Progressives vs. Conservatives: The USA in the Balance
Report by Betty Sakai
Conservative Larry Greenfield, a Fellow in American Studies at the world famous Claremont Institute, provided his Forum audience with a vast amount of information on both state and national issues. He dedicated his talk to those present who had served in the U. S. military. Of great importance he said to Republicans living in California -- and grossly under-reported in newspapers and on TV news -- is the fact that California is suffering from a number of major crises. The question he mused is whether California is a drama or a tragedy. To lighten things up, Larry quoted Will Rogers who once said, “When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the IQ of both states.”
Larry Greenfield was raised in Los Angeles, CA. He earned a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. His background is in business, law, the military, politics, and in policy. He served in the Naval Intelligence Reserves. He has served as policy advisor to candidates and elected officials and was the founding Executive Director of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. A long-time Republican activist, in 2012 he was named National Executive Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington, D.C. In 2013 Larry returned to California to manage the Los Angeles Office of Arete Wealth Management.
Focusing on California, Larry pointed out that California was once the 6th strongest economy in the world. In the 19th Century, California became a top-ten global economy, a leader in agriculture, biotechnology, defense, entertainment, soft manufacturing, information technology, and tourism. Entrepreneurs brought their passions to California. Republicans elected officials that led our nation with conservative first principles. Enterprises thrived like Disneyland, world-class wineries, venture capital firms, and the fruit and salad bowl of the world, the Central Valley region. Ronald Reagan became California’s 33rd Governor and thereafter became the successful two-term 40th President of the United States. Voters passed Proposition 13 to limit property taxes, protecting homeowners from the voracious appetites and confiscatory taxation ambitions of local and state governments. Today things have changed. Californians have permitted big government statism to emerge with its corrupt politics and failed statesmanship.
Voter registration in California today has the GOP at less than 25%, in 3rd place behind Democrats and Independents. Because California has a “top two” voting system, GOP candidates don’t even appear on the general election ballot for U.S. Senator or Governor. The last time a Republican won a U.S. Senate seat in California was in 1988 (Pete Wilson). All current statewide elected constitutional officers are Democrats. The state legislature in Sacramento is 2/3 Democrat – a super majority. As a result of Governor Jerry Brown being in office 4 terms, millions have fled the state due to cap and trade (carbon) taxes, high sales and property taxes, high gas taxes, auto taxes, corporate taxes, state income taxes, capital gains taxes, punishing permit and licensure fees, regulatory burdens and fines crushing hardworking taxpayers and small business people.
In education, California ranks near the bottom year after year in 4th and 8th grade math and reading scores and in high school literacy and graduation rates. Crime is increasing throughout the state due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of California’s state prison system and Governor Brown’s and voters’ approval of the early release of criminals. Combine this with sanctuary cities violating federal immigration laws and California is much more of a dangerous place to live.
California pays out billions every year to public employees, for union-secured salaries and benefits and obscenely high pensions, while failing to build dams and have funds available to repair roads and prisons, and fund education and children’s health programs. California creates man-made drought due to environmental extremism. The inland areas suffer from high unemployment and poverty, including the rural “north state” where regulatory assaults on local mining, timber, fishing, agriculture, and water rights have resulted in social maladies such as spousal and child abuse. Leading the nation in welfare, California is responsible for 1/3 of the nation’s welfare cases. So pervasive is the indoctrination of youth in California that Democrat union teachers have organized students as young as 16 to register to vote. “The fix is in”, cautioned Larry Greenfield.
Sacramento Democrats now want to put people in jail if they use the wrong term around transgender people. The state bans publicly funded travel to eight U.S. states based upon their policies towards social issues: Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The U.S. Congressional Delegation from California now numbers just 14 Republicans out of 53 representatives: LaMalfa, McClintock, Cook, Denham, Valadao, Nunes, McCarthy, Knight, Royce, Calvert, Rohrabacher, Issa, Hunter, and Walters. These 14 Republicans are about to face the challenge of remaining resolute standing with hardworking taxpayers in California to save them from the swamp in Washington, D.C.
On the issue of taxation, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Trump Administration are working on the long process of tax-cuts, tax reform, and tax simplification. Many agree with cutting the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% to encourage American companies with trillions of dollars trapped overseas to repatriate their profits. Unfortunately, instead of cutting record levels of federal spending, Congress wants to off-set federal revenue reductions with taking more money from the middle class to pay for corporate tax relief.
Establishment tax writers are looking for more revenue instead of following the Constitution to find ways to reduce federal spending. The Tax Policy Center estimates that by eliminating the deduction from federal taxes (that has existed since 1913 when income tax first came into existence) of state and local taxes paid (which reduces the adjusted gross income per taxpayer by about 8%), that over a ten year period Washington, D.C. would collect another $1.3 trillion. The non-partisan Tax Foundation estimated that from California that amount would be over $100 billion, and from New York $68 billion. As more money flows from California taxpayers to Washington, D.C., the argument that the deductibility of state and local taxes is a subsidy to blue state taxpayers is wrong. It is astonishing that national GOP leaders are proposing to cut taxes on Google that fires workers who express a politically incorrect point of view while considering hugely increasing taxes on families who have been voting GOP for decades. California Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has not commented on this. Greenfield predicts that if Californians are taxed more by eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes, this will destroy the American dream for hardworking taxpayers in California and spark the exodus of more GOP voters from the state (to the gleeful cheers of Democrats) to states that do not assess state income taxes.
Larry then took a few minutes to catalogue conservative principles. (1) Constitutionalism is no longer assured. The head of the Con Law Department at the Georgetown Law Center where he studied actually suggested that America move away from the primacy of the U.S. Constitution. (2) Economic Liberty and Property Rights is assured under a system of equality of opportunity and is rooted in Biblical Principles. The individual is made in the image of God. Economically, since 1790 the average GDP in the USA has been around 4% per year. A 4% GDP adds about $30 trillion to the U.S. economy. During Obama’s 8 years, the GDP was just 1.5% per year – the worst 8 year period in American history. (3) Freedom of Conscience, Religion, and Speech is increasingly opposed by campus political correctness, indoctrination, and intimidation. One should not get beaten up or fired from their job in this country for being a conservative. (4) Defense of Freedom highlights the deplorable record of Democrats getting it wrong. Democrat Obama saw himself as a citizen of the world and set up an American retreat from leadership in a dangerous world. Obama’s multiple assaults on Israel are well documented. In 2016 Democrats blamed Republicans for colluding with the Russians but not one American asserted that his or her vote was altered or influenced by Russian hacking. During the 1980s Cold War, Democrat Ted Kennedy refuted Reagan’s labeling of Russia as the “evil empire” by offering aid and comfort to former KGB Director and General Secretary Andropov who had been the principal mover in crushing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and suppressing the 1968 Prague Spring. More recently, Democrat Secretary of State Hillary Clinton authored America’s Libya policy which overthrew erstwhile U.S. ally Muammar Gaddafi and turned Libya into a breeding ground for Islamic terror. Under Democrat Secretary of State John Kerry, the Mullahs in Iran were empowered with huge sums of untraceable cash that produced a death knell for dissidents, reformers, and human rights activists in Iran. And (5) Accountable Government and the Public Trust. 2016 was the year of the revolt against the elites, failed government, insider corruption, and government gone wild. The political class has failed the people. They are not acting like public servants but like pigs at the trough. They are bankrupting our future, failing to organize reasonable entitlement reform, planting the seeds of a debt crisis that will change the standard of living for everyone.
Greenfield said he recognizes that there is honest diversity within the Conservative Movement, in the America-first growth agenda, libertarian versus traditional values, and in limited military engagements versus nation building. He added that hopefully Americans can agree across partisan lines to counter jihad and tell the truth about Islamism.
Larry then discussed Islam in detail -- political jihad, stealth jihad, and cultural jihad. He asserted that Arab men are psychologically immature and resist the equal rights of women. No land ever conquered by Islam can remain outside the Caliphate. Obama claimed that the Islamic State is not Islamic, that Islam is a religion of peace. But one only needs to read the Koran and the Hadith to understand that Islam does not invite reform or moderation.
Since 9-11 there have been 30,000 attacks funded and inspired by Shiite and Sunni gangsters who hate the West preaching in madrassas and in mosques around the world. There is a war on women being fought by Islamists. Their campaign is sex slavery [Boko Haram and Yazidi girls taken as sex slaves], barbarism, terrorism, intimidation, a policy of lying and deceit and temporary ceasefires, saying one thing in Arabic and another in English to appease the appeasers who claim workplace violence and lone wolf actors. During the founding years of the American Republic, Adams and Jefferson built the U.S. Navy to address the scourge of Islamic Barbary Pirates. John Q. Adams was quite clear-minded about Islamism. Winston Churchill rallied against Mohammedanism as he called it. Today, with better rules of engagement to fight against ISIS, there is a better chance America can avoid a prolonged war with an enemy that loves bloodshed.
In North Korea, a long line of dictators began with “Chubby Dictator” Kim Il-Sung in 1948 who was installed by Joseph Stalin. Korean children are indoctrinated to believe the dictator controls everything despite devastating famines and systemic poverty. Kim Il-Sung was followed by his son “Chubby Dictator” Kim Jong-Il who ordered the countries first underground nuclear test in 2006 in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Kim Jong-Il was followed in 2011 by his son “Chubby Dictator” Kim Jung-Un who in 2013 executed his uncle, and in 2017 is suspected to have ordered the murder of his brother in Malaysia. Kim Jung-Un received a degree in physics from Kim Il-Sung Military University. Pyongyang in the northeast region launches missiles throughout the region and can reach the U.S. with nuclear weapons. The bottom line, sighed Larry Greenfield, is that Kim Jung-Un has a legacy of evil on his shoulders, a desire to remain in power to avoid prosecution, and he will not back down to the West. He cannot be negotiated with to an honorable conclusion. The decision is China’s. China can either see this region in flames with millions flooding into their country or stand Kim down with grace or force.
In America the people are fighting the enemy within. The Civil War is here declared by the Progressive Left against the American way. The Left is assaulting our Constitutional principles, our military preparedness, our cultural values, our economic liberty, our cops, our campus spirit of civility, and our freedom of speech. Leftist hypocrites decry visiting the sins of the parents on illegal immigrant children but tear down the statues of America’s historical figures of 150 or 250 years ago. “The Left is playing for keeps,” exclaimed Greenfield, adding, “Thank you Silicon Valley Conservatives for fighting back!”
In the Q & A session that followed. Larry Greenfield was asked a number of questions and laughed about baseball and politics. Babe Ruth he said was once asked why his salary was higher than the President’s. Babe Ruth answered, “I’m having a better year.” The settlers of Colonial America believed they were re-enacting the Exodus from Egypt. Thomas Payne, the revolutionary, stated that like Genesis we were beginning the world all over again. The author of the Bill of Rights, James Madison, studied Hebrew and the Scriptures at Princeton. President Washington wrote to the Jews in Newport and Savannah declaring “Your God is our God.”
Asked why Jews are so liberal, Larry answered that the Jews believe in identifying with people who are not like them and caring about others. The Forum thanked Larry Greenfield with long applause. He had presented a volume of information much appreciated by Conservatives.
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