is central to his campaign. Recall that his phrase "girlie men" referred to Democratic legislators who wouldn't stand up to the public employee unions. It was indeed not only "not hard" to envision him taking this stance; the logic was inexorable.
[visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/16/05 Friday]

Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
The Girls and Guys of Ipanema Via Mexico Mexico allowed Brazilians to enter without a visa, for the purpose of encouraging tourism (Nicholas Gaouette and Chris Kraul, LAT). The result:

From virtually zero a decade ago, the number of undocumented Brazilian migrants held in the United States will exceed 30,000 this year. Brazil ranks behind only Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador as a source of undocumented migrants.

Mexican officials now seem surprised that the Brazilians are moving on to the U.S. So they have reversed their no-visa policy, to the protest of Brazilians, and also Ecuadorans and South Africans, who were also permitted to enter without visas.

The Mexican official said the change on the visa requirement was made on Mexico's initiative. He said he believed extremist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah had cells in southern Brazil, and his government was concerned that their members could try to enter Mexico. The nation had similar concerns about South Africa, the official said.

Also in the LAT (Sam Enriquez): Mexican presidential candidate protests decision of its Federal Electoral Institute to prevent him from campaigning in the U.S. This Thursday he was expected to address a crowd of as large as 100,000 in Huntington Park.

If the U.S. is to be treated like greater Mexico, we can expect other south of the border issues to have their weight in America. Yet another reason for strengthening our conception of what it means to be an American. Open borders is not part of that notion; the Mexicans reject it, and we should too. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/15/05 Thursday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
Sac Bee Misquotes President Bush Congratulations to Cathy of Carmichael, California - listening to "Hogue In The Morning" this morning on KTKZ Newstalk 105.5FM and 1380AM - hearing the President's quote played on the air, she noticed that  James Rosen of the Sacramento Bee 'edited' (or an editor edited) the president's quote from yesterday.

The Sacramento Bee reporter removed the word "fully" out of Bush's quote, as it relates to the responsibility of the federal government's errors during the response after Hurricane Katrina and the relief effort.

Here is the quote that Rosen offers in his front page, above the fold article this morning: "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't do its job right, I take responsibility,". Rosen has obviously 'removed' the 'fully' from the actual quote. The correct sentence in the quote should read, " the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility..."

Once again, this was discovered at 6AM this morning, by Cathy of Carmichael. Thanks and great job Cathy! The question remains, did Rosen do this himself, or did the local Bee Editors edit his column, and copy his column's "misquote" for the header subtext?

Remember, this is the same newspaper that fired two other writers for misrepresenting quotes inside of articles. Will Rosen be the next to 'Bee fired' over questionable journalism?

Shades of Diana Erwin Griego in today's headline story on the Bee.

UPDATE: In talking with the Sacramento Bee Public Editor, Armando Acuna, He said it was not his type of topic to appear on the show and discuss, and that the quote, "does not see this as a huge, momentous mistake" and it "did not significantly change the meaning of the quote".

I'd like to ask Mr. Acuna if it was a "mistake", or is the editing of the word "fully" from the president's quote a predetermined edit on behalf of James Rosen?

He has to be kidding, the president said, "to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right", and replacing the phrase with, "to the extent that the federal government didn't do its job right" can he say that this does not change the meaning of the sentence? Who is he kidding?

We have a phone call into Rick Rodriquez for the morning, stay tuned. [Hogue Blog - email:]

[9/14/05 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
When Government Becomes an Interest Group (Faction) Anti-tax activist Jon Coupal points to three ways in which an abuse of government--allowing the bureaucracy to take sides in a campaign--makes government even more a part of the problem citizens must deal with. First:

[P]ublic bodies are permitted to "educate" voters. This distinction between "advocacy" and "informational" activity is one that exists only in theory.

Under the guise of the latter, cities, counties and special districts will mail out glossy fliers on a proposed tax increase and, without ever saying "vote yes," either communicate all the good things that will happen if the tax measure passes or all the horrible things that will transpire if it fails. The implicit message is clear: "Listen, you greedy taxpayers, we need this tax/bond/assessment/fee because it is for the children/public safety/clean water, etc."

Of course campaign finance legislation does not apply to the government.

Second: professional groups like the League of California Cities campaign for or against initiatives. And their funding comes from the dues of city officials. That's tax-payer funded lobbying.

Finally, government must approve the wording of initiative ballots, and can actually take activists to court for misleading statements: "Too frequently, government will overreach and attempt to have the court strike statements that are factually true but that, because of their truthfulness, are damaging to the goal of raising taxes."

James Madison argued that a national government would tame factions (unjust groups) by forcing them to moderate in order to form a legitimate majority. Contemporary government, shaped by Progressive and liberal notions of governance, has itself become a faction, and Coupal provides evidence for how this proceeds. At the State level, the initiative plays a key role in dealing with this pathology of elected officials. See Steve Frates' review arguing that direct democracy curbs government spending in the latest issue of Local Liberty newsletter. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/13/05 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
End of Session Observations The end of this year's legislative session demonstrated that our legislature could not produce meaningful policy. Instead, they resorted to symbolism. Yet even their symbols fell far short of voter expectations. The legislative leaders got the headline they wanted: homosexual marriages were to be legalized. Not only will this bill not become law, it will actually backfire on them and show just how out of touch the majority of legislators are. They got another headline they wanted, too: illegal aliens can get drivers' licenses. However, the Federal Real ID Act has overcome the California debate and what is really happening on the ground in California is a hostile reaction from both Democrat and Republican voters who will be asking legislators if they voted for the drivers' license bill. (I just found out that the bill would not take effect until 2009 even if signed.)

Sometimes powerful symbols can galvanize the public. There is a fair chance that these bills will do exactly that, but the energized voters will be voting exactly opposite of what the authors of these bills intended.

No legislator can now criticize the Governor's Live Within Our Means initiative. The legislature did not pass a single bill that would address the state‚s chronic budget issues, making the Governor's proposal the only game in town. He is the only one willing to confront an issue that is so much more than symbolism.

[9/12/05 Monday]

[Jubal blogger, columnist] 12:02 am [permalink]
Ay! Mas Nativo! You gotta love Nativo Lopez, Orange County's resident race-baiter, scofflaw and demagogue-for-all-seasons -- and one natty dresser. He makes himself such an easy target.

Not only is he skewered in the Weekly Standard by Hoover Institution research fellow Bill Whalen, but he's also taken to task by Ward Connerly in WorldNetDaily.

Here's another commentator unloading on Nativo. So he wants $1 billion in damages from Ameriquest, huh? I've heard of starting the bargaining high, but that's a little ludicrous even for Nativo.

But if Ameriquest gives that shyster even one cent, I'll start boycotting them. [go to OC Blog]

[9/9/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Schwarzenegger Veto of Same-Sex Marriage Bill: Let the Will Triumph The Governor will veto the same-sex marriage bill, not because of the moral issue involved but because it would violate the people's will, as expressed in its 2000 support of Proposition 22, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman (Finnegan and Dolan, LAT). Here's the press release.

The Governor believes the matter should be determined not by legislative action - which would be unconstitutional - but by court decision or another vote of the people of our state. We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote. Out of respect for the will of the people, the Governor will veto AB 849."

The direct democracy governor is being theoretically consistent, though his argument makes no sense whatsoever. The people can err just as readily as the legislature, though with this legislature that obvious proposition may require demonstration. Indeed, direct democracy has generally been the conservatives' friend, because the legislature has been taken over by liberal interest groups.

Yet, surely the people's errors, just as the legislature's errors, can be corrected by later actions, of either the people or the legislature (not to mention the courts). It is the regime of constitutional government that preserves the will of the people--not this or that part of the apparatus of government.

Of course Proposition 22 was correct, for reasons we have elaborated on. See our file on Moral Fiber.

Moreover, even in California the people retain enough virtue to know when they are being flattered, and they will resent it. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/8/05 Thursday]

[Brian O'Neel] 12:25 am [permalink]
Tougher Penalties for Sex Crimes SB 33 Ends Incest Exemption, Eliminates Diversion Program for Molesters – Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) today announced he voted for legislation to crack down on child molesters by eliminating an ineffective “diversion program” (i.e., probation) for sex crimes and by repealing a law that allows molesters to receive lighter punishment if their victims are family members.

“ Why should child molestation when committed by a family member be treated any differently than that committed by a stranger on the street?” asked DeVore. “People who commit incest should not be eligible for probation.”

SB 33, by Sens. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, and Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno, changes a 23-year-old law that has virtually decriminalized child sexual abuse within the family. Under that law, molesters are able to avoid harsh penalties for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 by plea bargaining down to an incest charge and receiving probation.

The bill, sponsored by the National Association to Protect Children, fixes that problem and also eliminates provisions in current law that allow certain perpetrators of incest against children to avoid time behind bars by entering a treatment program.

[9/7/05 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05am [permalink]
Same-Sex Marriage in California? Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno's bill, making marriage a contract between two persons, has now passed the Assembly and goes to the Governor for his signature (LAT). Of course, this isn't about marriage at all, as Professor Brad Watson has shown. It is about affirming the destruction of the concept of our sexual mores.

Besides misconstruing marriage, the bill presents a distortion of civil rights; see below.

This should be a no-brainer veto for the Governor, but his behavior over the past few months seems to beg for self-destruction.

The measure, by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would change California law defining marriage from "a civil contract between a man and a woman" to a "civil contract between two persons." Leno characterized gay marriage as the most important civil rights issue of the 21st century, and enlisted Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America,and Alice Huffman, California president of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, to help him lobby undecided lawmakers. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[9/2/05 Friday]

[Craig DeLuz - columnist] 7:02 am [permalink]
Democrats Approve Legislation to Help Inmates Avoid Child-Support Payments California Assembly passed AB 862 (Bass, D- Los Angeles) which allows those serving time in prison to avoid paying back child support once they are released. You might remember Bass from her efforts to throw out the High School Exit Exam. I guess accountability is not high on her priority list. The following press release was issued by the California Assembly Republican Caucus:

Democrats Approve Legislation To Help Inmates Avoid Child-Support Payments
Majority Party Sides With Convicts Over Children Who Need Support

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Republicans today criticized Democrats for approving a proposal to spend state funds to help prison inmates reduce their child-support payments.

“The state should never aid and abet a convicted criminal in avoiding child support,” Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, said. “We should not allow prisoners to escape their financial responsibility to their own children.”

On a vote of 41-34, the Assembly Democrats approved AB 862, sending the bill to the governor’s desk. The measure by Assemblywoman Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, would require the state to provide inmates with a pamphlet titled, “Child Support Information for the Parent in Jail or Prison,” at a cost of approximately $80,000 a year to taxpayers.

State law allows inmates to petition for a modification in child-support payments when they are incarcerated. There is no pressing need, however, for the state to spend time and resources to encourage these filings, especially during a fiscal crisis.

“Given a choice between supporting children or convicts, the Democrats sided with the convicts,” Spitzer said. “It’s unfortunate that the majority party is so far out of touch with the needs of California’s families.”


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