Tag Archives: California

Will they ever Stop?

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

Every day when I open my e-mail, I read of some new “solution” to some superfluous problem that somehow triggers the progressive mindset to make another law.  Some of the problems are actually real issues, but the progressive nanny-state approach is not the way to solve anything.

Doing the same thing over, and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  Therefore, the Democrats must be insane.  Why else would they keep proposing the same ridiculous proposals, or variants thereof, over, and over again?

When will they stop?

They just keep the bad, silly, and foolish ideas coming.  Every time you hear of a new plan or idea that makes you scratch your head and wonder, “What were they thinking?” just check to see who is behind it.  Chances are about 99 percent that they have a (D) behind their name unless, of course, it is Bernie Sanders.  Sanders, the king of free stuff for everyone, disingenuously changed his (D) to an (I) to mask the fact he is farther to the left than Karl Marx.

Here are some recent examples of the lunacy of the Democrats.

As I previously reported, California Democrats are trying to grab 50% of what windfall business may receive from federal income tax reform.  Now, according to the New York Post, New York Governor Cuomo, a Democrat, proposed legislation that virtually eliminates deductions on personal income tax in the state.

“Under Cuomo, Albany’s budget has become more dependent than ever on revenue raised from the state personal-income tax — more than 40 percent of which originates with households earning $1 million or more,” according to the New York Post.

The article continues, “And under the revised tax code, the virtual repeal of state and local tax deductions means these same taxpayers will save little or nothing, despite a small cut in the top federal rate.  New York City’s millionaire earners, in particular, will be paying tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars more in combined federal, state, and local taxes in 2018.”

As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”  Another lesson it seems Democrats are incapable of learning.

Here is yet another item for the indictment of Democrat insanity, again from the deep blue asylum of California.

USA Today reported on a bill introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon “. . . that would make it illegal for restaurant servers to give guests plastic straws unless requested — with the threat of a $1,000 fine or jail time attached.”


They can’t raise the minimum wage high enough to make serving food and drinks in a restaurant worth that risk.  Maybe the next step for the Democrats is to pass a bill requiring patrons to tip their server an amount equal to the cost of the meal.

As usual with Democrats, Calderon is backpedaling on the issue of the fines and trying to divert attention away from this looming debacle by tossing out unverifiable environmental claims from a 16-year-old who “researched” the issue when he was nine.

Sorry, Mr. Calderon, a few numbers gathered by a precocious 9-year-old from a few telephone calls to plastic straw manufacturers, is not scientific data.  Questionable science in any discipline that cannot be verified should not form the basis for public policy.

Can you spell idiot, Assemblyman?  I hope you can.

The list is long enough to create a daily column for 1,000 years, but here is one final illustration of Democratic insanity and insensitivity.

In 2017, California enacted a law (AB 1887) prohibiting state agencies from requiring, or paying for trips to states that supposedly discriminate against the LGBT community.  These states include Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

Many people may think this sounds reasonable.  However, in effect it will have no effect on the targeted states.  Rather, it will harm residents of California.

Enter the pompous, supercilious windbags that run Citrus Community College in Glendora, California.

“Unfortunately, that law just ruined the dreams — and potentially even future careers — of the Citrus College rocketry club, who are now prevented from traveling to Huntsville, Alabama, to take part in the prestigious annual NASA Student Launch competition,” according to the Conservative Tribune.

The team earned one of only 60 spots in the highly competitive event that includes teams from major Ivy League colleges, large universities, and famed technical schools.

This year, five other California teams are participating in the same contest with private funds.  Despite the so-called travel ban, the Citrus College team attended the Alabama competition last year with the blessings of the school.

According to the Citrus College student newspaper The Clarion, the Chancellor of California Community Colleges Eloy Ortiz Oakley said, “As a matter of policy, the Chancellor’s Office will not approve requests from our local community college districts to travel to an AB 1887 restricted state, REGARDLESS OF THE FUNDING SOURCE for the proposed out-of-state travel,” (Emphasis mine)

In the United States, the idea of Federalism grants the states the power to deal with their own affairs.  In addition, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution guarantees the free flow of commerce between the states.  Tourism and travel is commerce.  Simply stated, California should stop meddling in the affairs of other states and stop trying to control everyone from cradle to grave with their utopian wet dreams.

I have had it with Democratic insanity.  Enough!

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”  ~Ronald Reagan

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The King of All Freeloaders

By Alden L. Benton

I usually begin my posts with a short, pertinent quote on the topic I will cover.  The quote I have chosen today is longer, but it reflects the theme I have attempted to maintain throughout the life of this blog.  The quote is from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Solzhenitsyn knew the evils of the power of an unrestrained government.  After fighting for the Soviet Union during World War II, Solzhenitsyn wrote letters to a friend that criticized of Joseph Stalin.  He was arrested.  He spent eight years in prison labor camps, and then three more years in exile for daring to write private letters criticizing their dear leader.  Solzhenitsyn’s words bring a chilling warning about the ever-increasing power of government and the real dangers it poses to the individual and illuminate why the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be protected at all costs.

“Our present system is unique in world history, because over and above its physical and economic constraints, it demands of us total surrender of our souls, continuous and active participation in the general, conscious lie.  To this putrefaction of the soul, this spiritual enslavement, human beings who wish to be human cannot consent.  When Caesar, having exacted what is Caesar’s, demands still more insistently that we render him what is God’s — that is a sacrifice we dare not make!”
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from Under the Rubble (1974)

This is the ultimate goal of the Left.  Take our power.  Take our money.  Take our freedom.  Take our souls.

Enter stage left, California Governor Jerry “Governor Moonbeam” Brown.

Red State reported yesterday (May 16, 2017) that Governor Brown, responding to outrage over a $52 billion tax increase to fund the failing golden parachute known as CalPERS, and other state programs, called the state’s wage earners “freeloaders.”

The Democratic super majority in the California legislature rammed through legislation that will hurt poor and middle-income wage earners.  The bill (SB1) includes a 12 cent increase in the gas tax (which is already one of the highest in the nation), and an increase in car registration fees averaging from $50 to $180 per car.  Fuel fees will also rise for agriculture equipment, trucks, and off-highway vehicles (OHV) including boats.

These fees are imposed under the guise of user fees.  On the surface, this is true.  However, a major part of this tax/fee hike is not related to the highways it purports will be improved.  Much of the revenue will go to pay off loans from other funds, to bail out failed funds, fund non-transportation related programs, and pork barrel funding ($500 million) for an extension of the high-speed rail fiasco into Merced County and to finish a “parkway” leading into UC Merced to pay off a key Assemblyman.

Back to Governor Moonbeam.

In all of his full-blown, pompous, callous, leftist, arrogance, the governor is calling those who pay the bills in this state, including his inflated salary, freeloaders.

In reality, he is the California King of Freeloaders.

Governor Brown has never had a real job.

Governor Brown attended a seminary, became a lawyer, and won a seat on the Los Angeles City College board of trustees.  Brown has never worked as a lawyer or in any truly meaningful, gainful employment.  When he wasn’t being paid by the state government (Governor twice, state attorney general), he worked as Democratic party hack, even running a failed campaign for president.

That the people of California, the people who struggle every day against the massive state bureaucracy, the people who pay a larger share of their hard-earned money to the dysfunctional state leviathan than any other state, are considered by the ruling-class elite to be freeloaders is obscene beyond words.

According to the Washington Times, there is an initiative proposed for the November 2018 ballot.  This is a step in the right direction as the state’s initiative and referendum process gives the voters of the state the ultimate power of veto.  However, we need to go farther.

It is time for the people of California to rise once more and recall the governor, and every representative from every party who voted for this insanity or who supports the governor’s arrogance and stupidity.

“If people give up their attachment to expansive government, they will feel free to fight the income tax.”
~ Sheldon Richman, Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax (1999)

©2017 Alden L. Benton / Independence Creek Enterprises
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We the People — Part 6

 “Governments should not possess instruments of coercion and violence denied to their citizens.” ~Edgar A. Suter

By Alden Benton

Long before we devised our current system of taxation, Benjamin Franklin once noted, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  Today, Mr. Franklin would probably have something to say about the tendency of temporary things to become permanent.

Proposition 55 asks voters to make something that was temporary, virtually permanent.

California voters approved a measure in 2012 that raised the income tax rates on the state’s highest income taxpayers through 2018 and increased the state sales tax by ¼ per cent through 2016.

Proposition 55 will extend the increased income tax rates until 2030.  The sales tax increase will expire at the end of this year. 

However, Proposition 55 imposes two new retroactive taxes.  Retailers will be charged ¼ per cent of their gross receipts for sales between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2017.  At the same time, consumers will be charged ¼ per cent of the sales price of property bought during the same period.  (California Voter Guide, pages 132-133)

According to the California Legislative Analyst, Proposition 55 will raise between $4 billion and $9 billion per year, half going to K-12 public schools and California community colleges.  K-12 schools receive 89 per cent of this funding.  

Proposition 55 prohibits schools from using these funds for administrative costs. Local districts maintain control of how to use the money from this measure. Decisions regarding the use of Proposition 55 money must occur in open public meetings.

This measure could also result in increased Medi-Cal funding of up to $2 billion per year.  If state revenues exceed the annual constitutional spending minimums, 50 per cent of the excess (up to $2 billion) may go to fund Medi-Cal.

Under Proposition 55, budget reserves and debt payments could increase from $60 million to $1.5 billion per year.  These numbers depend upon both the economy and the performance of the stock market.

Proposition 55 contains provisions to ensure the revenues raised will be spent properly.  “All revenues from this measure are subject to local audit every year, and audit by the independent Controller to ensure that they will be used only for the purposes set forth in this measure.”  (California Voter Guide, page 129)

© 2016 A. L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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We the People — Part 3

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”  ~James Madison

By Alden Benton

My series on explaining the California ballot propositions continues with Proposition 52.

Proposition 52 extends an existing program which imposes a fee on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal programs for children, disabled, elderly, and the uninsured.  The hospital fee program is due to expire in January 2018.

Medi-Cal is a needs-based program for Californians paid for by both state and federal government funds.  Since 2009, hospitals in California have paid a Medi-Cal fee to the state.  In addition to providing additional funding of Medi-Cal programs, the Medi-Cal Hospital fee enables California to receive additional federal funds for the Medi-Cal program.

According to the California Legislative Analyst, California has received an average of $2 billion per year since the hospital fee program began.

Proposition 52 makes the hospital fee program permanent.  Proposition 52 makes it harder to end or change the program by requiring voter approval of changes to the program.  The only changes this measure allows are those necessary to make adjustments to meet federal requirements.

This measure requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature to repeal the hospital fee program and forbids repealing the measure and replacing it with a measure of similar intent.

The funds gained through the hospital fee program will not be counted when California calculates its spending limit or the minimum funding levels for K-12 schools and community colleges.

© 2016 A. L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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We the People — Part 2

“Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

By Alden Benton

Several propositions on the California ballot involve bonds (borrowing) and taxation (paying).  Before you read further, please click on the link and watch this 5-minute video from Prager University: Video: Is America’s Tax System Fair?

The first measure on the California ballot is Proposition 51.

Proposition 51 asks California voters to approve $9 billion dollars of general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of public K-12 public schools including Charter Schools and Vocational Education facilities.

California Community Colleges projects are also eligible for Proposition 51 funds.

A general obligation bond is a long-term debt paid from the state’s general fund.  Investors buy bonds and are paid interest.  The bonds sold under the authority of Proposition 51 will be repaid in 35 years.

According to the California Legislative Analyst, the cost to repay Proposition 51 bonds, based on an estimated 5 per cent interest rate, will be $17.6 billion dollars, including at least $8.6 billion in interest.  As a result, these bonds will cost California taxpayers $500 million per year.

Generally, bonds are used to finance large projects such as schools, dams, bridges, or prisons that are too costly fund on a one-time basis.

According to a January 2016 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, California has $400 billion dollars in debt and faces higher interest rates to finance its debt due to the state’s credit rating.  (Read the Article Here)  Any general obligation bond is backed by the credit of the state (the taxpayer).

Currently (Fiscal Year 2016), Californians are paying $2.4 billion per year to repay bonds previously passed for school facilities.  Proposition 51 will add another $0.5 billion to that debt for a total bond debt for school facilities of $2.9 billion annually.

Of the funds raised by Proposition 51 bonds, $3 billion is allocated for K-12 new construction and another $3 billion for modernization.  K-12 career technical education facilities would be allocated $500 million and K-12 Charter School facilities another $500 million.  California Community College projects are allocated $2 billion.

There are limitations on how the money is spent.  Proposition 51 money can be used for new construction only if there is not enough room for current students, or for projected students.  Buildings are not eligible for modernization unless they are at least 25 years old.

Proposition 51 money does not pay for all of the costs of a new construction or modernization project.  Local districts are responsible for 50 per cent of the cost of land and new construction projects for K-12 schools.  Additionally, local K-12 districts are responsible for 40 per cent of the costs of modernization projects.

For modernization of Charter Schools and Vocational Education facilities, the Proposition 51 funds will only cover 50 per cent of the costs.  Proposition 51 also caps grants for Technical Education modernization at $1.5 million and at $3 million for new construction.

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
~H. L. Mencken

© 2016 A. L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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We the People — Part 1

“The people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”
~Alexander Hamilton

By Alden Benton

There are less than 30 days until the national election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. 

While most of our attention is focused on the race for the presidency, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the United States Senate will also be selected.  In addition, there are myriad state and local elections to select those who would govern and to settle numerous policy decisions.

In California, where I reside and vote, voters have two important tools to keep their government in check: initiative and referendum.  The California State Constitution allows Californians, with a specified number of qualified signatures, to recall any state elected official.  The last time this happened was in 2003, when voters recalled then Governor Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California also allows its citizens to enact new laws, force laws passed by the legislature onto the ballot for a public vote, or amend the state’s Constitution through the initiative process.  In the November 8 election, voters will decide the fate of 17 initiatives on a variety of issues facing the state.

This article is the first in a series to explain what each measure proposes to do, without the partisan noise and bias muddling the issues. 

As a disclaimer, I am a registered Republican in the deep blue state of California.  Those of you who know me, or have read my articles, know I have a conservative worldview. 

However, in my analysis of these measures, I will endeavor to stick to the letter of each measure in determining its potential effects.  Whether or not those outcomes are acceptable to my readers is their choice.

I fully subscribe to the motto of the old Scripps‑Howard newspapers, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”  That light is the truth, unbiased by personal feelings or political ideology.

Here are nine rules I follow during election season.  These rules help save my sanity, keep my friends, and cut through all the nonsense propagated on television, radio, and the internet.  These rules ensure that I reach reasoned conclusions about the candidates and proposals put before me.

  • Rule 1: Politicians and political commercials lie.
  • Rule 2: Throw away all political mailings (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 3: Stop listening to, or reading, the news (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 4: Forget the debates and forums.  They are all pre-planned, staged circuses (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 5: If you want to keep them, do not talk politics with your friends and family
  • Rule 6: The official titles of the initiative proposals are misleading or deceptive (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 7: Never read the arguments for or against a proposition (See Rule 1)
  • Rule 8: Always read the background and summary of the Legislative Analyst
  • Rule 9: If you want to know exactly what you are voting for, always read the text of the proposal (See Rule 1).

In Part 2, I will begin my analysis of the California ballot propositions.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”  ~Samuel Adams

© 2016 A.L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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Taking Back America — One Small Step in California Part 2: The Rightful Remedy and a Call to Action

“Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers … a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”
~Thomas Jefferson: The Kentucky Resolution, 1798

By Alden L. Benton

In Part 1 of this post, I explained the unconstitutional attack on our liberties posed by the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as the history and principle of nullification. 

In Part 2 I explain the choice California has to exercise “the rightful remedy” to protect its citizens from the unconstitutional attack on their liberties contained within the 2012 NDAA.

The Kentucky Resolution of 1798 was clear and succinct about the role and relationship of the states to one another and their relationship to the Federal government:

Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that by compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, delegated to that Government certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self Government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: That to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming as to itself, the other party: That the Government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that as in all other cases of compact among parties having no common Judge, each party has an equal right to judge of itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

California must exercise “the rightful remedy” to protect its citizens from the constitutionally offensive portions of the 2012 NDAA. It is now California’s turn to put the Federal government back in its Constitutional cage. 

AB 351 has been introduced in the California Assembly and is set for hearings in the Committee on Public Safety.  AB 351 is a first step in taking back America as it prohibits enforcement of the unconstitutional parts of the 2012 NDAA in California.  Follow this link to read a copy of AB 351.

I ask all my readers who care about America and its principles to call the Public Safety Committee members and politely ask that they vote YES on AB 351 to move this important bill out of their committee and to the full Assembly for consideration.  Here is a list of committee members and their telephone numbers.

Tom Ammiano, Chair                        (916) 319-2017
Melissa Melendez, Vice-chair         (916) 319-2067
Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr.                  (916) 319-2059
Holly J. Mitchell                                  (916) 319-2054
Bill Quirk                                                (916) 319-2020
Nancy Skinner                                      (916) 319-2015
Marie Waldron                                     (916) 319-2075

A phone call is best, but if you rather send an email you can find the committee members’ contact information by following this link: http://apsf.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff.

This is just the beginning of a long fight.  AB 351 must clear the Public Safety Committee and then be voted on by the full Assembly.  After the bill clears the Assembly, it goes to the State Senate and, if passed, on to the governor for his signature. 

We must keep pressure on all of the members of the Assembly and State Senate to secure passage of this important legislation.  Finally, upon its passage, we must pressure the governor to sign this bill into law.

Do not listen to the Democrats and other leftists.  Nullification is NOT racist or a dire precursor to any other imagined catastrophe.  Nullification only threatens the overreach of uncontrolled centralized government power. 

Nullification is a Jeffersonian brake on the power of the Federal government.  As Jefferson once said, it is “the rightful remedy” for at the time of his statement, the choices were few: arms or submission.  In other words, fight another revolution or submit to ever-expanding federal power.

California is the largest, and perhaps most liberal state of the Union.  The passage of AB 351 here will send a clear message to the other 49 states as well as a clear message to Congress concerning the rights of the States and of the people.

“Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.”  ~Ayn Rand

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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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Taking Back America — One Small Step in California Part 1: The Problem

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”  ~Albert Einstein

By Alden L. Benton

On December 31, 2011, President Obama, in effect, suspended key portions of the United States Constitution.  He did not act alone in his treason.  He was aided and abetted by 283 co-conspirators in the U.S. House of Representatives (190 Republicans), and 86 in the U.S. Senate (40 Republicans) — all individuals elected by the people to serve the people and sworn to the best of their ability “… preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  (Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution)

The legislation to which I refer is HR 1540, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA).  (PDF of final bill)

The 2012 NDAA is a dangerous expansion of government power that opens the door to the total control of a police state.  The 2012 NDAA rips at the very fabric of our basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center and the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition, the 2012 NDAA authorizes:

  • The President to indefinitely detain, without charge, any person, including a citizen of the United States or a lawful resident alien, regardless of whether the person is apprehended inside or outside the borders of the United States.
  • Indefinite detention of persons apprehended within the United States without charge or trial.
  • Prosecution by military tribunals under the law of war for persons apprehended within the United States.
  • Transfer of persons apprehended within the United States to foreign jurisdictions.

The 2012 NDAA violates the following portions of the United States Constitution:

  • Article I Section 9, Clause 2’s right to seek Writ of Habeas Corpus;
  • The First Amendment’s right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances;
  • The Fourth Amendment’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures;
  • The Fifth Amendment’s right to be free from charge for an infamous or capitol crime until presentment or indictment by a Grand Jury;
  • The Fifth Amendment’s right to be free from deprivation of life, liberty, or property, without Due Process of law;
  • The Sixth Amendment’s right in criminal prosecutions to enjoy a speedy trial by an impartial jury in the State and District where the crime shall have been committed;
  • The Sixth Amendment’s right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;
  • The Sixth Amendment’s right confront witnesses;
  • The Sixth Amendment’s right to Counsel;
  • The Eighth Amendment’s right to be free from excessive bail and fines, and cruel and unusual punishment;
  • The Fourteenth Amendment’s right to be free from deprivation of life, liberty, or property, without Due Process of law;
  • Article I Section 2’s right to be free from deprivation of life or liberty without Due Process of law;
  • Article I Section 5’s right to have prompt recourse to the laws for all injuries to one’s person;
  • Article I Section 6’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure;
  • Article I Section 7’s right to be free from capital charge absent a grand jury indictment, or felony charge absent grand jury indictment absent information signed by the attorney general;
  • Article I, Section 8’s right to be free from excessive bail;
  • Article I Section 9’s right to bail and right to Habeas Corpus;
  • Article I Section 10’s right to a speedy pubic trial by an impartial jury, right to have the assistance of counsel, and the right to be free from deprivation of life, liberty, or property, unless by the judgment of peers;
  • Article I Section 14’s right to be presumed innocent until pronounced guilty by the law;
  • Article I Section 15’s right to a trial by Jury;
  • Article I Section 18’s requirement that the military authority is subordinate to the civil authority.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Congress passed this abomination and the president signed it.  To my knowledge, there have been no significant legal challenges to the provisions of the 2012 NDAA.

However, there is hope.  A number of states, including ultra-liberal California, have introduced legislation to nullify the more onerous provisions of the 2012 NDAA through the provisions of the Tenth Amendment. 

The Tenth Amendment states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

It is from this delineation of powers that the idea of nullification springs.  The idea of nullification is not new.  Nullification, the idea that the states can invalidate Federal laws, began with the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (1798 and 1799).  Written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions sought to invalidate the Alien and Sedition Acts, a set of laws passed by Congress in 1798.

Of the four laws that made up the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Sedition Act concerned Madison and Jefferson the most as, contrary to the First Amendment to the Constitution it levied fines or imprisonment for individuals who criticized the government, Congress, or president in speech or print.

In the pre-Civil War era, states used nullification to negate the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  The Fugitive Slave Act stated that any black who was determined to be more than a certain number of miles from his home was considered a fugitive and could be thrown in jail without the benefit of the right to Habeas Corpus, a trial, or to even give testimony in his own defense.  The law forced citizens to help federal “commissioners” capture runaway slaves.  In addition, a captured runaway could not testify on his own behalf and was not entitled to a court trial.

A number of states in the North responded to this attack on the Constitution by passing personal liberty laws.  These laws nullified the Fugitive Slave Act by making it all but impossible to enforce, guaranteeing due process rights for accused runaways, extending Habeas Corpus, provided for jury trials, and harshly punishing false testimony.

In Part 2 of this post I will explain the choice California has to exercise “the rightful remedy” to protect its citizens from the unconstitutional attack on their liberties contained within the 2012 NDAA.

“Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers … a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”  Thomas Jefferson: The Kentucky Resolution, 1798

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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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The Last Word before the Election

“Because power corrupts, societies demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”  ~John Adams

By Alden L. Benton

The election begins tomorrow.  I will do my duty as a citizen of the United States of America and vote.  I will also spend my day serving the cause of a free and fair election as a precinct officer in my county.

I have spent the last 15 months blogging about politics and current events.  I hope my readers learned something from my posts, whether they fully agree with me or not.

I have not passed up an opportunity in more than 160 posts to assail the president’s actions and policies.  The President of the United States is the most important position in our government.  As John Adams suggests in the quote above, character and moral authority matter. 

Barack Obama has failed any conceivable test or measure of moral authority and character.

If you have followed this blog, you know that I did not originally support the candidacy of Mitt Romney.  However, the voters in the primaries did.

Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan are moral men of outstanding character.  They are a sharp contrast to the inept, corrupt, manipulating, and divisive leadership of Obama and Biden.

It is time for ALL Republicans, Libertarians, and anyone, of any party, who is tired of the president’s failed policies, to cast their vote for Romney-Ryan.

The nation has suffered enough.  Obama talks a good game, but has nothing to offer but the same tired bag of tricks that the Democrats and the political Left have tried many times before with the same dismal results.

I have spent the last four days studying and analyzing the ballot measures in my home state of California.  California is the poster child of the failed results of liberal-Leftist policies and programs.  The state has a $16 billion deficit but refuses to recognize the true nature of its problem.

California has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.  Of the 11 measures on the ballot tomorrow, all but two seek to either increase taxes or impose more regulations on the state’s residents.

It is time Californians wake up and take back their state, and their pocketbooks.  My recommendations for the California ballot measures are below:

Proposition 30-NO
Proposition 31 –NO
Proposition 32 –YES
Proposition 33 –NO
Proposition 34 –NO
Proposition 35 –NO
Proposition 36 –NO
Proposition 37 –NO
Proposition 38 –NO
Proposition 39 –NO
Proposition 40 –YES

John Adams also said, “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.”  I hope that I have lived up to his noble words with this blog and that through my words, and your actions, our liberty is more secure.

At the federal level, we need to bring government back under control of the people and the Constitution.  Electing the Romney-Ryan team, electing a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate will be a good start.  However, it will only be a start.

America faces a rough road ahead and some difficult choices must be made to ensure the survival of the greatest nation on the earth.

This all starts, or ends tomorrow, November 6, 2012, with your vote.  It is up to you to choose which direction we will go: to serfdom and servitude to the government, or the path to freedom and liberty.

I will close this election-eve post with two quotes from the founding era that are relevant today.

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the gov’t to restrain the people.  It is an instrument for the people to restrain the government-lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”  ~Patrick Henry

“The Utopian schemes of re-distribution of the wealth…are as visionary and impractical as those which vest all property in the Crown.”  ~Samuel Adams

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California Ballot Measures Part 5

“Man is not free unless government is limited.”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

With two days left until the election, the candidates are in full campaign mode and the airways cluttered with the half-truths and lies of campaign propaganda.

It is against this backdrop that I offer the final installment of my analysis and recommendations regarding the measures on the California ballot.

Below is a summary of my recommendations thus far:

Proposition 30         NO
Proposition 31          NO
Proposition 32          YES
Proposition 33          NO
Proposition 34          NO
Proposition 35          NO
Proposition 36          NO
Proposition 37          NO
Proposition 38          NO

Proposition 39

Proposition 39 is a Trojan horse — it says one thing but has a hidden agenda.

This measure eliminates one of two choices multi-state corporations have in calculating their California income tax.  This change will result in $1 billion in new revenues to the state.

This measure will not affect businesses that do business only in California.  This provision affects businesses that do business in areas beyond California.  Under Proposition 39, those businesses must calculate their state income tax based on the percentage of sales made in California.

So far, so good.  If a sale is made in California, it should be taxed in California.

However, Proposition 39 does not stop there.

The true agenda of Proposition 39 is not closing a tax loophole.  Rather, it is a backdoor attempt to increase state funding for our failing, inefficient, and dysfunctional school system.  Please read my analysis of Propositions 30 for my reasoning against increasing the taxpayer subsidy for schools.

Proposition 39 also earmarks money for the boondoggle of green energy.  These energy sources cannot compete in the energy marketplace unless they are heavily subsidized with taxpayer money.  Even with massive subsidies and guaranteed loans, all one has to do is look at President Obama’s favorite green crony capitalist firm Solyndra to see the scam that is subsidized green energy.

In tax year 2012-13, Proposition 39 will generate $500 million, in 2013-2014 and beyond, $1 billion per year. 

Green energy will only receive about $500 million per year for five years ($2.5 billion total) beginning in 2013.  The rest of the revenue will go directly to the state’s tax-supported, union schools. 

Schools will get an extra $5oo million a year for the first six years ($3 billion total) and an additional $1 billion per year after that.

California does not have a revenue problem.  It has a spending problem. 

California schools consume more than 50 per cent of the state’s revenue and produces students with the lowest test scores in the nation.  California schools do not have a revenue problem.  They have a quality problem.

It has been proven time and time again, that throwing more money at a problem, especially education, does not solve the problem.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”  It is time for Californians to close their purses and wallets and just say no to the ongoing scam of tax-supported boondoggles like schools and green energy.


Proposition 40

Every 10 years, after the census is complete, California redraws the boundaries of its Congressional districts, state Senate and Assembly districts, and state Franchise Board districts.  Until 2008, this was the responsibility of the state legislature.

In 2008 and 2010, Californians approved two ballot measures that created a non-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC).  The CRC has 14 members.  Of those 14 members, five are registered with the state’s largest political party, 5 members registered with the second largest political party, and four who are not registered with either of these parties.

According to the California Official Voter Information Guide, the CRC must use the following criteria when redrawing district maps:

When drawing new district maps, the State Constitution specifies that the commission may not consider political parties, incumbents, or political candidates. To the extent possible, the Constitution requires the commission to establish districts that meet the following criteria (listed in priority order):

  1. Are reasonably equal in population.
  2. Comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.
  3. Are geographically contiguous.
  4. Minimize the division of any city, county, city and county, local neighborhood, or local community of interest.
  5. Are geographically compact.
  6. Comprise Senate districts of two whole, complete, and adjacent Assembly districts.

Proposition 40 gives Californians an opportunity to accept (YES vote) or reject (NO vote) the CRC-proposed state Senate district maps.  The other district maps are not affected by this proposition.

If this measure is not approved by the voters,

The California Supreme Court would appoint “special masters” to establish new Senate district boundaries in accordance with the redistricting criteria specified in the Constitution. (In the past, the court has appointed retired judges to serve as special masters.) The court would certify the new Senate district boundaries. The new boundaries would be used in future elections until the commission establishes new boundaries based on the 2020 federal census.

The proposed state senate district boundaries are shown on page 131 of the California Official Voter Information Guide.

The state legislature was removed from the redistricting process because they created district boundaries to protect incumbents and maintain the majority party’s power.  That is gerrymandering. 

If Proposition 40 fails, the California Supreme Court will choose the people who will redraw the maps.

California voters created the CRC to minimize gerrymandering and political favoritism.  Do not give that power back to the politicians and the courts.


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  ~Ronald Reagan

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California Ballot Measures Part 4

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

In my last three posts, I have examined seven of the measures on the California ballot.  In this post, I will look at Proposition 37 and 38.

Here is a summary of my recommendations so far:

Proposition 30            NO
Proposition 31             NO
Proposition 32             YES
Proposition 33             NO
Proposition 34             NO
Proposition 35             NO
Proposition 36             NO

Proposition 37

This measure is designed to regulate a problem that does not exist and allow consumers to sue, even if they suffer no harm or damages.  Proposition 37 is a measure trial lawyers will love and farmers, and grocers will hate.

Proposition 37 requires labeling of genetically engineered food.  The definition of genetically engineered includes a product that has any genetically engineered ingredient in it. 

Like soda pop?  Under this measure, soda is a genetically engineered product.  Most sodas use corn syrup and/or high fructose corn syrup, both derived from corn.  In the United States, 88 per cent of all corn is genetically engineered.

In fact, according to the Legislative Analyst’s background and analysis,

Genetic engineering is the process of changing the genetic material of a living organism to produce some desired change in that organism’s characteristics.  This process is often used to develop new plant and animal varieties that are later used as sources of foods, referred to as GE foods.  For example, genetic engineering is often used to improve a plant’s resistance to pests or to allow a plant to withstand the use of pesticides.  Some of the most common GE crops include varieties of corn and soybeans.  In 2011, 88 percent of all corn and 94 percent of all soybeans produced in the U.S. were grown from GE seeds.  Other common GE crops include alfalfa, canola, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, and zucchini.  In addition, GE crops are used to make food ingredients (such as high fructose corn syrup) that are often included in processed foods (meaning foods that are not raw agriculture crops).  According to some estimates, 40 percent to 70 percent of food products sold in grocery stores in California contain some GE ingredients.

Proposition 37 re-regulates an “issue” that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the California Department of Public Health (DPH) already control.

Proposition 37 is written to allow any regulations the DPH deems necessary.  This scheme takes control of government power away from citizens and puts it in the hands of unaccountable, insulated bureaucrats.  Just look at the harm the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as done via regulation, or the Health and Human Services (HSS) ant-religion diktat on Obamacare and contraceptives.

If you want to make trial lawyers rich, drive up the price of food, and injure California farmers, Proposition 37 is for you.

The worst part of Proposition 37 is its provisions allowing lawsuits even when no harm is done.  According to the Legislative Analyst’s analysis,

Violations of the measure could be prosecuted by state, local, or private parties.  It allows the court to award these parties all reasonable costs incurred in investigating and prosecuting the action.  In addition, the measure specifies that consumers could sue for violations of the measure’s requirements under the state Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which allows consumers to sue without needing to demonstrate that any specific damage occurred as a result of the alleged violation.

This measure has been marketed as “giving you a choice” and “you have a right to know what’s in your food.”  However, all this measure will accomplish is expansion of government, increasing the price of food, and make trial lawyers even richer.


Proposition 38

This measure will increase personal income tax rates on everyone in California who earns more than $7,316 for the next 12 years.  This measure would generate about $10 billion initially and then an additional $5 billion per year after the first year.

This measure cannot be amended by the legislature, but only by an expensive initiative vote. 

The funds generated by Proposition 38 are earmarked for tax-supported schools and towards paying off the state’s debt.  Currently, the state is operating with more than a $15 billion deficit.

In Part 1 of this series, I analyzed Proposition 30.  These measures compete, but they are both flawed.  Both measures throw good money after bad into a failing educational system.  Read my analysis of Proposition 30 here for my arguments against increasing school funding in California.

The difference between Proposition 30 and 38 is that 38 increases income taxes on most Californians and does not increase the sales tax. 

However, the funds generated in the first year would only pay roughly three-fourths of the current state deficit.  Increasing revenues is only a temporary fix.  To fix our financial crisis, we must cut spending.

Proposition 38 is just another boondoggle to get Californian’s to cough up more money for schools.  The money collected by the Proposition 38 tax increases mainly goes to the state’s tax-supported schools. 

In the first four years, 70 per cent of the increased revenue will go to schools (60%) and early childhood education (10%).  Only 30% goes towards reducing the state’s deficit.  In the remaining seven years, the schools get all the money — 85 per cent to schools and 15 per cent to early childhood education.

California’s schools cannot be fixed by spending more money and state-sponsored early childhood education is nothing more than Leftist indoctrination of preschool kids.

California’s deficit will not go away, no matter how much money we throw at it until we significantly reduce spending.


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California Ballot Measures Part 3

“Government exists to protect us from each other.  Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”
~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

In just three days, America goes to the polls to elect a president.  However, there is more at stake than deciding who will live in the White House for the next four years.  Across the United States, voters will decide on issues and candidates in local and state contests.

In my home state of California, in addition to selecting a president, members of the House of Representatives, and a U.S. Senator, voters must decide the fate of 11 measures placed on Tuesday’s ballot.

In the first two parts of this series, I discussed Propositions 30 through 33.  I have summarized my recommendations below:

  • Proposition 30 NO
  • Proposition 31  NO
  • Proposition 32  YES
  • Proposition 33  NO

In this post, I discuss Propositions 34, 35, and 36.

Proposition 34

Proposition 34 is simple.  It repeals the death penalty in California and commutes pending death sentences to life in prison.

Proposition 34 is another attempt by the far Left and its vanguard the ACLU to eliminate the rule of law based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic.  For the ACLU and their ilk, victims do not matter.  The victims and their survivors have no rights — but their murderers do. 

Murder is the most heinous of all crimes.  Murder cannot be forgiven. 

The Old Testament of the Bible is quite clear.  In Exodus 20, God issues the 10 Commandments to Moses.  In verse 13, it says, “You shall not murder.”  (New King James Version). 

In Numbers, God directs the Israelites to establish six sanctuary cities throughout Israel and lays the foundation for the modern legal concept of accidental killing, distinguishing it from murder. 

“These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there.  But if he strikes him with an iron implement, so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.  And if he strikes him with a stone in the hand, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.”  (Numbers 35: 15-17, New King James Version)

The death penalty is not cruel or unusual punishment.  The victim suffered more cruelty than the murderer will during a sterile, clinical procedure to end the perpetrator’s life. 

The only cruelty is to the victim’s survivors for they have lost someone near and dear to their hearts and must live their life everyday knowing that the soulless monster that murdered their loved one still lives; with room and board, medical care, free gym, education, and even conjugal visits — all at taxpayer expense.

The proponents of Proposition 34 talk of fairness and of how much money we will save by eliminating the death penalty.  This is horse manure.  Where were they, with their false wails of fairness, when the victims were brutalized and murdered?  Where was the victim’s due process?  Where is the victim’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and all the other inalienable rights given to us by our Creator?

California spends more than $50,000 per year for each prisoner.  This does not count the “perks” like lifetime medical care.  Based on what the state pays to take care of the elderly and infirm in nursing homes, the cost per prisoner doubles.

At a cost approaching $100,000 per year per prisoner, there is no financial savings attained by incarcerating murderers for life. 

Vote for the victims of murder.  Vote against the destructive agenda of the ACLU.  Vote against condoning murder.  Vote NO on Proposition 34.

Vote No on Proposition 34

Proposition 35

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  ~Amendment VIII to the United States Constitution, Ratified December 15, 1791.

Proposition 35 unnecessarily expands state law.  The measure is mislabeled.  The primary purpose of Proposition 35 is not to curtail human trafficking, but to broaden its definition and ensnare individuals engaged in other illegal behavior to enrich government coffers through asset forfeiture laws.

Pornography, child prostitution and, prostitution are vulgar criminal offenses.  Sex offenders must register.  This is the law in California.  These acts are not human trafficking as defined by both California and Federal laws. 

Federal law enforcement handles most cases of actual human trafficking as the crime usually crosses jurisdictional lines.  Enhancing California law would only add an expensive level of redundant bureaucracy.  Additionally, if challenged, this broadening of California law will be void, as federal law is superior.  In other words, federal law supersedes state law. 

In addition, Proposition 35 violates Amendment 8 of the U.S. Constitution with harsh, punitive fines. 

Proposition 35 over-criminalizes crimes already controlled.  Proposition 35 is fraudulent and will not help prevent any crime.

Vote No on Proposition 35

Proposition 36

If it is not broken, don’t fix it.  This is sage advice for life, and good advice concerning California’s Three Strikes Law.

California’s Three Strikes Law is not broken.  In fact, it is working quite well.  In 1994, Californians approved the Three Strikes Law and crime dropped dramatically.  Crime has remained low, despite the recession, as career felons now stay in jail.

Proposition 36 will weaken the Three Strikes Law.  Proposition 36 lowers the requirements for second and third strike sentencing.  Proposition 36 allows re-sentencing of third strike felons now serving 25-years-to-life sentences.

Under the guise of fairness and cost savings, the weakening of the Three Strikes Law will lead to an increase in crime and a weakening of public safety.  Safety first, as we must protect law-abiding citizens from those who have no problem violating, sometimes violently, the rights of a civil society.

Don’t break California’s Three Strikes Law.  Keep its teeth and keep the three-strike offenders where they belong — in prison for the rest of their life.  We cannot afford to let them come back to terrorize society again.

Vote No on Proposition 36

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California Ballot Measures Part 2

By Alden L. Benton

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

Tuesday’s election is more than a referendum on the failed policies of Barack Obama.  In the states, voters will fill many positions in state legislatures and local government agencies. 

In addition, many states also have important measures on the ballot that will directly affect voters, perhaps for years to come.  California, my home state, is one of those states.  This year, California voters have placed 11 measures on the ballot. 

Yesterday (November 1), I discussed Proposition 30 and recommended a NO vote.  Today (November 2), I will discuss Proposition 31, 32, and 33.

Proposition 31

On the surface, this measure seems like a good idea.  However, Proposition 31 is a malevolent measure whose agenda is the redistribution of tax revenues from suburban and rural areas to urban areas by allowing the formation of regional governments with special powers and privileges.

Stanley Kurtz wrote in the September 4, 2012, edition of the National Review Online that

California’s Proposition 31 is the project of a collection of “good government” groups, in particular, California Forward. California Forward says its goal is “fundamental change.” They’re right about that. The change they have in mind, unfortunately, is creating a collection of de facto regional super-governments designed to undercut the political and economic independence of California’s suburbs. The goal is to redistribute suburban tax money to California’s failing cities. Instead of taking on the mismanagement that is breaking California’s cities, Prop. 31 lets failing cities bail themselves out by raiding the pocketbooks of California’s suburbanites. In the process, Prop. 31 will kill off the system of local government at the root of American liberty.

Proposition 31 gives the illusion of local control.  However, suburban and rural areas, and smaller cities, will be forced to join or have their share of state tax revenues reduced.  This will give the regional governments more power, money, and control.

Proposition 31 creates a two-year budget cycle and would give the governor the power to arbitrarily cut spending during fiscal emergencies if the legislature fails to act.  Another bad idea. 

A two-year budget cycle does nothing to alleviate the state’s current financial crisis.  It will simply allow the legislature to manipulate and exacerbate the problems further by delaying decisions.

Giving the governor more control over spending cuts removes the voters from the process by eliminating the legislature from the decision process.  The California constitution is based on the federal model of checks and balances and Proposition 31 will remove some key elements of that scheme.

The remainder of Proposition 31 is dedicated to window dressing to make the more onerous parts more palatable.  Proposition 31 would force the legislature to find funding sources for each new bill and to publish bills and amendments at least three days before legislative approval.

The bad far outweighs the good in Proposition 31.  It is no more than another redistribution scheme from the political Left to transfer public funds from the more conservative regions of the state to the urban bastions of the Left.


Proposition 32

Proposition 32 is about unions and California public employee unions are opposed to anything that limits their unbridled power over California politics.

My father was a member of the Teamsters union for his entire 23-year trucking career.  I have no issue with most private unions.  The ultra-leftist, political activist Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is an exception.

However, I do have problems with public employee unions and the power they wield due to their protected status.  California is not a right-to-work state and as such, unless you join a union and pay dues, certain professions are closed to you.  Because of this, I will never teach in a California public school.  I will not join their union and contribute to their political agenda.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s analysis in the California Official Voters Information Guide,

The measure [Proposition 32] prohibits unions, corporations, government contractors, and state and local government employers from spending money deducted from an employee’s paycheck for “political purposes.”  Under the measure, this term would include political contributions, independent expenditures, member communications related to campaigns, and other expenditures to influence voters.  This measure would not affect unions’ existing authority to use payroll deductions to pay for other activities, including collective bargaining and political spending in federal campaigns.

Proposition 32 prohibits unions from contributing directly to candidates or to committees that then contribute directly to candidates.  However, unions and corporations can still spend money to, according to the analysis in the California Official Voters Information Guide,

…communicate support or opposition of a candidate or ballot measure generally is considered an independent expenditure if the funds are spent in a way that is not coordinated with (1) a candidate or (2) a committee established to support or oppose a candidate or a ballot measure.

Proposition 32 does not limit how much can be spent in this way or change disclosure requirements.  Proposition 32 does not prevent individual union members from contributing to candidates.

Proposition 32 is the first step in wresting the state from the stranglehold of public employee unions who continue to block any meaningful budget and financial reform — the same people whose platinum retirement parachutes and wages are bankrupting California and stealing its future.


Proposition 33

Current California law requires the state Insurance Commissioner to review and approve changes in insurance rates in the state.  The law also requires that rates for auto insurance policies be set based on the driving safety record, the number of miles driven, and the number of years a person has been driving.  Other factors may be considered and most insurance companies give discounts for continuous coverage, but not if a person changes companies.

Proposition 33 will change the law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company.  In addition, it will allow a proportional discount based on the number of years in the past five years that the person had insurance.

Under Proposition 33, insurance companies can to raise premiums on drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage unless the lapse is because of military service, loss of employment, or if the lapse is less than 90 days.

Proposition 33 does not change the state’s requirements to maintain auto insurance coverage.

This is another proposition that sounds good on the surface.  However, when one looks deeper, it is flawed.

It is an overt attempt to deregulate the state’s insurance industry by weakening the power of the state’s Insurance Commissioner to regulate and control both the way auto insurance rates are determined and how much can be charged.

Consumer protection is one of the few valid reasons for government intervention in the marketplace.  California requires drivers to carry insurance and subsequently that requirement demands that the state protect consumers from unreasonable rates and criteria for buying insurance.  Proposition 33 weakens those protections.


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California Ballot Measures Part One: Proposition 30

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.  Government programs, once launched, never disappear.  Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”  ~Ronald Reagan

By Alden L. Benton

Tuesday’s election is more than a referendum on the failed policies of Barack Obama.  Across the United States, voters will elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. 

In the states, voters will fill many positions in state legislatures and local government agencies. 

In addition, many states also have important measures on the ballot that will directly affect voters, perhaps for years to come.  California, my home state, is one of those states.

California voters enjoy the ability to place measures on the ballot and to remove state officials from office.  This is initiative and referendum.  This year, California voters have placed 11 measures on the ballot.

During campaigns, I have one simple rule: Campaign advertising lies.  With that in mind, in this and subsequent posts, I will attempt to provide an independent, though admittedly conservative, perspective and recommendations on these measures.

California is functionally bankrupt. 

California, thanks to the state’s smoke-and-mirrors accounting, faces, according to the Los Angeles Times, a “…budget shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year and next, estimated to be $28 billion.”

The Times article continues, saying the expected “shortfall” “is the size of the total general fund budget of 12 states combined: Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.”

The state legislature, controlled by the Democratic Party for at least the last 60 years, continues to view the state’s financial chaos as an issue of insufficient revenues.  This notion is fueled by the incessant demands of the state’s public employee unions for more and more, whether it is more pay, benefits, or better working conditions — demands the legislature has been more than happy to oblige.

This time, it is the teachers’ unions demanding more from the taxpayer.  The teacher’s unions will not be satisfied until there is one student per teacher in the state’s tax-supported schools. 

According to the California Department of Education, in itself a bloated, non-essential bureaucracy that dictates to local schools, the mid-range teacher salary at an elementary school averages $62,047 — for nine months of work. 

For elementary principals, the midrange average is $104,580, again, for nine months of work.  For high school teachers, the average midrange pay is $63, 152, and for principals, $106,458. 

The overall average pay for California teachers is, according to the California Department of Education, $67,871, the fourth highest paid in the nation behind New York ($72,708), Massachusetts ($70,752), and Connecticut ($69,165). 

The teachers’ unions are playing two cards with Proposition 30: class warfare and “it’s for the children.”

Proposition 30 is not for the children, it is for the teachers’ unions. 

In California, schools spend an average of 42.81 per cent of their revenues on salaries and administrative costs.  This is a direct result of the high salaries listed above and outrageous benefit/retirement packages. 

Proposition 30 will “temporarily” increase state sales taxes 0.25 per cent for four years and earmarks funds for schools and local government.

Sales taxes are the most regressive taxes and affect lower income people disproportionately.  The more you earn, the less you pay as a percentage of your annual income.  That is class warfare at its worst.

According to a Tax Foundation report, California, despite a one percent reduction in its sales tax rate that took effect July 1, 2011, still has the highest state-level rate at 7.25 percent.  This rate includes a mandatory one per cent add-on tax which is collected by the state but distributed to local governments.

California also allows local governments to charge sales taxes up to an additional 2.5 per cent.  As of June 2012, the average local government sales tax in California is 0.88 per cent, bringing the average combined state sales tax rate to 8.13 per cent. 

In Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous county (population 9,818,605), the sales tax rate is 8.75 per cent and in the smallest, Alpine County (population 1,175), the rate is 7.25 per cent.

Proposition 30 will raise the state sales tax rate from 7.25 per cent to 7.5 per cent, generating an additional $6 billion in revenue.  In Los Angeles County, the rate will increase to 9.0 per cent.

Proposition 30 also wages Obama/Occupy-like class warfare.  As I said above, sales taxes affect the poor more than the wealthy.  To try hide this, Proposition 30 also increases the personal income tax rate on higher income earners.

According to the Tax Institute, California’s current maximum tax rate of 9.3 per cent ranks third among the states and the District of Columbia.  Only Hawaii and Oregon have a higher maximum rate of 11 per cent.

Proposition 30 will “temporarily” increase the top tax rate to from one to three per cent, depending on earnings and filing status, for seven years.  The new maximum state income tax will be 12.3 per cent — the highest in the nation. 

These new rates will affect taxpayers earning as little as $250,000.  This has the most impact on small business owners who do not pay corporate income taxes, but pay personal income tax.

With an economy in decline due to continuing mismanagement, reckless spending, and over-regulation, raising taxes is bad enough.  However, Proposition 30 makes things worse as the increases are retroactive.  Income earned in 2012 is taxed at the new rates.

There is one final, and perhaps fatal, flaw in Proposition 30. 

Even if you want to engage in class warfare and support the rape of the once golden state by public employee unions, Proposition 30 has a nasty surprise — the funds are deposited in the state’s general fund and, with a few exceptions, can be spent any way the legislature sees fit.

If you want to give more money to teachers who already earn 31 per cent more than the average Californian, then vote for Proposition 30.  

If you want to give more money to an educational system that consumes 51 per cent of the state’s revenue (California Department of Finance) and produces the worst results in the nation (California Watch), then vote for this measure.

Sales and Income taxes already provide more than 84 per cent of California’s revenue.  (2012-13 California Budget

California does not have a revenue problem.  It has a spending problem and in education, a quality problem.

If you are tired of government as usual in California, vote no on Proposition 30 and demand true reform of an obviously broken system.


“The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”  ~Ronald Reagan

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Proposition 28: Special Interest Election Fraud

By Alden L. Benton

There is an old saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  With the California Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 5, Californians need to think twice before they vote on Proposition 28.

Proposition 28 is a fraud.

Proposition 28 claims to further limit the terms of state legislators, lowering the total time served to 12 years.  This is misleading.

Section 3 of Proposition 28 amends Section 2 of Article IV of the California Constitution.  This section defines the composition, election, and term length of members of the state Senate and Assembly.  State Senate terms are four years and Assembly terms are two years.

In 1990, the voters passed Proposition 140 which amended the state constitution to limit the length of legislative terms.  The current state constitution limits a state Senator to no more than two terms (eight years), and an Assemblyman to no more than three terms (six years).  Combined, a person could serve a total of 14 years in both the Senate and Assembly.

Proposition 28 eliminates those restrictions and replaces them with a 12-year limit on serving in either, or both, houses of the state legislature.  If an individual chose to run for election in one house of the state legislature, he could continue to be re-elected to that house for up to 12 years.

Therein lays the fraud.

Under current law, an individual is restricted to eight years in the state Senate or six years in the Assembly.  Proposition 28 allows 12 years of service in either house, lengthening the length of time that can be served in the Senate from eight to 12 years, and from six to 12 years in the Assembly.

In summary, Proposition 28 is a fraud.  It reduces the total time an individual may serve in the state legislature from 14 to 12 years, but dramatically increases the number of years an individual can serve in one house.

Proposition 28 is, at best, cosmetic reform.  At worst, Proposition 28 is a fraud that will allow special interests and public employee unions to elect and entrench sympathetic legislators in both houses of the state legislature for more than a decade to the detriment of the taxpayers and the future of the once golden state.

Vote NO on Proposition 28 on June 5.

© Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
All Rights Reserved

Fed Up!

By Alden L. Benton

Yesterday was Veterans Day, the day we honor all who serve in the United States military.  It is also the day we honor those who have served in both war and peace, and those who gave their lives so that we may continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Bill Rowland, one of my friends, and loyal follower of this blog, sent me this simple reminder of what our military men and women actually do for us every day they serve.

It’s the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us the freedom of the press.
It’s the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us the freedom of speech.
It’s the Soldier, not the politicians
That ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It’s the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag.

Apparently, the freedoms that our service men and women have fought and died for mean nothing to United States District Court Judge James Ware.

Fox News reported last Thursday that Judge Ware ruled that a California high school can ban shirts featuring the American flag.  

In the case, two California high school students were sent home for wearing
t-shirts bearing the American flag during the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo (Fox News).

According to the report, “The judge determined that the Morgan Hill Unified School District did not violate the First Amendment and said that concerns by school officials over possible violence justified censoring the pro-American message.”

This is a blatant, politically correct attack on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech cloaked in the fear of POTENTIAL harm. 

No threats, no attacks, just FEAR of POTENTIAL violence.

The First Amendment is crystal clear:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Indeed, there are limits on speech.  However, in a landmark First Amendment case (Near v. Minnesota 283 U.S. 697 (1931)), the U. S. Supreme Court established the principle of prior restraint versus subsequent punishment. 

In essence, the Court said that the government cannot keep me from saying or publishing something objectionable or libelous, but it can hold me responsible for it AFTERWARD.

The political left lives in constant fear.  They fear someone may be offended.  They fear the T.E.A. Party.  They fear conservatives.  They fear American values.  They fear, though they actively promote, class warfare and violence.

Fear leads to oppression.  This is the essence of political correctness.  

As Scottish comedian Billy Connolly once said, “Political correctness is the language of cowardice.” 

The “leaders” of Morgan Hill Unified School District and Live Oak High School are cowards.  They are fearful that our flag will upset the Mexicans on
“their” day.  

“Their” day my patoot.  

I find it offensive that the public employee union hacks who run our tax-supported schools find it necessary to coddle those who refuse to integrate into AMERICAN society for fear of violence. 

Fear leads to oppression.  They fear violence, so they suppress a basic civil right.

Judge Ware is wrong.  The Morgan Hill USD is wrong.

Judge Ware has not only suspended basic First Amendment rights by judicial fiat, he has allowed government to act on fear, not events. 

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

Are we to hide our flag and the principles for which it stands for fear of offending someone? 

I think not, for as Thomas Paine said:

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

To do otherwise is a dangerous course; a course that will lead only to tyranny.

While our soldiers, sailors, airmen,and marines protect us from our enemies abroad, we must be ever vigilant to guard against the enemies of liberty at home on the bench, in the school yard, or in the White House.

©2011 Alden L Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
If you want to reuse this material, please follow this link to obtain copyright permission:  aldenbenton.icopyright.com