Thursday, January 28, 2010
Democrats’ Political Suicide Pact
By J. Matt Barber
The president recently told Diane Sawyer: “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” Excise the self-aggrandizing “really good” twaddle and it would seem ol’ Windy City Barry’s well on his way.
In the wake of Democrats’ historic Massachusetts smack-down, I’ve been anxious to see whether Obama would dig in his jackbooted heels and forge ahead with his wildly unpopular socialist agenda; or if he’d play nice with others and tack center (à la Bill Clinton in ‘94).
Wednesday night, during his first State of the Union address, we got our answer.
I’ll leave the in-depth analysis to others, but here’s the recap: Obama was Charlie Gibson and America was Sarah Palin. He looked down his nose, through the teleprompter, at the American people and in the most “me-centric” way imaginable, said: “Electric trains are wicked-cool. America sucks. Capitalism sucks. The Supreme Court sucks. It’s Bush’s fault. Oh, yea – the jobs thing. I’ll start my spending-freeze diet tomorrow. Give Perez Hilton a machine gun. Bama knows best. I’ll never quit. It’s Bush’s fault. Hopey-changey. Peace-out.” 
I have mixed feelings. The not-ready-for-prime-time amalgamation of jaw-dropping hubris and chuckle-out-loud incompetence this man continues to display bodes well for conservatives. The creepy political suicide pact he, Pelosi and Reid have apparently entered into – if fulfilled – almost certainly ensures an electoral bloodbath in 2010. It could cripple the Democratic Party for decades to come.
On the down side, if Obama and his fellow “progressive” extremists in Congress actually implement any of these radical policy initiatives, it could cripple the entire country for decades to come. If Obama loses, Democrats lose. If Obama wins, we all lose. Either way, Dems are in a pickle. 
Now, as we all know, optimism is “always seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Narcissism, on the other hand, is laboring under the pathological delusion that you are the light at the end of the tunnel. 
In 1994, after Bill Clinton over-optimistically interpreted his uninspiring presidential victory as a cart blanche mandate to “remake” America into Europe, voters responded by sweeping Republicans into leadership for the first time in 40 years.
Now – as revealed Wednesday night – we learn that, this time around, Obama has over-narcissistically interpreted his uninspiring presidential victory as a cart blanche mandate to “remake” America into Europe.
To borrow from Yogi Berra: It’s déjà vu all over again.
Notes, Elaine Donnelly with the Center for Military Readiness: “Dan Balz in a November 14, 1994, Washington Post article titled ‘Health Plan Was Albatross for Democrats: Big Government Label Hurt Party, Poll Finds. Greenburg found that 54% of 1,250 voters surveyed named the Health Care Task Force issue [HillaryCare] as the number one reason they cast a ‘vote of dissatisfaction’ in the leadership of Clinton and the Democrats controlling Congress in 1993. 
“Greenberg also identified a second issue, called ‘cultural liberalism,’ which was cited by 51% of respondents and symbolized by Bill Clinton’s failed 1993 campaign for homosexuals in the military.”
So, in 1994, voters took Clinton and Democrats to the woodshed for 1) trying to “Mark McGwire” the federal government through imposition of socialized healthcare, and 2) for pushing hard-left social policies to include misusing and abusing the military as a petri dish for San Francisco-style social experimentation.
Obama? Same script, different decade.
As Einstein (or was it Ben Franklin?) observed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, is our president insane, daft, an obstinate left-wing ideologue or all three? You be the judge.  
One thing’s for certain. Wednesday night kicked-off the 2010 campaign season. Wonder how many Democrats will – as did Deeds, Corzine and Coakley – ring the Oval Office for help.
Kind of like having Jack Kevorkian lend a hand with your medication, I suppose. 
Matt Barber is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He is author of the book “The Right Hook – From the Ring to the Culture War” and serves as Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel. Send comments to Matt at jmattbarber@comcast.net.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Government keeps getting fatter

By Andy Caldwell

Who is serving whom? That is the question that must be asked. Are public servants those who serve the public, or those who are served by the public?

Throughout California, government at all levels is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, as they face catastrophic costs associated with salary, benefit and retirement costs. In life and business, one must always consider the law of unintended consequences, diminishing returns and proverbial tipping points.

Unfortunately, we are talking about government, an entity unto itself, run by few politicians and even fewer public union members who are seriously willing to take on this crisis.

In a nutshell, we are past the tipping point whereby government can continue to provide basic services to the citizenry, because the cost of government has outpaced the natural growth of our economy and our tax base.

Compounding this problem, government continues to constrict and repress the economy with punitive taxes and costly regulations, serving to make matters worse.

This past Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting was a prime example of government run amuck. Consider the following series of items on the board’s agenda.

First were resolutions to some 17 employees set to retire. Undoubtedly, some of these employees are leaving now because the county offered them an extra incentive to retire early. Even though the board can’t pay their current pension obligations, they still incentivized early retirements — because they can’t make current payroll either.

They obviously figured it would be easier to kick this can down the road.

Another item dealt with the board’s legislative priorities for the upcoming year. Near the top of its agenda is getting in line with the other government entities looking for handouts from the federal government.

It does not matter that the federal government has either borrowed — which affects our debt burden — or printed the money — leads to inflation — it is giving away, the county nonetheless wants to get in line with the other frenzied pigs seeking to feed at this trough.

And true to form, some of the programs the county is seeking funding for, like issues dealing with the threat of global warming or preventing development on the Gaviota Coast, are only going to further erode and stymie our economic base.

Finally, the Board of Supervisors considered raising the fee charged by the Planning and Development Department to a new billing rate of $182 per hour. This hourly rate is going up in an attempt to cover rising retirement and health insurance costs.

The fee increase is nothing less than a subsidy to government. In most cases, when a member of the public wants to build something in the county, which by definition raises the assessed tax value of the asset, they have to pay the county at this hourly rate to process the application.

By comparison, the rate for the city of Santa Maria’s Planning Department is $65 per hour, and they get the job done quicker. Some communities, such as Lompoc, are actually suspending associated fees, with the hope of stimulating the economy, but not the county.

We are already at the point where we will not be able to adequately fight fires, respond to emergency calls, arrest and jail crooks, and maintain public infrastructure, because the salary and benefit costs of the employees associated with these and other tasks will prevent our ability to employ enough people to perform the tasks.

The only solution? We need to start cutting salaries and benefits and initiate privatization. We truly are running out of time.

Andy Caldwell is executive director of COLAB and a 41-year resident of the Central Coast. For contact information, visit the COLAB website at www.colabsbc.org.

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Monday, January 18, 2010
Should Brooks Firestone Run Against Lois Capps?
Will Brooks Firestone step into the breach and run for public office one more time? Can he or should he?  
Lois Capps represents a Congressional district that was gerrymandered specifically to favor her election. In my opinion, she has not served the community at large well, instead concentrating her efforts on behalf of an entrenched liberal constituency that has managed to keep her in office, notwithstanding breaking her promise to serve no more than three terms.
But, enough about Lois Capps. This is really about Brooks Firestone.
My initial reaction to the news that he may be thinking about running against Mrs. Capps is that I wish he would. My reasons are purely selfish – in the sense that I believe he would be a far more even handed and productive representative of the people in California’s 23rd Congressional district. 
After two terms in the California legislature and one as Santa Barbara County’s third district Supervisor, he has nothing to prove. His record clearly demonstrates that his reasons for holding public office have never been about personal gain or advantage. Brooks is one of the few people who truly believe in public service. Contrary to many of the politicians who hold office today, he has never sought to take advantage of his position for his personal benefit.
During his time as a member of the California Assembly, Brooks accomplished something that was badly needed and long overdue at the time when he introduced House Resolution No. 13, which required the Assembly Rules Committee to contract with a recognized private accounting firm to conduct a performance audit of the Legislature's lower house. The measure was adopted by the Assembly on a 61-5 vote.
When he left the state legislature in 1998, Brooks said, "When I first ran for the Assembly in 1994, I set two very simple goals: to begin to make government run like a business and to start reforming education...In three years, California has made great progress in both areas and I have played a material role in that progress. I feel I have done what I set out to do; now it's time to give others a chance."
Now, once again the Siren Call of public service is beckoning Brooks, and I can understand why, at this stage of his life, he might prefer not to respond. For one thing, the sheer demands on the time of office holders can be overwhelming. Everyone wants to get to them for something, seeking favors or special privileges, making public appearances, raising money, often foregoing one’s personal needs to meet the needs of constituents. It requires enormous effort and focus.
There’s also the matter of cost. At the time Brooks ran for the Board of Supervisors, as with all candidates, he asked for contributions from his supporters. Unfortunately, as I recall, the financial support he received fell far short of the cost and he was forced to spend around $250,000 of his own money on his campaign. I suspect that has to be on his mind at this point as he thinks about possibly mounting a new campaign that is bound to cost a great deal more than running for County Supervisor, especially against an incumbent who already has over $473,000 in her campaign account.
Another consideration I think Brooks will certainly weigh, in addition to his age and being at a point in his life when he probably thought he would be free of significant responsibility, is the stress of serving 3,000 miles away and having to travel back and forth to his district. As a County Supervisor, he could be home most nights and weekends. In D.C., he will be away from our Valley and the district most of the time for two years.
Finally, having had a pacemaker implanted in 2008, I’m sure the question of Brooks’ health is bound to be an important consideration in evaluating his options.
On the other side of the equation is Brooks’ drive to serve his community. He is clearly qualified, not just politically speaking but also because of his extensive and successful business background. He is thoughtful, even-handed and knowledgeable. 
Brooks does his homework, works well with others who have a different point of view, and believes in limiting government. 
The Republicans couldn’t ask for a better candidate.
Finally, as one who has also held positions of responsibility and reached retirement age, I can understand the appeal of getting back into the action one last time.
If Scott Brown can come close to winning or win a Senate seat in Massachusetts, which is an overwhelmingly liberal state, surely Brooks Firestone can win in California’s 23rd district.
But, that’s just my opinion.
© 2010 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
Read more of Harris Sherline’s commentaries on his blog at www.opinionfest.com
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Monday, January 11, 2010
By Matt Kokkonen

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform ( FAIR ), the cost of illegal immigration to California taxpayers is $10.5 billion per year. That figure represents half of the projected state budget deficit for the next year, meaning that
illegal immigration is contributing hugely to the massive budget shortfalls California faces year in and year out. Our educational system alone is spending $7.7 billion per year to educate the children of illegal immigrants in our public schools where these children now constitute more than 15% of the student pool. Another $1.4 billion is going to pay for health care to illegal immigrants and their kin which is about the same amount being spent to house illegal immigrant criminals in our prison system. The cost per California household is almost $1,200 a year! An astonishing 70% of the 2,300 babies born in San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton in 2003 were so-called “anchor babies.”
As a candidate for 33rd Assembly District and a legal immigrant myself, I am committed to stopping—once and for all—this hemorrhaging of our hard-earned tax dollars to people who have broken into this country illegally.
The federal courts have proved to be the biggest obstacle in cutting off the flow of
money and benefits to illegal immigrants. One only has to recall how Proposition 187,passed by 59% of California voters in 1994 ( including a large number of Latino voters ) was subsequently shredded by a federal judge.
Yet, the answer to stopping the “anchor baby” phenomenon and the automatic citizenship of children of foreign-born individuals on U.S. soil is already in the Constitution. No new amendment is necessary. All we need is to get a test-case to the United States Supreme Court where a sensible majority of Justices should rule appropriately.
Let me explain.
According to the 14th Amendment which was ratified in 1868 for the purpose of guaranteeing the newly-freed slaves their rights, “all persons, born or naturalized in
the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” The key phrase is “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” That phrase was meant to exclude from automatic citizenship persons born on American soil whose allegiance to America was incomplete. For instance, Native Americans were excluded from citizenship because of their tribal jurisdictions. Also, foreign visitors, ambassadors, consuls, and their babies born here were excluded.
Clearly, an illegal alien who has broken the laws of the United States to come here has no respect or allegiance to the American government whose laws he is flagrantly violating. Therefore, how can it be argued that an illegal immigrant and an “anchor baby” born onU.S. soil is subject to the “jurisdiction” of U.S. law? Can anyone logically believe it was the intention of the framers of the 14th Amendment to ensure a perpetual “gravy train” of money and benefits to people who violated American immigration laws which – at that time – were so strictly enforced that legal immigrants had difficulty entering the United States?
As your 33rd District Assemblyman and someone who successfully pursued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court ( winning in a unanimous decision ), I will work with anti-illegal immigration activists and organizations throughout the state to develop a test-case on the 14th Amendment which can go directly to the High Court which has never ruled on this specific interpretation before.
Matt Kokkonen is a San Luis Obispo financial planner and political activist. In 2008, he was the Republican nominee for Congress in the 23rd District, receiving over 80,000 votes. Currently, he is a candidate for State Assembly in the 33rd District.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010
My Psychic Predictions for the Year 2010
By Andy Caldwell

It has been my tradition every year at this time to present to you my psychic predictions for the year, enjoy!
Senator Max Baucus recently made a floor speech and he appeared to be very inebriated.  Well, the Democrats are going to hold him accountable and kick him out of their caucus.  Since the Republicans won’t have him, he will form a third party- a tea party, no less- the Long Island Tea Party.
China, which holds $1 trillion dollars in US debt, is going to ask for collateralization.  President Obama is going to offer up the State of California in exchange for what is due.  The way Obama figures, the US can’t afford to pay China and neither can our nation bail out California from our own long term debt which amounts to over $200 billion.  The economy will be so bad that CA voters will actually concede to the deal as they figure the communist leaders of China are more business friendly than our own communist leaders in Sacramento. 
President Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano will revise travel regulations in light of the most recent terrorist attack.  All passengers will now be required to travel without underwear.  The terrorists will not be foiled, however, as they will simply beat the new body scans and travel restrictions by hiding incendiary devices in a body cavity.  Upon that revelation, the feds will resort to some very, very invasive security screen checks at all airports.  Hey, it’s better than resorting to profiling, don’t you think?
The environmental organizations who have filed suits because firefighting efforts damaged brush and trout habitat in the recent Santa Barbara County fires will win their lawsuits.  As a result of the judge’s ruling in the case, firefighters will now no longer focus their efforts on saving lives and property during a firefight.  Instead of torching brush to start a back fire, they will torch houses.  Instead of dropping flame retardant, deemed hazardous to the fish, the firefighters will instead try and blow the fire out before it jumps a creek that hosts trout.
Lois Capps will make an official announcement that she has bequeathed her congressional seat to her daughter in order to keep it in the family.
Some of Barack Obama’s key appointees and advisors will see their dream agenda come to reality in America.  All severely disabled children will be euthanized before reaching their first birthday.  Similarly, no operations shall be performed on anybody over the age of 75 due to the imposition of “quality adjusted life years” formula used to determine the cost benefit to the government for such an investment in a life that is not worth much to society.  This will also help Obama meet his goal of saving money on Medicare.   And, good news for PETA!  All dogs and cats will be emancipated and afforded constitutional protections as citizens of the United States.
California will continue to cut itself off from electricity produced by coal and it will refuse to issue permits for the importation of supplemental natural gas supplies, all out of concern about global warming.  It will ban solar farms in the desert in order to preserve the wonderful habitat there.  It will dismantle hydro-electric dam operations in order to restore trout runs.  Without explanation, it will continue to prevent construction of new nuclear facilities.  As a result, energy supplies will be rationed, prices will soar, business development will be stalled and the State Legislature will remain oblivious.  But at least we will be closer to meeting the goals of Arnold’s anti-global warming initiative.
 Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and a 41 year resident of the Central Coast.  For contact information, visit the COLAB website at www.colabsbc.org
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