Call them out on Class and Crony Capitalism and Change up the Game


…Republicans need to make Obama own the class issue since his record is fairly indefensible. The fortunes of the middle quintiles of Americans have been eroding pretty much since Obama took office in 2009.

There’s nothing fundamentally unRepublican about class warfare. After all, the party – led by what was then called Radical Republicans – waged a very successful war against the old slave-holding aristocracy; there’s nothing to be ashamed of in that conquest. Republicans under Abraham Lincoln also pushed for greater landownership through such things as the Homestead Act, which supplied 160 acres of federal land to aspiring settlers.

No one expects the Republicans to turn socialist, but they can reap benefits from anger over the crony capitalism that has become emblematic of the Obama era. Wall Street and its more popular West Coast counterparts, the venture capital “community,” consistently game the political system and, usually, succeed. They win, but everyone else pretty much has to content themselves with keeping up with the IRS.

Words matter, ideas rule and Kotkin fingers the new power class

Here’s an excerpt:

Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are far from “the workers of the world,” but closer to modern-day robber barons. Through their own ingenuity, access to capital and often oligopolistic hold on lucrative markets, they have enjoyed one of the greatest accumulations of wealth in recent economic history, even amidst generally declining earnings, rising poverty and inequality among their fellow Americans.

Click here to read the article

Grieving, taking account, soul searching, exploring reason, rigorously

The elections have fallen heavily upon a body of individuals who took their passion and pushed with all their heart and mind, to throw back the tentacles of the State, that grows exponentially, without pause.

Activists who thought there was momentum, and a large enough constituency whose consciousness was elevated and was present to the surreal course of policy, finance, and power, unsustainable, and accelerating towards a point where the mask of government as good, and benevolent, caring, and essential would drop away in large proportions.    But alas, most are firmly connected into the matrix.   And the losses this past Nov washed away any delusions to the contrary.

Gadfly Radio will be back soon.   I want to speak with friends about what happened, what we lost, what we got and what  is possible.


Are Conservatives Rethinking their Hostility to Criminal Justice Reform?

Tough-on-crime usually means tough-on-taxpayers.

by Steven Greenhut| Nov 30, 2012

For advocates of less-intrusive government, finding the good news in the recent election is like looking on the bright side after your house has been wiped out by a hurricane. You never did like that floor plan, anyway, and this seems like a great opportunity to rethink your lifestyle.

The political storm was particularly fearsome in California. Democrats already are floating trial balloons now that they have gained a legislative supermajority that allows them to pass direct tax increases without GOP support.

But there was some good news, however slim, on the ballot in the long-neglected area of criminal-justice reform. California voters passed, by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin, a measure (Proposition 36) that reforms the state’s notoriously tough three-strikes-and-you’re-out sentencing law.

In 1994, California voters passed Proposition 184, which targeted repeat offenders. Under that law, if a person convicted of two serious or violent felonies commits a third “strike,” it would automatically lead to a life term with no possibility of parole for 25 years. The verdict is out on how much “three strikes” contributed to falling crime rates, but there is little question that California’s strict version led to rising incarceration costs and high-profile instances of injustice.

Unlike any of the other 23 states that passed “three strikes” laws, California imposed the life sentence on offenders whose third conviction was for “any” felony, rather than for a serious or violent one. So we’ve witnessed cases where offenders have received that life term for stealing a piece of pizza, kiting a bad check, and other relatively minor crimes.  Click to read more.



GadflyRadio CA Elections 2012 with Brian Calle as special guest

Tuesday Oct 16, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Brian Calle, Senior Fellow with Pacific Research Institute and Editor in Chief at

This is Gadfly Radio’s last show. Brian Calle joins us to talk about the statewide initiatives on the ballot, and the significant role of Public Employee Unions in the elections of November 2012.

We’ll also talk about special races and local initiatives on a few city ballots, as a means to shore up local control over their finances and decisions.

The multimillion dollar feud between Molly Munger and Gov Brown may be toning down.  How has it served the taxpayer? If Munger really backs down, will this help Brown’s Prop 30 to recover?

Everyone can share how they’re voting in this upcoming election.
Related Links:
Unions dominate California ballot propositions
by Brian Calle | October 14th, 2012,  OC Register

No ‘global warming’ for 16 years
Can we cancel AB 32 now?
By John Seiler | Oct. 15, 2012,

State government is always growing
Oct. 15, 2012 Katy Grimes: It appears that California state government is thriving and growing…

Cities vying for local control on Nov. ballot
Oct. 16, 2012 By Katy Grimes

In addition to a government reform ballot initiative attempting to stop unions from using employee dues for political purposes, three cities have initiatives on the November ballot asking voters to allow a constitutional change to become charter cities.

Prop. 32 could end union stranglehold on government
Oct. 16, 2012 By Dave Roberts “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Brown rebuffs corporate welfare
Oct. 14, 2012 By Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO — In much of the country, the mere mention of the name, Jerry Brown, signifies the otherworldly nature of California politics.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!
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Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. The number to call if you have any questions or comments during the show is 1-800-336-2225

CA Open Primary Bodes Change in Balance of Power–Allan Hoffenblum’s analysis on probable and likely winners and losers

Tuesday Oct 9, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Allan Hoffenblum, Publisher of the California Target Book, owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates and contributor to Fox & Hounds Daily.

Due to redistricting and the new top two Open Primary, there will be more competitive races for congress and the state legislature this November than we have seen in this state in over a decade. L.A. Times reports “Recent developments put the party within reach of gaining the two seats it needs for a two-thirds majority in the Legislature’s upper house.”

Allan Hoffenblum,  publisher of the California Target Book, wrote a four-part series for Fox & Hounds Daily, describing where those competitive races will be.   We’ll talk Hoffenblum about what these developments mean for the people and the politics of CA.

We’ll ask him what he thinks about the propositions on the ballot too.  CalWatchDog has a lot of coverage on the initiatives, with two propositions, Prop 30 and Prop 32 testing the political grip the special interests and public employee unions have on CA’s voters and their support.

Target Races: 

Part One: State Assembly

• Part Two: State Senate 

• Part Three: Congress 

Part Four: Same Party Runoff

Related Links:
A Democratic supermajority for California’s Senate?
Recent developments put the party within reach of gaining the two seats it needs for a two-thirds majority in the Legislature’s upper house.
October 06, 2012|By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

Democrats May Get Two-thirds Majority in California Senate
October 8th, 2012 | by Michael Burg |

Crazifornia: Moneyball time in Sacramento
Oct. 8, 2012 | By Laer Pearce |

“…Should Prop 30 fail in November, Brown will have a chance to start playing Moneyball. Here are some ideas for the manager of the major league Sacramento Spenders…”

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!
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Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. If it’s Tuesday, you can be sure Gadfly Radio is on from 10 am to 11 am PT! The number to call if you have any questions or comments during the show is 1-800-336-2225

Mark Cabaniss, Chris Reed on Gadfly Radio: Public Employee Pension Costs, and the 50-ton Godzilla in the room

Tuesday Oct 2, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome  Mark Cabaniss, and Chris Reed. 


Mark Cabaniss is an attorney from Kelseyville, CA. He has worked as a prosecutor and public defender. In September he penned two articles for CalWatchDog:

Yes, we can break public-employee pensions
Sept. 20, 2012

Even if politicians’ pensions are contracts protected by the Constitution, they are still breakable. In pretending otherwise, the politicians are lying. In other words, merely noting that pensions are contracts protected by the Constitution is not the end of analysis, but only the beginning, for all contracts are breakable, and all constitutional rights are subject to limits.

Breaking public-employee pensions: The political path
Sept. 27, 2012

The most important of the contract law doctrines that could be used to get out from under current pensions is the doctrine of mistake. According to that doctrine, the current pensions were granted while relying on mistaken assumptions, specifically, unrealistic projected future pension fund investment returns which have turned out to be too high.

The second contract law doctrine which might be used to get out of onerous pensions is that the money simply isn’t there to pay excessive pensions (the current highest in California is, ha-ha, $302,492 per year). The legal arguments, as well as the political arguments, are the strongest for reforming the very highest pensions, those in excess of $100,000 per year.

Chris Reed, Publisher of, Editorial Writer with San Diego Union Tribune, and contributor to, recently penned two articles concerning CA’s Teacher’s Unions and their power in Sacramento.
The sad reason Steinberg’s right about significance of his education bill
Sept. 28, 2012


The ‘nut graph’ you’ll never see in a state government story
Oct. 1, 2012

Here’s a one-paragraph version that should be the basis of what journos call the “nut graph” of most stories about state spending and state priorities:

“The members of the most powerful political force in state politics, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, get far more money from taxpayers than any other single group. The teacher unions’ power derives from the automatic dues deducted from teachers’ paychecks, meaning taxpayers directly fund the lobbying and political operations of Sacramento’s most influential entity.”

Ben Boychuk has a piece recently published in the NY Post:
Jerry Brown’s tax-hike hail mary

“…Brown might just find a way to hike taxes without Prop. 30, if Democrats can pick up those four legislative seats in November. Earlier this month, he told the editors of The San Francisco Chronicle that if Prop. 30 loses, ‘we’re not going to go out to the people again. Because we’ve tried it.'”

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!
If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. If it’s Tuesday, you can be sure Gadfly Radio is on from 10 am to 11 am PT! The number to call if you have any questions or comments during the show is 1-800-336-2225

Lisa Snell, of Reason on Education v. Politics in CA, Nov 2012 Elections

Tuesday September 24, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Lisa Snell, director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation.

Lisa has recently been debating some formidable adversaries concerning some of the ballot initiatives.   We’ll talk with her about Prop 30, and 38, and of course I have to ask her for her thoughts on Prop 32, the initiative the public employee unions are going all out to defeat, and which former Senator Gloria Romero, the Director of CA Democrats for Education Reform, supports.

Two  Fridays ago, Lisa and her husband were part of a gathering of activists invited to a private screening of the film, Won’t Back Down. which was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Bonnie Reiss, the new Global Director of the new USC Schwarzenegger Institute.   Reiss presided over an impressive all star panel which included Leyla Avila, Exec V.P. of TNTP Gabriel Medel, Founder of Parents for Unity, Julie Collier, Founder of Parents Advocat League, Michelle Rhee, CEO/Founder of Students First, and Daniel Barnz,  the film Director of  Won’t Back Down.  The movie premieres this Friday, so we’ll have a few words about it too.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”
If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing.  If it’s Tuesday, you can be sure Gadfly Radio is on from 10 am to 11 am PT!  The number to call if you have any questions or comments during the show is 1-800-336-2225

Related and Other Important Links:
Yes, we specialize in serious journalism
by Steven Greenhut | September 24, 2012 |

The following is  Steven Greenhut’s response to “‘Serious, point-of-view journalism’?,” a Columbia Journalism Review article about CJR declined to print the response, but instead asked us to post it in its comments section. CJR’s reporter did not contact or the Franklin Center (Watchdog’s parent organization) for a comment before publishing its story. (Click here to read on.)


CA Spotlight on Chicago Teachers Union Strike: Battle over Education v Warehousing, Accountability v Mediocrity

Tuesday September 18, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Larry Sand, President of California Teacher’s Empowerment Network

We’ll speak with Larry, Ben and John about the Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike, the brokered deal that was not good enough, the demands, and the impact on reform, particularly in CA.

We’ll also talk with Larry about rackets teachers unions in CA use to up their pay.   It’s not about performance, and the Hollywood motion picture coming out September 28 loosely based on The Parent Trigger Law.

Last Friday, Larry and I both attended a screening of the film, which was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Bonnie Reiss, named Global Director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute in 2012.  She presided over an impressive all star panel which included Leyla Avila, Exec V.P. of TNTP  Gabriel Medel, Founder of Parents for Unity, Julie Collier, Founder of Parents Advocat League, Michelle Rhee,  CEO/Founder, Students First,  and Daniel Barnz, Director, Won’t Back Down.  Each of these individuals have accomplished extraordinary results in their disciplines, and each was an inspiration.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”
If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

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Related Links:

Won’t Back Down Moive

Chicago teachers stifle reform

Viewpoints: Chicago teachers’ strike matters to California

Whitney Tilson’s emails’ coverage on CTU’s Strike–some excerpts

Out of the Equation
California courts educational failure if it does away with eighth-grade algebra.

14 September 2012

Contract on California
How useless “professional-development” classes for teachers cost taxpayers billions

23 September 2011
Court hearing to wait a day, union to meet Tuesday

Labor law experts did agree on a couple of points, however. One is that it will be very tough to prove that the strike represents a clear and present danger to public health and safety. “We’ve never had a teachers strike enjoined under this standard since the statute took effect,” Malin said.

Another point took the form of a question: Would a judge up for retention be willing to rule against the labor unions that historically have played a key role in city elections? Flynn is seeking retention on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“You tell me what chancery judge is going to issue an injunction against the teachers union,” Platt said. “Believe me, the unions have long memories. Every union is going to remember this judge … come election time.”

CA Prop 32: No on 32 Campaign has raised $35.8 million as of Sept 11, The State Worker reports–Check out who’s funding , and how much

Labor organizations have made defeating the measure a top priority this fall, since it would squeeze their political spending resources. The measure would ban payroll-deducted monies from use for political purposes, cutting off unions’ chief means of raising such funds. Corporations would come under the same restrictions, but the measure wouldn’t impact them as significantly since they play in politics with money contributed by executives and companies’ funds.

We’re posting this spreadsheet in response to several blog users’ requests that we make the information easily accessible. We’ll soon publish the details behind the funds raised by the Yes on 32 side, which amounts to a little more than $3 million.

In CA is Relief by Reform Dead? Serious problems with no relief from the law makers

Tuesday August 28, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Troy Anderson, to discuss his recent article published on, Stockton leads tsunami of Calif bankruptcies.

As a growing number of cities in California are contemplating or filing bankruptcy, some pension experts say they are disappointed that the cities are choosing to default on their debts and cut public services instead of dealing with the exploding costs of public pensions.

“They won’t touch pensions,” says Joe Nation, a professor of the practice of public policy at Stanford University. “In the case of Vallejo, they literally reduced the number of police officers by about one-half. It’s horrible. They don’t want to even take modest steps to deal with the pension problem.”

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Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays!

Related Links:
Stockton leads tsunami of Calif. bankruptcies
By Troy Anderson | | Aug 27, 2012

Fighting public service ‘corruption’
By Steven Greenhut | | Aug. 27, 2012

Bluto’s Ghost: Reform — Dead!
By Joel Fox | Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee | Fox & Hounds Daily | Aug 27th, 2012

Troy Anderson is an award-winning reporter and editorial writer at the Los Angeles Daily News, The Press-Enterprise and other newspapers for 20 years.  He writes for Reuters, Newsmax, and many other media outlets. His stories have also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury-News. He’s won more than two dozen writing awards, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and was featured as an investigative reporter in The McGraw-Hill book, “Careers For Puzzle-Solvers & Other Methodical Thinkers.”

A magazine he writes for – Rebel – won a 2011 Eddie Award for the best series of articles, the “Rebel With a Cause” feature he writes.  He can be reached at

David Crane Breaks it Down in Layman’s Terms, Public Employee Pension Benefits, General Funds, Special Funds, Non-discretionary, Fiscally-protected and Discretionary

David Crane has a new piece cross posted today at Fox and Hounds Daily and on Advancing a New Society
The title, With Retirement Costs Consuming One-Fifth of Discretionary Spending, California Must Reduce Un-Accrued Pension Benefits makes the point plain and simple. Then Crane breaks it down, for those who don’t understand the distinctions of public finance funds, budgets, and projections.

He breaks public funds down into categories, and even provides a chart for those of us who love graphics to help drive a point home.

Pensions and other retirement costs will consume more than 23% of discretionary state spending in fiscal year 2012-13, according to the budget recently passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown – nearly three times the share taken up by retirement costs just ten years ago.

For Californians, rapid growth in retirement costs has meant less money for universities, parks, courts and other services as well as a temporary tax increase in 2009 and another being proposed currently (one of three proposed tax increases on the November ballot – Propositions 30, 38 & 39). In the absence of reform, that share will grow, which means even more taxes and fewer services.

California’s general and special fund spending for 2012-13 is budgeted at $131 billion and effectively fits into three categories: Non-discretionary, Fiscally-protected and Discretionary.

Allow me to explain all three in layman’s terms:  (click here to go to Fox and Hound to read the full article)

Former CA State Senator Gloria Romero, DFER stands up to Union Bosses, for “Yes on Prop 32″

Senator Romero joins Gadfly Radio Tuesday, Aug 14, at 10 am PT. Romero has always been a champion for civil liberties, throughout her entire career as an elected official. She was a teacher before she went into politics and she has always been popular and respected for her courage and bold leadership on issues that bear a disproportionally heavy impact on poor black and Latino communities.
Tuesday,  Aug 14, Former Senator Gloria Romero,  joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.
Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

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Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Former Senator Romero’s convictions run deep. As a life long Democrat, she continues to champion fundamental civil rights and dignity with courage and bold leadership.  She and the California Chapter of Democrats for Education Reform boldly stand for Proposition 32, against the power of the CA Democratic Party and the union bosses who want to hold on to their dues and power no matter what. 

If money and grassroots networks rule, the odds are against Prop 32, simply because of the amount of money that the unions will contribute to the NO on 32 campaign. A brief summary of the largest donors’ with contributions over $50K as of July 8, 2012 on Ballot-Pedia show the Yes on 32 side outspent by a margin of 6 to 1. This is not the final tally.  The No side will have the deepest, largest pockets and the ratio will persist and broaden up to the finish line.

Despite the main stream media covering for the bosses and their bought and paid for politicians, the average voters are on to them.  Will outspending Yes on 32 ten to one  prevent what happened in Wisconsin?    Have things gotten bad enough here yet for the average to understand why roads and schools and parks and services are falling away?

We’ll cover the stories we didn’t get to last week, with John Seiler and Ben Boychuk. We’ll talk with John Seiler on his piece about The Great Rip-Off. Police Chiefs and other municipal administrators who are earning higher salaries retired, than when they were working. They’re earning six figure incomes, and cities have revolving doors of new hires, and new retirees. It’s like a looting taking place in broad daylight, and no one to stop it, because the people the public would expect to serve and protect us are the ones doing the looting.

Related Links: for “Yes on 32″ Campaign information.
Unions air statewide radio ads against Prop. 32
August 7, 2012 | 4:51 pm

California Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative (2012) Ballot-Pedia

Behind the Prop 32 Curtain
Steve Smith | Aug 8, 2012 | The California Majority Report

Of course Prop. 32 would slam unions
Aug. 9, 2012 | By John Seiler | CalWatchDog

LA’s Pending Insolvency and Prop 32
By Jack Humphreville | Fox & Hound Daily | Friday Aug 10, 2012
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler
Friday, August 10th, 2012

Good-government groups call Proposition 32 deceptive I read this title as “Good Government” groups call Proposition 32 deceptive.
LA Times | Jul 23, 2012
Representatives of the League of Women Voters of California and Common Cause denounced Proposition 32…

San Francisco Needs a Free Market, Not Free Water–My mother would call them cínicos, y hipocritas, cynics, hypocrites

Steven Greenhut writes in  a column at

…ironic: “In the past, San Francisco environmentalists and the Chronicle have supported river restoration efforts on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, even if hydropower generation was reduced. Could it be that San Franciscans are fine with sacrificing energy generation for environmental benefits, so long as their energy isn’t being touched?”


John Seiler posted the column on CalWatchDog’s blog, aptly titled S.F.’s hypocrisy on water.


Travis Kiger on Fullerton Recall & Reform, Larry Sand on Powerful CTA Acts to Protect Child Molesters

Tuesday, July 10,  Travis Kiger, newly elected City Council Member for  The City of Fullerton, and an active contributor with Friends For Fullerton’s Future Blog, joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at, and  Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Also joining us is Larry Sand,  President of CTEN, frequent contributor at L.A. Daily News, L.A. Times, City Journal, Union Watch, and more.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Call in number:  1-800-336-2225

Travis Kiger talks with us about being a newly elected and sworn in City Councilman of Fullerton, CA, the new majority now in office, and the changes they pledged to make.

Larry Sands talks with us about “the defeat” on June 27, 2012, “of a proposed law that would have made it easier for school districts to fire teachers in cases of sexual and other egregious misconduct has shone a spotlight on the strong sway of the California Teachers Association, widely considered the state’s most politically influential labor union with more than 325,000 members.

Related Links:

Former City Manager Chris Meyer Shares Wisdom; Recipients Underwhelmed

Defeat of Calif. teacher bill shows union power – SFGate CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press, June 28, 2012

L.A. Sheriffs set the standard for dealing with the homeless By Tori Richards, |July 9, 2012 and published on Friends for Fullerton’s Future same day.

Dysfunction @ County Reaches Rock Bottom By The Fullerton Shadow, | July 9, 2012

 Kelly Thomas killing aftermath: Reforming how cops deal with the homeless by Tori Richards | and also published on Friends for Fullerton’s Future, July 5, 2012

New Council Kills Illegal Water Tax By Admin, July 4, 2012 |Friends for Fullerton’s Future Blog

Sorry Mob, Your Rulers Have Spoken: California Senate Approves High Speed Rail–Reason Hit & Run

By Scott Shackford | July 6, 2012

Published at Reason Hit & Run

You just lack vision, Californians.

Here’s an intriguing paragraph from The Sacramento Bee’s breaking coverage that nicely illustrates why legislators would actually go against public opinion in the middle of a massive economic meltdown on an election year while asking the same public to approve a tax hike in four months:

The approval was a major legislative victory for Gov. Jerry Brown. [Senate President Pro Tem Darrell] Steinberg said the Democratic governor “talked to a couple members” ahead of the vote, while Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, reminded colleagues that the project not only had Brown’s attention, but also that of President Barack Obama and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Electorate, what electorate? Obama and Pelosi are the ones who matter.

Click here to go to article.

Travis Keiger, Newly Elected And Sworn In City Councilman of Fullerton, CA on The New Majority in Office, and the Change They Pledged

There are plenty of cities in CA that are in hot water.  Stockton, followed closely by Mammoth Lakes are in bankruptcy.

The City of Fullerton, CA, a City in Orange County, is unique in that they just ran a recall of three sitting Councilmen who have been on the City Council for many years.   Travis Kiger and a crop of supporters and two other new council members, ran to address the issue of a corrupt and abusive culture within their police department, and against the tacit approval shown this same corrupt department in the face of a brutal murder and then cover up which was denied to be a cover up.

But it wasn’t just the murder of Kelly Thomas that drove the three new council members into office.   A lavish and crony capitalist Redevelopment Agency, a bloated City Government budget, and more all fueled the fire in the hearts and minds of the voters.   We’ll talk with Travis Kiger on their new roles, their promises, challenges, and first orders of business.  Next Tuesday on Gadfly Radio

ObamaCare’s next stop and Minority Outreach and Winning Elections with Brian Calle, and Tom Donaldson

Tuesday, July 3, Brian Calle, O.C. Register columnist, and Editor in Chief for, on ObamaCare, A.K.A. The Affordable Care Act, and Tom Donaldson of Americas PAC on Minority Outreach and winning elections, join Martha Montelongo, with Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Related Links:

The importance of the Minority Vote WSJ Opinion Video June 14, 2012

Fight shifts to fall | court, tax, president – Opinion – The Orange County Register by Brian Calle, June 29, 2012

Brian Calle: Uncommon Ground by Brian Calle, June 28, 2012

Tom Donelson | Texas GOP Vote–Track Donaldson Blog Entries

Why Obamacare needs to be Repealed! | Texas GOP Vote
by Tom Donaldson July 2, 2012

If Congress and Obama stated from the beginning that Obamacare would increase the budget deficit, all Americans would see higher taxes, there would be a possibility of not keeping your current insurance, there would be government rationing of health care, and millions would still not be covered, this bill would have been rejected even by Democrats. The Democrats and Obama sold the American people on a health care reform based on false data and false hope.

Obamacare is going to make American health care more expensive but not better. Obamacare is nothing more than a mandatory health care tax to fund an inferior healthcare system.

Greenhut writes: Governor Brown Celebrates ObamaCare Ruling

Not a surprise.

Gov. Jerry Brown is happy with the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare ruling: “Today’s dramatic Supreme Court ruling removes the last roadblock to fulfilling President Obama’s historic plan to bring health care to millions of uninsured citizens.”

That makes sense. The court decided that the individual mandate isn’t really a mandate — but simply a tax. And Gov. Brown believes that the state and the country can pretty much tax its way out of its fiscal problems. Figures, a conservative justice appointed by President Bush, John Roberts, authored the opinion. Conservatives have little principled opposition to big government — they just have different ideas of how that government should be used.

Click to read the full commentary here

Betrayal on so many levels: The Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court Decision to uphold the mandate by calling it by another name

John C. Goodman with The Independent Institute pens a piece, “Repeal and Replace” regarding The Affordable Care Act
June 30, 2012,

When Barack Obama was a candidate for president, he endorsed universal health insurance, but opposed forcing individuals to buy their own insurance.

As president, he signed into law a bill that violates both of these promises. The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) gives the federal government the authority to tell every American what insurance they must have, where they will get it and what they will pay for it. Moreover, even as it violates another campaign promise (“if you’re in a plan you like, you can keep it”), the most optimistic estimate expects 23 million people will remain uninsured once the new health reform law is fully implemented.

Now that the Supreme Court has declared the mandate constitutional, what’s next? Mitt Romney says “repeal and replace.” But what should we replace ObamaCare with? Republicans on Capitol Hill are being way too timid. They are endorsing only modest reforms that will not solve the more fundamental problems of cost, quality and access to care.

Click to read the full article

Drugs, Govt Corruption, Public Sector Unions’s Advantage on CA November Ballot Initiatives: Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, June 26,  Stephen Downing, Retired Deputy Chief of Police, and 20 Year Vet with L.A.P.D., and an active voice with  LEAP, joins Martha Montelongo, with Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

High Speed Rail, Pubic Sector Unfunded Pension Liabilities, and Public Education are all huge costs with lots of waste, fraud and abuse.   How does our policy of drugs compare to these other issues?  Is it anywhere near as important?

What are the costs and benefits of our current policies?   Can we do better?

Governor Brown’s Pro-tax initiative, submitted later, than other initiatives that have not yet been verified, is verified for the ballot, and  California Forward‘s reform initiative is yet to be officially approved, pending signature verifications and certification.   Coincidence?    The deadline for all initiatives to go on the November General Election ballot is June 28th.  It looks very suspicious.


Related links for the show:
A former L.A. cop calls for legalizing drugs:
‘Prohibition is not the answer and it will never be the answer, because it does not and will not work,’ says Stephen Downing. He favors legalizing, regulating and controlling illicit substances.

Cudahy Mayor David Silva Among Three City Officials Who Took Bribe From Marijuana Dispensary, Says U.S. Attorney
By Simone Wilson

The Government Performance and Accountability Act
Californians need to know what they are getting for their tax dollars and what government is achieving. If approved by California voters through the ballot measure process, this proposal will position both state and local governments to effectively manage California’s fiscal affairs to promote concrete results Californians want and value for their tax dollars.

Jerry’s June 20 Miracle
by Joe Mathews

California Forward Waits and Waits
By Joel Fox

High court rebukes union speech assault
June 22, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

Tax Initiative gets approved, but what’s the hold up on Reform Initiative that was submitted earlier?

In California Forward Waits and Waits, Joel Fox writes:

Is today the day the Secretary of State will announce if the California Forward governance reform initiative has the signatures necessary to appear on the November ballot? Time is running out. The constitutional deadline for achieving ballot status is Thursday. Supporters of the measure are demanding to know why the count is not done yet.

They have good reason to be curious. Even though the end date for a random sample verification of signatures for the California Forward measure is July 2 – after the constitutional deadline to make the ballot – the recent approval of the governor’s tax measure raises questions.

Click to read the story

California’s Legislators play fast and lose with taxpayer money, services, and resources they’re elected to protect

They make Wall St Shysters like JP Morgan’s Jaime Dimon look like alter boys.

In  California’s Bad Bet Makes JPMorgan’s Look Minor,  David Crane writes:

California legislators on Sept. 10, 1999. They decided that investment gains would cover 100 percent of the cost of retroactive pension increases they granted that day to hundreds of thousands of state workers.

The politicians made the wrong bet — and the result has been a penalty to California’s budget that has averaged $2 billion a year ever since and that will cost the state billions more for decades to come.

Promising that “no increase over current employer contributions is needed for these benefit improvements,” and that the state pension fund would “remain fully funded,” the proposal, known as SB 400, claimed that enhanced pensions wouldn’t cost taxpayers “a dime” because of healthy investment returns. The proposal went on to assert that it “fully expects” the state’s pension costs to remain below $766 million a year for “at least the next decade.”

Click here to read the article.

Steve Greenhut’s Take on the 2012 Fullerton Recall–People taking their governments back

Libertarian columnist Steve Greenhut wrote a recap on the Fullerton Recall, and put it in the context of people taking their governments back. He had lots of good things to say about the Recall and, and the folks posted the piece on their website. It’s definitely an inspiring and instructional story.

“…A campaign-sign slogan captured the essence of the recall: “Failure to lead.” And the final hit mailer against the buffoons, focused on the absurd city-worker compensation packages that exploded during their watch, reinforcing that these officials were not leading the city, but following the demands of union workers.

It was time for a change, and the pension-abuse issue, bolstered by these leaders’ duck-and-cover routine after the Thomas killing, was enough to spark the recall. They were bounced by nearly 2-1 margins, so it wasn’t a fluke. And the ground had been plowed by Bushala and his merry band of local-minded libertarians, thanks to their Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog. Granted, the three soon-to-be-ex-council members provided plenty of side-splitting fodder…”

Click here to read the full op-ed

Post CA & WI Primaries Analysis with Wayne Lusvardi and John Seiler of CalWatchDog

Tuesday June 12, on Gadfly Radio,  Wayne Lusvardi joins Martha and John Seiler, managing editor of CalWatchDog, to discuss the election results of the  pension reform initiatives in San Diego, and  San Jose, the failed recall of Scott Walker in Wisconsin, the victorious recall of three sitting city council members and the election of their replacements,  in Fullerton, CA, a spectacular story.   and  some of the hot and contentious candidate races that developed  in last week’s CA Primary Election.

Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal is away, on assignment. 

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”


Some Related Links:  for more, check out  Ask me questions on Facebook,
Pension reform or double-dip storm in San Diego and San Jose?

June 6, 2012 By Wayne Lusvardi A pension reform ballot proposition was passed by the voters in the city of San Diego by a margin of 66.2 percent in favor to 33.8 percent opposed.. A similar pension reform measure in the city of San Jose is lead…

Beware the California Pension Reform Foxes
Liberal downfall of San Diego falsely blamed on conservatives
State voters did the right thing | CalWatchDog
By Steven Greenhut
June 11, 2012 By Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO — Several years ago, Fullerton Councilman Dick Jones cornered me at a political event, asked my opinion on.

RealClearPolitics – Public Unions’ Icarus Moment
by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post
The Lauzen Plan: How to Rein In a $3 Trillion Rogue Pension Elephant – Forbes by Ralph Benko

There is a simple, humane and practical solution to Illinois’s threatening insolvency: the “Lauzen Plan.” If tried successfully and emulated it promises to staunch the red ink threatening the viability of many states and municipalities. Lauzen is leaving the state Senate, after 20 years of service there, where he, together with other legislators of integrity, consistently predicted, and tirelessly formulated solutions to, the cascading fiscal catastrophe now manifesting. The officials blithely ignored or aborted the solutions.

My personal message to Travis Kiger, newly elected City Council member  of the City of Fullerton: “Congratulations. I am thrilled with your victory, and the team you are part of.  You’re awesome and inspiring. I thank all of you, and you individually.” and “I want to congratulate you on such a marvelous fantastic thrilling victory. I have followed from before Kelly Thomas, and you had a stage set already. You were able to catch that wave and ride it like champions!
Bravo. I love it.”

What is Jerry Brown saying to Ed reformers in the Democratic Party base? He wants their support for the tax increases first. Keep talking, he says “we” hear you.

How bold are the reformers?  How firm do they stand? Or are they waiting, hoping, and prodding, but do not want to upset the establishment? Do they support the tax increases as necessary for real education reform?

In Tweet if You Love Pension Reform, June 7 in Fox & Hound, Marcia Fritz pitches a Hail Mary pass, a last ditch effort to get the CA Legislature to do the right thing

Fix Pensions First Launches an Urgent Twitter Campaign, and invites everyone to participate. They’ll give you critical facts in small daily doses, so you don’t get blown away, and so you can be compelled to be a part of a last ditch effort to reform pensions at the state level, before it’s too late.

Follow @FixPensions. Take 10 seconds to consider the information on your screen and another 10 seconds to share it. Twitter will take care of the rest.

The legislature has until June 28 to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to require public employees to pay half the cost of their pensions, link state retirement ages with federal retirement ages and provide retirement plans to future employees that share the risk of investment losses with taxpayers.

Click here to read the full piece, and see the dramatic graphs to drive home the urgency of this reform critical reform measure.

CalWatchDog’s Wayne Lusvardi sounds a warning bell not to get comfy with the pension reform measures just passed, even if they hold–the outlook is much worse

A pension reform ballot proposition was passed by the voters in the city of San Diego by a margin of 66.2 percent in favor to 33.8 percent opposed.. A similar pension reform measure in the city of San Jose is leading with 89.8 percent of the vote in favor with 37.7 percent of the vote counted.

But the gnawing question remains: Will voters end up with the pension reforms they voted for? Or are these reforms just the proverbial calm before a possible bigger pension storm? Tentative Results of Pension Reform Measures…
Pension reform or double-dip storm in San Diego and San Jose? | CalWatchDog

And Now Act 2 of the Dramatic Situation Between the Runnaway Train, i.e. the Public Sector Union’s Crushing Weight on California & the Battle for Reform

Here’s a link and a excerpt: San Jose’s mayor addresses legal challenges – Public Sector Inc. Forum
By Steven Greenhut on June 6

Pull Quote:

San Jose’s unions didn’t really fight the Measure B pension reform that passed with 70 percent of the vote Tuesday, but they did immediately file a legal challenge. Here is Mayor Chuck Reed’s response to claims that the reform he championed isn’t legal:
“Measure B was carefully crafted to follow California law. San Jose is a charter city and the California Constitution gives charter cities: ‘plenary authority’ to provide in their charters for the compensation of their employees. i San Jose’s City Charter reserves the right of the City Council and the voters to make changes to employees’ retirement benefits: ‘.. the Council may at any time, or from time to time, amend or otherwise change any retirement plan or plans or adopt or establish a new or different plan or plans for all or any officers or employees.’ ii San Jose’s…

Robert Higgs Refutes Paul Krugman, & Primary Election Day in CA on Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, June 5, on Gadfly Radio, Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review, joins Martha Montelongo, CalWatchDog‘s managing editor, John Seiler, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

To spend, tax and regulate, more, to get us out of our economic depression.  That’s what Celebrity  Economist, Paul Krugman calls for.   He ignores the growth, power and corruption of Big Govt and the effect of war economics, and the erosion of liberty, and the devastation on  the small business private sector.

A debate rages across the Atlantic, and here, in the U.S.

Greece already hit breaking point and the news today, as I write,  is people are resorting to barter, to manage in the economic crisis that resulted from the bloated, wasteful unproductive public sector and massive borrowing on public works.

Spain is in even worse shape only the breaking point has yet to hit.  The unemployment for young adults 25 and under is well over 51 percent in Spain.

England is also in severe economic crisis, the current government has recently implemented what they call severe austerity measures, but the situation has only worsened.

In the U.S., several states, with California leading, neck and neck with Illinois, are routinely compared to Greece.

Political and, I must not forget, Nobel Prize Winning Economist, Paul Krugman ( I force myself to omit the quotation marks, for Hayek, too, won a Nobel Price for Economics), has been getting a lot of press of late, in the U.S. but also, abroad, in Europe.

He is and has been promoting his book, End this Depression Now!

He calls for policy that includes much more Government spending, and a deliberate allowance of “some” inflation, to occur.

Krugman mocks those who compare a country’s debt crisis with that of a family that has spent itself into bankruptcy, and would reduce spending to get out of debt.

He dismisses those who call for a return to a gold standard as fool hardy.

And he points to Sweden and Austria, with  government work forces that make up over 50 percent of the economy,  as  models we should follow.  He asserts, these big-government nations  are better off, and are weathering  the storm well, compared to Great Britain, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and the U.S.
This why I loved Ralph Benko’s recent piece,  Unemployment Reality To Paul Krugman: “I Refute It Thus.”

The title alone made me laugh.  A shared sentiment, so cleverly expressed!   I experienced wonderful delight.   But also, I loved the quote:

“After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — ‘I refute it thus.” — Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson


I refute what Krugman is advocating, but I would like to have Higgs, please explain, in short pithy words with brevity, and clarity.

So much hangs in the balance.

Robert Higgs is the Author of many important works, including “Crisis and Leviathan,” Depression, War, and Cold War, and new, just out in May, in both Hardcover and Paperback,  Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy

I received a hardcover copy of  Krugman’s book as a gift, by a concerned and loving friend, and then I bought it as a Kindle version, and then also, as an audio file.    I  want to see Robert Higgs’ books I mentioned above, available in digital, and  audio.

I listened to an audio of his Higgs’s  interview with Tom Woods, and Nick Gillespie and of  presentations he has made on Depression, War and Cold War and Leviathan and I want to hear and learn more.  I hope he sells many books.  His message is profound.

Click here for a collection of articles and videos on Robert Higgs, defying Paul Krugman’s ideas, and Higgs, on Big Government, TARP,   and the impact of war on the economy and small businesses.    This is a a great collection!

Higgs is compelling. He communicates with a deep compassion for and faith in humanity.  We’ll talk with him about Krugman’s assertions in End This Depression Now!

More Related Links:
Krugman: More Economic Destruction Needed To Revive Economy | The Daily Capitalist  (A Refute!)

Paul Krugman, European celebrity – Paul Krugman –  (I think “celebrity” is not intended as ironic.)

Krugman in his own words:
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney Doesn’t Mean Anything He’s Saying: The New York Times columnist talks about Romney, the European austerity trap, and why stimulus isn’t a dirty word
By Tierney Sneed | – US News and World Report  ( This is a  point by point case on Krugman’s  arguments for more, bigger spending and regulating to save us, in 900 words ).



In “A Progressive’s Progress” Greenhut writes about what one authentic progressive is standing for in California

Steven Greenhut
A Progressive’s Progress
San Jose mayor Chuck Reed shows how Democrats can take the lead on public-pension reform.
30 May 2012

Skyrocketing compensation costs for public employees are forcing California municipalities to contemplate spending cuts and, in some cases, even bankruptcy. The question isn’t whether to rein in these pension and medical liabilities—that’s unavoidable—but precisely when and how to do so. Dominated by public-sector unions, the state legislature remains in deep denial, but some local leaders, acknowledging reality, are taking action on their own to control costs. “We’ll do this city by city a few times and that will help to move the state,” San Jose mayor Chuck Reed told me in a recent interview at City Hall. Eventually, Reed says, California will need a statewide pension-reform initiative to overcome the legislature’s intransigence. Reed, a progressive Democrat who has dragged along a slim majority of a 10-member city council, is leading the most impressive effort statewide.

Click here to read the article published in City Journal

Real Progressives who authentically care about the poor should support Gov Scott Walker

GREENHUT: Real progressives should support WI’s Scott Walker
By Watchdog Staff / May 30, 2012 /

“…once-proud movement of working people who fought oppression has morphed into an upper-middle-class movement of coddled public employees who do not care about debt levels and eroded public services. They have their gold-plated pensions and no one better touch them or else.

Progressives used to pride themselves on their desire to help the poor, but in Wisconsin these days they’d rather throw the poor under the bus — a public bus, of course, with a union driver — to protect the relatively wealthy class of workers who administer government programs.”

Click here to read the article

A Democratic Tea Party and a Turning Point on Opposition to the War On Drugs and Political Suicide

“Mr. O’Rourke’s stance in favor of marijuana legalization is also something to watch. Conventional wisdom holds that such a view will kill a political career. But Mr. O’Rourke may have been helped by it. Don’t forget that Cuidad Juarez, where Mexico’s drug war has claimed the lives of thousands in the past six years, sits cheek-to-jowl with El Paso. Culturally and commercially, the two cities are almost one in the same. Mr. O’Rourke has argued that making the drug legal but regulated would weaken cartel financing and thereby reduce violence. The Times reports that he does not plan to make the issue a priority in Washington because it is not a priority for voters. But it is nonetheless interesting that his position does not seem to have hurt him.”  Mary Anastasia O’Grady  in the WSJ’s Political Diary, a daily subscription newsletter.  (Click here to go to the posted article.)

Why is the GOP forever shrinking in CA? It’s the incongruity!

Steven Greenhut: If you wonder why the GOP is having such hard times, one need only look at the goings-on in Orange County, where Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh is pulling out all the stops to ensure the election to the board of supervisors of Todd Spitzer, the former Assemblyman who is a close union ally and someone who proudly increased pensions for his deputy sheriff union friends and then stood by that action right until he started getting political heat for doing so.

Click here to read the article.

Jerry Brown is the Great Dissembler

Steven Greenhut | More Gimmicks, Less Honesty | California continues to play budget games | 17 May 2012

As the Sacramento Bee reports, “The state budget deficit had grown by a remarkable 70 percent since January, but fiscal experts said the economy had little to do with it.” If not the economy, then what could possibly explain the shortfall? The answer: Brown and his administration embraced overly optimistic budget projections—what the Legislative Analyst’s Office described as “an aggressive forecast.” In January, Brown had claimed a budget deficit of $9 billion; today, it stands at $16 billion.

Click here to read the article.

Should I Stay or Should I go? Greenhut says Conservatives should stay in CA

Yes, There’s a Case for Staying in California: Steven Greenhut

“Just as California progressives view their first-in-the-nation ideas such as cap-and-trade as a means to push the entire nation to the left, so too could conservatives and centrists use California as a model for a back-from-the-brink rescue.”

Click here to read the article.

Jim Manzi discusses “Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society”; Plus: American Dream Goin’ South and California’s Proposed Cigarette Tax, This Week on Gadfly Radio

Join us live Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on, CRN1, for another spirited edition of Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog.

Martha Montelongo could not stay away from the microphone for long, so she’s returning from her road trip a week early!

In the first half of the program, we’ll talk to Jim Manzi, author of the new book, Uncontrolled:  The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society. Manzi, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the founder and chairman of Applied Productive Technologies, argues “we have much less formal knowledge about society than economists and other social scientists often claim, and that therefore we need to rely predominantly on practical expertise, federalism and trial-and-error learning to make useful progress.” It’s a fascinating book, and should make for a fascinating discussion.

Then, John Seiler, Ben Boychuk and Martha Montelongo will discuss some of the latest developments in California, including the pitch battle over Proposition 29, the “Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act.” If approved, Prop. 29 would raise the cigarette tax by $1, with the money ostensibly earmarked for cancer research.

Prop. 29’s backers are trying to portray the measure’s opponents—which do, in fact, include tobacco companies—as objectively “pro-cancer.”  L.A. Times columnist George Skelton flatly asserts that Prop. 29 will save countless lives, and that opponents of the tax increase are simply lying to protect Big Tobacco. And in a column at California Progress Report headlined “The Friends of Lung Cancer,” former Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Peter Schrag writes:

There are lots of good reasons to support Proposition 29, the tobacco tax initiative on the June 5 ballot, not least those named Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. Together, the two tobacco giants have so far kicked in about $40 million to the sleazy campaign to defeat it. If you count the nearly $700,000 that the Republican Party contributed to their cause you have yet another reason.

Incredibly, Schrag comes out in qualified opposition to Prop. 29, saying, “Anything that big tobacco is against – or big pharma or big oil – is usually good enough to be for. But let’s save it for a more worthy purpose next time around. There’s a long list of underfunded programs that can badly use the money.” Well, alrighty then!

The problem with Prop. 29—well, one of them, anyway—is that it would create yet another new agency with an unreliable revenue stream in a state beset with a multi-billion dollar deficit. Remember Prop. 71? That was a 2004 bond measure that set up a mostly unaccountable new agency responsible for spending billions on stem-cell research. The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is now in danger of running out of money.

And as CalWatchDog’s Katy Grimes noted last month, Prop. 29’s backers have plenty to gain if the measure passes: “Don Perata, a former state legislator, has been using the June ballot measure’s election fund as his own personal checkbook. Perata has paid nearly $40,000 to an Oakland City Councilman in order to win a contract for one of his lobbying clients, the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times reported.” Grimes also reports that Prop. 29 includes “a clause prohibiting any changes in the spending decision that its politically appointed commission makes, for a full 15 years.”

What’s more, the measure, “is written in a way to exempt the CEO from normal state salary requirements, and why that CEO can hire whomever he wants, at whatever salary he chooses.”

How bad is California’s economy? People are voluntarily returning to Mexico. John Seiler at CalWatchDog lays out the numbers in “American Dream Goin’ South,” which highlights the reverse migration of Mexicans from California. John writes:

Although the official California unemployment rate is 10.9 percent, the real level — including those working part time who want to work more and those who have given up looking for work — is 25 percent, just as during the 1930s, as I have reported.

A difference this time from the 1930s is that Mexico’s economy is not also in a slump, but is a hot tamale:

“First-quarter growth was 4.6 per cent compared with a year earlier, the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2010, prompting several analysts to upgrade 2012 growth forecasts.”

Other items of note: 

  • “California’s salary setting commission is bracing next week to consider a 5 percent pay cut for legislators and other statewide officeholders, in keeping with a similar cut proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown for state workers,” reports Jim Sanders at the Sacramento Bee.
  • Executives at California State University campuses would be prohibited from getting public pay increases during the next two years and then limited to 10% raises during the next four years under legislation approved Monday by the state Senate,” according to the Los Angeles Times. CalWatchDog’s John Hrabe has been on the cutting edge of reporting on the Cal State executive compensation scandal. Read his latest report here.
  • During last week’s episode, Ben and John discussed California’s exploding budget deficit, including the state’s high hopes for billions in new revenue from the Facebook IPO. City Journal contributing editor Joel Kotkin argues at The Daily Beast that Facebook won’t save the Golden State. Meantime, Facebook shares on Monday closed near $34 on the second day of trading—or about $4 below the stock’s initial offering price. Yikes.

This Week on Gadfly Radio: Troy Senik on the “Worst Union in America”; Plus: Jerry Brown and California’s Greek Ways

Join us live on Tuesday, 10 a.m. PDT, on, CRN1, for another lively edition of Gadfly Radio!

Troy Senik, has a dynamite article in the Spring issue of City Journal: “The Worst Union in America: How the California Teachers Association betrayed the schools and crippled the state.” Really? The worst? Worse than the SEIU? Worse than the NEA? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. But we’ll have Senik make his case, which will be excerpted in the Los Angeles Times in the next few days. And editor-in-chief Brian Calle opines in his latest column at the Orange County Register.

We’ll also discuss Governor Jerry Brown’s May budget revision, which was released officially Monday but previewed over the weekend. Anyone not paying attention would have been shocked to learn that California’s current budget deficit is several billion dollars higher than Brown’s office reported in January—$16 billion, as opposed to around $9 billion at the beginning of the year. Anyone else wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised.

“This means we will have to go much farther and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year,” Brown said. “But we can’t fill this hole with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools. That’s why I’m bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety.”

Brown delivered the “news” on YouTube, where he doubled down on his pitch to voters to approve a tax increase in November.

“Please increase taxes on the most affluent,” Brown urged. “It’s reasonable and fair.”

”By the time I leave here, California’s budget will be balanced and the state will be back on road to prosperity,” Brown added. ”I am a buoyant optimist.”

It’s phony-baloney. All of it.

Katy Grimes at CalWatchDog: “Jerry Brown twists out ‘pretzel palace’ budget,” which reports legislative Republicans’ reaction to the governor’s news.

“Tax revenue is up two years in a row, but not enough to satisfy the spending demands of Sacramento Democrats,” retorted Assembly Republicans. “It will be interesting to see if the liberal majority in the Legislature accept the Governor’s cuts, or reject them as they did earlier this year when they blocked the Governor’s health and welfare reforms and grew spending by $1 billion,” wrote Assembly Minority leader Connie Conway, R-Visalia, and Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Biggs.

Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party: “Amazingly, a year and a half into Brown’s Governorship and we still hear nothing of the unemployed. California will continue to face chronic budget deficits because so many people remain out of work; the conversation about revenues should always begin with how to restore jobs. So many people are wondering when Brown will offer plans to make California competitive, so that business will return to this state and bring jobs with them.”

Calle at CalWatchDog: “If nothing else, the budget situation points to the power teachers’ unions have within the Brown administration and California government in general. This is particularly true of the juggernaut CTA, which was recently dubbed by City Journal as the ‘Worst union in America’ because of the lopsided influence it has on public policy in California. Education spending is perhaps the Holy Grail of politics in the Golden State. So it is no surprise Brown’s administration is using education as a justification for increasing taxes. Improving education is popular with voters. But money is not the major problem facing California’s education. Instead, the state is in need of structural reform.”

Robert Wenzel at Economic Policy Journal: “California is fast becoming the new Greece.” And Brown’s proposal to reduce the work week of many state workers—a move that would need to be bargained with the unions because the Democratic-controlled Legislature isn’t about to impose that change unilaterally—would be equivalent to a 5 percent pay cut.

Bill McGurn at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required): “Jerry Brown vs. Chris Christie.”

Hard economic times bring their own lessons. Though few have been spared the ravages of the last recession and the sluggish recovery, those in states where taxes are light, government lives within its means, and the climate is friendly to investment have learned the value of the arrangement they have. They are not likely to give it up.

Meanwhile, leaders in some struggling states have taken notice. They know the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions. The question regarding the sensible ones is whether they have the will and wherewithal to impose the reforms they know their states need on the interest groups whose political and economic clout is so closely tied with the public purse.

Mr. Brown’s remarks Monday suggest the answer to this question is no.

McGurn’s column follows on the Journal‘s editorial fusillade Monday:

Among the biggest surprises is a 21.5% or nearly $2 billion decline in personal income tax payments from what Governor Jerry Brown had anticipated. This reinforces the point that when states rely too heavily on the top 1% of taxpayers to pay the bills, fiscal policy is a roller coaster ride.

California is suffering this tax drought even as most other states enjoy a revenue rebound. State tax collections were up nationally by 8.9% last year, according to the Census Bureau, and this year revenues are up by double digits in many states. The state comptroller reports that Texas is enjoying 10.9% growth in its sales taxes (it has no income tax), while California can’t seem to keep up despite one of the highest tax rates in the land.

This would seem to suggest that California should try cutting tax rates to keep more people and business in the state, but Sacramento is intent on raising them again. Governor Brown and the public-employee unions are sponsoring a ballot initiative in November to raise the state sales tax by a quarter point to 7.5% and to raise the top marginal income-tax rate to 13.3% from 10.3%. This will make the state even more reliant on the fickle revenue streams provided by the rich.

The Orange County Register: “More bad news ahead of Brown’s revised budget”:

This is a man for all intents and purposes bought by, and in the pocket of, government employee unions. Likewise, so is the Democratic-controlled Assembly and state Senate, which all but precludes a legislative fix.

Sadly, California deserves better than it has gotten for more than a decade in Sacramento. An unwillingness to properly adjust government spending and an insistence on draining even more billions from the private sector is symptomatic of the runaway fiscal catastrophe under way in Europe.

Bottom line, courtesy of Reason‘s Tim Cavanaugh: “Where are the devastating cuts of the austerity of bare-bones of the starving beast in a state that will increase spending by six percent — from $86.5 billion in outlays last year to $91.4 billion this year?” Mighty good question.



The Occupy Protesters are a mish mosh of divergent factions, but at least they’re angry. Greenhut ponders why are most people not angry over the harm done under guise of Government?

“The problem is not with one agency, but with the vast expansion of federal and state government, which takes our money and freedoms and leaves a path of destruction wherever it goes.

Sure the Occupy protesters are annoying. But the real surprise is why the rest of us aren’t at least as angry as they are.”

Click to read Legislature worse than occupiers,
May 7, 2012
By Steven Greenhut

Does Being GOP “Moderates” equal Being Unprincipled, Tax Hiking, Union Backers.

Schwarzenegger’s Bizarre Analysis

Steven Greenhut: I love it when politicians have their chance in power, squander their opportunities, then spend the rest of their career lecturing us about how to reform government. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not just a disappointment, he was a fraud — and a particularly embarrassing one at that. Now he is playing martyr, suggesting that the Republican Party is “too narrow” and rigid. In Politico, he points to the departures from the GOP of Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a man whose only political principle is the advancement of his own career, and Anthony Adams, as terrible losses for the party:  Click here to read the post on

Jenny Worman on Liberty Caucus in CA, & Peggy Christensen, Open Source Learning, a.k.a. Homeschooling on Gadfly Radio Tuesday at 10am PT

Tuesday, May 1, on Gadfly Radio, Peggy Christensen, mother of two, after starting her first girl in a public school for the first few years, explored and finally jumped into open source learning, a.k.a. homeschooling, for both of her two daughters. Ms Christensen joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.  Also, GOP Congressional candidate, Jenny Worman drops in for short visit.

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

On April 30, Larry Sand, retired L.A.U.S.D. teacher and Founder and President of California Teachers Empowerment Network published what he called an Honest Cheat Sheet of facts regarding Public Education in L.A.U.S.D., for those who need to see the numbers– how much we actually spend per pupil, and how many children are failed in our schools despite the dollars we spend. (Click here to download the PDF of Larry’s Cheat Sheet)

Reformers battle to empower parents, and give them choice in what school their child has to go through, with the idea that competition would improve the stagnant and ossified conditions that prevail in most public schools. It could be years before The Parent Trigger Law gets any traction. Schools will argue that they’re implementing their own reforms, and have the access to parents the reformers don’t have.

Decades pass, and little victories come and go, but ultimately, the situation has only grown more dire, in cost, and worse, in unlearned children. The schools are little detention centers where large groups of children are corralled into classrooms, and conditioned into submission and conformity. And as if this assault on the way children naturally learn and develop were not bad enough, in just the past four months of this year, it seems everyday we read and hear about teachers and aides who sexually or physically abused children. It is an all too common danger that further betrays and victimizes our children.

What if you could give your children an education that was designed to nurture leadership, curiosity, independence, critical thinking, initiative, individuality, confidence, and written and spoken communication skills? What if these skills could be learned by any child, without having to pay tuition for an elite private school, or live in a multimillion dollar neighborhood?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a C student in College. President Bush was hardly a C, and Senator Kerry, who ran against Bush, had an even lower grade point average than Bush. They went to elite boarding schools. What characteristics and what skills prepared and qualified these men to be a Senator and Presidents? What if all children were capable of developing the same qualities and skills? They are.
We will discuss with Peggy, her journey into what she prefers to refer to as open source learning, for her two daughters. We’ll talk about her reservations starting out, her shift of consciousness, the challenges she faced, resources, her success and advice she has to share.

Also joining us, later in the program is GOP Congressional candidate, Jenny Worman, on the board of the Screen Actors Guild for six years, and is part of the Liberty Caucus of the CA GOP. She’s running for U.S. Congress in the new 28th District. What’s special about CA’s Primary if you want to vote for Liberty Candidates but you’re not a Republican? Last day to register is May 21, to apply for vote by mail is May 29, and June 5th is the Primary.
Links shared by Jenny Worman:
The Ron Effect–Bloomberg Business Week, April 26, 22012 
Liberty Candidates across the USA in 2012

Links shared with us by Peggy Christensen:
Freedom of
John Holt: Growing Without Schooling–The Journal of Homeschooling Online
The Link, A.K.A. The Homeschool News Link Online Magazine
Free Range Learning, on Facebook
Excellence in Writing

Additional Links on Open Source Learning (Homeschooling):
Homeschool Legal Defense Association/California
The Preservation Institute:  Beyond Progressive and Conservative on John Taylor Gatto

Homeschool Oasis about John Taylor Gatto
How one family has been helped by the Khan Academy | KTVB.COM Boise

Al Ramirez, U.S. Senate Candidate, and Wayne Lusvari, Are Hispanics Up or Down in CA?

Tuesday, April 24, on Gadfly Radio, ‎Al Ramirez,  Republican, candidate for U.S. Senate in CA joins us to talk about his unique candidacy, and story.   Wayne Lusvardi, regular contributor at join Martha Montelongo, John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal on, CRN1. Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

Wayne Lusvardi has a new article published at CalWatchDog in which he responds to Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute who believes California is doomed due to dysfunctional Hispanic families who are trapped in downward social mobility.  His article is not a rebuttal but a rejoinder -an expansion of her topic, in “California’s Demographic Revolution.”

Relaed Link:
Are Hispanics moving up or down the social scale?
April 24, 2012
By Wayne Lusvardi
The ongoing economic malaise of the past half decade has slammed most social and economic groups in California. How are Hispanics doing here, especially in light of the bursting of the Housing Bubble?
For example, consider Riverside County, which according to the 2010 U.S. Census is 46 percent Hispanic. Housing prices therehave dropped 30 percent. Worse, construction work, a mainstay of Hispanic family income, has crashed 70 percent.
This matter was considered recently in the City Journal by Heather Mac Donald in her article, “California’s Demographic Revolution.” She wrote that, “unless Hispanics’ upward mobility improves, the state risks becoming more polarized economically and more reliant on a large government safety net.”
But she (click here to read the whole of Wayne Lusvardi’s article).


Desperate Means to Stop a Bellwether Measure

Steven Greenhut
Reform by Any Other Name
Call it “modification” if you prefer—but San Jose’s pension initiative will be a national bellwether.
17 April 2012

San Jose union officials are celebrating a decision last week by the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which struck some city-drafted language from a June ballot measure designed to reduce pension benefits for newly hired city workers and require existing workers either to pay more for their current pension plan or switch to a lower-benefit plan. But the three-judge panel’s unanimous verdict will do little to affect the ultimate outcome of the pension measure and much to remind the public of the lengths to which the state’s public-sector unions will go to resist any reform—and keep voters from having a say. (Click to read more)

David v Goliath in San Diego in June’s CA Primary

Public Enemy Number One
San Diego’s Carl DeMaio puts pension reform center stage—and himself in union crosshairs.
19 April 2012

In 1978, Howard Jarvis launched the U.S. anti-tax movement in California with Proposition 13, which capped annual increases in property taxes and kept people from being forced from their homes during real-estate bubbles. A generation later, the Golden State could be on the brink of launching another populist movement, one driven by anger over government compensation practices. A key battleground is San Diego. In June, voters will decide on Proposition B, the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative. It would end defined-benefit pensions for all new city hires except for police officers, instead providing pensions similar to 401(k)s. It would prevent pay sweeteners from being added to base salary when calculating pensions, and it would require city workers to pay a bigger share of their pension costs. Finally, Prop. B would mandate a five-year salary freeze. (Click to read more)

Bill Evers: Nationalize Education? & Brian Calle: Scott Walker Recall a Nationally Pivotal Battle, Tuesday, April 17 on Gadfly Radio

Tuesday, April 17, on Gadfly Radio, ‎Bill Evers, fellow, research fellow
member of the k–12 education task force, and Brian Calle, Editor-in-Chief at join Martha Montelongo, John Seiler, managing Editor at, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal on, CRN1. Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!

Related Links:

Nationalizing Education Through National Defense?
By Bill Evers
This month, the Council on Foreign Relations issued a report calling in the name of national security for national curriculum-content standards on science, civics, foreign languages, technology, creativity, and problem-solving – for elementary and secondary education. (Click here to read the article)

Scott Walker recall must be thwarted
Orange County Register Opinion
April 11th, 2012, by Brian Calle
The importance of thwarting the recall campaign against Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can not be understated: The Wisconsin showdown arguably is the most consequential election in the country this year. And with the release of recent polling data showing the anti-Walker effort leading, the stakes have become even higher.

A Rasmussen poll released April 2 found that a “majority of Wisconsin voters now support the effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.” Fifty-two percent of likely voters polled said they would recall the governor, versus 47 percent wanting to keep Mr. Walker in office. While the election is still nearly two months away, those numbers are still discouraging. (click here to read more.)

Guns and Roses
Jerry Brown’s high-stakes tax proposal faces a political challenge—from the Left.
5 April 2012 by Ben Boychuk

Jerry Brown wants Californians to believe that the state, facing a current budget deficit of $9 billion, has a revenue problem. In fact, what the 30 million residents of the Golden State have is an entitlement problem. From health care to state and local public-employee retirement benefits, Californians face as much as $500 billion in unfunded liabilities for pensions alone. The state’s unfunded health-care liabilities top $62 billion. Brown’s new budget actually proposes a 7 percent increase in spending, though it offers to cut some services. All of the governor’s plans assume that substantial, voter-approved tax hikes will provide billions in new revenue, helping to pay for the extra spending and shrinking the deficit. “I’m promising wine and roses,” he told reporters after a speech last month, “but not in 2012.” (Click here to read more)

California Counties Are More at Risk of Going Belly Up, than Cities…

This is the fifth in a Special Series of 12 in-depth articles on municipal bankruptcy.
April 11, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

“…If the courts rule that existing pension plans are constitutionally protected and unchangeable, then we are likely looking at formal bankruptcy for many local governments.

With the basics of municipal finance explained, let’s look at the fiscal — or budgetary — situation that California cities and counties find themselves in today.
City and County Budgets on the Verge of Upset…”

Many California cities are under fiscal stress due to the protracted contraction of the economy. Many of those cities will be staring down bankruptcy waves as public pension obligations start kicking in during the coming years.

One of the largest prospects for bankruptcy is that of…”

Click here to read the report.

Calling All Moochers and Looters! Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement

“99% Spring training”: support Moochers & Looters!
The Ground Rules, to make sure everyone follows the chain of command!


The The Looters and Moochers’ Front Groups funding your action, as an activist to serve their cause, not really yours, though you’re to think you’re fighting in your interest.

Click here to go to Soros Organization to Host Training for Occupy Movement