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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The 72nd Assembly District Election Highlights Possibility for Restoration for the Soul of the Republican Party

This past Tuesday night, I was in Orange County for the special election to fill the seat vacated by the disgraced, resigned, Republican, Mike Duvall, for the 72nd State Assembly district. Duvall was handpicked by the entrenched ethically bankrupt establishment of the Orange County GOP. The same group that handpicked, Linda Ackerman, whom they thought would be a shoe-in, because she is the wife of former Republican Senate minority leader, Dick Ackerman.

The winner in that race, Chris Norby, born in the City of Fullerton, in the heart of the District, has been a teacher, a City Councilman, a County Supervisor. His politics have earned him a reputation for being a staunch defender and innovative leader for limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual property rights, education reform, and public employee pension reform, all issues that resonate with the independent minded majority of Republicans who live in the strongly Republican District. He speaks to these issues with moral clarity, authority, boldness, conviction and consistency.

Termed out and unable to run for another term as Supervisor, the opening was a natural and timely fit for Norby. Given the sharp rise in the public’s level of awareness of the issues of self-serving government officials and their cronies at all levels of government, and the voters’ mood for revolt against those factions, his chances in such a race were strong from the beginning.

Given that, I was astonished with the tone-deafness of the leadership of the Orange County GOP in this race. How could they misjudge a situation so badly? How could they squander so much political capital right when they’re finally seeing a sliver of opportunity for redemption and restoration, of integrity and credibility with the voters? Why would they be so deaf, dumb and blind to the discernment and consternation of a motivated and engaged electorate? Why didn't they get that the terms have changed. Voters want integrity. They are done with business as usual. They’re not agreeable and easily manipulated by promises, platitudes and posturing, and they’re in no mood to settle for any good ol'boy, or his wife, no matter how popular, how big their titles were, or how many big wigs in the party signed on as endorsers. Lipstick on a pig doesn’t change the fact that the pig is a pig.

The leadership of the State and Local Republican Party fails to recognize the magnitude and implication of the outcome of this little race in heart of Orange County. They are in denial and have yet to admit to any wrong doing. But business as usual for the Orange County GOP is over.

Moving forward, if the pols, consultants and hacks in the party think they’re going to counsel the newcomer, whom they’ll feign to welcome with open arms and caring heart, while they plan his demise and denouement, all the better. It is to the advantage of an advocate with deep convictions for principles of liberty, to be underestimated by his foes.

It is poetic that a revolution with in the party begin from what has for years been referred to as a bastion of Republican Party domination from Behind the Orange Curtain.

The party leadership for years has squandered it’s advantage in Orange County, participating in government abuse of power in Redevelopment, kowtowing to the public employee unions, assigning plum appointments to powerful boards, including water, planning and fair boards, to party loyalists and well connected big financial supporters, skirting adherence to the ethics and principles touted as the platform of the CA GOP.

State Republican Party leaders have been sending out email tooting a come back and turn around, but they hurt the party and themselves by looking the other way while a carpetbagger with a history of supporting policy that runs contrary to the principles the party espouses, tried to take an election from an established, qualified, credentialed and good standing Republican candidate. Ackerman outspent Norby 3 to 1 per vote, yet was trounced, 19.6 % to 37.3%. The voters have spoken. There will be fallout. Heads will roll, and better heads may then prevail. Let the restoration begin.

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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database


Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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