California GOP declared dead; and other nice links for a sunny late January (including John Williams!)




Friend of mine up north went to this two-day conference in Berkeley, and sent me the first article about it, in which, sure enough, a bunch of respected “political observers, lawmakers and strategists” of both major parties pretty much concurred that the Republican “brand” in California is “DEAD” for the foreseeable future.”  My friend’s all, “This is so great,” and I’m all “Dude, aren’t you a Republican?  What are you so happy for?”  See, he’s a moderate or “centrist” Republican and I guess the way things are shaking out makes him feel vindicated.  Me, I have mixed feelings:  Part of me enjoys watching the crazy self-destruction of the right, but I also don’t trust any party including my own with one-party PRI rule.

Calitics sees the Democratic party shaking out into two de facto camps – Progressives vs. Corporatists.  In some ways I don’t think it’s that simple.  There are various ways to be Progressive;  there are certainly Labor Democrats who will resist pension reform to the end, while an essential part of being progressive is or should be fiscal responsibility.  (In the mold of Howard Dean) and pension reform will be crucial to our survival as a state.  And a lot of the coming fights are going to look like the Labor-dominated legislature up against the fiscally responsible progressive Governor Brown.  This will be even more dramatic when we Democrats reach 2/3 in the legislature as is widely predicted in 2012, with the GOP’s utter loss of women and Latinos.

Well, just read the article, and then come back and argue about it here!

John Williams vs. the Mask Update

Public Administrator John S. Williams really IS as bad as we’ve been saying, and Dissent The Blog has been saying.  Last week’s court hearing, in which he tried to grab hundreds of thousands in fees from the family of Mixed Martial Arts legend Charles “Mask” Lewis, was postponed by the request of Lewis’ baby mama to move the hearings to her state of Illinois, where the judges aren’t all Williams’ golfing buddies.  And all good people are rooting for that to happen.

But the Register’s Kimberly Edds has done such a great job getting into the weeds of this that the best I can do is link to her and give her props.  Like I said, it’s as bad as we’ve been saying.  Read, dumbstruck, how Williams pounced on this $15 million estate which was not his to pounce on, how he fought the family tooth and nail for it on the grounds that the Illinois mother couldn’t possibly understand how to administer such a large estate;  how once it became clear that he was going to lose control of it he began selling off as much of it as he could for pennies on the dollar, just so he could have some commissions;  and find out MORE ABOUT THE EEL!

Then come back here and try to tell us we’re too rough on Williams.  I dare you.

Alan Grayson writes President Obama’s State of the Union Address for him.

This is what the recently defeated progressive firebrand Alan Grayson thinks the Prez should say tomorrow.  (Bill Maher thinks he should tell the story of Old Yeller so we can watch Boehner cry – but that would be silly, wouldn’t it?)  Sounds like a lot of great ideas to me, from Mr. Grayson:

“My fellow Americans. Two years ago, 69 million of us voted for me to be our President. It was the largest vote for President that any person has ever received. But I understand that you did not support me merely because I have an unusual name. Especially the middle one. No, you supported me because I promised the change we need.

“We have been through two hard years, with many people losing their jobs, and many people losing their homes. You know that I did nothing to cause these problems, and I tried hard to solve them. Although our accomplishments have been substantial, an intransigent Republican minority in the Senate has blocked much of my legislative program.

“But a President is more than a legislative program. Although my title is ‘President,’ you did not elect me to preside. You elected me to lead.

“We are at a fork in the road. The Republican House Leadership demonstrated last week that its highest legislative priority is to prevent 30 million Americans from seeing a doctor when they are sick. We can let Republican control of the House of Representatives doom us to no progress, no change, for the next two years. Or I can exercise my powers under the Constitution and our laws to deliver the change we need.

“I choose the latter. As for the Republican leaders, they can lead, follow, or just get out of the way.

These are the things that I will do now, to give us the good government that we Americans deserve, and the change we need:

“First, to give the economy an immediate boost, I will direct the executive agencies to accelerate the obligation of federal contracts and grants, rather than waiting until the end of the fiscal year.

“Second, I will recognize the obvious, declare China a ‘currency manipulator,’ and end the forced currency union with China that we never asked for and we don’t want, which has cost us 5 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade. I will institute ‘anti-dumping’ actions to protect American jobs.

“Third, I will direct Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA and the VA to include in every home loan that they issue or finance a provision that requires mandatory mediation, at the bank’s expense, before foreclosure. Families who are in danger of losing their homes deserve at least that much.

“Fourth, I will direct both the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department to break up any financial institution that is considered ‘too big to fail.’ Too big to fail should mean too big to exist. There will be no more bailouts, no more Wall Street welfare.

“Fifth, I will ask the FBI to investigate and DOJ to prosecute anyone who committed criminal misconduct in connection with the collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, and all the rest. I will ask the SEC to bar such people from publicly traded companies and the capital markets. In the 18 months before I took office, twenty percent of our national wealth was wiped out, and no one has been punished for that. If we leave the same people doing the same things, then those same disasters may well happen again. We can’t take that chance.

“Sixth, because corporate income tax revenues have dropped by half in the past decade, while Big Business is enjoying record profits, I will ask the IRS to audit every one of the Fortune 500. This will ensure that they are paying the taxes that are due, rather than evading taxes through transfer pricing and offshore tax havens. And I will ask FASB and the SEC to mandate that public companies keep one set of books, rather than one set for investors and a different one for the IRS.

“Seventh, I will direct the EPA to exercise its authority to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. I expect to be able to reduce our emissions and pollution as much as other countries do. If they can do it, then so can we.

“Eighth, I will ask the SEC to direct that shareholders in public companies must authorize all campaign expenditures in advance, and that public companies disclose all such expenditures within 48 hours. We cannot allow trillion-dollar multinational companies to dictate the outcome of our elections secretly. We have to keep sewer money out of politics.

“Ninth, I ask the NLRB to take all available steps to ensure that the right of employees to organize, which is rooted in the Constitution’s ‘freedom of association,’ be defended – including the promulgation of ‘card check’ by regulation under the National Labor Relations Act.

“Finally, as Commander in Chief, I will bring all of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of this year, if not sooner. After a decade of war, it’s time for peace.

“Many of you heard me for the first time six years ago, when I said that I believe not in a Blue America or a Red America, but rather, I believe in America. I still do. Americans deserve a good government, which delivers public services effectively and economically. America also deserves leadership that recognizes our problems, attacks them, and solves them. That’s the change we need, and the change we deserve. I won’t settle for less.”

Don’t you wish Alan Grayson were our President?

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.