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Author: Leslie Eastman

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Leslie Eastman

I am an Environmental Health and Safety Professional, as well as a science/technical writer for a variety of news and professional publications. I have been a citizen activist since 2009, and am one of the co-founders of the San Diego-based group, Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition.

The Morning Insurrection newsletter reminded me that today would be a great day to take a look at the state of the congressional race in my district (CA-52), which is pitting Democratic incumbent Scott Peters against a former city council-member and veteran GOP campaigner Carl DeMaio. We have covered this race before:  #CA52: Flip opportunity against 1st term Dem in evenly split district As of today, the district remains a very distinct "flip opportunity" for Republicans to gain a seat in the House.  According to Roll Call, Peters holds an exceedingly slight lead over DeMaio.
Peters leads DeMaio, 48 percent to 43 percent — slightly outside the survey’s 4.9 point margin of error. The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies and surveyed 400 likely voters via live telephone between July 20-22. This race in California’s 52nd District, located in and around San Diego, is a top Republican target in November. The National Republican Congressional Committee has touted DeMaio as a top recruit in the district that President Barack Obama won with 52 percent last cycle.
DeMaio must be upsetting all the right (wrong?) people, as his campaign offices were just vandalized: That the Peters campaign is now attempting to gin-up his base with "Tea Party" charges against DeMaio is good evidence that his real poll position is less than stable. Here an example of the tactic from Peters' campaign website:

Legal Insurrection is truly fortunate to be able to feature the amazing work of talented political cartoonist, A.F. Branco! I have always been a big fan of political cartoons.  In fact, two years ago, I taught my son's class about the history of political cartoons, and had them each create one of their own.  While this was a fun exercise, it proved how challenging it is to covey complex points about the state of the world and the nature of mankind -- all in one small panel. Yet, A.F. Branco's routinely hits the most relevant points impacting current events in fun, poignant, and powerful ways. Being a huge fan of his work, I am thrilled to be able to share an interview of Branco by Alana Marie Burke in  Liberty Voice: Editorial Cartoonist Takes on National Issues With Humor.
Alana Marie Burke (AMB): I admire your lack of cowardice in the current hyper politically correct media environment. In your work, you clearly illustrate your opinions with to the point, well-articulated cartoons that hit hard on national issues affecting Americans. Antonio F. Branco (AFB): I appreciate that, thank you for your perspective. They say every year that we are at a tipping point but I think we are almost beyond the tipping point and it is as though the people in power just don’t seem to have a grip on how serious things are. I think that may come from being insulated in Washington D.C. ... AMB: You are a creative person – a painter and a musician in addition to being a cartoonist. What inspired you to go into the field of cartoons – especially those in an editorial and very political style? AFB: Basically, I just was tired of sitting on the sidelines watching things happen. A lot of people like me were very frustrated around 2010 and that is what instigated the Tea Party and I just could not sit on the sidelines anymore. I had to do something, even if it was just in a small way. I really didn’t consider drawing cartoons as a way to really impact the world or anything – I just thought at least I am doing something and if a few people see it, share it and get the message out there, all the better. I started out with just a few people on my Facebook page, then it turned into a couple of hundred then a few thousand and it has grown. I now have three pages, my personal Facebook page, Freedom’s Battle where I post not only cartoons but other things in the political arena that interest me, or that other people might want to have a discussion on and that is where I get a lot my ideas for cartooning.

Reports are beginning to surface from the 300-plus citizen-organized protests on July 18-19 focused on deep concerns about the immigration surge of supposed “refugees” swamping our border control resources, under the banner of the "National Days of Protest against Immigration Reform Amnesty & the Illegal Immigration Surge".
With a coalition of more than 50 groups and organizations of various sizes, protests against illegal immigration and the Obama inspired surge of illegals at America's borders took place in more than 300 locations. The protests were highly visible and some were small with a handful of people on overpasses with others being larger with hundreds of people.
The following report by J.D. Gallop in Florida Today is representative of many of the small-scale, but enthusiastically received, events.
Nearly a week after a social service agency announced it needs foster homes for Central American migrant children seeking asylum in the United States, protesters gathered alongside roadways near the government center to draw attention to the immigration crisis. "We got to stop the invasion of illegals and send them home now," said Connie Smith, one of the organizers of a rally that drew about 30 people to the four-way stop near the Brevard County Government Complex in Viera. ..The protesters – including one woman standing next to an upside down American flag she purchased at a yard sale - braved the noon day sun, holding up homemade signs reading "Path to Destruction" and "Send Them Home" as motorists honked horns and waved in support.
A video from the Hesperia California event also offers a glimpse as to the style of these protests:

While eyes are turned to Gaza and the Ukraine today, I wanted to offer some information about attempts to deal with a man-caused disaster on our own soil. Citizens across the country are organizing a series of protests addressing the immigration surge of supposed "refugees" swamping our border control resources. Over 250 events are being organized over the next new days, which include 41 locations in California, 34 in Texas, and 20 in Florida.
The purpose of the protest is to raise awareness of the impacts of illegal immigration and to show opposition to the administration's handling of the recent border surge of illegal alien youth. The events will take place in various cities around the country on the July 18th and 19th. Deemed the "National Days of Protest against Immigration Reform Amnesty & the Illegal Immigration Surge," the more than 300 protests currently scheduled nationwide will target state capitals and the offices of policy makers in support of amnesty programs and increasing levels of legal immigration. Political activist Paul Arnold is the organizer of this movement, and has received help in launching these protests from numerous grassroots organizations across the country.
In my home state, the 41 events include many small cities and Central Valley communities impacted by the surge directly. The ones in the Golden State's bigger locales are are follows:

Thousands of unaccompanied minors have flooded across our border, overwhelming border agents leading to immigration officials opening processing centers around the country. In the San Diego area, protesters force buses carrying undocumented immigrants to leave Murrieta, the local border patrol processing site designated to handle these arrivals.
Protesters gathered in Murrieta on Tuesday where around 140 undocumented immigrants, including lone children, were brought to be processed at a Border Patrol office. And when the buses arrived carrying the immigrants, the drivers ended up turning around and leaving when the protesters refused to let them pass. The buses instead headed for another border patrol station. The immigrants had arrived in San Diego earlier in the afternoon at Lindbergh Field.
The Desert Sun has additional details with a timeline (and a video at the link):
3:21 p.m.: Union representative Ron Zermeno tells The Desert Sun that the Murrieta Border Patrol station will not resume normal operations but instead send its entire staff to the San Diego area to help with the processing of the re-routed immigrant families. "It's just a matter of time," he said. 3:09 p.m.: With the protest too much in Murrieta, Border Patrol union representatives confirm the buses are heading to a San Diego County processing center. 2:55 p.m.: The crowd of protesters in Murrieta blocked buses from entering the Border Patrol station. Officials did not immediately say where they were going to be detoured.
The Desert Sun report also noted that 3 more flights of immigrants were slated to follow. Between the gross violation of law and risk of infectious diseases, Californians aren't the only ones unhappy with the crisis. For example, fellow blue staters in New York are also complaining.

While America's attention has been focused on Iraq, it is easy to forget the month before we were concerned about Russian interventions in the Ukraine and Crimea. On another one of his #SmartPower/vacation tours, President Obama in early June went to Poland to promise that he would send aidto address tensions in the region.
U.S. President Barack Obama promised beef up military support for eastern European members of the NATO alliance who fear they could be next in the firing line after the Kremlin's intervention in Ukraine. Under attack from critics at home who say his leadership on the world stage has not been muscular enough, Obama unveiled plans to spend up to $1 billion in supporting and training the armed forces of NATO states on Russia's borders. The White House also said it would review permanent troop deployments in Europe in the light of the Ukraine crisis -- though that fell short of a firm commitment to put troops on the ground that Poland and some of its neighbors had sought.
This is in addition to the U.S. Army paratroopers who were sent to Poland in April for a series of military exercises in four countries across Eastern Europe to counter the crisis in Ukraine. However, it seems that in some quarters of that country, Polish opinion of our assistance is on par with the substantially decreased popularity of our Commander-in-Chief. A Polish news magazine provided excerpts of a secretly recorded conversation with Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, during which he called his country's ties with the US "worthless".
According to a transcript of excerpts of the conversation that was published by Wprost on its Internet site, Sikorski told Rostowski: "You know that the Polish-US alliance isn't worth anything." "It is downright harmful, because it creates a false sense of security ... Complete bullshit. We'll get in conflict with the Germans, Russians and we'll think that everything is super, because we gave the Americans a blow job. Losers. Complete losers."

It looks likes one of the global flashpoints I mentioned earlier this year is heating up. While Iraq descends rapidly into chaos, tensions may be building in another section of the Asian continent. India is poised to double its forces along the border with China.
The new BJP government is keen to send out a strong signal to Beijing regarding border disputes by nearly doubling the deployment of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel on the India-China frontier. Top government sources said the ITBP will very soon have more boots on the ground to effectively guard the border that has witnessed several Chinese incursions in the past few years. The previous UPA government was often criticised for being "soft" on the issue of Chinese incursions. The Home Ministry has approved the construction of 54 new border outposts along the disputed frontier with China. A proposal in this regard was made by the ITBP before the polls but the previous government did not go ahead on it. With the new outposts, the number of troops on the ground too will increase. Currently, there are close to 40 outposts and nearly 15,000 troops guard the sensitive zones. Sources said the number could now go up to 30,000. "There were critical gaps regarding security on the China border that need to be filled up," said a senior Home Ministry official. "The increase in deployment should not be construed as an aggressive approach on our part. We are only securing out territory," a top government official said.
What is most interesting is the new prime minister's inauguration is also sending another message to China -- one I suspect it will not much like:

I recently reported on the plight of former US Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been languishing in a Mexican jail while authorities hold him on assorted weapons charges for the 3 guns he was carrying in his vehicle. The backlash against the release of 5 Taliban terrorists from Gitmo in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has dramatically increased dissatisfaction with how President Obama is performing. Combining elements of these new items together, one Texas gun store owner proposes a prisoner swap that should be much more satisfying (see Featured Image): Meanwhile, William A. Thien, the Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, has written directly to Obama in an effort to free Tahmooressi:

When I voted in California's June primary, I chuckled when I turned to the "Secretary of State" race and found a familiar name: Leland Yee. Yee  did not make it to the general election (under California's rules, the top two regardless of party compete in the general election). But it's a sad commentary on the quality of California politics that Yee managed to pull nearly 10 percent of the vote! California Secretary of State Primary results 6-3-2014 Legal Insurrection fans may recall that Yee is California's former state senator who was recently charged in a federal gun-trafficking case. As I mentioned that Mexican authorities were reported to be giving former US Marine Andrew Tahmooressi the legal treatment reserved for gun-runners, I thought it was time to check up on what was happening to a potentially real one. The federal judge handling the case issued a gag order on the evidence:

Despite the fact that when half-Asian Elliot Rodger went on his murder spree, he knifed three of his victims to death, the response of progressives has been primarily focused on two topics: "White Male Privilege" and "Gun Control". Legislation to outlaw either being white or male cannot be proposed...yet.  However, one of the most progressively activist of all of California's elected representatives offers a new set of gun control rules: The "Pause for Safety Act". Fascinating, I think, that "gun" does not appear in the title of Senator Barbara Boxer's latest masterpiece. Her proposed rules would do the following:
• One, it would help ensure that families and others can go to court and seek a gun violence prevention order to temporarily stop someone close to them who poses a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm. • Two, it would help ensure that families and others can also seek a gun violence prevention warrant that would allow law enforcement to take temporary possession of firearms that have already been purchased if a court determines that the individual poses a threat to themselves or others. • Three, it would help ensure that law enforcement makes full use of all existing gun registries when assessing a tip, warning or request from a concerned family member or other close associate.
According to Boxer: “We have a function here not to allow someone who is unstable or violent to get a weapon." So, how would this legislation have prevented Rodger from gaining access to knives? And, by the logic that produced this chestnut, perhaps we should regulate the distribution of hot coffee?:

The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl  in exchange for 5 top Taliban terrorists held at Gitmo has led to some mixed and hostile reaction. Meanwhile, across the Mexican border near my home town of San Diego, another American sergeant is languishing as a prisoner. The border crossing is undergoing construction, and the warning signs that indicate you are entering Mexico are not terribly visible. So when former active-duty U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi wanted to head back home with several guns in his vehicle, he actually began a now two-month journey into the Twilight Zone of Mexican justice.
As Tahmooressi explained, out of a parking lot, "I just made one wrong turn, and then that one wrong turn that I thought was going to take me north to San Diego was actually an on-ramp that swooped around back to the south and to Mexico." ... According to Jill Tahmooressi, her son immediately disclosed to the border guards that he had weapons and requested that he be allowed to turn around, she said. "The first thing he said to the first person that stopped him was, 'I got here accidentally; please let me turn around. I have three guns in my truck,' " his mother said. A 911 tape released by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, appears to support his version of events.
FNC's Greta Van Susteren had a heart-wrenching interview with the mother, who indicates that American bureaucrats are not moving and shaking the Mexicans to get the decorated serviceman back home. According to the reports, Tahmooressi has been subjected to punching, slapping, deprivation of food and water, and being chained to a bed with a "four-point restraint for almost a month." It appears that the Mexican officials are treating him as a gunrunner.

California Tea Party groups (CTPG) are showing that they are not only alive and kicking, but actively seeking to make a difference in Tuesday's upcoming gubernatorial primary election. "Our groups have now made an exception to their longstanding no endorsement rules," explained Dawn Wildman, long-time state coordinator and co-fonder of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition. "The tea party groups in CA have built consensus on so many issues and candidates that we are poised to become a big player in the upcoming elections.” As Wildman points out, since the IRS doesn't seem to be in a rush to give Tea Party groups tax exempt status, the organizers thought that it was time to take advantage of that fact.  So, they have named specific candidate preferences in this cycle, which has not been their policy before. "We still encourage everyone to do their own research," Wildman said.  "But we have had so many requests for a guide, and many of our groups are very tired of the GOP establishment hand-picking candidates, that we felt it was time to name names.  Interestingly, the leaders from California Tea Party organizations across the state came together on choices fairly quickly." Click HERE for the complete list of California Tea Party Groups' recommendations. As California's crazy often seeps over onto other states, I thought I might hit a few points of interest to Legal Insurrection fans elsewhere.  The governor's race in November is a foregone conclusion no matter which of the two leading GOP candidates (Tim Donnelly or Neel Kashkari) wins. Right now, the race between the two leading GOP contenders is a dead heat.
Republicans Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari are locked in a statistical dead heat in the Republican race for governor, according to a new USC/Los Angeles Times poll. Eighteen percent of likely voters support Kashkari and 13 percent support Donnelly, with 10 percent undecided, according to the poll. Both Republicans remain far behind Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic incumbent registered 50 percent support among likely voters.

In the wake of Tea Party's initial phases of success and media attention in 2009, progressive counterparts astroturfed their own version: The Coffee Party. For me, the most troubling aspect of development is that the organizers usurped the beverage that powers my Tea Party activities. But, I digress. Recently, many elite pundits were gleefully pronouncing that the "Tea Party is dead", once again. For example, the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin points to various Senate primaries where Tea Party candidates couldn’t raise money and couldn’t win. Nice to see such concern, Jennifer! Especially touching, as the Texas Tea Party just arranged a replacement for a 34-year-incumbent during the Republican primary runoff. As an analysis of the Tea Party's defeat of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst pointed out: The GOP, once dominated by business interests and Beltway insiders, is now driven more by local activists far from Washington watching their members like hawks. This got me to thinking: What ever happened to "The Coffee Party?" The last time I checked in on them (in 2011), the progressive version of the Tea Party had a schism so bad, that one group split up into two different booths at an event. Legal Insurrection's archives contain a few old grinds, too: Here is the latest statement from "Coffee Party USA". Frankly, I don't see much life left:

In the annals of news I have personally covered, I have rarely been so embarrassed by some members of my own sex as I have been this week, in the wake of the spree killing that took the lives of six young students attending the University of California - Santa Barbara. Among the most egregious examples of inanity offered as sophisticated opinion on this tragedy: These pundits would like to ignore several salient points in their mad scramble to promote their toxic worldviews.  However, they seem to ignore the fact that four talented young men, guiltless of any race or gender sin these women decry, are dead. I would like to take a moment to remember them. Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="384"] [From Facebook][/caption]
Michaels-Martinez was a 20-year-old sophomore at UC Santa Barbara. His parents told the LA Times that he was planning on becoming a lawyer and would soon be going abroad to London. As well as an avid reader, Michaels-Martinez is also remembered as an impressive athlete who played soccer, football, basketball.
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