Tag Archives: California politics

Farewell, Jerry

The modernist official gubernatorial portrait of Jerry Brown was painted by Don Bachardy in 1984 after Brown’s first stint as California governor from 1975 to 1983. Brown was re-elected to two more terms in 2010 and 2014.*

Times flies.

I recall 2010, when I saw Jerry Brown at a couple of public campaign events, excited that he most likely would be elected California’s governor again. (His opponent in 2010 was self-funded billionaire Nutmeg Whitman, who wanted to be governor because as a brat she never got that pony, I joked at the time.)

For the past eight years Brown wasn’t a particularly exciting, but he was a very competent and stable, governor of the nation’s most populous state.

To name just one of his accomplishments, despite the fact that the wingnuts, who always are fact-free, still claim that California is in a deep state budget deficit because of that liberal tax-and-spend thing, dontcha know, Brown turned the $26 billion budget deficit that he inherited from Repugnican Arnold Baby Daddy Schwarzenegger in January 2011 into a current $14 billion surplus. (Brown erased the budget deficit within a few years of taking over the governorship again.)

This is the pattern — Repugnicans dig us into holes and Democrats get us out of them, even though the wingtards claim that the exact opposite is the case.

Probably Brown’s No. 1 cause in his second round as governor has been climate change, against which he made some notable progress, although he was hamstrung by a fairly do-nothing Obama administration and a climate-change-denying Pussygrabber administration.

If it weren’t for his age (he’s 80), I think that Brown would be a great presidential candidate. (And it’s not so much that he isn’t functioning well enough at eight decades, but that the public perception is that he’s too old to be president, and in politics, public perception, no matter how misguided, is as good as reality.)

I wish Jerry Brown the best in his remaining days (years, hopefully), and I hope that incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is inaugurated on Monday, keeps the gains that Brown brought to the nation’s greatest state.

*Brown was able to run for governor again in 2010 because the two-term limit for California’s governor became effective only after he’d already been governor in the 1970s and 1980s.

If Brown could have run for a third term and decided to do so, he would have won it, I’m sure.

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Kevin de León denies Sen. Cryptkeeper state Democratic Party endorsement

Image result for Kevin De Leon Dianne Feinstein

California State Sen. President Kevin de León (pictured above left) yesterday won 54 percent of the vote of the delegates at the annual state Democratic Party convention in San Diego, a crushing blow to Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein (above right), whose name depressingly and oppressively has been on the ballot for the past 25 years. Cryptkeeper won only 37 percent of the delegates’ votes — 485 fewer votes than de León won.

Wow. For a little while I was a little worried about Kevin de León’s bravely insurgent campaign for the U.S. Senate seat for California that the ancient, Democrat-in-name-only Dianne Feinstein — whom I lovingly think of as “Cryptkeeper” — has held with a death grip since 1992.

No more.

Not only did de León recently win the endorsement of the nation’s largest state’s largest public-sector union, the Service Employees International Union (for once the Billary-Clinton-loving union to which I belong got a political endorsement right), but yesterday at the annual state Democratic Party convention, de León handily denied Cryptkeeper the state party’s endorsement.

It’s a high bar to win the state party’s endorsement — a vote of at least 60 percent of the delegates to the convention — but not only did de León deny Cryptkeeper that 60 percent, but he blew her out of the water: De León won 54 percent of the delegates’ votes to Cryptkeeper’s 37 percent.

Again: Wow.

The Los Angeles Times calls it “an embarrassing rebuke of” Cryptkeeper and notes that “Though de León did not get the endorsement, his success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists.”

Of course multi-millionaire Cryptkeeper, one of the wealthiest U.S. senators, has more campaign cash in the bank (including at least a cool $5 million that she gave herself) than does de León, and of course because of her name recognition (she has been around longer than has God), Cryptkeeper is polling better right now than is the much-less-known de León, but de León’s big wins — such as winning the majority of the state party delegates’ votes and winning not only SEIU’s endorsement but also the California Nurses Association’s — demonstrate that not only is de León a serious contender, but that plenty of Californians have had it with the plutocratic Cryptkeeper’s center-right bullshit and wish her gone.

I expect de León’s coffers to fill soon, and I expect his poll numbers to climb the more that Californians realize what a winner he is. And I expect more labor unions to endorse him, and without labor unions’ help, I can’t see Cryptkeeper winning. Her big money alone won’t be enough; she’ll have to actually earn enough votes.

The 84-year-old Cryptkeeper could have saved herself this embarrassment and stepped down, but she’s been tone-deaf to her constituency, who is to the left of her on many if not most issues, for years. The only reason that they’ve been re-electing her is that this is the first time that a viable alternative has emerged.

Cryptkeeper is no longer inevitable, and that’s great news not only for the people of California, but for all Americans who are affected by Cryptkeeper’s center-right votes in the U.S. Senate.

P.S. Also yesterday, California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom (who also has been endorsed by SEIU) garnered more votes for a state party endorsement than did any other candidate, with 39 percent.

While DINO Antonio Villaraigosa and Newsom have been in the top two in polling, yesterday Villaraigosa came in at fourth place in the endorsement vote, garnering only 9 percent. (The second-place winner garnered 30 percent and the third-place winner garnered 20 percent, and because there are so many Democratic gubernatorial candidates, it wasn’t expected that any one of them would reach the 60-percent mark necessary for an endorsement from the state party.)

I expect Newsom, who is my imperfect-but-preferred candidate, to become California’s next governor.

Some are saying that these votes for state party endorsements reflect only the wishes of party insiders, but these so-called party insiders are dispersed throughout the state and they are opinion leaders. These state party endorsement votes aren’t meaningless, even though both de León and Newsom fell short of 60 percent (which, in my opinion, should be reduced to anything above 50 percent).

P.P.S. I should note that under California’s top-two primary system, the top-two vote-getters (regardless of party) in the state’s June 5 primary will move on to the November general election, and I expect the top two to be Kevin de León and Cryptkeeper. (In 2016, there were only two Democrats on the ballot for U.S. Senator for California, Kamala Harris and a nut job who didn’t stand a chance against Harris.)

Some have posited that because Cryptkeeper is center-right — that is, Repugnican Lite — the state’s Repugnicans will vote for her, figuring (correctly) that she’s closer to their political orientation than is de León.

But I don’t know about that. I’d have to see a poll or polls of registered Repugnicans that asks whether or not in a de León-vs.-Cryptkeeper race they’d vote for Cryptkeeper or not vote at all. I surmise that most of the state’s Repugs wouldn’t vote for a Dem, not even DINO Cryptkeeper.

In any event, for de León to win, it’s going to take grassroots support. He doesn’t need as much money as Cryptkeeper does, but he does need those of us who are left of center to vote.

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Kevin de León for U.S. Senate

Come January 2019, current California state Senate President Kevin de León, pictured left, should join Kamala Harris, pictured right, representing California in the U.S. Senate. Fivethirtyeight.com recently has noted that incumbent “Democratic” Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein “has voted in support of President Trump’s agenda 31 percent of the time,” which is “a bigger pro-Trump gap than any other Democrat in the Senate.”

In 2016, I’d really wanted California to elect a Latino or Latina U.S. senator to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer, but unfortunately, the Latina who ran in 2016 (Loretta Sanchez) is a nut job who, had she been elected, would have embarrassed the state continually.

In the top-two primary-election system of California that pitted two Democrats (well, one Democrat and one “Democrat”) against each other, Kamala Harris clearly was the better choice to represent California in the U.S Senate, and so I voted for her.

Why did I want to be able to vote for a Latino U.S. senator in November 2016? Because more Californians are Latino than are of any other race, and it’s long past time that California’s Latinos, now a plurality of the state, had their own representative in the U.S. Senate.

Of course, “Democratic” Sen. Dianne “Cryptkeeper” Feinstein, who has “represented” California in the U.S. Senate since 1992 and who at age 84 is the oldest U.S. senator, refuses to step aside but is seeking a fifth six-year term.*

Feinstein’s old, dead hands of the past have a death grip on her Senate seat, which she and her supporters need to realize doesn’t actually belong to her, but belongs to us, the people of California.

We, the people of California, can and should retire Feinstein at the ballot box.

Thus far, I support Democrat Kevin de León, the current president of the California state Senate, to replace Feinstein come January 2019. He formally launched his bid for the U.S. Senate seat today.

De León not only is Latino, but is 50 years old and is much more in step with the California of today. He is the fresh, much more representative face that California needs. Out-of-touch multi-millionaire Feinstein doesn’t need, and should not be allowed, yet another six-year term in the U.S. Senate at the end of which she would be 91 years old.

Huge kudos to de León for having the cajones to face Feinstein in the June 2018 California primary election. Many if not most of California’s so-called Democrats, the establishmentarian zombies, already knee-jerkedly and stupidly have endorsed Feinstein, which is a big fucking mistake before the field is even known.**

The calcified Democratic Party really needs to stop frowning upon primary challenges, such as it did for mega-weak, center-right, widely despised candidate Billary Clinton, and let the voters decide.

Otherwise, the party will continue its slide into irrelevance. If an incumbent candidate is strong, he or she can fucking handle a primary challenger. (Of course, a weak “Democratic” candidate nonetheless will get all of the help possible from the center-right “Democratic” establishment, as Billary did.)

Kevin de León knows how to legislate and how to lead. He served in the California state Assembly for four years, from 2006 to 2010, and then was elected to the state Senate in 2010, and has served there since, having been made the president of the state Senate in 2014.

De León’s legislative accomplishments especially have been in the area of environmentalism and renewable energy; Wikipedia notes that “De León is the author of much of California’s renewable energy and environmental protection regulations, which are regarded by environmental groups as exemplary.”

Gun control is one-trick pony Cryptkeeper’s forte, but de León is strong on that issue, too; Wikipedia notes that “In 2016, de León led the charge in the passage of a package of eleven bills intended to prevent gun violence.”

De León is quite qualified to be a U.S. senator and very probably can do a better job than can the Cryptkeeper.

The predictable cries for “party unity” (How dare de León challenge the Cryptkeeper?) that we’ll hear are meant only to preserve the power and the privilege of center-right, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic, anti-populist, self-serving “Democrats” who have plagued us since at least the Clintons in the 1990s. They know fully well that the multi-millionaire, octogenarian Cryptkeeper has their conservative, elitist, plutocratic backs.

These “Democratic” sellouts aren’t going to give up their power.

We, the people, must take it from them.

And it is within our grasp; fivethirtyeight.com reports that “Dianne Feinstein’s Senate Seat May No Longer Be a Sure Thing,” noting that:

… Feinstein is feeling the heat [from the California electorate right now] in part because her more liberal constituents are correct in surmising that she is more conservative — relative to the politics of the state she represents — than other Democrats.

Feinstein has voted in support of President Trump’s agenda 31 percent of the time, according to our Trump score. Ten [Senate] Democrats have voted with Trump more [than she has].

But because California is so liberal — Trump lost there by 30 percentage points in 2016 — we’d expect Feinstein to vote in line with the Trump position just 19 percent of the time. That’s a bigger pro-Trump gap than any other Democrat in the Senate.

California just passed legislation to become a “sanctuary state,” a move that has been met with displeasure by the Trump administration. De León seems likely to play up the state’s need to assert itself as a powerful bloc of resistance to Trump.

In recent weeks, local news sources have noted de León’s rebukes of Feinstein, whom he paints as sympathetic to Trump. In August, after Feinstein said Trump “can be a good president” if he were to “learn and change,” de León hit back, saying, “It is the responsibility of Congress to hold him accountable — especially Democrats — not be complicit in his reckless behavior.”

Most recently, de León pushed back against Feinstein’s comments that the recent massacre in Las Vegas couldn’t have been prevented by changes in gun laws because the shooter had passed background checks. …

Feinstein has been able to get away with her center-right, Richie-Rich elitist bullshit in the U.S. Senate for about 25 years now.

The tide finally seems to have turned on Cryptkeeper, however; if it hadn’t, you wouldn’t see such a high-level challenger to her like Kevin de León, whose decision to buck the status quo and not just allow Cryptkeeper to coast to yet another do-nothing Senate term already demonstrates his courage and his leadership.

*Cryptkeeper went to the U.S. Senate in a special election in 1992 (then-California U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson became California governor, freeing up the Senate seat) and then had to run for a full six-year Senate term for the first time in 1994, and won that election and the elections of 2000, 2006, and 2012.

**The field could expand beyond de León and Cryptkeeper, which I acknowledge by having written “Thus far, I support Democrat Kevin de León.”

However, I much doubt that anyone who impresses me more than de León does will enter the fray, and so I most likely will be marking my ballot “Kevin de León” in the June 2018 primary election and hopefully also in the November 2018 general election.

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Wingnuts’ call for California’s split is disingenuous

Southcalifornia

New York Times and Los Angeles Times graphics

Just say oh, hell no!: The current Repugnican Tea Party proposition to split California into two states is meant only to help the shrinking Repugnican Tea Party in presidential elections.

It’s been in the news lately that some wingnuts in Southern California want to split the state into two states, “North California” and “South California” (a la North Carolina and South Carolina or North Dakota and South Dakota).

California is just too big to continue to (try to) manage as one state, they argue (correctly or incorrectly).

This argument has been made before many times in the history of the nation’s most populous state, and repeated efforts to split the state into two throughout the state’s history have failed.

So should this one.

As the Repugnican Tea Party traitors always do, they give benign, reasonable-sounding reasons for their plan, but in actuality, their plan serves only to benefit them politically.

With a population of more than 37 million according to the 2010 U.S. Census, for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, California has 55 electoral votes. Texas, the second-most-populous state, has 38 electoral votes. (New York, at No. 3, has 29. [Each state gets two electoral votes for its two U.S. senators, as a baseline, and top of those two baseline electoral votes, gets one electoral vote for each of its members of the U.S. House of Representatives.])

Fifty-five electoral votes — that’s a lot of electoral votes, and the Repugnican Tea Party traitors long have wanted to get their grubbies on a chunk of them for a long time now.

Q: How to do that, given that California is a solid blue state and that like most of the 50 states, California awards its electoral votes on a winner-takes-all basis?

A: (1) Try to turn California from a winner-takes-all state to a state that awards electoral votes proportionately, like Nebraska and Maine do. Or, (2) try to split the state into a blue state (“North California”) and a red state (“South California”), giving the Repugnican Tea Party another red state in its column.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d be giddily happy to no longer have to share the great state of California with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and other assorted right-wing nutjobs — but not at the expense of helping the Repugnican Tea Party traitors more easily win presidential elections.

I’m fine with proportionally allocating electoral votes within the Electoral College; I don’t like the current winner-takes-all system myself.

But unless all fucking 50 states award their electoral votes proportionately, it’s unfair (and, it seems to me, unconstitutional [specifically, violating the Constitution’s requirement of equal protection]). You don’t hear the Repugnican Tea Party traitors pushing for, say, Texas’ electoral votes to be split proportionately, do you?

Best of all would be to abolish the Electoral College altogether and elect our president on a straight national popular vote. (If our system had been set up that way, as it should have been and should be, we would have had President Al Gore instead of “President” George W. Bush, since Gore won more than half a million more votes than Bush did in the official 2000 presidential election results.) If it’s good enough for us to elect our governors on a straight popular vote, it’s good enough for us to elect our presidents this way.

In the meantime, reforms or changes that are meant to benefit one party over another are bullshit and need to be blocked.

Sure we can split California into a red state and a blue state. But only when and if we split the red states, such as Texas, into red states and blue states.

(What’s that, wingnut? Suddenly it’s not such a great fucking idea?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.)

P.S. As I painstakingly pointed out way back in April 2009, the red states take more from the federal coffers than they put into the federal coffers, yet the red states piss and moan about how horrible they have it under the blue states when the red states are, in effect, welfare states — drains on the blue states.

Similarly, Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office has pointed out that the red area of the state that would comprise “South California” takes more from the state’s coffers than it puts into the state’s coffers.

(And Brown’s spokesman said that talk of splitting the state into two “is a supremely ridiculous waste of everybody’s time,” adding, “If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right-wing laws, then there’s a place called Arizona.” [Or Texas or…])

So again, yeah, except for the fact that it would help the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the presidential elections, I’d be more than happy to see the blood-sucking red counties of California go their own way from those of us in the blue counties who are carrying their pathetic, worthless asses.

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I had Schwarzenegger’s love child, too

File photo of California governor Schwarzenegger ...

Reuters photo

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, wife Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan and their four children, who now range in age from 13 to 21, are pictured in 2006. (Not pictured is the child, who now is at least 10 years old, that Schwarzenegger now admits he had with his maid household staff…)

True, I’m another male, but hey, Arnold Schwarzenegger is potent! He found a way! And, he gets around!

But seriously, the governorship of Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger was a sham from the very beginning, even if he had never laid a finger on another woman outside of his marriage to Kennedy clan member Maria Shriver.

The right-wing fucktards love their time machine. Step, for a moment, into mine:

In November 2002, the uncharismatic incumbent Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis won re-election to a second term by only 5 percentage points over his bumbling Richie Rich frat boy Repugnican opponent, Bill Simon, who, to give you an idea of his caliber, at the climax of the gubernatorial campaign claimed that he possessed photographic evidence that Davis had accepted a campaign contribution on state property, in violation of state law — only the photograph that Simon produced quickly proved to have been shot inside of a private individual’s home.

Since a bumbling fool like Simon still came so close to unseating Davis, the Repugnican sharks smelled Davis’ blood in the water. Repugnican California U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, the richest member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a little Napoleon and Joe McCarthy hybrid, wanted to buy the governorship (like billionaire Nutmeg Whitman tried to do in November 2010), and so he fronted about $2 million of his own to initiate the petitition drive to force a gubernatorial recall election.

But Hollywood action movie star Schwarzenegger swooped in and Little Napoleon’s dream of buying the governorship for himself came to a crashing halt. There were dozens of candidates in the circus-like October 2003 gubernatorial recall election, including Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, the late child actor Gary Coleman, and (former?) porn star Mary Carey (all three of whom made the top 10 in the final election results).

The first question on the recall election ballot was whether or not Davis should stay or go; 55.4 percent voted that he should go. The second question on the recall election ballot was who, if Davis were ousted, should be the new governor, and those who voted that Davis should remain in office still were able to pick his replacement, if it came to that.

The individual who got the most votes was Schwarzenegger, with 48.6 percent of them. Coming in at second place was then-Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat, with 31.5 percent, and coming in at third place was establishment Repugnican politician Tom McClintock at 13.4 percent. (Bill Simon actually ran in the recall election but came in at 12th place, with one-tenth of 1 percent of the vote, and Issa did not run in the recall election at all. Who could compete with the Hollywood action movie star?)

So the California gubernatorial recall election of 2003, while it did not violate the letter of the state’s law, violated the spirit of democracy, a tenet of which is that if you lose an election because your candidate was weak, you suck it up and you run a better candidate next time. You don’t orchestrate what essentially is a do-over election less than a year later with a stronger candidate (in this case, a celebrity).

But wait, there’s more.

As Schwarzenegger ran for governor in 2003, numerous women came forward and claimed that he had sexually harassed — in some cases, sexually assaulted — them over a period of several years.

Although the Schwarzenegger campaign did its best to paint all of the women as liars, as unlikely as it was that that many women would have come forward with such allegations and be fabricating them, Schwarzenegger did at first promise to subject himself to an investigation of the sexual misconduct claims — after the recall election, of course. And, of course, this “investigation” was going to be conducted by a private investigator hired by Schwarzenegger.

But after the recall election, Schwarzenegger decided that no such investigation, even one bought and paid for by himself, was necessary after all.

So Schwarzenegger came into office and into power in 2003 under circumstances that were shady* at the very best, and I’m not even going to go into his pre-recall-election ties with the sleazy corporation Enron, which the Enron-supporting Repugnicans unfairly and hypocritically used to beat up on Gray Davis.

And today we know one more piece of information about Schwarzenegger that if we had known in 2003 he probably never would have been the “governator”: that at least a decade ago Schwarzenegger sired a child with one of his household staff. (I’m thinking that that would be a maid, but the media are using the term “household staff,” which I suppose is a little better than “household technician.”)

The Los Angeles Times reports that Schwarzenegger reports that he told Shriver about his love child only after he left the governor’s office in January. The Times reports that very apparently Schwarzenegger supported the child financially while the child’s mother was to keep her mouth shut — or perhaps, because the child’s mother also was married to someone else when the child was conceived, she decided herself to keep quiet, and wasn’t coerced into silence — and reportedly, Shriver had no idea about this arrangement between Schwarzenegger and his in-house baby mama until after Schwarzenegger left the governorship, and thus their fairly recent separation.

Baby mama left the Schwarzenegger household in January after at least two decades of having worked there, the Times reports.

So, tarnished, methinks, is Schwarzenegger’s legacy at least here in California, and I think it’s safe to say that his political future, if he had one (he probably didn’t), is no more.

Schwarzenegger is the very same man, after all, for whom the white-supremacist wingnuts wanted to change the U.S. Constitution so that he could run for U.S. president even though he was born in Austria, while Barack Obama, because he’s half-black, was badgered for his birth certificate even though no sane individual believes that Obama was not born in Hawaii.

Most who have heard about the Schwarzenegger love child (and is/are there more than one love child, I wonder?) probably feel sorry for Maria Shriver and for her children, but I can’t help but think of the damage that the fraud who is Arnold Schwarzenegger did to the entire state of California. We can’t get back the years that he was governor, the years in which he’d promised to turn the state around but only drove it even further into the ditch.

Maria Shriver isn’t Schwarzenegger’s only victim, although she is symbolic of his apparent view of women: that they are objects to be used, whether for a cheap sexual thrill or a rung to be stepped upon on the ladder to high political office. (The governorship of California, the nation’s most populous state, was the very first elected office that Schwarzenegger had ever held. Not at all bad for a political novice.)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has millions of victims: Californians who would have voted very differently in October 2003 had they known then what they know about Schwarzenegger today — what Schwarzenegger reportedly deliberately kept not just from his wife, but deliberately kept from us all.

P.S. I’ve always been miffed at Shriver for having been supportive of the male chauvinist pig Schwarzenegger — coming from the Kennedy clan, her marriage to him and her political support of him considerably helped him to win the governorship of the blue state of California in 2003 — and no, I don’t let off the hook the millions of Californians who stupidly voted for Schwarzenegger in 2003. And he won re-election in the gubernatorial election of 2006, beating the uncharismatic and nerdish Democratic candidate, then-State Treasurer Phil Angelides, 56 percent to 39 percent.

(For the record, I voted for Democrat Cruz Bustamante in the 2003 recall election, and for Angelides in 2006, but the state’s Democratic Party really fucking blew both elections. In denial that Gray Davis might actually be recalled, the state party did not rally around any replacement candidate, apparently believing that to do so would have been taken as a sign of defeat — so Bustamante was pretty much left to campaign on his own — and the state’s party insiders rallied behind Angelides in the party’s gubernatorial primary election when the much more charismatic State Controller Steve Westly had the better chance of beating Schwarzenegger in 2006.)

*Of course, as the worthwhile documentary “Nuremberg,” which I saw last night, portrays, the right-wing Nazi Party came into power under shady, manipulative circumstances at best, and Schwarzenegger’s father was a brownshirt. They seem to have done things a certain way in that part of the globe… (Also, Schwarzenegger was buddies with Nazi war criminal Kurt Waldheim, whom he even invited to his wedding. I find any associations with the Nazi Party, such as the fact that Pope Palpatine was a member of the Hitler Youth, to be chilling, even if those with the associations [or their defenders] claim, correctly or incorrectly, that they had no choice in the association [as is the case with the pope].)

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Thoughts on the new year from the Island of California



Early explorers thought that California is an island. It might as well be.

2011 should be an interesting political year.

It’s ironic that Repugnican former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been convicted of money laundering just as his stupid white male ilk, led this time by the steely-cold-blue-eyed Repugnican Rep. John Boehner, are ready to take over the House — you know, to bring back the good old days of Tom DeLay & Co.

When we of the left say that Americans are fucktards, this is the kind of thing that we’re talking about: expecting the same bunch of people who sank the nation in the first place to be the same ones to rescue it.

Here in California, things should be at least a little different next year.

On November 2, not a single Repugnican was elected to statewide office here in California, and come early January, gone will be Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was elected governor in the gubernatorial recall do-over election of 2003. (The Repugnican candidate in the 2002 gubernatorial election, Bill Simon, was an uncharismatic Richie Rich fucktard who lost to the uncharismatic Democratic incumbent, Gov. Gray Davis, although by just under 5 percent, so the Repugs just orchestrated a do-over election the next year with a much more charismatic candidate this time.)

Schwarzenegger promised to turn California around, but of course he leaves the nation’s most populous state in worse shape than it was when he got it. Ironically, in his too-short recall election campaign, Schwarzenegger blamed the BushCheneyCorp’s sins, including the Enron* debacle, on then-Gov. Gray Davis, even though Schwarzenegger had had a secret meeting with Enron head Ken Lay before he went on to run for governor of the state that Enron crippled. By Schwarzenegger’s own logic in 2003, though, we can blame only him for California’s current mess (even though, of course, the unelected BushCheneyCorp has been a huge factor in California’s decline, from 2001 to present). 

In the days of old, it was believed that California is an enchanted island — the long peninsula of Baja California is what gave the early explorers the idea that California is an island; they didn’t realize that Baja California is attached to the rest of the continent. (It is, in fact, attached to Mexico just under California.)

With the Mojave Desert in the southern part of the state and the Sierra Nevada mountain range running along the eastern part of the state, however, geography actually did leave California as somewhat of an island to itself, and for a while, anyway, these natural barriers for the most part kept the hordes of westward-immigrating white people out (two words: Donner party…).

Speaking of white people, it’s fairly clear that brown is the new black, and that as the nation’s population of Latinos continues to grow — here in California, more than a third of us are Latino, and more Latinos live in California than in any other U.S. state — the white supremacists, whose numbers, at least proportionally to the numbers of non-whites, are dwindling, are going to continue to blame the decline of the Great White American Empire on the browned-skinned.

A tea-bagging white-supremacist dipshit here in California (yes, unfortunately, plenty of fucktarded whiteys have made it past the Mojave Desert and the Sierra Nevada to inflict themselves upon the rest of us) has been given the legal go-ahead to try to collect enough signatures to put an Arizona-like anti-Latino law on the state ballot.

I expect the white supremacist, who used to be a Repugnican Party county chair (surprise surprise), to succeed in getting his signatures; it seems that nothing appeals to the voters like hatred, bigotry, ignorance and making scapegoats of minority groups. The voters seem to be loathe to OK anything productive, but to dog-pile upon already historically persecuted minority groups is just great fun! Proposition Hate was evidence of that.

However, while Prop H8 passed in November 2008, I expect a proposition for an Arizona-style anti-Latino law to fail here in California, where, unlike in Arizona, the majority of us are just fine with sharing our state with those of other races, and here in California, Latinos aren’t “other” — they are part of what makes California California, perhaps especially since California used to belong to Mexico, and the names of California’s largest cities are testament to that historical fact: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, etc., etc.

Ironically, it seems that it’s the brown-skinned who most likely can save the sinking United States of America. While the United States’ white overlords seem congenitally unable to do anything but to overextend themselves and to self-destruct, like their British forebears did, progress is being made in South America.

Notes a columnist for The Christian Science Monitor:

One in 10 South Americans – about 38 million people – escaped poverty during the past decade. That’s remarkable progress by any measure.

Contrast that with the United States, where poverty has been growing due to a decade-long stagnation of income for the middle class and the Great Recession. In 2009, the U.S. had more poor people than in any of the 51 years since poverty levels have been estimated.

Of course, America’s poor are far better off than South America’s poor. And the U.S. still has a much lower poverty rate (14.2 percent versus around 70 percent). South America remains infamous for huge income gaps between a tiny elite and masses of people making, often, just $1 or $2 a day.

Still, 10 years of growing prosperity has shrunk that gap. The credit goes to democratic leftist governments that have vastly boosted social spending to help the poor, maintains Mark Weisbrot, a left-of-center economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Half of that improvement comes from Brazil. Under outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the nation pushed up the minimum wage a real 65 percent in eight years, helping to raise the wages of tens of millions of workers, including many receiving more than minimum wage. A program offered small cash grants to poor families if they sent their children to school.

The results? Real income per person is up some 24 percent since 2000. Illiteracy is down. Poverty has been halved since 2002; extreme poverty is down by 70 percent, says Mr. Weisbrot, pulling more than 19 million people into the middle class.

And the economy hasn’t suffered. Unemployment under Mr. da Silva’s presidency dropped from more than 11 percent to 6.7 percent. Income inequality has fallen considerably.

Other nations with “progressive” governments have made much social progress, notes Weisbrot. He lists Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela. Under President Hugo Chávez, attacked by the right in the U.S., oil-rich Venezuela has tripled social spending per person since 2003. Attendance at universities has doubled. Most of the poor now get health care under a government program.

The continent weathered the financial crisis relatively well. Social spending rose. So there was no big rise in poverty, says Norbert Schady, an economic adviser to the Inter-American Development Bank, speaking from Quito, Ecuador.

Moreover, prospects for continued economic progress are strong. The Institute of International Finance (IIF), set up by the world’s biggest banks, forecasts 6 percent growth in gross domestic product in Latin America this year, which includes Mex­ico and Central America as well as South Am­er­ica. That growth should shrink poverty further.

By contrast, the IIF forecasts a 2.5 percent growth rate this year for the U.S. At that slow pace the U.S. could see a further rise in poverty. [Emphasis mine.]

South America’s new economic vigor is also causing a geopolitical shift. The U.S. has long considered Latin America part of its political and economic sphere of influence. Officials running South America’s left-of-center governments often charge the U.S. with imperial ambitions.

But as U.S. growth slows, South America’s businesses have reached out to other markets. While 15 percent of South America’s trade is still with the U.S., a greater share is tied to Europe. Also, trade within the continent is growing with a free-trade deal. So South American governments no longer feel so much under the thumb of the U.S.

What the columnist doesn’t note is that the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon, for decades focused its evil gaze upon Latin America, where its Uruk-hai ruthlessly quashed any democratically elected governments that actually dared to put the needs of the people above the greed of American corporations. And that now, with the Eye of Sauron having been focused on destroying the Middle East for the past decade, democracy has been flourishing in Latin America, and consequently, poverty there has been declining, now that U.S. interference there is at its lowest in decades.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone, in his worthwhile documentary “South of the Border” (in which he visits with South American presidents Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Lula da Silva, Cristina Kirchner [and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner] and Rafael Correa and with Cuban leader Raul Castro), posits that, ironically, it might be the democratization of Latin America, with Latinos’ growing influence on U.S. politics, that finally democratizes the United States of America. (You know, something like that dreaded “domino effect” that the right wing used to talk about where Vietnam was concerned.)

California, with more Latinos than any other state (more than 13 million of them**), and now with Democrat Jerry Brown to take back the helm of the state on January 3, just might lead the way in the democratization of the nation.

The myth of California as a magical island might not be so mythical after all.

It will be interesting to watch the rest of the nation from the Island of California in 2011. I expect to see the nation only worsen under a Repugnican-controlled House of Representatives, and it will be interesting to see which wingnut emerges as the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee. Will it be Sarah Palin-Quayle, who says that we must stand with our “allies” in North Korea?*** It would be rather Kubrickian if a U.S. president nuked the wrong Korea, wouldn’t it?

Stay tuned. I sure will, from my island.

*Such wonderful things come out of the state of Texas: Tom DeLay, George W. Bush and Enron, to name just three. Really, when Repugnican-of-course Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks about secession, we should give him our full support in such an endeavor.

**Texas is at No. 2 in terms of its Latino population, with around 9 million Latinos.

***Really, though, it’s apparent that white privilege makes whites incredibly stupid, probably from their overly comfortable lives and their lack of any challenges.

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Win some, lose some

Posted November 2, 2010, 10:50 p.m.

John Boehner

Associated Press photo

You say Boehner, I say blogging material: Anyway, here Repugnican U.S. Rep. John Boehner’s steel-cold blue eyes well up with tears as he ponders how he’ll abuse his new-found power to further help the filthy rich at the expense of the dipshits who actually believe that the Repugnicans actually care about them (and also at the expense of the rest of us).

Tonight’s election results turned out to be what I’d expected: A win for Democratic Governor-Elect Jerry Brown and for Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer here in my home state of California, a ref — er, a repudiation of Repugnican millionaires and billionaires who want to buy office, at least here on the Left Coast.

I had expected Proposition 19, which would have legalized the use of marijuana here in California, to fail, as polls had predicted that it would. (Marijuana, like same-sex marriage, will be legal in all 50 states one day; we just have to wait for a lot of old fucks to kick off and take their stodgy, outdated beliefs with them to their graves.)

I had expected Proposition 23, Big Oil’s attempt to hamstring the fight against climate change in California, to fail, and it did, enabling California to remain at the forefront of combatting climate change.

And last but not least, I had expected the Democrats to lose some seats in the U.S. Senate but to retain their majority, and I had expected the Democrats to lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The upshot of the Repugnicans winning control of the House is that (1) I’ll have plenty of blogging material for the next two years, as Repugnican Ohio Rep. John Boehner, to me, with those icy cold blue eyes of his (I have blue eyes also, but mine are warm blue eyes, thank you very much), is Evil Incarnate, and (2) the Repugnicans in the House certainly won’t be able to fix the nation’s economy, any more than the same surgeon who botched your operation is the one to fix the damage that he created, and therefore I expect that in 2012 the Democrats will regain the House after the fickle voters swing back to the Dems, and that the Dems will keep the White House, as well as make up for at least some of today’s losses in the Senate. 

In politics, you rarely get everything you want.

Today, in politics we got most of what I wanted — and, I daresay, now the Democrats will fare better in 2012 than they would have had they retained control of the House of Representatives today.

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