Saturday, July 4, 2009

Alberto Torrico urges California Democrats to lead

"If we are not going to take care of the most vulnerable among us, then I see no reason for us to be here in Sacramento."
--Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico

Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico urged California Democrats, a majority in both houses of the state legislature, to discard Arnold Schwarzenegger’s immoral, inhumane budget and present him with their own—so as to negotiate from strength, rather than simply defending this or that program from cuts. Thus far, the State Democrats have failed to follow his lead.

The Schwarzenegger budget is a hugely aggressive attempt to further advance the neoconservative agenda:

1) Shred the social safety net.
2) Privatize anything and everything.
3) Slash personal and corporate income tax.
4) Use state revenues to fund privatization, via “public private” partnerships.
5) Deconstruct environmental and business regulation by defunding enforcement.

That’s a very clear vision, as it has been for a long time. Will State Democrats ever articulate and argue for an equally clear vision, so as to mount more than a feeble defense against such vicious, aggressive neoconservativism? And, against neoliberalism, i.e., neoconservatism with a smiley, civil libertarian, sex tolerant face?

With Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party, on the national level, became the Neoliberal party, virtually indistinguishable from the Republicans, and, at times, on the national level, became even more vicious, as evidenced by the recent overwhelming Democratic vote to fund another $106 billion to fight the global War on Terror, an ideological excuse for unbridled military expansion and corporate plunder of the people and the planet for profit. And, $100 billion to fund the International Monetary Fund, which strangles the Global South in debt for projects more often harmful, and exploitative, of the people who live there, than not.

However, on the state level, the Democratic Party continues to stand, albeit timidly, or, perhaps, halfheartedly, against the Republicans, for community, and commitment to taking care of one another, in opposition to the privatization of everything existing. An oil and gas severance tax, at the wellhead, for oil that belongs to the people of the State of California, is part of the California Democratic Party platform, but Republicans adamantly oppose even a 9.9% tax, despite higher taxes in both Texas and California, the two oil-producing states ahead of California in barrels of crude pumped out of the ground.

Schwarzenegger's cuts will cost billions more in federal funds

Schwarzenegger’s cuts at the state level will cost California more billions in federal funds,
largely funds for human services, than the state cuts themselves. What could make the governor's real agenda more apparent?

If it advances yet further in California, it’s likely to spread, though California is not the first state to have a supermajority rule, Proposition 13, which requires that the entire California State budget be approved by a 2/3 majority, meaning, effectively, by the minority. California Democrats are now four votes shy of a 2/3 majority in the State Assembly; two votes shy in the State Senate.

supermajority (minority) rule is a national movement, which the Heritage Foundation, a think tank to enrich the rich, has been promoting it since at least 1996,

To protest the California budget, call Arnold Schwarzenegger's office, 916-445-2841.
Protest locally, protest in Sacramento.
Create media; call media; protest any media failing to accurately characterize Arnold Schwarzenegger's agenda.

-Steve Rhodes
17 Arrests at San Francisco protest of Arnold Schwarzenegger's California State Budget; June 24, 2009.

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