Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yes on California Proposition 28, term limits

Currently in the the State of California there are term limits for citizens serving in our state legislature. A person can serve three terms of two years in the California State Assembly and two terms of four years in the California State Senate. Thus a successful politician can serve a maximum of fourteen (14) years at the state level. After that, to remain in elected political office, the options are to return to local seats, try for one of the few statewide offices like governor, or try to jump to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives or one of the two U.S. Senator positions.

Proposition 28, "Limits on Legislator's Terms in Office," which if passed would be an amendment to the California Constitution, would change the rules for term limits. A citizen would be able to serve only 12 years in the State Assembly or Senate, but could divide up those years as desired (or as the citizens are willing to vote).

This would serve to mitigate two problems at once. In the current system, upward-climbing politicians start in the Assembly. After spending a year running for office, they have a year of being a novice before running for Assembly again. By the time they are experienced at Assembly work, they are term limited out. They have spent 3 years running for office, then 3 years focused (hopefully) on the people's business. Their last year is usually spent desperately seeking a higher office, or getting ready to join the vast army of parasitic former legislators who become lobbyists or get appointed to highly paid, no-show California commission committee work.

Under 28 a citizen can get up to six terms in the state assembly. There would be a mix, in the assembly, of old hands who know their business and newer members to provide fresh energy. The same would basically be true of the State Senate.

Of course the corrupting power of money in politics will remain with us, as will a population of voters almost none of whom follows the legislative process closely (even I can't do that). Prop 28 is a tweak, not a revolution.

I like Proposition 28 and don't find any argument against it to be compelling.

Vote Yes on Proposition 28, the new term limits initiative.

Text of Proposition 28 with official arguments

Monday, May 7, 2012

Obama Pisses on our California Democracy

Barack Obama may be the first sort-of black President of the United States, but his political heritage is not much different than the entire line of Presidents starting with real-estate speculator George Washington. Barack will be the only choice on the Democratic Party Presidential ballot line for the June 5 election. The total corruption and march-in-line behind the leader mentality of the party is shown by the lack of even token progressive and anti-war opposition.

Knowing the Democratic Party nomination is locked up, and wanting to appeal to right-wing voters, Barack Obama ordered widespread, unconstitutional raids on our perfectly legal medical marijuana purveyors. It's a funny thing, the way almost all media sources keep the Obama name out of the stories about the raids. It is always the Justice Department. Like Obama is not head of the government. Like he could not order the stormtroopers to go after other crimes. Are there no Islamic teenagers who might be entrapped by agents offering them a chance to play with government-supplied C-4? Are there no criminals violating Disney's copyrights needing to be rounded up and put in concentration camps?

It is not just his Reaganesque marijuana policy that mocks California's enlightened citizenry. There's his anti-gay marriage stand. His ongoing military attacks on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, plus anti-Iranian saber rattling. His promotion of the very men who created the mortgage derivatives and banking meltdown to be his top economic advisors. His failure to vigorously protect women's reproductive rights. His half-ass reformulation of the healthcare for profit system.

But what is a Democrat to do? It is too late to send Him a message by re-registering Green or No Political Preference (the new Decline to State, known everywhere else as independent). You can do that after the primary.

All you can do is vote for your favorite local candidates (up to and including Congress) and then not vote for Barack Obama. Barack does not give a damn how you feel about him, as long as he is the head of the corporate security state. He's going to be the next President. What not voting for Obama will do is show, when the votes are counted, that you care about California and your fellow Californians.

According to my readings of John Steinbeck, pretty many California citizens were smoking marijuana long before the 1960s rolled around. Since the 1960s California citizens have almost all been tolerant of their neighbors who choose to smoke. Sure, there are occasional problems with stoned citizens, but they pale compared to the problems of drunk citizens, and they don't seem to be significantly higher than the problems we encounter with perfectly sober citizens, either.

We Californians are a nation of individuals, but we do mostly share some cultural values, like respecting individual diversity. We have a disproportionate number of agnostics and atheists among us, and even our religious citizens tend more to humanist spirituality and ethical conduct than to memorize-the-text orthodoxy. We believe in evolution, and are evolving, but are ruled by people whose brain capacities froze at Middle Ages levels of memory and compute capabilities.

There are about 38 million of us. There were less than 4 million people living in the original 13 states at the time of the American Revolution, and that included slaves and Native Americans.

We should demand some respect from the rest of the states. If they do not respect our ways and our values, including ending marijuana prohibition, we should began the process of (hopefully without a civil war) leaving other United States and governing ourselves.

Because we can govern ourselves a lot better than the eastern states can govern us.

We don't need the national parties, either. Even if we stay in the Union, California citizens should have their own political parties, subject to our own corrupt bosses and political machines, rather than to the corrupt national bosses and machines.

Let's make that a goal: at least one California-centric party by 2014.