Thursday, December 20, 2012

Waxman Jumps the Gun on Gun Control

As with many of his views, Congressman Henry Waxman has never been shy about gun control:
Within Firing Range, Nostrils Flaring
"If someone is so fearful that, that they're going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, makes me very nervous that these people have these weapons at all!"

The Bill of Rights does not provide an amendment on the right to bear arms so that Americans can go hunting. The Second Amendment is about protection, not just for the states from foreign invaders, but also for protection from the federal government. The Supreme Court has ruled by dicta (United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez) and by direct opinion (District of Columbia v. Heller) that the right to bear arms belongs to individuals. Does Congressman Waxman have a problem with the Supreme Court? Does he take offense that the Bill of Rights, as such, protects the rights of individuals, as rights cannot be conferred on anyone else and retain any merit or meaning?

Then again, no one should expect anything less from this liberal progressive than the further encroachment of the state, since he was one of the primary proponents of the argument (followed by prolix legislation) that the federal government can compel individuals to purchase health insurance.
The entire Democratic Congressional Delegation, including Waxman, supports reinstating the ban on assault rifles following the Sandy Hook Elementary School disaster. The citizens of Newtown, Connecticut have already been victimized atrociously. It is unfeeling and unthinkable that our leaders refuse to honor the memory of those murdered children and staff with pause and reflection before launching into another gun control tirade.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg callously assumed that this country is suffering from an "epidemic of gun violence".The Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting remains fresh in the public consciousness, and the terrible Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 still rattles nerves. Yet contrary to media reports, which are clamoring for more gun control, the opposing argument for more concealed carriers deserves more attention. For example, students at Virginia Tech would have preferred more access to firearms so that individual students could have stopped the disgruntled and alienated graduate students' rage-induced massacre.

Despite the emotional backlash of these tragedies, the fault lies more with a media-induced hypersensitivity of exposure and exploitation instead of "an epidemic of gun violence." Now is not the time for our leaders to jump up and down demanding that every gun be confiscated and locked up. Following the just reasoning as suggested by the Virginia Tech survivors, every public school should permit at least one security personnel to have access to a firearm. One of the staff at Sandy Hook could have neutralized Adam Lanza before he wiped out an entire classroom of students.

Research has demonstrated that gun access alone does not lead to more violence. On the other hand, gun control does not diminish gun violence, either. Preventing law-abiding citizens from getting firearms will not stop criminals, thugs, and madmen from getting them and using them. Better to prevent and protect with armed deterrence than hope that the community police force will arrive in time to stop the killing. Instead of restricting guns, our state leaders and national government must permit at least one individual concealed carrier to bring firearms on school campuses.

On another note, Congressman Waxman (like many Democrats and now some Republicans) wants to get firearms off the streets. What about getting our returning and wounded armed forces off the streets, too? With all of the Congressman's letter writing and hand-wringing about guns, especially in the wake of the devastating attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School, Waxman should also demand that our military leaders get our troops out of Afghanistan, then get our returning wounded shelter, provisions, and proper health care at the Brentwood VA.

Instead of "take their guns away", "Dirty Harry" Waxman should show some resilience and mature reflection, leave the Second Amendment alone, and focus on fixing the fiscal cliff, getting our troops out of harms way in Central Asia, and restoring the Brentwood VA to caring and curing our veterans. The individual states must reflect on the proper course of action in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Hopefully, they will expand the legal limits for concealed carriers so that our public schools and our youth will no longer be easy targets for deranged mass murderers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thirty Governors (and Pizza Guys) Resist Obama-WaxmanCare

"I hate federalism!"
As a rule, progressive liberals (or is that progressives and liberals?) hate federalism, the institutional division of power between the states and the federal government. Specifically, Progressives despise the fact that fifty different states in the entire United States union can "go their own way" (to quote Fleetwood Mac) and spend their money and enact legislation as they see fit. By extension, progressives in principle resist the Constitution, for at its essence the national charter inevitably defines the federal government in limited terms, and for the Progressive, the expansion of the state into every corner of society will permit the perfectibility of mankind to take place.

In order to bypass the internal (infernal?) checks and balances within the federal compact between the states and the federal government, to exercise greater power over the states, leaders in Washington have resorted to withholding federal dollars (in effect, state tax dollars collected through the IRS). As states look for more innovate means for their citizens to hold onto their own money as well as diminish the role of the statehouse in the citizen' own house, the federal government will itself losing more money.

Following President Obama's reelection, followed by incremental increases in the House and the Senate, the progressive impulse to spend, expend, and finally expand state power remains as heated as ever. Along with the President, another progressive Democrat who faced a tough reelection, Congressman Henry Waxman, has also returned to office, yet clinching his seat by the lowest victory margin of his career.

From the outset of Obama's first term, Congressman Henry Waxman championed the ObamaCare power grab. Since the legislation is covered with his fingerprints (or red hands), the individual health insurance mandate/tax should be called Obama-WaxmanCare. The West LA Congressman championed this law before, during, and after its passage, yet this past summer he had trouble explaining its basic provisions in a CNN interview. Despite the frustrations of single-payer advocates, Waxman advocated legislation which would impose more regulations and require every person in this country to get health insurance or pay a fine.

Twenty-two states sued the federal government to enjoin enforcement of the law, claiming that the legislation so stretched the elastic clause (necessary and proper). The legal challenges also charged that Obamacare vacated the commerce clause of its original intent by authorizing the federal government to compel individuals to enter into commerce. Critics across the spectrum asked: "If Congress can force me to purchase health insurance, what can't they force me to buy?" Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the individual mandate, but not based on the commerce clause. Using unexpectedly twisted judicial reasoning, the Roberts Court argued that Congress' power to tax authorized the federal government to require every American to have access to affordable health insurance.

The United States does need health care reform. Yet following the passage of Obamacare, health insurance premiums have increased while access has decreased. ObamaCare failed to fight off lawsuit abuse, one of the prime instigators for rising health insurance rates along with the spiraling costs of health care. A simpler reform would have permitted individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines. Health Savings Accounts would encourage people to invest in their own health care over time and grant them a tax credit for any money invested in the fund. Waxman has rebuffed selling health insurance across state lines, and he voted against tax credits for health savings accounts.

One critical feature of Obama-WaxmanCare, the statewide health exchanges, would ensure that enough money was coming into the system to insure anyone who cannot afford health insurance. The IRS reported that their interpretation of the would ignore that heads of households have access to employer funded health insurance, yet most businesses do not cover the rest of the family. Because of the head income earner's salary, they would be priced out of receive the federal subsidy for health insurance.

30 states have opposed implementing Obama-WaxmanCare. Governor Tim Scott of Florida shut down any steps for Obamacare exchanges. So has Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, the first Republican governor to suggest that contraception should be purchased over the counter, beyond the purview of the federal government. Rick Perry and the rest of the expanded GOP governor's conference have taken federalism to the limit, pushing back against Washington power-grabbing. Twenty-nine other states have also told off "Nanny State" Mother Washington that they refuse to implement health exchanges. Their staunch resistance is shooting more holes in this untimely, ill-conceived, and ill-advised legislation.

Chris Christie, Republican Governor of New Jersey, candidly admitted to fellow New Jerseyan Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show": "If the federal government does not know how to run this thing, then why should I waste my state's money to try and put this thing together?" He runs a two-to-one Democratic state with a sometime-sympathetic legislature, at least when it comes to reining in the costs of the public sector union pensions and benefits. His courage to face off against the Obama Administrations officious expansion of power deserves as much regard as his genuine respect for the President's assistance after Superstorm Sandy.

While disquieted independents, conservatives, Republicans, and many Democrats feared the worst following the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold Obama-WaxmanCare, the several states have severed all support for this law, which will further cripple the financial backing anticipated by the law's enthusiasts, including Congressman Waxman. Now the CEO of Dominic's Pizza and Papa John's are also filing lawsuits against the federal government for advancing such a monstrosity upon the states.

Thirty governors rejected the Obama-WaxmanCare health exchanges. Private business leaders are still challenging the law, and already Waxman has expressed concern that the federal government will delay enforcing the law. Perhaps Congressman Waxman would have been better off retiring instead of witnessing his "signature" legislation" stiffen Republican opposition and frustrate the progressive agenda.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waxman's Whining; Fiscal Cliff Looming

The fiscal cliff is looming in Washington D.C., yet Congressman Henry Waxman has refused to meet with voters in the 33rd Congressional District. Instead, he frequents Beltway press conferences defending Medicare against any reforms. Waxman remains unrestrained in his belief that the rich should pay “their fair share”, but he refuses to support “means testing” so that richer Medicare recipients pay more for benefits for which they pay practically nothing.

Still, the Congressman is convinced that the United States can solve the fiscal and environmental problems all at once. By resurrecting his abortive Cap and Trade legislation, the federal government can tax businesses and close up the budget shortfalls. Waxman should be taking heavy heat for shedding light on inane issues which the Congress and the country kicked away three years ago. Both Republicans and Democrats put a cap on Cap and Trade in 2009, and in West Virginia’s US Senator Joe Manchin has pledged to “bust a cap” in any legislation which includes such officious provisions.

Despite Waxman’s reputation for blowing hot air, the 33rd Congressional District deserves more than  whining about global warming, while budget reform is getting no vetting. The federal government is drowning in red ink, yet Waxman is worried about climate change and the rising ocean tides. The tide of public opinion in the Santa Monica Bay should be pushing him into fiscal realities or should push him out of office into the sea with his fellow failed liberal colleagues Howard Berman and Peter Stark.

Waxman Speaks into the Wind About Global Warming

Henry Waxman: Still Blowing Hot Air
Congressman Henry Waxman is winding up about global warming again.

The research, the science, the investigations, and the general consensus about global warming suggest that yes indeed the world has gotten a little warmer.

How many reports printed in the last decade suggested that half the United States would be under water, or that Polar Bears would marching along in Manhattan Beach eating up beach-fronts and mauling visitors?

The Global Warming entourage has worked its way up to University elites, has taken over editorial boards, and now Congressman are pushing for more laws, regulations, and every other intervention imaginable to slow the heating of the planet by one or two degrees.

The United State is in hot water already because of the spending spree, yet Congressman Waxman wants to resurrect Cap and Trade once again. Has he already forgotten that the bill passed on the slimmest of majorities in the House in 2009, then died in the Senate? Then Joe Manchin of West Virginia replaced the longest-serving Robert Byrd, and he pledged in his election campaign to shoot a bullet through Cap and Trade.

Waxman is full of hot air and blowing nothing but empty winds and waves of environmental extremism. While the threat of polar ice caps melting has not reimposed the diluvian period across the planet, the tsunami of red ink drowning this country and the next generation simply cannot be ignored.

Forget global-warming. When will Congressman Henry Waxman warm up to the "inconvenient truth" that our government is spending money that we do not have on programs that we cannot afford or on  federal departments that we do not need? What good is a cooler planet with heated global bond-holders threatening a massive sell-off of their accounts, with the tumbling fiscal crises to follow?

Waxman has denied the reality of this country's fiscal problems before with empty calls of "We're Not Broke!" Instead of worrying about the break-up of the polars ice caps, Waxman needs to get off the Cap and Trade jag and get our country from ruby red to jet black.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Does Waxman Care About Medicare or Not?

Hanukkah: 'Tis the season for lighting candles. There is a lot candle-lighting planned for the Beverly Center in front of Waxman's satellite office. The California Nurses Association has amassed their numbers and their wicks to tell Waxman and other California Congressional Democrats, including Karen Bass, to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid during the fraught negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

Congresswoman Bass plans to discuss with LA constituents her plans for helping Congress to avert the fiscal cliff. What about Congressman Waxman? December 11, 2012, Waxman was at a DC press conference declaring his stern opposition to support Medicare cuts. While Congressman Henry Waxman loves the camera and takes in the spotlight, the laws of supply and demand will enforce these cuts (and severely so) if Congress does not cut through the political gamesmanship, starts telling voters in this country the truth, and makes a move to cut the spending.

What are the facts about Medicare? The assets for the program are declining. The United States Government faces $24 trillion in Medicare liabilities. What good do government promises amount to if the government has no money to spend, no credibility to borrow off of? Gossip and slander abound about the "Ponzi Scheme" which is Social Security, but Bernie Madoff should have been taking notes on the Medicare Ponzi scheme. Current recipients are getting more than they paid in, nothing like the deepening gap between funding and withdrawals in Social Security. This program is not to the fault of the seniors, but a cowardly government that will not demand at least more than a token deductible to help control costs and allocation.

Still, there is hope. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has met with seniors throughout the country, many of whom have shown their willingness to take a haircut in order to preserve these entitlement programs for the next generation. Working with Democrat-turned Independent Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Coburn proposed aggressive reforms on Medicare abuse, fraud, and a much-needed provision for recipients to share a little bit of the cost in order to prevent waste. This kind of bipartisanship is rising up in Washington, yet Waxman does not know about it or does not care, or perhaps he is still repeating the empty chorus of "We're Not Broke!"

Congressman Waxman has also beat the fiscal table about the rich paying "their fair share." I still remember the silly crack he made at the October 24 Venice Neighborhood Council meeting, in which he declared that the "rich" like Independent challenger Bill Bloomfield would be the only one paying higher taxes, if he has his way. It's all fun and games to collect a vote, but what happens when the 65+ retirees want to collect the benefit, with nothing but a federal IOU in their warm, elderly hands?

Despite the moral and political simplicity of the measure, Waxman has declared that he opposes means testing for Medicare, which would ask wealthy seniors to pay more for their disbursements.
What gives? Does he care about the plight of the poor and the middle class or not, aside from voting against tax cuts for middle income earners. The times are long-gone in which the Westside legislator could cruise into office and continue the spending-spree that this country and future generations cannot afford. Reality is bearing down on everyone, left and right, with open primaries ready to swallow up and spit out anyone with his or her head in the sand on the crushing problems facing this nation.
A comprehensive package to deal with the fiscal cliff and the spending problem in this country will focus on means-testing for entitlements, then turn them into block grants to the states so that the legislators closer to the voters can allocate the funding with the red tape and bureaucracy that wastes so much to deliver what's left. President Clinton pushed Welfare Reform to great success, so there is no reason that would prevent Democrats like Congressman Waxman from pursuing a similar policy.

Republicans should hold their noses and let the sequestration go through. Raising taxes on those who have earned $1 million or more should be a concession only because the country by majority sent Democrats back into power. Let the Democrats have their increases and fall on them. The Republicans can sit back and watch as the wealthy ferret their wealth into trust funds, especially in Democratic bastions like California, New York, and Illinois, where they are desperate for business as it is, and the liberal base will have only their liberal colleagues to thank.

The unions are getting fired about the fiscal cliff (with candles and all), and so should the rest of the 33rd Congressional District. Congress is at an all-time low in public opinion polls, yet Congressman Waxman is back in D.C. talking to reporters. Does Waxman care about Medicare, the country, or our fiscal future or not? He better make a move, or perhaps his tenure in Congress will go over a cliff of its own in the near future.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Hanukkah, Henry! (Still Waiting for the Big Miracle)

Shalom and Happy Hanukkah, Congressman Waxman.

Yehuda HaMakabi(Judas Maccabeus, or "Judah the Hammer") led the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy, under the rule of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who had no wisdom or insight into anything but his profane need for fame and gain. The Jewish people regained their temple, reinstated the holy customs of worship, and rejoiced to receive their homeland once more. The reinstated Jewish leaders had only one day's worth of oil, yet they were able to light the Menorah in the Temple for eight days.

Thus "Hanukkah" was born, and I do not care how you light the candles. "A Big miracle happened there", as represented by the four letters on all sides of the dreidl.

Just like the Jews who regained their homeland and their house of worship, the voters in the state of California want their state and their country back. They want an end to the tyranny from Washington (riddled with gridlock and dysfunction) and a resurrection of peace and prosperity at home and abroad. Congressman Waxman, it should not take a miracle to enlighten your colleagues and the voters not just about the problems facing this country, but to lead on real reforms and long-term solutions. It should not take a miracle to get our country's problems fixed, so I ask for the following eight things for this Hanukkah season:

1. A solution to our entitlement obligations which will honor what current recipients have already invested while permitting future retirees to choose the means for retrieving their payments. Stop treating the Ryan plan like a heathen proposition. If it's really so bad, then come up with something better, but unlike the menorah oil, the funding for our entitlements is dwindling fast without any replenishment. Any kind of voucher would expand choice for the 54 and under set, not bankrupt the elderly or throw Grandma off the cliff.

2. Comprehensive immigration reform: First, better border control. No fence please. Next, a diminution of the "white" welfare state with an emphasis on welfare-to-work and unemployment-to-work programs. The STEM Jobs Act would allow foreign nationals who have received advanced degrees in American universities to receive their green cards right away.

3. An extension of President Obama's "Race to the Top", but this time, instead of outlaying stimulus money for bits and pieces of education reform, implement a provision which will engage states to enact widespread public-private voucher programs in their respective states.

4. Get our armed forces out of Afghanistan. Our troops have fought this war long enough (Eleven years!), and the likelihood of a stable central Asian state has diminished considerably since President Obama offered to make the Afghan conflict the "good war". 2014 is not soon enough. The McLaughlin Group predicts a quicker withdrawal. Make it happen.

5. Get our homeless veterans a warm bed to sleep on. California columnist Thomas Elias has now gotten into the fray, demanding that you and your colleagues get our veterans off the street and into the Brentwood VA, where they belong. When the King of Persia wrote letters to the exiles in Jerusalem, they received full support and got busy rebuilding the Temple. What's your excuse?

6. About union power in California and the United States, start by signing Senator Rand Paul's (R-KY) "Right to Work" Petition. Since you have joined "No Labels", it's about time that you put your new allegiance to work. Everyone has the right to work, and if that means they do not want to join a union, then let them have the choice. The ILWU is bracing for another crippling strike a the Ports of LA and Long Beach in 2014. Amend the federal rules about collective bargaining and strike-threats. Why does one interest have the right to withhold trade for the entire country?

7. This fiscal cliff nonsense has got to stop. The voters do not deserve to be housed up against our will like the Israelites of Masada. Budget reform with a plan for less spending and more state power will allow the state of California to receive the entitlement funding while cutting the waste and fraud. The Daily News has claimed that you are an influential Congressman in California. Prove it by giving your state more freedom to spend its own money.

8. A few more things: Revise and amend the Clean Water Act. Why should homeowners have to tie up their resources in federal court for years just to build property om their own land? While you're at it, why not broker a leasing arrangement with private mail carriers so that the 5th Street Post Office in Santa Monica does not have to close down for good?

I know that you cannot wrap all of these gifts right away and put them under the Menorah, but at least make haste to move on them. I have lighted the first candle; when will you light the rest?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daily Kos Reflects on "Lagging" Waxman Victory

Consistent with the pattern we've seen, minority-heavy districts swung towards Obama.  Republican Gary DeLong kept it respectable in the Long Beach-based CA-47, but with Romney lagging by more than 22, there wasn't much of a chance for him. Elsewhere, there was some, but not substantial, softening. (Obama got 61% in the Westside/South Bay-based CA-33, but Henry Waxman lagged substantially with his 54% performance.) Outside of L.A. County, Obama saw a slight drop in the Central Coast-based CA-24 and the Silicon Valley-based CA-18, but also saw improvements and mostly held the line in the other San Jose-based districts. (Daily Kos)

Obama does not have the lock that one presumed on the state of California. Even if San Jose went heavily for the President, the same municipality passed by plebiscite a bond measure which would reform the city's overwhelming pension obligations.

The most telling aspect of this post -- "Henry Waxman lagged substantially with his 54% performance" -- should give hope to all fiscal conservatives, Independents, and Republicans in the 33rd Congressional District.

Because of his much poorer showing than in decades past, Waxman may pull a "Jane Harman" and step down after this unprecedented twentieth term in office. If an Independent from Manhattan Beach could shake up his complacency and engage his former constituencies, then very likely another Democrat will be more than able to challenge him and push him out, just like the upstart freshman Eric Swalwell, who pushed out the ignorant and arrogant Peter Stark from the 15th Congressional District.

The liabilities of incumbency are shaking up the faultlines of political machines and entrenched politicians who had expected nothing less than 60% in election after election. Now that politicians cannot pay the drafters to carve up easy districts to protect their seats, along with open primaries which encourage spirited primary challenges, every Democrat must be on the alert every election.

That includes Congressman Henry Waxman.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why Bloomfield Failed to Blossom (A Further Consideration)

After the June 6th primary, when Bloomfield carried the second spot to take on Congressman Henry Waxman for the 33rdCongressional District, I got involved individually as well as corporately with the rest of the Bloomfield team to get Waxman out. I welcomed, as did his staff, any opportunity to bring down “Waxman the Taxman”. However, Bloomfield the person, his platform, and his stunning lack of promotion culminated in preventing Bloomfield’s campaign from blossoming into a victory.
Regarding the person, Bloomfield was a Republican who left the party to become an independent. His March 2011 declaration of independence remained unpersuasive. Bloomfield was Romney-esque not just because of wealth, but an unclear identity, an unclear message. In newspaper interviews, Bloomfield spent more time explaining himself instead of defining the problem or his opponent. Previously, I had written that Bloomfield did not break away clearly enough from his “former party” – yet in retrospect post-November 6th, the Independent candidate avowed this mistake, a sign of greater self-awareness.
As for the platform that Bloomfield was running on, it often seemed that he was building it while walking on it. More than the person, the platform and his preparation were foundering. One of the team members informed me that they had been preparing for the “Republican” line of attack since June 2012 (not 2011). Bloomfield needed to prepare for those slights on his record long before he ran for election.
By choosing to be an Independent, Bloomfield had to engage Republicans as well as Democrats without distancing them over his liberal stance on social issues. Some voters stayed home because neither candidate was pro-life, which he could not help, but the more glaring “platform” issues protruded at the Santa Monica “No Labels Press Conference”. A “No Labels” spokesperson bestowed on him an award for his bipartisanship. I was the only “guest” of the six people who attended (the rest were staff and his fiancee). Bloomfield in his rumbled suit looked more like a high school senior running for student council, right down to his “thanking” the “No Labels” proxy by reading off a set of notes.
On another note, the “No Labels” mission is a self-contradiction which misdiagnoses the current ‘crisis’ of Washington gridlock, which the Framers would have called ‘business as usual’, an inherent certainty of representative democracy, in which the leaders we send have to do what we want, which is more often not what we need. Telling voters that “I want to fix problems” if one offers nothing about the problems and the solutions with pertinent detail. To bring down the debt without bringing up a better vision for the country does not sell well.
Regarding promotion, Bloomfield admirably avoided petty sniping or personal attacks. However, Congressman Waxman’s thirty-eight years deserved more vetting. More than a partisan liberal, Waxman’s record was demonstrably inconsistent, pandering, and incompetent. From pursuing issues of picayune importance to ignoring pressing problems weighing on this country, Waxman epitomizes the quintessence of a Congressman waiting for a coronation rather than caring about his constituents.
Aside from Waxman’s hyperpartisanship and lengthy tenure, Bloomfield refused to hold the Congressman accountable for his frequent ignorance on issues before his own Oversight Committee (“I Don’t Know!”), his insouciant attitude about government waste (“I’m sorry!”), or our nation’s debt (“We’re Not Broke!”).
Waxman tailored his comments to the specific constituencies which he was communicating with. At the Venice Neighborhood Council, Waxman not only rolled out his previous legislative record, but he lamented the Venice Post Office. Waxman greeted long-time friends on the council. Bloomfield’s generic appeal for “better with bipartisanship” was distant and unconvincing. The independent also failed to acknowledge his endorsement for Democrat Mike Feuer for the State Assembly, even though he had just launched his campaign for city attorney in the same meeting. He could have mentioned Mayor Riordian’s endorsement, without whom there would be no Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles. To his credit, Bloomfield tailored his message for the Jewish Community Center in Redondo Beach, mentioning his peace-negotiation efforts in Syria, yet Bloomfield neglected to promote this humanitarian record sooner.
Candidly, the billionaire businessman admitted that he was not the “in your face” type. Too often, Bloomfield’s fire and venom was damp and docile. In July, one of his friends told me that she was unaware of his run for Congress. This sad fact I learned while I was telling local residents in the Palos Verdes Peninsula about “Bloomfield for Congress”. The director excused this reticence: “That’s just Bill.” If Bloomfield was running for office, he needed to carry a sense of conviction about the whole thing. Why launch a million-dollar affront if a candidate cannot be bothered to tell his own friends? At the Venice Neighborhood Council meeting, he praised Congressman Waxman’s legislative record. Bloomfield acted like the opening act, while Waxman stole the show. To quote Texas’ US Senator-elect Ted Cruz, Bloomfield was “French-kissing” the Congressman.
Simply put, Bloomfield failed because he was everything that Waxman dreaded, except that he failed to promote himself as the independent politician with the proper platform to put Waxman out of office.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Congressman Waxman: Impeach Obama!

Congressman Henry Waxman attended a progressive forum in the Westside in 2007. He tried to allay the outrage of Progressives and Leftists that he would not support impeachment of President Bush.

He concluded that  it would take too long to get the information and backfire on the Democrats

Furthemore, Waxman stalled on the idea by suggesting that  nothing would happen this year.

"You would be going to the polls whether the issue was right or wrong."

President Obama did win the election in 2008, but not because of Bush's foreign policies. His domesti policies of spend and spend some more with tax less and less created deficits, debt, and dysfunction. Obama inherited a bad economy, but he made it so much worse.

"I know you all want impeachment. I would like to see him driven from office, But I do not see it succeeding."

Waxman shared his reluctance over and over, with nothing to show for his candor except investigations in steroid abuse in baseball. Liberals and conservatives have slammed Waxman for this waste of time.

One of his former supporters slammed Waxman: "You had been one of my heroes."

"You swore to protect the constitution. Who cares about the poltiical expediency --- how can you not cosponsor impeachment?"

President Obama has advanced many of the same military policies as President Bush. Why not impeach President Obama, Congressman?

Then again, if he refused to stand up to a Republican chief executive, then what chance would there be that Waxman would stand up to President Obama?

How Waxman Left the Left -- and Why They Should Return the Favor

When Congressman Henry Waxman (D-33rd, Beverly Hills, South Bay) was running the Westside during the previous decade, he never once received less than 60% of the vote. In 2008, he ran unopposed by a major party. In 2010, Chuck Wilkerson sponsored a spirited campaign, complete with embarrassing footage of Waxman openly acknowledging his ignorance about key portions of his Cap and Trade Bill. Republicans swept the House, increased their numbers in the Senate, but Waxman survived.

Waxman raises nothing but rage and hackles for conservative and libertarian voters. Democrats are not too thrilled with the Congressman, either, which explains why the Daily Bruin and the Santa Monica Daily Press offered tepid endorsements for his reelection in 2012. Progressives and outspoken leftists, including WeAreChangeLA, despise this man, too. The outrage and calumny which he endured at a 2007townhall meeting dominated by WeAreChange LA cemented the movement’s disdain for the Congressman.

The day after Christmas, 2007: Waxman spoke at the Westside Pavilion ( Some of the members belonged to the “9-11 Truth” movement, claiming that the attacks on the World Trade Center were an “inside job”. December 26 is also known as “Boxing Day” in Canada, and the one hundred plus members in that meeting were in fighting form, pummeling Waxman left and right.

The Congressman predicted that the audience wanted to talk about impeaching President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping, the invasive Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the looming girth of Big Government, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush Administration offended voters left and right, both limited government and progressive advocates alike. Instead of respecting their concerns, Waxman gave the audience a twelfth-grade lecture on the impeachment process. As always, he blamed the Republicans for gumming up the works. Then again, he failed to point out that President George W. Bush successfully pushed for a troop surge in Iraq that year from Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.

Peter Thottam, a Westside lawyer, tore Waxman up:

“I met with you in July, and we got the same load of crap the last time” about impeaching Bush. He outlined his credentials as an attorney, offering that there was “clear and convincing” evidence to impeach President Bush. The previous year, a resolution from liberal Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), demanding a trial failed by only 26 votes. “Nothing less than the integrity of this government is at stake,” Thottam continued. If Clinton could be impeached for perjury, he argued, then Bush all the more deserved to be put on trial. He then finished by shouting at the bedeviled Congressman: “Show some spine!”

The next question touched on Congresswoman Jane Harman’s (D-South Bay, ret.) bill HR-1955, which authorized extended supervision of suspected domestic terrorists, offensively including the “9-11 Truth Commission”.Waxman voted for that bill, and the audience wanted to know why. This is what he had to say:

“I wish someone had contacted me about that bill. It was on the suspension calendar for non-controversial bills.”


“I had no reason not to vote for the bill.”

The audience chanted back: “Did you read it? Did you read the bill?”

His response: “I did not know that it was a controversial bill. I do not read every bill.”

Waxman admitted in an open forum on camera in a townhall meeting that he had no reason not to vote for a bill that he did not even read. Unbelievable.

Another member asked:

“If you don’t serve our interests, whose interests do you serve?” followed by a demand for the Congressman to get some backbone, to show some spine. He then hammered him for going after steroid abuse in baseball instead of more pressing issues. Defending his investigations, Waxman tepidly claimed that he was concerned about young children using steroids because their heroes, major league sports figures, were using the drug. His concern is forever repudiated in one telling scene from “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”, in which the Congressman admitted that he did not know the legal drinking age or the medical exceptions for steroids.

Judging from his brief appearance at the Westside Pavilion, Congressman Waxman did not take his own left-wing constituents seriously. Until the 2012 election, he could take them for granted because if they did not vote for him, they would either endorse a minority candidate who had no chance of winning, or just sit out the election.

Waxman brazenly admits that he does not read his own or other colleagues’ legislation. He investigates issues of no interest to voters left or right, or even of interest to himself. This man has no business being in office. A future candidate, perhaps a libertarian Republican, could claim: “I would have impeached President Bush.” The candidate could the corral progressive votes with reductions of police power and a reduced American military which defends this country instead of invading other countries. The likely challenger must expose Waxman’s glib, “on camera” indifference.

If such a candidate could inspire leftists to leave Waxman behind and back him instead for office, Waxman’s days would be numbered in earnest.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bust a Cap on "Cap and Trade"

Congressman Henry Waxman has capped his non-efforts on the financial crisis and declining trade in this country with a “great idea” for increasing revenue and averting the financial crisis: “Cap and Trade.” As Yogi Bera once quipped: “This is déjà vu all over again.

In 2009, Waxman pushed this plan to curb carbon emissions on industrial polluters (which includes farmers and their ‘fertilizing’ livestock). Despite vote-trading, last minute 300-page amendments, and a close vote, Cap and Trade survived the House. It died in the Senate.

The last thing that this country needs is a “Cap on Trade”, which carbon trading will do. The same people who fomented the and Housing bubbles cooked up the pollution credit scheme, one which has frustrated commerce and prosperity in Europe while forcing businesses out of California, who cannot afford the inflated price for carbon permits. These taxes on corporations eventually cost everyone who uses electricity, drives a car, or purchases food in a store.

Instead of decent policies to reduce the national debt and reform entitlements, Congressman Waxman has written letters about an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He released a statement in support of religious minorities in Burma. He even pressed his Congressional colleagues to investigate the link between global warming and national security.

The exploding national debt is our biggest national security threat. Cap and Trade will make it worse. Congress should bust a cap on “Cap and Trade”, and Waxman needs to bust a move on deficit reduction.

Bush-Bashing, Global Warming, Ignoring the Fiscal Cliff

Congressman Henry Waxman is at it again, bringing up global warming as a major issue while the debate over the fiscal cliff is heating up. Waxman spearheaded the charge on this issue before the Democrats took the White House, and even after the Republicans won and retained the majority in the House, “cap and trade” to cap global warming is resurfacing in Congress' trade for managing our nation's debt and revenue.

In timely fashion, MSNBC released a past interview with the former Chairman of the House Reform and Government Oversight Committee. As he did during his run for the 33rd Congressional district, Waxman engaged in the same "Bush-Bashing" which has shored up the liberal base while ignoring the looming crises precipitated by the Democratic Party's insistence on health insurance mandates and trillion-dollar deficit spending.

During the Bush Administration, according to Waxman, the scientists who worked for the government provided information that was "censored, muted, or altered". Then Waxman wrote letters to the Council on Environmental Quality for more information on the matter. Still, Waxman conceded that his staff were viewing the documents on global warming. Scientists have presented their information on global warming. He went after steroid abuse, global warming. Nothing for our veterans then, and now very little to stop the spending and reduce the national debt eating this country from the inside out.

To ward off the fiscal cliff, the "Cap and Trade" Carbon tax has resurfaced as a measure to cover the expanding revenue problems for this country. Even moderate Republicans have voiced their support for the tax, proposing that a $20 charge per ton of carbon would help offset the national debt.
Annie Leonard, an environmental activist and creator of "The Story of Stuff", discredited Cap and Trade in the midst of a number of specious arguments with factually inaccurate data. She begins with the corporate machinations (including Goldman Sachs) which created the and the Housing bubbles. They concocted Cap and Trade as another wealth market: carbon emission trading. Every nation would implement a cap and then trade credits for pollution.

"The devil is in the details", Leonard then explains: The program starts out with free permits for industrial polluters. The greater their pollution output, the more free permits that they receive. When Europeans enacted Cap and Trade , the cost of permits bounced around, fuel prices went up, and the pollution actually increased. The benefiting companies cashed in billions with the carbon credits, but the taxpayers were left paying for it.

Cap and Trade is a Ponzi scheme, according to one economist. Another argument hammers home the extensive nature of the Cap and Trade tax on every level of production. Congressman Ron Paul commented on the vote-trading which helped pass the Waxman-Markey bill in 2009,, much of which cast a cloud of corruption and collusion on an already suspect bull. Warren Buffet commented that if Congress insists on placing a tax on carbon emissions ,utility customers will end up paying the cost for the tax which belongs to corporations and to polluters. Even while endorsing the tax, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama admitted that his "Cap and Trade" plan would cause electricity rates to go up for consumers.

Environmentalists, billionaires, and the President have given reasons to oppose "Cap and Trade." Waxman shows no common sense in proposing his "Cap and Trade agenda once again .
Instead of alleviating the fiscal cliff crisis, Congressman Waxman has pursued in the last month the following issues:

Leading Committee Democrats Request Briefing on Recent Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig Explosion (Nov 26, 2012)

Waxman wants to investigate the explosion of Black Elk Energy's oil production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. This country has an exploding national debt, leaking red ink that is polluting our future.

Leading Energy & Commerce Democrats Call for Hearing on Reliability of Communications Services in Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy (Nov 19, 2012)

Waxman was concerned about communications services during “Superstorm” Sandy. It's time that he started communicating with his colleagues about ending the deficit spending.

Rep. Waxman Urges Continued U.S. Support for Protecting Religious and Ethnic
Minority Groups in Burma
(Nov 15, 2012)

Protecting the religious rights of minority groups in Burma? Seriously?

Rep. Waxman Statement on the BP Settlement on the Deepwater Horizon Disaster (Nov 15, 2012)

Waxman applauds the BP settlement with the United States. Now, how about settling the debt crisis and defusing entitlement bomb?

Ranking Members Waxman and Rush Call for Hearing on Relationship Between Climate Change and National Security (Nov 14, 2012)

The United States' greatest security threat is the debt. Instead of outlining a plan for energy independence, Waxman goes after oil rigs. Instead of protecting the fiscal future of this country, Waxman champions the religious rights of ethnic minorities.

From Bush-Bashing to Global Warming, Congressman Waxman keeps ignoring the fiscal cliff and the ongoing fiscal crises afflicting this country.

Please contact Congressman Waxman and tell him to get serious about ending this country’s spending problem and resolve our debt. Global warming can wait.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"We Don't Want Them to Know About Your Blog!"

It wasn't Rabbi Yossi who said this.

It wasn't even Henry Waxman the Taxman.

It was Heather Peters, the political director who shouted this at me.

For a brief stint, I was a door-knocker for the Bloomfield campaign.

I had my speech, or rather speeches, all prepared.

I met a number of high-class residents in Manhattan Beach and South Torrance.

The steps were just murder. Rich people live in big houses on big lots of land. How they go from house to garage every day just escapes me.

I told them that Waxman voted against tax cuts for working class and middle income Americans. I told them about his rude behavior with colleagues.

I spoke with twenty-two residents in one day, and many of them were all power forward for Bloomfield.

I got a stunningly different reception back at the office.

First, they were elated about all the people whom I had convinced.

Then they wanted to know what I had been telling them.

I told them about the tax increases, I told them about his rude behavior. Since I had their party affiliation listed next to their address, I would appeal to them as Republicans or Democrats.

Heather let loose.

"You're telling them what? You need to read from our script!"

"What's the big deal? Everything that I tell them is public record. It's even on  my blog. . ."

Heather then cut me off.

"We don't want them to know about your blog!"

"What difference does it make? I'm just "Joe Blow".

"No you're not 'Joe Blow!' You work for us. And if you don't do what you're told, then you won't be working for us for long!"

I really pushed it at that point.

"Why are you not telling people everything that Waxman has been doing? People need to know about this stuff!"

I admit it: I was pushing way too hard. I still had some things to learn about taking direction.

Heather did her best to compose herself, then explained:

"Look, Arthur, I love ya, but with all due respect, we don't have to tell you."

She then acknowledged that the team had not informed her, or any of the door-knockers, about the need for a script.

Then she explained to me that the consults were relying on different means for connecting with voters: through press, Internet, advertisements, door-knockers, calls, emails. This theory of multiple media for reaching voters smacks all too much of the "Galbraith fallacy." In Kenneth Galbraith's book The Affluent Society, the Canadian born economist argued that media advertising would influence peoples' habits and interests, enough that they would purchase something or do something, whether they wanted to or not.

Galbraith's thesis has been discredited, yet the political consultants for the Bloomfield campaign insisted on banking his election chances on this concept.

I learned a lot about campaigning, I learned a great deal about the capacities of individuals to withstand pressure and strain in their lives,  I also realized that reaching voters requires more than frequently informing them about yourself.

Still, Bloomfield did remarkably well against Waxman, and the Congressman is more scared than anything else.

Heather was a class act. A supervisor who recognized my spirit, but had to address the letter of things. I hope that I get to work with more people like her.

Still, the lack of punch and fire in the campaign alarmed me enough to get fired up and sound the alarm on the weak-tea proposals to get out there and make something of all that was going wrong.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"I Want That!"

While I was campaigning informally throughout the 33rd Congressional District, I remember running into all sorts of people. Young people loved hearing about Bloomfield. Three younger people told me outright that no one should be in office for more than three terms.

Henry Waxman has been in office for 38 years, and he has now entered his twentieth term. Peter Stark lost his seat, granted, but the college of California Congressmen still has two from the class of '74: George Miller and Henry Waxman.

Seniority in office is a two-edged sword.

One gentleman I met in Torrance, a businessman who was nearing retirement, told me that he was an independent.

He asked me a number of penetrating questions about Bloomfield. Did he support TARP? How does he feel about green technology?

When he asked about the social issues, I told him that he was pro-choice and pro gay marriage. He approved of the liberal social views.

Some of his questions I could not answer. Like a growing number of concerned voters, candidates talk about cutting spending and eliminating loopholes, but they never offer anything specific. He resented the lack of information on this matter.

Then the topic switched to healthcare. Instead of a question, he fired off a demand:

"What kind of healthcare plans does he support? I want the same plan as Congressmen in Washington."

He sounded like a big baby that time. The government is not Santa Claus. This independent reminded me of the socialist I spoke with in Santa Monica during the summer. "I love Waxman! I get free health care." There is no such thing as a free lunch, but this older gentleman refused to count the cost beyond the stipend that the received from the state.

These two men, both in retirement age, sounded like little children depending on the state, or who at least expected the state to have its hand out.

"I want that!" should not be in the a citizen's vocabulary toward the government. The federal government is not Santa Claus, Mommy, the Nanny State, or any other dynamic beyond an institution instituted to protect the rights of men.

What more could anyone want?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Waxman Was Worried (Abbreviated Account)

In some ways, I am a confrontational person. I have often been the type who wants to strike before stricken. The 2012 election gave me the opportunity to confront Henry Waxman, the former chairman of the Oversight Committee, one of the must pugnacious Congressman.

 My love-hate relationship with the recently reelected Congressman began in Palos Verdes. He looked so tall on the YouTube clips, fumbling over basic details while marking up legislation that even a tax attorney would find too taxing to take in. Actually, he was the shortest guy in the room.

 By then, I had long set up my first political blog “Waxman Watch”, which got some decent traffic, considering the season. I had also been informing voters throughout the district to “End the Reign of Waxman the Taxman”. After I gave him a slip with his menacing mug next to his record of inconsistent leadership, Waxman grimaced. He was going to meet his match in this election.

 Later, I attended my first LA-area Neighborhood Council, in Venice. Interesting, to say the least. With thirteen seats up for reelection, fifty-four people lined up to make their pitch. I was waiting for Waxman, who found me first. “My blogger”, he quipped, shaking my hand. I had his attention.

The next week, I attended an advertised “Open Forum,” at the Jewish Community Center of the Beach Cities.

At the outset of the open question-and-answer forum, the two candidates outlined their platforms and proposals in two 10-minute speeches. Waxman was watching me the whole time while his opponent was speaking.

 Shortly after they started takikng questions from the audience, the moderator called on me. Mr. Waxman interrupted.

"This is a Republican blogger who has been writing nasty attacks about me," he said, quivering.

With that, the Rabbi in charge told me to sit down since I was not a member of the community.

I protested that as a voter and a constituent in the district, I had every right to participate. I could not believe what was happening.

At the back of the synagogue, I confronted the rabbi again, who was apparently protecting his preferred candidate. I was upset and confused. I told him the meeting was for members of the community. He said we would talk about it later.

Sitting down, I was passed over twice more. One constituent tapped me on the shoulder: “So they’re not going to let you speak?”

That was the impression that I received. I addressed Mr. Waxman before the entire audience:

“I thought this was an open forum? What are you afraid of, Mr. Waxman? That your record will come out? This is disgraceful."

As I was leaving, the rabbi approached me. He informed me that he had seen my blog. He was worried about personal attacks. I responded that everything I have shared is from public records and research.

The rabbi kept telling me to “calm down.” He charged me with “you're being hostile”, then told me to leave.

I felt so at peace, but still I was surprised that free speech really wasn’t so free. I knew that voters were learning about the Congressman's record.

Slightly shaken for being thrown out of a synagogue, I called my father to tell him what happened. Nonchalantly, he replied: “Why, that’s a feather in your cap. Now you have something else that you can write about for your blog.”

Waxman’s challenger informed me that whenever someone “googled” “Henry Waxman”, they would find my blog.

Waxman should have let me speak. His interruption exposed more than any interrogation.

I scared a Congressman, and I liked it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Proud Democrat Joins "No Labels"

I supported Bill Bloomfield not just because he was not Waxman, although in many ways that was reason enough. Bloomfield's support for Prop 32, for electoral reform, for refusing any campaign donations, all resonated with me. One of his ideas that was dead on arrival for me, though, was his co-founded interest group: "No Labels".

"No Labels" as a concept and a movement is essentially flawed. According to the "No Labels" convocation, because our politicians are so resolutely locked into not getting anything done, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge to make President Obama a "one-term" President, they are not ever going to get anything done. One caucus has signed pledges refusing to raise taxes. The opposing caucus refuses to touch entitlements. So begins the gridlock.

I propose that if Congress gets busy ending the spending spree and cutting the tax rates and the size of the federal government, all of us would be better off, even the environmental lobbies, who can get more respect from their state legislatures than the federal government, in my view.

"No Labels" claims that the pary structure is forcing members of Congress not to work together at all, and thus a third party alternative must emerge, one which is committed to getting Congress back to work, refusing to take sides and thus get every side to advance. The very moniker invites mockery, as "No Labels" is in itself a label. This frustrated sent-up reminds me of the rock band "The Lone Rangers" -- none of whom were alone. An organization or an interest group which invites questions and concerns from the first mention of its name should incite further introspection among its members.

"No Labels" wants to end "the gridlock". Like many limited government types, I love gridlock. Congress not even showing up much of the time might be better, but when the legislators get together and do nothing, our pocket books and our livelihood remain safe. The movement also claims that procedural reforms must be enacted. The gridlock in this country has nothing to do with the political process, with the Constitution of the United States. The problem lies with the people themselves, in that individual voters and constituencies are voicing their opinions and casting their votes, which in turn generates the gridlock.

This is not due to some failing in the voting public, but in the inherent tensions of representative democracy. In one sense, we send our representatives to govern us; in another sense, we send them to Congress to do what we want them to. A true statesman will make choices that will sometimes inevitably offend the sense and sensibility of his constituents. For this reason, the Framers authorized the legislatures, not the citizens themselves, to elect the Senators; the Electoral College selected the President, not the popular vote. Popular sentiment finds its voice in the House of Representatives, and only there.

Another concern with "No Labels" falls on this issue of representation. The organization claims "People First" as its motto. The exact meaning and purpose of this pledge invites more scrutiny instead of certainty. The Constitution was enacted in order to form a "more perfect union", not please the interests of the "people". "Establishing justice", tranquility, the blessings of liberty, often entails constraining the power of all interests, the special and the general, the elite and the popular. Besides, our leaders take an oath to defend the Constitution, not to represent the "people." Too many of our youth, and a growing number of the current electorate, are not receiving from our politicians or our educational institutions the proper role of government: to protect our rights. Governments are instituted to protect our rights, not provide for our material wants. "People first" makes as much sense as "No Labels" functions as a label, except while the first phrase is too vague, the second is just plain contradictory.

After heavy campaigning and threats from voters and the press, Henry Waxman found that he had to reach out of his old politicking shell. He joined "No Labels", yet in another show of inconsistency, he went all over the district claiming to be a proud Democrat". How does the Congressman reconcile his new membership with his long-standing boast throughout the campaign? 38 years of marching in line with his party, which should be commend on strict standards of loyalty, does not translate too well into a new term with gridlock at an all time high. The level of compromise needed to get anything done -- including the menacing “fiscal cliff” -- remains unprecedented for old and new entering Congress.

Henry Waxman, the "proud Democrat" enters Congress with a commitment to serve the people. Did he do that for the past thirty-eight years? Ask the veterans still waiting for adequate housing. Ask the postal workers and residents in Venice and Santa Monica who fear that they will have no neighborly facility to drop their mail. Ask the residents of West LA, who are still waiting for a better route to the sea besides the seventeen mile bump-and-grind of Wilshire Blvd.