Craig DeLuz

Writer, Actor, Public Speaker, Media Personality
Posts Tagged ‘In Case You Missed It’

Is America a Christian Nation?

President Barak Obama’s declaration that America is not a Christian nation has sparked debate and controversy throughout the country. So, how would you answer the question?

For me,the answer to this question would depend on your interpretation of what it is to be a “Christian Nation”. America is not is not a theocracy (a church run state) and Americans have never been compelled to believe in any one faith perspective. But it is undeniable that America has a distinctly Judeo-Christian heritage and that our history is rooted in Biblical principles from which all freedom flows. Absent these Judeo-Christian principles, there would be no America and no liberty!

Consider the following:

1.52 of the 55 Founding Fathers who worked on the Constitution were members of orthodox Christian churches and many were evangelical Christians (see David Barton’s resources at Wallbuilders.com).

2. A study conducted at the University of Houston involving a sample of over 15,000 writings revealed that 94% of the Founders’ quotes were directly or indirectly based on the Bible (David Barton).

3. Key components of our governmental structure are clearly derived from Scripture:

a. The rationale for the Separation of Powers comes from Jeremiah 17:9 based on the Biblical idea of fallen man

b. The structure of the three-Branch System of Government comes from Isaiah 33:22 and

c. Tax Exemptions for Churches comes from Ezra 7:24.

d. The concept of Federal, State and Local Governments comes from Exodus 18:21

4. Our Founders instituted prayer at the beginning of every session of Congress and a Chaplain system in the military.

5. The Motto of the American Revolution was “No King but King Jesus!”

6. The Bible was called the “Great Political Textbook of the Patriot.”

7. The Mayflower Compact, dated November 20, 1620, records the purpose for the Plymouth colony and subsequent expansion across North America, “for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith…” This is the American Covenant, that is, the document which organized the first civil government with linkage to the Great Commission and based on the principle of Christian self-government!

8. Our Declaration of Independence, dated July 4, 1776, makes four direct references to God and our dependence on Him.

9. Our US Constitution was ratified on September 17 “in the Year of our Lord” 1787 (Article VII, subscription clause)! Its principles are distinctly Biblical.

And if our founders were truly Deists, how do you explain the following quotes:

George Washington
The first President of the United States in his Farewell Address (Sept. 19, 1796) stated, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars…”

John Jay
The First Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court and one of the three men most responsible for the Constitution said, “It is the duty—as well as the privilege and interest—of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

Noah Webster
Founding Father, Author of Webster’s Dictionary, educator, largely responsible for Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution “The religion that has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government. …No truth is more evident to my mind than that Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

John Quincy Adams
America’s sixth President, said (in a speech delivered on July 4, 1837, at Newburyport): “Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

These are not the words of Deists. These are Christian men declaring that the precepts upon which our nation is founded are indeed Christian and to preserve the blessings of this nation, we must preserve this Christian foundation.

What are these precepts?

1. Man is fallen and capable of wickedness (Jer. 17:9), therefore, the powers of civil government must be separated (and found the Biblical pattern for separation in Is. 33:22).

2. God-granted inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (private property and free enterprise): this stands in stark contrast to the idea of Man-granted privileges (“divine right of kings” which allows the sovereign to live “above” God’s and man’s law).

3. God’s principle of individuality: Exalts God and explains how He works through individuals and individual nations; each person is a unique and valuable creation of God.

It exposes the error of secular collectivism (i.e., the idea that the state has value, not the individual) and the error of individualism separate from Christ. (I Corinthians 12:4-11)

4. The Christian principle of self-government: In order to have true liberty, man must be governed internally by the Spirit of God rather than by external forces. Government is first individual, and then extends outward to the family, church, and community. The principle of self-government involves God ruling internally from the heart of the individual and is dependent upon man’s obedience to “the spirit of the law of Christ” (Rom. 8:2; Prov. 16:32; Rom. 8:2; Eph. 6:6; I Tim. 3:5)

5. America’s heritage of Christian character: The image of God engraved inside the individual brings dominion and change to his outside environment. The Founders understood that Christian Character (based on a strong sense of accountability to God) in governmental leadership is essential to the preservation of liberty in America. The model of Christian character is the Pilgrim and Patriot character. Becoming accountable for one’s individual actions and productivity is the fruit of Christian character. (Matt. 7:24-29; Acts 24:16; Phil. 4:13; II Tim. 4:7)

6. Private property with conscience as the most sacred of all property: Christians are required to exercise faithful stewardship of their God-given sense of right and wrong which is the key to the proper use of private property. Conscience is also a tool for the development of self-government as each child learns to submit his will. (Acts 5:4, 24:16; Eph. 2:10; I Tim. 3:9; II Tim. 1:3; Heb. 13:18)

7. Planting the seed of local self-government and the importance of the home: Identifies the Judeo-Christian home’s responsibility for maintaining religious and civil liberty under law (and the fruits of local sovereignty) including teaching and practicing industry, charity, and obedience to all laws not contrary to Scripture. (Deut. 6:1-9; 10:12-14; Is. 9:6; Lk. 9:6)

8. The Christian principle of voluntary union: God wants His children to cooperate and work together politically, commercially, and in meeting community needs through voluntary consent, without compromising a Christian conscience or Scriptural separation. (Ps. 133:1; I Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1-3)

With all this, the question still remains, “Is America a Christian nation?”

If one were to judge based on our foundation the answer would be undeniably “Yes!” But as we turn away from these precepts, we become less and less a Christian nation. And despite what some would have us believe, this is not a good thing.

Six foot tall, city-funded Penis Mascot is back! Only in San Francisco!

I wish I could say I was surprised. But nothing that takes place in the city by the bay shocks me anymore.

Last week the Public Health Department for the City of San Francisco launched an outreach campaign designed to encourage gay men to get tested for syphilis. So, according the San Francisco Examiner:

Move over Lou Seal, there’s another San Francisco mascot that will appear at arades, street fairs and other public events around the city over the coming year. It’s the 6-foot-tall Healthy Penis.

Actually, there are three of them, and they’ll make their reappearance at noon today at the corner of Castro and Market. The characters will appear with a fourth, much-less-attractive buddy, Phil the Syphilis Sore.

Apparently, this is not a new idea. 2002 was the first time this campaign was employed, and with some success.

Controversial when they debuted in 2002, the characters became popular and appeared around the city until 2006 to encourage gay and bisexual men to get tested for syphilis.

Syphilis cases dropped over those years, and the penis costumes were borrowed by
other cities to promote testing for sexually transmitted diseases. But now the department of Public Health is bringing them back because syphilis cases are again on the rise, up 50 percent from 2007 to 2008.

And yes, the city is paying staff to parade around the city in these obscene costumes.

Inside the costumes are public health staffers. “There is no lack of people who
want to volunteer to wear a penis costume in public,” said department spokeswoman Eileen Shields.

Your tax dollars at work!

Meg Whitman for Governor- So let me get this straight…

I truly want to keep an open mind about Meg Whitman’s candidacy for Governor. But judging by the LA Times interview published today, she is not off to a great start.

-She doesn’t know how she feels about school choice.
-She didn’t vote for Prop 187.
-She didn’t vote in the Recall.
-She “didn’t vote as often as I should, and it’s something I regret. And no good excuses for it. Wish I had. Should have.”
-She believes that Pete Wilson is “the greatest governor in memory”.
-She “praised” him for raising taxes during the 1992 budget crisis.
-And she didn’t even become a Republican until 2007.

Why exactly should I vote for her?

First, there are certain bedrock issues that California Republicans care about. Immigration is #1 amongst these issues. She will need to take a firmer stance on how she will address this issue. And not being able to articulate a position on school choice is inexcusable. As public schools continue to fail our most vulnerable students, school choice is the premiere GOP solution to addressing this crisis.

And let’s talk about not voting in the recall and not even becoming a Republican until 2007. WHAT UP WITH THAT?! A the GOP candidate for the state’s highest office, she would be our standard barer. But if she hasn’t been willing to stand until just recently, why should she be elevated to lead our party? I mean, I am all for new converts coming and getting involved in my church. But I’m not going to make them the Pastor.

I will give her half a point for her statement about Pete Wilson. Compared to Davis and our current governor, I would welcome the moderate level of conservatism he brought to Sacramento. But I am alarmed by the level of contempt that he and others who support Whitman have shown toward the more conservative wing of our party. Whitman could inadvertently be labeled as an anti-conservative simply because of the company she keeps.

I am still checking her out. But if she is going to win the support of the GOP base, she has got to do better than this.

Pelosi & Margaret Sanger agree. Birth control = Economic Stimulus

Maybe it us just me. But I find it outrageous that Birthcontrol would be considered as a part of the economic stimulus package. Regardless of how you feel about birth control, to utilize funds from any economic stimulus proposal to pay for birth control is beyond obsurd.

It harkens back to the time when Planned Parenthood’s Founder, Margaret Sanger sought to use birth control as a method of population control. It was her desire to keep certain “undesirable groups” from multiplying. And her primary arguement was that they would be a burden on taxpayers.

Here is a quote from Margaret Sanger:

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

This quote comes from Margaret Sanger’s- The Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Chapter on “The Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition. And as you can see Pelosi, like Sanger believes that the goverment should be in the business of making sure that “poor folk” don’t go having babies.

While I do agree that everyone should be responsible in their reproductive choices. I cannot belive that anyone would go as far as to promote birth control as economic stimulas.

Schwarzenegger’s 2009 State of the State Address

Prepared Text of Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2009 State of the State Address

Lt. Governor Garamendi, Chief Justice George, President pro Tem Steinberg, Speaker Bass, Senate Republican Leader Cogdill, Assembly Republican Leader Villines, Members of the legislature, ladies and gentlemen, we meet in times of great hope for our nation.

Although we hear the drumbeat of news about bailouts, bankruptcies and Ponzi schemes, the nation with great anticipation is also awaiting the inauguration of a new president.

Our nation should be proud of what President-elect Obama’s election says to the world about American openness and renewal.

President Reagan used to tell about the letter he got from a man who said that you can go to live in Turkey, but you can’t become a Turk. You can go to live in Japan, but you cannot become Japanese. And he went through other countries.

“But,” the man said, “anyone from any corner of the world can come to America and become an American.”

And now, we know that any American child, no matter what corner of the world his father or mother comes from, can even become President of the United States.

What a wonderful national story for us.

This nation rightfully feels the hope of change.

Californians, of course, desire change here in their own state as well.

Yet they have doubts if that is possible.

For months, in the face of a crisis, we have been unable to reach agreement on the largest budget deficit in our history.

We are in our third special session and we’ve declared a fiscal emergency – and every day that goes by, makes the budget problem that much harder to solve.

As a result of all this, California, the eighth largest economy in the world, faces insolvency within weeks.

The legislature is currently in the midst of serious and good faith negotiations to resolve the crisis, negotiations that are being conducted in the knowledge we have no alternative but to find agreement.

The importance of the negotiation’s success goes far beyond the economic and human impact.

People are asking if California is governable.

They wonder about the need for a constitutional convention.

They don’t understand how we could have let political dysfunction paralyze our state for so long.

In recent years, they have seen more gridlock in Sacramento than on our roads, if such a thing is possible.

I will not give the traditional State of the State address today, because the reality is that our state is incapacitated until we resolve the budget crisis.

The truth is that California is in a state of emergency.

Addressing this emergency is the first and greatest thing we must do for the people.

The 42 billion dollar deficit is a rock upon our chest and we cannot breathe until we get it off.

It doesn’t make any sense to talk about education, infrastructure, water, health care reform and all these things when we have this huge budget deficit.

I will talk about my vision for all of these things… and more… as soon as we get the budget done.

So, no, I did not come today to deliver the normal list of accomplishments and proposals.

I came to encourage this body to continue the hard work you are doing behind closed doors.

There is a context and a history to the negotiations that are underway.

It is not that California is ungovernable. It’s that for too long we have been split by ideology.

Conan’s sword could not have cleaved our political system in two as cleanly as our own political parties have done.

Over time, ours has become a system where rigid ideology has been rewarded and pragmatic compromise has been punished.

And where has this led?

I think you would agree that in recent years California’s legislature has been engaged in civil war.
Meanwhile, the needs of the people became secondary.

Our citizens do not believe that we in government are in touch with their needs.

These needs are not unreasonable.

At the end of the day, most people do not require a great deal from their government.

They expect the fundamentals.

They want to live in safety.

They want a good education for their children.

They want jobs.

They want to breathe clean air.

They want water when they turn on the faucet and electricity when they turn on the switch.

And they want these things delivered efficiently and economically.

One of the reasonable expectations the public has of government is that it will produce a sound and balanced budget.

That is what the legislative leaders are struggling to do right now.

There is no course left open to us but this: to work together, to sacrifice together, to think of the common good – not our individual good.

No one wants to take money from our gang-fighting programs or from Medi-Cal or from education.

No one wants to pay more in taxes or fees.

But each of us has to give up something because our country is in an economic crisis and our state simply doesn’t have the money.

In December, we even had to suspend funding that affects 2,000 infrastructure projects that were already underway.

So, now, the bulldozers are silent.

The nail guns are still.

The cement trucks are parked.

This disruption has stopped work on levees, schools, roads, everything.

It has thrown thousands and thousands of people out of work at a time when our unemployment rate is rising.

How could we let something like that happen?

I know that everyone in this room wants to hear again the sound of construction.

No one wants unemployment checks replacing paychecks.

So, I am encouraged that meaningful negotiations are underway. And, as difficult as the budget will be, good things can come out of it.

Because, in spite of the budget crisis, when we have worked together in the past, we have passed measures that moved this state – and even the nation – forward.

When a budget agreement is reached, when some of the raw emotions have passed, I will send to the legislature the package of legislative goals and proposals that a governor traditionally sends.

These proposals are sitting on my desk. Let me tell you, I have big plans.

They include action on the economy, on water, environment, education, health care reform, government efficiency and reform, job creation.

But, our first order of business is to solve the budget crisis.

And I have an idea going forward.

As you know, in the last 20 years of budgeting, only four budgets have been on time.

So, if you don’t mind, let me make a little suggestion.

We should make a commitment that legislators – and the governor, too – lose per diem
expenses and our paychecks, for every day the budget goes past the constitutional deadline of June 15th.

You have to admit it is a brilliant idea.

I mean, if you call a taxi and the taxi doesn’t come, you don’t pay the driver.

If the people’s work is not getting done, the people’s representatives should not get paid either.

That is common sense in the real world.

And I will send you some other reforms, too.

Let me close by saying something about the fires of 2008.

At one point, I got a phone call that we had 875 wildfires burning all at the same time.

I said to myself, how do we deal with this?

The next morning I get a call, “Governor, there are now 2,014 fires burning all at the same time.”

The largest number on record.

Imagine, 2,000 fires, a huge challenge and every one of those fires was put out.

You know why? Because we have the best trained, the most selfless, the toughest firefighters in the nation.

Thirteen of whom lost their lives.

They gave their lives for this state.

Ladies and gentlemen, the courageous examples of those firefighters should not be lost on us.

In our own way, we, too, must show courage in serving the public.

Ladies and gentlemen, let this be a year of political courage.

Let us be courageous for the people.

Let us be courageous for the common good of California.

Let us resolve the budget crisis, so that we can get on with the people’s work.

Thank you.

In Case You Missed it:Activist twins are polar opposites politically


This weekend, the Sacramento Bee did a piece on my twin brother David and I. It was a really cool article. And I’m not just saying that because it is about me!

Activist twins are polar opposites politically

Outside the Pyramid Alehouse on 10th and K streets Thursday, it was hard not to notice the dapper DeLuz twins theatrically debating the great issues of our time.

They’re both 6-foot former linebackers and passionate activists well-known in Sacramento political circles.

Though Craig is sometimes confused for David and vice versa, that’s a giant mistake. Politically, the brothers are polar opposites.

David DeLuz – born 10 minutes before Craig on June 7, 1969 – is a liberal Democrat who proudly sports an Obama-Biden button and wears a blue tie and a navy blue suit.

Craig DeLuz – a quarter-of-an-inch shorter – is a conservative Republican in jeans and a gray pattern sport coat who staunchly defends McCain-Palin.

While there are physical differences between them, it’s really when the DeLuz brothers open their mouths that it’s easiest to tell them apart.

David opposes Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage. Craig recently showed up at American River College to support a controversial student council resolution endorsing Proposition 8.

They vehemently disagree on abortion and the Iraq war.

In recent weeks they’ve heckled each other at a Black Political Forum in North Sacramento and an NAACP voter education rally at the state Capitol.

They also go at it on local radio and their blog: http://deluzbrothers. blogspot.com/.

“It’s just now getting to the point where people realize there are actually two of us,” David said. “I lost a politically connected position because they thought I was him.”

Craig said he lost a job when his potential employer found out he was the right-leaning DeLuz.

David, who was president of the Sacramento branch of the NAACP from 2002-2005, is an administrator with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation “focused on offender re-entry.”

Craig is Capitol director for Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore.

Despite their differences, David managed Craig’s 2000 campaign for Sacramento City Council (he lost to Sandy Sheedy).

“Our goal is the same, to have an engaged community that provides opportunities for everyone,” David said.

The twins haven’t bet on the presidential race “because David won’t give me enough points,” Craig said.

Craig predicts that “an Obama presidency and a Democratic Congress will be one of the best advertising tools for the Republican Party” because they’ll tax and spend Americans into oblivion.

Obama epitomizes style over substance, Craig said. “McCain is not the most attractive or the best speaker, but he’s challenging the administration and trying to find common ground, compared to a guy taking the easy route and saying whatever people want to hear.”

David fires back: “Your depiction of Barack Obama is way over the top. His record demonstrates a willingness to try new ideas. He’s right where we need to be. It’s about creating a middle class that can be a consumer class.”

The twins – born to an Italian American mother and an African American father in Richmond – were adopted by a black couple, John and Elevera DeLuz.

John Deluz, who grew up in Newport, R.I., the son of a Cape Verdian immigrant, joined the Air Force during World War II and was trained as an electrician.

But he couldn’t get a job in Oakland because the electricians union discriminated against blacks. So he wound up taking a job washing cars and later became a warehouse supervisor for Safeway.

“He’d say, ‘You’re just as good as anybody, but you’re no better than anybody, and you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get half as far as the average white boy,’ ” David said.

Both parents were dedicated Democrats.

The twins played football for DeAnza High in Richmond. Craig was nicknamed ” ‘Duke,’ for John Wayne, because I walked like a cowboy and was ready to draw down on anybody.”

“The one thing you did not want to do was mess with one of the DeLuz brothers because if you got in a fight with one of us you had three to five minutes before the other showed up,” Craig said.

Craig went to Chico State, where he became the first African American elected president of the student government. He began listening to Rush Limbaugh but didn’t become a Republican until after his son was born in April 1995.

That day, he realized $2,500 of his first big commission check for signing up members for the California Chamber of Commerce was being taken in taxes. “I said this is outrageous!”

Meanwhile, David attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and in 1988 was inspired by Jesse Jackson – the first black man to make a serious run for president.

“There have been a lot of heated arguments,” David said. “We argued a lot over Bill Clinton and morality in public service. Craig has the nerve to question the morals and ethics of Democrats in general – because we support abortion and gay rights, we are somehow morally inferior to the Republicans.”

“We argue about everything,” Craig said. “He’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. I belong to Kappa Alpha Psi and he belongs to Phi Beta Sigma,” rival black fraternities.

Their mother, who disliked George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and loved Bill Clinton, “gave Craig a hard time until the day she died,” David said.

Inside the Pyramid Alehouse on Thursday, after the brothers fought over the last chicken wing, Craig declared his love for Sarah Palin.

“She’s got a reputation for taking on corruption and implementing fiscal conservatism. She took on the people who ran as Republicans and were spending like drunken liberals and booted them out.”

“Are you kidding me?” David responded. “That woman is clearly unqualified to serve as president.”

Craig contended: “Obama doesn’t say what change he’s about.”

David countered: “He’s definitely going to turn away from the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war and rely more on diplomacy, and he’s going to support working families rather than CEOs and big corporations.”

Jacques Whitfield, who worked with both brothers at the old Grant Joint Union High District where he served as general counsel from 1997 until earlier this year, says “they’re both very good at speaking up for their constituencies.”

Whitfield, now a management consultant, leans left, “but I respect Craig’s courage to stand up for what he believes in as an archconservative, even in this Democratic town where much of the agenda is progressive.”

Whitfield said Craig is a true believer and “interestingly enough, so is David. At the end of the day I love them both.”

This Brotha has escaped the plantation!

Thank God! Someone else gets it!

In 2004 Maxine Waters said Fannie & Freddie weren’t broken

As Democrats continue to try and hang the financial crisis around the neck of John McCain, their own words are coming back to haunt them.

Republicans are the ones who have pushed to reign in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while Democrats continually fight any regulation.

I am not saying the Republicans are completely free of blame. The fact is, they were in charge in 2001 when this issue first popped up, all the way until 2005. And no legislation was ever passed providing the sort of oversight they knew was needed.

But it is clear from this video and other media reports that Democrats have been the ones preventing the reforms that could have prevented this crisis. I just think it’s sad thata the MSM is letting them get away with such hypocracy.

Democrats fought McCain’s efforts to address pending finaincial crisis

The following was sent out by the California Republican Party. I figured that I woud pass it on to my readers, unfiltered.

Democrats Attack McCain Even Though They Blocked Reform Efforts He Sought To Help Fix The Financial Markets

Obama’s Congressional Allies Have Been Attacking Sen. John McCain For Engaging In Negotiations On Legislation To Stabilize Financial Markets:

“In Interviews After The Meeting, Obama Pointed A Finger At His Rival For The Faltering Talks…” (Michael D. Shear and Jonathan Weisman, “Debate Still In Limbo As Democrats Blame McCain For Interrupting Process,” The Washington Post, 9/26/08)

Obama Suggested The Negotiations Were Damaged By Presidential Politics. “Obama suggested the talks were damaged by politics. ‘When you start injecting presidential politics into delicate negotiations you can actually create more problems rather than less,’ Obama said on CNN.” (Alison Vekshin and James Rowley, “House Republicans Undercut Bush On Rescue, Slow Talks,” Bloomberg News, 9/26/08)

But McCain Has Led Efforts To Reform Financial Markets:

The Washington Post: “[W]hen It Comes To Regulating Financial Institutions And Corporate Misconduct, Mr. McCain’s Record Is More In Keeping With His Current Rhetoric.” (Editorial, “‘Always For Less Regulation?'” The Washington Post, 9/19/08)

John McCain Urged Action More Than Two Years Ago, Co-Sponsoring Legislation To Reform Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Warning: “If Congress Does Not Act, American Taxpayers Will Continue To Be Exposed To The Enormous Risk That Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Pose To The Housing Market, The Overall Financial System, And The Economy As A Whole.” McCain: “I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.” (Office Of U.S. Senator John McCain, “McCain Statement On Co-Sponsorship Of The Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act Of 2005,” Press Release, 5/26/06)

In 2002, McCain Called For Greater Oversight Of Financial Markets Following Accounting Scandals. “In the aftermath of the Enron collapse and other accounting scandals, he was a leader, with Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), in pushing to require that companies treat stock options granted to employees as expenses on their balance sheets. ‘I have long opposed unnecessary regulation of business activity, mindful that the heavy hand of government can discourage innovation,’ he wrote in a July 2002 op-ed in the New York Times. ‘But in the current climate only a restoration of the system of checks and balances that once protected the American investor — and that has seriously deteriorated over the past 10 years — can restore the confidence that makes financial markets work.'” (Editorial, “‘Always For Less Regulation?'” The Washington Post, 9/19/08)

McCain Led The Charge To Remove Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. “Mr. McCain was an early voice calling for the resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, charging that he ‘seems to prefer industry self-policing to necessary lawmaking. Government’s demands for corporate accountability are only credible if government executives are held accountable as well.'” (Editorial, “‘Always For Less Regulation?'” The Washington Post, 9/19/08)

And Obama Ally Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) Blocked Multiple Attempts At Reforming Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Spanning Back To 1992:

“[Frank’s] Record Is Close To Perfect As A Stalwart Opponent Of Reforming The Two Companies, Going Back More Than A Decade. The First Concerted Push To Rein In Fan And Fred In Congress Came As Far Back As 1992, And Mr. Frank Was Right There, Standing Athwart. But Things Really Picked Up This Decade, And Barney Was There At Every Turn.” (Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

“Two Years Later, Mr. Frank Was At It Again. ‘I Do Not Regard Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac As Problems,’ He Said In Response To Another Reform Push. And Then: ‘I Regard Them As Great Assets.'” (Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

“A Month Later, Freddie Mac’s Multibillion-Dollar Accounting Scandal Broke Into The Open. But Mr. Frank Was Sanguine. ‘I Do Not Think We Are Facing Any Kind Of A Crisis,’ He Said At The Time.” (Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

“Three Months Later He Repeated The Claim That Fannie And Freddie Posed No ‘Threat To The Treasury.’ Even Suggesting That Heresy, He Added, Could Become ‘A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.'” (Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

“In April 2004, Fannie Announced A Multibillion-Dollar Financial ‘Misstatement’ Of Its Own. Mr. Frank Was Back For The Defense. Fannie And Freddie Posed No Risk To Taxpayers, He Said, Adding That ‘I Think Wall Street Will Get Over It’ If The Two Collapsed.” (Editorial, “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/08)

Obama Ally Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) Led Efforts To Block Reform Of Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac, After Receiving A Sweetheart Deal On Loans For His Own Houses:

Obama Joined Sen. Dodd – Both Top Recipients Of Fannie And Freddie Contributions – In Opposing Reform Measures And Weakening Existing Regulations. “During this period, Sen. Richard Shelby led a small group of legislators favoring reform, including fellow Republican Sens. John Sununu, Chuck Hagel and Elizabeth Dole. Meanwhile, Dodd — who along with Democratic Sens. John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the top four recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions from 1988 to 2008 — actively opposed such measures and further weakened existing regulation.” (Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner, Op-Ed, “Where Was Sen. Dodd?” The Washington Post, 9/12/08)

Dodd Called On The Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac To Lift Portfolio Caps. “Both Schumer and Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, have called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator to lift the portfolio caps. They argue that allowing the two firms to buy more mortgages, at least temporarily, would inject much needed liquidity into the market and calm the financial markets.” (Michael R. Crittenden, “Schumer Will Seek To Lift Cap On Mortgage Portfolios Of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac,” Congressional Quarterly Today, 8/16/07)

In 2003, Dodd, Chairman Of The Senate Banking Committee, Received Preferential Loans From Countrywide Financial On His Two Homes Which Saved Him $75,000. “Senators Christopher Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut and chairman of the Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the Finance Committee, refinanced properties through Countrywide’s ‘V.I.P.’ program in 2003 and 2004, according to company documents and emails and a former employee familiar with the loans. … Senator Dodd received two loans in 2003 through Countrywide’s V.I.P. program. He borrowed $506,000 to refinance his Washington townhouse, and $275,042 to refinance a home in East Haddam, Connecticut. Countrywide wai ved three-eighths of a point, or about $2,000, on the first loan, and one-fourth of a point, about $700, on the second, according to internal documents. Both loans were for 30 years, with the first five years at a fixed rate. The interest rate on the loans, originally pegged at 4.875%, was reduced to 4.25% on the Washington home and 4.5% on the Connecticut property by the time the loans were funded. The lower rates save the senator about $58,000 on his Washington residence over the life of the loan, and $17,000 on the Connecticut home.” (Daniel Golden, “Countrywide’s Many ‘Friends,'” Portfolio, 6/12/08)

Obama Ally Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Has Been A “Leading Voice For [Financial] Deregulation,” Led Efforts To Block Reform Of Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac, And Was Instrumental In The Collapse Of Bank IndyMac:

Until The Current Financial Crisis, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “Had Been A Leading Voice For Deregulation,” Supporting Repeal Of Great-Depression Era Regulations, Re-Examining Corporate Oversight Laws, And Opposing Reducing Taxpayer Risks Associated With Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac. “Until the current credit crisis, Mr. Schumer had been a leading voice for deregulation: He ha s championed the repeal of a Great Depression-era law that prohibited commercial banks from underwriting securities; he has written an opinion piece calling for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to be ‘re-examined,’ and he has opposed a bill that sought to reduce taxpayer risk in the event of a housing market slowdown by requiring Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to sell their entire investment portfolios of about $1.5 trillion worth of mortgage assets.” (Joseph Goldstein, “Pro-Deregulation Schumer Scores Bush For Lack of Regulation,” The New York Sun, 9/22/08)

Schumer Called On The Regulator For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac To Lift Portfolio Caps. “Both Schumer and Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, have called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator to lift the portfolio caps. They argue that allowing the two firms to buy more mortgages, at least temporarily, would inject much needed liquidity into the market and calm the financial markets.” (Michael R. Crittenden, “Schumer Will Seek To Lift Cap On Mortgage Portfolios Of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac,” Congressional Quarterly Today, 8/16/07)

Gov’s idea for rainy day fund is all wet

Yesterday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger offered, what he calls a “Compromise Budget” that he says, “responsibly addresses California’s remaining $15.2 billion budget shortfall and reforms our broken budget system.” (Click Here to See his Press Conference)

The truth is that his current budget plan is not new, not a compromise, does not contain budget spending reform and does not address the current budget deficit.

The Budget Reform measures being offered by the governor include:

A Strong Rainy Day Fund

• Increases the size of California’s Budget Stabilization Account (BSA) from 5 percent of General Fund expenditures to 12.5 percent -or approximately $13 billion dollars today.

• Requires annual transfers to the BSA of 3 percent of General Fund and eliminates the ability to suspend those annual transfers. In years when the BSA is full (at 12.5%), the annual transfer is reduced to 1.5 percent. During economic downturns, when funds can be drawn out of the BSA, the transfer would not occur.

• In addition to the annual transfer of 3 percent of General Fund to the BSA, the compromise proposal requires that all current-year revenue above the amounts included in the Budget Act be transferred to the BSA, after first providing funding to education as required under Proposition 98. This would mean that any unexpected spike in revenues that occur during the fiscal year – normally recognized in the Governor’s May Revision – would be transferred to the BSA.

• Funds could only be transferred out from the BSA under the following conditions: 1) actual revenues during the Fiscal Year must be below a specified level: prior year spending adjusted by population growth and per capita personal income growth; 2) funds transferred from the BSA back into the General Fund must be appropriated in a stand-alone urgency bill, subject to a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature. The amount transferred out of the BSA during a fiscal year would be limited to the amount which would bring revenues up to prior year spending adjusted by population and per capita personal income growth.

• When the balance in the BSA reaches 12.5 percent, the excess would be available for one-time purposes only. One-time purposes would include: paying down debt, paying off outstanding General Obligation bonds, investing in infrastructure and capital outlay projects, paying for “settle-up” dollars owed to education, pre-paying health care liability for retired employees (OPEB), and tax relief.

Mid-Year Reduction Authority

• Authorizes the Director of Finance to do the following when s/he determines, mid-year, that revenues have fallen below specified levels:

• Reduce state operations budgets by up to 7 percent without modifying or suspending the law.

• Freeze Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), rate increases or increases in state participation in local costs, as designated in the Budget Act, for up to 120 days.

• Requires the governor to submit urgency legislation to permanently suspend COLAs and other rate increases. If the governor fails to act within the 120 days, or the Legislature fails to adopt the suspension, the COLAs and other rate increases are reinstated.

There are several problems with this proposal. First, there is noting in it that addresses the issue of overspending. All it requires is for the state to contribute 3% of whatever they spend to the reserve, thus increasing the amount that goes to the rainy day fund as spending increases. But it does not limit spending!

A firm spending cap would limit the argument for future tax increases as long as revenues are in line with spending. But under this proposal, Democrats will be free to increase spending as they wish as long as they offer tax increases to help cover the cost.

Secondly, what good is it to allow the governor to make mid-year reductions that will last only 120 days? That’s right! Unless the 2/3 of the legislature votes to make the reductions permanent, then spending goes back to normal levels.

Maybe I am mistaken. But I don’t think there are any Democrats who would vote to make such cuts permanent. And it is highly unlikely that Republicans will get a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature anytime soon. Thus, the offer of mid-year reductions as offered in this proposal is all smoke and mirrors.

It is regretful that the Governor has caved on the idea of a spending cap. I believe that legislative Republicans could legitimately consider supporting his proposal if it truly addressed the issue of out of control spending.

Rep. Richardson’s home declared a ‘public nuisance’.

Laura Richardson just can’t get get it together!

Today, the LA Times is reporting that Laura “Pimp my ride Richrson’s Sacramento home (you remember the one that was foreclosed on, sold, stolen back by the bank that sold it and given back to Richrson… that home) has been cited by Sacramento Code enforcement as a public nuisance.

First Rep. Laura Richardson was having problems making house payments, defaulting six times over eight years.

Then after a bank foreclosed on her Sacramento house and sold it at auction in May, the Long Beach Democrat made such a stink that Washington Mutual, in an unusual move, grabbed it back and returned it to her.This week, in the latest chapter in the housing saga, the Code Enforcement Department in Sacramento declared her home a “public
nuisance.”

The city has threatened to fine her as much as $5,000 a month if she doesn’t fix it up.Neighbors in the upper-middle-class neighborhood complain that the sprinklers are never turned on and the grass and plants are dead or dying. The gate is broken, and windows are covered with brown paper.

“I would call it an eyesore,” said Peter Thomsen, a retired bank executive who lives nearby.

The city action was prompted by police action.

Police were twice called to investigate reports of a suspicious person in or around the house, perhaps a homeless man squatting there. Officers called the Code enforcement Department, which boarded up a broken door.

Code enforcement inspectors visited the house twice in July, finding “junk and debris” in the driveway and “rotting fruit on the ground in the rear yard which creates rodent harborage,” according to department documents.

Ron O’Connor, operations manager of the Code Enforcement Department, said homes in the Curtis Park area seldom were tagged as a public nuisance.

“It’s a really nice neighborhood,” he said.

Asked about the house, Richardson’s office released a statement that said: “Neither Congresswoman Richardson nor her attorney have received any information referring to this matter. Any additional information will be provided at a later date.”

Richardson has few worries in the November election. The 37th District is so solidly Democratic that no Republican is running against her. Democrat Peter Mathews, who has sought the seat several times before, is mounting a write-in campaign.

Obama changes mind on the surge: It ain’t so bad!

Let the flip-floping continue! Below is an article fromt he New York Daily News noting that the Obama Campaign unceremoniously removed all criticizm of the the surge from their website.

I don’t know that this represents a change of opinion. But more a change of tactics. You know… If you don’t have anything nice to say about the surge, don’t say anything at all. (Hat Tip to the CRP)

“Barack Obama Purges Web Site Critique Of Surge In Iraq”
New York Daily News

“Barack Obama’s campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop ‘surge’ in Iraq, the Daily News has learned. The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a ‘problem’ that had barely reduced violence.”
— Daily News’ James Gordon Meek

By James Gordon Meek
July 14, 2008

Barack Obama’s campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a “problem” that had barely reduced violence.

“The surge is not working,” Obama’s old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks – not U.S. military muscle – for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama’s campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an “improved security situation” paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s’ “hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice.”

Campaign aide Wendy Morigi said Obama is “not softening his criticism of the surge. We regularly update the Web site to reflect changes in current events.”

GOP rival John McCain zinged Obama as a flip-flopper. “The major point here is that Sen. Obama refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong,” said McCain, adding that Obama “refuses to acknowledge that it [the surge] is succeeding.”

In case you missed it: Sacramento couple who let lawn die to save water face $746 fine

I don’t know what to say about this one.

But then again this is the same city that lost $1.3 million worth of water meters just prior to a vote to increase water rates. They did pospone the vote… I guess their arguement for the fee increass didn’t hold water… LOL!!!!!!!

Here is the article from the Sacramento Bee today:

Sacramento couple who let lawn die to save water face $746 fine

By Matt Weiser – mweiser@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If Sacramento wanted a poster couple for its “green city” aspirations, it would be hard to do better than Anne Hartridge and Matt George.

The husband and wife bought a home in east Sacramento for easy biking to work and shopping. They installed solar panels and efficient appliances. Their laundry dries on a clothesline.

They didn’t own a car until four years ago, when their eldest son, then 18 months old, was being treated frequently for food allergies. They bought a Prius.

So when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought June 4, Hartridge decided it was only right to let her front lawn die to save water.

“The whole water conservation ethic is very important to me,” said Hartridge, a state employee who bikes or rides the bus to work.

But that ethic didn’t agree with her neighbors, or with the city.

Before Hartridge could plan new landscaping, a neighbor complained to the city about her brown lawn, and the Code Enforcement Department slapped the family with a citation.

Their small brick home was declared a “public nuisance” in violation of city code section 17.68.010, which states that front yards “shall be irrigated, landscaped and maintained.”

A $746 fine will be next unless they correct the violation.

“In order to make the lawn go, I would have had to keep watering it intensely, and since the drought was declared, I decided that wasn’t a good idea,” said Hartridge. “Honestly, I think there’s a disconnect within the city about priorities.”

Two weeks ago, The Bee reported that Sacramento’s per capita water use is among the greatest in the world. Later that week, the same day Hartridge got the citation, an audit revealed that the city has lost or misplaced nearly 5,000 water meters, out of more than 100,000 it must install citywide to comply with state law.

“On one hand they’re mislaying their water meters, and on the other hand they going out and putting enforcement on people who don’t have green lawns,” Hartridge said. “And there’s water running down the gutters of my neighborhood every day.”

City laws forbid landscape irrigation on Mondays (code section 13.04.860), between noon and 6 p.m. (13.04.860), and to such an extent that water runs into gutters (13.04.850).

All these violations could be seen on Hartridge’s street this week – one street among thousands in Sacramento.

Neighbor Lois Guy, a retiree, thinks the situation is “crazy.”

“It’s private property, after all,” she said Tuesday while trimming hedges at her home around the corner from Hartridge’s. “They’re in the process of doing something (with the lawn). So they should be left alone while they’re trying to improve it.”

Dennis Kubo, city code enforcement manager, said his department does not communicate with the Utilities Department about drought concerns or water efficiency. His department only enforces health and safety and “general welfare” codes.

“The zoning ordinance tells us that the property owner’s got to have landscaping. So that’s what we have to do,” he said.

The city’s landscaping rule is intended to maintain neighborhood visual standards to prevent one neighbor’s tastes from harming another’s property values.

The rule was the subject of much conflict last year when amended to provide gardeners leeway to grow more than grass. Sacramentans can now grow large trees, shrubs and, yes, even food in their front yards without fear of reprisal.

But the rules still require front landscaping to be irrigated, which means scores of homeowners could be penalized for growing cacti or other drought-tolerant vegetation.

“The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing when it comes to the city,” said Karen Baumann, who triggered last year’s controversy after she was cited in 2005 for inadequate lawn cover after she removed grass to plant vegetables and flowers in her front yard.

Hartridge was already having trouble keeping her lawn green when nature turned up the heat this spring. She watered every other day and even tried reseeding. But it didn’t take.

For her it was a natural decision to stop watering the grass after the governor’s drought declaration. But she never got a chance to plan new landscaping before the lawn police arrived.

Last Thursday, the day after the citation came in the mail, she called Code Enforcement to find out how to correct the violation. She was told an e-mail with landscaping solutions would be forthcoming. It never arrived.

She also called her city councilman, Steve Cohn, who did not respond. Cohn also didn’t return a call from The Bee on Tuesday.

Last weekend she decided to cover what’s left of her small lawn with redwood mulch, which she spread around a few hydrangeas and azaleas that survive with occasional water.

Hartridge awaits reinspection by Code Enforcement. She does not know when that will happen or whether her yard will comply.

Probably not, Kubo said. Mulch is allowed only as one of the “design elements … integrated as part of the landscape,” according to code section 17.68.010(1)a(1)b.

“If it’s just one tree out there, maybe a couple of plants and then the whole front yard is loaded with bark,” he said, “then no, that’s not going to meet the criteria.”