Friday, June 29, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a Great Victory Tuesday, But ..................

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset by a wide margin Congressman Joe Crowley Tuesday. It is being portrayed as a great win for the Millennial Progressive Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. She is being held forth as an exemplar of the future, now present, progressive Democratic Party. The 28 year old defeated the number 4 Democrat in Congress, the Chair of the House Democrat Caucus. The Democratic Socialist ran on a platform of Free Tuition, Free Medical Care through Medicare, guaranteed federal jobs, and the abolishment of ICE, meaning free admissions to all to the United States. Note the emphasis on “Free.” Free! Free! Free! That’s not socialism – that’s rank redistributionism. She proclaimed housing to be a basic human right. Alexandria is honest in calling herself a Democratic Socialist. Many Democrats hide behind the label “Progressive” when they are pursuing the same socialist goals as hers. Margaret Thatcher famously said “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Alexandria was a campaign organizer for Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the army of his fervent young supporters. Socialism is seductive to the human spirit, especially the impressionable young. Yet it fails in the real world. The history is plain to see. If you look closely at Senator Sander’s life, you will discover that his great success is in the public sector. The private, productive sector did not work for him. A large segment of her generation is ignorant of both economics and history. Ms, Osacio-Cortez was an economics major at Boston University, but missed the lessons on economic history, if they were even offered. Pre-Marx socialism failed with the Pilgrims in America. They quickly discovered that the free-loaders were sapping the drive and spirit of the workers. The redistributionism was a disaster. If she studied the Communist (advanced socialism) countries of China and Vietnam she will quickly learn their great economic success is by adopting capitalism. India is similarly achieving great economic success by abandoning its early flirtation with socialism. If she looks across the Caribbean she will see that the socialist paradise of Venezuela can’t even provide toilet paper to the people. Cuba is still in poor shape. The other Latin American and African countries that have practiced socialism or quasi-socialism have not prospered. Another lesson from history. George Orwell’s Animal House tells us an important lesson about socialism: All animals are equal, but some animals are most equal than others.” The leaders often become corrupt. The only way socialism can make people equal is to ensure equality at the lowest common denominator; i.e. equality in poverty, economic and spiritual. The socialist empire called the Soviet Union was economically bankrupt when it collapsed. she should look at the eight years of President Obama. He claimed to be a “Progressive,” but his Administration was as socialist as he could be She won for a number of reasons. Her platform played a role, but the election was actually hers to lose. 1) Congressman Joe Crowley was running for reelection in a new district. He was redistricted into a district where most voters did not know who he was; 2) The “old” Democrat ran a lackluster campaign against a young, telegenic, energetic opponent; 3) He is part of the old undynamic leadership of Congressional Democrats: Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, is 78. Steny Hoyer, the number 2 Democrat, is 79, and number 3 James Clyburn is 77. 4) He ran TV ads; she ran an old style grassroots campaign of door to door, doorbell by doorbell meeting with the voters; 5) He ran expensive TV ads; she skillfully used social media; 6) Demographics: the new 14th Congressional District is 49.8% Hispanic, 18.41% White; 16.24% Asian, 11.39% Black, .45% Native American, and 3.71% other. In short a vibrant Latina was running in a district that is 80% of color against a diffident white; 7) Turnout: The turnout was less than 12% of the registered voters in the District. She got her voters out, but that was only 15,897 votes (57.48%). He only received 11,761 votes (42.52%). By way of comparison 67,372 votes were cast in the 2014 primary compared to 27,651 this year. The voters simply were unenthused by the campaign. 178,132 votes were cast in the 2014 Congressional election; 8) Joe Crowley represents the status quo; voters of both parties are clamoring for change. Republican voters tossed out Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, four years ago in Virginia. 9) Republicans turned to Donald Trump and Democrats to Bernie Sanders. Democrat Conor Lamb won a House seat in Pennsylvania by 750 votes in March. The young, telegenic, grass roots campaigner defeated the 60 year old, unenthusiastic Republican Rick Saccone. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won by marshalling a coalition of 16,000 Millennials and voters of color. That is not a national call for change. The real upset is if she loses to a Republican in November in this heavily Democratic District. Warning to Republicans and America: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Conor Lamb are the face of the New Democratic Party.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Erdogan Won; Turkey Lost (?)

Erdogan won his election as all powerful President of Turkey. Of course he won. The ballots were barely closed before it was announced that with 97 % of the ballots counted the President won 52.4% of the vote. Votes were counted quicker in Turkey than in American elections. Of course he won He won before the ballots were cast. He won because he was never going to lose. He won because he could not, would not lose. He has never lost an election. Reccip Tayyid Erdogan has won every election. He is a consummate politician, an indefatigable campaigner, with great personal skills. He connects with his base just as President Obama does with his. He won because he built a record of success, starting as Mayor of Istanbul. We visited Istanbul five years ago. It was a great, vibrant city. It wasn’t 1994 when he became Mayor of Istanbul with 25.2% of the vote. That Istanbul had too little water and too much pollution. Traffic was a disaster. Mayor Erdogan cleaned up the city, built water facilities, as well as roads, bridges, viaducts, and tunnels. The President has always had big infrastructure dreams. Mayor Erdogan reached out to the poor of Istanbul. They stand behind President Istanbul. The poor of Anatolia stand with President Erdogan. President Erdogan is a devout Muslin. The Muslins stand with the Islamic President rather than the secular candidates. The President won because he controlled the state controlled media; little independent media is left in Turkey as hundreds of journalist are imprisoned. He won despite the presence of monitors; observers were allegedly attacked at about a quarter of the voting stations He won because Selahatin Demirtas, the Kurdish candidate, languishes in prison. The Kurd won 8.4% of the vote. His party won 67 of the Parliament’s 600 seats. However, 9 Kurdish Parliamentarians from the previous Parliament also languish in prison. President Erdogan survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The failed coup is an object lesson in how not to mount a coup. Some cynics believe the coup was actually staged by President Erdogan to solidify his power, but no evidence has surfaced to support this conspiracy theory. Over 55,000 of his opponents are Imprisoned while another 110,000 have been fired from their jobs. The newly unemployed include judges, prosecutors, police officers, and teachers. Erdogan won. So did his corrupt son. A tape was released years ago of him talking to his son about favors. Inflation won. It’s up 12.5% this year. Turkey lost. The Turks lost. President Erdogan wants to grow the economy with foreign investment. 12.5% inflation and a declining Lira will not do it. The Kurds lost; President Erdogan will continue his war against them. He declared in his victory speech that he will act decisively against terrorism. That means fighting the Kurd in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Kurds will fight back. Secular Islam lost. Turkey’s women lost Ataturk recognized the rights of Turkey’s women; it’s fair to say he unleashed the power of Turkey’s women. President Erdogan wants Turkish women to stay home and begat three children. The Turkish Lira continues to plunge, down 20-25% this year alone. The merchants lost. The Turkish tourist industry lost, Turkey’s workers lost. NATO lost big. Turkey is still negotiating with Russia for an aerial defense system. Erdogan is playing footsie with Russia, Turkey’s eternal enemy The EU lost. Freedom of speech and of the press, whatever smidgeon remained after the past few years, lost. Human rights and civil rights lost. He’s canned hundreds of judges and prosecutors. Fethullah Gulan lost. He remains heavily guarded in Pennsylvania as the United States continues to reject extradition The environment lost. The President loves large projects: a third airport for Istanbul, a giant mosque overlooking the Bosporus, and a grandiose palace on 50 acres in the Ataturk National Park in Ankara. He’s completing a rail tunnel under the Bosporus, connecting Europe to Asia by rail. Erdogan feels free to build his new 25 mile “canal” in Thrace, paralleling the Bosporus. A coup attempt failed in July 2016. He responded by exercising emergency powers. He imprisoned over 50,000 Turks and dismissed over 110,000 from their jobs. President Erdogan had served as Mayor of Istanbul prior to being elected Prime Minister of Turkey. He ran as a devout Muslim. He quickly became popular by taming inflation and igniting an economic boom. He favors big projects. Turkey’s military took an oath to protect the secular nation. They imprisoned him for 4 months on a 10 month sentence in 1999. He was barred from further holding political office. The Turkish military pulled coups in the past. Prime Minister Erdogan learnt from the past. The military would not stop him. He joined with the Cemaat supporters of Fethullah Gulan in defanging the Turkish military. They framed the high-ranking military officers in 2010 in the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon cases. Incriminating documents purporting to be dated 2003 were prepared on a 2007 Microsoft program. The remaining 235 suspects were acquitted in 2015, but not restored to office. President Erdogan grasped the nationalist spirit of the Turks. The Turks are a proud people with a great heritage. They justly feel they get little respect from the European countries. He is willing to stand up to the foreign governments. A combination of economic success, nationalism, and religion is tough to beat. Yet almost 48% of the voters rejected him. The great Ataturk brought Turkey into the 20th Century. Sadly, President Erdogan dreams of the Turkey of the Ottomans, a spent force by the end of the 19th Century. Nostalgia for the past is not always a plan for the future.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

History Lesson: February 15, 1942: The Fall of Singapore and the Collapse of the British Empire

The British Empire died on February 15, 1942 when the Japanese captured Singapore. The British just didn’t know it at the time. India was the Jewel in the Crown. The British did everything they could to protect the Raj by controlling the land and sea routes to India, and by engaging in The Great Game with the expanding Russian Empire until a modus vivendi was reached between the two countries. The British fortified Singapore, calling it “the Gibraltar of Asia,” or so they thought. They placed 12 large 15” cannons on Sentosa Island (the site of the recent Trump-Kim Summit) to ward off any sea invasion., but left the Malayan Peninsula undefended. The British were defeated by a well-trained, well-prepared, experienced army with aerial superiority. The British were defeated by their own arrogance and poor leadership as well as poorly trained, inexperienced soldiers. Many of the units in a military sense could be labeled “raw.” The French never thought the Germans could attack through the Ardennes. They were wrong – twice! The British never thought an attack on Singapore could come by land because the Malayan Peninsula was mostly an impenetrable swamp. They refused to erect defensive fortifications on the Peninsula. The British were wrong. The Japanese attacked the Malay Peninsula one hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor The Japanese 25th Army marched down 640 miles and captured Singapore at the end of a 70-day campaign. The British forces retreated to the Island of Singapore on January 27. The siege of Singapore only lasted a week from February 6 – February 15. The British believed tanks could not proceed down the Peninsula. The Japanese had 200 light tanks for which the British had no defense. The Japanese kept out-flanking the British position through a simple secret weapon – the bicycle! Their advance was not impeded by prisoners. They took none on their advance down the Peninsula. Roughly 138,708 British Empire (English, Australian, Indian, Malaysian, New Zealand) troops were killed or imprisoned by the Japanese. The Japanese 25th army was roughly 30,000 strong. The British Plan for protecting Singapore was to send a fleet and rely on the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Japanese quickly achieved air superiority. Britain’s Force Z taskforce sailed into Singapore on December 2. It consisted of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, and four destroyers. Force Z sallied force to attack the Japanese transports. A fleet without air cover is target practice for an enemy. The Japanese discovered the ships and in a very short period Japanese torpedo plans and bombers sank the two large ships on December 10, 1941. The British army now lacked both air and sea support. They lacked leadership on land. The large cannons could pivot to shoot inland, but their trajectory was too high and most of the shells were armor piercing to be used against ships rather than fragmentation shells. The Japanese destroyed many of Singapore's big guns. Many of the units fought bravely, but it was not to be. Fortress Singapore was not much of a fortress. Winston Churchill called the surrender of Singapore “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in the history of the British Empire.” The British were able to successfully defend India after also losing Burma. They regained control of Singapore at the end of World War II. The British though were a spent economic, military, and political force. The population of the United Kingdom was 46 million in 1940. Yet this small island nation’s empire covered almost ¼ of the planet (24%) and ¼ of the population (460 million). India alone had about 378 million people. The only way England could rule such a domain was through the will of the people. The quick fall of Singapore signaled England had lost the aura of invincibility; a white army had been destroyed by a much smaller Asian army. The Jewel in the Crown was gone. England no longer needed, nor could afford, much of the remaining British Empire without India. About 2,500,000 Indian soldiers fought for Great Britain in World War II. Some fought for the Japanese. Others rebelled. They yearned for freedom. England did not have the ability in 1945 to suppress any mass revolt, unlike the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Great Britain had peacefully granted Dominion status (essentially independence) to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Irish Free State prior to World War II. It was headed that way with India with the 1935 Government of India Act, giving India more autonomy. Further developments were suspended by World War II. England’s response after World War II was to precipitously pull out of India in 1947, giving way to the Bloody Partition. The Empire had died seven years earlier. The only British surrender comparable to that of Singapore was at Yorktown freeing the 13 colonies. The supreme irony of the British surrender is that the Japanese forces were almost out of supplies, especially artillery shells at the time of surrender. ______________________________________________________________________ Why did I write this blog? I’m in Singapore and I love history.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Bon Mots on Life

Life is an incredible journey, enjoy the ride; you never know where it will lead you. Life is a mystery to be lived, not a puzzle to solve. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken It’s the minor frustrations in life that makes life interesting. Today is he first day of the rest of your life. The law is a noble profession, but ..... Lawyers are the second oldest profession. If Plan A doesn’t work go to Plan B. If Plan B doesn’t work, go to Plan C. If Plan C doesn’t work, go to Plan D. If Plan D doesn’t work, start over with Plan A. When one door closes, another door may open. It's not where you start in life; it's where you finish. You learn more by listening than talking. Make the best decision you can, and move on; don’t look back or second guess “Don’t look back, something may be gaining on you” Satchel Paige If you love what you’re doing, it’s not a job or work. "No Assembly Required!" - the three most important words for a product. George Neff Stevens, a distinguished retired dean told me 44 years ago what an old dean told him several decades earlier: “We don’t get paid to teach. We teach for the love of it. We get paid for writing and grading those f…ing exams twice a year. That’s when we earn every f…ing cent of it.” We said "Thank you God" every night we put the boys to bed. Now at our age we say "Thank you God" when we wake up in the morning. Illegitimi non Carborundum

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reflections on the 2018 California Primary - Part II

California’s Democrats were eagerly anticipating a blue tsunami last Tuesday. It would wipe out the residue of the California republican Party. Hillary Clinton carried California by a 4 million vote margin over Donald Trump. The once mighty, highly competitive republicans have dwindled to a measly 21.1% of voter registration in California, trailing Democrats with 44.4% of the voters, and even independents with 25.5%. The Republicans have not held a statewide office in 8 years. They are a distinct minority in the state legislature. California has 53 Congressional seats. Republicans currently hold 14 of those seats, seven of which were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year was supposed to be a blue wave – a total, enthusiastic rejection of President Trump and his acolytes in Congress. California would join the bluest of blue states. California is leading the War on Trump. The Governor and especially the Attorney General, Xavier Becera, are the generals. The seven Republican Congressional district that voted for Hillary Clinton are in the blue wave bullseye. The only question was how far left California would go? Someone forgot to tell the Democrats in California. The voters stayed home. The California voter turnout was 22% of registered voters. The percent will rise somewhat because roughly 1 million early votes have yet to be counted. Yes, early votes are counted late. They will decide a few close elections. Every vote counts. The turnout in Los Angeles was 20.1% compared to 28% in Republican Orange County. LA didn’t even vote for its former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Gavin Newsom carried LA with 323,857 votes compared to 203,951 votes for Antonio. Angelinos know their former mayor. Republicans in Orange County outvoted the Democrats in three of the four Orange County districts and were close in the fourth, which is now mostly in San Diego County. Over $108 million was spent on California’s Congressional races, mostly by Democrats. For example, Young Kim led the votes in Orange County’s House District 39. She spent $640,000 on her campaign, compared to the Democratic runner up, Gil Cisneros, who spent $3.89 million, mostly of his own lottery winnings. Money can’t buy you love. Nor does it necessarily but an election. The Clinton Campaign and outside supporters outspend the Trump Campaign 2:1. The Clintonistas spent way over 1 billion dollars. The Russians only spent around $200,000 in Facebook ads. Outside charter school supported spent $22.7 million on Mayor Villaraigosa. It was a waste. He came in third with but 13% of the votes. A Republican came in fourth with 10%. John Cox, the Republican businessman who came in second with 26%, was helped not with money, but with a May 18 endorsement tweet from President Trump. Money sometimes talks. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, posing as conservatives, spent 2.3 million against Republican Scott Baugh to hold him to third place in Congressman Dana Rohrabucher’s 48th Congressional District. Scott was portrayed as “insufficiently conservative.” The Lieutenant Governor outcome is very interesting. Oodles of money was spent on TV ads for Eleni Kounalakis. Most was funded by her father. She received only 23.7% compared to the union backed Assemblyman Tony Hernandez’s 20.6%. Not a lot of enthusiasm for the Lt. Governor contest. Similarly, a fortune in outside Charter School backers spent a fortune on Marshall Tuck, who came close to winning four years ago. He received 37% of the vote against the teachers union backed Tony Thurmond’s 35%. California’s Attorney General Becera only won 45.3% of the ballots. A retired Republican judge, Steven J. Bailey, will be his November rival. The AG also ran an expensive TV campaign. One wonders why both he and Senator Feinstein polled under 50%. The two recalls of the state senator and judge both came in about 60%-40% for recall. The Democrats wasted another $4million in their futile attempt to save Senator Josh Newman. A Republican will replace him, ending the Democrats legislative super majority necessary to increase taxes without a public vote. The gas tax was forced through the legislature by a supermajority. It is 12 cents/gallon on gas, 20 cents/gallon on diesel, and a $100 increase in the car registration fee. A referendum to repeal it will be on the November ballot. 12 cents may not seem like much, but it averages out to $800 per motorist annually. Drivers feel it every time they fill up as the price of gas climbs towards $4/gallon. Several Democratic incumbents who voted for the increase had thin margins last Tuesday. Some of them may be in trouble. A relatively unknown impact of the recall is the silent elimination of a stealth 95 cents tax on water bills. It had been snuck into the state budget which is about to be voted on by the legislature. Also of interest are a few district attorney races. George Soros, a financial Godfather for Democrats, has been funding nationally campaigns to elect progressive, soft on criminals, DA’s. He failed in Alameda, Sacramento and San Diego Counties. His candidate probably also fell short in Contra Costa County. The Democrats should win the November statewide elections, but who can be sure in these volatile times. Voters are surly. The Gas Tax Repeal will be on the ballot. Governor Brown run reelection 4 years ago 60%-40% against an unknown, but highly competent, Neal Kashkari in 2014. The gubernatorial election will be closer this year, how close??? Gavin Newsom will win big in the Bay Area and LA. He has boatloads of money for his campaign. Then again, Hillary Clinton outspend Donald with over Senator Diane Feinstein also only won 44.2% of the votes. Her November rival will be outgoing Senate Majority leader Kevin De Leon, who only won 10% of the votes. She even won 44% in his home district in Los Angeles. The state senator is far to the left of Senator Feinstein, who should win in a blowout. The Republicans will vote for her as the lesser of the two liberal evils. National maps of voting by counties show vast spaces of red. Democrats carry the large voting metropolitan areas. So too in California. The Republican John Cox won more votes in most counties than Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who carried the blue coastal counties from Los Angeles almost up to the Oregon border The coastal Democrats treat rural California, the Central Valley, and the Inland Empire as their Flyover Country full of deplorables, except in election years. They vote! An interesting sidelight of the primary is that Los Angeles County deleted 118,000 voters because of a printer’s error. The Fonz was one of the missing voters. One outcome in November will be an increasing number of Asian American and Hispanic American elected officials.

President Donald Trump and Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Unconventional, Non-Traditional - Just Successful Streetfighters

Donald Trump is a New York City street fighter. He fights back. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a pit bull. He fights. Both are excellent in what they do. They are fighters, who will fight back. Neither is conventional. Neither acts in a conventional manner; hence they are both attacked as unplanned. They know what they are doing. They may appear to be shooting from the hip and winging it, but they know what they are doing and saying. President Trump can be called ignorant, unprepared, idiot, moron, racist, sexist, bigot, liar, dishonest, crook, tax cheat, unqualified, appalling, adolescent, crazy, insane, narcissistic, crooked, misled, detached, dangerous, a disruptor, disgusting, inciting chaos, a wannabe dictator, and a host of obscenities. President Trump must be doing something right to draw out these emotions. Here’s the words he uses that connect to the people: “America”, “we”, and “us.” He speaks directly to the people, hardly ever uses a teteprompter. President Obama was lost for words without TOTUS. Donald Trump is a proven mover and shaker. He is a builder, rebuilder, and doer. His career started with remodeling the run done Commodore Hotel. We know it today as the Grand Hyatt. Then came the Trump Tower, and the rest follows. He succeeds. Donald Trump is an entrepreneur. Not everything he does will be successful, but he has succeeded in New York City real estate. He will succeed in D.C. He was elected to stir things up. The economic status quo was devastating to the heartland of America and our inner cities. Hillary Clinton promised more of the same. Donald Trump had no sacred shibboleths. He was not wed to the new globalism, NAFTA. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or The Paris Accords. Nor were the voters in Italy and other countries in Europe. He is shaking things up in America and globally. He knows America still controls the levers of power in the world. He is using them – Iran, North Korea He is restoring America the America of exceptionalism. He understands Americans want jobs, respect and pride in America. He may be a rich New Yorker, but he understood better than any other candidate in 2016 the mood in America. “Make America Great Again” is stronger than any of the epithets hurled at him by the naysayers. “America First” and “Fair Trade – not Free Trade’ sounds good to Americans. It’s much more appealing than calling Americans “deplorables.” He is also giving power back to the people from a Washington bureaucracy divorced from working America. Mayor Rudy Giuliani was vilified by New York liberals once he became Mayor of New York. He cleaned up the streets, reduced crime, make the subways safe to ride again, and showed America on 9/11 that he was a leader. New Yorkers were once again proud to be New Yorkers. Rudy Giuliani is a tried, true and proven leader. Americans are once again proud to be Americans. Donald J. Trump is a tried, true, and proven leader.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Reflections on the 2018 California Primary: Part I

The first half of this blog was written before the close of balloting at 8:00pm. It’s been a veritable feeding frenzy at the California primary. All 8 statewide offices are up for election. Several office holders are termed out. Democrats are salivating over four Republican Congressional seats in Orange County. California’s top two primary system, a legacy of Governor Schwarzenegger, sends the top two finalists to the November election, regardless of political party. Thus the November ballot could have two Democrats, two Republicans, one of each, or independents. We are voting today, unless we are among the millions who cast an early ballot. We are flooded, inundated, and blitzed with annoying robot calls, throwaway flyers, and forgettable radio and TV ads. At least the TV ads can be fast forwarded. California is such a large state, both in population and size, that traditional retail, door to door, politicking, will often be inadequate to win. Advertising and media endorsements are critical to election. Over $100 million is being spent on Congressional ads in California. Democrats are salivating. They are hoping to turn California into a true one party state, taking as many as 7 of the Republicans 14 Congressional seats and reaping a super, super majority in the state legislature. Hillary Clinton carried California by 4.2 million votes, even winning the traditional republican stronghold of Orange County. The Democrats’ campaigns have several themes: Fight against Trump and the War on California, climate change and environmental protection, women’s and reproductive rights, and protecting sanctuary cities and immigrants. A quiet issue is health care: do we protect and improve ObamaCare or do we go to a single payer, the state? Many of the ads reflects the diversity of California echoing the Obama campaigns with a Rainbow Coalition, but often without a white male. The rising Hispanic and Asian population overshadows the shrinking Caucasian population. Ironically the Democratic candidates are cloaking themselves with President Obama. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State is a person whose name shall not be mentioned by Democrats. Nor are they touting the endorsement of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Let’s start with the Governor race. The early prediction was that November’s battle would be between the two former Mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both former mayors have dodged the #MeToo Movement, so far. Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor, was shacking up with his campaign manager’s wife during his reelection campaign. Antonio Villaraigosa was a serial philanderer. Newsom is the frontrunner. The presumption therefore is that the current battle is for second place. The Santa Clara grad has raised $17 million, much of it from Silicon Valley. Gavin reminds me of the Gavin in the Silicon Valley TV show. The Lieutenant Governor is running a quiet campaign, mixing positive and negative ads. His theme is “Courage. For a Change.” He claims great courage in allowing gay marriages in San Francisco and fighting the NRA for gun control. Those acts require no courage in San Francisco, Courage and political suicide would have been opposing gay marriage and gun control. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been running a large number of positive ads, as well as some negative ads. He is being independently funded by charter school advocates. The former United Teachers Los Angeles organizer took on the teachers union as LA’s Mayor. He gave large salary increases to the city’s public union workers prior to the economic collapse, but kept his promise to hire 1,000 new police officers and laid off employees elsewhere during the crisis. He favors charter schools. Republican Joh Cox is currently running a strong second. Political and celebrity endorsements don’t usually carry mane votes, but John Cox has been endorsed by President Trump. That should bring votes to Cox. The assumption is that Democrats will win a statewide race over any Republican. Probably, most likely. California though may be heading for a Howard Beale, Network, Donald Trump moment. A survey a few days ago said about 50% of Californians want to leave the state. Net migration out of the state exceeds newcomers by a 2:1 margin. If the remaining Californians vote with their ballots and bot their feet, then John Cox has a strong chance of winning. Senator Diane Feinstein has been running millions in TV ads against the challenger, State Senator Kevin De Leon. She emphasizes her fights for California’s environment and his decades long fight for arm control. A clever ad is the 80 year old Senator saying she “is leading a new generation” in the fight. Eleni Kounalakis has been blitzing the TV with ads, surrounding the San Francisco democrats with scores of supporters. Eleni is strangely silent. She doesn’t say a word! Perhaps because the outside funding is supported by at least $5 million from her father. Outside groups have no spending limit, but cannot coordinate with the candidate. Eleni is in favor of affordable housing, infrastructure, single payer, immigrants, DACA, free community college, and the tooth fairy. Her campaign promises are great, considering the Lieutenant Governor has minimal powers. Indeed, the best negative ad this season has the current Lieutenant Gavin Newsom so bored by the position he only makes it to the Capital about once a week. It also mentions that during an emergency in San Francisco he flew off to Hawaii for 4 days. A race to watch is the 45th Congressional District with four Democrats and an independent running against the incumbent Republican Mimi Walters. Two of the candidates, David Min and Katie Porter, are professors at the University of California Irvine School of Law. Professor Min has been running negative ads against Professor Porter. I wonder what the faculty meetings are like, especially if both lose in June or November. Two recall campaigns to watch are in Orange County and Silicon Valley. Judge Aaron Persky gave Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, a 6 month sentence for raping a drunk, unconscious woman next to a dumpster. Josh Newsom narrowly won election in 2016 to the 29th Senate District, and then promptly voted to raise the gas tax and registration fees. The Democrats are pouring millions of dollars into defeating he recall. If he loses, and a republican wins the seat, then the Democrats will lose their legislative super majority.