Trump and Cruz will appear at California GOP convention

The California GOP will be welcoming the three presidential candidates at its convention at the Grand Hyatt in Burlingame on Friday/Sunday April 29-May 1.  Donald J. Trump, the current leader in California GOP polls, will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon starting the event off on Friday.  Ohio Governor John Kasich will speak at the Friday night dinner, and Senator Ted Cruz will speak at a luncheon the next day.  GOP and Faith & Family Leader Ralph Reed will lead a Prayer Breakfast on the Sunday morning.  All VIP receptions are already sold out!  For more information visit: https://www.cagop.org/convention/AP_gop_debate_jef_160310

New ballot initiative would permit electronic signature gathering

How easy it is to hack into a computer or a server?  Just ask the IRS, the NSA, Target, your neighborhood hospital, the DMV or the Department of Defense.  So, what if you have your electronic signature on your computer to use to “sign” documents?  Under a proposed ballot measure I could hack into computers, steal your electronic signature and then sign a petition for you.  No sweat, you will never know that your signature had been added to a proposed ballot measure.  For the crooks, this is cheaper than paying signature gatherers and the worry you can’t get enough signatures.

“The initiative would require the secretary of state to develop a system allowing voters to view petitions on secretary of state’s website and to sign them electronically directly on the website, or to download, print and sign printed petitions.

If the initiative were to become law, it would result in one-time state and local government costs in the millions of dollars or more to develop an online system for electronic petition signature gathering, according to an analysis made by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

We already have fraud, corruption and a voter registration system easy to violate—without the needed vetting of the online registrant. This proposal is another step in making California a banana republic.

Voting

New ballot initiative would permit electronic signature gathering

by Debbie L. Sklar, MyNewsLA,  4/7/16

Backers of an initiative that would permit electronic signature gathering for state and local initiative, referendum, and recall petitions have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.

The initiative would require the secretary of state to develop a system allowing voters to view petitions on secretary of state’s website and to sign them electronically directly on the website, or to download, print and sign printed petitions.

If the initiative were to become law, it would result in one-time state and local government costs in the millions of dollars or more to develop an online system for electronic petition signature gathering, according to an analysis made by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

The analysis also found there would be potential net costs or savings due to changed state and local government processes for verifying petition signatures.

Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by Oct. 3 to qualify the measure for the ballot, Padilla said Wednesday.

 

Shasta Lake Now 100%+ Capacity. Drought Over??!!

“It’s just pouring up here!” explained an official of the Lake Shasta Marina to the San Jose Mercury.  Shasta Lake, the biggest reservoir in California, is at its 100% historical fill, up from 29% capacity on December 8.  The current “El Niño” inspired rains soaking the Golden State are clearly in the process of starting to reverse the state’s four-year drought and in the case of Lake Shasta, give some relief – if regulators will allow it – to Central Valley farmers and residents under tight water conservation rules around the state.

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Reports are that other of the state’s water resources, including the Oroville reservoir in Butte County and also Pardee in the Sierra Nevada’s, are fast filling up.  Loch Lomond Reservoir in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains actually spilled over last Sunday and is at highest levels in three years.

Rain is just soaking both northern and southern California, with almost 6 inches reported overnight at Mount Diablo in the Bay Area, and the southern California commute greatly slowed as drivers slow down to adjust to wet roads.

Yet regulators keep warning that while reservoirs are at or above capacity, groundwater levels still remain low and in need of even more water to recharge.  Hopefully the rain will continue till the Governor yells “uncle” and pulls any water restrictions now made redundant on our farmers and residents.

Trump appears on his way to the GOP nomination

Donald J. Trump has defied and exceeded expectations in this exciting presidential campaign, that is for sure.  If history is taken into account, with three big first place finishes in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, all improving over a decent second place finish in Iowa (and calling to mind that George H.W. Bush beat Ronald Reagan, the eventual nominee, in Iowa by about the same margin Cruz beat Trump) it is almost certain now that Trump will win the Republican nomination.

Do you disagree?  If so, then look at polls in Ohio, for its primary coming up in March, where Trump is leading his opponent, the Governor of the state, John Kasich.  Look to Florida, a big important swing state, where Trump is beating Marco Rubio, the state’s U.S. Senator, in the polls.  Then consider Texas, where Ted Cruz, that state’s U.S. Senator, holds a slim and quickly disintegrating lead over Trump.

Trump appears to be making his way through primary victory after victory more or less with the same success that Sherman had marching through the deep south to win the Civil War.

Surely, a lot a voters still need to be heard from between now and July, when Republicans have their national convention in Cleveland.  But ittrump is a certainty that Donald J. Trump will be playing a major role on stage at that event.

Over 3 Million Page Views! Thanks to You!

California Political Review hit a milestone in January when our Page views by readers hit 3 million and growing.  Since our founding online in late 2011, CPR has also published over 25,000 reader comments, and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CaPoliticalReview) is robust and has over 20,000 friends.

Our readers have come to rely on the Top Stories we publish and republish that give insight into California policy, usually from a well-considered conservative perspective.  We send out two daily newsletters that summarize our daily content, to a combined email list of about 30,000 people.  In this regard, we have really appreciated our partnership with Steve Frank’s California Political News and Views, which is incorporated into CPR with its own daily newsletter and webpage.   Steve generates terrific original commentary on the news and it is great to work with him.

CPR keeps its doors open through dedicated sponsor advertising including a partnership with Google.  Though we are focused and dedicated to California issues, we have recently signed an agreement with the well-known national news source Newsmax and are now including links to Newsmax advertising content on our “right rail.” Please click away!

Thank you, our readers, for your continued interest in California Political Review!

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ObamaCare Welfare Explosion Now Threatens California Taxpayers

As a result of ObamaCare in California, taxpayer-subsidized free government health care benefits are now being provided to the 12.7 Californians who signed up.  That’s 1 in 3 Californians, according to the Los Angeles Times.  Provided through “Medi-Cal,” a state welfare program which is intended for the poor and indigent, and funded by state and Federal tax dollars, this “explosion” of free medical benefits has reached a $91 billion annual cost, with California taxpayers contributing $18 billion, according to the state Department of Health Care Services.  In a state already troubled by underfunded public employee pension funds for state workers and teachers, the state’s financial obligation to provide free health care to California’s growing poor population could have drastic results for taxpayers going forward.

There is little question that California’s poor population is growing.  For two years in a row, California ranks as the poorest state in the nation according to the Census Bureau’s tabulation, when cost-of-living is taken into account.  These Federal statistics show that about 24% of the state lives at or below the poverty level.  But now the new statistics from the state Department of Health Services indicate many more Californians, about 33% of state residents, are taking advantage of the Medi-Cal benefits program supposedly intended to provide health insurance to the state’s poorest residents.

The hugely expanded cost of the program to taxpayers, given the massive influx of new patients as a result of the mandates of ObamaCare, appears already to be taking some toll.  The Times reports that “Medi-Cal is seen by many as underfunded, with patients struggling to find doctors and sometimes receiving low quality of care. A group of activists and others recently filed a federal civil rights complaint alleging that Latinos are being denied access to healthcare because the program does not pay doctors enough.”

ObamaCare or “The Affordable Care Act” allowed states to open up Medicaid or their own welfare programs to anyone making less than 138% of the federal poverty level — for a single person, a couple or a four-person family, that means an annual income of less than $16,243, $21,983 and $33,465, respectively.

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GOP Debate Had Multiple Winners…and Losers

Donald Trump not only held his own at the CNN debate in Las Vegas on Dec. 15, he gave a hugely important answer to moderator Hugh Hewitt when he said he would run only as a Republican.  I believe that was one of the most important statements of the night, and made him a debate winner, because Republicans can now put to bed fears of a divisive third party candidacy that might hand Hillary Clinton the election.  Trump’s timing on the statement could not have been better to help himself.

I was sitting in the live audience, and I thought Marco Rubio was the best communicator, and he surely received the most positive responses from the live audience.  Yet television commentators seem to tip the scales in favor of Ted Cruz over Rubio.  I did not see Cruz doing better at the debate than Rubio, but many I talk to feel he did.  I do see a growing interest in him among my conservative friends, many of whom are less open to Rubio’s position on one issue: immigration reform.

Both Kasich and Fiorina seemed annoyed and off-kilter, perhaps because they felt they weren’t getting enough time, and it seemed to show.  Fiorina had a good line calculated to appeal to women voters about “going to a woman to get a job done,” quoting Margaret Thatcher.  But as she has done in previous debates, she interrupted questions and answers repeatedly to draw attention, and at one point drew soft “boos” from the crowd for doing so.  Kasich seemed overly animated at times, using his hands to “karate-chop” points for emphasis.  Carson started with a well-meaning gesture of a very brief moment of silence for the victims of the San Bernardino attack.  It was a “miss” for the organizers of the debate to not do that themselves, on their own time.  However if there was any candidate that “lacked energy,” it was Carson.  He handled tough questions in much too moderate and uninspiring a manner.  These were the candidates that probably did not gain ground at the debate.

Chris Christie once again addressed himself directly to the television audience, and highlighted his experience as a Federal prosecutor during the 9/11 attack in New York.  In a low moment for the debate, Rand Paul attempted to minimize Christie by bringing up “slowing bridge traffic” or words to that effect, in a blunt reference to the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal in New Jersey whereby Christie staffers concocted a bogus traffic-slowing study to get even with a Christie political opponent.  Paul’s line was ignored by Christie, rightly so, who has not been directly implicated in the matter.  Christie had a good night, Paul had his usual night.

Some observers feel Jeb Bush had a good night.  I must say I did not think his referring to Trump as the “chaos candidate” reflected the class that we usually associate with the Bush family, particularly George H.W. Bush, Jeb’s father.  It was a line not in keeping with what you think Jeb’s temperament really is or should be.  I thought Jeb handled questions well on the substance (when he wasn’t attacking Trump), but he had a weak close with two or three vocal cadence trip-ups.  I don’t think he was a loser in the debate, but I do not think he gained ground.  He surely has not slowed down Donald Trump, which was his goal.

I attended both debates: the first “undercard” and then the mainstage debate, and I am grateful to have attended these as a guest of Mike Huckabee’s campaign and my old friend Floyd Brown.  And I felt Huckabee was a winner too, by his solid performance in the first debate.  I also think Lindsay Graham would make a terrific Secretary of Defense, is funny and intelligent, but according to polling probably won’t have much of a campaign going down the line.  Though on the undercard, Huckabee remains the “mature man” in the race, and the “shout out” Donald Trump gave him from the mainstage (along with Rick Santorum) a few hours later was significant.

California Political Review Publisher Jim Lacy before start of CNN Presidential debate, Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, 12/15/15.

California Political Review Publisher Jim Lacy before start of CNN Presidential debate, Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, 12/15/15.

CNN Presidential debate Live Tweets here…

Be sure to follow me on Twitter.com at @JamesVLacy1 to receive my live commentary on the CNN GOP Presidential debates, which I will be attending, in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel on Tuesday, December 15.  Also look for me to post my own analysis of the debate in this column the next day on Wednesday, December 16.  I’ll look forward to your comments on the post too!th

Long Live France

The news of the despicable attacks, the huge loss of life over the weekend, and subsequent shoot-outs between police and radical Islamic extremists in Paris has surely touched all right thinking Americans.  This new battle started by ISIS is a struggle between good and evil, plain and simple.  It is a fight between freedom and the darkest chaos and we support freedom.  And therefore we support France.  Here is an English translation of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, most relevant to the tears we shed today for America’s oldest ally:

Let’s go children of the fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us tyranny’s
Bloody flag is raised! (repeat)
In the countryside, do you hear
The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
They come right to our arms
To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

Refrain

Grab your weapons, citizens!
Form your batallions!
Let us march! Let us march!
May impure blood
Water our fields!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This horde of slaves, traitors, plotting kings,
What do they want?
For whom these vile shackles,
These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Frenchmen, for us, oh! what an insult!
What emotions that must excite!
It is us that they dare to consider
Returning to ancient slavery!

What! These foreign troops
Would make laws in our home!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would bring down our proud warriors! (repeat)
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brows would bend beneath the yoke!
Vile despots would become
The masters of our fate!

Tremble, tyrants! and you, traitors,
The disgrace of all groups,
Tremble! Your parricidal plans
Will finally pay the price! (repeat)
Everyone is a soldier to fight you,
If they fall, our young heros,
France will make more,
Ready to battle you!

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
Bear or hold back your blows!
Spare these sad victims,
Regretfully arming against us. (repeat)
But not these bloodthirsty despots,
But not these accomplices of Bouillé,
All of these animals who, without pity,
Tear their mother’s breast to pieces!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sacred love of France,
Lead, support our avenging arms!
Liberty, beloved Liberty,
Fight with your defenders! (repeat)
Under our flags, let victory
Hasten to your manly tones!
May your dying enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

Refrain

We will enter the pit
When our elders are no longer there;
There, we will find their dust
And the traces of their virtues. (repeat)
Much less eager to outlive them
Than to share their casket,
We will have the sublime pride
Of avenging them or following them!

Refrain

Translated by Laura K. Lawless

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My take on GOP Presidential debate, CNBC

Trump did not fade in this debate. From the start he answered the first question about “weakness” honestly and he didn’t lose it when CNBC’s liberal John Harwood baited him twice in the second question on his Reagan-inspired tax plan, and in his closing statement. Rather, Trump rose to the occasions when he was asked tough questions. Carson was definitely not quite as “gifted” in responding to the questions as he may be at neurosurgery, gave some unfocused answers, but rallied well when CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla tried to link him, unfairly, to a business ethics issue, and got better deeper into the debate. Between just Carson and Trump, however, I think Trump won.

Kasich tried to help himself by attacking “fantasy” proposals off-the-bat and showed some real good common sense and passion, but probably didn’t get the traction he was hoping for. Rubio’s answer to missing Senate votes and his response to Jeb Bush was outstanding and his performance overall to tough questions on personal finance and other points were great and close to break out.

If there was a loser, it was Fiorina. She surely gained no ground given the focus on her firing at HP, reminding listeners of a business failure; her ducking a direct question about taxing the Internet with bloviation; and her rudely interrupting all of Rubio, Cruz, Trump and Christie when they were all on a roll, and her repeating the “secretary to CEO” lie for which the Washington Post gave her three Pinocchio’s, were all bad moments for her.

Bush stunk of the GOP establishment and was unconvincing, and might have been as bad a loser as Fiorina as well if he were not so well mannered. I heard him say higher income people should pay more taxes and get fewer benefits at the end of the debate. Unfair! Yet I don’t see any of these or the other candidates dropping out before New Hampshire.

Rubio did just great as did Cruz, and even Christie to a lesser degree; but no one broke out much, and we seem to be moving toward a historic brokered convention where the early primaries will not settle on one candidate, and California’s June primary could actually matter.th