The Northern Californian Resistance Begins With Tuesday’s Primary Election

There are so many candidates for the June 5 primary, it requires two ballots. Photo by R.V. Scheide

“We have a crucial opportunity to promote our God-given rights in the upcoming primary elections. …
Because voter turnout in the primary elections tends to be very low, people of faith can have even more influence than in the November elections just by taking a few minutes to vote for those who best represent their values.”

So begins the email I received May 29 from Brad Dacus, esq., founder and president of the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, who during the past 20 years or so has made something of a career out of defending the legal rights of Christians to discriminate against the LGBT community based on their religious beliefs.

You may have never heard of Pacific Justice Institute, but the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it “an anti-LGBT hate group” that has “compared legalized gay marriage to Hitler and the Nazis’ ascent in Germany; endorsed so-called ‘reparative’ or sexual orientation conversion therapy; claimed marriage equality would lead to legal polygamy and incest; fought against protections for trans children and fabricated a story of harassment by a trans student; and said that LGBT History Month promotes gay pornography to children.”

All of the above allegations are true, as the SPLC documents. The comparison of legalized gay marriage to the Nazis is particularly loathsome, considering homosexuals were among the first minorities to be persecuted when Hitler took power in 1933. But views that many of us might find repugnant are taken as articles of faith by the so-called “value voters” Dacus is addressing in his email, which also instructs pastors on how to discuss moral issues from the pulpit without threatening their church’s tax-exempt status.

Dacus wields some degree of influence with the state’s conservative evangelical Christians. PJI, along with a handful of churches that includes Bethel, is currently lobbying to kill three bills in the state legislature that would further restrict the discredited practice of conversion therapy. To justify stripping protected status from one of the nation’s smallest and most-bullied minority groups, they cast themselves as victims in the War On Christianity.

In fact, they are part of a vast political apparatus built over the span of four decades that includes Fox News, think-tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, legal organizations like PJI and religious schools such as Liberty University. This machine reaches out and touches all the people in all the pews in all the evangelical churches across the land, an aging demographic that, for the most part, can be counted on electorally as long as any given candidate regurgitates the sacred beliefs on God, guns, gays and abortion.

Thus, President Donald Trump, who since his inauguration 16 months ago has continually attacked both LGBT rights and reproductive rights for women, including contraception, has become the  anointed king of the evangelicals. Trump’s numerous transgressions, past and present, have been forgiven or overlooked.

Similarly, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents California’s 1st Congressional District and appears to have gone full-blown evangelical since Trump assumed the presidency, can count on support from rural northern California’s large block of conservative religious voters, no matter how ineffective he’s been as a legislator in his previous two terms.

Dacus’s email should be read as a wake-up call to anyone hoping the Blue Wave promised by Democrats will somehow surge into the north state come November. No less than four Democrats are contesting LaMalfa’s seat in the June 5 primary election next Tuesday, and so far, no clear front-runner has emerged. LaMalfa appears to be a shoe-in for victory, but who he’ll compete against in November, who will finish second in the jungle primary system, is a mystery.

Dacus is right about at least one thing: Traditionally, voter turnout in midterm primary elections is abysmal compared to the turnout in general elections when the presidency is up for grabs. In my eastern Shasta County voting district, Millville 1/2/3, 1013 out of 1187 registered voters, 85.3 percent, voted in the 2016 presidential election. In the 2014 midterm June primary, only 365 out of 1178 registered voters, a measly 31.7 percent, bothered to vote.

Similar disparities are seen across the county, the state and the nation. The religious right, with its network of media, think-tanks, legal organizations and churches stocked with “values voters,” is prepared to exploit low voter turnout for its own political gain. But what about the opposition? Political pundits are increasingly comparing Trump’s strange bond with the evangelicals to the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Will that be enough to bring people to the polls?

Come Tuesday, we’ll hopefully have some answers.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, one of many of LaMalfa’s right-wing religious connections. Courtesy of LaMalfa’s Facebook page.

LaMalfa and the Race For Second in the First District

I had hoped to offer more comprehensive coverage of the June 5 primary, including the race for the 1st District, but I crashed my motorcycle on May 8 and put myself temporarily out of commission. For those of you who read about that escapade, I’ve changed the ending of the story. Progressive Insurance made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I’m using the claim to buy a new car, not a new motorcycle.

That’s right. I’ve set aside a childish thing, namely, my motorcycle, in favor of more adult transportation.

Meanwhile, I’ve developed a rare complication from my broken clavicle and ribs: deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that can cause a pulmonary embolism if not properly treated. So I’m taking a blood thinner and kicking back, more or less, praying my lungs don’t explode.

In a sense, I owe Dacus a debt of gratitude. During my convalescence, the mail stacked up on the kitchen table, and one of the letters buried deep in the stack was my mail-in ballot for the June 5 primary, which I finally opened after being prompted by Dacus’s email.

There are so many candidates running for governor, U.S. senator and other political offices in the state’s so-called jungle primary system—the top two finishers in each contest, regardless of political party, square-off in November—there were actually two official ballots stuffed in the envelope when I finally slit it open, both of them filled top-to-bottom, front-to-back, in order to squeeze in all the names.

The California Statewide Direct Primary pamphlet I received in the mail offered minimal information on the candidates, with some prominent politicians, such as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the front-runner in the gubernatorial race, choosing not to publish a campaign statement at all. The pamphlet does provide some useful information on the five statewide propositions on the ballot, but beyond that, it’s up to the voter to research the candidates on his or her own free time.

That’s a daunting task when you’ve got 32 candidates running for Sen. Diane Feinstein’s seat and 27 running to replace outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown. I’ve been closely following the race for California’s 1st Congressional District, which features six candidates vying to unseat LaMalfa, and I still don’t know who I’m voting for yet.

But I do know that I profoundly disagree with LaMalfa’s vision of the 1st District, which includes Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama counties and parts of Nevada, Glenn and Placer counties. The millionaire rice farmer has ticked off all the Gods, guns, gays and abortion boxes required by his “values voters” base during his tenure in the House, while consistently ignoring the needs of his most vulnerable constituents.

Nowhere has this been more clear than with LaMalfa’s activities concerning the Farm Bill, Congressional legislation that rolls around every four years that determines how roughly $100 million in annual government funding will be spent. About 80 percent of the funding goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, commonly known as food stamps. The remaining 20 percent goes to farm subsidy programs such as commodity crop insurance, which protects farmers from declines in market prices.

Until 2013, the Farm Bill was considered bipartisan legislation. Liberal urban politicians supported crop subsidies because SNAP helps feed millions of undernourished urban residents; conservative rural politicians supported SNAP because rural farmers require financial protection in a global marketplace where crop prices can fluctuate wildly. The arrival of LaMalfa and the crop of conservative, religious libertarians in the House known as the Tea Party changed all that.

During Farm Bill negotiations as a freshman representative, LaMalfa infamously supported dramatic cuts to SNAP, using biblical verse to justify his position, only to have it revealed in press reports that his family’s farm has accepted millions in farm subsidies. The controversy killed the Farm Bill in the House, and it was left up to the Senate the put the whole mess back together again in the reconciliation process.

You’d think LaMalfa and House Republicans would have learned their lesson, but when the Farm Bill rolled around again this year, they were up to their old tricks. After two years of committee hearings in which various SNAP proposals were presented on more than 20 occasions, Republicans, at the last minute, inserted a previously unheard of proposal to cut SNAP by billions of dollars over the next ten years into the Farm Bill.

LaMalfa, whose family farm stood to benefit from the subsidies that remained in the bill, kept a fairly low profile this time around, stating that he hoped political differences wouldn’t derail the bill. As it turned out, the Farm Bill’s support for the hungry as well as struggling farmers still proved a bit too much for the Freedom Caucus, of which LaMalfa appears to be a rotating member. Once again, the Farm Bill crashed and burned on the House floor, leaving the Senate to pick up the pieces before the bill expires in September.

Of course, LaMalfa’s religious right base rewarded this achievement the first time around by re-electing him to a second term. But can anyone else truly say life in the 1st District has improved during his tenure? Has the massive corporate tax cut passed by Republicans and Trump in December, to date their only legislative achievement, already trickled down and made us great again, as LaMalfa insists on his Facebook page?

Or is the 1st District still struggling to dig its way out the Great Recession, as farmer, educator and Democratic candidate Audrey Denny describes it on her campaign’s web page?

“Our beautiful northern California district is rich with resources and vibrant rural communities, and yet, we have been forgotten,” she writes. “Because of political polarization and the toxic effects of money in politics, our voice is no longer represented in Washington, and we need change now. Seven of our eleven counties are listed within the 15 poorest counties in California. Our schools and hospitals are at risk, our infrastructure is aging and dangerous, and our basic services are being threatened. These are the concerns that people of all backgrounds have expressed to me as I’ve traveled across our vast district—listening to, and learning from, constituents in our 11 counties. It’s time for change.”

The first step toward solving a problem is recognizing you have one in the first place. Denny understands there are significant problems in the 1st District, as do her fellow Democrats Marty Walters and Jessica Jones Holcombe, who are also competing for LaMalfa’s seat. Moreover, they believe government, at the local, state and national level, has a responsibility to solve those problems.

LaMalfa and the “values voters” who comprise his base do not share these beliefs. As long as he keeps ticking off those boxes—God, gays, guns and abortion—LaMalfa will continue to earn support from the religious right, no matter how much of a dud he proves to be as a legislator.

There’s only one way to begin rectifying this state of affairs: Vote for the candidates you think will be harbingers of the change you are seeking in the June 5th primary. As Dacus pointed out in his email, the turn-out is bound to be minuscule, so a small number of voters can truly make all the difference.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some ballots to fill out.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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71 Responses

  1. Avatar christian gardinier says:

    R.V. Scheide, you have done it again! Thanks for the read and thanks to A News Cafe for the platform. We in Northern Ca have challenges of low income, environmental threats, high poverty rates, poor health care access and provision, cuts to our education system and attacks from the “Christian” Alt-Right and their social-political agenda of making making themselves rich while attacking anyone that disagrees with their prescription. The religious right – Jefferson State – Trump – NRA – LaMalfa – Fox and Sinclair, have provided the North State with platforms to espouse and project their fears and anxieties that in reality come from increasing corporatist marginalization of their existence…. and their “leaders” laugh all the way to the bank as we give them the gold and they enclose the commons for their own personal profits.

    June 5th is an opportunity for the North State to tell politicians, No Mas; this country belongs to all Americans equally, not just the top 10% who have twisted the rules of what is left of Democracy to increase their wealth and power. But I digress…. Unfortunately, America been distracted by the cults of personality and we are not paying attention.

    What are we? Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it…” but alas while we we’re asleep at the wheel in fascination of cult fantasy and delusions of, “Hey, just like Trump, I can be rich and famous too….” the representation of the republic has been privatized, we may no longer claim ownership; especially if we don’t vote.

    R.V. I hope you continue to recover and keep the computer pumping nice reads for those Americans interested enough in Democracy to pay “by educating and voting” attention.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Nice comment, Christian. Interesting that you mention the State of Jefferson in the religious context. When I first looked into them, I was initially surprised with the heavy religious emphasis. I thought, well, you’re not going to attract very many people that way. Now I realize they don’t want to attract more people. They want to seal themselves up in their own little hermetic domain.

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    As I was plodding through that massive ballot, I had hoped to find candidates’ statements that might reveal their stances, only to find very few in the booklet, Gavin Newsom most prominently. I figured if candidates couldn’t make the effort to write something about themselves, there must not be much to tell. What’s really sad is that LaMalfa, a Herger clone, will be elected no matter how much he has benefited from his rice subsidy. God, gays, guns, and abortion, indeed. I wonder how he felt about those four items prior to being elected . . .

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I really am disappointed with the jungle primary format. As an independent voter, I thought it would be great to be able to vote across party affiliation, but there are so many candidates in some of these races, governor especially, that our diminished journalism industry can’t possibly cover all of them.

      I realize LaMalfa is the overwhelming favorite based on the district’s voting patterns, but if the right opponent rises in the primary, there might be a chance in November.

      LaMalfa entered politics in the late 1990s, and ticked the god, gays, guns and abortion boxes from the beginning.

    • Avatar Hotsabi says:

      Friendly reminder Cali charges all candidates to place a statement in the Official voters guide. Support sb935 to reduce cost $$ this is why the voters guide lacks any independent/Libertarian messages

  3. Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

    Another intelligent, insightful article from R.V.

    The greatest threat to our country is the relentless attack on our constitutional rights by the religious “right”. Millions of these ill-intentioned extremists flood the polls (especially in low-turnout off-year elections, as pointed out above) so they can force their agenda on the rest of society by electing politicans who will push through laws that violate the rights of gay people, women, and non-Christians.

    There is no “war” on Christians (and I use that term loosely, as it applies to the religious right). The only “war” going on is being waged by these so-called Christians against the rest of us, and (as R.V. wrote) the best way to counteract this attack is by voting.

    Unfortunately it’s probably true that the predominance of Trump-supporting throwbacks in the area will succeed in reelecting LaMalfa. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make a supreme effort to fight the insidious evil that is gripping our country.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I almost fell for the “War on Christians” for a second. I understand that it’s upsetting to certain Christians when, say, a nativity scene is banned from a government building, or people trying to be inclusive say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” I may have even shed a tear for them. But the idea they are being oppressed is ludicrous when in fact they are the oppressors on so many levels, the right-wing evangelical attack on the LGBT community and women’s reproductive rights being the most prominent examples. Notice that they generally don’t advertise their true beliefs in public forums–LaMalfa infamously refuses to participate in debates. I believe if enough people understand the link between LaMalfa and the hardcore religious right, they will vote him out in November.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        “I believe if enough people understand the link between LaMalfa and the hardcore religious right, they will vote him out in November.” From you lips to God’s and voters’ ears.

      • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

        “Hardcore” is the word I’ve been looking for. Unfortunately there are too many local people who see nothing wrong with the religious take-over of government and everything else in what should be a secular society, and who imagine they are answering to a higher authority than the U.S. Constitution. There may be no convincing these people that “freedom of religion” doesn’t extend to forcing their religion on the general population through legislation and other tactics (Bethel is using them all).

        I believe society needs to address the whole fundamentalist religion mentality. I’d love to see free science-based after-school programs available all over the country, as an alternative to the religious programs that are the only alternatives for working parents in many places. If we can expand the minds of young people (as opposed to loading them with brutal superstition, prejudice, and fear), we could see a huge change for the better in society in the fairly near future.

  4. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Thanks for the informative article, R.V., and your choice to purchase a car this time around is prudent. Sorry to learn of your DVT but pleased that you are taking appropriate action to prevent a pulmonary embolism. We need you.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I think the sadness about giving the bike up hasn’t sunk in yet. It probably will hit when the truck comes to take the bike away. But I sure am looking forward to a new car with decent air conditioning so I won’t be pinned down by the heat this summer! The DVT is a real bummer, but I’m sure glad the urgent care doc at the VA caught it! It’s pretty rare.

      • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

        Photo (please) of the truck picking up your bike. Oh, and there’s probably a story there as well. Congratulations on getting a diagnosis (DVT) so readily. Tricky business for sure.

  5. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Not words have been truer! VOTE….not complain….Get off your duff and VOTE. Our Democracy has been Assaulted, Decency has been thrown out the window. It’s time we ALL Vote for what we Believe in!

    To a Very Speedy Recovery my friend!

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Even if you vote and your candidate doesn’t win, at least you tried, and there’s some satisfaction in that.

  6. Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

    We can expect little from LaMalfa except exactly what he’s already given us: nothing. We came to expect nothing from Herger because that’s all we ever got from him too. Nothing.

    Recently, LaMalfa was one of twelve members of Congress who signed a letter urging that Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I already find LaMalfa to be a profound embarrassment, but that really added an extra layer of icing to the cake.

    I hope the Blue Wave reaches our shores, but I’m not holding my breath. However, I will be holding my pen tightly as I mark my ballot now and in the fall.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Matt, that’s my exact take on LaMalfa as well: He’s done exactly nothing for his district. His primary reason for existence in Congress is to support every piece of anti-gay, anti-women legislation House Republicans can dream up. By design, this legislation is meant to signal the people in the pews, so it’s always so far over the top, it never gets out of the House. But as far as the people in the pews are concerned, LaMalfa is doing his job. This has been going on for 30 years now.

      If Trump cuts a deal with North Korea that sees the entire peninsula rid of nuclear weapons and U.S. troops, I’ll gladly support his Nobel Peace Prize. Personally, I think South Korea and North Korea are playing him, and if they win such a deal, I’m all for it. It might be possible, given Trump’s ego and need for some sign of accomplishment. But he’s going up against the real Deep State now, the military industrial complex. Stay tuned.

      Yeah, no one is really talking about a Blue Wave in northern California. The Democrats have abandoned us. It really sucks, because I believe that’s one reason why we get the short end from the democratically-controlled Legislature. They think we’re all a bunch of rubes.

    • Avatar DeniseO says:

      Matt, one of my visits to LaMalfa’s office was Twilight Zone- worthy. His arrogant snotty assistant snarled at me when I talked to her about Planned Parenthood funding and access in our county, “Don’t you KNOW that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue?”

      I mean seriously? A person in a fairly responsible position didn’t know that at least 8 states conducted their own investigation into the fetal tissue accusation and found the claims were false? That office has got to start packing.

      • Avatar Matt Grigsby says:

        It sounds like that assistant certainly felt empowered to spout off with fake news. And since she speaks for his office, she speaks for him. So he’s cool with fake news too, I guess.

        Nothing about LaMalfa or his staff would surprise me. NOTHING.

  7. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    I really appreciated this article. Especially timely for me, as I have my absentee ballots spread out on the table with the accompanying voter pamphlet. My computer is with me as I try and search for further information. Actually, this periodic routine can bring tears to my eyes. It’s so American! I did need a break, and, presto, brought a A News Cafe up on the computer, with this article. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so all alone. And heck, there’s always hope that LaMalfa won’t make it.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      My favorite voting experience was the 2016 primary, when Dad and I went to the Whitmore polling place and voted for Bernie Sanders. That wasn’t that long ago. Look where we are now. If only …

      I’m still working on my ballot too!

  8. Avatar Anita L Brady says:

    My worst fear: 2 choices on ballot in Nov. for CD1 and both have (R) behind them. Yes, LaMalfa and Cheadle with no (D) choice at all. But then we can say– the Democrats did this to themselves. SAD!

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      LOL, I was gonna write a paragraph or two on Gregory Cheadle, most famous for being Trump’s “African-American” at his Redding rally. Cheadle by the way claims he’s no longer a Trump supporter. He’s running on a “Republican 1856” slogan, meaning, I guess, the party of Lincoln. Other than that, he doesn’t seem to have a message and his campaign doesn’t appear to be serious, so I didn’t mention him. But you’re right, he could finish second, and we’d have two Republicans running in November. In that case, I’d vote for Cheadle.

      • Avatar DeniseO says:

        RV, what is Cheadle’s stance on women’s issues? I do want to o contact his campaign office to ask a few questions.

        I am trying to make my vote count to unseat LaMalfa. I’d take a semi-lucid progressive Republican any day over him.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          He says he’s pro-life, which generally means he’s anti-women. He says he’s no longer a Trump supporter, but he pretty much supports the Trump party line. A sheep dog candidate.

        • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

          Every Republican will tell you that he is a champion of women’s rights – the “right” to be forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth, the “right” to be imprisoned for having a miscarriage under what someone might consider “suspicious” circumstances” (ie: Pence), etc.

          Republicans are now promoting the false narrative that no woman really wants to have an abortion – that she is just being pressured into it by boyfriends, “liberal” parents, and so on. How patronizing and insulting that they don’t think women are smart enough to know their own minds or make their own decisions.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          Or perhaps they genuinely believe that killing an innocent human life is wrong. Evil bastards…

          • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

            No Tim, I’m not buying it. If that were the case, they’d show a little more concern about babies once they come out of the womb.

          • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

            I’d suggest reading biology textbooks pertaining to the development of the fetus (as I have). I agree with the entire legitimate medical community that at least 99 percent of abortions take place at a point in pregnancy where the fetus has no ability to experience pain or even awareness, and is not by any reasonable definition an actual person.

            You might as well give a fertilized egg at the moment of conception all the rights of a full-fledged human being (which is exactly what Vice President Mike Pence is attempting to do, while completely ignoring the rights and well-being of the woman carrying it).

          • Avatar Tim says:

            And that is where the disagreement lies: if and when a fetus is a human and is deserving of natural rights.

            If a drunk driver hits a pregnant woman and kills an unborn child, has he committed homicide? Most say yes.

            So are we to conclude from this inconsistency that a fetus has rights if and only if its mother intends to go through with the pregnancy? And are you comfortable granting ultimate authority to just 1 person – even if they are temporarily experiencing unusual emotional upheaval?

            Reasonable people may disagree over the answers without having villainous intent.

          • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

            Tim, really, I observe no “villainous intent,” from the replies. I could personally provide some, however. Seriously, the replies to your post have been incredibly grounded from my perspective. These “reply people” are intelligent, they know their audience. Gotta know when to hold, and when to fold? That, or hit one’s head against a brick wall?

          • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

            I’ve heard of people being charged with murder in certain cases, but every one that I can recall involved women in the latest stages of pregnancy (when the fetus is unquestionably viable outside the womb).

            Also, bringing a child into the world is far more than “temporary emotional upheaval”. If you don’t understand all of the phenomenal ramifications, there is no point in my trying to explain them.

          • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

            It’s about the control of women’s bodies, period, as ordained in the Bible.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Linda: see comments above describing Republicans as “anti-women” and “patronizing” – comments which ascribe a villainous intent to control and subjugate women, rather than their actual intent to protect (what they see as) a human from (what they see as) murder.

            Aleeta: “Temporary emotional upheaval” refers to the swings in mental states some women experience during pregnancy – swings which can sometimes defy rationality and should further give pause to anyone wishing to grant said person sole control over the rights of another. (Lest you think I am unduly sexist, I would no sooner grant such power to a precoital man.)

          • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

            Tim – That’s one of the most sexist comments I’ve ever heard. Women can’t be trusted to make intelligent decisions about their own lives basically because of their hormones? I thought that thinking went out ages ago. At one time women who exhibited any signs of depression, anxiety, or just dissatisfaction with their lives were routinely forced to have their uteruses removed to supposedly make them more placid. Your attitude is pretty much the same thing.

            Why would you imagine that someone else is better suited to make decisions about a woman’s life than the woman herself? And why assume that bringing another child into an already overcrowded, suffering world under what could be terrible circumstances is always the right thing, even for the potential child?

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Not about their own life, about the life of their fetus… Under the best of circumstances, I would be opposed to any one human having arbitrary authority over the civil rights of another, but I am even less enthused if that sole authority is granted during periods in which humans are predictably less rational than normal. This is the reason victims don’t sit on juries, and the reason patients seeking assisted suicide must ask repeatedly on different days.

            If a fetus has rights, it ought to have them regardless of the esteem with which her mother holds her. If a fetus has no rights, it ought not have any regardless of the esteem with which her mother holds her.

            Is it a woman’s choice over her own body? Or a choice over two bodies? Could an adult conjoined twin singlehandedly opt for separation surgery that would kill her twin? Is that one body, two, or something more complex…?

            If you are willing to accept only a black or white answer, the “life begins at conception” ultra pro-life argument is far more compelling than “the mother always has the right to terminate a pregnancy.” IMO, our legal system has done an admirable job balancing the grey areas and conflicting rights of mother & fetus.

            The fact that fiscally conservative Republicans are not persuaded by the Eugenics-light argument that “unwanted babies will be a drag on society” ought to serve as proof of the sincerity of their moral convictions. Frankly, our current system is anti-eugenical: upper & middle class babies — those that should be better off — are disproportionately terminated (or never conceived thanks to birth control), while lower income parents have disproportionately more babies ( https://www.statista.com/statistics/241530/birth-rate-by-family-income-in-the-us/ ).

          • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

            There is no legal or moral “right” of every fertilized egg to become a full-fledged human being. In fact something like 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in “spontaneous abortion” early on. Should we put all kinds of money into research to try and prevent those? Should we outlaw any sexual activity that doesn’t lead to pregnancy as being a waste of potential human life?

            Until a fetus reaches the point that it is viable outside the womb (which is basically about the same time that the development of brain and nervous system function first renders it capable of feeling pain and experiencing even a minimal awareness), it should be considered part of the host’s body (and legally is).

            The most vocal opponents of abortion always seem to be men. I think if men had their lives turned upside down, their educations and careers interrupted or simply ended, and had to experience all the sickness, pain, and danger of pregnancy and childbirth, there would be far fewer abortion opponents.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            I’m not interested in fighting straw men – we’re talking about the termination of viable pregnancies. And contrary to popular opinion, there is not a large gap between men and women on abortion: 42% of men and 38% of women feel abortion should be illegal in all/most cases ( http://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/ ).

            The onus should be on abortion activists to prove that a fetus is not a human and deserving of civil rights. What we now know:

            Fetal heartbeat:
            3-4 weeks (begins pumping)
            6 weeks (first detectable on ultrasound)

            Neuro-anatomic structures needed to process pain:
            8 weeks

            Fetal response to music:
            16 weeks (87% change facial expression)

            Youngest surviving premie:
            21 weeks 6 days

            Abortions legal in CA until:
            24-26 weeks

            Viability at time of Roe v Wade:
            28 weeks

          • Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

            According to your link, 57 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. From there the percentages break down to far more people of a fundamentalist religious persuasion believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while people with no religious affiliation are overwhelmingly on the opposite end. People of other Christian denominations are pretty evenly divided.

            Of course it really doesn’t matter how much of the public is against it when you consider that at some point society was largely in favor of denying women the right to vote or own property, wife beating (as long as the stick wasn’t any bigger around than a man’s thumb), slavery, Jim Crow laws, making birth control illegal, and a whole lot of other things we now know are wrong.

            I notice you didn’t include a source for the rest of your comment. A pump (the heart) is necessary in order for all other organs to eventually develop. Also, not mentioned is the fact that the systems you mentioned are in no way connected in a manner that would make pain or awareness possible until at least 24 weeks (6 months). If you ask any maternity ward nurse, he or she will tell you that even premature babies don’t feel/react to pain to anywhere near the degree full-term babies do.

            However, let’s keep things in perspective by remembering that 99 percent of abortions take place within the first 12 weeks, with most taking place under 9 weeks.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            I can only include 1 link per post – otherwise my comments get lost in purgatory.

            Fetal facial response to music at 16 weeks: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1742271X15609367?journalCode=ultb

            (If a fetus responds to musical stimulus at 16 weeks, it is hard to make the case that they don’t process pain or have awareness until 24 weeks)

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Fetal processing of pain: https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF14E83.pdf

            nociceptors (automatic responses to pain/stimulus): develop at 8 weeks post fertilization (10 weeks gestational)

            sensory receptors around mouth, palms, and soles of feet develop at 9 weeks post fertilization and cover the entire body at 18 weeks (20 weeks gestational)

            The spinal cord – thalumus connection develops between 12-18 weeks post fertilization (14-20 weeks gestational)

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Youngest surviving preemies (21 weeks 5 days and 21 weeks 6 days): https://www.verywellfamily.com/worlds-smallest-preemies-2748663

          • Avatar Tim says:

            CA abortions legal at 24-26 weeks (Abortion gestational limits of various states as reported in 2013): https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/18/us/politics/abortion-restrictions.html

          • Avatar Therese says:

            keep fighting the good fight – we are on your side-why bother with keystrokes those barely formed as human beings – nothing softens the God sized hole in their heart. we have your back.

        • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

          Where is a Jim Stockdale when we need him. Remember his succinct comment when asked his position on abortion during the VP debate? It was, “It’s up to the woman, period.” He got a great round of applause.

          • AJ AJ says:

            The day you get to tell me whether or not I can have an abortion is the day I can tell you that have to have, or cannot have a vasectomy. Until a man grows a uterus, he has no business having a vote in this debate.

  9. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I wish I had one ounce of confidence that Democrats could take advantage of the hand they’ve been dealt: Among swing voters, widespread disenchantment with the GOP-led Congress and rabid disgust with Trump.

    But Gavin Newsom trying to rev up GOP voters to make the runoff election a D vs. R affair is an example of how lacking the Democratic Party is in state leadership. The most self-serving, idiotic thing a Democrat could do right now is energize Republicans. And yet there’s Newsom doing just that, and hardly a whisper of cries of “foul!” from state party leaders.

    Meanwhile, statewide, we have hoards of Democrats running for Congress in the primaries, thinning the D vote to the degree that in many congressional districts (including possibly our own District 1), there may be zero Democratic candidates in the run-off election. There seems to be zero effort by the Democratic Party to put out the word: “This is the candidate who has a chance to win. The others are wheat chaff that you need to ignore.”

    Yet again, the Democrats seem determined to march on their own collective pecker.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      It may be worse than you think Steve. While Gavin Newsom and California’s Democratic elite play games to maintain their power, Trump and the Republicans have been working California voters hard, trying to maintain that majority in the House. There’s always been a nativist streak in California, running right down the middle of Central Valley, and they’re exploiting it. Witness Shasta County BOS declaring they won’t follow the state’s sanctuary law, as if illegal immigration was our most pressing problem. They’re Trump-signaling. Yeah, we’re racist too! We have entered an era of no shame, anything can be said to get votes.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        It’s not surprising to me that the Demos concede District 1 and several other solidly red districts in our state to the GOP, but it’s shocking that they can’t get their act together enough to throw their weight behind single strong candidates in the various “purple” districts down south that might go blue this coming election cycle, given the circumstances. There are four districts in Orange County alone held by Repubs, and all are ripe for the taking. It wouldn’t shock me if the Demos found ways to lose three of them, and maybe all four.

        One of the things that Demos just don’t seem to comprehend is that perpetually losing easy contests (e.g., Clinton vs Trump) is off-putting to people who don’t respect losers.

      • Avatar Common Sense says:

        These are the same Shasta County BOS that turned down the Millions in Tax Revenues (Prop 64 money) to help fund a Jail Expansion. Now we get to wait for the Sniveling that we don’t have any money for expanding the Jail as the Grand Jury Suggested!

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Steve: What is your take on prop 70? Is there a compelling reason why we shouldn’t have a supermajority decide how those funds are spent?

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        You’re not likely to view this as a “compelling reason,” but I’m always wary of supermajority requirements. Let’s hand the steering wheel over to the minority—that seems not well-grounded in democratic principles, to me.

        I get the “tyranny of the majority” argument, but I think that applies to protecting the minority from violation of some agreed-upon foundational rights……not simple governance. The minority does not have the right to always be happy with the outcome of a decision subject to a vote.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          It isn’t the supermajority aspect as much as I don’t fully follow how prop 70 is supposed to help big oil. If the funds are saved and not spent, environmental regulations will still be enforced…

          I guess if the state uses those funds to incentivize electric cars it would decrease demand for oil, but the sums we’re talking about are paltry (If the $810 million for low emission vehicles was used solely to purchase electric vehicles, it would put only 137,000 of them on the road by 2024 — less than 4% of California’s 35 million registered vehicles).

  10. Avatar DeniseO says:

    Mr. LaMalfa, you got to go. I am desperately trying to o figure out which candidate will garner a majority. With too many choices, my fear is that we won’t net a viable opponent.

    I’m the kind of voter who would strongly consider a progressive Republican. In fact I feel that is the most likely thing to work for District One, just to unscrew LaMalfa. I WISH Dems would band together and rise up but I’m not encouraged.

    My honest Republican friends tell me they are horrified at the icky rhetoric and weird behaviors displayed by the Evangelical Fringe segment. Fiscally sound Republican, where ARE you?

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Gregory Cheadle says he is that moderate Republican.

      • Avatar deniseo says:

        However, he’s pro-life?

        Just not going to work for me.

        With the same mouth saying life is precious, they can openly hate poor people? Specifically poor women having babies no one really wants to educate, house or doctor?

        Oh that’s right, squeeze a dime between your knees, ladies. Best birth control known.

        • Avatar Anita L Brady says:

          It’s easy. If you are against abortion, then don’t have one.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            A good start…
            If you’re against murder don’t kill anyone.
            If you’re against slavery don’t own anyone.

      • Have you listen to Mr. Cheadle at a candidate forum? If not – you should before you decide.

  11. Wait a Ding-Dong minute ! If you all haven’t read our local candidates campaign statements; gone on their websites or bothered to call or email any of them, or the FB thing, then you do deserve to get what you don’t do ! So, get engaged; remember politics runs your life every single day, and you can do something about it, and that is run for office, vote for a candidate you’ve studied and then sit back and know you’ve done what you can do to make our area, state and country what you want it to be. I’m going out on a limb here and say that I’ve met the following candidates and find them genuine: Kevin de Leon, Elini Kounalakis, Dave Jones, Ricardo Lara, Betty Yee, Fiona Ma and our local Federal & State candidates: Audrey Denney-audreyforcongress.com and Caleen Sisk-caleen4assembly.com…not to mention it’s time for a change.

  12. THE ELECTABILITY OF A THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE

    In the process of campaigning for the office of U.S. Representative for CA Congressional District 01, I am constantly confronted with the proposition that my candidacy hurts the chances of defeating the incumbent because it splits the vote.

    Let’s be clear:
    • My candidacy exists to give choice and voice to the progressive Bernie Sanders movement. I am the most experienced, qualified and progressive challenger to the Republican incumbent in this race.
    • In 2016, Bernie Sanders won 10 of the 11 counties in this Congressional District. He garnered almost 50,000 votes, beating Hillary Clinton by almost 5,000. (Source: Huffington Post Electoral Results).
    • Since this congressional district was gerrymandered in 2010, the Democratic Party cannot win. The incumbent won by a 60-40% margin in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Three strikes and you’re out.
    • What is different this year? The Democratic Party alienated, disrespected and offended the progressive Bernie Sanders movement by its suppression of the Bernie Sanders delegates at its national convention and the existence of super delegates, so even that source of support is weakened. The Democratic Party still has 400 super delegates; those are 400 reasons not to vote Democratic.
    • People are tired of the squabbling between the two corporate parties and many realize that it is money, not policy, that controls both parties. The Green Party does not accept corporate money and is, therefore, beholden to the people, not the corporations.
    • In this open primary, the top two vote getters will advance to the general election in November. The four Democratic candidates will split the Democratic vote so the Green Party candidate can advance to the general election.
    • My first act in Congress would be to join the Congressional Progressive Caucus which works closely with Senator Sanders’s office to pass legislation that serves the people. My second act would be to join the Bipartisan Food as Medicine Working Group (thereby making it tripartisan).
    • As a U.S. Representative who is neither Democratic nor Republican, I can work across the aisle to find creative solutions to our most pressing problems.
    • My candidacy represents a new direction in politics (I call it “quantum politics”) that values civilized discourse, critical thinking, creative solutions and common sense.

    Thank you,
    Lewis Elbinger

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Lewis, I apologize for my motorcycle accident, I had hoped to interview all the candidates for Dist. 1. Obviously you would be a vast improvement over LaMalfa.

    • Avatar Anita L Brady says:

      Sorry, but sending an old white guy to Congress is too much like what we have now. Berniecrats in several states (PA, MI for instance) are the reason we have Prez Orange Menace. GET OVER IT.

      • Avatar The Old Pretender says:

        No Anita. Supporters of Sanders did not cause Trump’s presidency. The lack of a candidate who was seen as viable by a rather small percentage of the electorate did. Quit the dog whistle about progressives being responsible for our slide to fascism. They are the strongest force against it right now, while you still mourn the people did not vote for the other war-monger, they are in the streets.

  13. When the Republicans attacked the Affordable Care Act, (ACA), people were energized and attended Town Hall meetings to express themselves. Then life happened and the energy was spent. Since then people have joined together to march for a variety of causes. Women, science, for and against assault type weapons and school shootings and LGBQT equality. All of these activities required energy and commitment. But, as we have seen it doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter because we don’t vote. None of the changes the marchers wanted will happen if we don’t vote. So maybe we should have a “March to the Polls” on election day. Revive the energy when it counts.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      We need to find some common theme to organize around, or else these religious zealots are going to take us all down with them.

  14. Avatar Alice Bell says:

    Check out the US Congress District 1 forum (League of Women Voters) recorded by the SCAC on May 9.
    Also, check out Voters Edge for candidate info (Candidate priorities).

  15. Avatar Therese says:

    You hear people say about the complementarity of “Yin” and “Yang”. How the two integrate and complete each other, and all that. They normally feel very smug as they grace the world with their deep knowledge of all things human. Professing to be wise – you have become fools –
    Freedom of Religion – one of the four freedoms treasured by % of American Citizens

    I wonder how many of these people would react, were they told that a child needs a father and a mother?
    would ask pray for a bloodless coup d’etat Thursday – however; that is Offensive to you

    Just sayin’…keep on blogin’ keep on blogin’ –

  16. Avatar Common Sense says:

    Get out and Vote Everyone. And don’t forget to contribute to this very Worthy Cause….Remember….if Jesus where here now he wouldn’t be riding on a Donkey!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/05/29/a-televangelist-wants-his-followers-to-pay-for-a-54-million-private-jet-its-his-fourth-plane

  17. Avatar Liz says:

    Is a color-blind world an ideal we can realize? Red and yellow, black (brown) white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the children of the world. Even the orange one.