Berkeley's Conservative Voice

Monday, July 26, 2010

Clueless Bill Alert

As you might have heard, UC Berkeley recently began offering incoming freshmen a chance to have their DNA analysed as part of the On the Same Page program. Opposition began to spring up almost immediately, generating headlines on Drudge and Fox News among other national outlets. This prompted Assemblyman Chris Norby, a Republican (unfortunately) from Orange County to introduce AB 70, which would ban CSUs from requesting (key word) genetic information from students and ask the UC regents to follow suit.

Unfortunately, this bill and other opposition to the On the Same page program is based entirely on fear mongering. True, it would be a serious problem if any university required its students to send a gene sample before enrolling. But this program is completely voluntary - students are not penalized in any way if they decline to participate. In fact, the results are barcoded so that no one except the student will know the identity of their test results or even whether they decided to participate.

The other main scare tactic has been that insurance companies and others with an interest in finding out about a student's genetic makeup may offer to buy the data. As mentioned earlier though, even if the university were evil enough to want to make a buck or two off of its student's DNA, it couldn't. Unless insurance companies are interested in samples from completely annonymous individuals.

To the contrary, there are definate upsides for students that decide to participate. They will get a chance to examine their own DNA and may be able to spot risk factors that could help them avoid problems down the road. It's almost worth being a freshman to participate.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bearcardo Watch

Last year, this cute little bear started showing up randomly on the sidewalks of Berkeley. Turns out it belonged to one Ricardo Gomez, affectionately known as "Bearcardo." Bearcardo was best known as the founder of the group Berkeley Students Against the Cuts. That was until he decided to run for the ASUC's External Affairs Vice President (EAVP) position. He won by 32 votes thanks to a Daily Cal hit piece on his primary opponent.

All was well and good until I checked my e-mail this week and up comes an e-mail from Noah Stern, ASUC President entitled "Greetings from your ASUC Executive Officers." Since I was bored, I opened it instead of relegating it to the spam file like the other 99% of the student body. Sure enough, it was a lot of the usual 'Thank you for letting me serve you and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you!' until I got to Ricardo:

"Hi! I'm Ricardo "Bearcardo" Gomez and I'm your 2010-2011
External Affairs Vice-President!

What does this mean? I am responsible for organizing
and mobilizing students to engage in direct action
and direct advocacy. This year the External Affairs
Office will be a laboratory for social justice organizing
against budget cuts, discrimination, and unjust wars and
for democracy, justice, and peace. If you are interested
in becoming a social justice organizer, the EAVP office
is for you! Internships are available starting in the Fall.
To learn more about how to get involved and issues affecting
the campus community, check out
First of all, it's obvious Ricardo hasn't actually read his job description, or if he has he simply doesn't care. I won't waste space posting it here, but you can find it in Article II Section 4 of the ASUC Constitution. Anyone who can find "responsible for organizing and mobilizing students to engage in direct action and direct advocacy" or anything similar wins a prize for creative interpretation. The EAVP is supposed to represent the position of the ASUC to external groups and lobby to that effect, nothing more. That might have something to do with budget cuts, but certainly not the other five out of six items on Ricardo's list.

That wouldn't be the worse crime though. Indeed, many past ASUC officials have believed themselves to have much more power than they actually do (which is about as much power as Hamid Karzai has over 95% of Afghanistan). But at the end of his message he directs readers to a website which in turn redirects to the blog Among the things posted on this blog: That Oscar Grant was killed because he was black, that UC Berkeley is trying to keep latino students away, that the university's deal with BP will somehow lead to higher fees, that the university is trying to steal student's DNA through a voluntary program, and that a divestment from Israel is in order. On none of these items has the ASUC taken a position - indeed on the last one they specifically declined to take a position.

My beef isn't with Ricardo's radical views - indeed, his right to express them is protected by the very system he deplores - but with his use of ASUC resources in promoting them. The blog he linked to in a student body wide e-mail is clearly only a personal blog. Being elected EAVP should not give the officeholder a soapbox to espouse his or her personal beliefs. Doing so is, if not illegal, completely unethical.

That's not the most troubling thing on Ricardo's site though. He includes a link to an internship application. It's all pretty typical until you come to this question:

If you had to choose, what area are you most interested in working on?
Direct Action Organizing (mobilizing students through protests, strikes, sit-ins, teach-ins, educational events, occupations, etc.)
It gets worse with the next question:

Are you willing to engage in non-violent civil disobedience?
Based on this, it seems that Bearcardo is planning to use his office not only to express his personal views, but perhaps to act on them as well. Which is especially troubling considering his office receives $13,000 in mandatory student fees each year. Is he planning to spend that money on civil disobedience ie, breaking the law? Might things like the Wheeler occupation of last fall and running onto freeways during rush hour become "ASUC Sponsored and ADA Accessible?"

Time will tell. But we will keep watching. In the meantime, here is a musical representation of how Ricardo Gomez plans to spend his time as EAVP.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Is Mark Williams Over the Top? Yes. Racist? No

You may have heard about a controversy over the weekend regarding Mark Williams, spokesperson for the Tea Party Express (pictured left, far opposite his political views). Last week, he posted this satirical letter from the leader of the NAACP to Abraham Lincoln on his blog, in response to the absolutely ridiculous accusation by that organization that the tea party is in some way racist. The post has since been taken down:

Dear Mr. Lincoln

We Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!

In fact we held a big meeting and took a vote in Kansas City this week. We voted to condemn a political revival of that old abolitionist spirit called the 'tea party movement'.

The tea party position to "end the bailouts" for example is just silly. Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for? What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds! Of course, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the only responsible party that should be granted the right to disperse the funds.

And the ridiculous idea of "reduce[ing] the size and intrusiveness of government." What kind of massa would ever not want to control my life? As Coloreds we must have somebody care for us otherwise we would be on our own, have to think for ourselves and make decisions!

The racist tea parties also demand that the government "stop the out of control spending." Again, they directly target Colored People. That means we Colored People would have to compete for jobs like everybody else and that is just not right.

Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government "stop raising our taxes." That is outrageous! How will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society?

Mr. Lincoln, you were the greatest racist ever. We had a great gig. Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house. Please repeal the 13th and 14th Amendments and let us get back to where we belong.


Precious Ben Jealous, Tom's Nephew National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Head Colored Person

This letter is racist, but its author isn't. The intent clearly is to satirize the NAACP's apparent opposition to policies that would wean all Americans off the government dole. The logic then goes that if they oppose that, they might have opposed abolishing slavery. The underlying message Williams is trying to get across is that the NAACP, not the tea party, is racist. Calling the NAACP racist doesn't make one racist themselves. That's just a logical fallacy.

Now, whether the satire is accurate and the NAACP truly is racist is a different matter entirely. I personally don't think that is the case. But the fact that Mark Williams made that comparison, albeit slightly misguided, should not be used as proof that there is racism in the tea party. He may be guilty of extreme misjudgment and making an inappropriate comparison, but not the racism he has been accused of.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


As you might have noticed since you are reading this, we are back. After a year and a half or so hiatus, the California Patriot Blog is back and better than ever. Let the good times roll.

For those of you new to the Patriot, allow me an introduction. The California Patriot is the conservative magazine at UC Berkeley. The magazine was founded in 2000 by a group of students interesting in balancing the journalism scene on campus, with a blog starting soon after. Our founding fathers' (and mothers') efforts were wildly successful, with the magazine soon commanding national attention. In 2002, it broke the story of a ban on patriotism at an ASUC Sponsored 9/11 memorial. Later, the Patriot blog became a primary news source when the Berkeley City Council decided to insult our men and women in uniform. In between, the Patriot has consistently provided conservative viewpoints to an otherwise liberal campus. The magazine is published six times per year and is distributed free on the Cal campus and by subscription anywhere in the United States.

So what are we doing here on the blog? Well, two things. First, we are going to provide the same conservative/libertarian viewpoint that you see in the magazine, only more often and without the printing delay. Second, we are an alternative news source for the UC Berkeley community. The days of the Daily Cal monopoly are over. As we get going, expect some original stories and reporting. From the ASUC, to the university administration, to the Berkeley City Council, we've got it covered.

We invite you to continue the conversation in our comments section below each post. Whether you are a conservative, libertarian, centrist, liberal, or marxist, we would love to hear your thoughts and have a good discussion. The only thing we ask is that you keep it respectful and appropriate for a wide audience.

We would love your feedback on the site. It is still in the development stage and we could use your ideas regarding backround, layout, features, etc. You can e-mail me at avnevis -at- We are especially looking for a catchy tag line to go under the Patriot logo at the top of the page. If your idea is chosen, you win a prize!*

Speaking of feedback, we would be very grateful if said comments came attached to a monetary donation! It hasn't cost us a dime (yet) to set up this blog site (can't you tell?) but it does cost us thousands of dimes to produce and print six magazines each year. You can donate over at the main Patriot site. On that page you can also find information about how to subscribe to the magazine.

In addition, we are also always looking for good student writers for both the blog and the magazine. If you are or soon will be a student at Cal and are interested in contributing, drop me a line and I'll fill you in on all the details.

We hope you enjoy your time here at the California Patriot Blog. Welcome!

*Prize is a reply e-mail with the word "Thanks!" in the body.

Whitman Opponents Use Nazi References - Again

As you may recall, about a month ago California Attorney General and current candidate for governor Jerry Brown got into a little bit of trouble last month for comparing opponent Meg Whitman's media strategy to that of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. You might have thought that he and his union allies would have learned their lesson.

Apparently not. This time the offender is the California Nurses Association (CNA), telling Politico in an interview about Whitman's campaign trackers:

"As part of her war against California nurses, Queen Meg has been sending out her 'Whitman Youth' guys to stalk and harass nurses, in concert with all her other attacks (last count: junk mail, crank calls, push polls, online dirty tricks, and privacy invasions)[...]"
Whitman youth? Really? And isn't this highly ironic considering that CNA has spent over $50,000 of members' union dues to stalk Whitman around the state? What does that make CNA, the KGB?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

BART Police Use Guns to Protect Themselves

For all those who don't think that BART needs to have armed police, I present you with this:

Oakland and BART police officers shot and killed a man this morning near the Fruitvale BART station after an alleged confrontation with police, authorities said.

Details about the shooting were still emerging, but authorities said the man was armed with a knife and threatened officers.

I hear John Burris is filing a lawsuit already.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicago, the Supreme Court is on the line...

About three years ago, back in the good old days of high school, my United States History teacher tasked each student in the class with a unique term paper on the topic of their choice. Given my family's immersion in "the gun culture", I thought it would be exciting to study Second Amendment case law, which was interesting primarily because by and large it didn't exist. The last time the Supreme Court had touched gun rights was about 70 years prior, and the decision itself was more remarkable for what it didn't say than what it did. I didn't see that trend changing any time soon, and remarked to my teacher that the 2008 case Parker v. District of Columbia would never see the Supreme Court.

Ah, the things kids say.

In 2008, the Court did hear that case (renamed Heller v. DC) and affirmed that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right, not a "collective" one - meaning that, like all rights, the moral sanction on the ownership and use of arms for self-defense, recreation, hunting, and other purposes was vested in individuals, not in broad groups like "the militia" (which, tragically, no longer exists).

The Supreme Court has since gone further and "incorporated" the Second Amendment in the recent case McDonald v. Chicago. Under "incorporation", State and local governments are prohibited from violating provisions in the Federal Constitution. That means that the Second Amendment is no longer a second-class right; it cannot be dismissed on hazy "public welfare" grounds or ignored outright by States and municipal governments. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the case is that it was not the usual 5-4 with Kennedy as the swing vote. This time, Clarence Thomas was the critical vote. The distinction between him and the rest of the pro-liberty bloc of the decision was Thomas' argument that the Second Amendment should be incorporated by the "Privileges and Immunities" clause rather than the "Due Process" clause favored by the other four. The former would declare that the ownership and use of firearms is a fundamental right of all Americans, firmly rooted in our way of life and our legal tradition.

Apparently, Chicago didn't get the message. reports that the city has voted 45-0 to instate a new gun ban. In classic Chicago style, the city is desperately looking for a way to ignore the law and foist their own vision for the city's residents onto the newly enfranchised population: "...we're struggling to figure out a way in which we can limit the guns on our streets and still meet the test that our Supreme Court has set for us." The ban would prohibit gun owners from even stepping out of their homes and require that they wade through red tape - including taking training courses that are not even available! - and create a registry of city gun owners for potential future confiscation or police harassment.

Despite the City's rather predictable violation of the Court's judgment, it is still rather heartening to see gun rights, the palladium of liberty, finally elevated to their proper place in Constitutional law, and humbling to think that the case that the Court would never touch has already grown into one of the greatest triumphs for liberty in modern history.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lights Out Eshleman!

As you may remember there was a little protest here at Berkeley a couple of months ago over the new Arizona anti-illegal immigration law. Seeing as they had no other more important problems to deal with, the ASUC Senate decided to unanimously and mindlessly pass a resolution boycotting Arizona. The important part of the resolution is as follows:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the ASUC will no longer purchase any goods manufactured in, assembled in, or distributed from the State of Arizona or produced by companies headquar-tered in the State of Arizona.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the ASUC Senate urges the University of California, Berkeley and all University of California, Berkeley affiliates, to no longer purchase any goods manu-factured in, assembled in, or distributed from the State of Arizona or produced by companies headquartered in the State of Arizona.
It appears that the ASUC is already in violation every time the lights are turned on in the Senate chamber, or at least will be by 2012.

Seems that PG&E struck a deal last year to begin importing some of its power supplies from a solar plant in the state of Arizona. The plant is expected to be operational by 2012.

Although the ASUC Auxiliary foots the power bill for the ASUC owned properties, every time an ASUC officer or student group turns on a light in one of the ASUC properties, they are forcing someone else to buy a product partially manufactured in Arizona. Even if it does not violate the letter of the resolution, it certainly violates the spirit of it.

Bottom line: Senate meetings by candlelight in 2012! And a new game: Will they finish the meeting before the wax burns out?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Free Mehserle

As you probably heard, a verdict was reached yesterday in the BART shooting case and some folks weren't too happy about the jury's involuntary manslaughter decision.

Given that there has been absolutely no evidence of anything legally wrong with the jury's decision (indeed most rational people saw it as correct) you might expect public officials to either say nothing or reassure constituents that the verdict was in line with the rule of law. Of course, you'd be forgetting that rational politicians don't exist in Oakland.

Predictably, most public officials sided with the mob over the law. Some even joined it. Congresswoman and former black panther Barbara Lee, apparently unfamiliar with the concept of double jeopardy, called the verdict "an outrage" and called for the federal government to retry Mehserle. She didn't mention her reasoning - probably because there is none. She was joined in her irrational pursuit of double jeopardy by Oakland mayor Ron Dellums.

Some have said that anyone not a cop would have been treated differently. I agree on that point. If Mehserle wasn't a police officer, public officials wouldn't be demanding his lynching. There is absolutely no basis for the justice department to intervene. Mehserle has had a fair trial and was convicted. Despite what the mob says, justice has been served.

Don't expect Barbara Lee to understand though.