February 2010 Archives

First Tea Party birthday this weekend

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"We're thinking about having a Chicago Tea Party in July."

That was the first reference to a Tea Party, uttered by CNBC Editor Rick Santelli during an on-air rant against a homeowner bailout bill last February. In the next twelve months, frustrated Americans from all over the country churned out to oppose the drastic left-turn the government took under President Obama.

Notable and extremely large protests occurred on April 15th and July 4th, and in August the Tea Parties swarmed healthcare town halls and delivered a surprise setback to Obama's plans.

Since then, the non-partisan movement's been fractured by factions moving in different directions. The Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Network, Campaign for Liberty, FreedomWorks, the 9/12 Project, etc., all are pulling in different directions, and no clear leader has emerged, although Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck are the three people most closely associated with the movement.

The factions are so similar that activists belong to multiple groups. An anniversary celebration that will take place in Thousand Oaks this Saturday afternoon is organized by people who are associated with the Tea Party Patriots, Campaign for Liberty, and the 9/12 Project.

But despite the similarities, the differences are significant enough to present severe rifts that threaten to derail the Tea Party's momentum. And that's without even addressing the relationship with the Republican establishment.

Initially, many in the GOP recoiled from working with the "fringe amateurs,", despite accusations from confused Democrats that they controlled the Tea Party. After the amateurs demonstrated their power by stalling healthcare legislation and knocking out a liberal Republican candidate in a high profile race in New York, the GOP warmed up a little.

Republicans and Tea Partiers joined hands for a Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts. In Los Angeles, the GOP is meeting with Tea Party leaders for a joint summit to discuss working together in 2010.

A synthesis of the two groups is the best thing that can happen for the country. The Republican Party has the organization, money, and the electoral know-how. The Tea Party has the manpower, enthusiasm, and ideological purity. One is the rocket, the other is the rocket fuel. If both work together, great heights can be achieved.

First Tea Party birthday this weekend

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We're thinking about having a Chicago Tea Party in July."

That was the first reference to a Tea Party, uttered by CNBC Editor Rick Santelli during an on-air rant against a homeowner bailout bill last February. In the next twelve months, frustrated Americans from all over the country churned out to oppose the drastic left-turn the government took under President Obama.

Notable and extremely large protests occurred on April 15th and July 4th, and in August the Tea Parties swarmed healthcare town halls and delivered a surprise setback to Obama's plans.

Since then, the non-partisan movement's been fractured by factions moving in different directions. The Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Network, Campaign for Liberty, FreedomWorks, the 9/12 Project, etc., all are pulling in different directions, and no clear leader has emerged, although Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck are the three people most closely associated with the movement.

The factions are so similar that activists belong to multiple groups. An anniversary celebration that will take place in Thousand Oaks this Saturday afternoon is organized by people who are associated with the Tea Party Patriots, Campaign for Liberty, and the 9/12 Project.

But despite the similarities, the differences are significant enough to present severe rifts that threaten to derail the Tea Party's momentum. And that's without even addressing the relationship with the Republican establishment.

Initially, many in the GOP recoiled from working with the "fringe amateurs,", despite accusations from confused Democrats that they controlled the Tea Party. After the amateurs demonstrated their power by stalling healthcare legislation and knocking out a liberal Republican candidate in a high profile race in New York, the GOP warmed up a little.

Republicans and Tea Partiers joined hands for a Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts. In Los Angeles, the GOP is meeting with Tea Party leaders for a joint summit to discuss working together in 2010.

A synthesis of the two groups is the best thing that can happen for the country. The Republican Party has the organization, money, and the electoral know-how. The Tea Party has the manpower, enthusiasm, and ideological purity. One is the rocket, the other is the rocket fuel. If both work together, great heights can be achieved.

Racial tensions flare up at UCSD

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A racially themed UCSD frat party aimed at making fun of Black History Month by encouraging partygoers to attend in "ghetto" regalia has led to a firestorm of controversy that's sent university officials scrambling.

The invitation for the "Compton Cookout," as it was dubbed by its organizers, was full of references to stereotypes. To make matters worse, a student-run TV program called The Koala apparently used the N-word in response to the backlash. The Koala's website also sports the following:

The Koala would like to condemn the organizers of the Compton Cookout.  If history has shown us anything, you need more black people at your party to have enough black-on-black violence to actually justify the name "Compton."  Shame on you.  SHAME.

The Black Student Union led emotional protests and confronted university officials with a list of demands. The horrified officials immediately gave into some of them, such as hiring more black faculty.

Disturbingly, the university administration didn't think twice about tossing aside First Amendment rights in their rush to placate the protesters, some of whom are getting a little carried away.

When angry demonstrators met with university officials, one student shouted, "Get the f**k up and go to the Koala and have them confiscate the tape. That's what you need to do!"

Whoa, little totalitarians in the making!

Obviously, the party's theme was racially insensitive and it's healthy that people speak out against it. But the organizers also have a right to have the party--and take all the public criticism that comes with irresponsible behavior--but they shouldn't be penalized or disciplined by the university for having a particular point of view, no matter how much people disagree with it. [continue reading]

Why are Supervisors anxious to gut their own ordinance?

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Why would experienced politicians repeal an ordinance that enhances their reelection prospects? Such a rare and beneficent act should be lauded if done for the right reasons; for it's contradictory to the nature of every office holder to have a hand in his own defeat, no matter how noble the cause they purport to uphold. But seeing as how contradictions can't exist in nature, let's peek behind the political curtain to see if we can't spot ulterior motives that would wake us from our dream of a selfless politician.

Supervisors Bennett, Long, and Parks would have us believe that a section of the ordinance in question--an ordinance they authored to establish contribution limits on independent groups, such as political action committees--has been rendered unconstitutional by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, and on Tuesday they'll propose to delete that provision from the county books.

The county ordinance caps contributions to independent expenditure committees to $700 per contributor, in an effort to limit the effect of special interest money on local elections.  Campaign finance reform laws are popular, and Supervisor Bennett crusaded for this ordinance a decade ago when he leapt from city council to county supervisor.

It should be pointed out that the contribution limit benefits incumbents. Since there is no limit on the free publicity and name ID associated with public office, an incumbent doesn't mind expenditure and contribution limits if his opponent, who is usually relatively unknown, is also saddled with them. For the challenger has a high--and expensive--hurdle to clear to raise his name ID and the incumbent does not.

This is why it's so strange for three incumbent supervisors to move to repeal the limit. [continue reading]

How to reform government in one easy step

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End withholding.

That's it.

Eliminating the sneaky practice of requiring employers to withhold money from their employees' paychecks and submit them to the government up to 16 months before the taxes are due, would force people to pay 100 percent of their tax burden on April 15th.

On April 16th, there would be a budgetary revolution.

The major benefit to withholding, from the government's perspective, is to conceal how much money people are really paying in taxes. We've all heard our friends and family members brag about their tax refunds, as if it was a good thing to give an interest-free loan to the government. We've heard others say "aww, I had to PAY this year" when they didn't get a refund, as if they hadn't been paying up to this point.

I've even heard a person say that they MADE money when their refund came in, as if they hadn't paid all year and the "refund" was merely a free stipend from the government.

That's a pretty neat trick--not only are these people being robbed without their knowledge, but they are made to think that they are benefiting.

Imagine their surprise if one day, instead of getting a refund, they got hit with a bill for all their taxes? I'd hate to be their councilman/assemblyman/senator/congressman.

Such a thing will never happen, however. The pressure to cut public spending would be enormous, and politicians wouldn't be able to finance their reelection campaigns with promises of state and federal handouts in exchange for votes.

Not even Ronald Reagan could stick to a campaign promise to eliminate it in California, as Timm Herdt reminded us yesterday.  Ironically, income tax withholding was helped along by another conservative icon, Milton Friedman.  Now he's known as the anti-Keynes, but at the time he was a fervent Keynesian and saw his scheme as a patriotic way to help the government, though he later regretted it.

The only way the government can continue the soon-to-be-unsustainable practice of spending itself into oblivion is to trick all of us into thinking we don't pay as many taxes as we do.

Tea Party group to screen "Hidden Agenda"

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Public education is such a part of our lives, we tend to forget to question the role the government plays in training our children. When I say it like that, it doesn't sound so nice, does it? Consider what Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Will Durant said on public education in Ancient Rome:

It remained for [Emperor Vespasian] to establish the first system of state education in classical Antiquity. He ordered that certain qualified teachers of Latin and Greek literature and rhetoric should thereafter be paid out of public funds and should receive a pension after 20 years of service. Perhaps the old skeptic felt that teachers had some share in forming public opinion and would speak better of a government that paid their way.

Now please read this, and also consider if teachers unions support bigger government or smaller government.

The screening of "Hidden Agenda", which takes place Thursday at 6:30pm, may say much the same, but it also will address progressive infiltration of media and other organization.

Tea Partiers protest Sheehan appearance

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I was holding off on writing about this one because a Star reporter covered the Cindy Sheehan event (I'm told), but I didn't find the article so this post will have to suffice for a description of the evening's activities.

When a local Tea Party group got wind of her visit, it quickly assembled a team of protesters and descended upon the Unitarian Universalist Church in Ventura last Thursday in a show of support for the troops. Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, is an outspoken critic of the wars in the Middle East.

sheehan.png

If Sheehan stopped there, I'm sure she'd engender nothing but sympathy and respect from the Tea Party. But she's taken it a thousand steps further than that, turning conspiracy theorist and verbal bomb-thrower.

She had a book to promote, which tackles American "myths," hence her appearance in Ventura.

A Tea Party organizer told me that the police were notified of the protest ahead of time, which is the responsible thing to do, and she met with a church official. The protesters may have surprised the Sheehan supporters in their demonstration, but fortunately there were no ugly incidents--save a drive-by one-finger salute directed at the Tea Partiers.

Some of the protesters had served in the military or had children that had served or recently returned. One of them held a sign that said "It honor of Casey," a respectful reference to Sheehan's deceased son.  Another said, "Freedom isn't Free." I find that a little dicier because nobody knows that better than Sheehan--she doesn't need to be told.

But she does need to see opposition to the statements she's made about the country. She may have missed the message, as it appeared she waited for the protest to disperse before leaving the building.

Photo courtesy of Ventura County NGTTIA

Lunn looking strong

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Mark Lunn is solidifying his position for county clerk-recorder, having just locked up a unanimous endorsement from the Oxnard's City Council and mayor, mayor pro-tem, city clerk, and chief of police. Not bad for a day's work. [continue reading]

Hintz tosses in hat, $150k in ring

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Retired Superior Court Judge Steven Hintz made a big statement Wednesday when he announced that he's running for treasurer-tax collector--and loaning his campaign committee $150,000 of his own money.

The money should make any potential opponents have second thoughts.

Hintz seeks to replace the retiring Larry Matheney, whose seat garnered much attention lately when the Ventura County Board of Supervisors effectively ended Audra Strickland's campaign for it by establishing educational criteria. Hintz believes that some business classes he took satisfies the requirement.

He also earned a law degree in 1971 from UC Berkeley, which must have been some interesting times for a law-and-order type. He became a JAG, joined the Ventura County DA's office, then was appointed to be a judge in 1982. The Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association named him Judge of the Year in 1984 and 1988.

In 1992, he was reproved by the California Commission of Judicial Performance for exceeding the lawful authority of his position.  He had ordered his bailiffs to search people in his courtroom for weapons and outstanding arrest warrants. I think he should have been awarded another Judge of the Year award for that.

Judge Hintz is a lifetime member of the NRA, and an avid train buff who builds model train sets. He also oversaw a $2.8 million budget as the CFO for the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, which maintains a museum in Old Town Sacramento.  

It will be interesting to see if Hintz's hefty loan will clear the field of competitors, now that the person who was his biggest obstacle is running for county supervisor.

Environmental speakers to address local Democrats

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I'm not one to beat up on people for trying to leave a small economic footprint and doing their small part to protect the environment, but when they advocate gigantic job-killing government programs to force people do the same, I have a problem.

No, I'm not trying to kill the planet. I merely think that the science on what causesglobal warming climate change isn't settled.  At this point, if you're an environmentalist, you probably interpreted that last sentence as I don't believe the climate is changing. Read it again. The climate is changing, but you just haven't yet convinced me that the cause is man-made.

Maybe David Allgood, the Southern California director of the California League of Conservation Voters has some smoking-gun evidence that he'll present to the Conejo Valley Democratic Club on Wednesday, but I doubt it.

I think the environmental movement is comprised of many genuine believers--displaying all the symptoms of religious fanatics--with some very opportunistic people at the top exaggerating the threat of climate change so they can profit either personally or professionally by passing a big-government agenda. [continue reading]

"Carpetbagger" barbs traded in new Supervisor race

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One of the guns in Linda Parks' arsenal in her battle to keep her job on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors is to brandish Audra Strickland as a carpetbagger, seeing as Strickland just announced her candidacy after moving into the 2nd Supervisorial District, which includes the Conejo Valley, from Moorpark.  But will that label stick, considering that Moorpark is just a couple of miles away from Thousand Oaks?

It's not like different languages are spoken in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark or that the cultures are different. It's right down the 23.  And Strickland already represents 2nd District inhabitants in the Assembly.

Strickland anticipated the criticism and attempted to deflect the inevitable in her first campaign appearance on Friday by telling reporters that the moderate Parks "might as well be a carpetbagger from Berkeley."

Parks is known for her environmental activism, and supported the Democratic candidate for State Senate over Audra's husband, Tony Strickland, in 2008. She was a Democrat herself for 20 years, ultimately switching parties just before her first run for the Thousand Oaks City Council.

The Berkeley remark drew a response from the Democratic Party, which beat Parks to the punch to be the first to call Strickland a carpetbagger:

It was a rough start for Strickland with this swing and a miss as Parks has never lived in Berkeley.  In fact, it is Strickland who re-registered to vote in the 2nd Supervisoral District only two weeks ago for the sole purpose of qualifying to run.

I don't think Strickland spoke literally about Parks and Berkeley. Her point was that there is a bigger difference between Democrats and Republicans than what exists between Moorpark residents and Thousand Oaks residents. 

But the Ventura County Democratic Party doesn't want to see a Democrat-turned-Republican lose her seat to a member of the right-of-center Republican establishment, so it will actively oppose Strickland's candidacy to the point of drawing Strickland's blood before Parks has had a chance.

Blogging bootcamp next week

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The Ventura County Republican Party is sponsoring a Blogger Bootcamp next week, with yours truly and fellow Red County blogger Adam Haverstock as your humble speakers.

We'll give you an overview of the basics of blogging--the tools, best practices, and behind-the-scenes knowledge to get your blog off the ground. We'll also cover strategies that will separate your blog from the rest.

There will be two sessions; the first is Tuesday, February 9th and the second is Monday, February 22nd. Both sessions will be from 6pm-8pm at the GOP Headquarters in Camarillo  at 80 Wood Road, Suite 304A. The cost is $10, which includes dinner.

To RSVP, email adam.haverstock@gmail.com. I hope to see you there!

Viewers flock to bizarre Fiorina "demon sheep" ad

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One of the most bizarre, risky, cheesy, and downright creepy ads ever to be issued from a political campaign has taken the web by storm, and it's come from an unlikely source. It's not from some fringe candidate operating on a shoestring budget--it's from billionaire Carly Fiorina running an establishment campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.

And the ad is about demon sheep. Really, really creepy sheep.

The message is that Tom Campbell, who recently left the gubernatorial race to join the race for Senate (two races that confuse Democrats) , is a "fiscal conservative in name only", or FCINO. (Be careful how you pronounce this...)

It's as if two people worked on the ad, one doing the audio and one doing the video--and they never met or consulted each other one what type of ad they are doing. The audio portion is dire and serious, complete with urgent music. Actor Robert Davi (of Goonies fame) narrates with a tone as if he's prosecuting Campbell in absentia. 

The video portion of the ad starts off somewhere between a Monty Python sketch and old-school South Park construction-paper animation. As Davi accuses Campbell of various crimes, we are shown rapid images of pigs, sheep, and Campbell in a not-so-subtle Clockwork-Orange-esque fashion.

Then the first demon sheep makes it appearance. I won't describe it here; just watch the video  above. It won't disappoint; I promise. Yes, a roomful of some of the top campaign people in the country approved this. They sat in a board room over coffee and donuts, saw the demon sheep, and said "this is a good idea."

The crazy thing is that it's worked fantastically. It's gone viral, and you can even buy the T-Shirt.

As of this writing 300,000 viewers have watched Demon Sheep in just a couple of days. Tom Campbell started the campaign able to tout fiscal conservativeness, but now he's forever shackled with this FCINO ad, which will live in infamy as one of the most outrageous attack ads in modern political history.


Strickland to make announcement

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Audra Strickland seems to be ready to run for Linda Parks' supervisorial seat, and an announcement is expected at a press conference tomorrow afternoon. Her anticipated candidacy caps a few months of twists and turns about her post-Assembly plans (here's a brief summary).

At the moment, it appears the registrar has her as a Moorpark resident. Strickland would have to reside in the 2nd District to run against Parks.

Sayet performs in Ventura, prepares for series

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The final part of my interview with Evan Sayet has to do with his upcoming plans. At his show in Ventura last night, he shot some B-roll for his upcoming series based on his tour. The pilot episode will be in February.

Q: What's next after your show in Ventura? Where might we see you next?

A: There is so much going on, in some ways the fruition of the plan I put together (or maybe better said, the end of the beginning of that plan) and I couldn't be more excited and grateful.  The show you metioned in Ventura is one of several over the next few weeks which I'm using to get ready for a television series based on my Right to Laugh -- A Night of Conservative Comedy.  I'll be the host -- and do a monologue -- every week and then introduce several comedians who, while they may not all be political and perhaps even some might be liberal in their personal lives, who reflect the values, concerns and beliefs of, not Hollywood, but America.
 
I also just signed a deal...with Human Events magazine, the home of the great Ann Coulter.  Every Tuesday they're going to publish the best ten jokes from my monologues both for the enjoyment of the readers and to provide them with little zingers for when they're stuck in an elevator with a Lefty spouting his anti-American, childish stupidity.
 
IngeMusings
Topic
This blog attempts to add perspective and context to local and national politics, through a variety of disciplines, such as history, economics, and philosophy--all tempered with common sense. About the author

Eric Ingemunson's commentary has been featured on Hannity, CNN, NBC, Inside Edition, and KFI's The John and Ken Show. Eric was born and raised in Ventura County and currently resides in Moorpark. He earned a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. As a conservative, Eric supports smaller government, less taxation, more individual freedom, the rule of law, and a strict adherence to the Constitution.
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