Judges or Psychics?

By Montecito Journal   |   January 24, 2019

It is difficult to decide whether to laugh or cry at a recent judge’s ruling denying the U.S. government’s right to use the census to count the number of U.S. citizens. Laughing because it is deceivers’ dream to have every action of this presidential administration – including masking the difference between citizens and illegals – decided by particular judges, and crying for the same reason.

The power to count the number of citizens in the United States is given to the Executive Branch under the Constitution (Article I, Section 2.3). President James Madison, a co-author of the Federalist Papers, wrote, “A popular government without particular information, or the means to acquire it, is but a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”

Every ten years, the census is the means by which the government obtains the “information” concerning the number of their owners, the citizens, and where they reside, which will be used to determine the allocation of the members of the House of Representatives, funding, and other important purposes.

Recently, Federal Judge Jesse Furman ruled that the census could not include a question about U.S. citizenship. Disappointingly, he disregarded the lack of evidence and ruled that the official in charge of the census, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “concealed the true motives” for his “arbitrary and capricious” decision to include a question about U.S. citizenship. This ruling raises the question of whether there is, or are, any reasons for Judge Furman to ignore the case record and rule as a psychic?

Judge Jesse Furman, the brother of President Obama’s chief of the Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman, was nominated for the court by President Obama, whose words were, “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists… all else is lost.” However, with respect to the 2010 census, the words of another author of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, “the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint” may be applicable. 

For the 2010 census the Obama administration, including Jason Furman, wanted to “statistically correct” the count of people by adding fictitious people to areas where he, and his administration, felt there were “under-counted” minorities. In effect, they wanted to convert the counting to a statistic, where a statistic is something that cannot be counted but must be calculated. For example, your weight could be counted or measured, but the average weight of your family is a statistic since it must be calculated. Disraeli captured the difference with the quote “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics,” where obviously he was not speaking of the count but of the counters.

The Justice Department’s appeal, based on the lack of evidence supporting the opinion, is being opposed by, among others, the state of New York, who argue that Judge Furman’s psychic skills substituting for evidence is “moot” after he issues his ruling. Is it the objective of Judge Furman’s supporters that all future appeals of any judges’ final order should be eliminated? Or, to delay the decision until after the approaching printing deadline, or to litigate every Constitutional right of this administration from counting votes in the Electoral College to counting citizens? Or, are the words of author Tom Clancy that, “The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government” applicable? Motives sometimes seem to defy logic in the political world, where often there are reasons to both laugh and cry.

Brent Zepke
Santa Barbara 

No Diplomacy

In defending Naomi Schwartz’s letter to Caltrans (“Caltrans’ Arrogance, MJ # 25/1), you say that “perhaps a little more diplomacy was in order from the Montecito crowd.” There was no diplomacy from the Montecito crowd. The Montecito crowd did not say, “Let’s talk.” The Montecito crowd said, “No.”

You were silent about Salud Carbajal and the closing of the southbound on-ramp. The Montecito crowd rewarded Carbajal’s cooperation in converting Coast Village Road into the third lane of the 101 by sending him to Congress.

And Bob Hazard editorialized against Measure M, which called for county roads to be maintained in their current condition. The Montecito crowd and this toxic trio have been very bad for Montecito roads and traffic.

Larry Lambert
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: We don’t agree with your assessment. I wrote a number of editorials warning of the pitfalls that would probably occur if 101 southbound onramp were disabled. I did admit to not voicing opposition strongly enough at one particular meeting, particularly after the Caltrans rep said something to the effect of, “No matter how you feel and what you say, this is a done deal.” J’Amy Brown, many others, and myself realized that the closure would produce a substantial negative traffic result on Coast Village Road, but really, we were simply outgunned. It was and is Caltrans that offered no diplomacy and that has proven toxic to Montecito. – J.B.)

Finding A Home

Every time we drive by an empty lot or a “road closed” sign, we feel a tug at our heartstrings. Every time we see “rain” in the forecast, anxiety flickers in our minds. We have come together as a community and displayed incredible strength, compassion and resilience finding ways to help our neighbors and return a semblance of wholeness to our town. But there will forever be a part lost.

As a landscape designer, I have been searching for an impactful way to contribute something that leverages my talents. When I was approached about participating in a Montecito Memorial Garden, it felt right. Several groups, including the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Garden Club and Santa Barbara Bloom Project, are already committed to helping make the idea reality.

Envision a landscape that tells a story of the event and its impact on the community, and forever remembers those who were lost on January 9th, 2018. Low broad mounds representing each watershed’s mudflow; boulders arranged in family groupings (23 people who, although lost, remain with us, as solid and as permanent as stone); trees standing over their loved ones representing the families forever impacted; and a community forever changed, represented by a slab boulder set on edge with a large hole cored through, because although we stand strong as a community, we’ll forever have a part missing. 

The Garden has a proposed location: the triangle at Hot Springs and Olive Mill. However, cutting through red tape there – or anywhere for that matter – will take time and the stars in alignment. I come to you all (readers) in the hopes that you might help us align those stars or find another suitable home for this garden where it can be enjoyed by all. Your support and suggestions are appreciated.

Margie Grace

(Editor’s note: This is an excellent idea and our suggestion is to enlist the help of the Montecito Association. Ms Grace (mg@gracedesignassociates.com) was named the 2018 Association of Landscape Designers (APLD) Landscape Designer of the Year. – J.B.)

Margie Grace’s chosen boulder for a proposed garden in the triangle at Hot Springs and Olive Mill features a 12-inch circular hole as a remembrance of the loss of 23 lives in the January 9, 2018 debris flow that have left a hole in the heart of Montecito

“Fair” Tax is Regressive Tax

It is tiresome to again read contributions of advocates of a flat income tax like Justin M. Ruhge (MJ # 24/51) claiming that somehow that is a fairer type of taxation. Of course these advocates totally ignore the fact that a large majority of other taxes (paid mostly by low and moderate income earners) are unfair in the opposite direction – and thus regressive. When you add up all taxation, even the lowest 20% of income earners in this country pay about 16% of their income in taxes, and even the richest 1% pay close to only 30% total of their income (almost identical to the percentages paid by those who earn in the $50,000 to $80,000 category). For those interested in the facts, rather than fantasies, I refer you to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report dated 4/11/18 for more complete information.

I suggest that the next time Mr. Ruhge wants another similar topic to propose, he instead should advocate that we eliminate the $132,900 limit on income for payroll deductions of Social Security. Thus, millionaires and billionaires will contribute the same percentage of all their income as the rest of us to go into that fund and ensure it will be safe for all time to retirees; how’s that for fair?

Michael Klein
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: Sounds good, but Social Security recipients’ monthly payments are capped, so why shouldn’t taxpayers’ contributions be capped too? Besides, the idea that removing the limit on income will ensure that Social Security “will be safe for all time to retirees,” is laughable. With a national debt spiraling out of control, nothing is safe from the political class. – J.B.)

Great Whites & Mermaids

There isn’t a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with “Great Whites & Mermaids.” Join the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum on Thursday, February 14th at 7:00 pm for a look at some of Ralph Clevenger’s underwater adventures over the past 45 years, including an in-depth view of the underwater photography course he taught at Brooks Institute of Photography. Clevenger will show portfolios and share stories of his commercial assignments, stock photography, and personal work… including his images of sharks and mermaids!

Ralph A. Clevenger grew up on the coast of North Africa and began
diving in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea at the age of seven. In the early 1960s, he was strongly influenced by Jacques-Yves Cousteau films and television shows on the underwater world and decided early on to become a marine biologist when he “grew up.” He eventually went on to study zoology and worked for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego as a diver/biologist before attending Brooks Institute of Photography. Clevenger was a senior faculty member at the Brooks Institute for 33 years, teaching courses in Natural History and Underwater Photography, among other photo and video courses. 

Based in Santa Barbara, Clevenger is pursuing his passion for the natural world by specializing in location photography and video projects of eco-travel, environmental portraits, wildlife, and undersea subjects. He’s traveled throughout the world on assignment for clients such as Fox Sports, University of California, California State Parks, Denali National Park Wilderness Center, National Marine Sanctuaries, MacGillivray-Freeman Films, Light & Motion Industries, and others. His publication credits include; Audubon, Afar, Islands, Oceans, Nature’s Best, Outside, Orion Nature Quarterly, National Geographic, Terre Sauvage, and other national and international publications. He is the author of the book Photographing Nature, published by New Riders. 

Ralph’s award-winning photography can be seen on his website: www.ralphclevenger.com, and you can follow his adventures on Instagram at ralphwildshot. 

I hope you will help us inform the community about this special event.

Rita Serotkin
Marketing Assistant
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

 (Editor’s note: Sure, as the Maritime Museum is one of our favorites (and even if it weren’t, we’d do it anyway): The Underwater Photography of Ralph A. Clevenger (sponsored by: Marie L. Morrisroe) will be on display at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara on Thursday, February 14, at 7 pm.
Cost: $10 (SBMM Members) $20 (Non-members).
Register: www.sbmm.org or (805) 456-8747)


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