Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 08:48:34 -0800 From: (Johann Opitz) Subject: [ca-liberty] California Budget Deficit Nears $35 Billion To: (ca-liberty) Cc: LibertyUS:;

California Budget Deficit Nears $35 Billion California's budget gap has soared to a staggering $34.8 billion, Gov. Gray Davi s announced on Wednesday, leaving the nation's most populous state facing a fisc al crisis more perilous than expected. Davis, a Democrat, said the deficit over the next 18 months is up from a previously estimated $21 billion mainly because of a nosedive in personal income tax revenues. The size of the deficit, about $1 ,000 for each of the state's 34 million residents, is bigger than the entire bud get of most other U.S states and will make it difficult for lawmakers to find wa ys to fund critical state programs. ... The bulk of the shortfall, $17.7, billi on, was due to lower-than-expected tax revenue, the governor said. Another $12.6 billion resulted from one-time deficit fixes in the current budget and another $4.5 billion came from required spending increases and loss of federal funding. ... The massive budget deficit could also be bad news for the state's credit ra ting, which is already on a negative outlook by major Wall Street agencies. Clai re Cohen, an analyst at Fitch Ratings, called the $34.8 billion figure "astoundi ng" and said California was heading toward a downgrade. A lower credit rating wo uld make it more expensive for the state to borrow money. ...

CA: Deficit forecast skyrockets Skeptical Republicans say the $34.8 billion figure is inflated to justify tax hi kes. Gov. Gray Davis pegged California's budget shortfall at $34.8 billion Wednesday, a figure that surpasses the annual revenues of Safeway, the yearly value of the state's farm commodities and the entire budgets of every state but New York. .. . The shortfall represents about 45 percent of the current general fund and wou ld plunge the state into its deepest fiscal crisis in recent history. ... Davis ' Department of Finance came up with the bigger number in part because it estima ted lower revenues than Hill assumed. The more pessimistic number was based on a recent analysis of 2001 tax returns and new economic projections that push back an economic recovery until 2004. The disparity in revenue projections adds up t o about $7.3 billion. That leaves a gap of about $6 billion between the two est imates, which apparently comes from differing assumptions about state spending. Republicans said they were skeptical that Davis' new number is on target. Before Davis was elected to a second term in November, the administration low-balled t he size of the deficit, said Assemblyman John Campbell, R-Irvine. "Now, after th e election, they keep making it look worse to justify tax increases," he said. " I don't know what to believe, or if I should believe any of it. ... "I can't see a way that it adds up unless you project a severe recession." Assembly Republic an leader Dave Cox of Fair Oaks also questioned whether Davis was relying on fis hy accounting, saying: "When this is over, it will make Enron look like a piece of cake."

CA: Senate, Assembly get deals on wheels Scaling back on luxury wouldn't save much, but some say more modest automobiles would send a symbolic message. On the same week they were sworn in, a week damp ened by the gloom that comes with a historic budget deficit, a dozen freshman st ate lawmakers requested official-use vehicles worth more than $30,000. None woul d fit in compact car spaces. Some come with leather seating for eight. Satellite radio. Reclining seats that heat or cool themselves. The lawmakers are new, but the practice is old -- and hasn't changed in this year of fiscal woes. Many leg islators say it should matter little to the public what they drive. The state ca ps its contributions toward cars at $350 per month, so taxpayers generally pay n o more for a $50,000 vehicle than they do for a $35,000 vehicle.

CA: Appeals court told state coastal panel is unconstitutional The state commission that regulates development along the California coast shoul d be stripped of most of its powers or have them turned back to local government s, a lawyer argued Wednesday before a three-judge appellate panel in Sacramento. Ronald Zumbrun, a longtime critic of the California Coastal Commission who is c hallenging its constitutionality on behalf of a Newport Beach marine research or ganization, already won a favorable ruling in the case 19 months ago in Sacramen to Superior Court. ... At issue in the case argued Wednesday before the state's 3rd District Court of Appeal is whether the commission violates the California Constitution's separation of powers provision because the agency is essentially run by the Legislature but exercises executive branch powers. ...

Non-Citizens Exploit Welfare Cap Loophole It was 9:00 AM on the first day of the advertisement's run, and already the tele phone at my law practice was ringing nonstop. The ad had been placed in a local Russian language daily. Over a depiction of the globe, an arrow originated in th e former Soviet Union and pointed to Manhattan. The ad had been timed to coincid e with implementation of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, and urged Russian immig rants to apply for citizenship. By noon that day, the office's waiting room had 30 people in it. Citizenship is more important than it has ever been, if you are a new immigrant and mean to hold on to your welfare benefits. A five-year lifet ime cap on certain forms of public assistance is approaching, and depending on t he type of public assistance you are receiving, citizenship is the only thing th at might keep those checks coming. Even while Americans who have spent their lif etimes paying taxes are forced to debate the cost of prescription drugs and the continued viability of Social Security and Medicare, most are unaware that even after recent federal entitlement reforms, non-citizens remain eligible to receiv e certain forms of welfare. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Rec onciliation Act of 1996, also called the Welfare Act, divides non-citizens into three categories, two of which are eligible for public assistance and one that i s not.,2933,73392,00.html

School bans Christmas, but OK with Halloween Despite massive promotion of October holiday, district reverses approval of talk on Jesus' birth 'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the class, a storm was stirring over Christmas present, and Christmas past. The rhyme may sound trite, but the c omplaint is real from a San Diego mother who has been told by school officials s he can no longer read a Christmas story to her daughter's class, despite having the green light in recent years. ... when she called to schedule a presentation this year in her daughter Grace's fourth-grade class at the Sage Canyon School, she was rejected, with the teacher telling her even instructors were not permitt ed to wear jewelry with a Christmas theme. ... On its website, it shows both tea chers and students participating in another well-known holiday with religious co nnotations - Halloween. Kindergarten teachers are dressed up as witches in one p hotograph, and costumed students are shown listening to a classroom reading in a nother. "You can't allow discussions of certain holidays and ban discussion of o thers," says Gary Kreep, executive director of the United States Justice Foundat ion, a conservative legal-action foundation which is reviewing this case. "It's a violation not only of California law, but also the U.S. Constitution." ...

College Seniors No More Knowledgeable Than 1950s High School Grads The college seniors of today have no better grasp of general knowledge than the high school graduates of almost half a century ago, according to the results of a new study. The average of correct responses for modern college seniors on a se ries of questions assessing "general cultural knowledge" was 53.5 percent compar ed with 54.5 percent of high school graduates in 1955, according to a survey by Zogby International. The Zogby poll of 401 randomly selected college seniors was conducted in April for the Princeton, N.J.-based National Association of Schola rs and released Wednesday. ... Balch noted that the high school grads of half a century ago performed better than today's college seniors on history questions, while contemporary students fared better on questions covering art and literatur e, with no appreciable difference on geography questions. The questions asked in the April poll by Zogby were virtually the same as questions asked by the Gallu p Organization in 1955, with a few questions being slightly modified to reflect history. ... Balch attributed the stagnation of performance on general knowledge questions to several factors, including a decreased emphasis on general knowled ge in high school, placing colleges and universities in the position of having t o fill academic gaps among students entering college. ... Balch said he didn't c onsider such actions to be remedial in nature, noting that "the remedial problem s have to do with students not being able to write or read at the eighth grade l evel and still getting into college. There are many institutions in which that's a difficulty. You have people who just don't have the skills let alone the know ledge." Even though the NAS study raises questions about the caliber of general education offered in high schools, colleges and universities also bear some resp onsibility, Balch said. "I think it probably has a lot to do with the dumbing do wn of curriculum, both at the college and high school level," said Balch. "It lo oks good, certainly, to say 'more people are graduating from college,' but is th ere any real intellectual yield from it?" ... Also contributing to the trend is an easing of college admissions standards. While Balch doesn't advocate a return to standards requiring competency in Greek or Latin, he does say colleges shoul d "insist that the student coming have basic areas of knowledge." ...\Culture\archive\200212\CUL20021218i .html

Larry Elder: A Lott of double standards Who says white men can't jump? After Trent Lott's latest - and so far, fifth - a pology, this time on Black Entertainment Television, where he announced his supp ort for affirmative action, Lott may soon come out for reparations. The feeding frenzy over his stupid Strom Thurmond birthday remarks show a) the appalling dou ble standard of the Democrats, b) the glaring double standard of the news media, and c) the self-defeating, near-pathological Republican Party fear of being bra nded as racist. Yet the press gives liberal racism/racial insensitivity/race-bai ting remarks a pass: ...

Harry Browne: Politicians snooker us again with the Lott affair If the Trent Lott fiasco were a movie or a play, it would be panned as an unreal istic farce. But it has a purpose. It has allowed the politicians to once more d ivert attention from anything important - getting us to focus on irrelevancies. After Lott said he wished Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948, the Democrats cried that he had, in effect, insulted all black people. Republican w imps called for him to step down, and the macho Republicans told us the criticis m was unfair because Democrats are just as bad. The truth is, however, that Tren t Lott had nothing to apologize for. Rather than grovel, all he had to say was s omething like this: ...

U.S. Social Security May Reach To Mexico Pushed by the Mexican government, the Bush administration is working on a Social Security accord that would put tens of thousands of Mexicans onto the Social Se curity roster and send hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits south of the border. White House and Mexican government officials say discussions on an agree ment to align the Social Security systems of the two countries are informal and preliminary. But excerpts from an internal Social Security Administration memo o btained this month say the agreement "is expected to move forward at an accelera ted pace," with the support of both governments, and could be in force by next O ctober. The pact would be the latest, but by far the largest, of a series of tre aties designed to ensure that people from one country working in another aren't taxed by both nations' social security systems. In its first year, the agreement is projected to trigger 37,000 new claims from Mexicans who worked in the Unite d States legally and paid Social Security taxes but have been unable to claim th eir checks, according to a memo prepared by Ted Girdner, the Social Security Adm inistration's assistant associate commissioner for international operations. Ext rapolating from U.S. and Mexican government statistics, the accord could cost $7 20 million a year within five years of implementation. One independent estimate put the total at $1 billion a year -- a large sum, but a trifle compared with th e $372 billion in Social Security benefits currently being paid to 46.4 million recipients. [The ever expanding Ponzi scheme!]

Lani Guinier: Clinton Pandered to Segregationist Whites After he was sued in the late 1980s by the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund for failin g to enforce the Voting Rights Act in Arkansas, then-Gov. Bill Clinton suggested to a group of pro-segregation whites that they were being unfairly targeted by civil rights laws as a result of the South's loss in the Civil War, according to one-time Clinton administration Civil Rights Division nominee Lani Guinier. "In the late 1980s, in a particularly tense meeting in southeastern Arkansas - a se ction of the Mississippi Delta region where antebellum social relations are stil l in many respects the order of the day - [Guinier's friend] Dayna [Cunningham] and a local LDF cooperating lawyer were part of a handful of black people there to discuss remedies for a highly contentious LDF voting rights suit," wrote Guin ier in her 1998 memoir, "Lift Every Voice." "The meeting turned sour when one of the local whites demanded to know why, in his view, the whites were always made to pay for others' problems. Other whites in the group began to echo his charge . ..." Guinier continued: "Bill Clinton, the lead defendant in the case, took to the podium to respond. In a tone of resignation, Clinton said, 'We have to pay because we lost.'" Guinier said Cunningham inferred that Clinton was referring t o the South's Civil War loss as well as his loss in the court case.

Ukraine: Scare Tactics On the Rise Kuchma Government Presses Critics in Legislature, Media Having built a multimillion-dollar enterprise over the last decade by making and selling shingles and tar paper, Volodmyr Shandra knows all there is to know abo ut the business of roofing. It's in the business of politics -- he is a new memb er of parliament and a critic of Ukraine's struggling president, Leonid Kuchma - - that the roof has come crashing down around his head. The 39-year-old business man was elected to the legislature in April as a member of the Our Ukraine facti on, the leading opposition to Kuchma's increasingly autocratic rule. In July, he said, a friend passed along a message from a top official in Kuchma's governmen t: If Shandra did not join the pro-Kuchma lawmakers, his factory would find itse lf in deep trouble. Within a month, he said, a cadre of masked officers toting m achine guns showed up at the factory in the western Ukraine city of Slavuta. The y seized a dozen computers and 3,000 pounds of documents. The factory was all bu t paralyzed during the critical summer construction season, he said, wreaking ha voc with its clients and dealers. Now it faces a criminal investigation for supp osed financial improprieties. "I never imagined these things could happen," Shan dra said.

Guilty until proven innocent - the new American way How long before martial law, forced innoculations, and concentration camps?? Guilty until proven innocent. This is the new American way. And no evidence is n ecessary to order someone killed. Just the say-so of the man with the gun. Every thing Americans have worked for over the past 227 years, to establish the rule o f law over the emotions of the mob and the predations of the aristocracy, has be en nullified by fake terror, insincere legislators and endless bribery. Vigilant e justice is the new order of the day in this frightening 2003 edition of the Un ited States of America. Due process, the right to a fair trial, the right to be safe and secure in one's home " these are all things of the past, things we used to defend as the best traits of American freedom in those happy days before the self-inflicted War on Terror. ... Now we are defending the right of the preside nt to order people killed because he says they are bad guys. He doesn't need any evidence because he's the president, according to Ari Fleischer, his sycophanti c press secretary. This is what we are presenting to our children as the actions of a democracy. As the reptilian politician Henry Hyde said recently, the Const itution is just not relevant anymore. What he means is people don't have rights anymore. What seems to be the surest guarantee toward success in America these d ays is a criminal conviction incurred while participating in the wholesale fleec ing of the American population. As in the cases of John Poindexter, Eliot Abrams and Ollie North (both George Bushes could also be in this category were the jud iciary more honest), guilty verdicts in service to the hidden hand of the power elite are a sure way to find full employment in this era of runaway corruption.

-- Johann Opitz <> RKBA!

"Throughout recorded history, without exception, it has been the sole accomplishment of organized government to deprive their populations of liberty and of their property." -- John C. Calhoun

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