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The Bear Flag

[1/31/06 Tuesday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
Remove Mark Leno from Committee Chair After speaking with Mark Leno Monday morning (through our technical problems), I've come to the conclusion that the Conservative Schooler is right, it is time to remove Assemblyman Mark Leno from his chairman position of the Public Safety Committee. The Schooler has started a petition signing effort on his blog page, I endorse this effort. Leno's refusal to see child porn as a violent, dangerous crime (felony please) demands that this liberal find his waling papers as chairman. [Hogue Blog - email:]

[1/30/06 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]
Mark Leno Supports Child Porn I believe Assembly Member Mark Leno needs to be investigated surrounding his legislation and comments made on the Assembly Floor regarding his AB50.

We have an elected politician allowing for 24 (right now 99) pieces of "child porn" on one's personal property 'before' they are charged with a felony. This bring a whole new meaning to the phrase, "what one does behind closed door is one's own business."

Thursday morning at 7AM, I called for the investigation after receiving numerous cell calls, emails and faxes from shocked and outraged legislators. Here is the official release from the California Republican Party this afternoon:

Mark Leno, Chairman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, has once again demonstrated what little regard he has for protecting California's children from sexual predators. Thursday on the floor of the Assembly, Mark Leno argued that the law should allow a person to possess as many as 24 pieces of child pornography for "personal use in one's own home" before being convicted on felony charges. (Assembly floor debate, January 26, 2006)


"Now, as a result of further conversations with members of our caucus, I am prepared to take an amendment to lower that 100 down to 25.  And in fact it increases the penalty from a misdemeanor to allow for it to be charged on a first time offense, personal use, in one's own home, to be charged as a felony." (Assembly floor debate, January 26, 2006)


What Chairman Leno does not explain is that those 24 items that only qualify for a misdemeanor crime could be DVDs that hold up to 9,000 images each.  That brings the total possession of child pornography allowable as a misdemeanor offense to 216,000 images.


There is no logical explanation why the Chairman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee thinks it is appropriate to charge a person in the possession of up to 216,000 pictures of child pornography with a misdemeanor, carrying the same punishment as fraudulently avoiding the payment of a railroad fare.


In the past, Leno has refused to admit that possession of child pornography is a violent offense, and even equated it with stealing a bicycle.  The fact is that those who possess child pornography are creating a marketplace for what amounts to a sex-slave industry of young, innocent children. 


In an interview on the O'Reilly Factor on September 13, 2005, the following debate took place:


O'Reilly: The possession of (child pornography) is a violent crime.  If there wasn't a market, they wouldn't do it.

Leno: And you're welcome to that opinion.  As I say, we've got a failed three strikes law in California, unlike any other in the nation...We can't afford to lock everyone up for stealing a bicycle on a third offense.

Did he equate "child porn" to stealing a bicycle?


Did this politician, lawmaker declare that 24 pieces (99 in his original legislation) should be considered a misdemeanor - a simply ticket offense?


It is impossible to understand why Speaker Fabian Nunez allows for Mark Leno to continue to sit on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, let alone serve as its Chair, when sexual predators are given more protections under the law than the innocent children they target.


There would be no market for child pornography if there were no takers. This is a violent crime against the most innocent of our community, and Mark Leno believes is it appropriate for child molesters to have 24 pieces of child porn. This politician needs to be investigated immediately.


What a disgrace! [Hogue Blog - email:]

[1/26/06 Thursday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
"Daddy" Legislature Tells Union What is Good For Them The Sacramento Bee reports that a contract approved by a state employee union has been dropped because the majority party leadership in the legislature said they would not approve the deal. The problem is that the members of the union had the audacity to agree to a provision that would have allowed their members to opt out of the PERS retirement system.

Unions were created to protect individual workers from management who would otherwise take advantage of them. Now the legislature is saying that a union is not good enough to protect the interests of its members. Oh, by the way, this is a union of public sector lawyers that the legislature is dismissing. One would think that this particular union would be savy enough to negotiate a contract that is a good deal for its members. Go figure.

The ultimate irony of this is that the union that negotiated this contract may well end up with a worse deal because of the interference of the legislature. Why do we have unions when we have a legislature that always knows best? [Leonard Blog]

[1/25/06 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02am
Highland Blows Off Baghdad-by-the-Bay The right-thinking city council of Highland, CA (just east of San Bernardino) takes a page from the left's playbook, prohibiting city expenditures for official travel:

In protest of an anti-military recruiting ballot measure that San Francisco voters approved last year, Highland's five-member City Council recently voted to prohibit the spending of city dollars on trips that would send employees there for conferences and training events.

Highland City Councilman Larry McCallon said he supported the resolution, which was unanimously passed at the Jan. 10 meeting, to show support for U.S. military personnel and to tell Americans outside the state that San Franciscans do not speak for the rest of California. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[1/24/06 Tuesday]

[Sharon Hughes - radio talk show host, columnist] 12:15 am [permalink]
Gay Marriage - Where Do Teachers Stand? While pundits are debating whether "Brokeback Mountain" may herald acceptance of gay marriage, many taxpayers and teachers may be surprised to learn that almost a year ago the California Teacher's Association (CTA) endorsed AB19 supporting gay marriage. Bill Collins, Legislative Advocate for the largest teacher's organization in the state, wrote a letter to Assemblyman Mark Leno on February 18, 2005 in which he said, "The state has no legitimate reason to discriminate by prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying...use our endorsement of AB19 as may be helpful to its enactment."

The Capitol Resource Institute asked, "What is the CTA doing lobbying for gay marriage? Why are union dues being spent to support this venture? The CTA's own mission statement limits their involvement to issues affecting teachers as professionals. How is gay marriage an issue that professionally affects teachers?" In Collins' letter he states that the endorsement was "voted by some 800 teacher-delegates from throughout the state." But does this endorsement represent the majority of California teachers?

A Princeton poll conducted by Pew Research in July 2005 shows the majority of Americans continue to oppose gay marriage. As well, the majority of Californians oppose gay marriage. Five years ago over 60% voted for Prop. 22 which, "ensures ... that California will not permit same-sex partners to validly marry within the state. Without submitting the matter to the voters, the Legislature cannot change this absolute refusal to recognize marriages between persons of the same sex." More recent polls show Californians still want marriage to stay between one man and one woman.
While Assemblyman Leno's AB19, which would have altered the definition of marriage, 'a union between a man and woman' as adopted by the Legislature in 1977, failed by 4 votes, on September 7, 2005 the California Assembly, became the first in the nation to approve same-sex marriage, by voting in favor of another bill by Mark Leno, AB849. But this effort was stopped by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto, because it did not represent California voters as expressed by Prop. 22.

Concerned that this is not the end of the battle for marriage is currently seeking to have California join the 18 other states that have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage and is working to get a solid initiative on the ballot. Randy Thomasson of Campaign for California Families stated recently, "Whether for 2006 or 2008, is devoted to giving the people the chance to protect marriage from the clutches of the bureaucracy."

Still, the question remains, "Does the CTA speak for the majority of California teachers?" Does the NEA and other state teacher organizations speak for teachers across the nation? Frankly, it is difficult to determine as there is little documentation, research or polls, to accurately verify where teachers stand on this issue.

There is, however, a plethera of websites and articles pointing out the need for teachers to be trained on how to teach about the homosexual lifestyle, even in kindergarten, 'hate crimes' against gay students and teachers, and statistics by pro-gay groups about the negative attitutdes of teachers that need to be changed. For instance, according to N.O.W. 85% of teachers oppose integrating lesbian, gay and bisexual themes in their curricula, and GLSEN reports 80% of prospective teachers report negative attitudes toward gay and lesbian people.

I would appreciate information from anyone who knows of any valid research on where teachers stand on this issue.

In the meantime, let me ask California teachers, and teachers from across the United States: Are you in favor gay marriage? Do the delegates of your teacher organizations speak for you? Vote in our poll HERE, just scroll down to the gold box on the left sidebar. We will publish the final results the first of February.

Will gay marriage become a reality in California, in America? The classroom is being used as a major battlefield for this issue. What side are teachers standing on? Please tell us. Voters and parents want to know.

Endnote: Currently in California AB606 is before the state legislature, which if passed will give the state superintendent unprecedented authority to withhold funds to any school district that is found to have violated 'hate crimes' as outlined in the bill.

[1/23/06 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:01 am [permalink]

The 'Un-Endorsement of Arnold' by the GOP The Republican Party is considering an "un-endorsement" of Governor Schwarzenegger, what a wrong headed direction for the GOP leadership to take.

Recently this idea was floated by  Michael Schroeder at Capitol News, what follows is my response (offered January 14, 2006) to Schroeder's strategy.

I start here: I'd love to be able to say that a 100% conservative candidate can win a statewide election in California, but it is just not true. This state is 35% social liberals, and 35% social moderate...conservatives 'might' have a voting base 30% - maybe. 

The last "Special Election" was the death to fiscally conservative ideals in California for the next 10 years. Where were you people? Did you (we, I'm a GOP'er) still have sour grapes over 'Arnold versus McClintock'? We couldn't even pass Prop 73 to protect our own children - get real.

The liberals and unions "own" this state! Yeah, I know..."Arnold made too many mistakes". OK, Arnold made mistakes and he has taken s turn toward the LEFT, I'm as mad as the next GOP'er - and I have stated such on this blog page and on the show, but this is not time to start stoning him and hand the election to the Dems and Unions...not smart, wrong headed.

The 2003 Recall was about Arnold vs. Bustamante, nothing more. Voting for McClintock in the 2003 Recall would have handed the election back to the Dems and to Bustamante. Can you imagine; we recall Davis, but Bustamante wins the election, ignorant! A worse state (pun intended) than we are in today!

State Senator Tom McClintock cannot raise enough money, and he cannot win a statewide election (lost Controller race twice). As soon as Tom runs as the sole GOP candidate, the media will turn on him, and the union money machine will destroy his favorability poll numbers immediately. Tom is a GREAT speaker, and he is a great politician in the Capitol. But he has numerous weaknesses. He is not well liked (even inside of the party),burned too many bridges, and raising money is always an issue.

Consider issues like homosexuality, abortion, racial tension, welfare, educational spending, affirmative action, radical immigration reform and just his uncompromising attitude...Tom McClintock will be an easy target for the unions, the media and the liberal/centrists voting block of California. Remember McClintock's "all white better days of California were in the 50's" campaign ad? Can you say 'out of touch'?

Ask yourself, "Why do Dems and media praise Tom all of the time?"...because they want him to be the sole candidate. Did he get 'tough press' against Arnold in the 2003 recall campaign - No, he was the darling of the media. He was puffed up by many a liberal/Democrat 'spinster'...they know what they're doing.

Back to the issue, we missed the "real reform" in November; controlled union contributions, fair elections and districts, and a drive toward budget accountability. We made a mistake on pension reform, but we were trying. We had the Gov (Administration) headed in the right direction...but we left him hanging out to dry! Now, the 'wanna be liked" governor has turned his ship toward the LEFT. He is looking for votes and a base for victory in the face of TWO powerful 'union fueled' Democrat candidates come November. He understands that he needs to have one more vote than the next guy to stay governor - do we?

Hey...there are some wins...right now we have TWO statewide, Constitutional offices. This is a good opportunity to work toward a third. I'm speaking of Tom's race here, the Senator's best chance is for Arnold to stay in office and for McClintock to run as the "balancer" of the ticket. Establish McClintock as Arnold's conservative conscience. BUT NO...the party wants to attack Arnold and replace him with McClintock. Senator Tom needs ALL of the support he can gather right now to face Jackie Speier for the election.

By removing Arnold's endorsement, we are handing her the election before the primary, by eating our governor and confusing the voter base. Right now, we'll be lucky to have Bruce in the Sect of State Office when the smoke clears.

Prediction: Arnold wins a very, very close race (and I'm not sure right now). Bruce returns (easily), and Tom is defeated by Speier 55% to 45% in the vote because of the media and the union money. Replacing Arnold means "Just Bruce", and nothing more.

If you're mad at Arnold, then the GOP should release (in writing) its determined platform, and its criticisms of the governor's new direction - not the governor. Offer a press brigade against his direction, but don't remove the endorsement and offer another candidate, it will kill the party for the future.

If we want the Gov to STOP nominating liberal, Democrat judges, state such. If we want him to remove Susan Kennedy, state such as a party. If we are upset over the increase in borrowing and the hike in minimum wage rates, state such AS A PARTY...LOUDLY...but don't attack the Gov personally. It will destroy interest and the voting base and hand the elections to the Dems.

Communicate, message, campaign people...but don't attack the only Republican governor this state may see for the next 10 years.

"Drop the knives and walk away from the kitchen drawer!" [Hogue Blog - email:]

[1/19/06 Thursday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02am [permalink]
Illegal Immigration and Local Government Allan Mansour, the mayor of Costa Mesa and an Orange County sheriff's deputy, supports his city's police helping to enforce immigration laws.

The federal government has failed to do its job, but that doesn't mean we should sit idly by and do nothing....

I fully support legal immigration and respect those who come here legally. This is not about race but about criminal offenses and legal status. I am an American without a hyphen. My parents immigrated legally from Egypt and Sweden, and this policy would be applied equally to someone from the Middle East or Europe.

We operate under the rule of law, and it's time we got back to it. Americans are standing up and asking their elected officials to enforce the law.

For more on state enforcement of laws against illegal immigrants see here. It's no longer just a border state issue.

UPDATE: Wash Times on Mexican military incursions into Arizona. A little Pershing payback time? H/t Wheat and Weeds. Read her also on the latest Court opinions.

[1/18/06 Wednesday]

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
Reciprocal Ungratefulness This title is my fancy name theory for the tension between Republican legislators and a Republican governor. They each expect the other to consult them more, to appreciate them more, and to be more loyal without question. And they each are always disappointed. Listening to the comments this week confirms my theory. You would have to look up the party designation to really know which legislator belongs to the same party as the Governor and which legislator is in the opposition.

Given my history in the legislative branch, I tend to agree with the Republican legislators’ grievances that they should have been consulted on the Governor's proposals, particularly the oversized bonds. Legislators do have a good sense of what their own districts are thinking. Legislators also complain, with some justice, that the governor does not appreciate the position he puts them in. My friend Senator Abel Maldonado has agreed to carry the Governor’s minimum wage increase proposal, but Maldonado is in a very competitive primary with another friend of mine, former Assemblyman Tony Strickland. You know that this one bill will be the key policy fight in their campaigns. Maldonado has put his own political future at great risk because he has agreed to help the Governor. Will the Governor appreciate this sacrifice?

On the other hand, governors complain, usually privately to Republican leaders, but sometimes publicly, that Republican legislators do not know how to follow. Generally, the governor is the most visible leader of the party, the best fundraiser, and the biggest media draw. Governors think that Republican legislators are more than ungrateful when they fail to recognize the governor’s leadership. Then there is always a legislator or two who gets a very critical quote about the governor’s policies in all the statewide press only to run downstairs to the governor’s staff and say they did not mean it to sound critical. This hypocrisy only exacerbates the tension and only proves my theory of reciprocal ungratefulness.

[1/17/06 Tuesday]

[Chuck DeVore - Assemblymember, columnist] 12:04am [permalink]
You Say "hemp," I think "HEMP" One interesting thing about serving in the legislature is that you work with a wide variety of people from around California who bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the Capitol.

Yesterday is a great example. In the morning, I did my daily check to see if the U.S. Army was willing to promote me to lieutenant colonel – and, I’m delighted to say, my name was on the list 23 years after I enlisted as a private. (Don’t address me as colonel yet, though, as Army National Guard officers have to get promoted first by the Federal government, then by the state.) A short time later, a colleague was speaking to me about HEMP.

Of course, to me, a military intelligence officer from Orange County, HEMP stands for high-altitude electromagnetic pulse in which a nuclear detonation at high-altitude produces gamma rays that interact with air molecules by the Compton effect to produce electrons and a strong magnetic field that destroys most electronic equipment (I wrote about this extensively in my book, China Attacks: ).

To my colleague, Mark Leno, a liberal Democrat from San Francisco, however, hemp is something entirely different: the industrial, non-drug cousin of marijuana or Cannabis sativa L., a.k.a. ditch weed.

Now, Mr. Leno, whom, despite his well-known left-liberalism, I find to be one of the more intelligent and well-informed members of the legislature, had an interest in speaking to me about industrial hemp in a public policy sort of way.

Industrial hemp grown by professional farmers is legally processed into food, soaps, and even composites that are used for furniture and automobile parts. During WWII, farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for war materials. And, the drafts of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper before the final versions were put onto parchment – as President George Washington said in 1794, “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

In spite of this it seems that we have an interesting situation in California where manufacturers of various legal products must import industrial hemp material from Canada and Europe because, while we can import it, we can’t grow it – even though it is not a drug.

To fix this situation and to create a new agricultural industry to provide a product that we are already legally importing from abroad (actually, an old one that used to thrive in California in the past), Mr. Leno has introduced AB 1147.

And, why did Mr. Leno speak to me about industrial hemp? Because, he said, I have a reputation for looking at the public policy implications of a bill before I look at its politics. In other words, because a vote for industrial hemp makes sense from a free-market economics and farm policy perspective, but could be misconstrued in our sound bite world as somehow being soft on drugs, many members would be afraid to support it.

I have asked to be a principal co-author of AB 1147 and Mr. Leno has agreed.

Perhaps in a few years California farmers will be able to legally make money from large fields of a very useful plant grown by American farmers for hundreds of years – plants that, by definition, contain tiny amounts of THC and cannot be used in any way, shape or form as a recreational drug.

You say hemp, I think HEMP – what an interesting job. Just secure your computers from the Compton effect… []

[1/16/06 Monday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02am [permalink]
Little Mexican Expatriate Vote Less than 1% of the ten million or more Mexican nationals in the U.S. will vote in this year’s Mexican election. As of now, only 17,000 Mexicans who reside in the U.S. have registered to vote. Supporters of this absentee vote had hoped for 400,000 absentee ballots to be cast. But the threat posed by dual citizenship remains.
[visit Local Liberty Blog]

[1/13/06 Friday]

[Found in the ebag-Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association] 12:21 am [permalink]
Taxpayer Groups Demand that Rob Reiner Stop All Taxpayer-Funded 'First 5' Preschool Ads
Taxpayer groups today demanded that the taxpayer-funded First 5 ads currently airing statewide on radio, TV and in major newspapers be pulled immediately now that Rob Reiner's universal preschool initiative has qualified for the June 2006 ballot.

It is illegal to use taxpayer funds to support political campaigns and ballot initiatives. The $18 million dollar ad campaign airing now and paid for with taxpayer dollars emphasizes the purported benefits of preschool. Rob Reiner's initiative would raise taxes to pay for a state-run universal preschool bureaucracy for four-year olds in California.

"Rob Reiner should do the right thing and pull the ads immediately," said Larry McCarthy, president of the California Taxpayers' Association. "He's the chair of the initiative campaign and he's the chair of the First 5 Commission. One call from him and the ads are gone. He needs to step in to prevent even the whiff of political impropriety."

"I think most people would see this as a black-and-white issue, there's not much grey here," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "It was bad enough the ads were on the air while they were in the process of qualifying the initiative. But if they stay on the air, it's a very troubling and inappropriate cross over between First 5's public education effort and Reiner's political campaign."

[1/12/06 Thursday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02am [permalink]
Bloomberg's Gun Grab Fantasy Not all that much has changed at the L.A. Times, despite the much-ballyhooed personnel shifts. Here the editors join NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg in fantasizing what a wonderful world it would be if only no one had guns.

The editors encourage L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to join Bloomberg in a barnstorming nationwide tour to get governors and other mayors to start going after gun owners in earnest. They note, however, that their gun-grabbing "message will be a tough sell in many states, especially those south of the Mason-Dixon line."

No kidding. I can hear Jeb Bush (Lemme get back to you on that one, Mike and Tony) and Haley Barbour (Whatahy'all, nuts?). [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[1/11/06 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02am [permalink]
MS-13 for Hire Our local paper, the Inland Valley Bulletin, investigates MS-13's schemes against the Border Patrol. Watch Beyond Borders Blog for more on this. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01am [permalink]
Victor Hanson on Immigration and Hollywood Terrorism In case you missed VDH's New Year's op-ed, Mi Casa Es Su Casa, on Mexico's resentment of our border tightening, here it is. From his website, here are some thoughts of his on recent Hollywood depictions of terrorists: "If Hollywood wants to know why attendance is down, it is not just the misdemeanor sin of warping reality but the artistic felony that it does so in such a predictable manner." [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[1/10/06 Tuesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01am [permalink]
Feinstein Reverts to Type on Alito California's senior senator just repeated all the left's cliches about Alito, in the hearing today: pro-machine gun opinions, Roe as a synonym for abortion and privacy rights, Alito must mirror O'Connor, affirmative action, reapportionment ("one man, one vote"), and the "fifth vote." Of course, it is virtually impossible that Alito could make any difference at all on Roe, since there are now at most only three other anti-Roe votes on the Court.

Now of course the left is using Bush's defense of the country as a cudgel against any expansive views of executive power the nominee may hold. These are of course affirmations of elected authority (which Feinstein raised as well, though on behalf of dubiously expansive readings of the commerce clause). [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[1/9/06 Monday]

[Chuck DeVore - Assemblymember, columnist] 12:04am [permalink]
DeVore after the State of the State: It’s now a few hours after Governor Schwarzenegger’s State-of-the-State address during which he proposed $70 billion of additional bond authority in our already over indebted, chronically deficit-ridden state. (For an image of my reaction to this proposal on TV, see:

My main concern with selling a large amount of new bonds to build roads, levees, schools, courts and prisons is that without meaningful reform of environmental regulations and labor laws only a small fraction of that borrowed money will actually go towards building anything.

As an example, environmental regulations currently increase the cost of levee repair by a factor of up to ten times the real cost.

Why borrow one dollar that we have to repay with two dollars to build roads with burdensome regulations that more than double the cost of the project while delaying its completion by years?

It’s like borrowing a dollar to get a quarter’s worth of construction two years late.

In the end, six Republicans in the Assembly have to join all the Democrats for any bond proposal to place it on the ballot for this June. Republicans will only support the Governor’s bonds if they are coupled with meaningful reform – if at all.

As to the governor’s speech, I was told by several people that the TV networks cut to my face just as the Governor proposed the $70 billion of bonds and the Democrats started clapping.

Here’s the note from YAFer conservative activist Brandon Powers:

Ch11 in LA (ie, Fox) cut to your right when Arnold mentioned the $70b price tag.

The scowl on your face was priceless. You need to get a still-image of that and send that out to everyone as literally the face of fiscal sanity!

It was the (only) highlight of the speech for me!

And the blog entry from O.C. consultant-sage Adam Probolsky:

Note to Assemblyman Chuck DeVore: I noticed you not clapping at the Governor's new proposal for $70 billion dollar in bonded indebtedness. Way to stand your ground. I hope you didn't eat the little spinach hors devours at the reception out of protest too.

Watch out. The Governor wants space to house another 83,000 criminals in prison. I am not sure who he has in mind for taking up residency, but my advice is to lay low, avoid eye contact and pay your taxes on time. []

[Bill Leonard, contributor, Member CA Board of Equalization] 12:03 am [permalink]
2006 Race is On The Governor's State of the State address is being micro-analyzed for its legislative program and indications of where Schwarzenegger now stands in the political spectrum. But what I heard was a re-election speech, and when compared to the weak comments of Angelides or Westly, it was a pretty good re-election speech. Governor Schwarzenegger went over the heads of the legislature and spoke to the people. As others have noted, he apologized to the people, laid out a big idea program of things people care about, and promised to work with everybody, something which the people also care about.

By election day in November, he will be able to claim credit for any successes this year, and for the failures that occur, he will be able to run against a do-nothing legislature given its penchant for running away from the big issues. It’s a great way to win re-election. If that is not enough, then voters will look to the alternative and there really is none. The Democrats do not have a candidate with a bigger vision than Schwarzenegger who means it when he talks about the California dream. There is no evidence that a Democrat governor would get along any better with the Democrat legislature. Certainly Gray Davis had his troubles with the Assembly and the Senate.

The 2006 race is on and the incumbent holds most of the advantages. [Leonard Blog]

[1/6/06 Friday]

[in the ebag - Chuck DeVore - Assemblymember, columnist] 12:02 am [permalink]
DeVore Anticipates Governor’s Challenge, Proposes Truck-Only Toll Road In anticipation of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for highway toll lanes in tonight’s State of the State speech, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) is calling for construction of a truck-only toll road from the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro to an Inland Empire terminus.

DeVore’s proposal is similar to one outlined in AB 850 (Canciamillia), part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Go-California” transportation reform package. DeVore is working with Canciamilla on a bill to authorize a privately financed and operated truck-only toll road to serve the international shipping industry.

Furthermore, following a model recently adopted in Texas, DeVore’s plan would not require bond money or tax increases.

DeVore pointed to gridlocked traffic as one reason for his proposal. Gridlock on Los Angeles and Orange County highways is a known cause of air quality and other problems such as lost productivity. According to a recent report out of Texas A&M University, residents of both counties wasted an average of 93 hours in traffic in 2003, the worst in the nation. The Inland Empire is tied for the nation’s ninth worst traffic situation.

UCLA’s Institute of Transportation Studies says the problem in these areas will only worsen over time. The Institute found many of the region’s traffic woes – primarily gridlock and accidents – are caused by the heavy presence of trucks on the Southland’s freeways, many of them coming out of the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro. A truck-only toll road would remove some of these complications from the area’s highways.

Adding to the pressing nature of this matter is the proposed construction of a multi-billion dollar port 100 miles south of the US border. Mexico’s capitalization on worsening bottlenecks at the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro threatens California jobs and tax revenues.

“ The truck traffic coming out of Long Beach is a crucial issue we need to address,” said DeVore. “We must meet this pressing need in a common sense and bipartisan fashion.” []

[1/5/06 Thursday]

[Jim Kouri, contributor] 12:03 am [permalink]
Will Bush Tell Mexico's Fox to Take a Hike (and not across our border)?
The Mexican government is initiating a far-reaching investigation. It's not an investigation into the rampant corruption within all levels of its government. And it's not an investigation into the Mexican crime gangs, drug traffickers and human smugglers. No, the target of this intense investigation -- one that's being trumpeted by the usual anti-Americans in the US news media -- is the killing of an illegal alien by a US Border Patrol agent defending himself.

A former Bush advisor, Rob Allyn, is helping Presidente Vincente Fox to use the illegal alien's death to again draw attention to what Mexicans believe is an unfair US anti-immigration policy. Fox knows that if the US gets serious about border security, he will not only have to deal with a reduction in Mexico's revenue -- money illegal workers send back to his country -- but he will actually have to deal with the tens of thousands of violent criminals who enter the US illegally everyday.

The killing of an 18-year-old illegal immigrant near the security wall on the San Diego-Mexican border comes at a time when Mexico's government continues its vocal campaign against the border security and illegal immigration bill approved by the US House of Representatives in December. Many Mexicans oppose the US measure, which would build more border fences, make illegal entry a felony and enlist military and local police to help stop undocumented migrants.

Quite simply, the Mexican government believes that its people have an inalienable right to enter and leave the United States at will. But US legal scholars can't seem to find that elusive clause in the US Constitution.

While the Mexicans oppose the US building of security walls, in the same breath they claim security walls will not curb illegal immigration. Don't you get a warm feeling all over knowing the Mexicans don't want us to waste money on a security wall that doesn't work?

The illegal alien, Guillermo Martinez, died on New Year's Eve in a Tijuana hospital, the Baja California state attorney general's office said. He died one day after he was shot by a US Border Patrol agent near a metal wall separating that city from San Diego, according to witnesses cited by Mexican officials. However, those witnesses didn't mention that Martinez was using deadly physical force against the US agent.

Raul Martinez, a spokesman for the Border Patrol said the agent had been "assaulted by an individual who threw a large size rock."

"The agent, fearing for his life at that time, fired one round at the individual, who fled back to Mexico," Martinez said Monday.

The Border Patrol spokesperson, who is not related to the dead 18-year-old, said US investigators were unsure if the victim had been struck by the bullet because he crossed back into Mexican territory.

The Mexican government over the years has become more and more brazen in their rhetoric towards the US. But nothing surpasses a recent quote by Mexico's federal Attorney General's Office. They said the probe was opened against "whomever is found to have been responsible," but they didn't name whom they suspect. They also said that Mexico generally does not try to apply its laws to events that occurred in other nations.

(Gee thanks, Mexico. I was getting worried for a moment. I thought a US federal judge hallucinated when reading the Constitution and created a Mexican right to disregard US sovereignty.)

According to the Mexican version of the shooting, Martinez was with four other people when he was shot. He was from the western city of Guadalajara but was living in Tijuana with his older brother, who apparently witnessed the shooting, said Luis Cabrera, Mexico's consul general in San Diego. Cabrera stated that "Mexican officials were collecting reports from him and other witnesses."

Mexican officials have grown increasingly vocal in their opposition to the House bill passed on December 16, which Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez branded as "stupid and underhanded." Fox has called it "shameful." But Americans cheered the bill as a good beginning.

In a recent New York Times article, officials from Mexico's Human Rights Commission admitted that Mexico employs some of the same methods to protect their southern border. Some reports indicate that the Mexican border officers use far more draconian methods than their US counterparts to keep Latinos from other countries out of Mexico.

In 2004, Mexican migrants in the United States sent home more than $16 billion in remittances, according to Mexico's central bank, giving the nation its second biggest source of foreign currency after oil exports. But that's not the biggest benefit to the Mexican government and economy. The biggest benefit is their exporting of murders, rapists, robbers, burglars, child predators and other perpetrators into the US.

In Mexico, billions of dollars are saved by not having to incarcerate dangerous criminals. Local, state and the federal governments in the US, however, do spend enormous amounts of taxpayers' money on imprisoning criminal aliens.

A recent study by the Government Accounting Office revealed that in the sample of criminal aliens they examined -- 55,000 inmates -- they were responsible for over 700,000 criminal acts and over 400,000 arrests. In Los Angeles, 95% of the outstanding arrest warrants for homicide are for illegal aliens, while 65% of the overall felony warrants are for criminal aliens, according to Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute.

So now the Mexicans are investigating a US Border Patrol agent's use of force to prevent injury or worse to himself. This from a country that still refuses to extradite over 350 killers who escaped back into Mexico after killing US citizens, including police officers. It's time for our President George W. Bush to tell their President Vincente Fox to go take a hike -- and not across our border.

[1/3/06 Tuesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01am [permalink]
Eastman on Birthright Citizenship Claremont Institute Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (and former Clarence Thomas clerk) John Eastman demolishes the theory and practice of birthright citizenship.

Birthright citizenship permits unilateral demand of citizenship, without the consent of the political community in which membership is claimed. It is thus incompatible with a system of government based upon consent of the governed and, when used by those who enter this country illegally, the rule of law as well.

The notion also intrudes on powers bestowed by the Constitution on Congress. The Constitution, properly understood, has mandated a certain floor of guaranteed citizenship, but the decision whether and how far to offer citizenship above that floor is a policy judgment left to Congress under its plenary authority over naturalization. There are many competing factors that weigh on such a policy decision, not the least of which is the ability of newcomers to assimilate the principles of equality, inalienable rights and government by consent on which our Constitution rests, and how quickly we can absorb and assimilate immigrants from nations who do not share those principles.

Indeed, the inducement to illegal immigration provided by the current "birthright citizenship" view threatens to destroy the very possibility of principled assimilation -- the "melting pot" that has made the United States the strongest and most culturally diverse nation on the face of the earth. The lessons learned by the "unilateral citizen" children of illegal immigrants are not the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but rather those of a culturally separate underclass whose illegal residence among us all but assures a deep suspicion, rather than embrace, of our governing institutions and principles. [visit Local Liberty Blog]


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