The Obligatory Election Post

Posted on October 7, 2016

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It suffices to state that we were disappointed when the democratic electorate chose not to make Bernie Sanders their candidate. Many of the issues touched on by Sanders are the same issues that ensure the people of Europe economic security. Many countries in Europe offer a free college education. It’s the sole reason that Europe has far more college graduates per capita than the United States does. For those that don’t choose the college route there are government sponsored apprenticeship programs in private industry that provide workers the skills they need to be productive members of society.

Added note: Due to some obscene remarks in some of the videos provided on this page, the default setting for audio in videos on this page might be set to “audio off”. Please click on the speaker in the lower left-hand corner of each video to turn the audio on – JCW Moderation team

If we are to have any effect upon poverty in America, we must reform the way we approach education, apprenticeship and even military service. About the latter: Before the 1980’s those that got in trouble with the law were occasionally given a choice by the judge. Enter the military or go to jail. And military service was responsible for turning a whole lot of lives around. That vanished when the military upped their standards, refusing those that had ever done drugs, been convicted of multiple infractions or misdemeanors or were referred by a judge as an alternative to jail without difficult to obtain waivers. Here in California, there is an effort in some government circles to ban the box that asks about previous crimes. We’re not so sure we agree with that. We’d rather not hire a convicted embezzler to watch public funds.

Most countries in Europe control the cost of prescription drugs, control the costs of healthcare and manage to insure all of their citizens with better outcomes than the United States. Healthcare costs in Europe do not bankrupt their citizens because they are paid for by taxes and administered by government, not insurance premiums paid by individuals to profit driven corporations. Costs are much, much lower for better outcomes. With the massive strain of retiree healthcare costs on governments, unions, corporations and individuals, we must continue to reform our healthcare system in America and if we fail, we fail the people as a whole who will continue to pay greater costs for poorer outcomes and forcing greater costs on taxpayers to ensure corporate profits. Our healthcare system is downright un-affordable and was before the American Care Act.

Thirty days from now you will make the most important decision you can possibly make over the next four years when you go to the voting booth and choose our next president. For the sake of practicality, we’re going to discount the possibility of third party candidates who barely blip on the national radar and will never achieve the highest office in the land. In essence, that leaves two choices: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

About Hillary Clinton: She’s unquestionably the most qualified candidate to run for president in years. Regrettably, she has unwanted baggage that will inevitably be the cause of repeated republican led red herring investigations and continued congressional paralysis. Having traveled to 122 countries as Secretary of State, she has cut her chops on American foreign policy, changing the way our allies view America from utter disdain to a position of respect. We must not, we cannot give that up as it is America’s allies that help keep America safe.

She has firsthand knowledge of America’s healthcare crisis and is willing to do something about it by offering a public option. She understands the plight of student debt and expensive college education and believes that a college education should not result in financial Armageddon for graduates, who may end up paying those student loan costs off over the next 30 to 50 or so years at interest rates that are triple the interest costs of home loans. Not only does this have a detrimental effect on future generations purchasing power but it also stands in the way of future home ownership and can even backfire on parents who are soon to retire that may have cosigned for them.

If you want to see what a financial bubble looks like today, one only needs to consider the newest debt clock released on January 30th of this year – the student loan debt clock which grows at a rate of 2,726.00 per second and stands at a little over 1.3 trillion dollars and affects 43 million Americans directly, with over 7 million currently in default. Should the economy go south like it did in 2009, that bubble will pop and the government will step in and pay those deficiencies and then try to recover them from workers. Surprisingly enough, defaulted student debt can actually serve to prevent employers from hiring you because they would rather not hire an irresponsible party they must wage garnish.

While Hillary’s husband endorsed and signed somewhat controversial legislation in NAFTA and endorsed China’s entry into the WTO, she is willing to admit that these trade deals did not pan out quite like they should have and American workers lost jobs to globalization. Other nations have managed to support their governments, workers and finances by imposing value added taxes on both goods and services. So while they can continue to benefit from lower cost imports and foreign labor, VAT helps support the nations and the people that impose them. Without them, they would be running up deficits year after year much like a country we’re somewhat familiar with because we live in it. It isn’t that we support higher taxes. It is that we support preserving the tax base to pay for critical functions like judicial branch operations, instead of trying to balance budgets on the backs California’s poorest citizens.

About Donald Trump: The Donald is probably the least qualified candidate to ever run for president in the 227 year history of the United States. When (and a big if) he is ever sworn in, he will be sworn in to uphold and defend the constitution but he has already repeatedly broadcast to the world that he has no intention of doing so in his many campaign speeches. He intends on discriminating against over half the worlds population solely because of their religion and/or nationality. He’s a big proponent of unconstitutional stop and frisk policies that jacked up 7 million people in New York City alone and resulted in only 130,000 convictions, most of which were infractions.

He’s suggested that perhaps America should follow his lead and default on foreign debt or offer cents on the dollar for it. He’s suggested that we should pull out of NATO, allow nuclear proliferation and even that he will fire all U.S. generals because he knows better than them. He’s attacked a California federal judge born in Indiana, saying he is unqualified due to his ancestry. He’s said that torture should be put back on the table and we should be able to torture confessions and intelligence out of people, even though it is contrary to the Geneva conventions to which we are a signator. He would be our second war crimes president and the first doesn’t dare leave the country.

He still insists the Central Park 5 are guilty and that government is weak because they paid 41 million dollars to them for coerced confessions: denying juveniles sleep, water and food over the course of 42 consecutive hours of questioning. At the time of their arrest, he took full page ads in the four largest NYC newspapers trying to convince the public that the central park five are the reason to bring back the death penalty and increase the size of the police force. The Central Park 5 did their sentences and a few years after their release, the real rapist, a serial rapist confessed to the crime after the statute of limitations expired and his claim was backed up by dna testing of the rape kit taken at the time of the rape. The central park 5 were determined to be factually innocent and New York City settled with each of them. Clearly, Trump has no qualms putting innocent people to death and that alone should put fear in every person reading this post.

He has stated that if elected, he would do away with 70% of federal regulations; Those that protect the people from being bilked, environmentally poisoned, paid a decent wage or working a 40 hour work week. He detests unions and organized labor of any type.

Here are Trumps repugnant comments about women released by the Washington Post on 10/7/2016

He claims immigrants are pouring over the border to vote in this years elections, when one needs to meet 5 year residency requirements and become a citizen to earn the right to vote.

Internationally, he has only two supporters: Russia who wants Trump to be president so Trump can devastate America’s relationship with their allies and the rest of the world and the Philippines, who just elected a strongman that endorses the killing of drug users and dealers by vigilante groups as well as police. Thus far, there have been over 4000 murders since Duterte took office – a third of those were police killings.

He flouts the trade agreements and swears he will bring jobs back to America yet he buys steel from China. He has his suits, ties and shirts made in Mexico, Bangladesh and Indonesia. About the only thing the Donald has ever regularly made in America are his “make america great again” hats and that is only during the time he has run for president. In these things, The Donald does not lead by example. With policy based on more flip-flops than a dealer at a black-jack table, no Trump supporter can firmly make any claim that he stands firm on any issue, save a wall that will be a colossal waste of public funds if it fails to also go a hundred feet underground which will make it a trillion dollar wall.

But fear not people because Mexico will pay for it.

Uh-huh.

Perhaps Trump and his supporters never heard of the Maginot line and how that worked out.

At least Pence recognized that the wall also needed to go underground to be somewhat effective but does not touch on the costs of doing so. Both of them seem to ignore that the majority of illegal immigrants don’t come across the border but arrive in the U.S. on aircraft and overstay their visas. In other words, they would fly over the wall and Trump has completely missed the boat on this fact. But then again, the candidate that wants to make america great again seems to be running a fact-free campaign.

He’s a dangerous psychopathic narcissist; A bloviating Cheetos-colored, comb-over misogynistic racist bully that has been conning the public, investors, workers, contractors and government and has not paid federal taxes for years – but he’s a genius and that makes him smarter than all you working stiffs that pay your taxes. But trust him he says, because he will reform the tax code for his own benefit and being 70 years old, he will shift that tax burden off on you and his grandchildren to worry about. Leading economists indicate his policies will drive us into a recession worse than 2009 and cost millions of jobs while exploding the national debt by trillions of dollars. He will set us up for a repeat of 1929, destroy our standing on the world stage (which is why Russia is rooting for him to win) and promote even greater income inequality.

We can understand the desire to shake up the system. Congress has experienced eight years of near total paralysis and it isn’t getting any better. It surely won’t get better with a majority republican house and senate if Clinton is elected – but a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for putting him in a position of self-dealing while screwing everyone who reads this post.

And it is with all of these considerations that we implore you to vote. But use your head because one of these candidates is one of the biggest con artists in America and this will unquestionably be his largest con.

No, we’re not with her – but we will be voting for her because she is the best candidate for the job. And it’s about time for someone to shatter the glass ceiling.

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Other statewide endorsements:

U.S. Senator to replace Barbara Boxer: No endorsement but we expect Kamala Harris to win.

Propositions:

Proposition 51 – School Bonds – No
Let’s be clear about what a bond is. A bond is a tax on future generations. Proposition 51 will do nothing to support or enhance existing schools. Rather, Proposition 51 will permit developers to build in areas where there are no schools and permit developers to contribute less of their own money towards their construction. It’s a giant giveaway with taxpayer guarantees. While developers have put ten million dollars in towards passage, no one wants to be tagged with being against children or schools so not one dime has been spent in opposition. We strongly oppose any bond measure that does not improve on existing schools and believe that developers who build in the middle of nowhere should pay the costs associated with doing so. That should include utility infrastructure, roads, fire stations, parks and schools.

Proposition 52 – Hospital Fees – No
Oddly, this proposition is backed by hospitals that want to pass fees on down to consumers and insurance companies to pay for indigent care for the uninsured. The problem with that is that the American Care Act already makes these payments and there are two additional ballot measures that also support and underwrite medi-cal. Let’s be clear: This money would go right back to the same hospitals that have paid more than 60 million dollars to pass this measure and gain some federal matching funds in the process. There is not a shred of accountability in ths proposition and no indigent patient would benefit. In fact, it is these same hospital chains that routinely reject uninsured indigents and steer them towards county hospitals. It’s a giveaway of epic proportions artfully guised as a benefit to indigent persons who haven’t benefitted thus far and will derive no benefit if it passes.

Proposition 53 – revenue bonds – Yes
Proposition 53 prevents politicians from issuing revenue bonds exceeding two billion dollars without public consent. Let’s think for a moment how revenue bonds have been squandered in the recent past. You might remember the Enron driven power blackouts that caused our utilities to go bankrupt. 11.3 billion dollars of revenue bonds were issued by the state to pay the likes of Enron when a better solution would have been for the government to seize power producers and keep that power here in California. Revenue bonds were a giant windfall to Enron. Similarly, one of the reason tickets are so expensive today is because of revenue bonds that support court construction. But the largest revenue bond on the horizon would underwrite the delta tunnels project. The delta tunnels project will siphon off well over 25 billion dollars to send water to the overly powerful Westlands water district in the Cadillac desert we know as the southernmost area of the san Joaquin valley to keep salt infiltration at bay. It would force northern California farmers to fallow their fields so that a place where crops can’t be grown without using too much water will be able to keep salt levels down and can resume agribusiness. It would devastate the delta ecosystem, sending salt water into the Sacramento delta. And remember, a bond is a tax on future generations. Because of that, revenue bonds should be used to benefit those generations and not just the wealthy contractors or water districts that stand to benefit from them now. These tunnels would have a devastating impact on northern California’s water companies like the east bay municipal utility district and many other northern California water districts that rely on sacramento river water to go to people.

Proposition 54 – Last Minute Lawmaking – Yes
How many times do you recall promising legislation being gutted or offensive legislation passed at the last minute in the middle of the night without a shred of public input? Unfortunately, it has happened way too much here in California when powerful special interests were able to convince legislators to gut and amend. Proposition 54 tries to put a stop to last-minute law-making by requiring the Legislature to publish a bill in print and post it online for at least 72 hours prior to a vote on the bill. It also would require the Legislature to video record all its public sessions and make video archives available online. Today you must buy those videos on dvd.

Proposition 55 – High Earner Taxation – Yes
Prop. 55 would extend the 2012 voter-approved tax increase on high-income earners for 12 more years, to 2030. The tax applies to earnings over $250,000 a year for individuals, or over $500,000 for couples. Most of the revenue would continue to go to K-12 education, with the remaining set aside for community colleges and low-income health care programs.

Proposition 56 – Tobacco (and e-cigarette) tax – Yes
Prop. 56 would add a $2 tax to cigarettes, electronic cigarettes containing nicotine, and other tobacco products to primarily increase funding for existing health care programs. It’s a well proven fact that taxation of cigarettes impacts their overall sales and reduces smoking. Tobacco companies tend to drop prices to keep their customers hooked so about half of this tax is absorbed by reduced profits to the merchants of death. Currently, there are no taxes whatsoever on e-cigarettes as there is no tobacco in them and over the past few years “vaping” has exploded in use impacting tobacco sales so dramatically that the merchants of death (tobacco companies) have also gotten into the e-cigarette business. If you think this taxation is outrageous, compare it to cigarette taxation around the world. In countries with socialized medicine like Australia, cigarette taxes are about a dollar per cigarette and by 2020 will rise to 2 dollars per cigarette. No, that’s not two dollars per pack but two dollars per cigarette. These taxes cover the actual costs of smokers to their healthcare system. And oh, we smoke.

Proposition 57 – Criminal Sentencing – Yes
Prop. 57 would increase the number of nonviolent inmates eligible for parole consideration and enable inmates to earn credits for good behavior. It also lets judges and not district attorneys decide whether to try a juvenile as an adult, likely resulting in fewer young offenders being placed in the adult system and assists in reducing the overall prison population. Frankly, sentencing laws have been too lax in some areas and resulted in obscene sentences for some three strikes offenders. It has also been used by tough on crime DA’s to try children as adults in adult courts.

Proposition 58 – Bilingual Education – Yes
Prop. 58 would remove restrictions voters put in place in 1998 with Prop. 227. It would allow public schools to decide how to teach english learners – choosing among English-only, bilingual, or other types of programs. It would also open the door for native English speakers to learn a second language. The reason that we support this initiative is that we believe teachers know best how to educate children. And in some cases, forcing an English only education upon those that don’t speak English is counterproductive to the learning process. Yes, we believe it is critical for children to learn English. But we also believe that it is important for English speakers to learn other languages to compete in Today’s world economy.

Proposition 59 – Campaign money – Yes
Prop. 59 is an advisory measure—it’s an opportunity for Californians to give their opinion but it doesn’t directly change any laws. The measure asks if voters want California’s elected officials to take steps to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United. Amending the Constitution is a lengthy process that generally requires, among other things, support from at least 38 states nationwide. Today, citizens may be limited on what they may contribute towards campaigns but by and large, corporations are not limited because of citizens united. This must change.

Proposition 60 – Condoms in films – No
Prop. 60 would require porn actors to use condoms when filming intercourse. It would create a system for people to make complaints and file lawsuits if they see a sex scene that does not include a condom. It would require that adult film producers pay for performers’ vaccinations, testing and medical exams related to sexual health. California’s porn industry contributes 9 billion dollars a year to the local economy and poorly enforced state law already requires the use of condoms and has already driven some porn underground or out of state. While we think routine vaccinations, testing, medical exams, certification and allowing performers to sue and bar arbitration would be far better than requiring condom use, this initiative permits anyone to sue and will drive this industry underground or out of state overnight. It is a poorly thought out initiative much like the law it purports to back up.

Proposition 61 – Prescription Drugs – Yes
Prop. 61 would cap the amount the state pays for prescription drugs—generally prohibiting the state from paying any more for drugs than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which pays the lowest prices in the nation. Now, you’ve probably seen the dire doom and gloom commercials that say it will cost veterans more for prescription drugs it is important to remember where that money for those misleading ads is coming from. All that money for all those ads is coming from big pharma as donations to veterans groups. Before all is said and done, big pharma will have spend over a hundred million dollars here in California against this initiative and if it fails to pass, you will pay back that money in the form of higher taxes to support escalating drug prices.

Proposition 62 & 66 – Death Penalty – Yes on 62 and No on 66
Whether for or against the death penalty, both sides agree the criminal justice system isn’t working. Since the 1978 passage of the death penalty in California, 15 of the 930 individuals who received a death sentence have been executed. Another 103 have died in prison prior to being executed, 64 have had sentences reduced by the courts while 748 remain in prison. The numbers illustrate the lengthy time inmates spend both waiting for court-appointed attorneys and for their cases to be heard, as well as an exhaustive appeals process intended to protect the innocent. Meanwhile, California has not carried out an execution since 2006 because of legal issues surrounding the state’s lethal injection procedures. In a nutshell: 62 abolishes the death penalty and converts all sentences of people condemned to death to actual life sentences and 66 reduces the amount of appeals to the death penalty. For many years now the innocence project has been reversing death sentences nationwide when they’ve managed to prove that condemned inmates did not, in fact commit the crimes to which they were sentenced to death. Just the costs of a capital punishment case far exceeds the costs of life in prison by two to three times. Yes on 62 and no on 66 would save taxpayers more than 150 million dollars a year – a price that is in perpetual escalation whereas No on 62 and yes on 66 might save 10 million at most and vastly increase the odds that we kill factually innocent people. Most people sentenced to death are poorly represented because while we might give a DA a million or more to prosecute, we only give the public defender a few hundred grand at most to defend and the end result is wholly predictable. It is an unfair system and costs taxpayers too much money. We need to join the rest of the civilized world and take the death penalty off the table.

Proposition 63 – Gun Control – No
If you ever went to a gun store in California and then went to a gun store in another state, you would find that firearms in California which are custom made to comply with onerous state laws cost about double the same weapon from another state that does not comply with California law. JCW is very unique insofar as we are all progressives yet we universally oppose California’s onerous gun control laws. We agree that there should be magazine capacity limits but that those limits should be 15 rounds (like many manufacturers sell in other states) as opposed to 10 rounds which is pretty much uniquely Californian. We strongly oppose assault weapons bans, removable magazine bans and background checks for ammunition but support being able to buy ammunition specific to the gun you are licensed for. We strongly support mandatory firearms training, licensing that lists the weapons you own on the back of a firearms license, background checks, mental health evaluations and safe storage that prohibits even stolen weapons from ever being used. Bolt locks, magazine locks, trigger locks and gun safes should be required and we believe that each gun should employ two of the four lock methods and that the only exemption to the two of four lock requirement should be those licensed for concealed carry and law enforcement. People under domestic violence restraining orders should be able to turn their weapons in to not for profit entities willing to store those weapons in safes (such as the plethora of abandoned bank safes statewide) and be able to get them back when the orders expire as there tends to be lots of false claims made when people divorce. California has gone overboard on gun control and that is one of the reasons many oppose a Clinton presidency. While we agree with some provisions of Prop 63, (such as gun thieves should be charged with felonies and prohibited from owning guns, strengthen the national criminal background check system by requiring the state to share information about people who are prohibited from owning firearms) the whole initiative tosses the baby out with the bathwater. A no vote would send a clear message to the legislature that gun control here in California has gone ridiculously overboard. Worse, it will cost tens of millions of dollars to enforce and make criminals out of current gun owners.

Proposition 64 – Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana – Yes
It’s been estimated that over 35% of all Californians already use marijuana whether recreationally or under a doctors recommendation and more than half have tried marijuana. Those numbers hold true among law enforcement as well as the judicial branch employees. If there were surprise drug tests tomorrow on all judicial branch employees including judges and all law enforcement about 30% of you reading this would test positive for marijuana. Not surprisingly, no one in the justice system is subject to random drug testing but if this initiative said that a no vote meant there would be random drug testing of police officers and justice system employees, they would become strong proponents of this initiative. It’s not uncommon today for cops to seize your weed and not cite you. It’s happened to a few of our employees. So where do you think that weed went? Prop. 64 would allow people 21 and older to grow up to six pot plants at home, possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use it for recreational purposes. It would allow the state, as well as cities and counties, to regulate and tax the growing and sale of non-medical marijuana. It would both drive down the price of marijuana and at the same time, generate over a billion dollars a year in new state taxes and even more for local governments who currently pay millions to prosecute. It is time to end the war on this drug which disproportionately results in minority prosecutions and permits search and seizure. It would also benefit the environment by making growing weed in state and national parks wholly unnecessary and out in the open. It would redirect billions in profits to the state economy as opposed to drug cartels in other countries. Already medical marijuana has had a big effect on smuggling from Mexico with smuggling being redirected across the Arizona and Texas border because it is unprofitable to smuggle across the California border. Legalization as provided a substantial economic boost to Colorado, though not as much as they hoped for because the price dropped. It is well known globally that California grows the best weed in the world. It’s time to embrace that fact and profit from it rather than spending tens of millions a year trying to enforce double standards.

Proposition 65 & 67 – plastic bags – No on 65 and Yes on 67
There is an incorrect assumption that California has banned plastic bags because they threaten the environment and tend to be only single use. But if you look at how your coworkers brought their lunch to work, you might notice that by an overwhelming majority, they reused a plastic grocery bag. The same holds true if you have a dog and took that dog for a walk in an area where you’re required to pick up after them. At the same time, plastic bags are non-biodegradable and do indeed threaten the environment. So it makes perfect sense to charge ten cents for a plastic bag and have that money go towards environmental programs. It will inevitably lead to biodegradable bags that don’t cause damage to the environment which while currently made are too costly for grocers to use. A no on 65 and yes on 67 is good for our environment, good for our waterways and good for environmental causes. A yes on 65 and no on 67 ensures increased pollution. The plastics industry has spent over 6 million dollars for their right to pollute. It’s time to just say no more and vote no on 65 and yes on 67 and help motivate environmental innovation.

In conclusion: Whether or not you give any merit to our handy voter guide is largely irrelevant. We would love to see all of these initiatives passed or rejected based on our positions because we believe them to be sound, common sense and down to earth realistic. But the most important thing you can possibly do on November 8th is to cast a ballot because if you don’t, we’re all going to need to live with the result. And in one particular case, that life might be much shorter than you can imagine right now.