You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2016.
Comey’s letter is really vague, and the timing is extremely suspect, but it is what it is.
Will it win the election for Trump? I doubt it. But it could help the Republicans hold on to the Senate. Might not be fair that that the down ticket pays the price for Clinton’s stupidity, but voting decisions don’t always seem rational. She just won’t have the coattails which have been building.
Of course, none of this could have happened with Bernie. Just saying.
Update: Okay, if Slate is correct, then Comey’s letter is way out of line!
Second update: Yeah, it was a bulls— political stunt by a guy who’s taken a lot of heat for not delivering Clinton up for prosecution. Manipulatively cryptic, leaving it to the press to guess what he was talking about. As my friend James says, “It’s Friday. The story will be dead by Monday.”
Here’s his internal letter to his employees, which reads like somebody really embarrassed. He ought to be.
It really has been abysmal.
Trump supporters think the media coverage is “rigged” against him simply because they cover what he says and does. But the media really does hate Clinton, and not for the better reasons. They don’t slam her for policy. They don’t even discuss policy. Yes, the coverage is sexist.
I’m sure this will be interpreted by a few as support for Clinton, but I remarked on this even during the Sanders campaign. The media loved Sanders. Didn’t take him seriously until way too late, but they loved him. He’s more likable. But that’s not the point.
This is of course a partial list of all three categories. I want to comment on some interesting anomalies.
First, the differences between the two left parties – Peace and Freedom and Green. P&F opposes Prop 56 while the Greens support it. That’s the difference between bourgeois post-New Left and socialist views – the latter view the cigarette tax as regressive. There’s nothing socialist about regressive taxes. The Greens, unlike the Democrats who support Proposition 53, take no position on the gun control proposal. P&F joins the Republicans and Libertarians in opposition. That’s the difference between liberalism and radicalism.
All the parties oppose mandatory porn condoms – except the socialists who probably see it as a work safety issue.
Neither the Greens nor P&F are buying into the contractors’ push for Prop 51. They join the Libertarians who probably just don’t like any bond initiatives. Both the Democrats and Republicans support it.
For whatever reason, the Libertarians oppose bilingual education. Maybe it’s a process issue as I raised, or maybe because it will cost money.
Libertarians also oppose the marijuana legalization prop. Interesting.
And while both the Republicans and Libertarians oppose the elimination of plastic grocery bags, the Libertarians aren’t buying into the Prop 65 manipulation by the industry. Good on them.
On Prop 54 everybody supports it except for the Democrats (and unions) because the Democrats probably aren’t going to lose the legislature anytime soon.
Looking at the non-profits – it’s interesting that the ACLU isn’t taking a stand against mandatory porn condoms. I know that some of them have voiced their opposition, but apparently couldn’t put together a position as an organization.
Interesting that the Police Chiefs organization opposes the gun control, but the Peace Officer’s union takes no position. The Peace Officers Research Association also opposes it.
The Chamber is mostly conservative as usual, but they break from the Republicans, Libertarians and tax posse over Proposition 53 which imposes statewide voter approval of funding for local projects. The Chamber is looking at it from an economic perspective more than ideological. And they support bilingual education and the hospital fee diversion. I only disagree with them on two propositions, proposition 55 which extends the tax on rich and the tying of drug purchases to VA prices (Bernie came to California to speak on behalf of 61 last Friday!).
Nearly everybody except the Republicans, Libertarians, and tax posse oppose Proposition 53, which is horrendous.
The League of Women Voters takes its customary liberal positions with the exception of Proposition 59 – the anti-Citizens United advisory prop. I wonder if it’s a process objection against advisory measures in general. Will look into it.
The firefighters support Prop 66, but take no position on 62. Odd. Otherwise the firefighters take liberal positions.
The unions all either support or take no position on the tax on rich and tax on poor. Same with probation reform/child prosecution reform and bilingual education. As usual the nurses and teachers are the most liberal unions.
The Quakers and the interfaith church group mostly agree, but the Quakers oppose the hospital fee diversion and the drugs at VA prices measures while the churches support them. The churches support mandatory porn condoms. The Quakers oppose.
I should point out the 0bvious – that some organizations avoid taking positions on propositions with subject matter unrelated to their central purposes. Still, some of the abstentions are kind of surprising.
The newspapers all seem to be pretty unified on most initiatives. They are split on taxing the rich, probation reform/child prosecution reform (should really be two propositions), and bilingual education. Also to a lesser degree gun control.
When I first heard of this Measure I wondered where the county could find legal justification to impose a tax on grass, and so when I got the voter’s guide I went straight to the impartial analysis and sure enough there’s a Business and Professions Code number 19348 which says counties can impose a marijuana tax.
(a) (1) A county may impose a tax on the privilege of cultivating, dispensing, producing, processing, preparing, storing, providing, donating, selling, or distributing medical cannabis or medical cannabis products by a licensee operating pursuant to this chapter.
And for good measure there’s also Revenue and Taxation Code section7284 which says that the county can require license and regulate any lawful business within its jurisdiction and impose a “license tax” accordingly.
But it can’t be measured/calculated by income or gross receipts of the business. Income tax is left to the state and federal governments. So it’s based on the square footage of the cultivation area. One dollar per square foot of outside cultivation. Two dollars for each square foot of mixed light cultivation. Three dollars for strictly indoor.
The money will go into the general fund for general use rather than earmarks, which for some reason doesn’t make Kent Sawatzky happy so he submitted the opposition in the Voter’s Guide. Yes, it can be used for raises, retirement, or whatever. It can also be used for roads. And paperclips.
We need the revenue. It’s an industry which weighs heavy on public resources and infrastructure.
Works for me.
Sales taxes are regressive. Transportation should be financed nationally and statewide, from a progressive tax system along the lines of Europe or at least the US in the 1950s and 60s. Money should be allocated to regions according to need. Economies of scale. Transportation and infrastructure should be covered by those government entities with the power to impose income tax.
But since the late 70s and as consolidated in the early 80s national spending has been redirected towards the military and state spending in California has been greatly impacted by limitations on the ability to generate revenue. Moreover, we passed term limitations which, as I’ve argued in the past, negatively impacts rural areas since nobody is in long enough to establish relationships to ensure money flows outside of the concentrations of voters needed to win statewide positions. And in order to pass this tax proposal, we need two thirds of the vote – which is ridiculous. We probably won’t get it.
So rural counties must fend for themselves. Which means we’re forced to fund through sales taxes. And we’re not taking in enough, apparently. So if we need more, we need to impose sales tax increases.
Some of the objections: No set structure on how the money will be spent. No guarantees that local contractors will be hired. Vagueness in the tax payer oversight committee function and structure. Municipalities already have their own taxes.
Thing is, we elect people to allocate the money. We entrust them with that. If they fail, they lose elections, and if they don’t then that’s the voters’ choice. A committee, regardless of specific function, will provide one added element of sunshine, though personally I think the idea is silly. I would actually be happier if we were talking about an increased tax to go into the general fund to be used as needed according to priorities set by the body we elect to do so.
It seems we need the money. So, yes on U.
And who is Ken Sawatsky?
Would regulate rent increases for mobile homes in parks with ten or more spaces within the unincorporated portions of Humboldt County. Increases would be allowed based on cost of living increases based on the CPI. The county would post the rate of increases and landlords could either increase rents with proper notice or bank the increase for another time. Landlords can exempt themselves by offering long term leases pursuant to Civil Code section 798.17, offering security for a waiver of rent control provisions (Landlords have been offering such leases in anticipation of the possibility the measure will pass, but there’s no time limit on such an offer). And unlike San Francisco’s rent control and others, the measure includes vacancy rent control limiting increases to 5 percent (the lack of such provision has led to failures of rent control to stabilize anything in other jurisdictions). It also does allow a landlord to request an exemption when costs exceed CPI. It allows for rent increases for new capital improvements with consent of half the tenants. Lastly, it allows for mandatory rent decreases if costs to the landlords are reduced.
Yes, yes, yes! I know – government red tape, blah, blah, blah. Low to moderate income renters are provided little protection in this country. This measure appears to be pretty well thought out. I’m sure there will be problems. But the less vulnerable we leave those on fixed incomes, the better our society.
Now let’s consider a more general rent control measure. I say this as a landlord.
Measure Q would effectively merge the offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector into the singular office of the Director of Finance. The argument is that it would increase efficiency, allow for more cross-training of employees, and save money.
Measure R would make the new position an elected position – obviously moot if Q doesn’t pass.
The opposition argues that similar consolidations of office have worked better in larger more wealthy counties, and not so well in smaller.
It’s obviously not a partisan issue as it was placed on the ballot with a unanimous Board of Supervisor vote, although it should be noted that voting to place a measure on the ballot isn’t necessarily a personal endorsement. On the state level legislators routinely vote to place propositions on the ballot in the interest of public process.
I really don’t know whether it will improve or worsen the efficiency and function of the current offices. So I would rely on people who have run the office and/or worked for them. The opposition statement in the sample ballot was signed by current and former office holders. In the absence of personal knowledge, and I have no way of obtaining direct personal knowledge, I have to defer to those who have run the offices as to whether such a proposal would work best for the specific conditions of Humboldt County. Therefore, No on Q.
I also join with those same people in urging a yes vote on R. If we are going to create the new position of Director of Finance, it ought to be an elected position. Nobody submitted an opposition for the sample ballot. Seems like a no-brainer.
We select people to take positions of power which we greatly exaggerate, and turn on them when they don’t deliver precisely the “change” we want because that power is limited in the face of social inertia which is hundreds if not thousands of years old. Anybody who becomes President will be a “warmonger” within weeks to those who feel that politics are run by some group of elites duping everyone else. It’s an easy out – you can be removed from the process of hard work for change which comes slowly if at all – and you can justify what is a glorified apathy as virtuous or even heroic.
Anybody in power has to play the power game, and anybody who veers too far out of the inertia – who does not “hit back” when Americans are killed – doesn’t last long in power. They risk their purity undoing all of the work the movements behind them put into getting them there, and people with shallow understanding assume that they have actually bought in to that inertia (even worse than “selling out”).
One of the more profound political writers of the 20th century was kind of a hack in some ways. Communist and sometimes a bit dogmatic, but also with a profound understanding of how power works – Howard Fast, helped break the back of the blacklist when he wrote the script for Spartacus. Charles Lawton played what some would consider a “corrupt” liberal Senator who publicly supports dedicating Roman troops to put down a “ruffian” slave rebellion with which he privately sympathizes. Later as he’s buying some birds to sacrifice in the temple, a colleague says, “Do you really believe in that?” He responds, “Privately I believe in none of the gods. Publicly I believe in them all.”
He compromises and plays “within the system” until he recognizes an evil which threatens everything he’s fought and compromised for and he veers outside of the balance to take a stand. And it kills him (literally – hopefully you’ve all seen the classic movie by now).
President Carter also veered too far, and was done in by the institutional inertia, because Americans who work hard and worry over their children want to feel safe. And in order to feel safe, many people expect certain overtures, and, they expect blood for blood. It’s changing – slowly – but it’s the reality that anyone who is seriously seeking power must contend with if he or she is going to be effective. It’s just the reality. Society and its body politic are like an ocean liner which does not make sharp turns. It starts slowly and the turn is very gradual – but once the turn begins it’s also very hard to reverse.
As Bernie is screaming to tell you, electoral politics is about positioning. You get what you can. And then, after the election, you push hard and long. That’s how change is made.
Jill Stein can afford to be pure (and boring). She will never be in a position of power and will never have to worry about staying in office and being effective while you are there. It’s a luxury. It’s also very limiting.
I was considering a vote for Stein, and even at the insistence of several friends whose views a greatly respect, I took a good look at Johnson. After all since so many libertarians supported an earnest socialist in the primary season, I thought maybe I could reciprocate. And I actually liked what I saw. I don’t agree with the economic views – the notion that the economy is some sort of organism operating on Newtonian principles with balances upset by excessive regulation – I think sometimes libertarians can be as utopian as the most dogmatic of socialists – works great on paper, not so much in the messy realm of human affairs. And no, I don’t hold the “Aleppo moment” against him. It’s really hard running for office and being expected to keep up on all events and be ready to generate coherent policy positions at a moment’s notice. All pols have their “deplorables” moments, or their, geeze I don’t even know how to pick a representative moment for Trump. And I like Johnson’s anti-war positions. His civil libertarian positions. And I relate to him as a dork.
But my decision to vote for Clinton came in the first debate. I saw an alpha male representing everything I detest in a bully and bigot, and I saw a woman who’s faced down so many people like him over years of relentless misogyny against her responding with professionalism, grace, and character. All of my political disagreements with her, my complaints about her cynicism which has hardened her over the years in some dark ways, and the compromises she has made which affect the integrity of the body-politic – I was able to set all of that aside because during that debate and in light of the subsequent revelations and a campaign which is triggering anxiety in many women who have been victims of sexual assault, all I could hear was the Pete Seeger of my childhood singing “Which side are you on boy, which side are you on?” This election represents distinct visions of society, politics, and culture. A stark contrast between the two major party candidates.