Ponder This:

Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Repost from FFF.org's Website: The Falling American Empire [Say what? We're an empire? Get out! Really? Says who? Check it out!]

by Anthony Gregory, Posted March 30, 2011

American Empire before the Fall
by Bruce Fein (Campaign for Liberty, 2010); 219 pages.

The very notion that America has an empire is most taboo. No matter the party in power, pointing out the reality of U.S. imperialism rarely wins political points. Our country, land of the free, won independence from the British Empire, defeated the Nazi empire, and stared down the Soviet empire.

"...wonderful,... Bruce Fein, an unusually principled but respected legal expert, an official under Ronald Reagan, and a player in movement conservatism, has penned American Empire before the Fall, an all-out takedown of U.S. foreign policy, drawing on history, economic reasoning, ethical considerations, law, and knowledge of world affairs to strike at the very core of the ideology of American imperialism. Fein notes that for most Americans, the notions he espouses may seem out of left field and explains why:

We, the current citizens of the United States, have all been raised to embrace the American Empire without questioning its premises, just as British subjects more than a century ago viscerally cherished and celebrated the British Empire. The justifications of Empires are characteristically unexamined to conceal an unflattering truth: they are all fueled by a base, animalistic craving to dominate other nations and people for the sake of domination."

On "Historical wars

When did all the trouble begin? Fein celebrates the era 'before the United States began to trade its safe Republic for an unsafe Empire under the mindless banner of Manifest Destiny in the 1846–1848 Mexican-American War.' Citing James K. Polk’s disingenuous accusations of Mexican initiation of hostilities, Fein says the war was 'the first time ... the President would deceive Congress and the American people to justify belligerency.... In truth, the Mexican military killed American soldiers in Mexican territory after the United States waged a campaign of belligerency against Mexico.'”

Click here to go to FFF.org to read this article.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Repost from Fox & Hound Daily: Why The Sky Is Falling on The CA Republican Party

[I share this because this past weekend at the 6th annual Congreso Latino, if you wanted to know what fueled this gathering, look at the song and poetry recital called the Floricanto on Saturday night. The headline for it was SB1070 & Texas HB12. There was also talk about State Rep. Virgil Peck's (R-Tyro) comment suggesting it would be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled---with hunters shooting immigrants from helicopters.
Today, CA Assemblyman Tom Donnelley's office released a press release (To download PDF of the Press release Click here ), announcing a rally at the Capitol on Monday, April 4th at 2 PM on the steps of the Capitol in support of his Assembly Bill 26, the Secure Immigration and Enforcement Act (otherwise known as SEIA) modeled after the Arizona Law.
In the press release, Donnelly says "We need every freedom-loving citizen to show up on Monday, April 4th at 2 PM on the steps of the Capitol to support my Assembly Bill 26,..." Well, this freedom lover thinks not!]

Allan Hoffenblum's picture

Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates
In August 2009, I wrote a column for Fox & Hounds entitled "Reach out, Republicans, or lose!"
  
In that article, I wrote that California Republicans can yell and scream all they want on the issues of taxes, socialize medicine, and corporate bailouts. But unless the California Republican Party is able to persuade significant numbers of Latinos, Asians and other people of color to register in their party and/or vote for their candidates, it will not elect a governor or any statewide official in 2010 and could very well lose additional seats in congress and the state legislature.
..."Maria Elena Durazo, the head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, heard this noise too and had the Federation conduct six focus groups composed of registered Latino voters who had cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election but did not always vote in gubernatorial election years...the number one issue on the minds of the overwhelming majority of those Latino voters was the Arizona anti-immigration bill.  In fact, more focus-group participants knew the number of the Arizona bill - SB1070 - than the names of California's two major candidates for governor.
And the issue was NOT illegal immigration, which is what most non-Latino observers believe, but racial profiling.  The fear that Latinos as a group will be "singled out" by law enforcement, schools, stores and employers because of their skin color.
In other words, the fear of racism.  And the political party Latinos most identified with support of the Arizona law is the Republican Party. And this fear could lead to some serious losses for Republicans in 2012."
 
Click here to read the article

Tonight! Gadfly Radio with Me and CalWatchDog's Steven Greenhut and John Seiler! 8PM PT!

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT
To Listen Live, Click here, on Channel 2:

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Gadfly Radio--Steven Greenhut and John Seiler will have lots to talk about this evening.

We'll talk about these stories by Greenhut and Seiler, from the Home page at CalWatchDog's Website and I want to share a little bit about my trip to Austin, Texas this past Friday and Saturday for the sixth Annual Latino Congreso (which if I'd named, would be called Congreso Latino)

Breaking News

Will Brown Hike Taxes w/o Election?

MARCH 28, 2011 By JOHN SEILER If you watch politics long enough, you see everything. The latest is progressives acting like conservatives on the state budget deficit and the liberals' desire to raise taxes $12 billion. Last week a PPIC poll showed the tax increases would get wiped out by vo...

Dems Put Brakes on Budget Train Wreck

MARCH 28, 2011 By WAYNE LUSVARDI A new Field Poll  found that a supermajority of Democrats has swung against tax increases and wants to halt what appears to be an unstoppable future state budget train wreck. In what should have been unsurprising to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic Part...

GOP Finally Gets Budget Action

MARCH 26, 2011 By JOHN SEILER There are a lot of problems with the list of budget demands Republicans proposed, such as retaining redevelopment. (The full list is here.) But at least they're finally getting a rise out of Democrats. To this point, the large Democratic majorities in the Legis...

Restored Gann Limit Would Balance Budget

MARCH 25, 2011 By JOHN SEILER The problem with Calfornia's $25 billion budget deficit is that state spending gushed upward in three wild splurges. I'll list
 them here. As I do, recall if your pay was increased each year anything near as much as the California budget. Probably not. 
The first splurge is one people often forget. When Gov. Pete Wilson’s 1991 tax increases expired  in 1994, California finally joined the national economic recovery — two years late. Revenues recovered. And he spent the money. Expenditures rose 8 percent a year for four years straight fiscal years: 1994-95 through 1997-98. Then, in 1998-99, revenues went up another 9 percent.
The second splurge was when Gov. Gray Davis was elected in 1998. For his first two budgets, for 1999-2000, he increased spending an incredible 15 percent. And for 2000-2001, he splurged with an increase of an even more incredible 17 percent.
Spending rose from $57.8 billion in 1998-99 the year before Davis became governor, to $78.1 billion in 2001-02, his second year in office. It was a 20.3 billion increase in spending in just two years — a 35 percent. (Click the title to read the article.)


CA GOP Is The Party Of Numbskulls

MARCH 28, 2011
by Steven Greenhut
California Republicans love to talk about limiting government, fighting bureaucracy and keeping taxes low, but March 17 they proved that this is nothing more than a rhetorical device. Given the opportunity to rein in the size and power of government in a tangible way, Assembly Republicans — with a sole exception — punted. They rallied to save some of the most abusive and wastrel government agencies around.
California voters ought to at least understand where the overwhelming majority of GOP Assembly members stand — in this instance, on the side of big government, higher taxes and uncontrolled debt and against property rights, individualism and freedom. As the party blathers about luring minority and working-class voters, let it be clear that the GOP sided with the developers and government planners, folks who usually want to drive minorities and working-class people off their properties.

The Democrats, awful as they usually are, may be right: The GOP is the party of big business and privilege.

My mission for this radio program is (and I quote here the mission statement of  The Future of Freedom Foundation, with whom I have no affiliation other than that I agree with their stated mission,  by which I am inspired and for which I stand, to the best of my ability), "to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government."

It's my privilege to share this program with CalWatchDog's team of government watch dogs!

Join us Tuesday nights, on Gadfly Radio live in Southern California or where ever you are. No matter how bad things are, California is a land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, if we can manage to get it right.   Join us.

To listen to a podcast later, if you missed the live call in show:

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Repost from Zero Gov's Blog Archive: Hayek and the Road to Serfdom, A Book Review by Bill Buppert

Zero Gov » Blog Archive » Hayek and the Road to Serfdom, A Book Review by Bill Buppert

March 26th, 2011

Publisher’s Note: I thought I would share this book review I recently did. I also found this amusing illustrated version of The Road to Serfdom: http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

Hayek wrote and released this book during the course of the World War II (1944-45). He had a front row seat to the clash of the collectivist titans from the mild socialism he saw in the West to the national socialism of Germany and the communism of the Russian state.

Hayek sought to provide a comprehensive set of principles and observations illustrating why private property not only manages to be the most rational means to allocate economic resources but the one which allows the most freedom to grow and mature. He makes a compelling argument that the smallest bureaucrat in a statist command of the economy will have much more power to influence society in a negative manner than the most successful millionaire in a free society. His primary thesis is that the power of the state will lead to slavery, misery and poverty.

Click here to read more.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

No Tea Party Meetings in Cuba--Found this on FFFF.org, in response to a lot of the discussions that I had today with deligates and speakers at Congreso:

No Tea Party Meetings in Cuba
by Jacob G. Hornberger

Given the anger of the Tea Party over out-of-control federal spending, soaring debt, taxation, inflation, and constitutional violations, it would be nice if they got angry over something much more fundamental: the infringements on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the American people by the federal government. After all, what’s more important than freedom? Click here to read more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

UPDATE: Call these Three Republican Assemblymen and Five Republican Senators and tell them to vote to End Redevelopment in California Now!

The Redevelopment Lobby, the California Redevelopment Association and League of Cities is using Prop 22 as an argument. Here are Bob Blue's quick thoughts on a counter point when you face their argument for Prop 22, which is designed to protect Redevelopment Funds:

If Redevelopment Agencies are abolished, there are no funds to save. The Property Tax funds would now go as they already are distributed without a Redevelopment agency instead of giving public funds to private developers who are politically connected and give the right campaign contributions (i.e. corruption). Now everybody competes on a level playing field without taxpayer's footing the bill of the politicians friends.

Here is an article on Prop 22: http://www.halfwaytoconcord.com/proposition-22-exposes-california-redevelopment-agency-abuses/

And, from Christina Walsh of the Castle Coalition,
Friends:

The fight to eliminate redevelopment continues. We need you to call the following legislators FIRST THING TOMORROW (THURSDAY) MORNING [the bill did not come up on Thursday so make it first thing Friday morning) and tell them to support the elimination of redevelopment in California:

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor: (916) 319-2068

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen: (916) 319-2002

Assemblyman Brian Jones: (916) 319-2077

Assemblyman Don Wagner: (916) 319-2070

Senator Doug La Malfa: (916) 651-4004

Senator Ted Gaines: (916) 651-4001

Senator Tony Strickland: (916) 651-4019

Senator Mimi Walters: (916) 651-4033

Senator Anthony Cannella: (916) 651-4012

This is an incredible and historic opportunity to finally end eminent domain abuse in California. Please take five minutes to call the above legislators today. Then forward this e-mail to everyone you know...

This is a David versus Goliath battle. The redevelopment lobby may be well-funded and well-connected, but we’re right...
(Christina finished that last sentence with "and David always wins." But the truth is he doesn't always win. People have lost their homes, hopes, and dreams to Redevelopment's abusive practices. It's up to you to help "right" to win.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Call and/or Fax the "Republican 5" and tell them to vote to End Redevelopment in California Now!

Tell Them: By Supporting Redevelopment “California Republicans do not believe in limited government. They are the party of corporate welfare”

Senator Tom Berryhill
State Capitol, Room 3076
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4014
Fax: (916) 327-3523
---------------------------
Senator Tom Harman
State Capitol, Room 5094
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4035
Fax: (916) 445-9263
---------------------------
Senator Anthony Cannella
State Capitol, Room 3048
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4012
Fax: (916) 445-0773
---------------------------
Senator Sam Blakeslee
State Capitol, Room 4070
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4015
Fax: (916) 445-8081
---------------------------
Senator Bill Emmerson
State Capitol, Room 4082
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4037
Fax: (916) 327-2187

California Republicans Can’t Even Do Wrong Right
by Tim Cavanaugh, Reason Magazine

Link to Article: Click Here

“Redevelopment is about everything Republicans claim to loath: bureaucracy, debt, abuses of property rights, big government, excessive land-use rules, subsidized housing and fiscal irresponsibility. In California cities, redevelopment bureaucrats rule the roost and they leave a path of destruction wherever they go. They bully people and impose enormous burdens on taxpayers. The diversion of tax dollars to welfare queens mandates higher taxes, but the GOP sided with the redevelopment industry. They sided with agencies that run up hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-backed indebtedness. They sided with government-directed stimulus programs,....
The truth is California Republicans do not believe in limited government. They do not stand up for property owners. They are the party of corporate welfare.”

Supporting SB77 / AB101 did not in any way jeopardize the Republican position on taxes.

Failing to vote on ending Redevelopment goes against their own party platform, the people of California, and everything that California Republicans claim to represent.

If you can't get this one right, you might as well pack your bags and leave Sacramento.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tonight! Gadfly Radio with Me and CalWatchDog's Steven Greenhut and John Seiler! 8PM PT!

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT
To Listen Live, Click here, on Channel 2:

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Gadfly Radio--Steven Greenhut and John Seiler will have lots to talk about this evening. 

The CA GOP convention just happened this past weekend and we'll  distill the significance of it for you!

We'll talk about the latest on PG&E and Nuclear Power in CA, and CA AB32, the Calif. cap-and-trade plan suffers a legal setback, and what that means to the taxpayers and everyone who pays for gas, food, energy and has a job or wants one in California. 

My mission for this radio program is (and I quote here the mission statement of  The Future of Freedom Foundation, with whom I have no affiliation other than that I agree with their stated mission,  by which I am inspired and for which I stand, to the best of my ability), "to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government."

It's my privilege to share this program with CalWatchDog's team of government watch dogs!

Join us Tuesday nights, on Gadfly Radio live in Southern California or where ever you are. No matter how bad things are, California is a land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, if we can manage to get it right.   Join us.

To listen to a podcast:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

CA GOP Saves Eminent Domain! Party of the tax payer? NOT! Party of the Property Owner? NOT!

MARCH 18, 2011

By STEVEN GREENHUT

California Republicans love to talk about limiting government, fighting bureaucracy and keeping taxes low, but on Thursday they proved that this is nothing more than a rhetorical device. Given the opportunity to rein in the size and power of government in a tangible way, Assembly Republicans – with one sole exception – punted. They rallied to save some of the most abusive and wastrel government agencies around.

As the California GOP begins its convention in Sacramento today, party members ought to at least understand where its Assembly members stand – on the side of big government, higher taxes and uncontrolled debt and against property rights, individualism and freedom. As the party blathers about luring minority and working-class voters, let it be clear that the GOP sided with the developers and government planners who want to drive minorities and working-class people off of their property. The Democrats are right: The GOP is the party of big business and privilege.

As part of the governor’s budget package, the Assembly voted on SB77, which would have ended the state’s redevelopment agencies. But only longtime redevelopment foe, Chris Norby of Fullerton, sided with taxpayers and property owners. The rest of the Assembly Republicans voted “no” or didn’t vote at all. Had even one of the Republicans joined Norby, the bill would have passed with a two-thirds majority. There may still be time, but the GOP is too busy celebrating that it stopped Brown on this one issue. They put partisanship above their own ideology. They stopped Brown in one of the few areas where Brown was right.Click here to read more.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Collection of Works Addressing the Tyranny of Collective Bargaining in Labor Law and Practice

In The Libertarian Legacy of R.C. Hoiles, Part 1 by Wendy McElroy, Posted October 1, 2010, She cites Holis' arguments against collective bargaining on moral principles:
“The Most Harmful Error Most Honest People Make” … “is the belief that a group or a government can do things that would be harmful and wicked if done by an individual and produce results that are not harmful, unjust and wicked. And “What a businessman or laborer could not gain through merit should never be granted through force or fraud.”
“…union privileges”… inflict…”harm on the nonunion worker. In a 1937 editorial entitled “Whom Will a Worker Obey?” Hoiles expounded on the “harm” collective bargaining inflicted on working people:

Collective bargaining advocates delude the poor, honest working man, who has not had time to study the matter through, with the idea that giving them the right to regulate his life — tell him at what he must work, for what price and how long — they will greatly add to his comfort of life. [Emphasis added.]

The phrase “who has not had time to study” is key. In a July 1938 editorial, Hoiles explained that the purpose of his columns was to make people think. Elsewhere, in a 1940 editorial, he stated, “Collective bargaining makes its members collectivists and tyrants instead of Americans and true Christians.”
In The Authoritarianism of American Labor Law by George C. Leef, he writes of the legal establishment of collective bargaining in The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the key piece of legislation controlling unionization.

It was passed in 1935 as a favor to organized labor for its electoral support of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. The new law wiped out all state laws covering unionization in the private sector and instituted a federal system based on the notion that collective bargaining was a good thing for the nation and should therefore be facilitated by government power.

Crucially, unionization was made to be a matter of collective decision rather than individual choice. Under the NLRA, if enough workers express a desire for an election to decide whether the workplace will be unionized, a federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), conducts such an election under rules that are supposed to ensure “fairness.” For example, it’s illegal for the employer to promise benefits to the workers if they vote not to unionize. That interference with freedom of speech and contract is just one of the many coercive aspects of the law.
To download a PDF of the document Click here.   Or to read the document on line, on google docs, you may click here.

In Why Socialism Is the People’s Choice by James Ostrowski, June 2003, Future of Freedom Foundation Daily:
Socialism does not work, because, instead of allowing the price system to be a vehicle of rational economic planning, it sabotages the price system as much as possible. In its extreme form, socialism would eliminate prices for capital goods — by seizing them — and thereby cause economic annihilation. Even socialism’s less extreme interventions injure the price system. Taxation, inflation, subsidies, occupational licensure, collective bargaining mandates, and so on all distort market prices and cripple their ability to convey accurate information about preferences and scarcities.
The entire piece is compelling, powerful and clear. To read it Click here.

And a repost from a recent post of mine on this blog: The Trouble with Public Sector Unions by DANIEL DISALVO, in National Affairs, Issue Number 5, Fall 2010

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: "Meticulous attention," the president insisted in 1937, "should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government....The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." The reason? F.D.R. believed that "[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable." Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

Courts across the nation also generally held that collective bargaining by government workers should be forbidden on the legal grounds of sovereign immunity and unconstitutional delegation of government powers. In 1943, a New York Supreme Court judge held:

To tolerate or recognize any combination of civil service employees of the government as a labor organization or union is not only incompatible with the spirit of democracy, but inconsistent with every principle upon which our government is founded. Nothing is more dangerous to public welfare than to admit that hired servants of the State can dictate to the government the hours, the wages and conditions under which they will carry on essential services vital to the welfare, safety, and security of the citizen. To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power. Nothing would be more ridiculous.

The very nature of many public services — such as policing the streets and putting out fires — gives government a monopoly or near monopoly; striking public employees could therefore hold the public hostage. As long-time New York Times labor reporter A. H. Raskin wrote in 1968: "The community cannot tolerate the notion that it is defenseless at the hands of organized workers to whom it has entrusted responsibility for essential services."
Click here to read this insightful and timeless piece in full.

Individual liberty cannot survive a republic of dunces--[We cannot survive the present course of "Public Education"]

By: Mark Tapscott 03/09/11 9:05 PM
The Washington Examiner
Editorial Page Editor
Follow Him on Twitter @mtapscott

In an era noteworthy for Muslim terrorists plotting future 9/11s and nukes in the hands of fanatical nut jobs like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea's Kim Jong il, you might think there couldn't possibly be a more serious problem to ponder.

You would be wrong.

Consider what happened recently when the Intercollegiate Studies Institute gave a 60-question civic literacy test to more than 28,000 college students:

"Less than half knew about federalism, judicial review, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and NATO. And this was a multiple-choice test, with the answers staring them right in the face," said political scientist Richard Brake, co-chairman of ISI's Civic Literacy Board.

"Ten percent thought that 'we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' came from the Communist Manifesto," Brake added during a recent interview with my Examiner colleague Barbara Hollingsworth.

Even the smart kids at Harvard failed the test, scoring on average 69, which is a D. Since the vast majority of the students tested are products of public schools, the results represent a comprehensive indictment of public education, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

These are the people who year after year graduate classes in which one of every four kids cannot read at even a basic level. If you can't read the Constitution, or the Declaration, or The Federalist Papers, you won't understand their essential concepts or why they represent so much wisdom.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: Click Here to Continue.

To Support or find out more about the Parent Trigger, if you’re in LA on the evening of March 21st, please attend this event organized by ed warrior Larry Sand

Here's the text from his email regarding the event: As you know, the Parent Empowerment Act, known colloquially as the Parent Trigger Law, was passed over a year ago in California. The first attempt to take advantage of the new law was by a group of parents in Compton late last year. Though they complied with the law in gathering the required number of signatures, they have met great resistance from the Compton Unified School District, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and others in Sacramento who seem bent on eviscerating the new law.

I have organized an event at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles on March 21 at which four experts, including Ben Austin, will explain the new law as well as its current legal status. We are trying to attract activists, parents, taxpayers, etc. who will hopefully be willing to involve themselves in the embattled Parent Trigger legal wrangle.

I am attaching a flyer with more information. Please forward it to anyone you think maybe interested in the event. Thank you very much.

To download a PDF of the Flier for this upcoming event, click here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gadfly Radio with Me and CalWatchDog's Steven Greenhut and John Seiler! Tonight! 8PM PT!

Gadfly Radio Premiere's Tonight, March 15th at 8 PM PT
To Listen Live, Click here, on Channel 2:

Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
We'll talk about Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami.  What are some of the reverberations for California's economy and our energy supply options.   We'll also talk about the Budget Crisis in Sacramento and what are the possibilities, one way or the other, if the Governor gets to put a measure to raise or "extend" taxes to a vote on a ballot in June?  What if the tax increase measure is put on the ballot after it's after the 'temporary' taxes the CA Legislature gave us back in the spring of 2006 expire before the Governor and the Legislature were able to get them  'extended,' with a Yes vote by CA voters?   Will it be a mail in only ballot?   What happens if the voters vote NO on the Governor's tax increase/extension plan?  
Talk about tsunamis, another CalPERS scandal worth tens of millions of dollars! The fox is not a good watchdog for the hen house!
Update on the Parent Trigger Law.

To listen to a podcast:

Another Web of Corruption Uncovered--Will likely cost Taxpayers the Tens of Millions of Dollars Scammed and Lost.

Sac Bee reports: Web of corruption described in CalPERS bribery scandal
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011

The bribery scandal at CalPERS likely cost the pension fund tens of millions of dollars in inflated fees, a lawyer hired by CalPERS to investigate the case said Monday. [Readers should remember we, the taxpayers are on the hook for the lost dollars which are part of the promise politicians made to CalPERS members with our money, for their benefits. That's the rub!]

Washington lawyer Philip Khinda, in a report to the California Public Employees' Retirement System board, said former "placement agent" Alfred Villalobos corrupted top pension fund officials, notably former Chief Executive Fred Buenrostro, to steer investments to his clients.
Click here to read more."

John Seiler at Cal Watch Dog asks: How much more of this are Californians going to take? Will another tax increase be needed?

L.A. Times Reports:
In a scathing report, a former chief executive of the California public employee pension fund was accused of pressuring subordinates to invest billions of dollars of pension money with politically connected firms.

A 17-month investigation also found that Federico Buenrostro Jr. — along with former pension fund board members Charles Valdes and Kurato Shimada — strong-armed a benefits firm to pay more than $4 million in fees to consultant Alfred J.R. Villalobos, who later hired Buenrostro.

The report, prepared for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System by Washington law firm Steptoe & Johnson, comes amid widening attacks on public employee pension funds in California, Wisconsin, Iowa and other states for providing lavish benefits that cash-strapped governments can no longer afford.
Click here to read more.

Let Charity be Charitable, and as for our Government: Condolences Yes, Assistance No

Condolences Yes, Assistance No
by Laurence M. Vance, August 15, 2011
Future of Freedom Foundation Daily

Thanks to the tremendous technological advances in communications that have taken place over the past few years, the whole world has now heard of and seen the destruction wrought by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. With thousands already confirmed dead, and many thousands more missing and presumed dead, the thoughts and prayers from people of every nation are with the Japanese people.

Here's my favorite pulled quote from this article:

"...the U.S. government shouldn’t even be providing assistance to American citizens in Japan. There was a time in this country when it was recognized to be improper for the federal government to provide humanitarian relief even within the United States. President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill in 1887 that would have provided seed for farmers in drought-stricken Texas. In his veto message, he wrote that aid from Washington only “encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” The Texas farmers ended up getting ten times as much in private assistance as they would have received from Uncle Sam."

Click here to read the article.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Trouble with Public Sector Unions--Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers:

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: "Meticulous attention," the president insisted in 1937, "should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government....The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." The reason?

DANIEL DISALVO
Fall/2010

When Chris Christie became New Jersey's governor in January, he wasted no time in identifying the chief perpetrators of his state's fiscal catastrophe. Facing a nearly $11 billion budget gap — as well as voters fed up with the sky-high taxes imposed on them to finance the state government's profligacy — Christie moved swiftly to take on the unions representing New Jersey's roughly 400,000 public employees.

On his first day in office, the governor signed an executive order preventing state-workers' unions from making political contributions — subjecting them to the same limits that had long applied to corporations. More recently, he has waged a protracted battle against state teachers' unions, which are seeking pay increases and free lifetime health care for their members. Recognizing the burden that such benefits would place on New Jersey's long-term finances, Christie has sought instead to impose a one-year wage freeze, to change pension rules to limit future benefits, and to require that teachers contribute a tiny fraction of their salaries to cover the costs of their health insurance — measures that, for private-sector workers, would be mostly uncontroversial.

The firestorm that these proposals have sparked demonstrates the political clout of state-workers' unions. Christie's executive order met with vicious condemnation from union leaders and the politicians aligned with them; his fight with the public-school teachers prompted the New Jersey Education Association to spend $6 million (drawn from members' dues) on anti-Christie attack ads over a two-month period. Clearly, the lesson for reform-minded politicians has been: Confront public-sector unions at your peril. Click here to read this insightful and timeless piece in full.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crushing Hopes in Compton The empire strikes back against 'parent trigger.'

No good idea goes unchallenged by the forces of the educational status quo, but the tactics they're using to stop the first experiment at "parent trigger" school reform in California sure are revealing—and ugly.

As we reported in December, a majority of parents (more than 250) have exercised their right under a new state law to petition to replace the administrators at McKinley Elementary school in Compton, California and invite a charter-school operator to take over.

McKinley is one of the worst schools in one of the worst-performing districts in the country. Fewer than half of the Compton Unified School District's students graduate from high school, and only 3.3% of those graduates are eligible to attend California's public universities. The parents want McKinley to be run by Celerity Educational Group, which operates three high-performing charters in the Los Angeles area. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

UPDATE to this Post on ECONOMIC LIBERTY LECTURE SERIES Dinner, Lecture, and Social Hour

Updated, March 14, 2011: Link to the lecture on video--Click here to see the video.
DATE: March 7, 2011 – Monday

PLACE: George Mason University -
Johnson Center Cinema
TIME: 5:30 pm – Pizza
6:00 pm – Talk with Q&A
8:00 pm – Social hour at Brion's Grille

ADMISSION: FREE

SPEAKER: Tom G. Palmer
"Democratic Liberalism, Limited Government, Free Markets: Necessary Partners?"

Tom G. Palmer is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and director of Cato University, the Institute's educational arm. Palmer is also the vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks. Before joining Cato he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, China, and the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights. He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Ethics, Critical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such as Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Die Welt, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford University. He is the author of Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, published in 2009.

Live Webcast:

Tom Palmer's speech will be broadcast live on Ustream.com. If you're outside the DC area, you can watch and submit questions online in real-time via FFF's UStream station: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-future-of-freedom-foundation

Social Hour:

Come join us after the event for a social hour at Brion's Grille in Fairfax, Virginia, right next to George Mason University - 10621 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 352-7272

Future Speakers:
Monday, April 4 , 2011 Lawrence H. White

Presented by:

George Mason University Economics Society
&
The Future of Freedom Foundation
fff@fff.org
(703) 934-6101

Directions:
George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA.
Visitors should park in the Mason Pond Parking Deck. The Johnson Center is next to the the parking deck and the cinema in on the bottom floor. Cost is $2 per hour; $8 max per day. All Parking Inquiries: (703) 993-2710.

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

Key

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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