I Guess Legalization Was Not The Right Answer

A number of states have legalized recreational marijuana with the intention of collecting tax revenue on the sale of the drug after it becomes legal. There is little thought given to the possible effects of the drug or the long-term consequences–it’s about the money. As far as the long-term consequences, I posted an article in October of last year that included a first-hand account of the effects of continuing marijuana use. Yesterday (updated today) The U.K. Daily Mail posted an interesting article about how the legalization and taxation of marijuana  has worked in California.

The article reports:

California is increasing business tax rates on legal marijuana, a move that stunned struggling companies that have been pleading with the state to do just the opposite.

Hefty marijuana taxes that can approach 50 per cent in some communities have been blamed for pushing shoppers into California’s tax-free illegal market, which is thriving. 

Industry analysts estimate that $3 are spent in the illegal market for every $1 in the legal one.

The California Cannabis Industry Association said in a statement that its members are ‘stunned and outraged.’

The group said the higher taxes that will take effect January 1 will make it even worse for a legal industry struggling under the weight of heavy regulation and fees, local bans on pot sales and growing and a booming underground marketplace.

‘Widening the price … gap between illicit and regulated products will further drive consumers to the illicit market at a time when illicit products are demonstrably putting people´s lives at risk,’ the group said, referring to the national vaping health crisis.

Los Angeles dispensary owner Jerred Kiloh, who heads the United Cannabis Business Association, said the increased levies added to the heavily taxed market ‘seems like a slap in the face.’

The changes involve taxes paid by legal businesses, which ultimately get passed along to consumers at the retail counter.

Josh Drayton of the cannabis association predicted that an eighth-ounce purchase of marijuana buds, typically priced around $40 to $45, would be pushed up to $50 or more in the new year.

There are a few lessons to be learned here. First, increasing taxes on something results in people finding another source or buying less. In this case, people have found another source. A person buying legal marijuana can be reasonably sure that he is getting the product he is paying for; however, buying any drug illegally can be very risky. This is the Laffer Curve at work–raising taxes on something will at some point decrease revenue. Second, companies don’t pay taxes–increased taxes are passed along to the consumer in the form of increased prices.

Legalizing recreational marijuana use may have unseen consequences we haven’t even dreamed of yet. In California it has not ended the illegal drug trade, and the greedy government’s taxes have only exacerbated the problem.

That Didn’t Go The Way It Was Supposed To

At one time or another, many of us have had a dream of living ‘off the grid’–private well, private septic system, solar energy, etc. Think of how much you could save on energy bills. Well, the solar industry has promoted various aspects of solar energy over the years, and many people have installed solar panels on their homes to cut utility expenses. I suspect that many of the people who installed these panels also assumed that if the power went out, their solar panels would keep supplying their homes with electricity. Evidently that is not true.

PJ Media reported the following today:

Going solar isn’t necessarily any protection from California’s new “planned” power outages, and local residents and businesses are enduring a lot more than just a few inconveniences.

Bloomberg’s Chris Martin has a story on California’s troubles with one of my favorite headlines ever: “Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts.” Apparently, many of California’s would-be Earth-savers had no idea that just putting solar panels on their roofs doesn’t mean they’ll have power when PG&E switches it off. As Martin explains:

Most panels are designed to supply power to the grid — not directly to houses. During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night. So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California to prevent wildfires.

The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries. That market is just starting to take off. Sunrun Inc., the largest U.S. rooftop solar company, said some of its customers are making it through the blackouts with batteries, but it’s a tiny group — countable in the hundreds.

Martin quotes Sunrun Chairman Ed Fenster explaining that solar power with local battery storage is “the perfect combination for getting through these shutdowns,” although he fails to mention just what an expensive proposition that is, especially in the rural areas most affected by California’s return to the primitive. Fester, whose company sells those very batteries, expects battery sales “to boom” now that the promised blackouts have begun.

I guess gas generators are probably the only way to have power during the blackouts. Wow.

The Following Was Posted On Facebook On Sunday

DNM’s World posted the following on Facebook on Sunday:

Say what you like about the Star Trek: TOS episode “And The Children Shall Lead” but I am going to use it as an aid to make a real world point. More often than not, someone is using the children to advance evil causes and agendas.

In the episode Gorgan, a noncorporeal being (and anything BUT a “Friendly Angel”) is using the children of Federation scientists to advance his desires. Through these children, he has manged to kill those very scientists, and now Gorgan has his sights on Marcos XII and its population of children to recruit for his cause to rule the universe. Kirk was able to stop Gorgan by showing his evil to the children (using the videos of them with their families…and their deaths) and what this monster really did to their parents and the children called Gorgan’s bluff.

Now we have to deal with a similar evil and unlike the noncorporeal Gogan, the environmental statists of flesh and bone are using children to destroy our liberties and freedom. They are using the children not just in America, but the whole world (which for the most part has embraced Marxism) to advance their cause.

On September 20, 2019; with the approval of public school administrators and teachers (and the parents that agree with them), coupled with our major media news outlets with MSNBC leading the charge (remember they are trying to convince you that climate change is real and we must give up our freedoms for the greater good); most public high school students walked out of class to protest on behalf of our natural environment. Not just American governments (local, state, national), but governments all over the world to demand that they step up and do something to deal with our changing climate. 

“As You Believe So Shall You Do, As You Believe So Shall You Do, As You Believe So Shall You Do, As You Believe So Shall You Do…”

Here is a question to ponder. Would our schools grant dismissals if the children would go to some kind of rally in support of America or perhaps go in support of something like say…the Second Amendment or something that supports the true intentions of the First Amendment like freedom of faith and religion? The short answer is No, while my answer would be “I Don’t Think So.” The progressives leftists are truly in control of most of the educational institutions on the planet and that includes our so-called public/government (Common) elementary and secondary schools.

Spock and Dr. McCoy said it best regarding the evil that our “green blooded” hero and his best friend and captain would have to face very soon regarding Gorgan’s ‘adopted children;’  

Spock: “Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing the truth.”

McCoy: “Or by misleading the innocent.”

While Swedish born Greta Thunberg, the 15 year old face of the movement; we adults have to question about the adults who are pulling the strings as the children do their “fist pounds” to make the rest of us submit to the powerful ‘Gorgans’ of the world who would not only impose terror and fear into our lives, but make us all slaves to the permanent underclass forever in poverty and forever needing the “help” of the rich elites everywhere in the world.

Thunberg has been given lots of publicity by our major media, and like any leftist either a mastermind or some kind of “useful idiot,” you know that the our own American Democrat Party Press (if not most major international media outlets that lean progressive) will jump on any opportunity to advance the progressive cause. Thunberg also has the blessings of Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Moore, Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg and Melissa Fumero.

Right now one of the biggest environmental causes at the moment is the very communist-socialist concept that is named the “Green New Deal” (by the way it does not impress our young environmentalist leader), which is not about saving the planet but rather setting back the human race a thousand years or so when we did not have electricity or food that could actually kill us and not because it’s processed but it was rancid.

Even the food inspectors will not be able to help the masses should the Green Statists have it their way…and chances are those very same statists will be able to enjoy the comforts of electricity and healthier food (processed or not) as they rule over the masses with Iron Fists of greater power. It seems they will never be happy until the masses are miserable…and even then they are not happy, but want to impose more suffering.

As with Captain Kirk and Spock, we must tame our own beasts and demons and do what we can to fight these children and their puppet masters who have enslaved them and their desire to enslave the rest of us…for if they are not stopped, we will not only be stripped if our liberty but our children’s liberty will be stripped as well.

Our environment will truly be worse and filthy if these Communist Greens have it their way.

Just look at what has happened to California. Rest assured the elite will have their personal clean environments and comfortable lifestyles as they look down on the “dead waste of civilization” who they view as neanderthals.

 

Is This What You Are Supporting If You Are Pro Choice?

The Federalist posted an article today about the preliminary hearing for pro-life activist David Daleiden that began Tuesday morning at the San Francisco Superior Court.

The article reports:

NAF (National Abortion Federation) Vice President of External Affairs Melissa Fowler also testified she recognized StemExpress—a human tissue procurement lab exposed in Daleiden’s undercover videos that is now under federal investigation—as a repeat vendor of her for-profit organization. NAF is a third-party abortion trade group.

The nine-day hearing is the first time Planned Parenthood leaders and affiliates have publicly gathered and testified in court since Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress published 11 undercover videos featuring Planned Parenthood leaders discussing—and in some videos displaying—the harvesting and selling of aborted fetal organs and tissues.

Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt face 14 criminal felony counts of eavesdropping and one count of conspiracy. The case marks the first time charges of eavesdropping have ever been made in California. During this hearing the judge will determine if there is probable cause Daleiden and Merritt committed a crime, and if so, will schedule a date for trial. Separately, the hearing for the civil case against Daleiden and Merritt will be held Sept. 30.

The article includes a timeline of events surrounding the case, including noting that the first undercover video where a Planned Parenthood doctor is shown negotiating the sale of aborted baby body parts was released in July 2015. We’ve know about this practice for more than four years, and it is still going on. The article also notes that presidential candidate Kamala Harris used her powers as California’s Attorney General to destroy Daleiden after the videos were released.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is chilling. Planned Parenthood is not only killing babies for profit, it is selling their body parts for profit.

It’s About The Money–Health Concerns Are Being Ignored

Many of our more liberal states are looking for additional sources of revenue. Unfunded liabilities and expanded welfare programs and medical programs have been very expensive to the states that have embraced them. One thing that many states are looking at to increase tax revenue is the legalization of marijuana. On Saturday, Yahoo Finance posted an article about how much income legal marijuana is actually generating in California.

The article reports:

California’s legal cannabis revenue isn’t growing as fast as many state officials anticipated, recent data suggests. And one industry expert believes that taxes and a still thriving black market for marijuana, are partly to blame.

“The legal market is struggling with the set of regulatory rules and tax rates that are pretty onerous and make it fairly uncompetitive versus a thriving black market that’s had the whole industry for 60 years now,” Tom Adams, BDS Analytics managing director, told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM in an interview this week.

California’s marijuana excise tax produced $74.2 million in revenue for the second quarter of this year, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Yet back in January, Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget predicted the state would generate $355 million in excise tax revenues for the fiscal year. That projection was later revised down again to $288 million back in May.

The shortfall is reminiscent of Michigan, where a nascent medical marijuana market has resulted in lower than expected revenue.

Adams contended the legal market faces additional expenses like the cost of testing, that the illegal market does not.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that marijuana is harmful to the developing brains of young adults. There also may be a link between marijuana and mental illness.

In January 2019 I posted an article which stated:

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

…These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.

On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.

Is the extra tax revenue worth it?

When Justice Isn’t Justice

The Daily Caller posted an article today about some recent actions of a California court.

The article reports:

A California court overturned the conviction Friday of a five-time deported homeless illegal immigrant who shot Kate Steinle in 2015.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge erred in not giving the jury “the momentary possession instruction,” NPR reported.

“It is undisputed that defendant was holding the gun when it fired. But that fact alone does not establish he possessed the gun for more than a moment. To possess the gun, defendant had to know he was holding it,” the appellate court wrote, according to NPR.

Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate was deported five times before he shot Steinle on a San Fransisco pier in 2015. Zarate was a seven-time convicted felon and Mexican national. Before he shot Steinle, Immigration and Customs Enforcement lodged a detainer for Zarate with the San Francisco sheriff’s office. The office did not honor the request, according to former Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan’s statement.

The article notes:

A jury acquitted Garcia-Zarate of the charge of murdering Steinle in November 2017 but convicted him of being a felon in possession of a gun.

So the argument is that the defendant did not know that he was holding the gun when he shot Kate Steinle?! And that argument worked!? Something is seriously wrong with our justice system.

When The Story And The Facts Collide

According to Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog:

On July 9, (2018) Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted:

Two decades after Brown v. Board, I was only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools. Without that decision, I likely would not have become a lawyer and eventually be elected a Senator from California.

That’s the power a Supreme Court Justice holds.

Harris’ election to the Senate is one of the lesser reasons to celebrate Brown v. Board. Moreover, it’s far from clear that Harris wouldn’t have become a lawyer without attending an integrated public school. Plenty of African-Americans became lawyers without having that benefit.

But is it even true that Harris was in only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools? Based on an examination of old yearbooks from Berkeley High, Freida Powers reports that classrooms at Berkeley High were already integrated in 1963, a year before Harris was born.

Maybe Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. But even if that’s true, and it seems implausible given the early integration of the high school, it’s ludicrous to suggest that attending a segregated kindergarten would have prevented her from becoming a lawyer and Senator.

At the Democrat debate this week, the story was retold.

However, Paul Mirengoff printed another article at Power Line Blog on Friday which reported:

I wondered whether Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. However, according to Gateway Pundit, Harris went to school in Berkeley for only two years before moving with her mother to Canada where she attended grade school and high school.

Maybe Harris means that her class (minus her) was only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. This doesn’t seem likely either given the early integration of Berkeley High.

Harris presents a misleading picture of Berkeley and, implicitly, of her family’s status. A friend who graduated from college there around the time Harris depicts tells me:

Berkeley was not segregated or racist during that era. It was one of the most liberal places in the country.

I’d like to learn a lot more about [Harris’] busing. I accept that she took a bus to elementary school, but I don’t think they were busing kids to various neighborhoods for racial reasons in Berkeley in 1971. Makes no sense at all to me.

Her mom and dad were PhDs, and she went to India during summers to stay with her mom’s family (see Wikipedia). She makes it sound like they were poverty-stricken. . .or something.

Actually, Harris herself presented evidence that she did not live in a segregated neighborhood, such that she needed to be bused to attend school with whites. During the debate, she told of a would-be friend whose parents wouldn’t let her play with Harris due to race.

I guess the message in the Democrat debates is don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

As People See The Results Of Democrat Policies, They Begin To Wake Up

CNS News posted an article today about California’s vanishing middle class. Being middle class in California is not a successful long-term plan.

The article reports:

A survey recently released by the Public Policy Institute of California found that President Donald Trump is more popular in the deep blue state than the Democratic legislature.

Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio recently told the Los Angeles Times, “All they hear from Sacramento are proposals for more taxes and more spending for everyone except the middle class. And they rightfully wonder where the high taxes they already are paying are going.”

While the president’s approval ratings are underwater with only 38 percent of Californians approving of his job, this pales in comparison to the state legislature having only 34 percent among likely voters having confidence in them.

With voters still anxious about a gas tax hike pushed through last year, recent suggestions of a $2 billion tax hike on everything from water to phones by California Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t eased that apprehension.

Newsom holds a job approval rating of 45 percent among likely voters with 29 percent disapproving and a 26 percent responding “don’t know.”

California’s fiscal policies are going to result in bankruptcy at some time in the not-so-distant future. The bad news is that the rest of the country will be required to bail them out. The major cities in California, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have areas that look like third-world countries–unsanitary conditions, homeless people living in tents, and needle-strewn streets. Diseases that America has not seen for decades are cropping up in these areas. Meanwhile, the state government continues raising taxes and doing business as usual. There will be a tipping point fairly soon. People are leaving the state in droves. The only thing keeping the population stable is the flow of illegal immigrants who are generally not contributing to the economic well being of the state.

A Governor Who Understands The Purpose Of The Electoral College

On Thursday, The Hill reported that Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday vetoed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which had been passed by the Nevada Assembly and Senate.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would essentially nullify the Electoral College. However, it will not become effective unless enough states to control 280 electoral college votes pass the measure. The idea is that 280 electoral votes would be a majority of the Electoral College and would elect the person who got the most popular votes. At that point we would live in a county governed by New York and California–two states that have not done a particularly good job of governing themselves. That is exactly what our Founding Fathers were attempting to avoid (as explained by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68).

In Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton stated:

And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.

The idea was that the Electoral College would give less-populated states a voice in the election of the president. A candidate for president would be required to gain a broad base of support–he would be required to represent the entire country–not just one or two sections.

To illustrate what elections would look like without the Electoral College, let’s look at where the campaign money comes from in elections.

According to opensecrets.org the top donor states are California (22 percent), New York (21 percent), Illinois (7 percent), and Florida (6 percent). The other states provided 44 percent of campaign donations. California has 40 million people; West Virginia has 2 million people. Without the Electoral College, how likely is a presidential candidate to campaign in (or represent) the people in West Virginia? There is a valid reason for the Electoral College.

 

Who Gets To Vote For President

Only American citizens can vote for President according to No, 18 USC 611[1], passed in 1996, which prevents aliens from voting in federal ( though not necessarily state) elections. This presents a problem for states and municipalities that are allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections. How do you set up your voting rolls to separate those qualified to vote in local elections from those qualified to vote in federal elections? That is the problem that California is now facing.

One America News posted the following video on May 28:

California is facing a new lawsuit over errors in its voter registration system. One America’s Pearson Sharp spoke with Mark Meuser, an election attorney, who said the secretary of state is violating federal law by opening the door for non-citizens to vote.

When America was founded, only property owners were allowed to vote because they were considered to be people who had a stake in the outcome of the election. Men only were allowed to vote because they were considered to represent their households. While I am glad those rules have changed, there was some logic to them. Intact families provide a stable foundation for our communities. People in families tend to be responsible and in the habit of thinking about others. I am not sure that I could say that about all of today’s voters.

 

The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case Regarding The Citizenship Question On The Census

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article details some of the history of the question:

The Enumeration Clause in Article I of the Constitution requires a nationwide census be taken every ten years. The Census Act empowers the head of the Commerce Department to determine what the census will ask, aside from the number of persons residing at every address in the nation. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided for the Trump administration that the census will ask each person in the nation next year if that person is a citizen of the United States.

That was a recurring question on census forms until recently. The first census to ask about citizenship was the one conducted in 1820, and the last was 1950. After 1950, the Census Bureau – which is part of the Commerce Department – has continued to ask that question on the “long form” census form that goes to some census-takers, as well as on its yearly questionnaire that goes to a small number of households each year, called the American Community Survey (ACS).

…However, when Ross put that question on the 2020 census, leftwing partisans sued, claiming that inserting this question violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). More surprising to many, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed, writing a 277-page decision (which is shockingly long) holding that it is illegal to ask about citizenship.

The article explains that the case revolves around the APA:

There are three issues in the case. The first is whether it violates the APA for the census to ask about citizenship. The second is whether courts can look beyond the administrative record to probe the thinking of top-ranking government officials in an APA case. The justices inserted a third issue of their own, asking whether asking that if the APA allows the question, would that question nonetheless violate the Enumeration Clause.

In other words, the case is about whether asking about citizenship violates either federal law or the Constitution, and also whether it is out of bounds to chase down a member of the president’s Cabinet in such lawsuits.

This case has very significant implications. Legislative districting lines for Congress and statehouses are based on census data. Dozens of congressional seats and perhaps hundreds of state seats could shift if states drew lines based on citizenship, instead of total numbers of persons. Some even argue that congressional seats, and with them Electoral College votes for president, could be reallocated among the states based on citizenship data. At minimum, billions of dollars in federal spending is based on census numbers.

The states that will probably lose representatives and electoral college votes if the citizenship questions is on the census are California, New York, Arizona, and possibly New Mexico.

The question to me is whether or not people who are in America but not citizens should have a voice in our government. Would you allow a guest in your house to determine your household budget?

Irony At Its Best

The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.

Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.

The article reports:

Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.

A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.

For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.

There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.

It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.

The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.

The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:

People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.

The Constitution Upheld By U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

The legislative action part of the National Rifle Association is reporting today that ruling on the legal case Duncan v. Becerra, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined on Friday that California’s ban on commonly possessed firearm magazines violates the Second Amendment.

The article reports:

Judge Benitez rendered his opinion late Friday afternoon and handed Second Amendment supporters a sweeping victory by completely invalidating California’s 10-round limit on magazine capacity. “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he declared. 

In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.

Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as “turning the Constitution upside down.” He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment protects American citizens from a tyrannical government–the Founding Fathers understood that the fact that they possessed weapons allowed them to free themselves from the rule of Britain. They wanted to protect future Americans from a tyrannical government. Beware of people who want to take guns away from America–that is the beginning of tyranny.

Why We Need To Keep Track Of Illegal Aliens Who Come To America And Commit Crimes

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about Carlos Eduardo Arevalo from El Salvador, an illegal alien who brutally murdered a 59-year-old woman, Bambi Larson, in California.

The article reports:

Arevalo has a long criminal record of arrests for violent crimes, but the State of California refused to turn him over to ICE because California is a far-left “Sanctuary State” for criminal illegal aliens.

CBS Local reported:

“Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza stalked this San Jose neighborhood and his victim,” said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia. “He is a self-admitted gang member.”

Garcia then detailed his lengthy criminal record.

“His criminal history convictions consist of in Feb. 2013 he was detained by the Department of Homeland Security at the border near McAllen, Texas, and deported.”

“In 2015, he was arrested for drug paraphernalia. In 2015 he was convicted of burglary in San Jose. In 2016, battery of an officer, resisting arrest and entering a property. In 2016, he was arrested for battery in Los Angeles. In 2017, he was arrested and convicted of false imprisonment in San Jose. On April of 2018, arrested for paraphernalia again. In May, he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.”

“In August of 2018, he was arrested for prowling. On October 2018, he was arrested for false identification and paraphernalia once again.”

Garcia said Carranza was currently on probation for the possession of methamphetamine, paraphernalia, false imprisonment and burglary.

“Unfortunately, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) placed detainers on this individual six separate times. Two in the Los Angeles area and four in the County of Santa Clara,” he said.

…Mayor Sam Liccardo took aim at the Santa Clara County sanctuary policy in a statement following the police press conference:

“It is long overdue for the County to reconsider its current policy of ignoring ICE hold requests for predatory felons, which undermines the safety of the very immigrant communities we collectively seek to protect,” said Liccardo. “The County’s policy has nothing to do with the City’s decades-long policy of declining to have police engage in federal immigration enforcement, which was implemented to protect public safety. In contrast, the current County policy of ignoring detainer requests for individuals arrested for strike offenses and convicted of multiple felonies undermines public safety, and violates common sense. I hope we can restart this conversation to make progress where we all agree: we can both keep our City safe from violent criminals and protect our law-abiding immigrant community.”

We need a wall, and we need to arrest and deport illegal aliens who break the law–the first time they break the law. If there is a wall, it will be more difficult for them to sneak back into the country.

Why Is There A Typhus Epidemic In Los Angeles?

This article is based on two articles, one posted at The Gateway Pundit yesterday and one posted yesterday at NBC 4 Los Angeles. Typhoid shots are often required for people traveling overseas, but it used to be a fairly unusual disease in America.

The article at NBC 4 reports:

Last year set a new record for the number of typhus cases — 124 in LA County for the year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Last October, Mayor Garcetti vowed to clean up piles of garbage throughout the city to combat the typhus epidemic.

The Mayor allocated millions of dollars to increase clean-ups of streets in the Skid Row area, known lately as “the typhus zone.”

…Statement from Mayor Garcetti’s Office:

“Last fall we directed multiple City departments to begin a coordinated and comprehensive effort to improve cleanliness and protect public health in the Civic Center, including City Hall and City Hall East. In addition to increased trash collection and cleanings, aggressive action has been taken to address pests both in the buildings and in the surrounding outside areas — including abatement treatments and the filling of 60 rodent burrows and 114 tree wells. This work in busy and highly populated public buildings is executed carefully to protect workers and visitors, and the scheduling of extermination activities takes these factors into consideration.” — Vicki Curry, spokeswoman, city of Los Angeles

The Gateway Pundit notes:

Typhus is mainly spreading across the homeless population through fleas that live on the rats that rummage in heaps of trash, however Liz Greenwood, the Deputy City Attorney who works at City Hall contracted the disease.

Symptoms of typhus include fever, headache and a rash. Untreated cases are fatal.

I seems to me that Los Angeles needs to increase its efforts to deal with the sanitary problems in its streets and in its municipal buildings.

Do The Statements Line Up With The Actions?

Yesterday CNS News posted an article that reported the following:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday reiterated that “Democrats are committed to border security” after President Donald Trump agreed to a deal to re-open the government for three weeks while the White House and Democratic congressional leaders negotiate over Trump’s proposed border wall.

“And we have no complaint,” Pelosi said on Friday.

The article continues:

“We look forward to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard [D.-Calif.] taking the lead in terms of the substance from her standpoint as Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee and commend, again, our Chair of the Appropriations Committee [Nita Lowey (D.-N.Y.] for her leadership on this,” Pelosi said. “They bring knowledge, they bring perspective, they bring the enthusiasm of the consensus of our Caucus to that conference.”

So let’s take a look at Congresswoman Roybal-Allard for a minute. The Center for Security Policy put her on a list of “national security failures” – legislators who scored a total of less than 25%, based on all scored votes for which they were present. The Center’s findings indicate 149 Members of the House of Representatives and 46 Senators are national security failures based on their voting record in the 111th Congress.

It gets better. Opensecrets.org listed the details of the Congresswoman’s campaign contributions:

I am not sure that this is the most qualified person to put on the committee. California has been something of a shining example of the negative impact of unchecked immigration on a state’s finances and quality of life.

Somehow I am not looking forward to rational solutions to the problem at our southern border from the Democrats on the Homeland Security Subcommittee.

A Relevant Political Strategy?

Every Friday I have a brief conversation with Lockwood Phillips that airs on 107.1 WTKF some time between 6 and 7 pm. This week we talked about the Cloward-Piven political strategy. This strategy was developed by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven at Columbia University in May 1966. A description of the strategy was posted in the magazine “The Nation” with the title, “The weight of the poor: A strategy to end poverty.” I think ending poverty is a wonderful idea, although I don’t think it is possible. Deuteronomy 15:11 says, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” If you believe the Bible, we will always have poor people; it is our responsibility to treat them kindly and help them–not enable them to stay in poverty.

So what is the Cloward-Piven strategy to end poverty? It is a political plan to overload the U.S. public welfare system so that it collapses and then replace it with a system that provides a guaranteed annual income for everyone. Theoretically this will end poverty. Some of the people who have espoused this strategy are Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshall Davis, and George Soros. Many of these people were very instrumental in the political career of former President Barack Obama.

So let’s look at where our welfare system is now (the figures below are from 2015):

  • Roughly $1 trillion annually is given to more than 107 million Americans who receive some type of government benefits–not including Social Security, Medicare or unemployment
  • Before President Obama took office there were 26 million recipients of food stamps. In 2015, there were 47 million. The number peaked in 2013, at 47.6 million. In July 2017, the number was 42.6. Economic policies make a difference.

In 2012, Forbes posted the following about President Obama’s welfare society:

  • An increase of 18 million people, to 46 million Americans now receiving food stamps;
  • A 122 percent increase in food-stamp spending to an estimated $89 billion this year from $40 billion in 2008;
  • An increase of 3.6 million people receiving Social Security disability payments;
  • A 10 million person increase in the number of individuals receiving welfare, to 107 million, or more than one-third of the U.S. population;
  •  A 34 percent, $683 billion reduction in the adjusted gross income of the top 1 percent to $1.3 trillion in 2009 (latest data) from its 2007 peak.

And let’s not forget new entitlements like Obamacare, which will result in government expansion and expenditures by 2022 to the tune of:

  • Federal expenditures on Obamacare will total $2.3 trillion, a $1.4 trillion increase from the program’s initial estimates;
  • The combination of budget cuts and sequestration will reduce defense spending by $1 trillion, while total government spending will increase by $1.1 trillion;
  • Taxes will be increased by $1.8 trillion;
  • Yet, the national debt will increase by another $11 trillion.

The Heritage Foundation summarized well: “In 1964, programs for the poor consumed 1.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Today, spending on welfare programs is 13 times greater than it was in 1964 and consumes over 5 percent of GDP. Spending per poor person in 2008 amounted to around $16,800 in programmatic benefits.”

How will illegal immigration impact these numbers? What is the current financial situation of California? Do we want the financial situation in California to become the financial situation of America?

There are people in our government working behind the scenes to implement the Cloward-Piven strategy. The honestly believe that taking money from the people who earn it and giving it to the people who did not will end poverty. Most of the people working toward this goal are quite well off and somehow figure that their wealth will not be impacted. I guess if they succeed and are in control, it is possible that their wealth will not be impacted. Good luck to the rest of us.

 

I Need Someone To Explain The Logic Of This To Me

On Sunday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about a recent statement by California Representative Nanette Barragan. Representative Barragan was elected in 2016.

The article reports:

“You have the wall built on U.S. territory,” Barragan said. “People can get up to the wall and they can still go to a port of entry and ask for asylum and you’re still on U.S. territory. What this wall essentially is going to do is help the president with his anti-asylum ban.”

Barragan explained that she knew this from visiting the border recently.

“They’re turning people away, even if they’re on U.S. soil,” she said. “What is it doing? It’s incentivizing them to break the law and come in within the ports.”

Barragan made these comments just a day after Democrats unilaterally rejected Trump’s offer to provide protection for refugee immigrants in exchange for a border wall. Trump offered to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), an Obama-era initiative that allowed children of Illegal immigrants to remain in the United States. Trump also said he would open up Temporary Protective Status, which allows refugees from foreign nations to seek asylum. In his plan, Trump would extend both programs by three years.

Let’s get something straight–no matter what method you use to come to America illegally, you are breaking the law. People don’t accidentally come here illegally–they make plans to do so. That is their choice–no one is incentivizing them–in fact, a wall might actually discourage them. When I lock my doors at night, am I incentivizing people to break a window to enter my house? I don’t think so.

We Need To Learn From Past Mistakes

I live very close to a national forest–a very large national forest. Watching what has happened in California makes me wonder how safe I am here. However, I am also aware that controlled burns in the national forest here are a part of summer life. I should also mention that generally there is enough rain during the summer to make these burns safe. Unfortunately that is not always the case in California, and sometimes a controlled burn is simply not practical. However, there are other ways to clear out brush and possible fuel for a fire.

The Washington Times posted an article about the California fires on Friday. What has happened in California is horrific, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it happening in the future.

The article reports:

A national logging organization is offering support to President Trump following catastrophic wildfires in California and a political debate over the causes of the destructive blazes.

“President Trump blamed poor forest management for wildfires in California and throughout the West, and there is truth to statements he has made,” said Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, a coalition of state and regional associations that represents independent contract loggers.

“It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management — including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning — are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Mr. Dructor said in a statement.

According to the council, some 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

Citing research from the U.S. Forest Service, the council backs such methods as thinning stressed trees and prescribed burns to reduce wildfires but said “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

Mr. Dructor advised the Trump administration and Congress to expand public-private partnerships to manage the problem.

The article concludes:

Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire,” council president Chris Potts said in a statement.

We work in the woods every day, we understand forestry and see the dangers every day, and we know what needs to be done. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” he said.

Lumber is a renewable resource. A properly managed forest can continue indefinitely. Good forest management will not only provide jobs and resources, it will create a healthy environment for wildlife and avoid the environmental catastrophe that the California forest fires have been.

The Economic Problem With Green Energy

Townhall posted an article today about the impact of green energy on the middle and lower class.

The article reports:

Liberals love to talk about helping the poor and the middle class, and they are obsessed with reducing income inequality. So why is it that across the country they are pushing one of the most regressive taxes in modern times?

I am talking about the fad “green” initiative in states such as California, Arizona and New Jersey that require local utilities to buy expensive renewable energy. These renewable energy standards require that utilities to buy expensive wind and solar power. They then pass these costs onto the poor and working class who get stuck paying the tab.

In Sacramento, California, the legislature is speeding ahead with one of the most absurd proposals of modern times by mandating 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. This would mean no coal, no natural gas and no nuclear power.

Meanwhile in Arizona, voters will decide on a ballot initiative funded by billionaire Tom Steyer that would increase renewable mandates to 50 percent over the next decade or so.

The article concludes:

Low-income households spend at least four to five times more out of their incomes in energy costs than do millionaires. For a family with an income of $40,000 or $50,000, an extra $500 a year in costs means less money for school supplies, day care, a family vacation or health insurance.

All of this is so unnecessary. If wind and solar are truly the energy sources of the future — with reliability and low costs — let the market determine that. Why do they need mandates and billions of dollars of federal subsidies to make them work? This is an experiment of imposing high costs on American small businesses, farms and families to pay off wealthy green energy investors. Could anything be more illiberal than this?

One of the benefits of the economic growth the Trump administration has created is the resurgence of the middle class–it is growing instead of shrinking (as it did under President Obama). The middle class is the strength of our republic–it is the only bulwark we have against the misguided proponents of socialism. When the middle class realizes the impact socialism will have on them, they oppose it. Unfortunately the students in our high schools and colleges are not getting that message. Using green energy as an excuse to increase the poverty levels is not a good idea. It is not a surprise that the people proposing the increase of green energy are the people least likely to be impacted by it.

Usually This Shows Up In The Headlines

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about an attack on Rudy Peters, the Republican nominee in California’s 15th Congressional District. CNN has not yet reported this attack.

The article reports:

Farzad Fazeli, 35, allegedly made disparaging remarks about the Republican Party before pulling out a switchblade and attempting to stab Rudy Peters at a festival Sunday, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Peters is the Republican nominee in California’s 15th Congressional District, where he is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell.

The sheriff’s office arrested Fazeli on Tuesday and announced it to the public that afternoon.

This is not acceptable. I realize that political passions are running high at this time, but supporters of all candidates need to act with civility. There is no excuse for this sort of attack on a political candidate. Hopefully the attacker will spend significant time in jail in order to deter others from committing similar attacks.

When The State Thinks It’s Your Mother

The Independent Journal Review posted an article today about a new law that California is planning to pass.

The article reports:

In an attempt to reduce childhood obesity rates, the state of California is taking the reigns from parents and banning restaurants from serving sugary beverages to children. 

The new bill restricts children’s drink options to be listed as just water or milk. The bill passed through the state legislature and is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. 

The American Cancer Society led the charge on this bill, telling CBS 13, “Cancer is fought in the halls of government, not just in the halls of a hospital.”

…Mike Slater, a radio host in San Diego told Fox News, “It amazes me always, the progressive instinct to ban things they don’t like. Whether in California it’s banning plastic bags or straws, or even speech.”

Under this bill, parents are still allowed to ask for a different drink, such as soda or chocolate milk, but it cannot be listed as a default beverage by the restaurant. 

If a restaurant fails to comply with the new bill, they could face a fine of up to $500. 

Maybe it would be better simply to educate parents on basic nutrition. I also think that if a child is taken out to dinner by his (or her) parents on a special occasion, he (she) should be allowed to drink anything he (she) wants.

I remember in junior high school (back in the age of dinosaurs) that the class did a science experiment with mice. There were two mice. One mouse was fed potato chips and soda (the dream diet of many children), and the other mouse was fed vegetables and things that were considered healthy. After a few weeks, the junk-food mouse was actually skinny and not healthy looking and the healthy-food mouse was growing and doing well. Do they still teach basic nutrition in schools? Might that be part of the problem?

Just for the record, I am not sure that what the children are drinking is the problem. Admittedly, soda is not good for you. However, what about looking at the ingredients in the foods you buy in the supermarket every week. How much of our bread has high fructose corn syrup in it? Isn’t that a product that contributes to obesity? How much of our children’s cereal has high fructose corn syrup in it? What is the price difference between real maple syrup and syrup made up of everything but natural maple syrup?

Aside from the government intrusion involved in this law, I think it is taking aim at the wrong thing. Soda is the least of our worries in terms of what our children are eating.

When You Neglect The Obvious

The following is a December 2017 News Release from the U.S.D.A.:

VALLEJO, Calif., December 11, 2017 – The USDA Forest Service today announced that an additional 27 million trees, mostly conifers, died throughout California since November 2016, bringing the total number of trees that have died due to drought and bark beetles to an historic 129 million on 8.9 million acres. The dead trees continue to pose a hazard to people and critical infrastructure, mostly centered in the central and southern Sierra Nevada region of the state.

“The number of dead and dying trees has co ntinued to rise, along with the risks to communities and firefighters if a wildfire breaks out in these areas,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester of the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region. “It is apparent from our survey flights this year that California’s trees have not yet recovered from the drought, and remain vulnerable to beetle attacks and increased wildfire threat. The USDA Forest Service will continue to focus on mitigating hazard trees and thinning overly dense forests so they are heal thier and better able to survive stressors like this in the future.”

Moore continued, “To increase the pace and scale of this important work, we need to fix how fire suppression is funded. Last year fire management alone consumed 56 percent of the USDA For est Service’s national budget. As fire suppression costs continue to grow as a percentage of the USDA Forest Service’s budget, funding is shrinking for non- fire programs that protect watersheds and restore forests, making them more resilient to wildfire an d drought.”

Though California received record -breaking rains in the winter of 2016-2017, the effects of five consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and rising temperatures have led to historic levels of tree die-off. The Tree Mortality Task Force (TMTF), with support from the Governor’s office and comprised of more than 80 local, state and federal agencies and private utility companies, continues to remove hazardous dead trees. To date, the TMTF members have collectively felled or removed over 1 million dead trees; this includes over 480,000 dead trees felled or removed by the USDA Forest Service.

The TMTF members are using a triage approach to this tree mortality crisis, first focusing on public safety by removing dead and dying trees in high hazard areas. To further improve forest health, the USDA Forest Service and CAL FIRE have increased their pace and scale of prescribed fire. The USDA Forest Service has treated over 55,000 acres and CAL FIRE has com pleted over 33,000 acres in fuel treatment projects. By combining tree removal with prescribed fire, crews will be able to decrease overly dense stands of trees, reduce greenhouse gases, and protect communities across the state.

“Tree mortality at this magnitude takes on- going cooperation between public, non- profit and private entities,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester. “California’s forests are a critical part of the State’s strategy to address climate change. By working together and using all the resources at our disposal we will be able to make more progress towards our common goal of healthier, more resilient forests that benefit all Californians.”

With record breaking levels of tree die-off, the TMTF has used t his event as an opportunity to collaborate on several fronts: from public workshops about reforestation, public outreach in urban and rural areas, and awarding over $21 million in grants aimed to protect watersheds, remove dead trees and restore our forest s. The TMTF continues to collaborate on the efficient use of resources to protect public safety and build consensus around long -term management strategies for California’s forest lands.

“The Tree Mortality Task force has provided an essential venue for co ordination of response efforts, exchange of ideas, reporting, and accountability for the ongoing statewide response to this incident,” said Supervisor Nathan Magsig of Fresno County. “Leadership from the Governor’s Office, CAL FIRE and Office of Emergency Services has helped to ensure county issues are heard and addressed. Monthly coordination of the 10 most impacted counties has resulted in a more effective use of resources and has allowed counties to share ideas and successes.”

With a staggering 129 mil lion dead trees in the state, the work of the task force is far from over. The strong foundation built will continue to be an advantage as the TMTF continues to address tree mortality and its impacts.

Learn more about tree mortality and the work to restore our forests in California at the USDA Forest Service ‘s web page Our Changing Forests . To learn about how to be prepared and protect your home against wildfire and your trees against bark beetle attacks visit CAL FIRE’s web page Ready for Wildfire.

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Media Notes:

Tree Mortality Website
2017 Tree Mortality Aerial Detection Survey Results
Tree Mortality Combined Map, 2014- 2017
Tree Mortality Progression Map, 2014- 2017
Animated Tree Mortality Progression Map, 2014- 2017
Tree Mortality Project Pictures
CAL FIRE Prescribed Fire Video B -Roll
CAL FIRE Tree Removal Video B-Roll

If you follow the link to the original article, there are multiple links in the Press Release.

Cleaning up the forests is one way to help control forest fires which can begin for a number of reasons. Some are man-made and some are the result of lightning strikes. Even in drought conditions, if the forest has been properly cleared of dead wood and potential fuel, a fire will be much more easily contained. The fires in California are tragic and the loss of property is enormous, but some of this disaster could have been avoided had the State of California cleaned some of the forests during the winter months.

This was an avoidable disaster.