Cal State Fullerton News Politics

Libertarian candidate Gov. Gary Johnson visits Cal State Fullerton

Gov. Johnson speaks about fiscal responsibility while decrying “crony capitalism”

By Tim Worden and Chris Konte, published in Tuesday’s Daily Titan.

Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential candidate, visited Cal State Fullerton Monday to promote his message of limited government, saying that voting for a third-party candidate is not a waste of anyone’s vote.

Johnson, who served two terms as the New Mexico governor from 1995 to 2003, originally ran as a Republican in this election, but switched to the Libertarian Party in May after a stagnant showing at the beginning of the election cycle.

He is known for his views on low-taxation and military nonintervention. He earned the nickname “Governor Veto” for vetoing what he claimed was more than 700 bills, in addition to 1,000 line-item vetoes while in office.

By the end of his eight years as governor, the Washington Post reported the size of state government had been considerably reduced and New Mexico was basking in a budget surplus.

Students had a chance to meet Johnson before and after the event, which was set up by the CSUF group Students for Gary Johnson. Many attendees to the noontime speech in the Quad wore Johnson and Ron Paul shirts.

Johnson said citizens have the power to change the course of the country.

“You’re your own movie director, you’re your own producer, you’re on the screen. Do you like what you see? If you don’t like what you see, change your life. You have control of your life, and you can make that change tomorrow,” Johnson said to the crowd of nearly 120 students.

Johnson made his name by founding a construction and handyman company, Big J, that grew to employ a thousand people. He had never been involved in politics before he ran for governor of New Mexico as a Republican in the 1995 election, something he said a Republican chairman at the time told him would not allow him to win.

“Well I did win, and I’d like to think it was based on what I had to say, which was, ‘Let’s just bring a common sense business approach to state government.’ Best product, best service, lowest price. Let’s keep government out of the bedroom, let’s keep government away from making decisions in your and my life that only you and I should be making,” said Johnson.

Johnson urged students to reconsider the notion of “wasted votes,” or votes for a candidate who has little chance of winning, such as a third-party candidate.

“I know right now that you’re all hearing this notion of wasted votes. What is more of a wasted vote than voting for somebody you don’t believe in?” asked Johnson. “The way we change things in this country is to vote for the person that most mirrors what you think.”

Derek Leininger, a Students for Gary Johnson group organizer who is pursuing a master’s in public administration at CSUF, said no Californian’s vote counts anyway, since “our state always goes blue.”

According to a Reason-Rupe poll released Friday, 53 percent of Californians said they will vote for Obama and 38 percent will vote for Romney. The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

“To actually really make your vote count in this election, bolstering the third party is a very productive way to show the opposition that we’re not consenting anymore,” said Leininger, who became a Libertarian in 2007 by being attracted to Congressman Ron Paul.

The Orange County Libertarian Party has reported a 6 percent growth in members over the last month and a half, according to Tom Hanson, chair for the Orange County Libertarian Party, who was present at the event.

Others disagree with the viability of third-party candidates. Don Matthewson, Ph.D., a political science professor at CSUF, said most libertarian views are immature, akin to a two-year-old who wants less rules to follow.

“A well thought-out third-party candidate cannot win, but can force the other two candidates to face some key issues,” said Matthewson, citing Ross Perot as an example. Perot won 21 percent of the popular vote in 1992.

Historically, third parties have not fared well in presidential elections. In 2008, the Independent and Libertarian candidates managed only 0.56 percent and 0.4 percent of the popular vote, respectively, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

Johnson was introduced by Assemblyman Chris Norby, who presides over the 65th assembly district, which includes CSUF, and Steve Collett, treasurer of the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative.

Norby, a Republican and CSUF alumnus, said war should not be a permanent policy for this country, and that people who believe in freedom have a choice this fall.

“Remember this: It’s much better to vote for somebody you want and lose, than vote for somebody you don’t want, and win,” he said.

comic books Culture Politics

Captain America for President

Illustration by Peter Pham for the Daily Titan

Published in Tuesday’s Daily Titan.

It’s October and the presidential election is in full swing.

We watch as President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney debate, cheering our respective candidate while blotting out the other. And soon, perhaps during last night’s presidential debate, undecided voters must make their final decision with the election only 16 days away.

Not me. I’ve already made my choice. I was undecided until early October, but while watching the first presidential debate, it came to me in a spark of inspiration.

I’m voting for Captain America. Yes, the Marvel Comics superhero who wields an American flag shield.

Don’t get me wrong: I think both candidates are OK. I’ll even concede that Obama has a trustworthy face. I just have a complete lack of faith in the political system, that’s all.

Both candidates are, simply put, good alternative choices. They are more of the same bland crop of American politicians who are unwilling to think outside the box and are eager to spend America’s money. The debates have shown that Obama and Romney lack backbone, sticking in the shallow end with a “war of words.”

That’s boring.

If Captain America has a problem with you, he will tell you outright why you are lying. Some shield throwing and punching may be involved.

For example, in the mid-2000s Civil War storyline, the American government forces all superheroes to register to the government with the “Superhero Registration Act.” Seeing this as a tremendous overstepping of government authority, Captain America vehemently rejects this unjust law.

Since he is breaking a federal law, a group of U.S. special forces agents surround him with guns drawn. His response?

“Weapons down or I will not be responsible for what comes next,” he says.

Romney couldn’t even summon that amount of backbone in his dreams.

Captain America stays away from politics, but he knows when his country has its priorities in reverse. In s #128 (1970), he comes across a Vietnam-era university protest with students rioting against police officers and an “aloof” college dean.

“Here’s where I oughtta step in and make like a swingin’ hero! But how do I know whose side to take? What the heck—the cops don’t need any help—but these kids do!!” he says.

In 1974, months after the conclusion of Watergate, Captain America discovers that a high-ranking government official (assumed to be President Richard Nixon) is working for an evil terrorist group.

He promptly rejects the U.S. and calls himself the Nomad.

Captain America’s fans have always been attracted to his courage. Beyond his suit he is, after all, Steve Rogers, a scrawny young man who was not able to get drafted into the army during World War II. But his determination makes him the perfect candidate for the “Super-Serum.” He’s the target of bullies, the underdog, and he brings this into his role as Captain America, where he now has the strength to fight for the underdogs.

His selflessness and defensive nature are perfect presidential qualities. “Captain America is not here to lead this country. I’m here to serve it. If I’m a captain, then I’m a soldier,” he says in a 2003 issue, adding:

“I am not a ‘superhero’… I am a man of the people. Together, you and I will identify and confront America’s problems. Together, we will figure out what we are and what we can be. Together, we will define the American Dream and make it an American reality,” he said.

He’s an idealist who is not bogged down by a political party. He doesn’t campaign in swing states, he goes out and fights evil.

But these issues are all chump change compared to the real reason why Captain America deserves the leader of the free world honors.

On the cover of his first-ever comic book appearance, in March 1941, only months before  the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain America is shown doing something extraordinary. He is decking Adolf Hitler in the jaw.

That’s bad-ass.

Cal State Fullerton Photography

CSUF kicks off Constitution Day

Read the full article here in the Daily Titan.

Constitution Day festivities were kicked off at Cal State Fullerton with a panel that examined hot-button issues including health care, immigration and the 2012 elections at the Becker Amphitheater Thursday.

About 80 students braved the heat to attend the noontime panel, “Contemporary Challenges to the U.S. Constitution.” It was sponsored by CSUF’s Division of Politics, Administration and Justice; Associated Students Inc. and the Office of Government Relations.

“We’re going to celebrate the 221st birthday of the signing of our venerable Constitution and its longevity suggests that it continues to be relevant,” said Scott Spitzer, assistant political science professor and moderator of the panel.

Political science professor Matthew Jarvis, Ph.D., talks about the elections in the panel.

CSUF’s keynote Constitution Day event, a panel on the death penalty and the costs of capital punishment, is Wednesday  at 6:30-8 p.m. in the TSU Pavilions.

Constitution Day, celebrated annually Sept. 17, commemorates the adoption of the Constitution and recognizes new U.S. citizens.

The panel, at the Becker Amphitheater

Updated Sept. 17.

Cal State Fullerton News Politics

CSUF spotlights Constitution Day

  • Constitution Day, celebrated Sept. 17, celebrates the adoption of the Constitution, which defines the U.S. government’s powers and ensures democracy. Originally posted in Wednesday’s Daily Titan.
National Archives rotunda in Washington, D.C. Such an amazing place. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

A Constitution Day panel put on by Cal State Fullerton’s Division of Politics, Administration and Justice is to be held at the Becker Amphitheater Thursday, Sept. 13.

The panel, “Contemporary Challenges and the U.S. Constitution,” will be from noon to 1 p.m. Along with a voter registration booth, there will be three short discussions on issues relating to the Constitution and the 2012 presidential election, followed by a question and answer session.

“The Constitution, even though it’s over 200 years old, still remains as the center of American politics, it’s still incredibly relevant,” said Scott Spitzer, assistant political science professor, who is moderating the event.

The Constitution Day panel will examine these contemporary topics. The discussions include the “U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)” by Pam Fiber-Ostrow, Ph.D., an associate political science professor; “U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on SB 1070 (Arizona’s controversial immigration law)” by Robert Castro, Ph.D., an associate political science professor; and “The 2012 Elections and the Constitution” by Matthew Jarvis, Ph.D, also an assistant political science professor.

Constitution Day celebrates the adoption of the Constitution as well as those who have become U.S. citizens. It is celebrated annually Sept. 17, the day in 1787 when the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution.

“I want students to understand first of all the Constitution is the rules of the game, how many players can be on the field at any given moment, what are their positions, and what are they allowed to do when they’re on the field,” said Fiber-Ostrow, who will speak about Obamacare.

For example, she said Article I of the Constitution, which deals with Congress’ power and limitations and defines Congress as a bicameral legislature with a lower House of Representatives and a higher Senate, remains relevant.

“I think it’s extremely important for students to understand the difference between whether or not Congress has the power, and whether or not they should be doing something,” Fiber-Ostrow said.

Associated Students Inc., who is co-sponsoring the event along with the Office of Government Relations and the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice, will have a voter mobilization before the panel. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, students can register to vote and get voter materials, Spitzer said.

The event will have free refreshments and Constitution booklets that include the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, said Frances Teves, director of state relations and advocacy for the Office of Government Relations.

CSUF’s keynote Constitution Day event, focusing on the effects of capital punishment, will examine Proposition 34 and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. The panel, “The Cost of Death: Is the price of capital punishment worth the consequences?” will be Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Titan Student Union pavilions.

One of the event’s speakers, Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles district attorney, authored Proposition 34. The proposition, up on the November ballot, will eliminate the death penalty in California and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Spitzer, who puts the Preamble and the idea of separation of powers as his favorite parts of the Constitution, said the Constitution is “universally revered” among politicians and still remains at the forefront in American politics.

“Everybody kind of agrees that this is our amazing blueprint for government and it’s working,” he said.

-Tim Worden


The Constitution also…

  • Creates a separation of powers between three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
  • Begins with the preamble: “We the people, of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
  • Has 27 amendments. The first amendment includes freedom of speech and religion.
News Photography Politics

A day working at the California Primary Election (Photo essay)

I worked 15 hours as a poll worker clerk in the California primary election Tuesday, helping voters cast their votes.

This is our polling location, a newly-remodeled house nestled in the hills of east Yorba Linda. It is a small precinct, only having 825 voters in a dozen streets.

We had a great view:

Beautiful Yorba Linda in mid-morning as the clouds started to clear up for the day.

As it was the primary election, there was an expected poor turnout. Many voters in Yorba Linda seem to vote by mail (335 out of 825 people, or 40 percent). That leaves 490 potential voters that could have voted from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

We had 108 voters. That means 22 percent of voters showed up at the polls. (See METHODOLOGY for more info).

So we had 100+ voters in 13 hours. That is a lot of free time. Luckily, I brought Insurgent by Veronica Roth, The Avengers (Ultimate Comics Avengers vs. New Ultimates) and Captain America (Marvel Masterworks: Captain America, Volume 6) to read!

This is the JBC (Judges Booth Controller), a computer that gives voters a code to vote and stores their votes. The clerk puts in the voter’s party and the voter is given his preferred ballot at any of the eSlate voting machines.

JBC computer.

These are the eSlate voting machines (they look like touch screens, but they use a track-ball iPod-like thing instead).

The eSlates.

The family who hosted us took care of us with sandwiches for lunch, a fully-stocked fridge of sodas and lasagna and bread sticks for dinner.

My brother Daniel, who also served as a clerk, eating his dinner.

This is my fourth time working at an election, and being a poll worker is always an exhausting but rewarding experience. I get to experience Democracy first-hand. It is great that in America, anyone can contribute to our government. I love seeing voters proudly flaunt their “I Voted” stickers.

One guy, probably in his late 40s, who zoomed to the polls in his yellow motorized bike, said he has voted in every election since he was 18 and eligible to vote.

“I wouldn’t miss it, it’s one of the perks of being an American.”

Poll workers received a primary pin (right).


-Photos and text by Tim Worden

METHODOLOGY: This is not scientific, it is my best estimate. There are some technicalities (a few voters who were Vote by Mail came and voted, so that would have some affect). I went through the list and counted the 335 Vote By Mail voters so naturally I made an error or two. So I will arbitrarily say, with the power vested in me (aka all the power in the universe), that my conclusions are true to within plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Cal State Fullerton News

Concert to promote upcoming primary election

Cal State Fullerton students got to hear a concert by Bristol to Memory in the quad around noon on Thursday.

Register. Volunteer. Vote. was the theme of the event, put on by the OC Registrar of Voters, to raise awareness for California’s June 5 primary election. Students could register to vote and volunteer to be a poll worker at the election. (Incentive: You get $95 for working the 12-hour day.)

The rock/alternative concert was pretty good and a crowd of at least 40-50 students were gathered around the quad.

Incidentally, I will be volunteering as a poll worker in the election. That $95 is pretty alluring to a college student.