Covered California ILLEGALLY Recruited Illegal Aliens to Enroll in Program

Even the Washington Democrats agreed to disallow illegal aliens from participating in ObamaCare. In California the law means nothing, just as citizens voting for initiatives means nothing to the Democrats or the courts. The Covered California folks were more interested in numbers than the law. They decided to put out literature telling illegal aliens to apply, don’t worry about the law.

“”According to the laws and implementing regulations,” the website says, “the information provided by individuals for coverage cannot be used for purposes other than ensuring the efficient functioning of the insurance market ( Covered California) or administration of the program, or to verify certain eligibility determinations including verification of the immigration status of these people.”

Democrats Yee, Calderon and Wright are crooks. Covered California is a corrupt operation—how much money are they illegally spending, how many illegal aliens did they sign up—what can be done to reverse this open corruption by a government agency—approved of by our confused Guv Brown?

Mega Millions Obamacare

Obamacare Recruiting Illegals in California

by Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart, 2/14/14

In 2009, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) apologized profusely to the White House for shouting, “You lie!” as President Barack Obama told Congress that Obamacare would not cover illegal immigrants. Now it would appear that the White House owes Wilson an apology, as Covered California–the flagship of state Obamacare exchanges–is recruiting illegal (“undocumented”) immigrants to sign up for the program, regardless of their eligibility.

The Covered California website includes a special page entitled: “No temas si eres indocumentado/a y quieres inscribir a tu familia en un seguro médico” (“Fear not if you are undocumented and want to enroll your family in health insurance”). The website goes on to explain that information shared with Obamacare cannot be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It does not explicitly warn that illegal aliens are ineligible.

“According to the laws and implementing regulations,” the website says, “the information provided by individuals for coverage can not be used for purposes other than ensuring the efficient functioning of the insurance market ( Covered California) or administration of the program, or to verify certain eligibility determinations including verification of the immigration status of these people.”

As Bloomberg News notes, Latinos have been slow to sign up for Obamacare, partly because of problems with the Spanish-language version of the Obamacare website, and partly because some immigrant families are afraid of providing information to the government or using public assistance, among other factors. Covered California is devoting additional resources to recruiting more Latino enrollees before the deadline at the end of March.

Obamacare has been under greater pressure to produce impressive enrollment numbers as the program comes under more intense scrutiny from politicians and the public, providing a possible motive for recruiting illegal aliens to enroll. Earlier this week, the federal government announced that 3.3 million people had signed up nationwide, but that included people who had not yet paid, and actually represented a slowing rate of enrollment, with too few young people joining the program.

 

Tax Dollars for IRS ($23.4 Million) Subsidizing Unions

I bet you thought IRS workers worked for the government and the people of the United States. Most actually belong to a union, and work for the union, first. Then I bet you believe that government salaries go to workers to work for the government—wrong again. Over $23 million dollars is spent on union activities—and the Feds do not demand the unions reimburse the government. In other words your tax dollars are used against you.

You should also realize that UNIONS have access to your tax records—did you really think they are private? The IRS/Lois Lerner scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Someday, in the distant future we will find out how corrupt the IRs has been—and how politicians use it as a way to get the best of their opponents.

“The IRS paid union officials for 521,725 hours though they were working for the IRS union the entire time.  That’s the equivalent of over 260 full-time employees, yet the IRS claimed that only 201 employees were paid by the IRS.  If the IRS claim is true, then these union officials likely received overtime for “working” on union projects and likely received paid vacations while exclusively working on union projects not their official federal government duties.”

IRS

U.S. Taxpayers pay $23.5 Million to Subsidize Politically Active IRS Union

By Don Loos, National Right to Work Committee, 5/25/14

The IRS paid union officials for 521,725 hours though they were working for the IRS union the entire time.  That’s the equivalent of over 260 full-time employees, yet the IRS claimed that only 201 employees were paid by the IRS.  If the IRS claim is true, then these union officials likely received overtime for “working” on union projects and likely received paid vacations while exclusively working on union projects not their official  federal government duties.

This taxpayer-funded union activity goes by the misnomer: “official time” so as to imply an official purpose, yet officially there is no federal government purpose for the activity.   Taxpayers are funding private employees and officers of labor unions who are doing no work for the taxpayers’ money.

The fact is that there are numerous federal employees, who are also union officials, work ZERO hours for the federal government, yet are paid full-time, given bonuses, raises, paid vacations,  and promotions.  But, this can’t be so according to the IRS union’s top boss.

The IRS union’s National President Colleen M. Kelley claims that  “By statute, official time cannot be used for any purpose not directly related to the representation of bargaining unit employees in matters concerning conditions of employment, such as bargaining contracts or agreements. Official time cannot be used for internal union activities or for any political purpose. ”

It is unrealistic to believe that  these union officials who work full-time for the union are meeting the statute guidelines as describe by Kelley above.

Even if we suspend reality and assume that these taxpayer-funded union officials are not working on politics, that still means that taxpayers are freeing-up $23.5 million that the union would have spent paying its union officials. The union could have used all that $23.5 million of savings on politics, and they likely do use much of it for politics.

It also may not surprise you to know that the IRS union is the most partisan of all unions with almost 100% of its political expenditures going to Democrats.

And, it is worth noting that during Obama’s re-election year IRS union officials gouged taxpayers for an additional 52,000 taxpayer-paid hours over the non-federal election year 2013 (573,319 hours in 2012 over 521,725 hours in 2013).

No getting around it, Taxpayers are funding Big Labor’s political operations and it happens in just about every state as well. SEIU is even subsidized right here in Fairfax County, Virginia.

From the Washington Examiner:

The Treasury Department has revealed to the House Ways and Means Committee that Internal Revenue Service employees spent over 500,000 hours on union activities last year. They estimated the cost to taxpayers at $23.5 million in salary and benefits.

Officials told Secrets that the exact hours IRS members of the National Treasury Employees Union dedicated to labor activities was 521,725 in fiscal 2013, which ran from October 2012 to September 2013. That was slightly less than the 573,319 hours in fiscal 2012, according to the IRS, but the spending was significantly above that year’s total of $16 million.

The agency came under fire last year when it was revealed that they had 201 workers, some earning $100,000 a year or more, dedicated to union activities.

 *note:  Colleen M. Kelley’s quote also came from the Washington Examiner article cited above. 

Bodies of 28 Veterans At LA County Morgue Will Finally Receive Proper Burial

President Obama has allowed dozens of veterans die in the VA medical hospitals nationwide, just waiting for an appointment. To show he “cares”, Barack spent yesterday in Afghanistan—while in Los Angeles, after more than a year, it was agreed to bury 28 dead vets held onto for more than a year. But, there may be more than 60 such vets. It took a local TV station to dig this up. If Obama is so “respectful” of our military—why not a decent burial for those that served?

As a Viet Nam veteran, I am appalled that fellow vets are treated like orphans to a nation that has a Commander in Chief that has demolished the General Staff, cut the troops to the bare minimum and shown by his lack of concern for five years about the fate of our veterans using the VA for health care.

“On Friday evening, KCAL9′s Stacey Butler reported the LA County Morgue and the Veteran’s Administration were blaming each other for the mistake.

Butler reported from the National Ceremony where the bodies are scheduled for burial.

She spoke to citizens who were outraged at how the deceased vets were treated.

“I think its incomprehensible,” said Richard Burns, a Marine veteran.”

Photo courtesy Morning Calm News, flickr

Photo courtesy Morning Calm News, flickr

Bodies of 28 Veterans At LA County Morgue Will Finally Receive Proper Burial

CBSLA, 5/23/14

The bodies of 28 veterans at the L.A. County Morgue were finally moved Friday for burial to the Riverside National Cemetery.

CBS2/KCAL9 pressed the L.A. County Coroner’s Office Thursday to find out why the bodies had not yet received a proper burial after a source indicated there may have been as many as 60 veterans at the morgue for the past year and a half.

The morgue says the bodies were unclaimed and they don’t know how long the veterans were there.

The law states veterans are supposed to receive a proper burial.

The Veterans Administration says they were never notified the bodies were processed and ready to be buried.

More than two dozen bodies were transported to the Riverside National Cemetery Friday afternoon and more could be moved as they are identified.

On Friday evening, KCAL9′s Stacey Butler reported the LA County Morgue and the Veteran’s Administration were blaming each other for the mistake.

Butler reported from the National Ceremony where the bodies are scheduled for burial.

She spoke to citizens who were outraged at how the deceased vets were treated.

“I think its incomprehensible,” said Richard Burns, a Marine veteran.

“It’s kinda sad that these people don’t get the proper care that they deserve,” Burns said. “Even after death.”

Every Wednesday morning, Butler reports former Marine Corporal Burns goes to the Riverside National Cemetery and volunteers to lead memorial services for the unclaimed and often indigent vets.

Often Burns and a handful of volunteers are the only people in attendance.

By email, a spokesperson for the LA County Morgue pointed the finger at the VA.

They wrote, “…there are about 60 decedents of probable veteran status that have awaited disposition for about a year as a result of a personnel change in the Veterans Affairs office and stringent identification/eligibility processes required by the VA.”

Cindy Van Bibber, a VA spokesperson said, “There’s personnel changes every day but that certainly doesn’t take away from the service that we provide any veteran.”

She says “at no point” did the City Morgue contact the VA and tell them about the bodies piling up there.

“We definitely weren’t contacted or we would have had a service for the veteran,” she added.

Van Bibber said the process to get a proper burial should take about three days, not a year and a half.

 

Calif. license plate trackers raise privacy concerns

You better have good relations with your police department and Sheriff’s department. Almost every law enforcement agent in the State now has the ability to track you, see where you are going, where you have been. Your privacy does not exist. Make an enemy of a cop and you will find yourself in trouble—especially if you are involved with a married person or doing even the slightest that can be held against you, if known.

You would think that having these car license trackers crime will go down dramatically—not so—it is just an invasion of privacy by government—using your tax dollars.

“High-tech cameras focus on the license plates of every car that passes, taking upwards of 2,000 images per minute.

The high-tech cameras zero in on the license plates of every car that passes, taking upwards of 2,000 images per minute.

The photos are instantly sent to national databases that log each vehicle’s exact location, along with the date and time it was there.”

obama syria spying

Calif. license plate trackers raise privacy concerns

CBS, 5/24/14

If you’ve been behind the wheel lately, odds are your trip has been tracked by small cameras called “automated license plate readers.”

They’re often mounted on law enforcement vehicles and street poles, and used by police to catch criminals. But in California, lawmakers are debating whether this technology needs restrictions to protect privacy.

High-tech cameras focus on the license plates of every car that passes, taking upwards of 2,000 images per minute.

The high-tech cameras zero in on the license plates of every car that passes, taking upwards of 2,000 images per minute.

The photos are instantly sent to national databases that log each vehicle’s exact location, along with the date and time it was there.

More than 70 percent of the nation’s police departments use this technology to find vehicles associated with crimes.

“If a vehicle comes into the area, it’s instantly recognized,” said Captain Ed Palmer with the University of Southern California Department of Public Safety.

There are 62 cameras that take photos of every car on the Los Angeles campus.

Last year, L.A. police chased and arrested a man in a reported stolen car after a camera on the USC campus took a picture of its plate.

“It’s a force multiplier,” Palmer said. “You can’t be everywhere at once. So it enables us to get a look at almost every vehicle that comes through here.”

But now, private companies have built their own databases, and are using these cameras, too — cruising streets and parking lots and sharing billions of hits of data not just with law enforcement, but with anyone willing to pay, including private investigators, insurance companies, and lenders looking to repossess vehicles.

“They can track you around the country through these databases,” said California State Senator Jerry Hill.

Hill wants to regulate the technology. He’s pushing a new state law (S.B. 893) that would keep license plate cameras off private property, and ban public agencies from sharing their camera data.

“What we’re trying to do with the legislation is create some safeguards so the public’s rights and privacy are secure,” Hill said.

The California Senate will vote on the new law next week.

In the meantime, license plate cameras and the data they collect remain unrestricted.

 

Taxpayers Paid $5.6 Million for Climate Change Games

The Al Gore hoax has created a “game”, paid for with tax dollars. Actually this game is a propaganda effort by the government to fool kids and the public that climate change is only due to cars, cows and people—get rid of them and the planet will be saved.

“Columbia University’s Climate Center has received $5.7 million from the National Science Foundation for the university’s “PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership,” to “engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change.”

Based on the theory that games “motivate exploration and learning of complex material,” the school created “Future Coast,” a website that features hundreds of made up voicemails painting a dire picture of the future as a result of climate change.”

Obviously the government has too much money. Obviously the government policy is to lie to the public, while stealing from families and businesses. Why trust a government that lies about facts?

government blood sucker

Taxpayers Paid $5.6 Million for Climate Change Games

‘Voicemails’ from the future warn of doom and gloom

BY: Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, 5/24/14
Taxpayers paid more than $5 million to create climate change games, including voicemails from the future warning that “neo-luddites” will kill global warming enthusiasts by 2035.

Columbia University’s Climate Center has received $5.7 million from the National Science Foundation for the university’s “PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership,” to “engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change.”

Based on the theory that games “motivate exploration and learning of complex material,” the school created “Future Coast,” a website that features hundreds of made up voicemails painting a dire picture of the future as a result of climate change.

“There’s a lot we don’t know about our possible futures, but one thing we do: It’s got a software glitch in it, in the voicemail system, which is sending their voicemails back to our time,” the website explains. “As these futurismo objects we call chronofacts. Huh. Weird.”

The messages are “banal, mysterious, and terrifying,” about “possible climate changed futures” in attempts to convince the public to act on climate change now.

“Who hasn’t wondered what the future will be like for us and for our planet? This is your chance to find out!” the university said.

That future, according to Columbia, includes a world with robotic arms, where humans are “like pets,” live underground, and in fear of their lives from climate skeptics.

Listeners also learn that in 2020 people will still be making Chris Christie Bridgegate jokes.

“Hey sweetheart, it’s Rob. I’m gonna be coming home late tonight. There’s a storm coming up the Jersey shore and they’re expecting the Turnpike to be under water for a couple of hours,” a voicemail says. “So the tunnels will be down and the bridge will be on Chris Christie time again.”

A woman in 2056 is afraid her house is going to “topple into the ocean pretty soon, it’s looking pretty unstable.” “We had to ride our bikes since our sector has driving restrictions today,” she adds.

In 2037 macaroni and cheese is a delicacy. “We are really low on water and we’ve been harvesting the water but it’s not going to rain for another year and a half, and I really want to give Owen his favorite thing, macaroni and cheese,” a girl says in the message “Owen’s birthday.”

Some messages are indecipherable. In 2030 a man just repeats “don’t eat the bacon,” “don’t even think about it.”

In 2020, a man informs his mother that he has not been going to Thanksgiving since 2016 because of a scam involving “Hurricane Simulators.”

“Listen, mama, it’s not that I don’t love you, it’s just I cannot come to Thanksgiving because of what Craig did to Annabelle a couple a years ago,” he says. “He suckered her in to buying all of those used hurricane booths.”

“He knows that nobody cares about going to those hurricane booth simulators because everybody’s been in a gosh-darned hurricane now!”

People will live to 200 by 2064. A son plans a “special” surprise for his mother’s birthday, a hike in a terrarium since “nature no longer exists.”

One message, “Molly and Billy,” the characters use redneck stereotypes to talk about how climate change has ruined their crop.

“Howdy ya’ll, this is Molly,” she says in 2060. “And it’s pretty hot out here, we’re farming, me and Billy. Come to the phone Billy.”

“Dag nab it, Ma,” Billy says. “Oh these beetles, they ruined our crop again … I wish it was like it was the way it was.”

In 2030 Citi Field is just a marsh, the Mission in San Francisco is under water in 2044, and every kid has a miniature panda in 2059. Limes cost $10,000 in 2035, a caller informs after he has been mugged going to the “Skymall.” You can only visit Paris by submarine in 2059, the “coasts and the beaches have disappeared,” and there’s only one lobster left.

Gay marriage has been legalized in Antarctica in 2060. A Baptist church runs “hospital jails” in 2034.

In 2035 “Neo-luddites” are “closing in.”

“It’s the Neo-luddites. Anybody who has any sort of scientific knowledge, they want to kill, so we have to pretend from now on that we know nothing,” a caller says. “Please tell me that you’ve gotten away from that place, I haven’t heard from you in a very long time.”

The capitol of the Neo-luddites appears to be Texas.

“The Neo-luddites are coming up from Texas, the Luddites, they hate everything,” a caller says. “They’re gonna wipe us out.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Science Space and Technology, said the game is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“The NSF has funded too many questionable grants at the expense of higher priority research in fields like engineering, mathematics, computer science, and biology,” he said in a statement.

“Taxpayers would rather their money fund higher priorities, like interdisciplinary research to understand how the brain works or Quantum computers, which could be the next generation of fast computers,” Smith said. “It is not the government’s money; it is the people’s money.”

 

How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans

California State Senator Ricardo Lara has presented a bill to give illegal aliens free health care under the MediCaid program. Covered California has a program urging illegal aliens to apply for ObamaCare and the fact they are here illegally will NOT be told to Homeland Security (how secure do you feel now?). Our dead vets are not being buried for over a year, dozens are dying without being allowed to see a doctor or getting treatment.

Obama and Brown have made illegal aliens welcomed, giving them benefits that are outlawed, allowing them jobs, housing, free health care and education. Veterans wait months and years to get their benefits. It took my father close to two and a half years, and the intervention of a Congressman, to get his benefits. Sneak into this nation and you get treated like royalty by the government.

“In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.”

458px-Eric_Shinseki_official_Veterans_Affairs_portrait

How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans

By Michelle Malkin, cnsnews.com, 5/24/14

A government that fails to secure its borders is guilty of dereliction of duty. A government that fails to care for our men and women on the frontlines is guilty of malpractice. A government that puts the needs of illegal aliens above U.S. veterans for political gain should be prosecuted for criminal neglect bordering on treason.

Compare, contrast and weep:

In Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers are moving forward with a budget-busting plan to extend government-funded health insurance to at least 1.5 million illegal aliens.

In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.

In Memphis, a VA whistleblower reported that his hospital was using contaminated kidney dialysis machines to treat America’s warriors. The same hospital previously had been investigated for chronic overcrowding at its emergency room, leading to six-hour waits or longer. Another watchdog probe found unconscionable delays in processing lab tests at the center. In addition, three patients died under negligent circumstances, and the hospital failed to enforce accountability measures.

In Arizona, illegal aliens incurred health care costs totaling an estimated $700 million in 2009.

In Phoenix, at least 40 veterans died waiting for VA hospitals and clinics to treat them, while government officials created secret waiting lists to cook the books and deceive the public about deadly treatment delays.

At the University of California at Berkeley, UC President Janet Napolitano (former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) has offered $5 million in financial aid to illegal alien students. Across the country, 16 states offer in-state tuition discounts for illegal aliens: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In addition, the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the University of Michigan Board of Regents all approved their own illegal alien tuition benefits.

In 2013, the nation’s most selective colleges and universities had enrolled just 168 American veterans, down from 232 in 2011. Anti-war activists have waged war on military recruitment offices at elite campuses for years. The huge influx of illegal aliens in state universities is shrinking the number of state-subsidized slots for vets.

In 2013, the Obama Department of Homeland Security released 36,007 known, convicted criminal illegal aliens, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. The catch-and-release beneficiaries include thugs convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and thousands of drunk or drugged driving crimes.

The same Department of Homeland Security issued a report in 2009 that identified returning combat veterans as worrisome terrorist and criminal threats to America.

In Washington, Big Business and open-borders lobbyists are redoubling efforts to pass another massive illegal alien amnesty to flood the U.S. job market with low-wage labor.

Across the country, men and women in uniform returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have higher jobless rates than the civilian population. The unemployment rate for new veterans has spiked to its worst levels, nearing 15 percent. For veterans ages 24 and under, the jobless rate is a whopping 29.1 percent, compared to 17.6 percent nationally for the age group.

A Forbes columnist reported last year that an Air Force veteran was told: “We don’t hire your kind.”

And last December, Democrats led the charge to reduce cost-of-living increases in military pensions — while blocking GOP Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ efforts to close a $4.2 billion loophole that allows illegal aliens to collect child tax credits from the IRS, even if they pay no taxes. The fraudulent payments to illegal aliens would have offset the cuts to veterans’ benefits.

America: medical and welfare welcome mat to the rest of the world, while leavings its best and bravest veterans to languish in hospital lounges, die waiting for appointments, and compete for jobs and educational opportunities against illegal border-crossers, document fakers, visa violators and deportation evaders. Shame on us.

 

Special Interests Buying Bond Measure for Gov’t Schools: Will Get Contracts in Return?

Government is corrupt. The electoral system is openly corrupt. Who “donates” to bond measures, those dealing with construction and new facilities? Construction firms, potential vendors and unions—all of the class of folks that benefit directly from the passage of the bonds. This is how crony capitalism works, the buying of the process.

“The bulk of the contributions have come from construction companies, architectural firms and organized labor, groups that have been heavily involved in building and renovating dozens of schools throughout the district thanks to the $1.44 billion the measures have freed up since 2002. If voters approve Measure H, a $270 million proposal on the June 3 ballot, it would be the seventh bond for school construction in the district passed since 1998. Those measures have saddled West Contra Costa property owners with the largest tax burden in the county.”

In your city or country, see a bond measure and look for the donors—crony capitalists and unions buying on the cheap billions of your tax dollars.

corruption steal theft

West Contra Costa school bond program draws massive campaign spending by contract recipients

By Robert Rogers, Contra Costa Times, 5/25/14 

TO SEE COMPLETE STORY CLICK ON HEADLINE

RICHMOND — Roughly $2.8 million has poured into campaigns to pass West Contra Costa school district bond measures since 2002, the bulk from groups that have benefited from the massive taxpayer-funded construction projects that the successful ballot measures have unleashed, according to an analysis of campaign finance records by this newspaper.

The bulk of the contributions have come from construction companies, architectural firms and organized labor, groups that have been heavily involved in building and renovating dozens of schools throughout the district thanks to the $1.44 billion the measures have freed up since 2002. If voters approve Measure H, a $270 million proposal on the June 3 ballot, it would be the seventh bond for school construction in the district passed since 1998. Those measures have saddled West Contra Costa property owners with the largest tax burden in the county.

The money to fund the political campaigns goes into For the Children of West County, a political campaign committee, according to Elections Office records.

Dan Walters: Brown budget reflects state’s massive debt

The State Controller says that as of April 30, 2014 the cash DEFICIT of the State is $10 billion. Our confused Guv claims we have a balanced budget, even a surplus. He is confused. The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) says we have a $340 billion debt—but the Guv is setting up a “reserve fund”. With what money? He added $1.2 billion to the cost of MediCaid, while Covered California is promoting illegal aliens to sign up for MediCaid and ObamaCare. The $156 billion budget (actually over $200 billion is everything is counted) does not meet the needs of California and by not handling the pension funds that are collapsing due to over a total of $1 trillion of unfunded liabilities (that is CalSTRs, CalPRS, UC, 20 counties, LADWP and numerous other government pension funds).

“STRS has a $70-plus-billion unfunded liability – even with assumed investment earnings that Brown deems “highly unlikely” – and says it needs about $5 billion more a year to regain solvency. Brown’s plan would eventually reach that level, but most would come from school budgets. That idea is already drawing high-decibel protests from education groups.”

budget-constantin-cagle-Nov-1.-26-2013-300x203

Dan Walters: Brown budget reflects state’s massive debt

By Dan Walters, Fresno Bee, 5/25/14

As he unveiled a revised state budget this month, Gov. Jerry Brown was peppered with questions about new spending that his fellow Democrats were touting – everything from health insurance for illegal immigrants to universal pre-kindergarten.

There are, Brown replied, “a lot of ideas to do things,” quickly adding, “We’ve done a lot already, and we haven’t paid for what we’ve done.”

Truer words were never spoken. Over the previous 15 years, California had amassed enormous debts under Brown’s two immediate predecessors, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The state now owes about $340 billion, with unfunded liabilities for pensions and retiree health care by far the largest pieces. While not all debt was taken on during the past 15 years, it was a period of particularly irresponsible finances.

State employee and teacher pension benefits were increased on the convenient fiction that investment earnings would pay for them, and pension contributions were actually reduced.

Unemployment insurance benefits were increased without increasing payroll taxes to pay for them, meaning the state had to borrow $10 billion from the federal government when recession hit.

And so forth.

Davis – Brown’s chief of staff during his first governorship – was especially profligate, largely to please the unions that had backed his campaign for the governorship in 1998. As his deficits mounted, he paid the political price by being recalled.

However, Schwarzenegger, while talking a good game about fixing the state’s finances, was in many respects just as bad. He slashed vehicle taxes by billions of dollars on his first day in office, then turned around just a few months later and asked voters to pass a $15 billion bond issue to cover the state’s deficits.

Brown’s budget is studded with reminders of their poor fiscal stewardship.

He wants to pay off the last of Schwarzenegger’s misnamed “Economic Recovery Bonds,” as well as debts to schools, local governments and special funds, and is proposing a painful recovery plan for the State Teachers Retirement System.

STRS was once healthy, but during the Davis years, benefits were increased while the state’s contributions were decreased, leaving it very vulnerable to declines in investment earnings during recession.

STRS has a $70-plus-billion unfunded liability – even with assumed investment earnings that Brown deems “highly unlikely” – and says it needs about $5 billion more a year to regain solvency. Brown’s plan would eventually reach that level, but most would come from school budgets. That idea is already drawing high-decibel protests from education groups.

“To get what (students) need, they need teachers,” Brown said. “Teachers get what they need by having a pension. The pension has to be paid for.”

Amen.

 

 

Bad roads just aren’t acceptable–but the norm in California

Out of fifty states, California is rated either the second or fourth worst in the nation, based on national surveys and reports.   Go anywhere is the State and you will see freeways being worked on, but in total it is a minor portion of the problem. Billions are being spent on roads—but hundreds of billions will be spent on buses, trains and high speed rail—money that does not exist, except by going deeper into debt. For instance California is going to spend $350 million to create in the next fiscal year bike and walk trails—money that could be used to fix our roads.

Democrats want gas taxes to go up, many want a 9.5% oil “severance” tax added on. Money will not go to roads—it will go to trains, bike, and horse and walk trails, plus buses. That is why government is asking for more money—to make up for what it diverts.

california roads infrastructure

 

Bad roads just aren’t acceptable

Lompoc Record, 3/27/14

TO SEE THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK ON THE HEADLINE

California highway conditions are among the worst in the nation.

The latest data from the California Transportation Department confirms the worst-in-the-nation claim, although things have improved in recent years.

Officially, 16 percent of the state’s 50,000 miles of highway lanes are considered to be in “poor” condition. Unofficially, we’d have to say that the percentage of bad roads most of us have to drive on is higher than 16 percent.

Bad road conditions lead to all kinds of other problems. One of those is what a road with bumps and potholes can do to your vehicle. Repair shops may adore those neglected highways, but your wallet won’t.

More laws won’t clean up California government

Democrat Senator Yee buying assault weapons from international terrorists is already against the law—did not matter to him. Democrat Senator Wright knew that lying on your nomination papers is a crime, he did not care. The crooks in Bell, knew that stealing, even in plain sight, was wrong—no new law is needed. We do not need new laws, we need to cut back the benefits of government. Privatize as much as possible, stop the waste and fraud, cut taxes and let honest people build, grow and live.

Want honest government, limit it. New laws are not needed, less government is the solution.

“Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” He’s not the only one who noticed the prime goal of the government – any government, in any country – is to redistribute wealth among different groups of constituents.

Yet whenever political scandals emerge, politicians feign outrage in the same way that people are shocked that there are no virgins to be found in the whorehouse. If the whole purpose of government is to rearrange the riches, so to speak, then it’s no surprise that those who are particularly adept at the practice aren’t the best candidates for the monastery.”

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More laws won’t clean up California government

By Steven Greenhut, California Watchdog.org,   3/14/14

SACRAMENTO – When it comes to ethics, I always figured there are three kinds of people. There are those who, upon seeing a storehouse filled with treasure, would try to steal as much of it as they could grab. Then there are those would take the treasure, but only if the doors were unlocked and they were fairly sure they wouldn’t get caught. And then there are those who wouldn’t take any of it under any circumstances. Those are the honest folks who would close the storehouse door if someone else had left it open.

I’ve recently expanded those categories by two. There also are those who wouldn’t mind getting what’s in the storehouse provided the voters pass a law authorizing agents of the government to take it for them. That includes most of the country’s voters, whether they call themselves “liberals” or “conservatives.” And then there’s a small subset – the people who pass the laws (often accompanied by high-minded speeches) authorizing the theft.

Those last categories conform to the musings of journalist H.L. Mencken, who argued: “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” He’s not the only one who noticed the prime goal of the government – any government, in any country – is to redistribute wealth among different groups of constituents.

Yet whenever political scandals emerge, politicians feign outrage in the same way that people are shocked that there are no virgins to be found in the whorehouse. If the whole purpose of government is to rearrange the riches, so to speak, then it’s no surprise that those who are particularly adept at the practice aren’t the best candidates for the monastery.

California’s political class has been captivated by a series of legislative scandals in recent months. Democratic Sen. Rod Wright, an “Inglewood” Democrat, was found guilty on eight felony counts including perjury. In California, state legislators must live in the districts they represent, and a jury found that Wright lived in a much tonier neighborhood. Instead of booting him from the Senate, the leadership won’t even hold a vote on the matter – preferring instead to grant him a paid leave of absence as the senator awaits sentencing.

As political corruption scandals go, that’s a yawner. Several other legislators are vulnerable on the district issue. I’m most perturbed at how outraged the political class is about this supposedly unfair prosecution. Maybe the law is unfair and maybe the prosecution was politically motivated. But I have never heard the Senate’s leaders complain about the many state laws that are unfair and about prosecutors who unevenly prosecute cases against regular Joes.

The tawdrier story involves the Calderon brothers and their Los Angeles-area Democratic political dynasty. “According to (U.S. attorney Andre) Birotte, the Calderons greedily helped support ‘a massive health fraud’ as (Sen.) Ron Calderon pushed to preserve a California spinal surgery law that dramatically benefited hospital owner Michael Drobot, who officials say ‘ripped off’ 100 insurers,” explained an LA Weekly article. Here’s FBI information on the indictment.

Once the FBI raided the senator’s office, his political allies – all of whom knew about his high-living ways – were suddenly shocked to find out about it. They distanced themselves from him immediately, offering denouncements and stripping him of his committee chairmanships. Recently, he, too, was placed on indefinite paid leave, but not expelled from the Senate. Calderon denies any wrongdoing and hasn’t been convicted of anything.

In my U-T San Diego column, I quote Dan Schnur, a former Republican consultant who is running an independent bid for secretary of state on a government-reform agenda: “If Calderon had talked about passing legislation and getting summer jobs for his kids in separate phone calls rather than in the same one, it all would have been perfectly legal.”

My conclusion, from the column: “The difference between being a member in good standing of the California Legislature (or any other one) and being a criminal sometimes comes down to surprisingly narrow distinctions.”

That, as any libertarian theorist will tell you, is the problem in a political system where what is legal for the government (taking and redistributing property) would be illegal if a normal person did this in his private life. Drawing distinctions and determining the difference between, say, a really effective senator and a crook can come down to some hair-splitting.

The East Bay Express reported on another recent Sacramento scandal: “So far, the scandal has centered on high-powered lobbyist Kevin Sloat and his Sacramento firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen Associates. Under California law, it’s illegal for lobbyists to make campaign donations directly to candidates. … But the Sloat scandal showed that lobbyists are easily circumventing this law. Instead of making donations themselves, they hold lavish parties that they call ‘fundraisers,’ and they invite their clients to meet face-to-face with high-ranking politicians. Then, as the lobbyists and their clients press the politicos to give them what they want, the clients hand over $10,000 checks. …”

And in recent weeks, there’s been a travel scandal, with the Sacramento Bee reporting that legislators accepted $550,000 in travel donations from foreign governments as well as corporations and unions that funnel the money through foundations. The state places $440 limits on annual gifts from a single group, but no limits on any travel that can reasonably be construed as educational or related to the legislators’ job. That includes such educational jaunts as golfing trips to Maui and tours of Sweden and Israel.

Last week, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, who was an ally of Calderon, and two senators who had taken the most travel in 2013, announced at a Capitol press conference a new series of reforms that would promote accountability and cleaner government. The reforms don’t touch the travel. Indeed, Steinberg and Sens. Kevin de Leon and Ricardo Lara said how important the trips were in helping legislators do their jobs. But the package of bills would reduce the $440 limit to $200, ban fund-raisers at lobbyists’ homes and require more frequent gift reporting.

Good-government activists scoffed at these measures as picking the lowest-hanging fruit. Others viewed them as diversionary tactics. No one believes that a few new limits and some tweaks to campaign-finance law will change the way things are done.

Few politicians would steal anything directly, and most might be among the honest folks who wouldn’t touch anything in the treasure-laden storehouse. But they are part of a system where government robs Peter to pay Paul. Almost all of this is entirely legal and few people even question the ethics of it. A lot of the political law-breaking is fairly technical in nature (i.e., Wright).

But 60 percent of the bills that became law in California in 2010 were sponsored and written by special-interest groups. That sounds an awful lot like Mencken’s auction of stolen goods, given that all the money ultimately comes from taxpayers. Clearly, the system is tawdry. And this is where the good-government activists get it wrong. The folks who promote the new rules sometimes are cynical and want to deflect attention from scandal, but often they are well meaning as they propose new campaign limits or plans to turn, say, the secretary of state’s office into a technically nonpartisan position.

The real problem is government is too big, meddlesome and accustomed to taxing one group and giving benefits to another. Why wouldn’t a system such as this lure those who are most adept at this kind of work? Why wouldn’t lobbyists and special-interest groups try to buy protection or seek favors? It only makes sense, so there’s little chance that any of it will change until Americans begin to question some of the more fundamental aspects of the system.

Steven Greenhut is a contributor to Watchdog.org.