Today’s State of the State speech lasted about 15 minutes. This was actually a speech that regular people would enjoy listening to:
The interesting thing about this speech is that it was clearly not “crafted” by speechwriters. It was Jerry being Jerry, straightforward, open, and to the point.
Summary: he said we need to get the budget straightened out, that we have a great opportunity to really go places as a state if we do this, that he has presented a plan to do this and wants to take the plan to the voters, and if anyone has a better idea please tell us what it is.
One notable thing about the speech was it was entirely about trying to get the Republicans to cooperate with anything at all. Republicans are trying to prevent taking Brown’s plan to the voters, prevent passing anything with any taxes, prevent any budget that allows the government to operate as a government, and prevent … everything.
So Brown spent most of the speech outlining why it is wrong to prevent the public from being allowed to vote. Following are a few notes paraphrasing what he said:
Under our form of government it would be unconscionable to tell the voters they can’t decide.
The state’s Constitution says all political power is inherent in the people.
“When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can’t say now is the time to block a vote of the people,”
The only way forward is to go back to the people and seek their guidance.
If you want to block the people’s right to vote, stand up to say block that vote. (No one stood up.)
My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly, I believe it would be irresponsible to exclude the people from this process. They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those in this chamber. Given the unique nature of the crisis and the serious impact our decisions will have on millions of Californians, whether it’s more cuts, extend taxes, the voters deserve to be heard.
It’s the best budget I can devise, if any of you have any suggestions on how it can be better please share them with me. No one has offered even one alternative solution.
If we can get our budget in order we are in a good position to take advantage of our assets.
In a column today, Hubris heading for a fall, George Will lays out his problem with America’s system of decision-making by We, the People.
The idea that America’s problem of governance is one of inadequate resources misses this lesson of the last half-century: No amount of resources can prevent [decision-making by We, the People] from performing poorly when it tries to perform too many tasks, or particular tasks for which it is inherently unsuited.*
Will continues, saying that the problem with democracy is “the bell-shaped curve.” He says we should be ruled by the class of people who “achieve eminence” by superior performance, like surgeons, and not the regular people currently allowed to vote.
Actually, decision-making by We, the People is not sufficiently demoralized. The hubris that is the occupational hazard and defining trait of the political class continues to cause decision-making by We, the People to overpromise and underperform. This class blithely considers itself exempt from the tyranny of the bell-shaped curve – the fact that in most occupations a few people are excellent, a few are awful, and most are average.
In fact, the bell curve is particularly pertinent to government. Surgeons achieve eminence by what they do “in office” – in operating rooms, performing surgery. Politicians achieve eminence simply by securing office – by winning elections, a skill often related loosely, if at all, to their performance in office.
Will goes on to complain about the “pathologies” of expanded decision-making by We, the People, saying that public-sector jobs like teaching, nursing, the performing arts are inferior because they are labor-intensive and inherently do not increase their productivity, and are thus “stagnant” with rising relative costs. He says We, the People should not provide these services to people.
I vote for democracy. But, if Will has his way I won’t be able to vote.
* I substituted “decision-making by We, the People” for Will’s use of the word “government.” This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
As Americans and people of common decency, we are deeply saddened and offended by the most recent violence perpetrated upon Gabrielle Giffords, a warm and compassionate young Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona and the other innocent people standing nearby who were wounded and killed. We have no choice but to be outraged. Democracy and freedom are under attack whenever people are threatened with violence or become the victims of actual violence because of their political opinions or beliefs.
This political assassination attempt could have happened in California or anywhere in the U.S.A. It happens often in Pakistan, Mexico, Iraq and other third-world countries. Sadly, we in the United States are not immune. Perhaps it is should be less surprising given the frequent right-wing references to revolution, violence and Sara Palin’s “target” list that includes a map with enemies identified in a rifle’s cross-hairs. No joke. When violent rhetoric is ramped up as it has been over the past few years, it cannot be surprising that hate groups and crazed individuals will rise up and respond. In fact, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are over 60 active hate groups identified in California alone; 66 in Texas and 18 in Arizona. And that list has grown over 250 % in the past few years!
With six innocent and decent people killed and several others wounded by a deranged young man-with-gun and bizarre political extremist views, it is time to speak up and demand consequences for violent and hate-filled speech by right-wing extremists, led by the Glen Becks and Sarah Palins of the world, and not give them a pass on their rhetoric. Whether intended to or not, hateful and violent speech incites unstable and violence-prone people to lash out and hurt and kill children, doctors, highly-respected judges and senior citizens as well.
We know the right-wing spin machine is fast at work. They’ll end up trying to persuade us that it’s all Obama and “the lefties” fault because of their policies, and that the leftties’ rhetoric is just as violent and inciteful. As we know, the propaganda machines of the right have never been concerned with the truth, so I’ve included a link below (which you can cut and paste) that demonstrates how this type of hateful rhetoric has been amped up by the right-wing for years. With that being said–and it should be reiterated over-and-over so the toxic and violent references of the right stop, there should be no similar violent images from the left—or anywhere in our political system. We have a way to speak: it is through the ballot not bullets (a shocking suggestion of bullets where ballots don’t achieve the “desired” result– attributed to Sharon Angle in her campaign against Harry Reid where she continuously talked about “Second Amendment remedies.”)
But the facts are clear: it is these very people who, by virtue of their constant references to guns and violence, MUST be held accountable. We must demand a stop to the gun metaphors of bullseyes, targets and firing machine guns as a political campaign activity (actually conducted by Ms. Gifford’s opponent, Jesse Kelly, during the campaign prior to the November election). When you hear people using the “right-wing’s” talking points about how the left is just as hostile, you’ll be able to refute their claims. They are factually false.
The hate-mongering must end. Glen Beck and his cohorts must be made to understand that free speech has consequences and responsibilities that go with it—especially when inciting and hate-mongering are conducted through the air-waves. No more wistful mutterings about killing Michael Moore, or calling for insurrection and overthrow of the government with “2nd amendment rights.” It is the Glen Becking that provides the encouragement to those who are deep into hate or madness and who believe that they are entitled to impose their views through violence and destruction.
Even assuming no ill motives to the politically heated rhetoric of the “right” espoused by Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter and others, are certainly not stupid people. They know that their rhetoric plays to those with a propensity for violence. The goal is that it stop; that the violence stop and that we find a way to respectfully disagree without forcing our opinions on one another through the barrel of a gun or other acts of intolerance and destructive conduct.
Enough already. Let’s take over the debate and demand that the facts speak for themselves. And in the meantime, let us all share the weight of six innocent people whose lives were taken by a madman for their simple act of participating in an act of liberty–meeting their congresswoman to express their concerns or appreciation. This is America, after all—where we pride ourselves on liberty and the ability to disagree in freedom and in safety.
See the Insurrectionism Timeline at http://www.csgv.org/issues-and-campaigns/guns-democracy-and-freedom/insurrection-timeline
Every Republican in the California legislature except two have taken a “Pledge” not to vote for any tax, ever, regardless of need or consequence. Now the anti-government group behind this Pledge is extending it to say that politicians are violating it even if they allow the public to vote on increasing any tax.
From the Sacramento Bee’s Capital Alert blog, Grover Norquist group: Putting taxes on ballot violates no-tax pledge,
The national anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform will e-mail and fax letters tomorrow to California legislators who signed its no-tax pledge, warning them the group will consider any vote to put tax extension measures on the ballot a violation of that pledge…
Gleason said asking voters whether they wanted to extend tax increases qualified as an effort to increase taxes.
So, what do you think? I guess it makes sense for an anti-government group to oppose allowing the public to make decisions. After all, that is what government is: the public making decisions for themselves.
Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1.
Blue Shield’s action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.
. . . Michael Fraser, a Blue Shield policyholder from San Diego, learned recently that his monthly bill would climb 59%, to $431 from $271.
“When I tell people, their jaws drop and their eyes bug out,” said Fraser, 53, a freelance advertising writer. “The amount is stunning.”
. . . Blue Shield said the cost of health coverage was being driven up by large hospital expenses, doctors’ bills and prescription drug prices. Blue Shield’s Epstein said other factors also contributed to the three increases in five months.
California needs to look into a statewide “single-payer” health care plan,