California’s invisible 35% tax increase

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Last October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1234, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. This has been hailed by progressives as a solution for those workers in the state without retirement savings or programs to provide for their income as they grow older. It forces them to contribute 3% of their income into a state managed retirement program.

With Social Security on the brink of failure by 2030 and incomes increasingly challenged by the part-time job phenomenon it is challenge enough for California’s workers to plan for retirement. With exorbitant energy taxes, a carbon tax and recent tax hikes falling most heavily on the poor, the state has grown ever less competitive as it has grown ever more expensive to live in.

But with the Democrats holding a supermajority in both houses of the legislature they can do anything they please.

The state has arrogated a power unto itself that didn’t exist without consultation or input from the public. And all of this has occurred largely under the radar screen. The newspapers and media have been silent.

The devil is in the details and the details of SB 1234 are vague. How the program is managed, safeguards, etc are all to be worked out later on. But California already has a history of mismanaged pension plans to reflect upon. How will this huge pool of money be different?

The state has been pilfering its existing pension plans to plug the gaps. It has raided gasoline taxes and highway funds. What makes it different this time?

California has the highest gas tax in the country at $0.72/gallon, which just went up 3.5 cents on July 1.With a 9.3% income tax rate that kicks in at $48,029 and a base sales tax of 7.5% rising as high as 10% in some cities and counties. The middle class has become an illusion.

The new retirement program will cost an additional 35% to the income withheld from low wage worker’s wages and will be managed by the same people who have gotten the state into a mess in the first place.

The money grab by government in California has been done by stealth and subterfuge. The state has unsustainable pension obligations for its public worker’s. The unspoken agenda is that the unions and their cronies come first and the rest of us be damned.

 

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The Big Lewinsky – The Democratic Party’s War on Women

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Last year we heard about the Republican Party’s War on Women nonstop for months. Radical feminists demanded that Rush Limbaugh be thrown off the air for his comments mocking Sandra Fluke and her demand for free condoms at a Catholic university, a manufactured scandal if ever there was one.

The radicals rode this right into the Democratic Convention, where the platform on abortion; “safe, legal, and rare” was tossed to the wind. All the while they were castigating Mitt Romney for his binders full of female candidates for senior positions in his administration when governor of Massachusetts.

The Huffington Post warned that Romney would overturn Roe V. Wade and that he opposed pay equity when there was nothing in evidence of such. In fact his record as governor was moderate, much to the chagrin of social conservatives.

But these faux-crises agitated the base and got them to the polls. Agitprop at its most effective.

In the meantime where it really mattered the Democratic Party had institutionalized the repression and subjugation of women to the point of rape. This misogyny goes all the way back to Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd’s predatory sexual practices and to Bill Clinton’s  base conduct towards Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick and of course the aforementioned Ms. Lewinsky.

Mr. Clinton exited impeachment and the White House to give speeches at $100,000 – $250,000 per while Ms. Lewinsky’s life was destroyed. Hillary Clinton had made her deal with the devil and won a Senate seat for her stand up support of her dissolute husband. Playing the victim pays well. But Hillary is the exception. Her thirst for power equals or exceeds that of her husband.

The real victims are the jetsam of the sexual appetites of other Democratic Party politicians. Cast aside and left to drift.

James McGreevy’s affairs and coming out destroyed his family and his credibility. It also damaged the State of New Jersey.

John Edwards while running for the Presidency imploded in a scandal that captured headlines for years with its stories of XXX videotapes and adultery conducted while his wife was dying of cancer. Who would even consider electing such a world class scumbag?

Then there was Barny Frank’s boyfriend running a male prostitution ring out of their Washington apartment.

This week it is Anthony Weiner’s revelations of digital adultery that continued even after he was forced to resign from Congress. And it turns out that Bob Filner’s sexual harassment of staffers and virtually any woman who came within a yard was covered up by the California Democratic Party for years.

How can anyone rationalize the existential contradiction between a party that has used the shiny ball of “The Right to Choose” and allows sexual predators and to run rampant? How can a Party defend women’s rights and then allow wholesale violation of those same rights?

The “Right To Choose” itself is an invented phrase of propaganda used to mask the true meaning of the message, which is abortion rights. It makes it sounds as if one can choose a cantaloupe or a Christmas card or a 24th week abortion, all of which are equal moral choices. If we are intellectually dishonest, how can we make true progress?

The Democratic Party has become a mythmaking and propaganda machine. It now specializes in misdirection, flummery, and graft. It is ground zero for Newspeak. It can argue for women’s right’s and then oppress women at the same time with no debate or discussion of the inherent lies at the core of their philosophy.

While espousing rights and freedoms, the Democratic Party propagates inequality and oppression.

The LA Times disconnect

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Reading today’s Los Angeles Times one would not realize there were three major scandals consuming the Obama Administration in perhaps the greatest political meltdown in our country’s history.

We can read of an accident on the 210 Freeway or that North Korea seized a Chinese fishing boat or that Star Trek did well at the box office, and only in the third lede in the politics section does one learn that the Administration is valiantly fighting back against the accusations that it targeted conservatives groups and even individuals through the IRS.

Elsewhere, the Administration is losing with some of its biggest supporters in Glenn Greenwald, Jon Stewart, and even the New York Times. As the scandals have expanded, the coverage in Los Angeles has decreased and the Op/Eds become more outlandish telling us how it’s all really okay. The Times is beginning to verge on “Baghdad Bob” territory.

Los Angeles, as most of who live here know, is a lost cause. There is an alternate political reality in the city where a do nothing mayor has been elevated to a national political figure and two very liberal Democrats running for his replacement have been accusing each other of being conservative or horrors, a secret Republican.

The city is on the verge of bankruptcy and has one of the worst school districts in the nation. Ballots in Los Angeles are available in over 100 languages and you can take your driver’s test in Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese. I am not sure if they understand “Yield” or Merge” and the roadways are in fact dangerous. The Times pursues a liberal, white agenda.

Los Angeles has been a one party state for many years now and the Times is our Pravda.

Recently, a rumor arose that the Koch Brothers might buy the paper, prompting a majority of the editorial and reporting staff to threaten to resign. This might be a good thing.

A city as dynamic and vital as Los Angeles needs a dynamic and vital press. The Times is neither. It has withered away and disconnected itself from what makes a great paper. There is a groupthink that allows no dissension that is common to today’s media. The editorial staff have undergone self-hypnosis and report through the rose-tinted glasses of the Left. Maybe it’s the legal pot.

As the paper’s circulation falters and management tries paywalls one week and tearing them down the next they have forgotten that even in a politically liberal city there is still a strong independent and conservative minority who have become alienated by the paper’s policies. Even the funny pages aren’t very funny these days and a newspaper is still a business expected to make a profit unless it is subsidized by “The Party”.

It’s a shame, as Los Angeles went from having several good papers to really, one large and poorly run one.

 

 

 

Obama’s Middle Finger to America

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Obama FingerSince when has an Administration given the finger to virtually the entire American People?  And since when has there been an almost complete silence on the issue by the media?

The President badly misjudged  the effects of Sequestration on the American political landscape. The first few weeks had been a non-event despite the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth by everyone from the President himself to the Cabinet to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So now the President has ratcheted the game up, Chicago-style.

The Sequester represents a 2% cost reduction from the increased budget for this year and the next 10 years. This year’s portion is approximately $85 Billion (2%) from a budget of $3.8 trillion, 40% of which is being borrowed. In most families and companies, this would mean a few less nights out for pizza or movies. To the Federal government under President Obama, it means war.

Consider the following:

White House tours cancelled. White House parties continue.

Aircraft carrier deployment cancelled. Military exercise with Morocco cancelled. Air shows cancelled. Worthless programs continue.

Government threatens the most vulnerable; education, HIV patients, Meals on Wheels; HeadStart

. Government threatens closure of  national parks.

Government orchestrates air traffic control slowdown.

In other words, the leadership in government wants you to feel the pain while they continue to spend beyond all reason.

When he was selling Obamacare to the American people, the President said that he had identified $65 Billion in waste and fraud in the Medicare program that would offset higher costs for wider coverage. Not a thing has been done about that fraud since. Even some reform would have mitigated the cuts.

The Federal government has added hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, year after year until it has become a bureaucracy more bloated that any in the world. Federal unions have some of the most generous pension plans and benefits in the country as well. Taking care of your special interests is vital to crony capitalists. Think of the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on green energy projects.In a time of lean, one must consider anything that is peripheral to the common good, but not this government. Not now.

And when one tries to discuss greater efficiency or common sense solutions, the reply is crickets. They don’t want the problems solved.

Our government has never set out to oppress its own people until now. Now, we are all pawns in the President’s battle to assert his will. Never before has a President been so arrogant as to do so. He is directly confronting us with his power and daring us to respond.

And to date no one has directly responded.

This is clearly the president’s crisis. He was the one who recommended and campaigned for sequestration in the first place and now he is reaping what he has sown. And in his vindictiveness he is giving the finger to all of us.

 

Dear Mr. President, please stop BS’ing us on AGW

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Yahoo today ran photos from across Europe this morning of the effects of early Spring snow. Britain, France, Germany and much of the rest of Europe have been faced with some of the most snow and cold since the 1960’s. I was a miserable winter and at Easter, still a miserable early Spring.

Today’s Telegraph estimates that 30,000 people will have died this winter season from weather related conditions. Earlier this year, a group of Norwegian students made a video mocking both the celebrity driven cause industry and global warming. Radi – Aid, sending radiators to Norway, can be seen here.

This week’s Economist gives another data point. Apparently, the models predicted by AGW advocates such as James Hanson, the NASA propagandist, for global warming are not working out the way they thought they would. Surface temperatures across the planet are at the low-end of the predictions and there hasn’t been any actual, you know, global warming in 10 years according to the numbers. What is emerging is that the climate change advocates really don’t know. Climatology is hard, you see. The weather in most places changes every day.

And those anthropomorphic polar bears the AGW crowd are using as poster bears for climate change? Well, there are a hell of a lot more of them on the planet than there were 25 years ago according to every single study written. It seems that our government has been trying to cover this up as well. ‘When the facts don’t fit the narrative change the facts” is government policy.

We have gone from Global Warming to Climate Change to WTF.

Yes, climates on the planet are changing. Why and how? We do not know. Climatology is a new science. It used to be called meteorology and we didn’t have a lot of faith in the TV weathermen in predicting tomorrow’s weather back in the ancient times oh 20 years ago or so.

Now we have experts with a kernel of data extrapolating some amazing consequences 50 or 100 years down the line. The data does not meet the bullshit test.

But this is what Al Gore and our President believe as gospel, and therein lies the rub. The president has authorized hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars in green energy projects that have failed or for which there is no real financial expectation of a reasonable return on investment, either ecologically or financially.

At the same time, the Administration has done its best to exterminate the coal industry, interfere with oil and gasoline prices, stymie nuclear power, and oppose natural gas. This is all part of their strategy. It is no accident. It is the stated goal of the green energy industry to work with government to raise the price of conventional energy to a point where green energy is competitive. Cheap energy is the enemy.

Bjorn Lomborg, the original skeptical environmentalist, wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently that the actual cost of green energy is much higher. The models used by corporations and government do not accurately reflect the energy, materials, and labor input in manufacturing green energy technology, which already relies far too much on government subsidies. I keep on thinking of all of those poor Germans in their worst winter in ages and their commitment to solar power. I wonder what the output of a solar array is in a snowstorm or the fog?

Solar power survives on voodoo economics. They don’t discuss the failure rates of modules or inverters or other components or the fact that dirt will drop the efficiency of a module array by 30-50%. All of the models reflect and unicorn and rainbow logic.

Just this morning, the EPA announced a new set of rules reducing sulphur and its emissions that would raise the price of a gallon of gasoline by a minimum of $0.09/gallon at a time of already record energy prices.The United States consumes 368 million gallons of gasoline per day, so this new tax will cost us $33 Million/day or $12 Billion/year. And who pays? Everybody. Who does it hurt the most? The middle class and poor.

The heavy thumb of government is already being felt in CAFE standards driving the standards for MPG up to a level that will kill the current automobile industry. And by the way, you and I have no voice in the discussion. It is a diktat by bureaucratic fiat. Stroke of the pen, law of the land government.

And the guy at the top of the pyramid is driving this bus. It is one of his core beliefs. The President is willing to use all of these tools because he feels that the United States uses too many of the world’s resources. How he came to that conclusion I am not sure, but it probably has to do with his elitist leftist education and the echo chamber he lives in. Facts, to them, are an inconvenient truth. It is about control.

So as the central tenets of anthropogenic global warming become shakier and the economics of green energy are seen to be a lie what happens? The record of this president indicates that he will double down. It is crucial to his political agenda to be right in all things.He is still in campaign mode. And if one of his core beliefs is challenged he is inflexible. This much we do know after four years.

But facts are pernicious. He has created an edifice based upon inaccurate information, and his policies must be challenged. BS should not be government policy.

Obama’s Way versus the American Way

On the way home this afternoon from running errands, my wife told me about a friend of hers who attended a benefit last night. A local 16 year old has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy which is almost always fatal. The benefit was for that kid.

A bunch of people got together; they freely associated as we Americans do; and put together a fund-raiser to help pay for an extremely expensive experimental therapy. The amount of money raised is not the issue nor is the cause, necessarily.

What is at issue is the ability of Americans to band together to make things happen and how the state is superseding this ability at every chance. Whether it is a corporation to make money; or to build a hospital or raise money for good causes, which is one of our great virtues, Americans come together like nowhere else in the world to make things happen. This is one of the reasons we are called the Land of Opportunity.

Alexis de Toqueville wrote in 1835:

“Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fêtes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools. Finally, if it is a question of bringing to light a truth or developing a sentiment with the support of a great example, they associate. Everywhere that, at the head of a new undertaking, you see the government in France and a great lord in England, count on it that you will perceive an association in the United States.”

It was one of the fundamental differences between the statist monarchies of France and England and the new republic all the back to our Revolution. And Barack Obama and his allies are doing their best to subvert one of our most glorious achievements.

In his Inaugural Address last week, the President, emphasized time and again not the role of the individual, but that of the state in dictating public life. This idea is foreign to our very nature. The freedoms and responsibilities delegated to government, the people, and its secular institutions in the Constitution are being redefined by the Administration and its supporters.

And that is the tragedy of the young person my wife spoke of. The American Way is to band together as individuals and do things. The Obama Way is for the state to dictate the outcome and the means to that outcome. In the past this was the way of monarchs, sultans, dictators, and communists. Statism is an outcome concentrating power in the hands of the few.

Under the American Way, this kid may have a chance to get the treatment he or she needs. People will work hard and long hours for nothing except the knowledge they did the right thing.

Under an Obama, statist system, the bureaucracy will decide who gets treatment and how it is administered. The shocks of Obamacare are already being felt as insurance rates rise and treatment options are circumscribed. Ask anyone in the military covered under Tricare. He’s already tried to sell them out.

The voices of the Left are ready to abandon the obese, the smokers, and other “fringe”” dwellers who do not conduct themselves in the politically correct manner. Do you really think that government would authorize millions of dollars in care per patient for a miniscule minority?

Under an Obama, statist system bureaucrats decide how big your soft drink is and which cooking oil you use and the school lunches your kids eat. Under an Obama, statist, system, bureaucrats decide how you use your land, how much money you can make, and on a myriad of other vanishing freedoms.

Under and Obama, statist system, government reverts to the failed models of the past. The romance with socialism and Marxism or simply enhanced state involvement has been proven wrong in virtually every case in which it has been tried. Western Europe is under crushing debt while the East has only recently seen an economic renaissance after the failure of the Marxist socialist experiment. Russia itself is a mess of a dictatorship. China is authoritarian and still cannot provide for most of its population. And these are the models that Obama’s teachers and advisers ascribe to. Government knows best.

The president was absolutely clear in his speech. He outlined his vision of our future. he has a sycophantic media establishment and an intellectually lazy and corrupt political class. He has an agenda. An agenda that is at odds with the American Way.

Walk on By

 A meditation on narcotics in Orange County

There is world here in Southern California that exists under the radar of most people. In a land of wealth and privilege and hope there is a dark underside that we choose to ignore.

It starts in grade schools that fail to meet the needs of their students. Sometimes it is the school’s failing, or the student’s or their families. It can be the latch-key kid or the rich kid with too much time on their hands or the one with troubles fitting in or even some darker, more evil demons. For these demons are very real.

A weak moment. A desire to make the hurt go away. A desire to just get high and not deal with it.

Back when I was running the streets of New York, it was, as Grandmaster Flash said, “fun, baby”. But we learned damned fast that that wasn’t true. If you climb onto the dragon’s back, the dragon always wins. That was thirty years ago and kids are still making the same mistakes and nothing has changed.

When you talk to some of these kids, the story slowly comes out. The reasons for using come out. And what they are using today is far more dangerous than even a generation ago. The drugs are purer and more addictive and more damaging than ever. It seems that every week a kid in Orange County ends up in the morgue from an overdose.

In a time when alcohol is readily available and pot is virtually legal and incredibly powerful, the slide down into madness and death is easy with just a little bit of grease. This is not figurative. It is real as a heart attack.

The price of heroin is at an all-time low and it is easy to find. Just ask any of these kids if you need a hookup. Afghanistan, which supplies 95%+ of the world’s heroin, sees production grow every year. The poppy fields stop at the edges of our firebases. There are rumors that some of the heroin arrives at Camp Pendleton or transits Pendleton because there is less scrutiny. Sort of like the bad old days of the Vietnam War. 100 miles south of here the cartels are bringing it over in truck and boatloads. A Coast Guardsman died last week in a drug bust off of Santa Cruz Island, 100 miles north of here. The War on Drugs has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and is an utter failure.

The shrapnel from the drug trade is all over Orange County and no one pays attention. From the grave of the millionaire kid who “had a car accident” and whose family could have the records altered to a family at Holy Sepulcher grieving a 20 year old kid who OD’d “popping” something way too powerful for them to the kid with the melted synapses at the sheriff’s Theo Lacey facility, it pervades our culture.

Orange County has the highest density of sober living homes in the country. These are the ones who are trying to kick it. With AA meetings and NA meetings and help from their friends they’re doing the best they can. But the temptation can be right there sometimes. A quick hit that no one may notice that may or may not be the hot shot that kills them.

And they fall down and try to get back up again.

And most of us walk on by.

Enabling does no one any favors. Legalizing pot simply indulges stoners for the most part. One of the few growth industries in California in the past several years has been pot clinics. The drug companies legally produce enough oxycontin pills annually to overdose every man, woman, and child in China or more. “Pill Mills” and doctors writing sometimes hundreds of prescriptions for drug dealers and abusers are page 3 or page 4 news.

The fact is that our leaders don’t care or are profiting from our collective addiction. The entire trend of our society has been away from “right conduct”. And yet the people who are trying the hardest to help these souls are faced with indifferent families and indifferent leaders and a moral compass that has been purposely ripped from its moorings.

Funding is nonexistent and rehabilitation has at times been a for-profit industry.

Evil exists, and nowhere more so than in the world of narcotics. In our nonjudgmental world today some might say it is a matter of personal choices. But once that monkey is on their backs, it is no longer a choice. It is a cold hand slowly strangling the life out of them.

And most of us will walk on by.