The Second Term Curse

Obama140What is it about second terms that tends to upend the Presidency? It seems that no one is immune, at least for those who followed FDR’s unprecedented four terms. Truman had the Red Scare and the floundering Korean Conflict. Ike had his U2 crash. Kennedy’s martyrdom saved him from embarrassing scandals, at least for a few years after his assassination. Johnson had Vietnam. Nixon. Carter screwed the pooch before he could fuck up a second term. Reagan was finally forced to admit that having the grinning Ollie North shredding Iran/Contra documents in the White House basement was a mistake. Bush 41 fell asleep at the wheel before he could develop any major screw-ups. Clinton was proven to be the sexual predator his critics said he was. Bush 43 presided over the biggest financial crisis since the Not-so-great Depression.

And now Barry, only five months into his landslide reelection, finds himself surrounded by scandalous behavior, and they all seem to have dropped into his lap in a matter of weeks. Some folks dismiss Benghazi. I’ll withhold judgement on that until more facts present themselves. But now comes the IRS targeting political enemies, the Dept. of Justice snooping on reporters, a ham-handed attempt to recruit Russian spies by a diplomat in Russia. It was painful to watch Jay Carney getting hit by one pie after another at the last press conference.

Perhaps the problem is the second term itself. Most of the above scandals were germinated in the first terms of presidents. Once out of office, an ex-president can hole up in his bunker and weather the storm by learning to paint or rewriting his history for big bucks. It’s the elder statesman syndrome.

If I remember correctly, LBJ suggested that it might be better to have our presidents serve one six year term and eliminate the those messy and expensive reelection campaigns. Would it eliminate the curse? I don’t know, but the present system seems to follow a predictable pattern.

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62 Responses to The Second Term Curse

  1. Chris Peterson says:

    During the second term there’s a natural tendency of the opposing party, (especially if there’s a dem in office), to highlight any and all possible flaws, real or fabricated, to weaken the current administration and push for a change in the next election.

    Benghazi was an event that, if one looks at it objectively, could have been predicted, given the popularity of our government in the region. The only way to have avoided it would have been to have impenetrable fortresses around the globe, rather than embassies designed for outreach to local communication and good-faith dealings, which is their supposed function. Using it as a political tool to weaken a sitting President is, in my opinion, a slap on the face of those who died in the incident defending their countrymen. Disgusting, really. Darrel Issa, et al, don’t give a rat’s ass about who died, or why.

    The IRS was merely doing it’s job; investigating those who claim tax-exempt charity status while, in actuality, doing hard-core political actions through unnamed contributors.

    This will continue for the rest of Obama’s term; no doubt about it. What they’re searching for is a reason to put “impeachment” into the average voter’s mind. So far, it’s a failed attempt for all but the few who were already there.

    The real gas is…Obama couldn’t be more of a corporate stooge even if he was a republican. Our democracy is FUBAR beyond repair.

    (Oh, and let’s not forget that W used the IRS, Secret Service, FBI, and even the CIA, to target liberal groups in his day. That, and fenced-in free speech zones on the opposite side of town from where he was appearing.) If liberty really is just another word for nothing else to lose…well, we’re almost there.

  2. Greg Goodknight says:

    It appears the IRS was running interference for Obama early in his first term, with the app for Obama’s half brother’s shady organization granted in a month, and conservative groups waiting 3 years. Benghazi was first term. Everything but the recent coverups are 1st term bad acts.

    As was the Watergate break in.

    Looks like the chickens have come home to roost.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      They’re the same chickens, wandering about the Sunday talk shows, throwing out unsubstantiated conjectures, and looking for anyone gullible enough to swallow the same fabricated pattern we see time after time. Most Americans view this as the same crap we’ve seen coming out of Washington for years, and so far…there is no roost.

      1st term, 2nd term, pre-term; they don’t care. I’m surprised no one has found a flaw in the paper work making Hawaii a state, and therefor, Obama unqualified to be POTUS. lol

      None but the predisposed are biting.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        The Washington Post is biting, not to mention reporters at the Associated Press.

        The Benghazi scandal isn’t so much about the initial lack of security as it is about a failure to launch a rescue response when the responders were itching to go and the weeks of lying about it being reaction to a bad youtube video when they knew early in the first day it was a military style attack, devoid of spontaneity.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          Interesting take, considering that the two military commanders who were in charge at the time have both testified that there’s no way they could have changed the outcome by launching troops, machinery, or warplanes from as far away as they were.

          But you’re right; there are two stories, one by those involved with the expertise, and the republicans at home who are once again second-guessing the generals they so proudly, and otherwise, defend.

          And devoid of spontaneity? That’s a rewrite in itself. Guess we’ll have to see if Benghazi, round 2, get’s any traction.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            If the “you shoot it, you eat it” rule, you’ll be eating a lot of chicken in the coming months.

            After the fact claims by the military’s political class that it wouldn’t have made a difference is a far cry from not sending the assets when it was unknown when the attack would stop, or when the Ambassador and staff would be killed, and there’s been testimony from the lower levels that they thought the assets should have been in motion as soon as it was clear an attack was underway.

            BTW, I’ve never been a Republican, starting in ’72 when I voted McGovern/Shriver as a registered Dem.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            I raise my own chickens, so I doubt I could eat any more of it.
            And I have been a registered independent since the Reagan 1 election.

  3. rl crabb says:

    I’m not the only one who thinks a one-six term is an idea whose time has come…

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Ah yes, good ol’ Jack Roberts.

      I’ve been dealing with Jack for ten years now. We used to argue politics on the Oregonian blog everyday. It got to the point that, whenever Jack would spew his republican vitriol, people would ask on the blog, “Where is Peterson’s rebuttle?” Back then, he was the head of the republican party in Oregon, and I’ll be the first to admit that he’s one of the craftiest debaters in the state.

      Though six year terms are not a subject I find fault with, just the manner in which he frames his argument gets my juices flowing. It’s the same Roberts’ MO; he always starts with the proclamation that, “hey, I’m not one of them, but”, and then proceeds to compare and associate his intended victim to someone less than admirable. He does the same here with Nixon/Obama.

      And along the way he manages to state that there are similarities between the two, both being guilty of a cover up, no doubt, leading the unsuspecting reader to the conclusion that, although he states Watergate is perhaps jumping the gun by some, it is actually a sound hypothesis based on fact.

      Bottom line, I can easily see the argument for six year terms, but if Jack argues for it, I’ll take the opposite side every time, just out of a deep dislike of this weasel. The people of Oregon have seen through his tactics and have rejected him as a candidate for office six times, so I guess the majority who know him are onto his uber-partisan jive, as innocent as it seems at first blush.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        Oh, and I love the fact that he even takes a swipe at FDR; a President that the people liked so much that they elected him to the office four times in a row. Neither party could put up with that, even though it’s Congress that passes the laws and controls the money, hence the change in the law on term limits after the fact.

        Then, as today, the President is just a pinata for the opposition, representing the supposed failings of his party. And even if the people love the guy, the opposition will do their best to tear him to pieces should he be re-elected to office. And also as then, it’s the monied interests that are behind the movement, not the “ground-swell” it’s put off as.

  4. rl crabb says:

    Yeah, well, I don’t think Obama’s headed for the gallows just yet, but it was interesting to watch the TV babblers last night. First, O’Reilly predicts that the AP snooping won’t amount to much, the IRS is the big problem. Then over to Chris Hays on MSNBC who says the IRS story has no legs but the AP scandal has his panties in a wad. It’s not good when both sides are coming after you for different reasons. It’s already overshadowed any agenda Obama hoped to pass through Congress.
    As for Roberts, I don’t know anything about him or his politics. I found it interesting that someone else was thinking about the six/one term limit, which was the subject of my post. I don’t really give a damn whether he’s red, blue, green, white or black. Down here in our neck of the woods, I’m surrounded by right wing bloggers and sometimes find myself in agreement with them. (Certainly not always.) I tend to be more critical of the Democrats because, well, they are the ones running most everything right now, especially in California. Just ’cause “Bush did it too” doesn’t mean they’ll get a pass from me. If anything, the administration that promised change and transparency has only continued to diminish our rights and privacy.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Perhaps a side trip over to CBS last night would have illustrated the deeper motivation: they showed that some of the emails the White House released were altered to fit the agenda of the right.

      And I agree about not caring where my news or commentary comes from. My only gripe with Roberts, having witnessed his dealings for some time now, is that he doesn’t come right out and say what he means; he shrouds it in sheepish clothing as he pushes the knife in ever deeper. There are a thousand ways to argue the point for six year terms; Jack’s actual message in his commentary was Obama is Nixon.
      It’s exactly what kept him from being elected up here; he’s slicker than Clinton and as good a wordsmith as Rove. People just didn’t trust him.

      There’s also a big difference between lying about how prepared you were when four died, if he did, and lying to start a war where hundreds of thousands died, which Bush did. I’d rather have a President who, if anything, was not prepared enough for an attack on an embassy, than a bonified homicidal maniac who’s administration brought down the economy of the whole world.

      And yes, if Obama had done the what Bush did, I’d be hating him just as much. I already dislike him a lot for his drone tactics.

  5. Ben Emery says:

    When the entire system is dysfunctional we get dysfunctional representation. The hammer has come down harder on whistleblowers in the Obama administration than any other. It is seriously time to vote for anybody outside of the R’s and D’s.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Ah, Ben I know we are never going to agree on this….I wish there were a multiparty system in the United States, but there is not, largely because the very nature of our system of government with its bi-cameral legislature and disproportionate representation means political parties have to concentrate to maintain their power. It was the one great flaw of the system our founders constructed.

      To have a viable multi-party system we will need to reform campaign finance and move to publicly financed elections, extend universal suffrage by automatically registering every citizen with a SS number, reduce barriers to voting by extending hours and methods of voting, eliminate caucus systems in legislatures and reform committee structures, eliminate the electoral college, and eliminate disproportionate representation in the US Senate.

      Although I support, in some way, each of these reforms, until they happen just about any third party representative elected will be in the wilderness on legislatives bodies. Like it or not we end up having to vote for somebody, and invariably that somebody ends up being a Democrat or a Republican, and given that choice I know who I’m voting for.

      Your position is kind of like waiting for Utopia; I know I want it, but considering the consequences of waiting too long, I guess I better go to work tomorrow.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        Agreed. The system is FUBAR. Politicians get votes from the people, and money from the rich, on the promise to protect them from the other. But ultimately, when money is considered speech, the people lose every time.

        A third party may be a fantasy, but getting the money out of politics would be a major step back to the founders ideal form of government; one that is solely answerable to the people.

        Otherwise; a bribe is a bribe is a bribe, whether in City Hall or the US Congress. And it doesn’t matter if it’s George Soros or the Koch brothers, large sums of money, anonymously donated for political purposes, is NOT a tax-free charity.

  6. rl crabb says:

    You all go ahead and vote for the dinosaurs. Me, I’ll vote third party when given the opportunity. (And thanks to the new voting system in Calitopia, that’s a disappearing option.) While I’d agree that the present system is rigged to benefit the Big Two, voting for the third choice can have an effect on politics if enough people do it. Ross Perot proved that in ’92, and although he didn’t win a single electoral vote he managed to grab 19% of the public that was fed up with the status quo. The sad part is that no one but a billionaire has managed to pull it off.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      As an independent for over 40 years, I too vote third party whenever possible. It’s not that I have any delusions about getting a third party candidate elected, but rather that I realize the fact that when there’s enough support for third party candidates, as in Perot’s case, the platform of those parties are adopted by the major two.

      In the case of Teddy Roosevelt, who garnered over 27% of the vote, and 88 electoral votes as the Presidential candidate of the Progressive party, the candidate himself was brought into the party and won the next election. And going back as far as Martin Van Buren, many candidates have made as good a showing as Perot.

      So, I suppose the point is to support what is right and conducive by your own standards, and to hell with the status quo. If enough sheeple get their heads out of their butts and do so, things will change.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        Chris (and by extension Bob) please note, I did not say that people should not vote for third parties; I said that a two-party dynamic is baked into the American Constitutional system. Chris, you just pointed out precisely how that works; in the case of Teddy Roosevelt much of the platform of the Bull Moose party was incorporated by the Democrat Wilson at the next election, and in the case of Ross Perot much of his platform was picked up by either the Democrats or Republicans in the next election. American governance is defined most by the caution and gradualism created at our founding.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          In the initial government of our founders, “faction” was a dirty word, and near treasonous. Washington’s chief reason for staying on for a second term was to keep such action from happening. In the first Presidential elections, the guy who got the most votes became President, and the guy who came in second was Vice President.

          Jefferson changed all that with his Democratic-Republican party to challenge the Federalists. He claimed that there were already inherently two factions in government; those who represented the people, and those who represented the wealthy. Sound familiar?

          Our current system has morphed into one in which BOTH sides represent the wealthy because that’s where they get their money, (oops, I meant “free speech”), to stay in office. Cut off those funds, (bribes), through publicly-funded elections only, and they can get back to arguing ideologies rather than ulterior commitments.

          And Steve, my overly-sensitive friend, nowhere did I insinuate any judgement on your political leanings. I was merely stating my personal views. My arguments will be with what you say; not with which jersey you wear.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Funny that you would characterize my comments as ‘overly sensitive’. Perhaps you should re-read them. I don’t see anywhere that I implied you might be judging political leanings.

            I started this thread merely pointing out what you stated above; that “factions” have been with us since [near] founding, and that, in my opinion [backed by many historians] power inherently concentrates to protect itself. I even pointed out that that was a (rare) originalist failure to anticipate the future.

            If someone is sensitive here it appears to be Bob, who is projecting on people ulterior motives for supporting a two-party system.

            My key point really has been “it is” thus it is the vehicle through which we must work, even while we try to reform it every step of the way.

  7. rl crabb says:

    Why on earth would I vote for these gluttonous hogs? Steve, I can understand why you would, since most of your own utopian vision of the future is dependent on truckloads of $$$ from Washington and Sacramento.,0,3647916.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedly

  8. Steve Frisch says:

    Gee Bob, you must have missed that on these pages (meaning the twilight zone of Nevada County blogging sites) I am firmly on Governor Brown’s side of this issue, and advocate for more restraint on the part of Democrats when it comes to tax measures.

    You also must have failed to notice that no where in my comments to Ben was I advocating for the policies included in the new tax measures envisioned in the LA Times article.

    I was stating pretty clearly that the two party system is a natural result of our Constitutional system, and that those wishing to diminish the role of the parties need to work on electoral reform, campaign finance reform, reform of House and Senate rules, and voting rule reform first if they ever wish to usher in the dreamed of (but never yet realized in American history) golden age of a multi-party system.

    In addition, my vision of the future is most decidedly not dependent on truckloads of money from Washington and Sacramento, I would prefer these things be done in the private sector, but in the interregnum, the system we have is the system we have, and not using it to advance those reforms, and others, would be folly.

    It must be convenient to tune in, turn on and drop out while awaiting nirvana, but real people with real lives often don’t have that luxury. They just need to go out and work to make things better in their own way.

    • rl crabb says:

      Are we talking about the same Governor Brown that just decided to dump the cap and trade $ into the general fund instead of using it to pay for green make-work projects that you deem so necessary to our survival? Yes, I know you uttered a half-hearted protest about the bait and switch, but you’ll still support them to the bitter end rather than lose your seat at the table. And you’re right, I’m not the head honcho of a public advocacy org., or whatever the Sierra Business Council is. I’m only an individual who uses what little power I do have with my chicken scratchings to protest what I see as injustice and a creeping government that seeks to inflict itself into every aspect of my life.
      I’m not an anti-government or anti-tax fanatic. I believe that the rich should shoulder their share of the burden. I believe we need regulations and laws to ensure a just society. There has to be a balance. But the Dems have only held their super majority for six months and they are already acting like children in a candy store with mom’s credit card. They are ready to dole out privileges and services to those who haven’t earned citizenship. (Aliens sitting on juries? Are you fucking kidding me?) It’s not about human rights. It’s about buying enough votes to stay in power.
      Following this path is a recipe for disaster. Maybe not next year. Maybe not in five years. But someday the bills will come due and the pot will be empty. Maybe Governor Jerry will veto a few bills, but he knows that the public sector unions and other special interests hold the purse strings for the money he and his fellow Democrats need to win elections.
      If ever we needed an opposition party, now’s the time. The Republicans are so far out in right field that it will be years before they can mount any real defense, if ever.
      So I’m supposed to sit back and meekly accept the bullshit Democrats are trying to sell me as filet mignon? Not fucking likely.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        RL, with the death grip by public employees on the short hairs of the California legislature, the GOP doesn’t have a chance. Thank the Governor for granting them collective bargaining over wages and benefits his first time around; that’s when the slide to our one party state started.

        There will be no fix before bankruptcy is imminent. Maybe not even then.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          That’s a rather simplistic explanation of why the republican party is so low in popularity in California, isn’t it Greg?

          Not only that but, the public employees are working people, and while I, and many others, agree that their contracts are troublesome, the republicans would be better served by illustrating that fact, rather than spending their time vilifying the unions. In an economy that sees the lion’s-share of profits going to owners and corporations rather than being more equally shared by labor, few but the fringe identify with the notion that “workers”, union or not, are the culprits of our dilemma.

          Ultimately, I’m with Bob on the fact that until people start supporting reality, (read as third party candidates), rather than arguing stupid, think-tank- manufactured talking points and attacks from the major parties, we’re all screwed, and no change is possible.

          It’s just my humble opinion that anyone who argues for or against the two major parties, as opposed to the issues themselves, is more of a division-seeking cheerleader than an honestly concerned citizen.

          Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders seem to consistently rise above the din of partisan bullshit. I don’t agree with everything they say, but I respect them for that.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Sometimes Occam’s razor does a fine job, and this is one of those times.

            It’s reasonable to expect the past to predict the future in California… more money in the pot to be spent will drive expenditures present and future, and the already immense unfunded liabilities will be ignored until they come due.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            A very valid point.

            If you folks down in CA could create a group of concerned citizens like the Tea Baggers started off to be; not associated with either side of the aisle, just a middle of the road mixture of who refuse to be sponsored by Soros or the Koch boys or any other entity out for it’s own goals, you could move that mountain.

            My first suggestion would be to start a State bank, like N. Dakota, to insulate yourselves from the madness of Washington and Wall Street. Hell, with what used to be the fifth largest budget in the world, you guys could dictate policy of all kinds from there.

            If it can’t be done in CA, there’s no hope of it happening anywhere else. And Gov Jerry Moonbeam, who used to walk the streets of NC with Linda Ronstadt, could just be your huckleberry. After all, he’s half monk.

      • Steven Frisch says:

        By the way Bob, I did a little more than lodge a ” half-hearted protest” of Governor Brown’s proposal to shift $500 million of Cap and Trade revenue to the general fund; I signed on with about 30 other groups to that protest, directly wrote the chairs and every member of the state senate and assembly budget committees objecting to the shift and asking them to support legislation halting it, and directly communicated with the Governor’s office expressing opposition and proposing alternatives. The system of governance we have is such that these are the current routes open to try to leverage change. I guess I could cut my ear off to express my love, but that seems both extreme and likely to be more ineffective.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          Not being up on CA politics; was the governor’s transfer of the CAP money the erroneous doings of a wayward politician, or the actions of one who is temporarily trying to keep his state afloat in the face of bankruptcy? Were there other funds available for necessary expenditures?

          Just askin’. Up here, we’ve noticed that the talk of CA’s impending doom has mellowed somewhat. (Something must be working.)

          • Steve Frisch says:

            The Governor’s rationale for transferring revenue from the Cap and Trade fund to the general fund was that the plan to invest Cap and Trade revenue, that was called for in legislation, is not ready yet, and that pending the readiness of the plan the revenue should be used rather than ‘saved’ in the dedicated fund.

            I do believe that the Governor’s proposed use of C&T revenue helps keep the budget balanced. As you noted, we have a $3.2 billion annual ‘surplus’ this year in the Governor’s proposed May revised budget.

            My fear is that if the C&T revenue is internalized it will create even more pressure from Democrats to expend revenue in other areas.

            There are a couple of other options that the Governor could consider:

            1) place the revenue in the C&T fund and wait for the investment plan to be completed

            2) spend the revenue through existing state programs with a direct and proven nexus to greenhouse gas emission reduction

            3) return the portion of the revenue coming from utilities to ratepayers in the form of rebates to keep electricity bills lower and bank the rest

            4) Place the revenue in the state “rainy day fund” pending approval of the investment plan, thus creating a firewall so it can’t be spent.

            In my opinion the revenue should be distributed through existing state programs pending approval of the investment plan. We have more than enough work to do reducing GHG emissions and finding projects such as hybrid and electric busses, advancing energy efficiency, improvements to mass transit, infill and transit oriented housing, and retrofitting public facilities should be no problem.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          I call that sort of editorial “popsicle politics”. The guy eats, drinks, and sleeps politics all his life, and now and then writes an editorial in nursery rhyme form.

          It would be like me, after 25 years of running multi-million dollar retail operations, deciding to open a lemonade stand. Amusing, but not what you would call an informative, in-depth analysis from an experienced political journalist.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            I especially like the part of the article, from a website that promotes “free markets”, where it faults the government for having, ” 33 distinct housing-assistance programs across four different agencies, and 49 job-training programs across eight different agencies.”

            As if it’s bad government to help the millions of citizens who paid for, and were victims of, the “free market” madness that brought down the whole economy. It’s one thing to have Joe Citizen pay for your mistakes, and quite another to chide him for using his own government to pick his neighbors up out of the resulting rubble.

            These corporations, national AND international, are still borrowing hundreds of billions from Bernanke and the Fed daily at .01%, and reaping huge profits, while they ridicule devastated citizens, who lost trillions in net worth, for their comparatively miniscule efforts to rebuild their lives?
            That’s just plain ugly.

          • rl crabb says:

            I dunno, Chris, doesn’t the author conclude that “while a certain amount of govt. is necessary for the health of any eco-system, too much can prove devastating”? Do we really need that mohair subsidy? The F-22 raptor? And as for the multitude of government fixes for the mortgage crisis, hasn’t it been shown that only a small percentage of homeowners have actually benefited? And what has the current administration done to curb the power of Wall St. and the corporations? Just askin’…

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Point one- yes he does note the need for government, but only those programs that benefit his focus, namely free enterprise. And yes, too much IS a bad thing, but the too much for him is in helping the citizens dig out of the wreckage caused by those he supports.
            Point #2- we have way too many mohair F-22’s. There’s way too much waste, especially in this time of a never-ending recession. A strong middle class is essential to our economy’s health, but that’s not where the help is being applied. As you note, even though we have many programs for mortgage help to citizens, the banks have no incentive to make those programs available. The money’s there, but the banks are doing just fine, having actually grown 30% in wealth and size since 2008.
            And what has Obama done? Nothing but appoint every money-grubbing cohort of the original fiasco to positions of power over the departments that are needed to fix the problem. I still don’t get how he is labeled a liberal, or a “people’s” President. His actions are business-as-usual, if not worse.
            The part that gets me is where every penny spent on the people in these hard times is vilified, while billions, if not trillions, is squandered daily on those already recovered and growing exponentially. It’s become unAmerican to scrutinize the wealthy, and the norm to bad-mouth the average citizen who’s paying their tab. It’s FUBAR, I tell ya’.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            By the way; the trading in derivitives, which was the crux of the last crash, has mushroomed up to $700 TRILLION, ten times the size of the whole world’s economy. With our depleted treasury, still suffering from the last episode, we’re in for a royal screwing sometime soon. Even the Great Depression is nothing compared to what’s on the horizon, thanks to the same exact players who brought us our last fiasco.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            And what do you want to bet that, once again, it will all be blamed on the lowly serfs, and the Sheriff of Nottingham will once again raise taxes on the downtrodden masses.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Oh, and Robin Hood will be blown to smithereens by a drone. lol

  9. rl crabb says:

    If you read the article in the LA Times I linked to, you can see what the state of the state is. Right now the coffers are flush with unexpected revenue, but the ruling party is looking for more, much more, to fund every social program they can think of. In addition they have introduced no less than six proposed constitutional amendments to lower the bar on raising property taxes. They are insatiable, and unable to change. It’s in the DNA to keep spending.
    Steve- Glad to hear you’re protesting the slush fund. I still don’t trust the politicians to do the right thing, in fact I don’t believe the word “right” is in their vocabulary. And forgive my salty adjectives in the last reply. I think I’ve been reading too many articles in “Grist” and picked up their bad habits.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Bob, I am with you on the fact that Democrats need to be more fiscally responsible. [I read the article yesterday] I have long supported a number of governance reforms to encourage that, including multi-year and zero based budgeting; pay as you go requirements; automatic sunsets requiring re-authorization for state agencies, programs and projects based on effectiveness; and a constitutional amendment requiring that every ballot Proposition require fiscal analysis and identify sources of funding for new initiatives.

      Salty language does not bother me!

      And its not a ‘slush fund’, it is a payment from emitters that requires the funding go to projects that reduce GHG emissions; in other words a market based mechanism to internalize what would otherwise be negative externalities from sources.

      I am very concerned that if the Governor does transfer the revenue from the C&T fund the monies will be bogged down in litigation for violation of the constitutional requirement that uses of fees have a direct nexus to sources.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        “Bob, I am with you on the fact that Democrats need to be more fiscally responsible.”

        California Democrats have recently shown no talent for being more fiscally responsible, and off the top of my head I can’t think of any other state where modern Democrats have shown such a talent.

        Regarding greenhouse gases and the melting of our world, the Nenana Ice Classic is within a twenty minutes of a new record, the latest river ice breakup in 97 years. It’s already guaranteed the 2nd coldest spot in history and its looking good for a new record, but to my eyes and the warm and sunny forecast, it’s doubtful it will last into tomorrow.
        When the locals think it’s close they can be expected to be lining the bank. Someone will be taking a $319K jackpot home.

        Just to be clear, for modern American journalists, record cold weather is weather. Record hot weather is climate.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Gee Greg, then I would think you would be supporting those ‘decline to state’ people who usually vote Democratic in advocating for prudent fiscal reforms….like me for example.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          Weather extremes are producing some interesting phenomena, aren’t they?
          Check today’s news in Oklahoma.
          Most powerful tornado ever and two miles wide.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            I’m letting GG, Russ, Steve F., and the climate scientists duke it out. I suspect that in the next 5 years the debate will be over, one way or another. Then we can move on, one way or the other.

            In the meantime, mixing climate observations with weather observations is a fool’s game. Ice or no ice here, tornadoes there, hurricanes, droughts, whatever. The earth delivers up bad stuff to its animal residents, and it’s how we humans deal with that adversity that makes us special.

            I don’t want TV weather people telling me that this weather event or that weather event is, or is not, a sign of climate change. As Archie Bunker so wisely said, “Like earl & gasoline, they don’t mix.”

            But we shouldn’t

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Judith, why do you think they call that part of the country “Tornado Alley”? And whoever gave you the idea that it was the strongest tornado ever was smoking something they should smoke less of, the tornado yesterday was an EF-4. Here’s a page filled with more powerful tornadoes, F-5 and EF-5, with official rankings going back 60 years and unofficial rankings as far back as the 1700’s.

            Frisch, like the FUE, who declines to state for plausible claims to being a middle of the road non partisan (former) journalist, but then is always pushing the partisan Democratic line?

            “Prudent” fiscal reforms in Democratic California generally means give them more money and they give their word they’ll spend it wisely this time.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Yes, it’s been upgraded. Apparently a strong EF-4 by wind measurements but observed surface damage effects bumped it up a notch.

            “Most powerful tornado ever and two miles wide.
            I call that rhetorical excess.

            The worst tornado in US history remains the Tri-State tornado of 1925. Officially unclassified but would have been a 5.

            (I apologize for a double posting, this one with one link deleted to avoid the moderation hell of a previous posting)

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Greg, you may not recognize it because you have an ax to grind, but I am quite happy breaking with the Democratic Party establishment. Any reader here can see the many ways I have demonstrated that and recognize your comments for the folly and distraction that they are.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            From the so-called Sierra Business Council website:
            “Sierra Business Council (SBC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 member-based organization of over 700 individuals
            and businesses who are committed to our mission of pioneering innovative projects and approaches that
            foster community vitality, environmental quality, economic prosperity and social fairness in the Sierra
            Nevada. The Sierra Nevada Carbon Cooperative (SNCC) fulfils this mission by demonstrating a proactive
            and holistic approach to sustainable conservation and economic development by capturing the monetary
            value of forests for the climate benefits they provide, while simultaneously enhancing the ability of the
            Sierra Nevada to adapt to climate change, provide quality jobs, conserve and restore natural ecosystems,
            create economic value, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. By doing so, SBC is helping the
            ecological matrix of this unique region repair and adapt to the effects of climate change.

            The SNCC is a program developed to assist Sierra Nevada landowners in registering their lands for
            emerging carbon markets.”

            And I’m the one with an axe to grind on the carbon markets? Frisch, yours is being ground down to the handle.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            WTF is your point Greg, that if someone believes in something and is committed to its implementation, that they should not speed that implementation as part of their organizations business model? I believe climate change is a threat; I believe that Sierra Nevada forests can act as sinks to slow climate change; using them to do so can create local jobs, improve the environment, reduce the risk of wildfire, and make landowners money at the same time.


            I am proud of that.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Thanks for verifying that is an axe you’re grinding, Steve. One of the rents you have been seeking; that is your business.

            Do the math, Frisch; even if one swallows the IPCC AR4 hook, line and sinker, there’s nothing you can do with Sierra carbon sinks that could do anything but delay the forecast warming by what, a few minutes?

            Useless even if you believe the science that’s unraveling.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          Quibble about the stats all you want.
          Did you see what that monstrous thing left behind?
          The pitiful wreckage of communities that mostly sprouted in the 90’s, smack in the middle of Tornado Alley.
          Schools full of children.
          Can you see the connection?

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        “And its not a ‘slush fund’, it is a payment from emitters that requires the funding go to projects that reduce GHG emissions; in other words a market based mechanism to internalize what would otherwise be negative externalities from sources.”

        In other words, Frisch wants the money to slosh into his projects.

  10. Ryan Mount says:

    Here is one way we can disrupt the two party system. And it’s not even hard (or costly) to implement.

    Here is our dysfunctional bicameral (I knew a girl in college who was bicameral. Did you?) system explained in 6 minutes:

    Here is the solution in another 4 minutes:

    For those who prefer to read:

  11. Michael Anderson says:

    Whoops, silly finger malfunction…didn’t get to finish.

    But we shouldn’t let politics trump science. If I was Obama I would be depoliticizing a whole lot of things right now. He needs to act less like a community organizer and more like a statesman and leader, and let the results fall where they may. If he does this, the Millennials will usher into office the next Democratic president in 2016. If he doesn’t, we’ll most likely get another Bush-like creature and end up with scorched earth across the entire planet.

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