Archives for May 2014

Obama’s Tragic Foreign Policy

From Fox News:

For six years the world has scratched its head about President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine. Is it “leading from behind,” as he himself has said on occasion, stepping back in hopes that an international coalition will take charge? Is it using American military or economic power to topple dictators? Is it killing enemies with drone strikes and spying on allies with advanced technology? Is it using words instead of weapons?

With much fanfare, the president set out to set things straight on Wednesday by articulating a comprehensive Obama Doctrine in a major foreign policy address at West Point’s commencement ceremonies.

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CA Finance Report: Raises for Politicians

From the L.A. Times:

A report by California’s finance director on Friday sets the stage for possible pay raises for Gov. Jerry Brown, state lawmakers and other state elected officials. California voters in 2009 approved a ballot measure that prohibits pay raises for elected state officials unless there is a sufficient positive balance in the state’s Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties.

Finance Director Michael Cohen wrote to the Citizens Compensation Commission on Friday that the necessary positive balance exists. The pay panel is scheduled to meet June 20 to determine whether to approve salary increases for the legislators, governor and other constitutional officers.

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Jerry Brown Legislature Budget

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi chapter

From Politico:

Hillary Clinton offers a detailed account of the deadly attack on the American embassy in Benghazi — and a pointed rebuttal to Republican critics who’ve laced into her over the incident — in a much-anticipated chapter of her forthcoming book, “Hard Choices,” obtained by POLITICO.

“Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” Clinton writes in the gripping chapter, “Benghazi: Under Attack.”Casting doubt on the motivations of congressional Republicans who have continued to investigate the attacks, including with an upcoming House select committee, Clinton continues: “I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”

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SpaceX to have Manned Missions

From the L.A. Register:

As the curtain fell Thursday, a crowd of engineers cheered wildly at a spacecraft of the future, unveiled in a Hawthorne manufacturing facility where the challenges are big and so are the dreams. The biggest dreamer stood beside his latest masterpiece, the Dragon V2, a ship that may carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, has surged to the front of a private space race. But he still must contend with Boeing Co., Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada Corp. in order to win NASA contracts to transport astronauts, which eventually could be worth billions.

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Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. Prisoner of Afghanistan War, Released

From Bloomberg:

The last remaining U.S. prisoner of war from Afghanistan, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, was freed today in a prisoner exchange, a Defense Department official said. Bergdahl was transferred to U.S. custody in eastern Afghanistan. He was released in exchange for five detainees from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a deal negotiated by Qatar.

“Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield,” PresidentBarack Obama said in a statement. “And as we find relief in Bowe’s recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.”


(Full Article Here)


Los Pinos Detenetion Camp still costing county

From Orange County Register:

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST – Orange County has spent $1.5 million to maintain a vacant juvenile detention camp in the Cleveland National Forest, and officials expect to spend millions more as the county works to short-circuit its lease with the U.S. Forest Service.

Despite those efforts toward the Los Pinos Conservation Camp, the improvements could be bulldozed if the federal government can’t find a new tenant. With 15 years left on its lease, the county is in the middle of negotiating the details of the property’s return to the Forest Service, an effort that’s been going on nearly five years. Officials can’t agree on the improvements needed to restore the facility.

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S&P 500 Record Amid Spending, Confidence?

From Bloomberg:

U.S. stocks rose, with benchmark indexes climbing to records, as utility and consumer-staple shares rallied and investors weighed data showing an uneven recovery in the American economy. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Lorillard Inc. climbed at least 1 percent, pacing gains among companies whose earnings are less tied to economic swings. U.S. Steel Corp. dropped 4.6 percent to lead losses among commodities producers. Lions Gate (LGF)Entertainment Corp. dropped 12 percent after quarterly results missed estimates.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2 percent to 1,923.57 at 4 p.m. in New York, bringing its gain in the holiday-shortened week to 1.2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.43 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,717.17, surpassing its previous record from May 13.

(Full Story Here)

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Tim Donnelly: Everything On The Line

The Governor’s race is the single most important ticket this election cycle. Four more years of Jerry Brown will fundamentally transform California from a Constitutional Republic into a Socialist Republic where government has more control over every aspect our lives and continues to be the greatest threat to our future. Having a candidate like me who can resonate across party lines will help every down-ticket race in this state! With evangelicals, conservatives, tea party conservatives, liberty republicans, libertarians and others uniting behind my campaign, we can actually win this race on the ground, with the grassroots volunteers who are truly the foot-soldiers of freedom.

Our message of liberty and personal freedom resonates with every American on some level because as Americans, we don’t like to be told what to do. We value making our own choices and controlling our own destiny. Given that we have a message that inspires people to act, we won’t need to match Jerry Brown dollar-for-dollar; all we need is to raise about 10% of what he spends, and continue to motivate an army of volunteers to spread our message person to person, door to door, and all over social media.

I am not spending my own money in the race, but I am putting everything I have on the line. For me, it’s “win or go home”; there is no “safe seat” waiting for me if I don’t prevail. I am in the sink or swim union just like every Californian.

When I’m governor, I will place a moratorium on all new restrictions that infringe on your businesses, on your freedoms, and on your constitutional given rights. Any bill sent to my desk growing government and regulations will be stamped with a big fat veto.

I will put California on a path to prosperity and here’s the recipe:

  • Sound energy policy. Frack our way to prosperity, and drill our way to prosperity, instead of sitting on an ocean of oil and importing it from our enemies. If we can just tap 15% of the Monterey Shale, USC says we could create up to 3 million new jobs over 5 years and $25-$30 billion in additional revenues. If you look at what North Dakota has been able to do, it’s a great model for spurring an economic boom in California. Instead of mandating a minimum wage, the free market has outpaced the $10/hour minimum wage that Jerry Brown has mandated; in North Dakota, McDonalds is paying up to $20 bucks an hour plus a signing bonus. We need to harness free enterprise and take California from the land of oppression by regulation to the land of opportunity again. We also need to create flexibility in counting green energy sources such as hydro-electric and making allowances for the energy needs of our economy to trump the rigid Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) in order to make sound decisions when it comes to managing the electric grid. If we did that, we could see a significant drop in the cost of electricity, and an increase in reliability, resulting in more manufacturers wanting to locate here in California. Manufacturing is a strong building block to sustainable economic growth.
  • Defend our Constitutional and Natural civil rights such as the Second Amendment. It’s not about whether you like guns, but whether you love freedom.
  • I will implement a statewide water plan that respects each region of the state. I will terminate the High Speed Rail and build a High Speed Waterway. This starts with increasing storage at the dams and lakes we have, and building more dams as well as underground storage (aquifers). We must incentivize consumers to conserve, not allowing water to be wasted for non-essential environmental purposes. That way we will be able to retain water in the good years to get us through the bad ones. We need to duplicate the success of countries like Israel who have perfected technology in desalinization that will enable us to efficiently capture and reuse almost every drop of water.
  • Walton_High_School_New_ClassroomWe need common sense educational reforms, not Common Core. Too many great teachers are trapped in a system designed to fail. School choice would introduce competition, and if we could get teachers to agree to a more fair way to evaluate their performance (it’s been done in Colorado when it was a blue, blue state); then we could pay good teachers more and put great teachers in charge of spreading best practices around the state by inspiring their
    colleagues, and then fairly transition those who should never have been in a classroom into the career they were truly meant to pursue. In short, put the students first.

All of these above goals will help bring prosperity back and create a tsunami of jobs throughout the state.

We will win this election by tapping into the widespread discontent that has caused so many to flee California to seek opportunity elsewhere. Under Jerry Brown’s leadership, California is number one in so many areas where no other state wants to be:

  • Highest income tax
  • Highest sales tax
  • Highest fuel tax

And what do we get in return for the highest taxes in the nation?

  • Highest welfare
  • Highest unemployment
  • Rated worst business climate 9 years running
  • Worst traffic and the worst roads
  • Almost dead last in education
  • Expensive energy costs
  • High cost of living
  • Highest cost for gasoline
  • Highest percentage of people living in poverty (1 out of every 4 people are living below the poverty line)

As Governor, I will commit to putting California on a clear path to prosperity:

  • I’ll submit a balanced budget that spends less than we take in.
  • I’ll commit a portion of our budget to debt reduction and whittle down the unfunded pension liabilities that threaten our state by making the tough choices like moving future employees from defined benefit to defined contribution; negotiating to align public sector pay and benefits in line with private sector and by considering all other options to resolve this fiscal threat.
  • I’ll use incentives for reduction of waste and fraud that have worked in massive bureaucracies within large corporations like General Electric.
  • I’ll use the bully pulpit Jerry Brown used to raise taxes to lower them.
  • I’ll take a strong stand to defend Prop 13 and private property rights.

Right now, I am promoting a political message and vision that hits home with the youth, which is exactly what I’ve built my campaign around: limited government, increased freedom and personal responsibility.

More than any other elected official in California, I have used social media to get our message out.  We have garnered four times more earned media than our closest competitor, which has resulted in national media attention on some of our Tweets and videos, which having gone viral, have spread our message to entirely new audiences and improved the Republican brand as something cool rather than perpetuating the image of a party that is stodgy and hopelessly out of touch.

But, most of all, my unique message of unifying those who care about California on specific solutions rather than having an ideology litmus test, has captured the attention of many people, young and old, who know what is wrong, but often feel that our leaders only fight partisan battles rather than fight for something that will materially change our state from the land of oppression into the land of opportunity again!

Tim Donnelly is a State Assemblyman, and a Candidate for California Governor

Mileage Tax Would Put Big Brother in Your Back Seat

(and Within Arm’s Reach of Your Wallet)

California is known as the world capital of the car culture. The automobile played a central role in creating the California Dream, giving people the freedom to travel, to live where they choose and to experience the exhilaration of the open road.

Now, if Senator Mark DeSaulnier gets his way, you’ll have to pay a new tax for every mile you drive. His Senate Bill 1077 would begin with a “pilot program” in one unfortunate yet-to-be-determined city where motorists would pay taxes based on the miles driven. Eventually, the Democrat from Concord hopes to impose his mileage tax on all of us.

Just as many Americans are expressing concerns about government surveillance programs that intrude on their privacy (think red light cameras and the NSA), the mileage tax would give state transportation bureaucrats access to data on where you go.taxes

Sen. DeSaulnier contends that the state needs the data to calculate your taxes but will keep the information safe. However, in the last year California state agencies, including the departments of Public Health and Social Services, were responsible for data breaches that compromised the personal information of thousands of Californians.

Also, while SB 1077 is obviously a tax increase, DeSaulnier and his tax-raising buddies are trying to say it is a “fee” and not a tax. They know if they get away with calling it a “fee” they can pass it with a simple majority vote and increase it anytime they wish, all without needing to comply with Proposition 13’s requirement that higher state taxes receive a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

This mileage tax will fall especially hard on those who live in suburbs or exurbs and have to commute long distances to work and it will discourage people from taking vacations. Instead of feeling free to explore, Californians will have to take a government meter with them, dinging them with more taxes every mile they travel.

State policies have become increasingly hostile to drivers over the years and the mileage tax would just make things worse. California has the highest gas taxes in the nation and gas prices are second only to Hawaii which, given its location in the middle of the ocean, makes fuel transportation expenses unavoidably high. California, sitting on huge oil reserves, can’t claim that excuse.

And even with ridiculously high taxes on gas that are supposed to be dedicated to roads, a Reason Foundation study ranks our state 47th out of 50 (with 50 being worst) for worst roads in the nation. This is because Sacramento politicians have continually raided gas tax funds to spend on unrelated pet projects.

Free and fast movement of goods and people facilitates economic growth. High taxes and congested roads only harm our economy and frustrate hard working citizens who simply want to get where they need to go. Sacramento must stop its bait and switch tactics with the gas tax and make better use of the considerable funds already provided. DeSaulnier’s proposal is just another tax increase and it takes us in the wrong direction.

(Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association)

Gold Stocks Plummet Past Four Month Low

From Forbes:

All is quiet on the western market front, with the Dow fluctuating by a 0.01% margin, the S&P inching 0.05% into the green and the Volatility Index nearly 50% off its February high. But in Friday trading, good news for equities was bad news for gold: the precious metal closed its last regular trading session of the month with a more-than $10 loss, indicating that when it comes to bullion, investors really are selling in May and going away. This weak gold environment leaves little upside for gold miners, though according to some analysts, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Newmont Mining could be the three miners that are worth investors’ money.

Gold futures closed its regular trading session at $1,246 at 1:30pm EDT on Friday, a 1% decline and its lowest level since early February — nearly four months. Gold spot prices closed at $1,245.49, also a near-1% drop and its lowest price since the dead of winter. The losses continued as the metal traded in its after-market session, with both gold futures and gold’s spot price down about 0.8%.

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