Sunday, November 13, 2016

Other Ballot Measures on Tuesday's Election

California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voted to legalize recreational marijuana. All four Clinton states need to get high to recover from Tuesday’s election. They join three other Clinton States, Colorado, Oregon and Washington in toking up. Alaska is the only Trump state that legalizes recreational marijuana. The Evergreen Washington State rejected a “revenue neutral” carbon tax. That tax will also be going nowhere in the Trump Administration. Albany, California, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, and Oakland voted to fight childhood obesity by imposing soda taxes, the effect of which will be to push soda sales to neighboring stores. The taxes will be ineffective in fighting obesity. What will be next? Sugared cookies, pastries, donuts, rolls, ice cream, candy, fruit juices, flavored milk? What about Animal Crackers? How about Twinkies? Four states, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington voted to increase the minimum wage, thereby raising the Black teenage unemployment rate. Massachusetts in response to teacher union ads rejected an increase in charter schools. California voters signed on to tax, bond, and spend measures. They even agreed to pay 10 cents/plastic bag at retailers. Stater Brothers, the self-proclaimed "low-cost leader," immediately charged ten cents per bag. Let’s see if a repeal provision will be on the ballot in a year. They rejected though a ban on capital punishment, but voted instead to seed up the process, which will be ineffective against anti-capital punishment judges. Los Angeles County made large strides in diversity. Two women were elected to the 5 member County Board of Supervisors, which now has four women, including a Latina, and an African American male. Incidentally, each supervisor has an annual slush fund of $3 million and long term limits. California and Nevada approved stricter gun control measures. Strict gun control laws have been incredibly ineffective in Chicago. Los Angeles, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area supported mass transit. Los Angeles voters also approved funding for homeless shelters and more low income housing. Colorado defeated a single payer healthcare proposal, but approved assisted suicide. San Diego voters overwhelmingly rejected a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers, also known as the “Bolts,” who will bolt the city, thereby joining the Clippers who left San Diego decades ago. Yorba Linda voters were incensed by a $25 water rate increase. They voted to recall the directors who approved the rate increases. The biggest surprise of Tuesday was not the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Instead, as blue turned red on the national map, Orange County, California, the reddest of the red for 80 years, turned blue. Orange County voted for Hillary.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Lessons From Tuesday

1)“It’s still the economy, stupid.” Governor Clinton won election in 1992 as the economy was coming out of a minor recession. Senator Obama won election in 2008 in the depths of the Great Recession. Donald Trump won election Tuesday because globalization was killing manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt. 2) The Democrats have been waging class warfare for two decades; it bit back Tuesday 3) The white vote still matters. White voters were 70% of Tuesday voters. 58% voted for Donald Trump. White, working class Americans vote. 4) The Hispanic vote will be critical in future elections; it is already costing the GOP California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, and soon Arizona. Maricopa County (Phoenix) voters out Sheriff Joe Arpaio after 6 terms. The GOP cannot survive as a white only party. California sent three new Latinos to Congress and Nevada a Latina Senator. 5) The Republicans still lag in reaching out to the also increasing Asian American population. 6) Broad generalizations, such as Hispanic or Asian, are a broad disservice since ethnicity is often not a unitary phenomenon 7) The Democrats vaunted ground game failed. 8) Money doesn’t always buy elections Donald Trump was greatly outspent in the primaries while the Clinton Campaign outspent the Trump Campaign 2:1 in the general election. Donald Trump understood the message voters wanted to hear; Hillary Clinton did not. 9) Polling is as much a science as economics; the only poll that matters is the one on election day. Even Nate Silver lost some of his luster. 10) Political pundits are as accurate as the Delphic Oracle 11) The media is not as powerful as it once was 12) The mainstream media, which showed neither pride nor shame in shilling for Hillary Clinton this election, proved it no longer controls elections 13) The climate is changing 14) The Hollywood celebrities threatening to move to Canada or Australia have not been packing their bags. 15) The Democratic Party, which was anticipating a 1964 Goldwater Landslide, suffered its third landslide loss in 6 years (2010, 2014, 2016). The Presidency, Senate, House, 2/3 of the governors, 69 of the 99 state legislative chambers, 29 state attorney generals and 31 secretaries of state, are in Republican hands. They are in full control of 25 states compared to 4 for the Democrats. The Democratic Party is in worse shape than the GOP was in 1964 and 1974. The Democratic Party needs to engage in serious soul searching. 16) About 150,000 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin decided the Presidency, the destiny of the United States, and decades of the Supreme Court. 17) The national vote may be almost even, but America is much more center right than it is progressive left 18) President Obama did not believe in American exceptionalism and did not understand the American Spirit. He drank too deeply of the Liberation Theology of reverent Jeremiah Wright and thought America, especially white America, was an oppressor nation and people. He did what he could, which was all too much, to destroy that America. 19) Right to Work is coming to Missouri, Missouri, and New Hampshire, joining 26 existing states. Traditional Big Labor is in trouble, unless President Trump can restore the manufacturing base of the United States. 20) The Clintons are a spent force in American politics. 21) “The times, they are a’changing.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Look at the Blue/Red Map to Understand the Trump Victory

Check the Blue/Red map to Explain Donald Trump’s Epic Victory A look at the Red/Blue map explains the Trump Victory. The country is solidly red between the Alleghenies and the Sierras except for a few large cities and some progressive college towns, such as Ann Arbor, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin. Flyover Country, the home of Hillary’s “deplorables”and "irredeemables," the Heartland of America, the Rust Belt, rebelled against the elitism and statism of New York City, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Los Angeles. Flyover Country may enjoy Hollywood movies, but they are repelled by Hollywood values. Secretary Clinton surrounded herself with celebrities in the final days of the campaign rather than hard working Americans. The Democratic Party was reduced to the Northeast and the Pacific Coast along with Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, and Minnesota. Even in these states the rural counties are painted red. The Heartland reflects the Spirit of America and traditional values. America voted for Hope and Change eight years ago, but the change they got was not the change they wanted. They got high taxes, excessive regulation, and transfer payments. The hard workers are tired of subsidizing the non-workers as they see their jobs disappearing. They got contempt by the Obamanistas, media, and academics. The War on Coal, stalling the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, and fighting fracking, cost Americans jobs in the Heartland. The coal miners of America did not like the Obama-Clinton “change” of being told by Secretary Clinton that she would put the coal industry out of business, but give the miners welfare benefits to survive. The blue mining counties of Ohio and Pennsylvania turned red on Tuesday. The progressive state of Wisconsin is becoming a solid blue state. The unemployed textile workers in the South do not appreciate free trade. A large factor in Tuesday’s vote was the Supreme Court. Mid-America does not like the Supreme Court legislating on social issues and traditional family values. I have been supportive of gay marriage, but cautioned against doing it through judicial legislation to which there has been an elector backlash Tuesday. The coastal elites don’t understand the Heartland. The silent majority does not demonstrate, riot, loot, or protest. They don’t burn the American Flag. The silent majority spoke at the ballot box yesterday. They seethed until Tuesday. The anti-Clinton vote was not based on racism, sexism, homophobia. It was not caused by FBI Director James Comey or WikiLeaks. It was based on ObamaCare, excessive federal regulation, feeble reactions to terrorist attacks on the police, the breakdown of law and order, the attacks on religion, especially Christianity and Judaism, the diminution of the military, the Iran deal, a failed, feckless foreign policy, corruption in the government, VA incompetence, attacks on gun ownership, a collapsing education system, Open Borders, media bias and contempt, the endless lies – all of the above as a package. The American worker was forgotten by the bi-coastal elites. The people wanted leadership. Donald Trump presented leadership throughout the election cycle. He did not back down. Secretary Clinton was a corrupt, highly flawed candidate who offered more of the same, more of the Obama failures. Americans said No More on Tuesday Their voice was loud. It was individually quiet, but collectively the people found their voice. The warning signs were ignored by the political leaders of both parties. Middle America reacted to the first two years of the Obama Administration by unleashing a blood red tsunami in the 2010 midterm elections. The Republican tidal wave swept through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The Republicans ended up controlling most State Houses with governorships and legislative houses in the Midwest. Both parties tried to suppress the Tea Parties, the Democrats more viciously through the IRS. Donald Trump, a lapsed liberal Democrats, ran as a Republican with no ties to the GOP leadership. Senator Bernie Sanders reaped 45% of the Democratic primary vote, but had no chance of winning the nomination because of a rigged process. The Washington, D.C. Establishment did not understand the Tea Party, Trump, or Bernie. They did not listen. They could understand the gender gap but not the Enthusiasm Gap. The forgotten Americans went back to work today, quietly.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Long and Winging Road to Tomorrow's Election Day: What Have We Learned From the Candidates?

After 12 years of running for President, Hillary is Hillary. She is the same avaricious, arrogant, duplicitous, mendacious, snarky candidate as ever. She is the epitome of the Peter Principle in action. After 1 year of running for President, The Donald remains The Donald. He remained the same thin skinned, misogynist, bloviating, hyperbole braggart, not-ready-for-prime-time candidate. The reality TV star was not quite ready for prime time. We know every sin they may have committed in their life, but little of their policies. They tell us, but the media doesn’t cover it. Thus the campaign became one of negativity between two of the most unpopular candidates in American presidential history. They offer us two candidates with strong negatives. Senator Obama 8 years ago offered America “Hope and Change,” a positive message during the Great Recession. Secretary Clinton famously said “When they go low, we go high.” The closing 5 days of her campaign has been a rabid campaign of negative ads. She could emulate President Richard Nixon in 1972 by winning a landslide election, but then flaming out. WikiLeaks is not going away. Donald Trump is right in calling her “Crooked Hillary.” Hillary Clinton could be this year’s Dilma Rouseff. She is proven corrupt. She’s always been avaricious, but became thoroughly corrupt with the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Both candidates understand “Pay to Play.” Donald was a constant contributor to politicians, usually Democrats, who could help his developments. “Pay to Play is a form of business expense for developers like Donald Trump. Campaign contributions, within established rules, are both legal and corrupting. Hillary Clinton understands “Pay to Play’ as she and her husband benefitted from it during her tenure as Secretary of States. Donald Trump had many opportunities to gain an advantage during the election, but squandered them on unfocused personal attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, women and fellow Republicans. If Hillary Clinton wins it will because Donald Trump unified the Obama coalition of Millennials, women, African Americans, and Hispanics for his opponent. She could not have done it on her own. And yet, he’s still competitive. Or am I acting like Charley Brown with the football? Every time Charley is about to kick the football, Lucy pulls it away. Once again it looks like the Republicans have a solid chance for the White House. Will it be yanked away yet again? The Republican leadership recognized 4 years ago that the Republican Party could not succeed as a Whites only party. It had to open itself to Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans. Donald Trump is trying to prove a Republican can win the Presidency by courting under-educated Whites without a strong ground game and worsening the gender gap. That would be like pulling an inside straight. He’s in danger of becoming this year’s Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Todd Akin. They lost winnable Senate seats. He may lose a winnable Presidential election. His campaign is a case of “Rage Against the Machine,” the corrupt machine of the establishment. Donald Trump is campaigning for The Forgotten Man and Richard Nixon's Silent Majority. Her campaign is “More of the Same,” or SOS. He has allied against him the mainstream media, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the elites, women, minorities, the FBI and Justice Department. And yet he’s still competitive. The Republicans need to change their primary rules if he loses the general election. First is to allow more superdelegates. Donald Trump could not have won the republican nomination if the republican nominating process had the same proportion of Super Delegates as the Democratic National Convention. The second is to eliminate cross voting from the Republican primaries. Only registered Republicans should be allowed to vote in republican primaries and caucuses. The non-republicans provided his early caucus and primary victories. And yet he can win. Where is Charley Brown? Two alternative outcomes Tuesday night would be a fitting climax to this election. The first would be if Hillary Clinton, like Al Gore, won a majority of the votes cast, but Donald Trump wins the electoral college. That outcome is possible because of the enormous Clinton majority vote expected in California. The second would be if neither candidate achieves 270 electoral votes, throwing the election into the House of representatives.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About the California Ballot Measures

Everything You Wanted to Know About the California Ballot Elections, and Couldn’t Understand It's simple; they are almost all tax and spending increases. States, cities, and counties raise taxes when the economy collapses. They simply cannot cut expenditures, unlike private businesses. California is proving that states, counties and cities will also raise taxes during boom times. 17 state wide propositions are on the statewide ballot this November. An additional 427 local tax and bond measures are also on the ballot. The vast majority directly or indirectly raise taxes, especially the sales tax. The underlying cause is the uncontrolled escalation of public pension benefits, which is crowding out expenditures from the general funds. It’s the entitlement nation run amuck. Unless government can control spending, the tax increases and bonding will squeeze out the private sector, which generates economic growth. This year’s California budget is $170.9 billion, an increase of $288.4 billion in 5 years. Proponents often claim the tax increases will go to dedicated purposes, but that is often a deceitful statement. The tax increase is not even mentioned in some proposals. Let’s look at the 17 statewide ballot propositions. Prop 51 is a $9 billion bond issues for the state’s public schools – to fix existing schools and build new ones. There’s no money available in the general fund for the schools eventhough 40% of all new tax revenues goes to schools. Too much of the school funding goes to pensions and high teacher salaries. The proposition is being sold to the public as a means to fix the schools without a tax increase. No tax increase! The voters often don’t understand that the interest and principle on these bonds must be paid out of the general fund. The state already has $75 billion in general obligation bonds outstanding. This figure does not include the unsecured obligations such as the unfunded pension plans. Estimated debt payments out of this year’s general fund will be $1.6 billion. Tom Torlakson, the union supported State Superintendent of Instruction, said “The state ran out of money 2½ years ago. There is a long line of school projects.” Is that a list of "Shovel ready jobs?" Proposition 52 has overwhelming support. It preserves an existing “tax” on hospitals that are used to reap billions in Medi-Cal reimbursements from the federal government and prohibits the legislature from diverting the funds to other purposes. Proposition 53 has overwhelming opposition who never say what its about. Prop 53 would require a public vote on any revenue bonds of $2 billion or more. Prop 54 requires a 72 hour waiting period between posting of a bill and a legislative vote. Prop 55 is another deceptive measure, entitled Tax Extension to Fund Education and Health Care.”. It extends the “temporary” “Millionaire’s Tax” increase approved by voters in 2012 during the deep California budget crisis. The state income tax of 13.8%, the highest state income tax in the nation, starts at a single person’s income at $250,000. The state political and union leaders seem mesmerized by Hollywood and Silicon Valley and do not notice the flight of companies and entrepreneurs from the state. Prop 56 is being sold as an anti-tobacco tax by raising the tobacco tax to $2/pack. It also imposes a 67% increase in the tax on e-cigarettes. Only a small percent goes to anti-smoking campaigns. 56% of the estimated $1.27 million revenue increase goes to the Medi-Cal program. Substantial opposition, funded by the tobacco companies, exists on the grounds that Prop 56 diverts money to special interests, “Stop the Special Interest Tax Grab,” contra to the normal 40% of new tax revenues to public education. The high cigarette tax will boost the bootlegging of cigarettes into the state. Prop 57 is a “Get out of Jail” free card deceptively marketed as Imprisonment of violent offenders and rehabilitation for others with early release. As with the Prop 47 a few years ago, no money is allocated for rehabilitation. Instead on increasing jail capacity, Governor Jerry Brown is intent on freeing prisoners. The prisoners eligible for early release include rapists, child molesters, and human traffickers. California prosecutors and law enforcement are overwhelmingly opposed to Prop 60, byt they are being drowned out by the affirmative side. Prop 58 repeals the 1998 California referendum banning bilingual education in the public school. Prop 59 is an attempt in California to repeal the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. It’s a meaningless vote with no practical effect. Prop 60 will determine whether the actors in porn films must wear condoms. The $10 billion industry, based in the San Fernando valley, threatens to move to Vegas if it passes. Let them move to Vegas along with the Oakland raiders. If the actors want to risk STD’s with rampant unprotected sex, let them. Prop 61 is advertised as a means to restrain prescription drug prices. In reality, it only affects somewhere between 12-18% of prescription drug sales. The risk is that the drug companies will raise prices for everyone else. A tremendous advertising campaign has been mounted against Prop 61. Props 62 and 66 are competing capital punishment measures. Prop 62 will retroactively ban capital punishment in California. inmates currently on Death Row will have their sentences change to life imprisonment. Prop 66 will speed up the process. Take your pick! Even if Prop 66 passes and Prop 62 fails, the activist anti-capital punishment federal and state judges will sabotage it. The last execution in California was in 2006. 746 criminals currently reside in San Quentin’s Death Row. Prop 63 imposes even stricter gun control measures in California. It’s another way to boost business in Nevada. Prop 64 legalizes recreational marijuana. Californians previously approved medicinal marijuana which became a farce. Walk in “clinics” sprung up next to marijuana dispensaries. A 5 minute consult results in a prescription for marijuana. Just cut the hypocrisy, legalize marijuana. Many legislators and local officials are salivating and getting high on the 15% tax on marijuana products. and impose a tax on it is the Proposition. That leaves the plastic bag referendums of Prop 63 and 65. The state’s grocery chains reached agreement with the state legislators to impose a bag fee with the proceeds going to the retailers as consumers are ripped off. Prop 63 will divert the proceeds away from the retailers to a new environmental fund administered by the State Wildlife Conservation Fund. Prop 65 will ban the bag tax. On a local level Los Angeles, both the city and county, love tax increases. Measure A will impose a parcel tax of 1.5 cents per square foot of built space to support parks. Measure FF imposes a $15 dollar tax for fire protection and open space in a hillside district of the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles County’s Measure M sales tax increase is being marketed as a means to relieve congestion. It involves retention and progressive increases in ½ cent gas taxes. “Relieve congestion” is the mantra for the estimated $120 billion over 4 decades. The reality is that almost all of the revenue will go into expanding rail mass transit. The Los Angeles Times said it might result in a 15% less time stuck in traffic in the year 2057. The state’s highways and roads will continue to deteriorate. Los Angeles’ Proposition HHH also seeks $1.2 billion in bonds for homeless housing and services. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the bond receipts will “free up money for other services.” How much will actually relieve the homeless crisis versus creation of a new bureaucracy remains to be seen. Fountain valley in orange County proposes a 1 cent sales tax increase for “Fountain Valley 911 Response Police-Fire/Essential City Services.” It’s hard to vote against the fire and police, but the proceeds will actually go into the city’s general fund without being earmarked for police or fire. La Palma’s proposed one cent sale tax is more honest. It says it’s to “maintain existing services.” San Clemente’s 00 will raise the hotel tax from the existing 10% to 13%. The %570,000 will go into the city’s general budget. It’s easy to approve a tax increase that applies to non-residents. Santa Ana’s Measure PP promises “strict limits” on the salaries of the City Council Members, but will raise their salaries from $125/month to $1,000/month. Both Oakland and San Francisco seek to impose soda taxes, which will be good to merchants in San Mateo and Alameda Counties. San Francisco Bay Area voters will determine the fate of a $3.5 billion bond issue for BART. Almost all the proceeds will go to shoring up the pension plans of Bart workers. Police, fire, parks, recreation, schools, California, its cities, counties, and district, are running out of money. Tax increases and bonds are like sticking fingers in a leaky dam. It won’t stop the bleeding.