Seemingly out of nowhere, Brynne Kennedy has appeared as a candidate. Wanting to be an informed voter I went to her website. Her Strengthen our Local Economy section totally ignores forestry and mining but says “We … are becoming a growing hub for healthcare services, technology …” without any substantiation. She believes in “… expanding collective bargaining rights,” but takes no position on the prevalent issues like right to work laws. This noncommittal glib statement is typical of her website’s entire Positions section. She opposes the recent capping of “… individual deductions on state and local taxes for Californians…” Certainly those benefitting from this are pleased, but like the rest of this she seemingly has something for everybody. But, there is not a hint of understanding the issue involved. Why should Middle America subsidize the environmentalist building restrictions and over-regulation of California and other areas? But, if she were in Congress she won’t be defining the issues or crises. Aside from pleasing some, what is her decision making process based on? Ultimately how she would vote on future legislative bills is far more important than almost any current specific position.
Her Protecting Our Environment section dwells upon climate change with the assumptions that we are causing it with activity on the sun ignored. She expresses faith in “… new technologies in forest management …” without even a hint as to what those may be. Does someone need a new technology to see if a tree is dead, alive or overcrowded?
“Brynne supports tax breaks and incentives targeted at the new solutions and technology our communities need right now …” As almost always she is vague. If tax breaks are given to only some for electric cars or home solar than the others that can’t afford it will pay for it in their increased taxes. She proposes “… more modern and cost- effective methods of (water) storage than only dams …” Again she is not specific, but does try to have something for everybody. But two things permeate all her statements: a religious fervor style belief in technology (her friends?) to solve all our problems along with government to implement almost all of them. Nowhere is the question of more government and its various effects and downsides ever discussed.
But in her Smarter Government section she addresses this issue by saying “… this isn’t a choice of bigger vs. smaller government. It’s about making government smarter and more efficient …” The inherent ability of bureaucracy to expand itself is ignored making me question the depth of her understanding. She “… supports an annual cost/benefit analysis …” of Federal expenditures. The cost part is already done by several government entities. If they’re not doing their job they need to be reformed rather than creating new agencies. The benefit part requires subjective judgments. If it’s the greatest number served then it’s like abolishing the Electoral College and having New York and L.A. determine the fate of everyone else. Some commentators equate this with mob rule.
She makes the excellent point of overlapping Federal agencies, but uses that as only a lead in to her proposal for a “model of best practices” to better coordinate Federal, state and local governments. Again we have a venue for subjective judgments and possible changes that would inevitably be hard to undo if undesirable.
Her Better Healthcare section endorses Obamacare and importing lower cost drugs. She claims that will prevent price gouging, but is that the only reason we don’t have competitively priced drugs? Aren’t most drugs purchased by Medicare and various other health plans? And true to her gospel of technology she wants “… to expand digital health monitoring.” She is vague, as always, in defining this. Does it mean we must wear or have implanted some device?
In her Standing Up for Our Seniors she defends Social Security and attacks those that question it. But Social Security is actuarially unsound and yields a ridiculously low return. It’s only survived this long due to various band aid measures. A real leader would instigate a discussion of what type of a national retirement system is both feasible and desirable.
The Protect Our Communities and Our Democracy section discusses wildfires in the context of “… solutions, not partisanship.” Another feel good statement that neglects noting spotted owls, unemployed loggers, empty lumber mills and overpriced lumber. Does she consider that reality only as partisanship? Her solution is “smart growth practices” aided by tax incentives. Apparently many of us will make up the tax deficient caused by the incentives to nobly achieve a reduction in the number of affordable detached homes available. Also everything she proposes requires more paper pushers and therefore less in primary production. That is a prescription for economic collapse.
“Smart Growth” is an affectionate buzzword for many that exhibit the attempts of some to manipulate our language to define reality their way. She intents “… to protect access to … reproductive health services,” but skips the controversy of allowable abortions morphing into infanticide. She wants to “… extend … access to early childhood education …” without considering the advantages of a family/neighborhood situation and the developmental and emotional consequences of an institutional type setting, which often inculcates manipulative skills over self reliance. No where it this “Protect Our Communities” section is the current plague of riots and violence noted, but she did critically acknowledge this later during the campaign.
The Keep America Safe section begins with “… our starting point must be to restore a foreign policy that puts the goals and security interests of our nation before partisan politics.” Aside from trying to award herself kudos for being non partisan despite clear partisan positions like climate change, she again avoids the hot button issues. Why should we subsidize Germany’s defense especially since we have ballooning deficits and increasing domestic needs? She wants to renew our NATO alliances but leaves out discussing our tax dollars. What about slave labor goods from China? Or eavesdropping software built into Chinese chips? Or the ongoing massacres of Christians in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere? Are these partisan or non partisan issues?
In Supporting our Veterans she not surprisingly finds salvation in technology to streamline the VA. And again (and again) her proposals are framed as “she will.” As a newcomer in Congress the most she could do is propose a bill. To bring that to the floor of the house would require numerous deals, mostly logrolling to support often unnecessary pork barrel projects. And if her proposals are good and become law what oversight does she have? The most, at least officially, she could have is membership on a Congressional oversight committee. Not being a veteran would work against her assignment to a VA or military oversight committee. These committees are ranked by how much money is involved, with newcomers assigned to the lowest appropriators. Her frequent “she wills” are nice rhetoric without any reality. She speaks of the homelessness and unemployment facing many veterans, especially women who now make up a much larger percent of our veterans. She believes the solution is, once again, more government. Nongovernmental and particularly faith based social services are ignored. Social factors such the demise of the family, including the extended family, should be considered in a full discussion of this current lack of an emotional support environment.
Addressing our Housing Crisis does accurately blame “rising regulatory costs,” which is followed by the cleverly worded “economic and environmental disruptions” typical of almost all her political prose. She previously had endorsed smart growth but skips referring to that in this section. Her solution of more Federal involvement never even mentions the free enterprise system, which has born the best housed population in human history, except to note that “36 percent of building costs in California goes to permitting.” But aren’t most of those fees for schools, roads, etc.? Never mentioned is the rising cost of lumber due to environmental policies, nor is Agenda 21 or the no growth movement. Neither the disappearance of well paying manufacturing jobs or the Federal Reserve induced inflation factor into her analysis of homelessness and the housing crisis. In this section as in the others, she never discusses myriad other proposals to solve our problems. While this is not to be expected in a position paper they are good questions for public forums.
There are no statements about education or its current issues of common core or sex ed. And what role has our present education system played in creating the video game generation that now is a plague of property destroying violent political riots? While she sees government as a savior, but the inherent process of bureaucracy to metastasize itself is forgotten. Can anyone remember the EPA transitioning from the popular and needed prevention of toxic industrial waste into a nightmare that tells you what to do or not to in your own backyard?
Fixing our Broken Immigration System never notes how the open border Democrats and cheap labor beneficiaries broke the system. And no position is taken on the often abused HB-1 visa system that steals jobs from Americans. She supports DACA and notes that immigration reform has been held up to “score partisan points,” but never notes that the Democrats are the guilty party. But she does support E-verify and like most of her positions has something for everybody or at least tries too. It almost appears as if the selected topics and issues were determined by some consulting/surveying firm. Her public statements often differ in tone and substance. On February 26, 2017 in a presentation to her company, “Topia, a Global Mobility Platform”, she urged contributions to MOVE Guides “to make it easy to move around the world” and to end “resistance against this xenophobia.” She invokes the wisdom of Michele Obama and applauds a $500 million donation of George Soros to a related venture.
Her Supporting Responsible Gun Ownership endorses red flag laws without acknowledging their inherent judgment calls as opportunities for abuse. But this entire section differs from her tweet of December 15, 2012 while living in England: “Sometimes people ask why I don’t want to live in the U.S. The absurd people on the news who still think everyone should have the ridiculous ‘right to bear arms’ do a bit to explaining that.” On March 12, 2020, Brady, the well-known anti-gun group, issued her a glowing endorsement.
Her website also lists numerous endorsements. Included is, not surprisingly, the Brady Campaign along with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Indivisible El Dorado Hills. Numerous unions are listed including UNITE HERE dedicated to “organizing the people progressives need to vote” with the SEIU (Service Workers International Union) interestingly absent. The Mob controlled Labors International endorsed her and contributed $10,000 to her campaign along with other unions. Also contributing was Facebook with $9,550; an amount seemingly predicated upon evading certain reporting requirements.
But like with gun ownership and to lesser extend with immigration, her track record tells a different story. On December 14, 2009 she tweeted: “The BA cabin crew is going on strike over xmas. Oh, how I miss non-unionized 5-star Asian airlines owned by one-party states.” On March 29, 2010 with: “Unite is the most ridiculous organization in the world right now. Props to Willie Walsh for playing hardball and to all those who are working over the strike!” (Note: Willie Walsh was the chief executive officer of British Airways. Unite the Union in the UK does not appear to be linked with, at least formally, with the domestic UNITE HERE that donated to her campaign.) On September 7, 2010 she tweeted “Misses authoritarian governments where strikes don’t happen” and “on a hot crowded and slow bus! Fairly certain I could walk faster than this. I hope Cameron breaks these unions!!!” Her October 26, 2011 tweet stated “Really hope this goes through!-Leaked report advocates employer’s right to sack” with a link to a Financial Times article.
These tweets presumably happened during her time at the London Business School. They certainly show a lack of patience and perhaps also lack an understanding of the other side. Her authoritarian government comment may underpin all her positions of government as the answer. Her anti-union remarks are an interesting juxtaposition to her endorsements and contributions, as were her gun ownership and immigration positions.
It all says setup. Unknown outside interests want Tom McClintock retired from Congress. Brynne Kennedy just bought a house in Richmond, Massachusetts on October 26, 2018 after having lived in Pittsfield, Massachusetts the prior decade. “In February 2019, as reported in The Berkshire Eagle newspaper, she announced that she was stepping down as CEO of a tech company and that her new focus would be “creating jobs, expanding innovation and ensuring equal opportunity for Western Massachusetts residents,” as quoted in an excellent Letter to the Editor in the Ledger Dispatch on July 11, 2019. But suddenly she moves to the Bay Area and then to this district. I wonder if she will stay if she losses the election?
She always preaches unity and does respond to public opinion, probably advised to by her sponsors, as shown in the Sacramento Bee on September 16, 2020 where she states “When Democratic politicians refuse to condemn looting and violence they are undermining the cause of justice. When Republican politicians encourage gun-wielding teens to do the job of the police, they are inviting violence.” While she has finally comes around to renouncing our current violent rioting, her statement denying the right to self defense while blaming that behavior on Republicans is obviously derisive. Her calls to unity are all platitudes worthy of a sitcom segment on political campaigns. The writers of her Positions appear to have interned promoting botox, beauty products or laundry detergent. She worships at the altar of technology and more government and notes no solutions based upon individual responsibility. She has something for everybody but ultimately nothing for anybody.
Mark Bennett is a Pine Grove resident.