Friday, March 26, 2010

How to "Bee" a Victim


The Fresno Bee seems to have joined forces with the Socialist Worker, an online propaganda tool of extreme leftists, in defense of the very people who are taking our jobs away. Together, they want you to believe that Democrats are the victims of partisanship, not the party responsible for it.

Now that the President’s big government health bill has become law, Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to divert the public’s attention away from themselves. Democrats don’t want to discuss what they did to the American healthcare system or how much it will really cost our country. Instead, they hope to transform themselves into victims with a well coordinated smear campaign against Tea Party protestors, myself and others.

With the help of newspapers like the Fresno Bee valley Democrats are trying to hide from their record. They are relying on textbook leftist maneuvers; demagogue the issue, smear opponents and cry victim. One of our region’s lawmakers went so far as to label protestors “terrorists in training.”

This arrogance has caused an outpouring of anger—an anger shared by the vast majority of San Joaquin Valley residents. These are the real victims; the farmers, farm workers, business owners and residents of the San Joaquin. They have had their livelihood stolen from them by irresponsible government policies and are receiving no help from this Congress. My own efforts, which have included specific legislative proposals and amendments to legislation, have all been blocked without debate.

Since 2006, the Speaker and her allies have gutted the Peoples’ House of many of the most important principles associated with our Democratic Republic. For the first time in history, and with the Rules Committee leading the charge, the House of Representatives is being operated under Martial Law on a continual basis—limited debate and no amendments under an open rule.

The Fresno Bee has ignored these facts despite having a reporter based in Washington and a valley lawmaker serving on the Rules Committee. Instead, I have been criticized for my strong language during debate. While it is true that I could use less strong rhetoric to impress the editors of left leaning newspapers, doing so would fail to convey the significance of what the Democrats have done and are doing to our great nation.

You can view recent statements on my blog (click here). I have also posted new videos on YouTube (click here).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Washington has changed, not me

From the March 24 Edition of The Fresno Bee:

Since the Democrats gained their majorities in Congress in November 2006, the atmosphere in Washington has changed; not me. This change was not just in leadership but in tactics.

Fresno Bee columnist Bill McEwen wrote Tuesday that I have become cartoon-like in my rhetoric; a caricature of my real self. However, to reach this conclusion one must first ignore the record of the Democratic-controlled House under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Consider, for example, the widely reported comments of Rep. Alcee Hastings, Speaker Pelosi's Rules Committee point man for "legislative process."

During a March 21 hearing, Congressman Hastings said, "There ain't no rules around here, we're trying to accomplish something. And therefore, when the deal goes down, all of this talk about rules -- we make them up as we go along."

You might be surprised to learn that Rep. Hastings is a former federal judge. Former -- not retired -- because he was impeached by a Democratic-controlled Congress in 1989 for bribery and perjury. It is oddly appropriate that he would serve on the Rules Committee. Even worse, these remarks occurred during the historic health-care debate, and preceded passage of a law that enabled the government to take control of one-sixth of our economy.

In my experience, there are few words that describe Speaker Pelosi's tactics better than "totalitarian." Indeed, the word conveys both the personal nature of her leadership, as well as the greater implications of a political philosophy operating on the basis of "the ends justify the means."

I use "totalitarian" because it describes what is happening in the Peoples' House. The word means: "Of or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion."

To be sure, the tone of public debate has grown increasingly shrill. However, to simply characterize my rhetoric as "cartoon-like" misses the very real horror inflicted on the American people by one-party rule under the Democrats. That horror has manifested itself in the transformation of the Peoples' House into an institution used solely for the benefit of the political left.

For the first time in the history of our republic, the House has not permitted debate under an "open rule" on any legislation. Closed rules have permitted Democratic leaders to hide their agenda from the American people. It has also made the resolution of serious challenges confronting the American people, such as the California water crisis, virtually impossible. For example, I have repeatedly been blocked from offering legislation or amendments that would resolve the water crisis facing the San Joaquin Valley.

At the same time, these oppressive rules have been used to pass highly controversial and far-reaching public laws that would have otherwise not passed -- or at least, not in the form in which they were enacted. The only bipartisan vote that occurred was in opposition to the health-care bill. This clearly demonstrates that the legislation would have looked different if the House were permitted to reflect the will of the people.

It is a travesty that the House -- a body our Founders' intended to be responsive to the will of the people -- is no longer an institution of debate. It is not a place for the free-flowing exchange of ideas.

I have witnessed the worst character of government and have fought to implement reforms in the face of opposition from both Republican and Democratic leaders. I have authored earmark reform legislation, sought the establishment of a fair redistricting process to end the practice of politicians picking their voters, and have exposed both Republican and Democratic leaders who have violated the public faith.

Thousands of people in the Valley have lost their jobs because of the misguided and dangerous views of leftists. With regional unemployment near 20%, Fresno Bee columnists and editorial writers should begin listening to the victims of oppressive government policies because no amount of federal spending will create jobs taken from our region by the government.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Laying the Cornerstone of a Socialist Utopia


Yesterday, the House passed Speaker Pelosi’s vision of healthcare in America. Here is why I voted “no” and why the American people should re-examine the Democratic leadership of our nation.

First, I do not accept the premise that it is necessary to upend the health coverage currently available to all Americans for the sake of covering those who are uninsured. Expanding access to insurance is far less complex and far less costly than Democrats would have you believe. It does not involve a government takeover of 1/6th of the American economy. It involves insurance market reform but it also and more significantly involves providing choice and competition. The bill I support, the Patients’ Choice Act, provides the framework for such an effort. However, my views were not considered nor were the views of other lawmakers who sought to improve the system we have today. That’s because Nancy Pelosi and her liberal associates intend to destroy private healthcare with the ultimate goal of a Washington centered government healthcare monopoly.

Even before this monopoly takes its final form, the Democratic bill will speed our nation into financial crisis. Simply put, we can’t afford a new government healthcare program—a fact acknowledged by the President and Congressional Democrats. This is why they claim their reforms cost nothing; that it will actually reduce the debt. In truth, the bill conservatively spends a trillion dollars and the final toll on our budget will be many times greater than the initial cost. In their urgency to enact their plan, Democratic leaders papered over the financial problems we face with new government agencies and creative accounting gimmicks. Ultimately, the mechanisms created by this new law will force federal bureaucrats to ration benefits to control spending—a practice that is already common in government programs such as Medicaid.

Unchecked federal spending and the new entitlement just created should concern every American. Our nation’s long-term financial outlook is worse than at any point in American history. Spending by the federal government outpaced revenues by $1.4 trillion last year and the red ink continues as far forward as we can see. In the real world, this financial condition would result in bankruptcy. Washington, however, can print money and borrow from foreign governments as long as those foreign powers are willing to keep us afloat. Any bets on when the Chinese will cut up the U.S.A. credit card?

The logic behind Speaker Pelosi’s health bill math defies common sense. Indeed, anyone claiming to make things cheaper by having the government provide it would do well to delegate financial decisions to someone else. A quick glance at the Treasury Secretary’s annual financial statement is all the proof we need. The United States is in a financial freefall and a new government healthcare entitlement will only make things worse. Existing entitlement programs like Medicare have unfunded liabilities amounting to $43 trillion—a figure that grows by nearly $2 trillion per year.

If all of these facts were not enough, the Democrats enacted their new law as a result of bribery. The American people have heard about many of the deals made prior to the vote. The Cornhusker Kickback, Florida Gatorade, and Louisiana Purchase are but a few examples. It is a national disgrace that our Congress has become an institution dependent on extortion to enact major legislation. And while the process is not easily discussed or understood, we cannot ignore the historic level of oppression implemented by Speaker Pelosi’s Rules Committee in her effort to gain passage of the bill. As much as the content of the bill itself, the manner in which it passed Congress provides clear evidence that the bill was about government power not the health of America.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome in the San Joaquin Valley?


Yesterday, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its preliminary report evaluating the science used to justify pumping restrictions on the Delta.

The study, originally requested by Senator Dianne Feinstein and valley Democrats, was sold as proof that Congress cares about San Joaquin Valley communities. At the time it was originally announced, agriculture lobbyists and water managers hailed the study as progress. So too did radicals in the environmental movement.

Indeed, a release dated October 16, 2009 by the Environmental Defense Fund stated, “We applaud the Obama Administration for its commitment to scientifically rigorous and balanced approach.” And why shouldn’t the environmentalists support such a study? As I will now explain, turning our fate over to science represents a dangerous concession.

Farmers and water users should never have accepted the NAS study as evidence of help by Congress or the Administration. Simply put, it was not help. If anything, it was a delaying tactic that has resulted in more pain for our region, not less. Waiting on the NAS for Congress to act has meant another year and billions of gallons of lost water.

The danger associated with the NAS study is more than the delay in action it is used to justify. The very idea of conducting a study concedes that two inch smelt are rightfully preserved at the expense of San Joaquin Valley communities. I and others reject this premise and the backwards ideology that defends it.

The representatives of California’s agriculture and water interests who applauded the commissioning of an NAS study appear to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome. They don’t understand that they have made a concession that will ultimately lead to their own destruction.

I have come to think of these groups as hostages. Though well intended, they have lost perspective due to their captivity. They have even begun to see their jailors as advocates. The first major concession came in 1992 with the Miller-Bradley bill, which diverted a million acre feet of water away from San Joaquin Valley communities. At the time, residents were promised that this enormous water diversion would be the last and that future water deliveries would be secure.

Of course, history demonstrates otherwise. Lawsuits, legislation and regulation have continued to attack San Joaquin Valley water supplies. In 2009, Democrats enacted the San Joaquin River settlement. This bill passed with the support of most of the hostages, Friant water districts, based on the commitment of Democratic Congressional leaders that water used to restore the river would be recirculated. It didn’t take long to uncover the truth. Water will not be recirculated. In fact, as much as 250,000 acre feet of water will be lost on an annual basis. Worse, the legislation sets up farmers on the east side of the valley for lawsuits and future water losses.

Let me be clear. Those hailing the NAS study make a dangerous concession. Congress, not God, created the Endangered Species Act. Americans can never accept the premise that the government’s responsibility to wildlife supersedes its responsibility to the people. This bizarre view is what has helped to transform the Endangered Species Act from a law seeking to ensure the conservation and responsible management of our resources to one that commands the unnatural preservation of nature.

Recent history shows us that the radicals in the environmental movement are fighting a war of attrition. They have patiently fought to remake California in their own image—a green utopia where communal gardens feed villages, windmills power homes, and commutes take place on bike trails and sidewalks. At the core of this neo-Marxist ideology is anti-capitalism and a loathing of the individual freedoms that have made America great.

To achieve their warped view of a sustainable society, radical environmentalists have been attacking rural California for years. In the 1990’s, they devastated the state’s timber industry. A total of 84 wood products mills and factories were closed. The diversion of water from rural communities and farms, as previewed by the destruction of the Klamath Basin in 2001, represents the tipping point. Without water, the culture and communities we built in the San Joaquin Valley will wither and die.

If we are going to save the San Joaquin Valley from those who want to restore it to a natural state—one that is characterized by dry land and tumbleweeds—we will have to begin to force our representatives to fight. Not just our elected representatives in Congress, but the many advocates who claim to serve the interests of rural communities, farmers and water users in our region. Stockholm syndrome is real. And if we don’t wake up and begin to fight, we will lose more than our water.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Unnatural Greenies: The Two Faces of Radical Environmentalism


The Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and others tell us that the reason the San Joaquin Valley needs to be transformed into a desert is because the Delta pumps are destroying the salmon population and the water is desperately needed to save the Delta ecosystem.

To this end, environmental radicals, operating in the name of Gaia, Mother Earth, the wiccan religion and a host of other cult-like organizations, have litigated, legislated and extorted away the water needed for San Joaquin Valley communities.

Yet despite their ability to command the agenda of our government through powerful alliances in Congress, none of the endangered fish have shown signs of recovery. Actually, more species are in danger today than when the water diversions started, according to the EPA.

So what do you do if you are a green radical whose agenda is losing credibility? Apparently you start attacking sea lions. Within the last few days, we have again witnessed the ludicrous nature of the extreme environmental movement.

On March 8, wildlife officials off the coast of Oregon were dropping explosives into the water and shooting sea lions because they were eating too much salmon. Read the article here.

A few days later, marine mammal experts were struggling to save starving sea lion pups washing up on beaches. We are told that the pups, which are suffering from extreme malnutrition, are being saved because they are the victims of a warming ocean (global warming no doubt). Read the article here.

Was it really El Nino that orphaned and starved sea lion pups near Los Angeles? Or could the pups have lost their parents to crazed wildlife officials armed with clubs, explosives and shot guns?

Perhaps Congress should form an investigative committee. At the very least, during this time of economic crisis, we should know why money is being spent to kill sea lions in Oregon while rescuing their pups in California.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sea lions killed for eating too many salmon


PORTLAND, Ore. — Wildlife officials have tried everything to keep sea lions from eating endangered salmon, dropping bombs that explode under water and firing rubber bullets and bean bags from shotguns and boats. Now they are resorting to issuing death sentences to the most chronic offenders.

A California sea lion last week became the first salmon predator to be euthanized this year under a program that has been denounced by those who say there are far greater dangers to salmon — including the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia.

This is the second year of the program, which is administered by wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last year, 11 sea lions were euthanized. Another four were transferred to zoos or aquariums.
The sea lions represent a massive headache each year as chinook salmon begin arriving at the Bonneville Dam east of Portland, congregating in large numbers as they return from the ocean. Sea lions have become keenly aware that the dam is a great spot to feast on salmon, easy pickings as they wait to go up the dam's fish ladders.

"They learn. They come up here and know it's a good place to eat, and sooner or later the salmon are going to arrive," said Robert Stansell, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Officials are tracking 63 additional sea lions listed as repeat offenders. They are identified by scars or by numbers that were branded on them by researchers.

"To get on that list, we have to have observed them as distinct individuals," said Jessica Sall, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "They are not responding to hazing, and they're eating chinook salmon."

Sea lions have gobbled salmon forever. But their numbers have soared in recent years, as has the number of those cruising upriver to dine on salmon at Bonneville Dam. Frustrations peaked, especially among fishermen who have watched sea lions snatch salmon right out of their gill nets.

The Bonneville crowd of hefty mammals — they can reach more than 600 pounds and eight feet in length — have become the enemy of commercial and sport fisherman, who are allowed to catch and keep hatchery-raised fish, and a concern for conservationists trying to restore migratory runs, since sea lions don't distinguish between hatchery and wild fish.

At least three of the upper Columbia River spring salmon runs that pass through the dam are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, most significantly the spring chinook salmon run.
The sea lions' growing numbers forced state, federal and tribal agencies to intensify efforts to protect the region's multibillion-dollar salmon recovery program.

The sea lions are protected by a 1972 federal law, but an amendment leaves open the possibility that some can be captured or killed if the states request it. Oregon and Washington did in 2006 with the support of Indian tribes and sport and commercial fishing groups.

Two years ago, the National Marine Fisheries Service authorized Oregon and Washington officials to first attempt to catch the sea lions that arrive at the base of Bonneville Dam and hold them 48 hours to see whether an aquarium, zoo or similar facility will take them.

Otherwise, they could be euthanized, along with those that avoid trapping. Only California sea lions can be destroyed. Stellar sea lions cannot be killed because they are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Supporters say the program works. The numbers of sea lions at the dam have dropped, although the 4,489 salmon they ate last year was the highest since tracking began in 2002.

Critics, led by the Humane Society of the United States, say that a far greater danger to salmon are hydroelectric dams on the Columbia, which are an obstacle to salmon both as they head out to sea and when they return from the ocean to spawn.

The Humane Society also says fishermen catch three times as many salmon as sea lions eat.
The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission this year has begun tracking the sea lions' movements with acoustic transmitters and cameras placed along the river. Instead of just reacting to the sea lions, the data might help authorities plan a more successful campaign, a fisheries scientist says.

"All of the counts that you hear, all of the impact on salmon, is based on what they can see from the dam," said Doug Hatch, of the inter-tribal commission. "That doesn't account for the whole 150 river miles below the dam."

The frustration comes as experts predict the largest spring chinook run since 1938. Thanks to good ocean conditions for young salmon, an expected 470,000 fish will head up the Columbia River, compared to 169,300 in 2009.

The primary weapon against the sea lions still remains hazing, but even that has limitations.

"The problem is, as soon as the boats go around the corner, they're right back," Stansell said. "Some of the animals that have been there a long time don't even move when they get hit in the back with a rubber bullet. They just keep eating their fish."