28th District: 100.0% (292 of 292) precincts reporting as of 9:39 AM November 21, 2002
* Howard L. Berman Democrat 73,116 71.5 David R. Hernandez, Jr. Republican 23,709 23.1 Kelley L. Ross Libertarian 5,574 5.4
No doubt that the new 28th Congressional District was drawn to elect a Democrat. Howard Berman had no problem. The Republican Party in California seems to be in disarray, electing no State wide officials for the first time in memory. As a Third Party candidate, I was relatively successful. In most such Congressional races, most such candidates get 2% or 3% of the vote. I was surprised to get more than 5%, perhaps because many of my students were voting for me (so they said, anyway).
Yes, when thousands of Americans, peacefully going about their business, get blown to bits by foreign fanatics, it means war.
To some, on the Left and even in the libertarian movement, this is not at all obvious. To them, it is our own fault that these people hate us, and so we should apologize, apparently, to them for making them commit suicide in order to get our attention and persuade us of the evil of our ways.
So the questions are, (1) is it our own fault? and (2) does it make any difference?
The answer to the second question first: NO. Our fault or not, it is too late. They hate us, they are after us, they are organized, protected, and well financed. And so it is literally them or us. Being nice to them, understanding their anger, doesn't mean a damn thing to them. At this point, it only earns their contempt. That means that we have to do what we are doing, which is to go in, blast them to pieces, overthrow governments, root them out, hunt them down, and then blow their brains out or grab them and put them in cages. The gloves are off.
This is certainly a dangerous moment for civil liberties and libertarian principles. The crowd that all along has been for national identity cards, for confiscating weapons, for stamping, folding, and spindling every American, and for all the devices of a police states, now have a great opportunity to push their agenda. War is the life of the State. However, the peril of the moment right now is greater from the terrorists than from the government. We are just going to have to grit our teeth and do what is necessary.
But the worst thing about many recent "security" measures has been their irrationality. Because the U.S. government is afraid to arm airline pilots (they are going to hijack their own airplanes?), they are reduced to confiscating fingernail clippers and knitting needles from passengers. This is idiotic. Terrorists can conceal military plastic knives in their underpants and get by any of the ordinary screenings that are now being used. What is needed is to have someone, or many, on the airplane who will have the means to resist such a terrorist so armed. If all passengers were armed with knives, we know what would happen: The passengers of United Flight 93 fought the hijackers, and on several aircraft since then passengers have subdued unruly or threatening people, including one bona fide terrorist, the "shoe bomber." But the simplest thing is simply to arm the pilots, a large proportion of whom are from the military and are familiar with carrying and using weapons in the first place. Military pilots don't "need" guns when flying in combat, since they don't pull out a .45 to shoot at other planes; but they always carry a gun, in case they are shot down.
Another gross irrationality is that random checks of passengers are liable to wave through the young Arab man and minutely inspect the elderly Norwegian woman. This is absurd. Middle Easterners and Muslims are suspects. It is not their fault, but it is the fault of the terrorists. That is the terrorist strategy, to infiltrate, to blend in, and so to find safety in anonymity and numbers. Calling it "profiling," and then saying that this is "wrong" (as the Secretary of Transportation has done) when more attention is paid to those more likely to be suspects, is ridiculous. With limited opportunities to search people carefully, it is simply rational behavior, and common sense, to look first at the people who are going to be the more likely suspects. This doesn't mean that you round up Arabs and send them to concentration camps, but it does mean that they are going to be at the head of the line for a bit more reasonable attention. Those who protest such procedures require security resources to be wasted on people with very low probabilities of being terrorists. This protects the terrorists, and the ACLU and other protesters should be aware that this is what they are accomplishing. "Equal protection of the law" does not mean an irrational agnosticism when it comes to the real factors that constitute evidence of "probable cause" for searches.
This controversy is instructive, however, since its origin is in "anti-discrimination" law that restricts individual liberty in private economic transactions and forces businessmen to act in irrational ways. The folly and wrongfullness of this has been examined elsewhere.
Now for the first question. Is it our own fault that the terrorists hate us? Again, the anwer is NO. Libertarians who would answer "yes" tend to say that an "interventionist" foreign policy is responsible for provoking hatred. Relevant "interventions" tend to fall under three headings: (1) supporting Israel, (2) supporting Cold War allies against foreign and domestic opposition, and (3) supporting, overthrowing, or threatening governments in support of particular American economic interests.
This whole embrogilio and powder keg is something that in fact it might be better for the United States to walk away from. However, it is already too late for that. If Israel is overthrown or conquered by its enemies, the result is going to be the massacre and/or deportation of its inhabitants, probably with some uncontrollable emphasis on the former. There are humanitarian reasons why the United States cannot allow this to happen, but it is also something that American public opinion, both Jewish and Christian, is not going to be able to countenance. If the United States is damned by Arabs or Muslims for supporting Israel, and radical Palestinians are really not going to allow a compromise solution, then we are just going to have to fight it out.
Internationally, this was a struggle in which, as the Left still likes to say, "Which side are you on?" Even the "non-alligned" movement, founded by Nasser, Tito, and Nehru, was basically socialist and more sympathetic with the Soviets than with the West. At a meeting of "non-alligned" nations not many years ago, Fidel Castro was given a standing ovation. This tells the tale. Those who complain about the treatment of nations that fell afoul of the United States in the Cold War years are really saying that a pro-Soviet government was a good thing and that the United States, and the West, had no right to defend itself with the same kinds of interventions that the Soviet Union practiced constantly and never apologized for. In the real world, the United States was simply practicing a "forward defense," which means getting at the enemy at distance and keeping them away from you.
Do not be deceived, the Cold War is not over. All the old Soviet propaganda about imperialism and colonialism is alive and well, pouring out of American universities and radical "circles." The American media carefully conceal this from broad public attention, but one can easily find radicals spouting anti-American and anti-Capitalist rhetoric on cable or Sunday morning news shows. All of this blends seemlessly with the Islâmic Fascism of the terrorists. We are bad, not just because we support Israel, but because we "exploit" the underdeveloped world, I have even heard the word "rape" used, through imperialism and colonialism, i.e. Capitalism. "Intervention" is thus not landing the marines and overthrowing governments, but pushing for free trade, foreign investment, and "globalism."
Complaints about American foreign intervention are thus either going to be from those actively hostile to freedom, but who may conceal their true sentiments under a certain layer of sophistry, or from those who naively think that the United States can withdraw from a forward defense and the world will conveniently sort itself out in agreeable ways, without the United States ever really being in danger. Both of these are properly to be rejected.
On the other hand, if those radical socialist governments became active allies of the Soviet Union (Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, Angola, Ethiopia, etc.), then they did indeed choose sides in the conflict between freedom and slavery. That is one thing. When we get down to cases, we find other things. Protesters did not believe that the United States should have helped liberate Kuwait from Iraq. Their argument seemed to be that the compelling reason why it was none of the business of the United States was that is was in the economic interest of the United States to prevent Iraq from created a monopoly by conquest of Gulf oil -- as though anything in one's own interest is wrongful. That a member of the United Nations was invaded and conquered by another country, one that had plenty of its own oil for whatever purposes it might want, apparently didn't count. What did count, for the Left anyway, was that the hated America could have been harmed if Saddam Hussein really could have created his own Middle Eastern empire.
Thus, while there are going to be some cases of American military intervention in countries merely in behalf of private American economic interests, this is not enough to engender the kind of hatred that is actually found, which almost always accompanies hatred based on anti-capitalist, anti-individualist, and anti-democratic principles. The depth of this hatred is obvious in a continuing leftist cause célèbre, over Chile. The Marxist President, elected by a small plurality in 1970, Salvador Allende, was overthrown and killed in a coup in 1973, with the help of the United States. A military dictatorship was then headed by Augusto Pinochet. The number of people murdered by the dictatorship was considerable, but trival next to the the murders of most Communist regimes, which run into the tens of millions. In 1989 a civilian government was elected, and Pinochet gradually was eased out of the rest of his power. Nevertheless, while Fidel Castro, with at least an equal number of murders to his credit, remains in respected power and is visited by fawning celebrities, Pinochet and his regime are targets of continuing vitriol and action in every way the Left can think of. When an aging and ill Pinochet was in Britain for medical care in 1998, the Labour Government actually violated his diplomatic passport and arrested him on a warrant from Spain for murders committed, not in Spain, but in Chile. Eventually, he was released. Divided opinion in Chile itself is probably the only reason that its government did not pronounce this violation of diplomatic immunity an Act of War. Castro, who has never allowed honest elections and is being eased out of no power, seems to be under no such threat.
The terrorists hate us, then, for the same vicious and confused reasons that the United States has been hated for many years, by the kinds of people who think that wealth becomes concentrated, not through enterprise and production, but through theft. If the United States is rich, then it must be stealing. Since all they understand is theft, that is all they can think to accuse us of, and all that they actually want to do themselves. It is now a very strange alliance that we find between the old Left and the new Islâmic fanatics, but there is plenty that they can agree on about hating America, Capitalism, and Jews -- yes, for all the Jews in leftist politics over the years, it has been the tendency of the Left, from Marx himself to the Soviet Union of the 1980's, to identify Jews with Money. Since anti-Israeli propaganda tends to swallow whole Nazi anti-Semitism as well -- it is a popular belief in the Middle East that no Jews were killed in the World Trade Center because they had all been warned not to go to work -- we find a great syncretism of Hilterism and Stalinism in this most modern of anti-modern ideologies. This is all what we are up against, and it is no joke. It means a continuing deadly struggle, not just against the murderous terrorists, but against the home grown ideologues who despise every single one of the founding principles of American government.
The Essential Anti-Communist Bibliography
The Post-Modern Left
Islâmic Fascism and Satyagraha in Palestine
Usually, when a big company goes bankrupt and the stockholders are left holding worthless paper, few tears are shed by the chattering classes. They are sorry, indeed, for the workers ("stakeholders") at the company who lose their jobs, but mere investors get no sympathy.
At the same time, however, the chattering classes (who are basically socialists) have always thought that workers should own the companies where they work. Because of this steady influence, many companies now compensate workers with company stock. This has made many veterans of the early days of Microsoft wealthy people. But it has a down side. There is usually no protection for the risk of capital. Stock is not like wages. It rises and falls in value, depending on the fate of the company. Like any capital investment, therefore, owners should protect themselves against the risk. Holding on to one stock alone, however loyal or optimistic one is about the company, is asking for trouble.
As it happened, Enron was in trouble, and management concealed this from one and all. This was a breach of fiduciary responsibility to stockholders, and it easily involved practices of criminal fraud, with the (criminal) collusion of Enron's auditors, whose job was to keep the financial figures honest. To the press, this simply meant that all business is theft and that all businessmen are crooks. Which is rather like saying that because murders occur in society, then all, including the media elite, are themselves murders. No, leftist opinion simply wants to use any crime in business as a stick to beat business, and capitalism, with.
Beyond this, the press has used the Enron affair as a wedge to get "campaign finance reform," which is a way of taking money away from challengers, silencing opposition (with prohibitions on media ads mentioning politicians), and ensuring that professional politicians get reelected. This worked so well as to get the bill out of the House. But it is completely irrelevant. No politician did anything to help Enron management conceal the difficulties of the company. The Clinton Administration, indeed, had helped Enron in several foreign investment deals; but no Democrat was complaining about that at the time. Then, when it came time for the Bush Administration to do something to bail out the company, it did nothing. The accusation, however, seems to be that the Bush Administration did Enron's bidding by not putting a price cap on energy prices in California in 2001. However, since conservative politicians typically don't believe in price fixing by the government, no one can reasonably argue that the Administration did anything different than an informed person would have expected it to do.
"Campaign finance reform" is simply an effort by the left, with the self-interested cooperation of many politicians, to put politics itself under the control of the government. The ultimate means of doing that would be public financing for campaigns (the true goal of every controversy over campaign financing), which means that the government will finance political activity that it defines as serious and worthy, and will prohibit any political acitivity requiring money (i.e. most of it) by those it regards as marginal and unworthy (the American Nazi Party, the NRA, Pro-Lifers, Libertarians, Republicans, etc.).
The Enron affair itself means that workers should prefer to be compensated in cash. If a growing company with little cash offers to compensate them in stock, then the wise thing is to sell much of that as soon as it becomes profitable to do so. The last thing anyone should do is allow a company pension plan to get tied down to company stock that cannot be traded away. Many Enron employees seem to be complaining that they were stuck with stock in their pension plans that they couldn't sell off. However, it looks like selling the stock was only prohibited briefly, rather late in the day, to be sure, at time when the value of the stock was falling badly. But the error of judgment had already happened. The employees should never have allowed such unbalanced holdings in the first place. Since this seems to reveal their naivete as investors, suggestions have been made that the holdings should be diversified by law. That might be a good law for the company, but the employees might be asked if they would like the government to tell them what kinds of investments they should hold. The truth is that an employee pension plan should have nothing to do with the company. Whatever compensation an employee gets, the part that goes to a pension should go to a neutral party, whether an insurance company, a labor union, or any other organization that can pool resources and disperse risk, without the same kind of potential conflict of interest that a company has in managing its own retirement system.
As for the fraudulent concealment of debt and losses revealing the evils of capitalism, the problem here is that these are the typical practices, day in and day out, of the United States government. No federal program, of course, ever turns a profit. It is all dead loss (despite the rhetoric of politicians who like to pretend that "social" spending is a valuable "investment"). There is no concealing there, just the complacency of anyone who should be noticing. The concealment of federal debt, however, is a high art. If private pension plans were run the way Social Security is run, many people would be in prison for it. But the politicians "saving" Social Security with absurd slogans (Al Gore's "lock box") run no risk and in fact improve their chances of election. Many other federal liabilities, like the debt owed for future federal pensions, are simply ignored. Thus, if Enron is the naked truth of "corporate greed," it highlights even better the naked greed of politicians and, sadly, voters, who cannot be prosecuted for fraud under the law as the Enron managers can be.
The ballot this year is flush with bond issues. People seem to think that the money will just appear miraculously. What it actually means is that the State goes into debt, which means that the bonds must be paid off, with tax dollars, eventually. Tax revenues evidently are not enough to pay for all the goodies that the activists want. Interestingly, Proposition 50 is supposedly about exactly the same stuff, with exactly the same commericials, as Proposition 40 was back in March. Wasn't that enough? Apparently not. As Edward G. Robinson says in Key Largo, they just want "More! More!" Well, now that the voters have largely become chumps for the Democrats (and probably don't even remember Prop 40), I bet they'll give all that is asked to the parasites! Why worry, free money!
Indeed, sometimes I think we should just let the tax and spend crowd take whatever they want. After all, I'm a public employee. I get my cut. And if Gray Doofus and his gang drive all the business out of the State, then maybe the voters will learn all over again what they used to know when they were electing Ronald Reagan. A ruined economy may be what it takes. The whole State can become like Santa Monica and Berkeley.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a conspicuous Republican, was thinking about running for Governor of California. Now we know what kind of governor he would make. Take money out of the school budget and spend it on "after school programs." Great. Is this like the "midnight basketball" that Bill Clinton wanted? Does this mean they're going to raise taxes to make up the difference in the school budget? (Starting in 2004, the money for this will have to come from somewhere else -- new taxes for that?) This is Republicanism? Indeed, it is the kind of Republicanism we have come to know and love. Republicans as Lesser Democrats. Does this mean they are going to make the kids stay after school? Exactly what kind of activities are going to tempt the gang bangers away from drug dealing? Beam me up, Scotty!
A very solid and widespread victory, except in the far North. So now Arnold will have his money to play with social engineering, like Rob Reiner got money from smokers in Proposition 10 (so that he can tell parents how to be good parents). Meanwhile Gray Doofus is going to cut the education budget, but Arnold has gotten his cut. It is definitely the kind of problem where one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry -- there are plenty of grounds for either.
If people are so inattentive that they can't manage to register to vote 15 days before an election, chances are they don't know well enough what they are doing to be worthy voters. But that is really beside the point. Election day voter registration is a blank check for voter fraud. This Initiative says it increases penalties for voter fraud. Wow. If the California Supreme Court is as sharp as the Florida and New Jersey Supreme Courts, that is really going to help. But, of coruse, it is a fraud itself. The Democrats can break laws right and left and the willing press and judiciary write it off as the rule bending necessary so that the Good Guys, i.e. socialists, can win. If this measure wins, in the next election Gray Doofus and Willie Brown will be bussing people straight from Mexico, or perhaps even Las Vegas, to the polls. Then they can raise any taxes or silence any opposition that they want. The whole State can become like Santa Monica and Berkeley.
Almost the only sensible decision by voters in this election. Only three Bay Area counties went for it. Of course, the State is solidly on track to become like Santa Monica and Berkeley anyway -- the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy has too many irons in the fire for this one loss to slow them down much. Nor are they content to accept defeat. Voing day voter registration is liable to turn up again, either on the ballot of a forgetful electorate, or simply by legislation.
The revealing thing about the commercials in favor of Proposition 40 is that they don't actually say what the proposition is about. All they do is talk about "protecting" water and the environment. Typical. Proposition 40 is simply a bond issue, adding to the debt of the State of California. It simply gives THEM, the environmentalistic bureaucrats, politicians, and activists, more money to play with, at taxpayer expense. The text of the measure even talks about restoring "historical and cultural resources." This affects the water supply? It also talks about space "threatened" by "unplanned development." In other words, these are the people who don't want enough housing built for the population of the State. They are the "slow growth" people who produce high rents and high numbers of homeless (see San Francisco) and then complain about the others, the landlords or whatever, who have caused this to happen. But it's them, the Berkeley and Santa Monica socialists. Don't give them more money!
Well, it's only money. But the voters of California used to routinely reject gratuitous plunges into debt like this, all to give money to a bunch of anti-growth (read "anti-housing") and anti-business (read "anti-job") fanatics.
Although Prop 40 wins easily, the "No" vote has retained a core of the conservative, rural counties of the State. In many of them it loses very heavily indeed, though this is more than balanced by equally big wins in the populous counties.
Gasoline taxes are presently spend on whatever the politicians want to spend them on, i.e. socialism. Take it away from them. The streets and roads are getting to be in pretty bad shape. The politicians don't care. They can buy more votes with interest group give-aways. The ads against 42 are pretty overt appeals to groups who want State money for themselves. Spend transportation taxes on transportation needs. Yes on 42!
A big, big win, even in the most socialist counties -- 59% "Yes" even in San Francisco. This despite "No" ads that said it would be taking money away from schools, children, and the elderly (well, they could make up the loss by taking money from the Prop 40 bonds!). People may have noticed that the roads were getting bad.
The lying, thieving Democrats who came up with this proposition, which says that every vote cast must be counted, did so on the theory that the nasty Republicans disqualified Democratic votes in Florida in the 2000 Presidential election. As it happens, more Republican votes may have been disqualified in Democrat Counties than Democrat votes in Republican Counties. It is the Democrats who, as a matter of fact, are the long time champions of stealing elections. The "motor voter" bill has been a blank check for Democrat voter fraud. They were so angry about the 2000 election just because they lost and weren't able to steal it. So why worry about this proposition? Well, what it does is hand to the Democrats a vague statute to use as a standard part of their typical strategy, which is to go to the Courts. That is something else they hated about the 2000 election: Their strategy backfired when it got to the Supreme Court, heavy with Republican appointees, who then reversed the Democrat puppet Florida Supreme Court. Proposition 43 thus does nothing useful or meaningful but potentially promotes more litigation. The last thing we need. Vote no.
People probably thought of this proposition as a harmless affirmation of the obvious, taken in again by the deviousness of the Democrats. Fortunately, as noted, things like this are a doubled-edged sword; and if the Republicans are vigilant (very often a vain wish), there will be opportunties for them to turn this against the Democrats, whose practice of election fraud is traditional and continuing.
Term limits keep the professional politicians out of permanent power. I would be willing to countenance some modification of them, as described in "A Modest Proposal: Separation of Lawyers and Politics." Proposition 45, however, is supported by the wrong people. When the professional politicians are themselves hot on the scent, it gives the wrong smell to the whole business. I'm not for giving them a chance. Next thing, Willie Brown will be back in the Assembly. If the voters of San Francisco are stupid enough to keep him as Mayor, that's fine (though the Los Angeles Times has said that many San Francisco voters don't think their votes get counted -- ballot boxes have ended up in the Bay!). I don't have to live there. But let's limit the damage. No on 45!
Another instance where we can take heart from a big win. Only San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties held out against a tide of distrust of professional politicians, despite ads that invoked giving women the vote, the Civil Rights Movement, and other Progressive hot buttons. If this scepticism had only been extended to giving the politicians more money, as in Prop 40, we would really be on the right track.
The "No" vote got all the way up to 75% in little Glenn County, but was 70% or more in several other counties. It doesn't get more decisive than that (though "No" votes of 76% in Glenn and 77% in Modoc County on Prop 40 didn't turn the tide).