Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Congressman Tom McClintock's Recommendations for California's November 2020 Ballot Propositions

Congressman Tom McClintock offers his recommendations on California's November 2020 ballot propositions:


Proposition 14 – Brewster’s Billions: NO. “Brewster’s Millions” tells the story of a fictional character in 1902, who, in order to inherit $7 million, must first spend $1 million in a year and have nothing to show for it. In 2004, California voters were convinced to spend $3 billion on Stem Cell research – or about $260 (plus interest) for every family in California. A recent report found that $2.1 billion went to beneficiaries with links to the board that doles out the money. That money is now all but spent, with nothing to show for it. So, they’re back with another bond, this one for $5.5 billion (about $478 per family). This is amusing only as fiction.


Proposition 15 – How Not to Succeed in Business: NO. From the “How Tone Deaf Can They Be” file comes this proposal to reassess businesses annually in order to hike their property taxes. That’s because the state-ordered lockdowns, the arrests of shopkeepers trying to keep their businesses going, combined with California’s highest-in-the-country income and sales taxes and anti-business regulations, have left California’s small businesses flush with cash. It is still possible to build a successful small business in California, as long as you start with a successful large one. And remember, businesses don’t pay taxes: YOU pay business taxes, as a consumer through higher prices, as an employee through lower wages or as an investor through lower earnings (think 401k).


Proposition 16 – Judging People by the Color of their Skin and Not the Content of the Character: NO. In the Parents Involved Case of 2007, Chief Justice Roberts noted that “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” California voters had come to the same conclusion when they passed Proposition 209 in 1996, which forbids state government from discriminating or giving preferential treatment “on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.” Prop 16 repeals this civil rights protection for all Californians and opens a new era of official discrimination based on race.


Proposition 17 – Bank Robbers for Biden: NO. If there were any doubt of the Democrats’ contempt for the electorate, this should dispel it. This bill gives felons on parole the right to vote. Enough said.


Proposition 18 – High School Voters: NO. Wait, there’s more! Here’s a proposal to give 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary and special elections. Democrats are counting on their good judgment, experience and common sense to counter the influence of their nagging, annoying and totally unreasonable parents.


Proposition 19 – Fire Sale: NO. Right now, parents can leave the family home to their family without a crippling property tax hike. This bill ends that exemption, purportedly to add more money for firefighting. It’s a good bet that more family homes will be lost in fire sales than in fires.


Proposition 20 – A Step Back from the Abyss: YES. Long version: This measure repairs some of the damage of Jerry Brown era laws that have made California less safe. It increases penalties for many theft and fraud crimes that Brown reduced to misdemeanors, requires convicts to submit DNA for state and federal databases and restores the ability of parole boards to keep dangerous prisoners behind bars. Short version: Jerry Brown opposes it.


Proposition 21 – Rent Control with Nothing to Rent: NO. There’s an old soviet-era saying, “What good is a free bus ticket in a city with no buses?” The same is true of rent. Rent controls are very effective at drying up the supply of rental housing in any community where they’re imposed. Those currently renting do very well, but they hold on to their old apartments and landlords stop building new ones. Presto: nothing to rent – but at a very affordable price.


Proposition 22 – Let My Uber Go: YES. One of the worst bills ever enacted by the California legislature (and that says a lot) is AB 5, that essentially ended independent contracting in California. This measure exempts app-based drivers, meaning independent contractors put out of work by AB 5 can still take an Uber to a free state.


Proposition 23 — Bringing Venezuelan Heath Care to Dialysis Patients: NO. Two years ago, SEIU tried to impose price controls on dialysis. They lost and are back with this measure that imposes onerous and expensive requirements to have physicians on duty at dialysis clinics and prohibiting them from going out of business without state approval. This will help dialysis patients by assuring higher prices and will help encourage new clinics to open by forbidding them ever to close. Makes perfect sense.


Proposition 24 – When in Doubt, Don’t: NO. This measure purports to expand consumer privacy, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a consumer privacy group, calls it “a mixed bag of partial steps backwards and forwards.” Here’s what is crystal clear: it will unleash a new regulatory agency with vast powers to prosecute businesses that run afoul of the increasingly intricate consumer privacy laws in California. Another nail in the coffin of the once “Golden State.”


Proposition 25 – Catch and Release: NO. When suspects are arrested, they’re jailed until posting bail to assure they show up for trial. Surprisingly, many suspects don’t want to; go figure. Jerry Brown and the lunatic legislature did away with this process in 2018, replacing cash bail with “risk assessments.” This law was temporarily suspended pending this referendum, but the leftist Judicial Council did away with bail for most crimes during the COVID scare, resulting in the arrest, immediate release and subsequent re-arrests of criminal suspects the same day for different crimes. A NO vote would repeal this insane law.

===============

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard: The Best Among the Democrats

For now, at least, Tulsi Gabbard seems the lesser evil among the major party candidates running for president. She's saying some good things about foreign policy. She's opposes "regime change wars" (her term) and is willing to explore peace options with enemies.

Some of her recent tweets:

"I'll never apologize to smear merchants for doing everything I can to prevent more of my brothers & sisters from being killed/wounded. If it means meeting with a brutal dictator or a 100 dictators, I will do whatever it takes to prevent or end a regime change war." —TeamTulsi


"U.S. presence in Afghanistan costs $4 billion a month. Imagine what we could do with those billions to care for our sick, support our teachers, provide housing & education, & other ways serve the American people. I’ll end wars that waste our money and make us less safe." —TeamTulsi


"As president I'll end the failed war on drugs, legalize marijuana, end cash bail, and ban private prisons and bring about real criminal justice reform. I’ll crack down on the overreaching intel agencies and big tech monopolies who threaten our civil liberties and free speech."
 
She's not perfect. What candidate is? Especially from an establishment party. But the U.S. could do much worse than electing Gabbard for president in 2020.

============

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Memories of a Not Much Loved President Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush died last November 30th. I wrote my own memories about the man and his legacy on December 9th, publishing it in a few places.

Here is what I wrote:

Like Winston Smith in George Orwell's 1984, I see the telling of recent history changing before my eyes. This past week, commentators across the political spectrum praised the late President George H.W. Bush.

But I don't recall him having gotten much love during his political career. ... click to continue.

============

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Israel Attacks Free Speech -- Bans Filming Soldiers

From the AFP, (June 17, 2018) another example in liberty from The Mideast's Only Democracy!

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli ministers on Sunday backed a draft law carrying a jail term of up to 10 years for those who film or photograph soldiers with harmful intent, the justice ministry said.
Critics say the law, which will now face a series of parliamentary debates, could be a threat to free speech.

The ministerial committee on legislation endorsed the bill against "people who film, photograph or record soldiers performing their duties in order to demoralise soldiers and Israeli civilians".

The draft law would give courts the power to imprison those found guilty for five years, although a 10-year sentence would apply to defendants convicted of trying to "harm the state's security".

The same prison terms would apply to people sharing such images or recordings on social media or through traditional media.

Yes, filming active duty Israeli soldiers has proven to be problematic for the Israelis. The article cites the following embarrassing incident:

An Israeli soldier was recently released from prison after serving nine months behind bars for shooting dead an injured Palestinian, an act which was caught on video by a human rights group and spread widely online.

Hmm, nine months for murdering an already injured (i.e., harmless) Palestinian.

Yes, I know that many Arab nations are just as bad. But the U.S. media and politicians don't incessantly drone on about those Arab nations' stellar commitments to liberty and human rights. Israel's supporters do. So it's only fair to point out the many instances wherein Israel's actions fall short of its propaganda. 

===================

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Philosopher Daniel DeNicola Opens Door to Thought Police

We live in an ever more Orwellian society. As recently as the 1970s, conservatives and liberals both commonly said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- (Variously attributed to Voltaire or Evelyn Beatrice Hall.)

My, how things have changed. Americans, especially the young, increasingly oppose free speech. Especially if it's "hate speech."

But Daniel DeNicola, professor and chair of philosophy at Gettysburg College, is pushing the Orwellian envelop even further, in an article in Aeon, astonishingly titled: You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to.

I don't?

Among other things, DeNicola writes:

Unfortunately, many people today seem to take great licence with the right to believe, flouting their responsibility. The wilful ignorance and false knowledge that are commonly defended by the assertion 'I have a right to my belief' do not meet [William] James's requirements. Consider those who believe that the lunar landings or the Sandy Hook school shooting were unreal, government-created dramas; that Barack Obama is Muslim; that the Earth is flat; or that climate change is a hoax.

My italics. Because I wasn't aware that one could "take great license" with the right to believe. I thought I had an absolute right to my thoughts.

And I do not believe in man-made climate change. So I guess I'm a Thought Criminal?

DeNicola also writes:

Believing, like willing, seems fundamental to autonomy, the ultimate ground of one's freedom. But, as Clifford also remarked: 'No one man's belief is in any case a private matter which concerns himself alone.'
Beliefs shape attitudes and motives, guide choices and actions. Believing and knowing are formed within an epistemic community, which also bears their effects. There is an ethic of believing, of acquiring, sustaining, and relinquishing beliefs – and that ethic both generates and limits our right to believe. If some beliefs are false, or morally repugnant, or irresponsible, some beliefs are also dangerous. And to those, we have no right.

Well, I find DeNicola's belief -- that we have no right to certain beliefs -- to be false, morally repugnant, irresponsible, and dangerous.

Anyone know how I might report DeNicola to the Thought Police?

================

Friday, May 11, 2018

Libertarian Party of California Lies About Its Anti-Discrimination Plank

The May 1, 2018 issue of the Santa Monica Daily Press ran a front page story about the Libertarian Party of California's convention the previous weekend: "Samohi Alumna elected to lead state Libertarian Party."

In it, SMDP reporter Kate Cagle wrote: "Rather than a part of the Republican coalition, the California Libertarian Party's website presents its platform as the  middle between the two dominant parties. They support choice, LGBTQ equality, anti-discrimination laws, private  unions, gun ownership, lower taxes, and privatized retirement options."

Cagle failed to do proper journalistic reseach by reading the LPC's actual platform. However, her false reporting can be partially forgiven because the top of the LPC's platform webpage does misrepresent its position on anti-discrimination laws.

Here's what Cagle saw at the top of the LPC's platform webpage:


Later that same day, I emailed the following Letter to the Editor to the Santa Monica Daily Press:

Kate Cagle reports that "the California Libertarian Party’s website presents its platform as the middle between the two dominant parties. They support choice, LGBTQ equality, anti-discrimination laws..."

Well, no. The "presentation" atop the CLP platform webpage (which Ms. Cagle cites) misrepresents the party's position. Farther down is a link to the actual 2017 platform (the most recent online) which opposes government discrimination, but affirms the rights of individuals and businesses to discriminate. I quote:

"No level of government should deny or abridge the rights of any individual on account of sex, race, color, creed, age, national origin, economic status, marital status, sexual preference, physical ability, mental ability, or place of employment. We affirm that government should not use quota systems based on any of the above criteria.

"We oppose all governmental attempts to regulate private choice in association, including discrimination in employment, housing, and the use of privately-owned "public" accommodations. The right to trade includes the right not to trade--any reason whatsoever. [sic] We also call for the repeal of the so-called Civil Rights Act of 1991 whose self-contradictory provisions force employers to use hiring quotas on the basis of race and sex in order to avoid "disparate impact" lawsuits, but whose provisions make it illegal to use such hiring quotas.

"We call for the repeal of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), since it imposes mandates on employers to hire individuals they may not wish to hire, such as alcohol or drug abusers and people with personality disorders. Additionally, businesses are told what type of facilities to provide, which violates private property rights, and also discourages employers from hiring low skilled or disabled people."

The entire 2017 platform (all 26 pages) can be found here: https://u1myo26o1t789cb2l4fjwcx8-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Platform-of-the-Libertarian-Party-of-California-as-amended-in-Convention-April-30-2017.pdf

As of this writing, the SMDP has not published my LTE.

=============

Sunday, March 04, 2018

LPC Chair Ted Brown Heads for Texas

Ted and Laura Brown have relocated from Pasadena, California to Austin, Texas.

Brown is a longtime California libertarian, antiwar activist, and past and current Chair of the Libertarian Party of California. He intends to finish his term as LPC Chair, and will be at the upcoming 2018 LPC convention this April.

Over the past 15 years, quite a few California libertarians I've known have left the Golden State for states with lower taxes and less regulation. Brown joins the exodus.

California's loss is Texas's gain.

===================