The Clampdown on Free Expression

By Jordan Bruneau
January 15, 2021

The attack on free expression: Just as we warned last week, union-backed politicians in California and across the country are exploiting the Capitol riots to try to quash free speech. This week, former union leader, and current California Democratic Party chair, Rusty Hicks repeatedly called the (lower-case “d”) democratic effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom “a coup.” He claimed, “This recall effort, which really ought to be called the California coup, is led by right-wing conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers, and groups who encourage violence on our democratic institutions.”

Social media has recently purged the accounts of countless conservatives. Google and Apple banned Parler from their app stores, then Amazon pulled its hosting, banished it from the internet altogether. The moves have been widely celebrated by the mainstream media, which, ironically, seem to be among today’s worst defenders of free speech.

This week, a Twitter employee leaked audio of CEO Jack Dorsey saying this clampdown is only the beginning. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggested creating a federal commission (a Ministry of Truth?) to “rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation.” A new legislative effort in California seeks to create Patriot Act-style agencies, ostensibly to root out right-wing extremism. But government grows—that’s an iron law of political science–and Californians rightly wonder how long before such laws will target people like us, men and women who reasonably dissent in the face of policy failures.

For years, progressives have been trying to quash opposition by suggesting that conservatives are “racist.” Now they’re leveling up by calling conservatives “dangerous” and “extremist” to shut down debate — in some cases literally. Doing so allows them to Zamboni the ice to more easily slide their agenda forward.

The clampdown: On the latest episode of National Review’s RadioFree California, CPC President Will Swaim and board member David Bahnsen consider California reactions to the pro-Trump mayhem at the U.S. Capitol, including Trump-free Facebook and Twitter, the electronic shutdown of a nonpartisan policy conference in Sacramento, new legislation to recreate a California Patriot Act, and the California Democratic Party’s attempt to label the Recall Newsom campaign a “California coup.”

A budget full of union giveaways: Last Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a budget that will only worsen the problems facing California. The proposal calls for roughly $90 billion in education funding, the highest level in state history at a time when teachers unions continue to insist on failed distance-learning models and increased pay. Given that it will be months before teachers are back in classrooms, shouldn’t the government be returning tax dollars to parents who have had to contend with classroom closures instead of spending more?

The budget directs a total of $7 billion in pandemic-related support to schools and students. These funds are in addition to the billions of dollars that California schools have already received in federal aid. Given that Covid-19 safeguards can be purchased relatively cheaply, Newsom’s additional funds are little more than a payoff to teachers unions to try to get them to reopen classrooms. The budget also directs roughly one billion dollars to expand transitional kindergarten, which offers teachers unions an opportunity to further grow their ranks by organizing early childhood educators.

Tax-hike Groundhog Day: With businesses fleeing California for more business-friendly states, union-backed state legislators announced this week more reasons to leave. As the Associated Press explains, “Assembly Bill 71 would raise the corporate income tax from 8.84% to 9.6% on companies that make more than $5 million annually in profits in California… rais[ing] an estimated $2.4 billion a year.” The tax hike proceeds would go to the black hole that is “housing for the homeless.” The AP reporter helpfully notes that California “suffers from prohibitively high housing costs and wages that can’t keep up, resulting in an ever-widening gap between rich and poor.” And who is responsible for these higher costs and “wages that can’t keep up”? Largely, the coalition of unions and environmentalists who raise taxes, increase regulations, and reduce new home construction.

California’s General Fund relies on the top 0.5 percent: In his latest analysis, CPC contributor Edward Ring discusses just how much of California’s budget relies on the wealthy: “There were 89,000 Californians in 2018 who reported taxable income of over $1 million . . . one-half of one percent of the total filers.” This top 0.5 percent pay 40 percent of all personal income taxes that California collects. It takes only a couple thousand of these seven-figure earners leaving the state to put a big dent in total tax revenues. Union-backed legislators looking to chase away even more of these earners by raising taxes even further should take note.

Ed discusses this analysis and more on KABC this week. Listen HERE.

Winning the race to prevent critical race theory in classrooms: In his latest piece, CPC contributor Larry Sand explains how parents are fighting back to try to prevent the collectivist, neo-Marxist and postmodern quackery of CRT from being taught in schools: ‘Parents and the general public can weigh in and tell the California State Board of Education (by January 21) to oppose using critical race theory in our schools. Also, the Family Policy Alliance has released a new book available for free online, “Back to School—for Parents,’ which takes a ‘journey through each part of the school system where student and parental rights violations are trending,’ and explains how to fight back against the radical agenda that is running rampant in our schools.”

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