Category Archives: California

Have They Forgotten 9/11? Five Republicans and Chuck DeVore Want Us Out of Afghanistan by Gregory Hilton

By a vote of 356-65, the House of Representatives last night rejected a resolution to begin troop withdrawals from Afghanistan within the next 30 days, and to have all troops out by the end of the year. The sponsor was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) of the Progressive Caucus, and five isolationist Republicans crossed over to join the liberals.
The GOP cut-and-run crowd includes Congressmen Ron Paul (TX), John Duncan, Jr, (TN), Tim Johnson (IL), John Campbell (CA) and Walter Jones (NC). Afghanistan is the central front against extremism, but Rep. Paul said Americans were engaged in “nothing more than empire building. The Taliban didn’t launch an attack against the United States. The Government of Afghanistan didn’t launch it.” He called the U.S. liberation of Afghanistan, “illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and illegitimate”. He said the war is nothing more than a foreign occupation.
One of the most prominent Republicans in the 2010 elections is Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. He is seeking the GOP U.S. Senate nomination to oppose ultra-liberal Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). He also claims to be “very conservative,” but says he has been greatly influenced by the views of Ron Paul and the libertarians. DeVore and Boxer are firm opponents of the Obama surge, and DeVore says the plan is a “a recipe for strategic failure.” DeVore believes it is not necessary to “employ conventional forces” in Afghanistan.
These lawmakers have apparently forgotten what happened to America on 9/11. It was the Taliban who gave Osama bin Laden the safe haven which allowed him to plan the attacks. If we pulled out now it would allow the Taliban to regain control and al Qaeda would have carte blanche to once again run terrorist training camps and plan new attacks against the United States and our allies.
This would pose a significant and grave risk to our national security, and all Americans would be in danger. No enemy was ever vanquished, and no victory was ever secured by running away. Those who wish to destroy the United States would surely follow us. If we are beaten in Afghanistan they would be eager to attack us wherever we go. The cut-and-run crowd does not understand if we retreat unilaterally and quit, the war will not be over.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine who served in Afghanistan, said last night,

Our enemies will continue to attack us whether or not we continue the battle against them. Our troops would return home with one question: Why? Why would you bring us home when victory was so close? Why did we fight so hard, make so many sacrifices, only to have those that believe in peace at any price say it’s time to quit? Now is not the time to retreat. This enemy is real and it must be defeated. Do the critics really want the return of a nightmarish tyranny? Although they have far to go, the Afghan people have made demonstrable progress.

If America pulled out now all of the improvements we have seen would disappear. Afghans would no longer be allowed to vote. The Taliban would rule by the edict of terror, and political dissidents would be murdered. Women would once again be non-citizens, young girls would be kicked out of school and they would be forbidden to read.
One of the principal reasons we have been spared a repeat of 9/11 is that U.S. forces quickly toppled the Taliban regime which was protecting the terrorists. The Taliban and al Qaeda were driven out of their safety zone and into the remote mountains. Years of constant U.S. military pressure have forced them to turn their attention from planning more attacks against our homeland to fighting for their own survival.
Afghanistan is today the epicenter of terrorism, and President Obama has wisely responded with a 34,000 troop surge. A new strategy was announced by General McChrystal, the commander of the U.S. and international forces, on December 1st. This strategy is effective and is already leading to key victories. It makes no sense to pick up and leave when we’re winning and crushing blows are being inflicted on the enemy.
Our armed forces have begun a 12- to 18-month campaign to defeat the Taliban. We are witnessing the first major joint NATO-Afghanistan military operation in southern Helmand province, which is considered a strategic fulcrum for ridding the nation of the Taliban. One third of the troops are from the Afghan National Army.
American troops are working side by side with their Afghan counterparts. They took back the city of Marja in three weeks. They are making the Afghan people their number one priority, which is the basis for this counterinsurgency strategy. Furthermore, Pakistan’s army is now engaged and they have 147,000 troops closing in on the terrorists.
Victory is close, but we have not obtained it yet. Abandonment and retreat — those are not strategies. We stay because it’s in our interest to stay and secure a victory against the enemies of the world. Listed below are statements from some prominent leaders regarding the importance of America’s role in Afghanistan.

“This is not the time to turn our backs on the Afghan people. This is no idle danger. No hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror, and this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards and al Qaeda can operate with impunity.
“We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region. . . . And if the Afghan Government falls to the Taliban or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged, that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.” — President Barack Obama

“I was in Kandahar. It was in Kandahar that the 9/11 attacks were planned. It was in the training camps in eastern Afghanistan where the initial preparation of the attackers was carried out before they went to Hamburg and flight schools in the U.S.
“It is important to recall the seriousness of the mission and why it is that we are in Afghanistan in the first place and why we are still there after years and years of hard work and sacrifice that have passed. . . . We’ve got to show that we are in this; that we are going to provide sustained, substantial commitment.” — General David Patraeus, Central Command

“When I am in Afghanistan, I get the same question asked as when I am in Pakistan, which is, are you going to leave us again? Because they remember very well that we have in the past. And so there is a trust here. There is uncertainty through Afghanistan’s eyes as to whether or not we will stay.” — Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“A hasty withdrawal could lead to a national security disaster in the form of Taliban rule in Kabul and safe haven for Al-Qaeda. I am keenly aware that even if we remain in Afghanistan — and here I want to emphasize this — there is s no guarantee we will prevail in our fight against Al-Qaeda. But if we don’t try, we are guaranteed to fail.” — Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), House Foreign Affairs Committee

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California’s Fiscal Collapse at Center Stage in U.S. Senate Contest by Gregory Hilton

The fiscal outlook in California continues to be dire and economic issues will dominate the 2010 race for U.S. Senate race. The outlook in the Golden State is decidedly different from when Senator Barbara Boxer (D) last sought re-election in 2004. Boxer, 69, served a decade in the House before moving to the Senate in 1992, and is promising to raise $20 million for this year’s campaign. She has already raised $11 million and is going to need all of it in order to cope with considerable voter anger.
California’s sales, income and gasoline taxes are among the highest in the nation. Its corporate taxes are the highest in the West, and despite 1978’s Proposition 13, its property taxes are at about the national average.
The state has a 12.1% unemployment rate, housing prices have plunged, home foreclosures have skyrocketed and a drought is threatening the state’s dwindling water supply. The Senator’s massive support from public employee unions is becoming an issue.
The number of state employees grew 24% over the past decade, and they are now the nation’s most highly compensated. Survey research indicates voters are drawing a connection between generous compensation packages for public employees and the state’s huge budget deficit. The result is declining approval ratings for the Senator, and she is now being blamed for deficit spending on Capitol Hill and in Sacramento.
California is already technically bankrupt, and it’s collective deficit from all cities and towns is double the state government’s $20 billion budget gap. Many municipalities have been closing parks, firing teachers and police officers, and the tuition at state universities has gone up 30%. Of course, states can’t technically go bankrupt, but they can end up in federal receivership.
The primary is on June 5th and both parties have interesting contests. Boxer is expected to easily defeat journalist Mickey Kaus of Slate magazine for the Democratic nomination, but it will be difficult for the incumbent to answer the questions posed by the challenger. He points to the unified public school district in Los Angeles as an example of the state’s problems.
In the past decade, the school district has spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of their 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance. Only four of the seven were eventually fired, and each case lasted an average of five years. Kaus is saying Democrats should not be reluctant to take on teachers and other union. He says, “You can’t find a Democrat politician criticizing the teachers unions,” and Boxer has traditionally relied on organized labor for the bulk of her campaign cash.
A major problem is the revenue decline because of the recession, but the state is spending more than enough money to deliver services. It just spends the money poorly. For example, California is spending $11,600/pupil per year for K-12 education, or $371,000 for a classroom with 32 children.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has been trying to change the state’s priorities, but is often thwarted by the overwhelming Democratic control of the state legislature. Schwarzenegger came to office because of a 2003 recall election and then received a full term in 2006 with a landslide victory margin of 56% to 39%.
The Governor attempted to reduce the power of public employee unions and proposed a 2005 constitutional amendment to fix the budget permanently. It eventually became Prop. 76, but it was defeated when unions poured $100 million into effective TV ads. The Governor has also repeatedly requested across-the-board spending cuts, but this has also been denied by the state legislature. He is leaving office because of term limits.
The GOP primary includes former Rep. Tom Campbell, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. It is expected to be a bitter battle for the next three months. Campbell appears to be the most electable candidate, but he may not survive the primary. Syndicated columnist George Will recently wrote “If Campbell is nominated, he can win, but if Californians were sufficiently rational to nominate him, their state would not be shambolic.”
All of the Republican candidates want to be portrayed as fiscal conservatives. Fiorina was the front runner until Campbell entered the face and her “Demon Sheep” video had attracted considerable attention. It is 3.5 minutes long and was designed for Youtube.
The ad accuses Campbell of backing increases in state taxes when he served as Finance Director for Gov. Schwarzenegger. The ad advertises a web site: FCINO.com – — fiscal conservative in name only. The bizarre ad may end up backfiring on Fiorina, who had a spotty voting record prior to this campaign.
Campbell represented Silicon Valley in Congress for nine years, and served in the California Senate. In addition to his post as state budget director, he headed UC Berkeley’s business school. Currently he’s a law professor at conservative Chapman University in Orange County.
His amazing resume also includes a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, where his faculty adviser was Milton Friedman. Campbell also graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law and was a Stanford University law professor.
Campbell’s biography states, “During Tom’s tenure as State Finance Director, California’s budget was balanced with no tax increases, no new borrowing, and no accounting gimmicks.” The problem is that when Campbell was running for governor last year, he endorsed several temporary tax hikes as part of a broader package of spending cuts to balance the state’s books.
Among the tax measures Campbell endorsed was Proposition 1A which was on the May 2009 special election ballot, and was rejected by nearly two-thirds of voters. It would have extended a series of temporary taxes for an additional year and created a new “rainy day” fund to hedge against future downturns. Campbell also proposed a one-year, 32-cents-per-gallon increase in the state gasoline tax to help bridge the deficit.
He defends himself by saying the tax increases he backed were coupled with proposals for even deeper spending cuts and budget reform, and that California, unlike the federal government, is barred by law from running a deficit. He says there is no way to “avoid unfathomable cuts to public education” without generating some new revenue. Polls indicate voters want to erase the $20 billion state budget deficit with reductions in programs and services rather than tax increases. Fiorina signed a petition not to raise taxes but she has not proposed any concrete way of tackling the deficit.
Campbell is responding to Fiorina by highlighting his Congressional record, and the ratings of the National Taxpayers’ Union (NTU). In the 102nd Congress, Campbell was number 1 out of all 435 Members of the House, as the single “most fiscally responsible” Member according to the NTU. Then Rep. Barbara Boxer was 412. In the 106th Congress, he was once again number 1. Then-Sen. Boxer was ranked 95 out of 100 Senators. She has amassed one of the biggest spending records of any Member of the House or Senate in history. Campbell describes his mission by saying:
“I object to spending our children’s money. I object to borrowing so much from overseas that we give power to other countries who can threaten to “call our loans.” I object to printing money at such a rate that a high level of inflation is threatening as soon as the economy recovers.
My proposal for dealing with the deficit is set out in an alternative to the President’s budget. It’s on my website, at campbell.org. I cut the President’s deficit more than half: by almost 700 billion dollars. And, to hit zero deficit eventually, we need to restore Gramm Rudman. Because of Gramm Rudman, we actually balanced the federal budget when I was last in Congress.”

Furthermore, Campbell was the lawmaker who took on the leadership of his own party when they broke the budget guidelines. He damaged his relationship with the Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) when he went public to denounce the GOP leader for breaking the budget and setting a bad example.

Is a GOP Upset Possible in California? by Gregory Hilton

California was a reliably Republican state in presidential politics from World War II through the 1980s, but now it is solidly in Blue America. Democrats have a 1.5 million advantage in voter registration. It has been a long time since a Reagan-style conservative has won statewide, and in presidential terms the GOP has written off California since 1992. Sen. John McCain received 37% of the vote in 2008 and George W. Bush’s total was 45% in 2004 and 42% in 2000. Sen. Bob Dole received 38% in 1996 and George H.W. Bush got 33% in 1992. Bush did defeat Michael Dukakis in California in 1988.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D) continues to hold the lead n her re-election race, but many factors indicate she may be vulnerable this year. The intensity of the primary campaign to secure the GOP Senate nomination also demonstrates usual enthusiasm to challenge her.
Boxer is one of the most liberal members of the Senate, and advocated a withdrawal from Iraq in 2005. She also joined Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) in backing a resolution to censure President George W. Bush.
The first GOP primary debate was held on Friday night, and the spotlight was on the two front runner’s. Former Rep. Tom Campbell had the most polished debating style while this was former Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Carly Fiorina first political debate.
Campbell is a former State Senator, sered nine years in the U.S. House and was the Budget Director for Gov. Schwarzenegger. Fiorina portrays herself as a successful business leader but HP stock fell 50% during her tenure, and she received a $21 million golden parachute when she was fired in 2005.
GOP Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John McCain and Jon Kyl of Arizona have all endorsed Fiorina, but this came before Campbell entered the primary. She contributed $2.5 million to her campaign but has also made rookie mistakes such as suggesting California file for bankruptcy which is not legally possible. Fiorina’s credibility was further damaged when it was revealed she had voted only six times in her adult life.
Campbell is in the mold of GOP Governors Pete Wilson, George Deukmejian and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is moderate on social issues (he supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage), but a fiscal conservative. This has been a winning formula for the California GOP in the past two decades.
The third candidate in the primary is Assemblyman Chuck DeVore but he is running well behind and has been largely ignored by the front runners. DeVore has been in the race for over a year but has not been able to raise significant money.
His cash of hand as of last month was a dismal $142,000. DeVore has a conservative voting record in Sacramento but he also has a libertarian outlook. DeVore and Senator Boxer are both in opposition to President Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan, and the Orange County Assemblyman has frequently attacked George W. Bush rather than Boxer. DeVore is firmly against Bush’s 2008 bank bailout legislation even though 82% of the money has been repaid with interest and it is difficult to think how our banking system would have survived without the Bush initiative.
The biggest boost to DeVore’s campaign was winning the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly, but some of his remarks to the group were unusual. He attacked Fiorina because she had been a top adviser to McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, and said she was a supporter of the Bush “Wall Street bailout.” DeVore has been endorsed by Sen. Jim DeMint (SC).
All of the Republicans are running surprisingly well against Boxer, despite the fact they are largely unknown. Campbell switched from the Governor’s race to the Senate contest on January 14th, and the primary is on June 5th. The former Congressman has dominated the campaign since then, and came out swinging Friday night.
He said the “whispering campaign, that silent slander stops today.” He was talking about Fiorina’s charge he was anti-Israel. According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Campbell reiterated his support for Israel, noting that he consistently supported military aid to the nation and flew to Israel as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was launching Scud missiles at the country during the first Gulf War. He defended a vote against Jerusalem being the nation’s undivided capital, insisting it was part of a Democratic political maneuver to embarrass then-President George H.W. Bush. . .
“Fiorina also had to explain her record, specifically the actions of a Hewlett-Packard subsidiary that sold printers to Iran, which is subject to a trade embargo. . . DeVore and Fiorina continued to criticize Campbell’s ties to individuals who donated to a past campaign and, years later, pleaded guilty to or were accused of crimes. The most notable is Sami Al-Arian, a professor who received Campbell’s support when the University of South Florida tried to fire him for expressing unpopular views. DeVore called Campbell ‘a friend to our enemies.’
“‘I certainly wish that I had done a better job of finding out who he was at the time,’ Campbell said. ‘I do not think that I deserve the kind of attack, however, that has been launched, that somehow I am a jihadist. That is absurd.”
Fiorina claims Campbell voted to “cut aid to Israel.” He voted against increasing all foreign aid. He supported the full appropriation for Israel but he objected to an increase which was to be taken from funds set aside for the world’s neediest countries. There is also merit to his idea of having Jerusalem as a shared capital.
As far as the campaign contribution from Sami Al-Arian, Campbell said he knew nothing about his terrorist ties. The LA Times recently said:
“Is Campbell’s explanation credible? His opponents think not, but we’re inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was naive, perhaps, and gullible; he certainly shouldn’t have written the letter before gathering the facts. But we find it hard to believe he is a ‘friend to our foes’ who knowingly supported an Islamic Jihad operative.
This is an important subject, and no doubt more will come out in the days ahead. To those who are concerned we say: Ask him. Challenge him. His positions are fair game. So is his judgment. But let’s not allow innuendo, hyperbole and cheap politics to drown out reasonable debate. . . We abhor terrorism and don’t want our leaders palling around with those who engage in it. But we are also convinced that it is possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Zionist. We don’t believe that public officials must be rigidly loyal to a single playbook of ‘pro-Israel’ positions.”
California Republicans have nominated many admirable conservatives over the past two decades, but they lost in a landslide. Senator Boxer won her last campaign by 20 points over conservative Secretary of State Bill Jones, and at the same time, Gov. Gray Davis (D) was being re-elected by 19 points over conservative Attorney General Dan Lungren. Every Republican in recent years who has run statewide as a conservative has lost by double digits.
In scoring the debate, Joe Mathews of the New America Foundation said “To his credit, Campbell was clear and rational, and terrific at making Fiorina sound bad by asking pointed questions. But he seems entirely too reasonable to convince today’s Republican voters to cast their ballots for him.”
Survey data demonstrates nearly three-quarters of the electorate are “yellow-dog” partisans who always vote their parties. The other 25 percent are true independents. They include small numbers of people registered in both parties and the roughly 20 percent who aren’t registered with any party. This year Republicans are once again polling well with independents, and Sen. Boxer could have a hard time reaching moderates in the Fall.

California and the Pending Collapse of Liberal State Governments by Gregory Hilton

The California fiscal crisis impacts all of us. The state is running out of money and it is now likely they will default on their debt which will hamper our national economic recovery. Unemployment is over 12%, they have America’s lowest credit rating and the second-highest rate of home foreclosures.
California is now $21 billion in debt, and if they were a business the state would have to declare bankruptcy because they are unable to pay their bills. The state’s tax revenues have fallen from a high of $103 billion in 2007-08 to $84.6 billion in the current fiscal year.
No other state can match California’s fiscal crisis, but many states have similar problems. They have spent too much, enacted policies which have driven employers away, and repeatedly caved in to the excessive demands of public employee unions. Few people are paying attention to Wisconsin but despite a balanced budget requirement, the state’s deficit per capita is four times that of California. Similar stories are rampant throughout Blue America.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) took office in 2003 on a promise to “end the crazy deficit spending” and to fundamentally change state government. He has tried to cut the budget many times but the legislature has rarely been cooperative. Some significant reductions have been achieved and the spending gap was over $60 billion last summer. Six months ago $32 billion in cuts were finally enacted.
It was an impressive accomplishment, but far more needs to be done. Schwarzenegger’s next plan will be unveiled during his annual State of the State address on Wednesday and this will be followed by the new budget will be released on Friday. He is expected to ask for changes to the state’s costly pension system, which he has been seeking for several years, as a last major accomplishment. He will also seek an authorization for additional oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast.
A bipartisan tax commission created by Schwarzenegger and outgoing Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D) recommended sweeping overhauls. The panel recommended repealing the sales and corporate taxes, flattening the income tax rate and imposing a new type of tax on a wider variety of businesses that would include the service sector. The recommendations have failed to gain any traction in the legislature.
“We’ve already gone after the low-hanging fruit and the medium-hanging fruit and the higher-hanging fruit, so it’s going to get tougher and tougher now to balance the budget,” Schwarzenegger said. The Governor will leave office in January 2011 after seven years. Democrats have controlled the state legislature for many years but they have been deadlocked for a long time.
Similar to the U.S. Congress, they do not want to pass any additional unpopular budget reductions in an election year. There are no easy solutions left, and the state has a political crisis in addition to a fiscal crisis. The legislature is worried about its own unpopularity and they do not want to address the problems presented by bloated public employee unions and entitlement spending.
An excellent analysis of the current situation has been made by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (1996 – 2004). It is difficult to think of a more liberal politician than Brown, 75, who previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly for 15 years. He has been closely associated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for over three decades. Brown is unique in that he has come forward to admit the origins of today’s problem. His insightful remarks appear below:
“If we as a state want to make a New Year’s resolution, I suggest taking a good look at the California we have created. From our out-of-sync tax system to our out-of-control civil service, it’s time for politicians to begin an honest dialogue about what we’ve become.
“Take the civil service. The system was set up so politicians like me couldn’t come in and fire the people (relatives) hired by the guy they beat and replace them with their own friends and relatives. Over the years, however, the civil service system has changed from one that protects jobs to one that runs the show.
“The deal used to be that civil servants were paid less than private sector workers in exchange for an understanding that they had job security for life. But we politicians, pushed by our friends in labor, gradually expanded pay and benefits to private-sector levels while keeping the job protections and layering on incredibly generous retirement packages that pay ex-workers almost as much as current workers.
“Talking about this is politically unpopular and potentially even career suicide for most officeholders. But at some point, someone is going to have to get honest about the fact that 80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits are due to employee costs. Either we do something about it at the ballot box, or a judge will do something about in Bankruptcy Court. And if you think I’m kidding, just look at Vallejo.”

Remembering Gary Condit by Gregory Hilton

Former Congressman Gary Condit (D-CA) is shown with Andrea Kanze and Chip Dent at the Gold Cup races in 2000.

Former Congressman Gary Condit (D-CA) is shown with Andrea Kanze and Chip Dent at the Gold Cup races in 2000.


The 2001 disappearance of intern Chandra Levy will apparently soon be solved. This case dominated the news 8 years ago when the 24 year old was tragically murdered and her body was not discovered for a year. The reason for all of the attention was because of Chandra’s relationship with then Congressman Condit. Many people falsely believed he was responsible for her death.
He lost his Congressional seat, and left California because of the bad publicity. His Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Arizona was not successful, and for the past two years he has been writing a book. I was sad to see the photos of him scooping ice cream because it was such a waste of his obvious talent. Condit apparently cheated on his wife with Chandra and several other women who came forward after they were paid by the “National Enquirer.”
Condit… Read More’s personal life is not our business and Mrs. Condit has apparently forgiven him. There were thousands of Condit stories years ago but none of them mentioned his outstanding legislative record.
Condit served in House for 14 years and I knew him as a senior member on the House Intelligence Committee. He spoke out forcefully to stop the genocide and “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia. He was also obviously impacted by the genocide in Rwanda, and it was an issue he continued to raise. Furthermore, Condit was the founder of the Blue Dog Coalition, which is the alliance of moderate Democrats. He was one of the few lawmakers who was respected on both sides of aisle and was able to unite the two parties. When Democrats failed to appoint him to a Conference Committee, the Republicans gave him the slot. That rarely happens.

Washington Is Killing Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship was taken for granted. Now we’re seeing a lot less of it.

The Silicon Valley is Experiencing a Dire Recession

The Silicon Valley is Experiencing a Dire Recession

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122990472028925207.html
My company is based in San Francisco and I definitely identify with the viewpoint of the above article. A significant amount of our work is in the Silicon Valley which is experiencing a dire recession. According to the author, “In all of 2008 there were just six companies which went public. Compare that with 269 IPOs in 1999, 272 in 1996, and 365 in 1986. Faced with crushing reporting costs if they go public, new companies are instead selling themselves to big, existing corporations. For the last four years it has seemed that every new business plan in Silicon Valley has ended with the statement ‘And then we sell to Google.’ The venture capital industry is now underwater. . . . For all of this, we can first thank Sarbanes-Oxley. It has essentially killed the creation of new public companies in America, hamstrung the NYSE and Nasdaq (while making the London Stock Exchange rich), and cost U.S. industry more than $200 billion by some estimates.”