Administrative State • America • California • Center for American Greatness • Environment • Post

California’s Green ‘Bantustans’ Are Coming to America

If the “smart growth” urban planners that dictate land use policies in Democratic states and cities have their way, the single family dwelling is an endangered species.

In Oregon, proposed legislation would “require cities larger than 10,000 people to allow up to four homes to be built on land currently zoned exclusively for single-family housing.” In Minneapolis, recent actions by the city council mean that “duplexes and triplexes would be allowed in neighborhoods that only previously allowed single-family housing.”

The war on the detached, single family home, and—more to the point—the war on residential neighborhoods comprised exclusively of single family homes, is on. And it’s gone national.

In California, ground zero for this movement, state legislation now requires cities and counties to fast track permitting for “accessory dwelling units.” This scheme will allow developers and ambitious homeowners to construct detached rental homes in their backyards, but since they’re called “accessory dwelling units,” instead of “homes,” they would not run afoul of local zoning ordinances that, at one time, were designed to protect neighborhoods from exactly this sort of thing.

“Smart growth,” however, began long before the home itself came under attack.

First there was the war on the back yard. Large lots became crimes against the planet—and if you doubt the success of this war, just get a window seat the next time you fly into any major American city. In the suburbs you will see a beautiful expanse of green, spacious, shady neighborhoods with lots designed to accommodate children playing, maybe a pool or vegetable garden, big enough for the dog.

But you will also see, plain and obvious, those suburbs that were built after the smart growth crowd came along. Tight, treeless, and grey, with homes packed against each other, these are the Green Bantustans, and there’s nothing green about them.

The image below shows homes packed roughly 15 per acre—including the streets—on private lots that are 40-feet wide by 80-feet deep. As of January, these homes were selling for $350,000. Such a deal! Smart growth!

Why call neighborhoods with mandated ultra-high density “Green Bantustans”? Because the Bantustan was where a racist elite used to herd the African masses during South Africa’s apartheid era. The commonality between the Green Bantustan and the Racist Bantustan becomes clear when you step back and ponder what is happening. In both cases, a privileged elite condemn the vast majority of individuals to live in a concentrated area designed to minimize their impact on the land.

But in America, the “smart growth” advocates aren’t racists, they’re misanthropic environmentalists.

The image below is fascinating, because at the same scale, it shows a neighborhood in the township of Soweto, once touted as a poster child for one of the most chilling warehouses for human beings in history. But notice the size of the lots—40 feet by 80 feet—are identical in size to that Green Bantustan in California. Also, please note, it’s probably much easier to get a building permit in Soweto.

In the name of “smart growth,” urban planners have succeeded in creating policy that has drawn lines around American cities, “urban service boundaries,” which make it nearly impossible to start new home construction outside these lines. While the purpose of these boundaries ostensibly is to protect open space, farmland, and wilderness habitat, not only are those goals only marginally fulfilled, but other negative unintended consequences abound. Consider the following:

Urbanization just takes a different form. Creating these greenbelts of protected open space mean instead of leapfrog development, you have super-leapfrog development. People who want to get out of the city now build and purchase homes on the other side of the greenbelt. Instead of suburbs on the perimeter of cities, you have exurbs, whole new cities, constructed just beyond the protected areas.

Quality of life is ruined in older suburbs. Homes within these cities are concentrated onto tiny lots in order to get as many people into each new development as possible. Often these new developments are imposed in the middle of semi-rural suburbs where the way of life for the people already living there is destroyed.

Traffic congestion gets worse. These dense new neighborhoods are designed to be “pedestrian friendly,” but what they really are is car unfriendly. There is no room to park, inadequate roads, and expensive light rail that most people can’t make practical use of.

Housing becomes unaffordable. The winners in “smart growth” are never people who need affordable homes, because prices always go up when you reduce the supply of developable land. The winners are those landowners lucky enough to have property within the arbitrary boundaries where growth is permitted, and the public sector bureaucrats who keep development within their jurisdictions, in order to collect property taxes and fees on artificially inflated home values.

Basic Facts Contradict the Arguments for “Smart Growth”
If the proportion of land consumed by people, even in low density suburbs, is compared to the amount of land available for development, the case for high-density “smart growth” weakens. For example, even with nearly 40 million residents, California is a sprawling, relatively unpopulated state where harsh restrictions on land development are unnecessary.

Encompassing 164,000 square miles, California is only 5 percent urbanized. According to the American Farmland Trust, California has 25,000 square miles of grazing land (15 percent), 28,000 square miles of non-irrigated cropland (17 percent), and 14,000 square miles of irrigated cropland (9 percent). The rest, 54 percent, is forest, oak woodland, desert, and other open space.

The above chart depicts three urban growth scenarios, all of them assuming California experiences a net population increase of 10 million, and that all new residents on average live three people to a household (the current average in California is 2.96 occupants per household). For each scenario, the additional square miles of urban land are calculated.

As the chart shows, adding 10 million new residents under the “low” density scenario would only use up 3.2 percent of California’s land. If all the growth were concentrated onto grazing land—much which is being taken out of production anyway, it would only consume 21 percent of it. If all the growth were to fall onto non-irrigated cropland, which is not prime agricultural land, it would only use up 19 percent of that. Much growth, of course, could be in the 58 percent of California not used either for farming or ranching.

Two key points about these data bear emphasis. First, there is plenty of room for low-density development for millions of new residents, not only in California, but elsewhere in the United States. As shown in this example, moving 10 million people into homes on half acre lots, with no infill within existing urban areas, would only consume a small fraction California’s land area.

Second, even the dense scenario depicted on the first column the chart, cramming ten homes onto each developed acre, is not acceptable to the smart growth crowd. The policy goal in California, and elsewhere as noted, is to channel as much new development as possible into the confines of existing cities, and overwhelmingly favor multi-family dwellings over single-family detached homes.

“Smart Growth” is Not Smart, It’s Just Cruel
None of this is necessary. The idea that American policymakers should enforce urban containment is a cruel, entirely unfounded, self-serving lie.

The lie remains intact no matter the context. If there is an energy shortage, then develop California’s shale reserves. If fracking shale is unacceptable, then use safe land-based slant drilling rigs to tap natural gas in the Santa Barbara channel. If all fossil fuel is unacceptable, then build nuclear power stations in the geologically stable areas in California’s interior. If there is a water shortage, then build high dams. If high dams are forbidden, then develop aquifer storage to collect runoff. Or desalinate seawater along the Southern California coast. Or recycle sewage. Or let rice farmers sell their allotments to urban customers. There are answers to every question.

Environmentalists generate an avalanche of studies, however, that in effect demonize all development, everywhere. The values of environmentalism are important, but if it weren’t for the trillions to be made by trial lawyers, academic careerists, government bureaucrats and their government-union overlords, crony green capitalist oligarchs, and government pension-fund managers and their partners in the hedge funds whose portfolio asset appreciation depends on artificially elevated prices, environmentalist values would be balanced against human values.

The Californians who are hurt by urban containment are not the wealthy people who find it comforting to believe and lucrative to propagate the enabling big lie. The victims are the underprivileged, the immigrants, the minority communities, retirees who collect Social Security, low wage earners, and the ever-shrinking middle class.

In America, it used to be that refugees from California who aspired to improve their circumstances could move to somewhere like Houston and buy a home with relative ease. Watch out. That is changing. The masses are being herded into Green Bantustans, as America turns into a petri dish for the privileged upper class, backed up by a fanatical Earth First movement.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

California • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Post • The Left

Willie Brown’s ‘Poontronage’ Didn’t Start with Kamala Harris

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With Kamala Harris in the running for the White House, trashing Donald Trump, knocking down border walls and touting Medicare for all, readers just can’t get enough “Poontronage.” That’s the tale of how the junior U.S. senator from California got her start under veteran Democrat shot-caller Willie Brown, now 84 years old.

The Nation claims it’s a recent trend, but “Poontronage” emerged last spring, along with “The Harris Poll,” to inform us all about Kamala’s storied past. So the Left wasn’t paying attention back then, but scribes are now hitting up Brown about his understudy Harris.

“Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago,” Brown wrote over the weekend. “Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker.” Harris is 30 years younger than Brown, who was married at the time. If Harris had not gone along on the “dates,” would she have been awarded with two highly paid sinecures? The establishment media showed no curiosity, but Brown wasn’t done being chatty.

He told reporters he also influenced the careers of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein. But Willie left out a key back story about his promotional skills.

When Willie Met Nancy and Dianne
As Daniel Flynn shows in Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days that Shook San Francisco, Willie Brown was a supporter of Jim Jones, whom he compared to Einstein and Martin Luther King. Jones was a big hit with San Francisco Democrats of the time. They even gave Jones a seat on the city housing commission. The African-American Brown, then a state assemblyman, had traction with Cuba’s white Communist dictator Fidel Castro. Brown wrote a letter urging Castro to extend an official state visit to Jones, a “close personal friend and highly trusted brother in the struggle for liberation.”

Brown claims he influenced the career of Pelosi, who is closer to Brown’s age bracket, and nothing has emerged about any “dates” with the speaker. On the other hand, like Brown, Pelosi was fond of praising Communists.

“Harry Bridges was arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century,” Pelosi wrote in the Congressional Record in 2001, on the 100th anniversary of Bridges’ birth. Bridges was “beloved by the workers of this nation, and recognized as one of the most important labor leaders in the world” and his International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union was “the most progressive union of the time.”

At the time Pelosi’s tribute drew little if any news coverage. But in 2007, when she was calling for unconditional withdrawal from Iraq, it came to the attention of Joshua Muravchik, former chairman of the Young People’s Socialist League. Muravchik wrote a Weekly Standard piece headlined “Pelosi’s Favorite Stalinist,” highlighting Bridges’ career as a Communist and Soviet agent.

Loyal to the Communist Party even during the Stalin-Hitler Pact, Bridges was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA. As Soviet archives confirmed, the Kremlin directly approved Bridges for the post. All this was well known by 2001, when Pelosi celebrated Bridges in the Congressional Record. As Muravchik wrote, Pelosi was “far to the left” and a poor judge of good guys and bad guys.

Pelosi is also close friends with fellow California Democrat Barbara Lee, one of Fidel Castro’s most fervent apologists in Congress. Pelosi also praised Communist-front candidate Vincent Hallinan and his wife Vivian, who “opposed U.S. policy in Central America” under President Reagan, “befriended Daniel Ortega,” and met with Cuban dictator Castro. “She was a role model for many of us,” Pelosi wrote.

Pelosi is now 78 and, to put it mildly, she often demonstrates a low threshold of lucidity. Democrats admit their party stands in need of younger leadership and a more centrist stance. Even so, the shot-caller remains Nancy Pelosi, an admirer of Soviet agents and Stalinist swamp-sows with sulfuric hatred for the United States. So no surprise that Pelosi goes catatonic over a president aiming to make America great again. As the late Jeane Kirkpatrick once said, the San Francisco Democrats always blame America first.

Feinstein’s China Ties
At 85, San Francisco Democrat Dianne Feinstein is in Willie’s wheelhouse, but no “dates” have emerged in connection with the senator and former San Francisco mayor. On the other hand, Feinstein betrays a familiar pattern with Communist dictatorships.

As Ben Weingarten noted in The Federalist last year, “for the last 40 years, no politician in America has arguably maintained a deeper, more longstanding and friendlier relationship with China, at the highest levels of its ruling Communist Party, than Feinstein.” As Weingarten showed, Feinstein promoted most favored nation status for China, downplayed the 1989 Tienanmen Square massacre, and even objected to arms sales to Taiwan by the Obama Administration. On top of all that, a Chinese Communist spy found a home on Feinstein’s staff for 20 years.

Feinstein made light of it and fired the fellow but there was no arrest, no trial, and no congressional investigation. On the other hand, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a dozen heavily armed FBI agents to arrest President Trump’s pal Roger Stone, 66, who was unarmed, not a foreign spy, not a flight risk, and who committed no violent crime.

No such military-style raid was required for the arrest of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, whose 17-year bombing spree killed three people and injured 24. There’s something happening here, as the Buffalo Springfield said, and it’s becoming pretty clear what it is.

Photo Credit: CA.Gov

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California • Democrats • Immigration • Post

The Argument Against Illegal Immigration No One Wants to Make

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Last year, as a member of a Southern California moms’ group, I received an email from a woman with a dilemma. Her part-time nanny, who had been in her employ a little over a year, was asking for a raise, from $25 to $30-an-hour. The mom wanted a basis for comparison before she said “No.” (The language she actually used was far more colorful.)

The response she got was nothing short of astounding. “Absolutely not!” said one. “That’s highway robbery!” said another.

And then the truth. Another mom on the list suggested—and I’m paraphrasing here—that because she could just go to our local park and pick up another “helper” for less than what she was already paying, that raise was over the top.

As a frequent visitor to that park, I thought about what that last mom was saying. It exposed what these women were really thinking: not that the raise was too much, but that the many Latina nannies caring for children at that park should be happy to receive less than the going rate, and not have the audacity to ask for a raise because they’re easily replaced. The truth is, these moms have ready access to a pool of cheap, trapped labor, and they won’t think twice about dipping into it when the need arises.

Sadly, the underlying assumption was accurate and almost universally shared: these “helpers” are probably here illegally. We can pay them whatever we want.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
This is the same sentiment shared by 90 percent of the well-heeled, white, liberal Democrats in my suburban Southern California community, as well as the few remaining well-heeled Republicans. Illegals are here, and we can afford to employ them because they are a source of cheap, domestic labor.

Our nannies, gardeners and housekeepers could all be here illegally. We don’t ask and don’t care. Because they are trapped. Same goes for the dishwashers, busboys, car wash employees and day laborers we hire without batting an eye. We don’t ask and they don’t tell. We give them a job, without a green card, and pay them less—often significantly less—than what we would have to pay someone here legally. We also trap them into an employment cycle from which there is no upward mobility and no escape.

It didn’t start out this way. This underclass showed up at our southern border, slipped through a dilapidated piece of chain mail, and sighed a happy sigh. They were in the land of milk and honey! Sorry folks, not so fast. No green card? You can buy one, but it will cost you. No Social Security number? You can buy that, too. All of a sudden, you’ve committed three felonies, not one. If you choose not to buy them, sorry, no bank account. So, you get paid cash, under the table, if you get a check, you have to pay a check cashing firm a hefty percentage to get cash. So, the government gives you an Individual Taxpayer ID Number? Great, now you can open a bank account—and also pay taxes on your ill-gotten gains.

But think of all those laws that California passed to make your life better! As one California state lawmaker explained when I called her out: “Huh? You know I write bills to make sure all workers have the rights to a living wage, overtime, healthcare, benefits regardless of immigration status, right?”

So true! Thanks to lawmakers like her, you can get a driver’s license! And loads of other guarantees to make your illegal existence here better. Nevertheless, you are still here, under the cloud of illegality, trapped with no escape.

Why? As one person who is here illegally wrote in 2016:

Because most undocumented people don’t have access to a social security number or a work permit, planning ahead is often tough – because any money that comes in has to be used for immediate survival: food, shelter, water, heat, and clothing. Planning ahead often requires citizenship and financial stability. For example, a U.S. citizen can plan ahead by saving and eventually becoming a homebuyer, a privilege that undocumented people often don’t have. In addition, there are banks that discriminate against undocumented people, so opening a checking and/or savings account is already predetermined based on citizenship status. All undocumented workers will also never see the money that they paid in social security benefits and/or taxes because retirement money is only afforded to those with US work authorization. (Emphasis added)

Some may disagree, but I contend this ability to plan is a crucial step to allowing assimilation and upward mobility.

Back to “Jobs Americans Won’t Do”
And here’s the real ugly truth: while these politicians like the one above want you to think they are supportive of those here illegally, they do nothing to disincentivize those walking blindly into this existence. Why? Because secretly politicians want illegals to have that driver’s license as a benefit for their exploiter, I mean employer, i.e. the politicians’ rich constituents: drive their kids to school; haul around the leaf blower so you can make their lawn look pretty; haul away the trash they picked up from your yard—you know, the “jobs Americans won’t do.”

As one columnist put it, “I don’t think [illegal immigration] affects my life much, at least not negatively . . . They’re taking our jobs? Not really, unless you’re getting outbid for a low-paying, strenuous, dirty or dangerous job.”

This “argument” supports the view that illegal immigration is essential because we need a class of people to whom we can pay so little that others, who are more privileged, don’t have to do those jobs. Sounds a lot like the justification for slavery, doesn’t it?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and their colleagues will tell you that a southern border wall—unlike like the walls and fences that enclose the gated communities where they and their wealthy constituents live—is immoral. It is not—obviously.

That wall would be no different than the ones that surround the homes of those employing illegal immigrants, walls are deterrents to people you don’t want to entice to come in. Walls and fences say to those looking in “it’s not worth it to come in here without being invited, you have more to lose than you have to gain.” And that’s the truth we owe to those looking in.

What’s immoral is enticing poor, hopeful people into a country with weak borders with a promise of opportunity simply so you and your hypocritical constituents can have a cheap source of domestic labor. It’s immoral, wrong, and no one wants to talk about it. Let’s change that.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post • Progressivism • The Left

The Destruction of Venice Beach Epitomizes California’s Idiocracy

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Venice Beach, California, used to be one of California’s great places. A Bohemian gem, nestled against the sand between big Los Angeles and the vast Pacific Ocean. Rents used to be a little lower in Venice compared to other coastal neighborhoods. The locals mingled with surfers, artists, street performers, and tourists. People from suburbs further inland migrated to Venice’s beaches on sunny weekends year-round. Venice was affordable, inviting, inclusive. That was then.

Today, Venice Beach is off limits to families who used to spend their Saturdays on the sand. It’s too dangerous. On the sand, beached seaweed now mingles with syringes, feces, broken glass, and other trash, and the ocean has become the biggest outdoor toilet in the city. More than 1,000 vagrants now consider Venice Beach their permanent home. At the same time as real estate values exploded all along the California coast, the homeless population soared. In Venice, where the median price of a home is $2.1 million, makeshift shelters line the streets and alleys, as the affluent and the indigent fitfully coexist.

What has happened in Venice is representative of what’s happened to California. If progressives take back the White House in 2020, it will be America’s fate.

Laws Raise Costs
California’s cost-of-living is driving out all but the very rich and the very poor, a problem that is entirely the result of policies enacted by California’s progressive elite. They reduce to two factors, both considered beyond debate in the one-party state. First, to supposedly prevent catastrophic climate change, along with other environmental concerns, California’s restrictive laws such as the California Environmental Quality Act, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act make it expensive and time consuming to construct new homes. These laws also decrease the availability of entitled land, which further increases costs to developers.

At the same time, California has become a magnet for the welfare cases of America and the expatriates of the world. According to a 2018 report (presenting 2015 data, the most recent available) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of the 4.2 million recipients in America of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Security Income, an amazing 43 percent of them live in California. That’s more than 1.8 million people. According to the liberal Public Policy Institute of California, as of 2016, California was also home to 2.6 million undocumented immigrants. Could California’s promise of health coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws, have anything to do with this?

When you enact policies to restrict supply (to save the planet) and increase demand (invite the world to move in), which is exactly what California has done, housing will become unaffordable. Supply oriented solutions are relatively simple. Stop protecting all open space, everywhere, from development. Invest in public-private partnerships to increase the capacity of energy, water, and transportation infrastructure, instead of rationing water, “going solar,” and “getting people out of their cars.” Reform public employee retirement benefits instead of incessantly raising taxes and fees to feed the pension funds. It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, in California, nothing is simple. In 2006, the notoriously liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. City of Los Angeles ruled that law enforcement and city officials can no longer enforce the ban on sleeping on sidewalks anywhere within the Los Angeles city limits until a sufficient amount of permanent supportive housing could be built.

And what is “permanent supportive housing” for the more than 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles? In 2016, 76 percent of Los Angeles voters approved the $1.2 billion Measure HHH to “help finance the construction of 10,000 units of affordable permanent-supportive housing over the next 10 years.”

The passage of Measure HHH raises many questions. Most immediately, why hasn’t much of the money been spent? As reported by NPR’s Los Angeles affiliate in June, “so far only three of 29 planned projects have funds to begin construction.” Worse, the costs have skyrocketed. According to the NPR report:

When voters passed the bond measure, they were told new permanent supportive housing would cost about $140,000 a unit. But average per unit costs are now more than triple that. The PATH Ventures project in East Hollywood has an estimated per-unit cost of $440,000. Even with real estate prices soaring, that’s as much as a single-family home in many places in Southern California. Other HHH projects cost more than $500,000 a unit.

Demand Outpaces Supply
Spending a half-million dollars to build one basic rental unit to get a homeless family out of the rain sounds like something a bloated new bureaucracy might achieve, and even in high-priced California there’s no other way to explain this level of waste. What about the private sector?

A new privately funded development company, Flyaway Homes, has debuted in Los Angeles with the mission of rapidly providing housing for the homeless. Using retrofitted shipping containers, the companies modular approach to apartment building construction is purported to streamline the approval process and cut costs. But the two projects they’ve got underway are not cheap.

Their 82nd Street Development will cost $4.5 million to house 32 “clients” in a 16 two-bedroom, 480 square foot apartments. That’s $281,250 per two-bedroom apartment. The firm’s 820 W. Colden Ave. property will cost $3.6 million to house 32 clients in eight four-bedroom apartments. That’s $450,000 per apartment.

Is this the best anyone in L.A. can do? Because if it is, it’s not going to work.

Let’s accept the far fetched notion that $5 billion could be found quickly to construct housing for the 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, and this could be finished within a few years. Does anyone think the growth in subsidized housing would keep pace with the growth in the population of homeless? Why, when California is a sanctuary state, a magnet for welfare cases, and has the most forgiving winter weather in America?

One may take issue with the whole concept of taxpayer subsidized housing, but that is almost beside the point. There are more urgent strategic questions that aren’t being honestly confronted in California. For example:

Why is the national average construction cost per new apartment unit somewhere between $65,000 and $85,000, yet it costs five to 10 times that much in Los Angeles?

Is it wise to have subsidized housing that is of better quality than the apartments that many hard working Californians occupy and pay for without benefit of subsidies?

Why has there been no serious attempt to get useful statistics on the homeless population, in order to apply different approaches depending on who they are? For example, how many of them are mentally ill, or criminals, or substance abusers, or sexual predators, or undocumented immigrants, or willfully homeless with other housing options, or hard working sane people who have encountered hard times (yes, “intersectionality” would exist among these categories)?

Why not immediately allocate open land to create campsites where the homeless can move their tents and belongings, to get them off the streets?

Why not then study the refugee camps set up around the world, an activity where U.S. NGOs have in-depth expertise, and replicate these in areas of L.A. County where there is cheaper, available land? These semi-permanent structures are far less expensive than solutions currently offered.

Does inviting millions from impoverished, politically unstable nations help those nations, when for every person who makes his way to California, thousands remain? And if not, why not directly help the people who are staying in those nations, which would be far more cost-effective?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to moderate the inflow of unskilled workers across the border into California, in order to eliminate the oversupply of cheap labor which depresses wages? Wouldn’t that be better than mandating a higher minimum wage?

Doesn’t offering welfare and subsidized housing to people capable of work make it unlikely they will ever seek work? While striking a balance is a compassionate necessity, has that balance perhaps been violated, since California is home to 43 percent of America’s welfare recipients?

When will California loosen restrictions on land development and building code mandates, in order to bring the cost of new housing construction back down towards national averages?

When will the elected officials in a major California city stand up to the litigants who use the Ninth Circuit to impose rulings such as Jones v. City of Los Angeles, and take a case to the U.S. Supreme Court? While many homeless people have genuine stories of hardship and bad luck, must we be forced to cede to all of them our most desirable public spaces?

No Good Resolution in Sight
What has happened in Los Angeles is a perfect storm of progressive pressure groups and rent-seeking bureaucrats and profiteers, working together to amass money, power, and prestige. If they were efficiently solving the problem, that would be just fine. But they aren’t, and until they accept tough answers to tough questions, they never will.

As Venice Beach continues to reel from the impact of the homeless invasion, Los Angeles city officials are fast-tracking the permit process to build a homeless shelter on 3.2 acres of vacant city-owned property less than 500 feet from the beach. This property, nestled in the heart of Venice’s upscale residential and retail neighborhoods, if commercially developed, would be worth well over $200 million. Shelter capacity? About 100 people.

In a less utopian, less corrupt society, that single property could be sold, and the proceeds could be used to set up and monitor a tent city housing thousands, if not tens of thousands of people. But not in California. Under the warm sun, against the indifferent ocean, the idiocracy endures.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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California • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Immigration • Post • Progressivism • Republicans

No Amnesty For the Wall

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On the nightstand beside my father’s bed there used to be a clipping from the local paper, a column that featured a photograph of a few small smiling children in a row holding awards. Among them was my older sister, who had won a small-town spelling bee.

Though my father never learned to command the English language with proficiency, his children came closer than he ever could have hoped. But that fragment of the American identity, to comprehend the language of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, is fast becoming an unreality.

Today, more people speak a single non-English language than ever before in American history. Most of them live in California and speak Spanish. In fact, there is not a single county in the state of California where a majority of Latino students are proficient in English.

It’s a dirty little secret of the California school system that children who are not proficient in English are often labeled as having a “learning disability.” So, while they find themselves absurdly grouped with children with autism and Down syndrome, their parents—who may or may not be legal residents of the United States—receive resources from the state to help them get by with an “afflicted” child, that would otherwise go toward helping children with actual disabilities.

I left the insanity of California behind recently for the colder climes of the Midwest. I am happy to find that when I leave my home, I am not expected to speak Spanish, as is becoming increasingly common in California, and no one regards me as “Mexican-American,” but simply American.

I was happy to leave because mass immigration has ruined the Golden State in a very real way.

To start, California has the highest rate of child poverty, most of which is attributed to the single largest immigrant group, Latinos. California, in fact, has the highest rate of poverty for any state in the Union, fully 80 percent of which is among Latino households headed by a noncitizen. In other words, California’s largest ethnic group, Latinos, also account for the greatest number of poor.

Worse, California’s cities have experienced what the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center describes as tantamount to the “ethnic cleansing” of blacks from their neighborhoods by Latinos. Needless to say, this creates tensions with far-reaching consequences. Though the state may appear and laud itself as “diverse,” it is fragmented along clear ethnic and racial lines.

But who is to blame? Some will zero in on immigrants. Certainly, immigrants bear some of the blame. Denying that means infantilizing them with the rankest form of paternalism. On the other hand, to blame them singularly means to blame a symptom, and not necessarily the cause.

If I had to pick one person to blame, and this will scandalize some readers, it’s Ronald Reagan. If I had to pick one party, it’s the Republican Party. For all their chest-beating over immigration woes, Republicans have proven time and again how meaningless their rhetoric really is.

Yet now, as it was during the Reagan era, Republicans are calling for amnesty in exchange for squaring up the border. Where have we heard this before?

Reagan’s amnesty, too, was packaged with the promise of tougher border controls, physical and bureaucratic infrastructure to prevent the unlawful trespass of foreigners into the United States, and sold against the clarion calls of so-called “ultras” who saw amnesty for what it was: a sell out.

California will never see a genuine Republican Party come to power again. Certainly not in my lifetime. That is the legacy of amnesty, although it was, at least implicitly, meant to be reciprocal.

Señor Reagan awards you amnesty, so you and your compañeros should be good to the Republican Party. And yet it had the opposite, and predictable, effect. It indicated weakness. It suggested that amnesty could be leveraged again by mass lawbreaking. Millions of Central Americans watching people slip through our border illegally want to know: Were they wrong?

Republicans who argue for some form of amnesty (or whatever euphemism they prefer to use) point to a raft of polling data that appears to support their position. Many Americans, according to the polls, would take amnesty in exchange for a wall and border security. Those polls need to be qualified. If Reagan’s legacy tells us anything about how amnesty plays out in real life, Americans would be trading certain demographic change for the illusion of security.

I’m not so sure that extending amnesty to millions of people who on balance prefer bigger government, more gun control, and greater restrictions on “hate speech” would be a “win” for America.

If the Right can agree that most Americans, native- and foreign-born alike, have been fed a dishonest line on immigration by academics, libertarian and liberal think tanks, and the media, then isn’t our task to show them that they’ve been misled, and not to concede to bad policies built on lies?

If polls showed that the majority of Americans wanted to adopt a national policy of “abortions-at-any-time,” like New York just did, it wouldn’t make such a policy any less horrific. (Latinos, for what it’s worth, have the second highest rate of abortion for any demographic.)

Moreover, if polls showed that most Americans wanted to live under Communism, I would expend my last breath warning them against it rather than concede an inch to their caprice. Incidentally, “AMLO the hope of Mexico” bumper stickers started appearing on cars just before I left California. AMLO is the nickname of  Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose favorite “social, political fighter” is Fidel Castro.

But if the polls are correct that the only way forward is Reaganesque amnesty, then there is no reason to believe that the results will be different this time. In all likelihood, things will get a great deal worse. California will turn an even deeper shade of blue and many other states will follow suit.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Why was my father so proud of the fact that his children could speak, read, and write English well? These things, like sovereignty, identity, and the salience of citizenship, cannot be meaningfully quantified by polls, and yet they form the very fabric of our society, that mythical “electric cord” Abraham Lincoln spoke of, the stuff that binds us together.

Our task, then, is not to settle for what is “possible,” when what is right, which is never what is easy, can no longer wait. Amnesty did not work in the 1980s for Reagan, and it will not work for us now. Build that wall, Mr. President.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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Administrative State • California • Democrats • Economy • Post • Progressivism

The Future’s So Bright, Gavin Newsom’s Gotta Wear Shades

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Jerry Brown was governor of California for 16 years. His four terms, two that ran from 1975 through 1982, then two more that ran for the past eight years, bookended California’s transition from a sprawling and remote, sun-splashed coastal paradise, defined by Hollywood, the counterculture, and a rising technology industry, to an economic leviathan, the global epicenter of technological innovation, and cultural evolution.

So much has changed. California now boasts the fifth-largest economy on earth. California’s high-tech companies—Apple, Facebook, Google, and countless others—are defining how we will live in the coming decades. In nearly every significant area of politics, culture, and technology, Californians are global leaders.

California’s politics are also unique, insofar as no other state in the union is so absolutely under the control of Democrats. Every major state officeholder is a Democrat. Both houses of California’s state legislature are controlled by Democratic supermajorities. California’s congressional delegation, which at 53 is by far the largest in the U.S. House of Representatives, consists of 46 Democrats and only seven Republicans. California’s senators, the venerable Dianne Feinstein, and the ascendant Kamala Harris, are both staunch Democrats. And all of these Democrats proudly consider California to be ground zero for the anti-Trump “#Resistance.”

And so, on January 7, the Brown era came to an end, and a new governor took office: Gavin Newsom. Elected easily, the former lieutenant governor (and before that, mayor of San Francisco) ran on the slogan “courage for change.” Newsom’s inauguration speech didn’t disappoint. Change was indeed the message, consistent with the policy agenda he’d campaigned on—universal preschool, a guarantee of free community college, and universal, single-payer health care (including for noncitizens).

And to pay for all this? No problem. California is an economic juggernaut. California’s current budget surplus could be as high as $15 billion. California’s future’s so bright, you’ve gotta wear shades.

Except that it is not all that bright. California faces dangerous economic challenges likely to converge into a perfect storm, with devastating consequences. Here are a few things that Gavin Newsom in particular, and California’s Democrats in general, may wish to consider before they take their great leaps forward.

California’s State Government Revenue Is Vulnerable
The chart below, created using data from California’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, shows state government revenue by source for two select years, 2010 and 2017. The revenue stream of 2010 provides a sobering contrast to what happened in 2017 and likely in 2018, because 2010 represented the economic low point preceding recovery from the great recession. In 2010, California’s general state revenue was $94 billion, and personal income tax collections constituted 46 percent of the total. By 2017, revenue had grown by 56 percent to $148 billion, and personal income tax collections constituted 58 percent of the total.

This comparison between 2010 and 2017 should serve as a cautionary example to anyone considering expanding California’s state spending. Because nearly the entire increase in California’s revenue between the economic trough of 2010 and the current economic peak was the result of wealthy people paying enormous taxes on one-percenter levels of income and capital gains.

The Super Rich Pay Most of the Taxes Collected in California
If that fact isn’t yet obvious, here’s another chart derived from California’s June 2017 CAFR, showing how much income tax was paid according to the tax bracket of the taxpayer. This uses data for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, which was the best available data at the time. It’s a fair bet the disparities depicted on the chart have widened even more, since investment appreciation in the two years through June 2017 were extraordinary.

As shown, of the $71 billion in personal income tax collected in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, $28 billion, or 40 percent, was paid by only 70,437 individual filers. The vast majority of Californians, those declaring under $100,000 in income, contributed only $7.5 billion, just over 10 percent of total collections, even though they represented 81 percent of California’s taxpayers.

The cold fact California’s new governor must confront is that extremely rich people, paying the highest rates of state income tax in the United States, are the only reason the state has any surplus at all.

Personal income tax collections in California nearly doubled between 2010 and 2017. The reason for that wasn’t because people making under $100,000 were earning less and paying less in income taxes—they were, but those residents only contribute 10 percent of California’s income tax revenue, even though they are more than 80 percent of all taxpayers.

So what happens when rich people start paying less in taxes, because investment returns stop being extraordinary?

The Enabling, Overinflated Bubble in Tech Stocks and Real Estate
Between the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, when California’s state government collected $43 billion in personal income taxes, and the year ended June 30, 2017, when the state took in $86 billion, the value of technology companies literally exploded. During that six-year period, the tech-heavy NASDAQ index tripled in value, from 2,092 to 6,153. In that same period, Silicon Valley’s big three tech stocks all quadrupled. Adjusting for splits, Apple shares went from $35.28 to $144.02, Facebook opened in May 2012 at $38.23, and went up to $150.93, Google moved from $216.86 to $908.73.

While California’s tech industry was booming over the past decade, California real estate boomed in parallel. In June 2010, the median home price in California was $335,000; by June 2017 it had jumped to $502,000. Along the California coast, median home prices are much higher. Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, now has a median home price of $1.3 million, double what it was less than a decade ago.

As people sell their overpriced homes to move inland or out-of-state, and as tech workers cash out their burgeoning stock options, hundreds of billions of capital gains generate tens of billions in state tax revenue. But can homes continue to double in value every six or seven years? Can tech stocks continue to quadruple in value every six or seven years?

Apparently, Gavin Newsom thinks they can.

Clouds Darkening the Golden State’s Future
California’s optimists may wish to take off their sunglasses, at least for a while, because economic storm clouds are on the horizon. More evidence that the tech stock and housing bubbles are deflating comes from Joel Kotkin, who in a recent column enumerated the factors driving values back down; slowing foreign investment that for years has helped propel California’s real estate values upwards, state GDP growth, tech sector expansion, and job creation falling behind other states, sky-high rents driving workers out, and “declining infrastructure, absurd housing prices, massive poverty, and the embarrassing budget-busting high-speed choo-choo.”

California’s state tax revenues are inordinately dependent on wealthy filers making a lot of money, which makes those revenues inordinately vulnerable to another economic downturn. But when the asset bubble pops, not only will revenues go down. Expenses will go up. Way up.

Because California’s state and local government workers collect some of the most generous, financially unsustainable pensions in the world. A recent study by the California Policy Center estimated California’s state and local government worker pension funds to carry an unfunded liability of $846 billion. Using the methodology offered by the prestigious Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, California’s unfunded pension debt is even higher, at $1.26 trillion.

California’s Profound Weaknesses Demand Caution
If the overall value of tech stocks and real estate plateau, much less decline, California’s state tax revenue immediately would drop by at least $10 billion per year, and the contributions they are required to make to their government worker pension systems would go up by at least $10 billion per year. This would wipe out any possible budget surpluses. And yet these programs, universal preschool, a guarantee of free community college, universal health care (including for noncitizens) and single-payer healthcare, come with staggering annual costs. To implement all of them likely would cost several hundred billion dollars per year. Where on earth will California get that money?

Barry Ritholtz, writing for Bloomberg in October, touted the accomplishments of California’s economy in comparison to the economy in Kansas—which he derisively held up as President Trump’s ideal policy environment. He decried Trump’s allegedly dystopian policies, claiming they would lead to the “Kansasification” of America.

But Ritholtz ignores California’s dependence on unsustainable asset appreciation to sustain its government budgets and its pension funds. He ignores the Golden State’s wealth inequality, the high rate of poverty, the even higher cost of living, the punitive regulations. He ignores the arrogance of the climate fundamentalists and open-borders fanatics, who are apparently unaware that when you can’t build anything at a reasonable cost (thanks to regulations inspired by the need for “climate change mitigation”), you might not want to invite the entire world’s huddled masses in for a permanent visit.

Gavin Newsom, egged on by leftist oligarchs, public sector unions, extreme environmentalists, opportunistic trial lawyers, the high tech, media, and entertainment communities, and the identity politics industry, is galloping exuberantly toward their common utopian vision: the Californiafication of America. With any luck, Newsom will take off his sunglasses, notwithstanding the lovely, lingering bright California sun, and looking to the horizon, avoid the abyss obscured by clouds.

Editor’s note: The subheading in the second graph depicting income tax revenue by bracket has been corrected. 

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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America • California • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post

It Was Always About the Wall

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There was likely never going to be “comprehensive immigration reform” or any deal amnestying the DACA recipients in exchange for building the wall. Democrats in the present political landscape will not consent to a wall. For them, a successful border wall is now considered bad politics in almost every manner imaginable.

Yet 12 years ago, Congress, with broad bipartisan support, passed the Security Fence of Act of 2006. The bill was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush to overwhelming public applause. The stopgap legislation led to some 650 miles of a mostly inexpensive steel fence while still leaving about two-thirds of the 1,950-mile border unfenced.

In those days there were not, as now, nearly 50 million foreign-born immigrants living in the United States, perhaps nearly 15 million of them illegally.

Sheer numbers have radically changed electoral politics. Take California. One out of every four residents in California is foreign-born. Not since 2006 has any California Republican been elected to statewide office.

The solidly blue states of the American Southwest, including Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, voted red as recently as 2004 for George W. Bush. Progressives understandably conclude that de facto open borders are good long-term politics.

Once upon a time, Democrats such as Hillary and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama talked tough about illegal immigration. They even ruled out amnesty while talking up a new border wall.

In those days, progressives saw illegal immigration as illiberal—or at least not as a winning proposition among union households and the working poor.

Democratic constituencies opposed importing inexpensive foreign labor for corporate bosses. Welfare rights groups believed that massive illegal immigration would swamp social services and curtail government help to American poor of the barrios and the inner city.

So, what happened? Again, numbers.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants have flocked into the United States over the last decade. In addition, the Obama Administration discouraged the melting-pot assimilationist model of integrating only legal immigrants.

Salad-bowl multiculturalism, growing tribalism, and large numbers of unassimilated immigrants added up to politically advantageous demography for Democrats in the long run.

In contrast, a wall would likely reduce illegal immigration dramatically and with it future Democratic constituents. Legal, meritocratic, measured, and diverse immigration in its place would likely end up being politically neutral. And without fresh waves of undocumented immigrants from south of the border, identity politics would wane.

A wall also would radically change the optics of illegal immigration. Currently, in unsecured border areas, armed border patrol guards sometimes stand behind barbed wire. Without a wall, they are forced to rely on dogs and tear gas when rushed by would-be border crossers. They are easy targets for stone-throwers on the Mexican side of the border.

A high wall would end that. Border guards would be mostly invisible from the Mexican side of the wall. Barbed wire, dogs and tear gas astride the border—the ingredients for media sensationalism—would be unnecessary. Instead, footage of would-be border crossers trying to climb 30-foot walls would emphasize the degree to which some are callously breaking the law.

Such imagery would remind the world that undocumented immigrants are not always noble victims but often selfish young adult males who have little regard for the millions of aspiring immigrants who wait patiently in line and follow the rules to enter the United State lawfully.

More importantly, thousands of undocumented immigrants cross miles of dangerous, unguarded borderlands each year to walk for days in the desert. Often, they fall prey to dangers ranging from cartel gangs to dehydration.

Usually, the United States is somehow blamed for their plight, even though a few years ago the Mexican government issued a comic book with instructions on how citizens could most effectively break U.S. law and cross the border.

The wall would make illegal crossings almost impossible, saving lives.

Latin American governments and Democratic operatives assume that lax border enforcement facilitates the outflow of billions of dollars in remittances sent south of the border and helps flip red states blue.

All prior efforts to ensure border security—sanctions against employers, threats to cut off foreign aid to Mexico and Central America, and talk of tamper-proof identity cards—have failed.

Instead, amnesties, expanded entitlements and hundreds of sanctuary jurisdictions offer incentives for waves of undocumented immigrants.

The reason a secure border wall has not been—and may not be—built is not apprehension that it would not work, but rather real fear that it would work only too well.

(C) 2018 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Immigration • Post • The Left

Immigration Is Making U.S. Poorer and Dirtier

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Pacific Life Insurance, among others, has pulled its advertisements from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show following his observation that mass immigration is making America “poorer and dirtier.”

“As a company,” read the Pacific Life press release, “we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements.”

Whether one agrees with the truth of a thing, strongly or otherwise, has no actual bearing on the truth of that thing. As a matter of fact, immigration is making our country poorer—save for those who profit from cheap labor—for one simple reason: we are absorbing masses of poor people who who remain concentrated in lower-skilled, low-paying jobs. Many of those poor, whether they arrive illegally or by chain migration, happen to be minorities, and in particular Latinos.

Latinos experience the third-highest rate of poverty behind blacks and Native Americans—but as the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, they constitute a greater number of poor than blacks and Native Americans combined (10.8 million, 9 million, 700,000, respectively), according to the Center for American Progress. So, yes, immigration is bringing in disproportionate numbers of poor people and making America poorer.

And although it is considered terribly gauche and “insensitive” to say so, it also happens that the environmental habits of Latinos, as a matter of culture, are not exactly what one would call “green” by default.

Turning our attention for a moment to Riverside Park in New York, Lisa W. Foderaro deliberates over what has become a common and dirty occurrence at the waterfront place.

All summer and into the fall in Upper Manhattan, barbecuers and picnickers flock to the Riverside Park waterfront on Saturdays and Sundays to enjoy the Hudson River views and breezes. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people descend on a grassy stretch in the northern part of the park where grilling is permitted. Carne asada and barbecue chicken sizzles, children run, tattooed arms bop volleyballs and couples watch the sun settle over New Jersey.

Through “carne asada” we can infer Latinos.

Then comes Monday morning, which presents a Sisyphean struggle for maintenance workers like Willie Fitzgerald—a weekly encounter with the paper plates, confetti, plastic straws and food scraps that wind up on the grass, along paths and under picnic tables.

The pattern repeats across the United States. Look to California, with its massive immigrant population, many of whom are from Mexico and Central America—not regions reputed for their environmentalism.

Accounting for litter, pests, population density, particulate matter air pollution, and nitrogen dioxide air pollution, cleaning and janitorial services company BusyBee found Los Angeles and San Francisco among the top-five dirtiest cities in America—L.A. is the runner-up to New York City, with San Francisco coming in fifth. In fact, Los Angeles and New York, both with the lion’s share of the nation’s immigrant populations, vie for the dirtiest city in America award. The annual cost of litter clean-up in Los Angeles alone is around $36 million. Unsurprisingly, all of this has brought the more honest among the environmentalist groups into the fray to insist on reducing immigration, fearing for “ecological realities such as limited potable water, topsoil and infrastructure.”

Certainly, cities can become dirty as they grow larger as a matter of course, and not all of this can be laid upon the doorsteps of badly behaved immigrants. And yet Tokyo, with a population of some 13 million Japanese (compared to New York’s “diverse” 8 million and 4 million in Los Angeles), is “unusually clean.” Population density matters, but so does culture and, indeed, it probably matters more.

America, then, is becoming “dirtier” not only because its population is growing rapidly via immigration, but because it is absorbing the habits that have made Latin American rivers among the most polluted in the world. Americans are accommodating the cultural norms that have left the streets, parks, monuments, and vacant lots of Mexico “choking” under mountains of litter.

But to ask immigrants to assimilate and leave their bad habits behind is “racist.” To ask them to clean up after themselves is “racist.” Merely to point out that they tend to litter is “racist.” Racism, it seems, is approaching something next to meaningless, insofar that it has no meaning beyond what progressives imbue it with when it is expedient for them to demagogue potential immigrant voters.

Steve Sailer has noted that the famous 1971 Crying Indian commercial was a direct shot at the “White Man” who had trashed the Native American’s landscape. But who will shed a tear for the corner of Sixth and Alvarado—what Victor Davis Hanson has called Mexifornia—in Los Angeles?

Formally, Pacific Life and others dropped Tucker Carlson because his remarks offended their progressive sensibilities. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to suppose that an insurance company based in minority-majority, immigrant-dense California, found it potentially injurious to their bottom line to be associated with Tucker. With corporate virtue signaling, never attribute goodwill to what more readily can be explained by greed.

To wage war on poverty and invite more poor. To save the environment and invite people who poison it. To claim that immigration makes us “richer” and cry foul that income inequality between whites and non-whites continues to expand. This is the task of true believers, with whom Pacific Life may or may not stand. In either case, it is American citizens who are doomed to roll that burden up the hill ceaselessly and pointlessly, and God help them if they should say a word in complaint.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Scott Varley/Digital First Media/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

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Administrative State • California • Democrats • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Republicans • The Constitution • The Courts • The Media

RINO Droppings: The Legacy of California’s Girlyman Gov

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Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, is giving up her Republican Party registration. The cause, she explained, was the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

But Cantil-Sakauye was not disturbed by the sleazy charges Democrats unleashed against the Trump nominee, which evidently she believed. Instead, California’s chief justice wondered why Republicans would bring in a female prosecutor to question Christine Blasey Ford. Perhaps to find out if her story that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her was true or false? Though that is hardly all this jurist doesn’t get.

Last year Cantil-Sakauye wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Secretary John Kelly stating: “As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests. Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.” It was all unsafe, unfair, and so on.

Sessions and Kelly replied that “stalking” has “specific legal meaning in American law,” and it was “criminal activity.” On the other hand, “the arrest of persons in a public place based on probable cause has long been upheld by the United States Supreme Court,” as U.S. v. Watson confirmed. Federal statutes authorize arrests where probable cause exists to believe that “such aliens are in violation of immigration laws.” Courthouses are not only public places, but visitors are screened for weapons, Sessions and Kelly wrote, therefore “the safety risks for the arresting officers are substantially decreased.”

Besides her apparent ignorance of the law, Cantil-Sakauye also overlooked recent cases of violent criminals who should not have been in the United States, who remained at large, and who murdered police officers and innocent civilians. These criminals include Mexican national Luis Bracamontes who gunned down Sacramento deputy Danny Oliver, detective Michael Davis and wounded motorist Anthony Holmes, an African American. In court, Bracamontes said he wished he would have killed more “motherf—ing” police officers, deployed the N-word, and told the jury “black lives don’t matter.”

Repeatedly deported Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was in custody but not turned over to ICE. In July 2015, this illegal felon gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. The state Supreme Court is in San Francisco but the killing of an innocent 32-year-old woman did not prompt Tani Cantil-Sakauye to write a letter challenging the city’s sanctuary policies. For this chief justice, ICE agents are the bad guys.

Last week, Cantil-Sakauye describe herself open-minded on social justice issues and praised the judicial appointments of Governor Jerry Brown  as “people-centric” and “underdog-centric.” It was all about “what are we going to do about homelessness, what are we going to do about climate, what are we going to do about guns.” Reporters recalled that Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had nominated Cantil-Sakauye in 2010, but there’s a back story to that move.

According to a longtime friend of Arnold, the governor outsourced his judicial selections to his wife Maria Shriver, a Democrat insider of high standing. That would also explain other key choices.

State director of finance is an important position that merits an experienced economist with a Ph.D. or a master’s degree. Arnold’s pick was Ana Matosantos, a Puerto Rican with a B.A. in political science and feminist studies. Besides the meager qualifications and lack of experience, her hiring also defied state law, Proposition 209, which forbids racial and ethnic preferences in state employment, education, and contracting.

In 2011, Matosantos was busted for drunk driving and offered to resign but incoming governor Jerry Brown kept her on the job. Covered California, the state’s wholly owned subsidiary of Obamacare, picked up Matosantos for $20,000 a month. Her wealthy family has been embroiled in a conflict of interest case in Puerto Rico, but incoming governor Gavin Newsom has now hired Matosantos as his cabinet secretary.

Meanwhile, Tani Cantil-Sakauye was not California’s first female chief justice. During the 1974 election campaign, Rose Bird served as Jerry Brown’s campaign chauffeur. She was only 40 and without judicial experience but Brown picked her for chief justice.

In 10 years as chief justice, Bird heard 64 capital cases and never voted to uphold a death sentence. Even for staunch death-penalty opponents, including those on the court, it defied belief to think that every case was unfounded. The cases included that of Theodore Frank, duly convicted of kidnapping, torturing, raping, murdering and mutilating two-year-old Amy Sue Seitz in 1978.

On November 4, 1986, California voters ousted Rose Bird by a margin of 67 to 33 percent. California voters also ousted Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin, both Brown appointees, who sided with Bird on the death-penalty cases.

In similar style, Tani Cantil-Sakauye keeps quiet when racist criminal illegals murder Americans but gets agitated when ICE agents arrest criminal illegals in courthouses. She also finds it disturbing that anybody would question the wild accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Tani Cantil-Sakauye has changed her registration from Republican to “no party.” A better description for this Rose Bird clone might be “no justice, no peace.”

Photo credit: NBC Los Angeles

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California • Democrats • GOPe • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Left

Lessons from the Failure of the California GOP

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It is now no secret that the California Republican Party got its clock cleaned in the midterm election. Caught asleep at the wheel as state Democrats stacked the electoral deck systematically to empower low information voters and rely on now-legal “vote harvesting,” the state GOP created for itself a perfect storm of electoral apathy, anemia, and a gross lack of creativity. Yet, recent comments from outgoing party chairman Jim Brulte revealed the fatal flaw in the GOP’s playbook.

Asked about the party’s future prospects, Brulte noted, “Candidates, not parties, are responsible for messaging.” Excuse me? That’s exactly what political parties are meant to do.

As early as debates between the Federalists and anti-Federalists, political parties formed as a means of coordinating and communicating throughout the Republic. Although George Washington warned against the “baneful effects of the spirit of party generally,” parties have been necessary to coordinate coalitions to confront issues ranging from slavery to social spending, and from protectionism to prohibition. Many may lament the lack of a viable third party; however, there are very real mathematical reasons to explain why we have two. Once that is understood, it will become clear why Brulte’s thinking about candidates rather than the party being responsible for messaging is blinkered and can only further sink the California GOP in continued and perpetual failure.

Political science has one hard law. Discovered by Maurice Duverger in the 1950s, Duverger’s Law notes that the design of a country’s electoral system will determine the number of its viable political parties. In an electoral system that rewards the first past the post, with one available seat per district (such as the one that exists in the United States), the country will always have two political parties.

Such a system has its benefits and drawbacks. For instance, it is less representative of any given voter’s actual political views. Whereas countries with proportional representation will have multiple parties and offer voters more specificity in representing their views, in America our parties are more coalitions than purely ideological affairs. Such accurate representation as is available in other countries, however, comes at the cost of not being able to punish the ruling government in power. In order to form a majority in the national parliament or legislature, multiple parties will then have to form a coalition with each other in order to rule. This has a moderating effect that would not otherwise exist, but also makes it much more difficult to remove an unwanted coalition from power.

In a system such as ours, with its one seat per district, one party of two will win an election. This simplicity allows voters easily to determine which party to punish by voting for the alternative.

In America, such moderation as there will be in the two parties, has already occurred in their formation. In terms of messaging, this system leads to generalities during election season. Slogans then become important in order to convey a broad message that must also be powerful enough to motivate voters to punish the opposing party. Such messaging need not be negative, though our system is conducive to negative messaging. The Democrats’ strategy of branding the GOP as a party of “old white men” the “party of the rich” is an example of such messaging. Individual candidates simply do not have the resources or the time to coordinate a cohesive message on their own.

It is no wonder, then, that the California GOP has fared so poorly. In following Brutle’s thinking, the GOP essentially has left candidates to their own devices, and in turn has followed a strategy of putting up rudderless political rogues against a determined and coherent political machine. This is rank political amateurism.

It is no secret that the California GOP has a messaging problem. The party has made few inroads with minorities, Millennial voters, and urbanites. Republican ineptitude deserves much of the blame for the party’s failure that Democratic genius deserves credit.

Like California in general, the California GOP seemingly has abandoned a number of cultural and political fronts that cannot safely be ignored. Entire subjects of public consideration have been abandoned to the tender ideological mercies of the Democrats. It’s hardly a wonder that California’s public schools are little more than laboratories to nurse ideas hostile to the country’s founding principles. In response Republicans offer nothing but the vaguest resistance having to do merely with funding.

The high-tech industry and the media, both of which are critical to any messaging from either party or candidate, is similarly hostile to conservative ideas. Political terrain such as inner cities are places where few, if any Republican candidates put in any effort. States such as California are too big to surrender. These are areas where the party, not candidates, needs to get to work in messaging and doing outreach.

Classic conservatives may balk at the idea of blurring the line between the spheres of culture and politics. The Left, however, has shown us the folly of the separation of politics and culture. The Left,  at its core, is a sociopolitical movement and it understands that there is no meaningful distinction between politics and culture.

The strength of the Left in its various political manifestations around the world lies in its coherent, consistent, and aggressive messaging. Even in its most extreme cases, such as the Communist Party in China or the Soviet Union, “The Party” built itself as a seamless social movement and political organization. As the Democratic Party moves further leftward, and shows no qualms about retrofitting election laws to shut out opposition and instill single-party authoritarianism, the GOP had better learn this lesson, and quickly.

Over the course of a few decades, the Democrats have not only mastered messaging by party, but have done the GOP’s work for it in branding Republicans as racist, sexist, and a number of other of political epithets and slurs. Instead of aggressively countering such messaging, Republicans have too often ignored it in favor of focusing on individual candidate qualities and campaigns.

Going back to Duverger’s Law, when a Republican candidate knocks on a door to solicit votes, the prospective voter does not need to spend time contemplating the candidate’s message if he or she already knows which of the two parties to punish. Brulte is just wrong. The party is damn well responsible for messaging and in California it is responsible for the party’s failure to message.

The Republican Party must get out of its old modes of thinking and act before single party authoritarianism becomes a reality.

The candidate-centric approach may appear elegant, sophisticated, and virtuous to those seeking purity in politics, but it will not help Republicans win elections. Instead of following an outdated strategy of promoting the virtues of individual candidates, the GOP would do well to look at conservative party messaging in other countries. This is certainly a break from the past, but for the health of the Republic’s future, the GOP needs to adapt.

Donald Trump’s surprise election may already have illustrated a way forward. Trump’s message of American nationalism resonated deeply with a number of voters who traditionally voted Democrat, including minorities. Now, imagine for a moment a President Trump from a parallel universe who did not individually mock his opponents and critics, but instead directed his ire at the Democratic Party brand and messaging.

Or imagine if the parallel Trump directed his messaging as the de facto head of the GOP at the Left? The GOP must begin learning from what Trump has done right and stop spending so much time criticizing what he has done wrong in order to begin planning for the post-Trump future. In planning that future, Republicans need to think and act like a coherent and aggressive organization in its messaging. If the GOP does not think in terms of party instead of candidates, socialism is on its way to an election near you.

Photo Credit: Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

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California • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Elections • Post • The Left

California’s Rigged Election Process Is Coming to America

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The conventional wisdom among experts who monitor elections in America is unvarying: Voter fraud is statistically insignificant. These sanguine claims are made despite the fact that internal controls are often so poor, or even nonexistent on election integrity, that it is nearly impossible to know if voter fraud has even occurred.

In every critical area—voter identification, voter registration, duplicate voting, absentee ballots, ineligible voting, ballot custody, ballot destruction, counterfeit ballots, voting machine tampering—gaping holes exist that invite systemic fraud. But so what? How relevant is voter fraud, if the entire system is already rigged to favor one party over the other?

Come to California to see what’s going to roll out across America in time to guarantee a progressive landslide in 2020. It may be perfectly legal. But it’s so rigged it would make Boss Tweed blush.

When planning for the November 2018 election, California’s Democrats didn’t just aim to pad their supermajority in the State Legislature. They weren’t going to be satisfied with a sweep of every elected state position, including governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, controller, treasurer, insurance commissioner, and superintendent of public instruction. They knew they could do that, but they aimed higher. They were bent on eliminating every Republican congressman they possibly could, and they did pretty well in that. Going into the 2018 election, California’s Republican congressional caucus had 14 members. After the election, there were only seven left.

The way they did this was to pass laws designed to rig the system.

Three laws in particular combined to stack the deck against Republicans. First came the Motor Voter law. This meant that as soon as any California resident acquired or renewed his driver’s license or state ID, he would be registered to vote automatically. Second, the state legislature authorized counties automatically to send absentee ballots to voters, even if they had not requested those ballots. Third, the rules governing ballot custody were changed so that anyone could turn in absentee ballots, not just the actual voter.

The opportunities presented by these three laws were fully exploited by Democrats. According to a Republican campaign worker who operated in one of the Orange County congressional districts where an incumbent Republican was narrowly defeated by a Democratic challenger, for a week prior to November 6, the Democrats had over 1,000 people on the ground, going door to door, collecting ballots. Armed with precise voter information, they only knocked on the doors of registered Democrats, and in thousands of cases, they actually collected the ballots and brought them to a polling center for the voter.

According to Orange County GOP chairman Fred Whitaker, 250,000 ballots were dropped off on election day. The actual amount of harvested votes may have been much higher, since harvesting was occurring for weeks prior to the election. In Orange County, out of 1.1 million ballots cast, 689,756, or 62 percent, were “vote-by-mail” ballots.

This is not your ordinary get-out-the-vote effort. For each congressional district in play, the cost per thousand full-time paid vote harvesters was approximately $125,000 per day. The Democrats spent tens of millions, and it made the difference in several congressional races. This process of vote harvesting swept across California, funded by well-heeled public sector unions (which collect dues in excess of $800 million per year in California), and by leftist billionaires such as California’s own Tom Steyer.

To be fair, Republicans could have taken advantage of these same corrupt laws to harvest votes from registered Republicans. But not only did the Republicans rely primarily on a vastly outnumbered handful of unpaid volunteers, they didn’t even bother to provide their volunteer canvassers with up-to-date data in the phone apps they were using to determine which voting households to approach.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, quoted by Politico, sounded insulted at allegations that the Democrats stole close races. “Our elections in California are structured so that every eligible citizen can easily register, and every registered voter can easily cast their ballot,” he explained.

You can say that again. In a scathing commentary on just how rigged California’s election laws have become, former California State GOP Chair Shawn Steel wrote, “California Democrats have systematically undermined California’s already weak voter protection laws to guarantee permanent one-party rule.” In addition to automatic voter registration, automatic sending of absentee mail-in ballots, and legalized vote harvesting, Steele itemized additional ways the Democratic legislature has rigged elections in California.

They have legalized pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, based on the accurate assumption that these youths, products of leftist indoctrination in California’s K-12 public school system, will vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. They have legalized the right for convicted felons and, in some cases, prison inmates to vote, based on the accurate assumption that these cohorts tend to favor Democrats. They have even passed laws in some California cities that permit noncitizens to vote in local elections.

There’s more. California’s legislature passed a law that requires a mailed ballot merely to be postmarked by election day. These ballots then have over a month to get counted. They have also permitted “conditional ballots,”wherein an unregistered voter can decide on election day to vote, and they will be simultaneously registered and handed a ballot. In California, 40 percent of the votes were tabulated after election night. Who were these 40 percent? Why is it they were overwhelmingly supporting Democrats?

The answer to this question casts the entire split between Democratic and Republican voters into a harsh perspective.

What sort of voter needs to be automatically registered instead of taking it upon themselves to sign up?

What sort of voter waits until election day to finally register and vote?

What sort of voter would not vote unless a mail-in ballot was automatically mailed to his home without even requesting it?

What sort of voter needs someone to come to his home, remind him to vote, then collect his ballot and bring it to a polling place for him?

What sort of voter is your average convicted felon, or prison inmate?

The Democrats passed laws in California that allowed them to harvest hundreds of thousands, if not millions of votes from people who are the least engaged politically. They have built a system that harvests millions of votes from the most apathetic, most easily manipulated, low-information voters in the electorate.

And that strategy, because it worked so well, is on its way to every state in America.

Count on it happening fast—wherever Democrats control a state legislature, California’s new election rules will become law. In those states, using government union money and foot-soldiers, augmented with limitless funds from globalist left-wing billionaires, Republicans will be wiped out forever. The massacre will not spare countless battleground congressional districts currently held by Republicans.

Is there voter fraud in America? Probably—simply because the process is so riddled with loopholes and weaknesses that statistically significant fraud could be occurring and we would never know. But why rely on just fraud, when you can also rig the laws to harvest millions of votes?

Photo Credit: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • The Left

The Best Argument Yet for Keeping the Caravan Out

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At the Huffington Post, columnist Antonio De Loera-Brust loudly identifies as a “first-generation Mexican-American filmmaker, writer, and son of Mexican immigrants.” Because of that, we’re told, he is entitled to pronounce the use of tear gas at the border on would-be invaders as an injustice of the highest order.

This sort of special pleading makes him a kind of poster boy for the culturally insecure Latinos who form the rank and file of La Raza.

For De Loera-Brust, repelling illegal aliens through non-lethal means is not an act of law enforcement or an act of self-defense, even though federal agents were struck with stones by the group. Rather, De Loera-Brust writes, it was a sinister “attempt to drive away a large group of migrants protesting for their right to seek asylum.” When those migrants turned violent, it was merely “a last resort for those who have been barred from entering by every legal channel.”

In De Loera-Brust’s telling, we Americans easily could take in all of the foreign nationals now besetting us “with compassion,” if only white Americans didn’t “fear the prospect of more of us.” A first-generation Mexican-American immigrant referring to Central Americans as “us” and “we,” in the same breath that he vilifies his own white countrymen, is in itself an argument against mass immigration.

Letting in thousands of foreign nationals means compassion to De Loera-Brust, but insisting that we can’t, or shouldn’t take them all can only mean fear. “Migrant” men attacking Border Patrol agents are innocent of wrongdoing, but Border Patrol agents deploying non-lethal deterrents are guilty of crimes against humanity. Love and hate.

Willful Blindness at the Border
Love, like hate, can blind us from seeing things as they really are. America is in a toxic relationship with immigration, and like a battered spouse, progressives keep crawling back to the same tropes and lies.

De Loera-Brust claims that these people do not pose a national security threat, and yet federal agents apprehended a Honduran convicted for murder after he illegally entered the country with members of the caravan last Saturday.

Days later, a Border Patrol agent was held at gunpoint by an illegal alien in California who had been deported to Mexico at least five times. He had a rap sheet full of violent drug crimes and firearms offenses. No security threat? Only if you’re blind to the facts.

The men who stormed the border last weekend were not protesting, nor could it be said that many are genuine asylum seekers, as De Loera-Brust claims.

According to a “migrant” who participated in the border push, the violence was by design. ABC News reports:

Our team talked last night to a man who was part of that effort to run across the border, and he said that they had thought that it had worked coming into Mexico, to just overwhelm the Mexican authorities with pure numbers, and they were able to run right past them. It worked going all the way through Mexico every time they would be up against the Mexican federal police, they would just run around them, and they thought it would work again. They were shocked that it did not work coming into the U.S., and that they were met by a wall of federal agents in riot gear, with the tear gas, with the pepper balls, with all of the other less than lethal means that they had. They couldn’t believe that they weren’t able to go past that wall.

The caravan in general is made up primarily of men. “From what we’ve seen,” said one MSNBC reporter, “the majority are actually men and some of these men have not articulated that need for asylum.” Though De Loera-Brust disagrees, asylum should be selective and the United States should reserve the right to deny asylum seekers without valid claims.

But what of those children and women (who may or may not actually be the mothers of the children accompanying them)? In response to these claims, De Loera-Brust takes up the expected progressive line: “How could we?”

How could we? How could they? What sort of “mother” runs headlong into a violent mob, infant in arm? The woman photographed “clutching a small, diaper-wearing child,” characterized by De Loera-Brust as a typical asylum seeker, participated in the border fracas because she “needs a job.” In other words, she isn’t an asylum seeker attempting to escape oppression or in fear for her life. She wants more opportunity so she endangered a child needlessly. Now that is immoral.

Riot Shields and Human Shields
And what sort of men use women and children as human shields? “What we saw over and over . . . was that the group—the caravan, as we call them,” said Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, “would push women and children to the front and then begin, basically, rocking our agents.” That is, pelting agents with rocks.

“If they were truly asylum-seekers,” Scott added, “they would’ve just walked up with their hands up and surrendered, but that did not take place.” Although De Loera-Brust recoils in horror at the sight of Border Patrol agents with riot shields, he has nothing to say about the women and children used as human shields by the caravanners.

When all else fails, De Loera-Brust does what good progressives do, and resorts to emotional pandering.

He wants to know why it is that when “politicians speak of putting American citizens first, they exclude citizens and families, like mine, with relatives on both sides of the wall?”

As someone with relatives on both sides of the wall, too, let me attempt to speak to that.

One of my uncles was recently “disappeared” by narcos, the consequence of his son, a drug dealer, being implicated in a turf war. My uncle was taken to induce his son into surrendering himself. It didn’t work. No one has seen my uncle for months, and in Mexico, that means he’s dead. To this point, the Trump Administration has argued that gang violence is not grounds for asylum, and I agree. It is, on the other hand, a good way to import gang violence into our country.

Similarly, my half-sister was deported for her involvement in a theft ring in California. She tried to return illegally, was caught en route (which probably saved her from dying in the desert), and was deported again. Residency in this country for noncitizens, like asylum, is a privilege, and privileges can—and sometimes should—be revoked.

Harsh as it seems on its face, familial ties, let alone ethnic ties, are irrelevant in this situation. We are a nation of laws, and the proper application of the law is what separates the United States from places like Mexico and Honduras.

A False and Un-American Narrative
De Loera-Brust believes that ethnicity and family arbitrarily bestow moral authority on a person. But familial ties do not guarantee an affinity to the things that make us all Americans. It takes someone cut from the same cloth, so to speak, with a different perspective to show that familial ties by themselves do not make a good basis for citizenship or even legal status. That De Loera-Brust holds to such fanciful notions of the problem is not surprising, considering that he has spent most of his life in the liberal citadels of upstate New York and Davis, California.

As a “Chicano” filmmaker, it is De Loera-Brust’s job to create a narrative. His narrative is one that distorts events to achieve an identitarian political end for his “us” and “we” storyline. Nothing could be more un-American, however, than to insist that the United States be anything less than one nation indivisible—and what is a nation without borders?

If America should remain exceptional and a place that good people should want to emigrate to, it must retain a semblance of sovereignty. If it means to do that, there is only one thing to do about this current business on the border: Don’t let the caravan in.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Reuters

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California • Center for American Greatness • Immigration • Post • Progressivism • The Left • The Media

The Invaders and Their Allies

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There is a war on for hearts and minds of Americans, and it began long before the first shots were fired on Sunday along the United States-Mexico border, when federal agents deployed tear gas against aggressive foreign nationals attempting to force their way into our country.

But the media coverage of the border skirmish is more telling of the nature of this conflict than canisters of lachrymator. There are three news clippings that might illustrate this point.

CNN, to start, placed scrambling Central American “families with young children” in the limelight of the clash, yet didn’t show those same people hurling large stones in the direction of American law enforcement, many of whom presumably have families with young children, too.

ABC News, on the other hand, didn’t mention at all that foreign nationals endangered federal agents. “Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem” that, if one were to read nothing but ABC’s “The Latest,” would seem to have been induced spasmodically by trigger-happy Border Patrol—who, for what it’s worth, are mostly Latino.

The worst offender was perhaps the Associated Press. Making no mention of projectile attacks by foreign nationals directed at Americans, the AP quoted one Honduran to keep the narrative slanted favorably toward would-be illegal aliens. “We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,” Ana Zuniga told the AP “while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms.”

What sort of mother would attempt to penetrate a heavily guarded border as part of a violent mob with a toddler in arm? Likely the same that lined up for paychecks from unknown benefactors along with their children in order to participate in this debacle. But who paid them is not so important as the fact that they accepted the payment, and some have since charged headlong against Mexican and now American law enforcement with their children by their side. Mercenaries, then, not “migrants” come our way. Are these the “family values” we want to import?

Under cover of media spin designed to tug at heartstrings, opportunistic outrage from progressives was as predictable as the clash itself.

In the lead up to this incident, progressive politicos and pundits were preoccupied with what they believed was President Trump’s inappropriate use of the word “invasion” to describe thousands of people marching toward our border, under the banner that they would “rather die fighting” than be denied entry to the United States.

Reports from the Mexican government, however, showed early on that Trump’s descriptor—that the Tijuaneros have since adopted—was not greatly exaggerated. “Fuera Invasores” (Out Invaders) hasn’t quite gotten under Anderson Cooper’s skin the way that the American version of the slogan did.

On October 28, Mexican Secretary of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete Prida said in a press release that the same people now hurling rocks at Border Patrol agents had “ripped” through barriers at the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo. The “migrants” that CNN et al. have portrayed as harmless, according to Secretary Prida, forced their way into “our country” by attacking immigration personnel and Federal Police “with stones, firecrackers, glass bottles and rockets (another type of firework).”

But that’s not all.

Prida also noted that some “carried firearms” and others “Molotov cocktails.” In fact, two Hondurans, ages 17 and 22, were implicated in shooting at Mexican police officers, according to an October 29 Office for Domestic Affairs press release. The attackers were subdued when the shooter’s ultra-compact Glock 42 jammed.

Though no one was killed in that shooting, many Latin American police officers were injured as the caravan rolled toward our border. It’s also worth noting that these reports preceded the revelation that among the cavanners are felons deported from the United States for attempted murder.

Why, then, have progressives lied to us, and continue to lie to us, about the potential and real threats that these people pose to us?

Why do progressives continue to demonize our protectors as no different than the Ku Klux Klan, as Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has?

Worse yet, why have some conservatives taken up the progressive line on this? David French of National Review, for example, mocked Fox News guests for what he felt were “absurd claims about the diseases the migrants might bring to the U.S.” But are these concerns so absurd?

Consider that in 2016, Marin County, California’s Communicable Disease and Prevention Control found that 81 percent of the state’s 2,073 tuberculosis cases occurred in persons who were born outside the country. In fact, this is old news.

In 1984, Dr. Shirley Fannin, associate director of communicable disease programs for Los Angeles County, attributed the reversal of the decline of tuberculosis to immigrants who “bypass routine pre-immigration health checks and ‘literally bring the diseases with them,’” from the high endemic TB areas of Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia in particular.

Why, then, does French so callously write off valid concerns to join progressives on their denial-based ramparts? Do they not care about the wellness of legal immigrants who desired to leave Third World disease and violence behind them?

Why do progressives and their purportedly conservative allies lie, deflect, and obfuscate the truth?

Why do they do these things even though they might endanger us?

The answer is: it probably doesn’t matter as much our resolve does. If they demand that we believe them over our lying eyes, then all we can do is stop our ears against the siren songs of progressivism and stand our ground.

In the game of hearts and minds, wars can be won or lost before a shot is ever fired. Americans have as much a right to defend their land and their way of life as anyone else, and so it has become the singular task of progressives and their allies, through manipulation, misinformation, and political guilt tripping, to cow Americans into forgetting that fact.

If our resolve to stand tall on the border goes, so, too, will go our sovereignty.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Environment • Post • Progressivism • The Left

California Burning: How the Greens Turned the Golden State Brown

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In October 2016, in a coordinated act of terrorism that received fleeting attention from the press, environmentalist activists broke into remote flow stations and turned off the valves on pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada into the United States. Working simultaneously in Washington, Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota, the eco-terrorists disrupted pipelines that together transport 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, approximately 15 percent of U.S. consumption. The pretext for this action was to protest the alleged “catastrophe” of global warming.

These are the foot soldiers of environmental extremism. These are the minions whose militancy receives nods and winks from opportunistic politicians and “green” investors who make climate alarmism the currency of their political and commercial success.

More recently, and far more tragic, are the latest round of California wildfires that have consumed nearly a quarter million acres, killed at least 87 people, and caused damages estimated in excess of $10 billion.

Opinions vary regarding how much of this disaster could have been avoided, but nobody disputes that more could have been done. Everyone agrees, for example, that overall, aggressive fire suppression has been a mistake. Most everyone agrees that good prevention measures include forest thinning (especially around power lines), selective logging, controlled burns, and power line upgrades. And everyone agrees that residents in fire prone areas need to create defensible space and fire-harden their homes.

Opinions also vary as to whether or not environmentalists stood in the way of these prevention measures. In a blistering critique published earlier this week on the California-focused Flash Report, investigative journalist Katy Grimes cataloged the negligence resulting from environmentalist overreach.

“For decades,” Grimes notes, “traditional forest management was scientific and successful—that is until ideological, preservationist zealots wormed their way into government and began the overhaul of sound federal forest management through abuse of the Endangered Species Act and the ‘re-wilding, no-use movement.’”

U.S. Representative Tom McClintock, whose Northern California district includes the Yosemite Valley and the Tahoe National Forest, told Grimes that the U.S. Forest Service 40 years ago departed from “well-established and time-tested forest management practices.”

“We replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a doctrine of benign neglect,” McClintock explained. “Ponderous, byzantine laws and regulations administered by a growing cadre of ideological zealots in our land management agencies promised to ‘save the environment.’ The advocates of this doctrine have dominated our law, our policies, our courts and our federal agencies ever since.”

Grimes goes on to outline the specific missteps at the federal level that led to America’s forests turning into tinderboxes, starting in the Clinton Administration and made worse, thanks to activist judges, by thwarting reforms attempted by the Bush Administration, and accelerating during the complicit Obama presidency.

All of this lends credence to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s fresh allegations of forest mismanagement. But what really matters is what happens next.

Institutionalized Environmental Extremism
California’s 2018 wildfires have been unusually severe, but they were not historic firsts. This year’s unprecedented level of destruction and deaths are the result of home building in fire prone areas, and not because of wildfires of unprecedented scope. And while the four-year drought that ended in 2016 left a legacy of dead trees and brush, it was forest mismanagement that left those forests overly vulnerable to droughts in the first place.

Based on these facts, smart policy responses would be first to reform forest management regulations to expedite public and privately funded projects to reduce the severity of future wildfires, and second, to streamline the permit process to allow the quick reconstruction of new, fire-hardened homes.

But neither outcome is likely, and the reason should come as no surprise—we are asked to believe that it’s not observable failures in policy and leadership that caused all this destruction and death, it’s “man-made climate change.”

Governor Jerry Brown is a convenient boogeyman for climate realists, since his climate alarmism is as unrelenting as it is hyperbolic. But Brown is just one of the stars in an out-of-control environmental movement that is institutionalized in California’s legislature, courts, mass media, schools, and corporations.

Fighting climate change is the imperative, beyond debate, that justified the Golden State passing laws and regulations such as California Environmental Quality Act, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, and numerous others at the state and local level. They make it nearly impossible to build affordable homes, develop energy, or construct reservoirs, aqueducts, desalination plants, nuclear power plants, pipelines, freeways, or any other essential infrastructure that requires so much as a scratch in the ground.

Expect tepid progress on new preventive measures, in a state so mired in regulations and litigation that for every dollar spent paying heavy equipment operators and loggers to do real work, twice that much or more will go to pay consultants, attorneys, and public bureaucrats. Expect “climate change” to be used as a pretext for more “smart growth,” which translates into “stack and pack,” whereby people will be herded out of rural areas through punishing financial disincentives and forced into densely populated urban areas, where they can join the scores of thousands of refugees that California is welcoming from all over the world.

Ruling Class Hypocrisy
Never forget, according to the conventional wisdom as prescribed by California’s elites, if you don’t like it, you are a climate change “denier,” a “xenophobe,” and a “racist.”

California’s elites enjoy their gated communities, while the migrants who cut their grass and clean their floors go home to subsidized accessory dwelling units in the backyards of the so-called middle class whose taxes pay for it all. They are hypocrites.

But it is these elites who are the real deniers.

They pretend that natural disasters are “man-made,” so they can drive up the cost of living and reap the profits when the companies they invest in sell fewer products and services for more money in a rationed, anti-competitive environment.

They pretend this is sustainable; that wind farms and solar batteries can supply adequate power to teeming masses crammed into power-sipping, “smart growth” high rises. But they’re tragically wrong.

Here the militant environmentalists offer a reality check. Cutting through their predictable, authoritarian, psychotically intolerant rants that incorporate every leftist shibboleth imaginable, the “Deep Green Resistance” website offers a remarkably lucid and fact-based debunking of “green technology and renewable energy.” Their solution, is to “create a life-centered resistance movement that will dismantle industrial civilization by any means necessary.”

These deep green militants want to “destroy industrial civilization.” At their core, they are misanthropic nihilists—but at least they’re honest. By contrast, California’s stylish elites are driving humanity in slow motion towards this same dire future, cloaked in denial, veiled coercion, and utopian fantasies.

This is the issue that underlies the California wildfires, what causes them and what to do about them. What is a “sustainable” civilization? One that embraces human settlements, has faith in human ingenuity, and aspires to make all humans prosperous enough to care about the environment, everywhere? Or one that demands Draconian limits on human settlement, with no expectation that innovation can provide solutions we can’t currently imagine, and condemns humans to police-state rationing of everything we produce and consume?

That is the stark choice that underlies the current consensus of California’s elites, backed up by dangerous and growing cadres of fanatical militants.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

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American Conservatism • California • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Political Parties • Post • Republicans

Understanding the Weird World of California Conservatives

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To be conservative in California can be frustrating. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election here in a decade. Conservative policy prescriptions—such as they are—don’t have much of a constituency where most Californians live. And the place is thoroughly, maddeningly, insufferably, sometimes stiflingly “progressive.”

Which, if you think about it, makes those of us on the political right something of a counterculture. Far out!

More than that, California conservatives apparently have an outsize voice in national politics. Vox, the self-styled explanatory journalism website, published a story Monday that attempts to explain how California conservatives came to form the intellectual impetus for Donald Trump’s unlikely political ascent.

Reporter Jane Coaston “traveled the length of the Golden State, stopping at conservative outpost after conservative outpost”—which seems to have spanned from the San Fernando Valley to Claremont, about 50 miles east of L.A.

Never mind the geographical quibbles. What she discovered is a conservatism of defiance, “isolation,” and “powerlessness,” articulated by people “who believe their views will never become the view.” Sounds like a bummer.

Yet somehow, Coaston contends, “California conservatism” has become “simply conservatism writ large.”

That seems to be the thesis anyway. As explanations go, however, it’s puzzling. It doesn’t really work. Here’s why.

Read the rest in the Sacramento Bee.

Photo Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon 

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California • Cultural Marxism • Immigration • Law and Order • Post • The Left

Judge Tigar Strikes Again

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Judge Jon S. Tigar is back in the news.

I wrote about him nearly two years ago:

A federal judge ruled recently that an inmate serving a life sentence for murder in California must receive sex-reassignment surgery at taxpayer expense.

The inmate was Rodney James Quine, 57, twice married and the father of two daughters. I write “was” because while in prison he changed his name to Shiloh Heavenly Quine. Quine began living as a woman in 2008, when prison officials authorized hormone treatments at taxpayer expense. Quine then began pushing for a sex change operation, to be paid for by California taxpayers like everything else in prison.

Enter Barack Obama. In 2013 Obama appointed Jon Tigar to the federal bench. Tigar, who evidently shares Obama’s fascination with the world of the transgendered, assigned himself to Quine’s case and appointed a team of San Francisco lawyers and the Transgender Law Center to represent Quine. The result of Tigar’s ruling in Quine’s favor is that the state of California must now provide sex reassignment surgery for prison inmates.

Tigar claimed to discover this requirement hidden deep within the Eighth Amendment, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Of course, this was a lawless ruling by a rogue actor in judicial garb and an assault on the rule of law in America.

This same judge is now back in the news, this time with a ruling that encourages people to break the law. The New York Times put it like this:

Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United State District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the government from carrying out a new rule that denies protections to people who enter the country illegally.

“A rule that denies protections to people” is Timespeak for not allowing people who have entered the country illegally to apply for asylum. The president of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, said on Fox News Tuesday that the judge “just encouraged migrants to break the law.”

Getting around America’s border protections has been easy. Simply cross our borders illegally, apply for asylum, never show up for your asylum hearing, and join the ranks of the millions of illegal aliens already living in America. The administration’s new rule was aimed at putting a stop to this absurdity.

We already know from Tigar’s  Shiloh Heavenly Quine ruling that the judge is not dedicated to upholding the Constitution. It is clear that he has a political agenda instead. When Barack Obama was in office, he pushed beyond common sense and the plain meaning of the Constitution to advance the cause of “fundamentally transforming America.” With Donald Trump in the Oval Office, he has become part of #TheResistance.

Tigar’s efforts parallel perfectly with what is going on in the news media. The advent of Obama unhinged the reporters and the pundits. They abandoned any remaining pretense of even-handedness, of fairness. Professional standards went out the window. Bernie Goldberg, brilliantly, termed it a “slobbering love affair” with everything Obama.

Now that Trump has replaced Obama, the people in the news and opinions business are still completely unhinged, and in solidarity in their opposition to the president. They are as carried away with their loathing for Trump as they were carried away by their adoration of Obama.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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California • Conservatives • GOPe • Political Parties • Post • Republicans

Why the GOP Needs to Focus on California

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As midterm results are finally finalized, some with ambiguous implications, the only clear takeaway is that our country is massively divided. While the GOP solidified its control of the Senate despite losing the House of Representatives, the Republican Party is now little more than an asterisk in the nation’s most populous state. Americans on the right side of our political divide in the rest of the country may gloat or lament the Golden State’s emerging single-party rule, but they ignore it at their peril.

Far from an electoral aberration or folly, California’s potential to reshape U.S. politics is only going to grow. Rather than ignore the bluest state in the Union, the GOP must re-engage the state and use it as a testing ground for flipping seats in blue states. If they do not, Republicans risk ceding the future to single-party governance and potential authoritarianism.

California’s leftward shift is not exactly news, but the state’s transition from a dependably red state, as it was between 1952-1988, to one of the bluest in the country should have Republicans worried.

The California GOP of the early 1990s allowed itself to be condemned as nativist and surrendered to Democratic efforts to frame it as an irreparably bigoted movement. This has steadily sapped the statewide party of all relevance. Now with Democrats holding supermajorities in both houses at the state level in California, Republicans have nowhere to go but up. Yet the party has a steep hill to climb in registering new voters and re-converting old ones. A recent poll found that 61 percent of Democrats nationally consider the GOP to be fundamentally racist. The state’s Republicans must convince voters in California that this disparaging opinion is not only false, but that Democrat policies such as the state’s increased taxes on gasoline actually hurt minorities and the poor—both of which are demographics claimed by the state’s dominant party. Engaging in this long-term battle may be inconvenient for Republicans, but is necessary for its survival.

Blue America Rising
The national dilemma for the GOP is that other states will only become more like California. In Arizona, Nevada, and even Texas, this process is already well underway. Recent data from the midterm elections indicate that the GOP continues to have a problem courting Latino voters. Millennial voters, now entering and climbing in the workforce and seeking affordable places to live and raise families, are migrating to traditionally red states like Arizona, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Carrying ideological orientations fresh from Left-dominated academia (another aspect of American life surrendered by conservatives) the GOP has no other option than to try radical new ideas in preserving their electoral viability.

Analysts and commentators are quick to point to demographic change as the driving force, but that is only part of the answer. Certainly, the changing social fabric of the electorate is conducive to Democrat campaign strategies centered around identity politics and socialist economic ideas.

But one must be blind to deny that the Left’s rapid rise in U.S. politics since Obama’s second term is only made possible by decades of Republican surrenders in areas of American culture and an ongoing refusal to try new strategies in predominantly blue states. Conservatives, effectively, have written off plans to regain relevance in the universities and in the media. While such surrender is not necessarily fatal in the electoral arena, the GOP is showing a similar inability to adapt when it comes to the ballot box.

As traditionally Republican states such as Texas become increasingly likely to flip blue in forthcoming years, the GOP will be faced with a potential shutout at the national level for a generation or more. Such an eventuality would help to fulfill the prophecy in the remarks of California’s Democratic governor-elect, Gavin Newsom: “so goes California, so goes the nation.” As single-party rule sets in nationally, Republicans will have wished they focused on California as a laboratory for scrapping traditional politicking in lieu of trying brand new ideas.

Revitalizing Republicans Requires Radical Thinking
If California is any indication, the Republican strategy of politics as usual with adrenal rush of Trumpism will not suffice to safeguard the GOP’s relevance. To make California a laboratory for party revitalization, the state’s Republican Party should not only divorce itself from partisanship at the national level, but look to other countries and study cases in which single-party dominance collapsed at provincial and regional levels. Revitalizing two-party strength in California is not impossible, but requires radically new thinking.

Daunting as it may seem, turning California from deep blue to purple is not only needed to safeguard against the loss of states like Texas, but it would threaten Democratic hopes of establishing an electoral lock on the nation as a whole. Single-party dominance is a form of soft authoritarianism and it can take root in a democratic system. For example, India’s Congress Party has dominated power in the world’s largest democracy since it won independence in 1947. In Italy, the Christian Democracy party was dominant in the country’s politics from the end of World War II until the early 1990s. In both cases, single-party dominance ended only as the result of strong regional showings from their rivals, economic mismanagement, and aggressive investigations into corruption surrounding both parties. In the case of California and other Democratic Party strongholds in the United States, it remains to be seen if the Republicans have the creativity or will to facilitate the collapse of single-party dominance.

California certainly offers the regional imbalance that provides the GOP beginning issues upon which to grow. The state’s political subservience to the Bay Area in the north highlights but one such disparity. It is not coincidental that Senator Dianne Feinstein and California’s governor-elect Gavin Newsom were both mayors of San Francisco. Nor is it coincidental that Senator Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi are products of Bay Area politics.

The GOP should not give in to the notion that it is the party of the “old rich white man,” as Democrats happily insist. In order to avoid being condemned to demographically driven political irrelevance, however, the state party must not only be creative, but also be bold and aggressive in ways it has not been in the recent past. While many will argue that spending Republican campaign dollars in blue states is a waste of money, such defeatist thinking must be disregarded as it is compared to the costs of socialist agendas such as single-payer healthcare, “free” tuition, a reduced military, and the high taxes it takes to underwrite them. Party spending in California should be considered an investment in containment, if nothing else.

It is possible for an increasingly diverse America to be nationalistic, based in republicanism, and Republican-led. But the party must look to new strategies that are long-term and that have worked elsewhere. America can survive as the metaphorical “New Rome,” but if it is to be strong, prosperous, and avoid socialism the Republicans must adapt and stop abdicating in states they have lost or are on the verge of losing. California’s population, strategic position, and natural beauty are too valuable to lose to the devastating effects of socialism. The Golden State is worth redeeming, but Republicans must have the gall, energy, and creativity to save it. If they do not, Texas may be the next California—and then it may be too late.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Elections • Identity Politics • Post • The Left

The 2020 Democratic National Circus: The Establishment Picks

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As much as we’d all like to take a moment and enjoy the end of the 2018 midterms, the reality is that November 7 was not the last day of election season; it was the first day of the 2020 presidential campaign. Politics is an never-ending game.

And you’d better believe the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries are going to be a circus. The field of candidates who will run is shaping up to be nearly as large as that of the Republicans in 2016, which was the largest number of candidates in a presidential primary in American history. It’s not too early to begin thinking about who those candidates will be.

Indeed one candidate, who may be considered “serious,” already has officially declared his intention to run: U.S. Representative John Delaney of Maryland. Delaney is likely to go the way of Martin O’Malley in 2020 (notwithstanding the fact that Martin O’Malley himself may reappear in 2020 to run), and inevitably he will be joined by other “also-rans” with no viable shot.

Still, expect no shortage of major candidates fighting for the lead in each of the major ideological lanes of the Democratic field.

In the post-2016 world, it makes the most sense to view any future presidential primary through a lens of “insiders” versus “outsiders,” with perhaps a few other candidates somewhere in the middle of this spectrum between the establishment and the populists. First, there is the high-profile battle for the blessing of the party elites.

A Veep Sweep?
As numerous nationwide and statewide polls have already shown, the apparent frontrunner is former Vice President Joe Biden. Having previously run in 1988 and 2008, a third run in 2020 would be the latest in a long American tradition of vice presidents taking up the mantle of their party after the president they served under has been termed out of office.

Biden is hardly a sure-thing, however. His age (he’s three years older than President Trump) and his reputation for remarkably stupid gaffes may prove to be serious barriers. And, in the era of #MeToo, don’t be surprised if his creepy, touchy-feely approach with women becomes a campaign issue.

As far as the hard numbers go, CNN analyst Ryan Struyk has pointed out that Biden’s current lead is only half of what Hillary Clinton’s polling lead was at this same point going into 2016. In fact, it’s closer to where Republican polling placed Mitt Romney in 2014, making him the apparent frontrunner. Trump wasn’t even considered a longshot at that point, and Romney, of course, took himself out of the running altogether.

At the same time, although Biden has seniority and the executive experience that insiders crave, he is not ideological enough to scare away the more far-Left crop of candidates who inevitably run in order to vie for attention. While Biden’s connection to the Obama Administration is more personal, younger and more diverse candidates inevitably will try to take up the mantle of being the next Obama, rather than merely the guy who went along on Obama’s ride.

Kooky Kamala
One such example would be California’s junior Senator Kamala Harris. Coincidentally, in recent statements on the subject of 2020, Harris was the one and only person that Biden mentioned by name as a possible nominee. And this reflects the latest in a consistent trend that started almost as soon as Harris was elected in 2016: The party’s donor class, which overwhelmingly backed Hillary in 2016, is lining up behind Harris.

Harris checks off a lot of major boxes for those in the party leadership. She is a triple-minority, being half-black, half-Indian, and a woman. Hailing from the socialist utopia of California, she boasts some extremely far-left views on such issues as gun control and immigration, while at the same time cozying up nicely to the party brass. In that sense, some see her as a potential cross between Obama and Hillary, and perhaps the best possible answer for the growing divide between the party leadership and the far-left base as a result of the 2016 primaries.

Aside from the preemptive backing of a potential Harris candidacy by the party’s donors, another big move by the establishment seems to signify the party’s efforts to give Harris an early edge in winning the nomination: Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill moving the state’s presidential primary election from June to the beginning of March. With Harris having the home-state advantage—and perhaps the only candidate from the Golden State—a victory would almost certainly launch her into frontrunner status.

Sputtering Spartacus
Through her antics during the Kavanaugh hearings, Harris seemed to all but confirm her presidential ambitions. Not to be outdone, New Jersey’s Senator Cory Booker also seized the opportunity to audition for a big role in 2020, though Kirk Douglas can probably rest assured that Booker’s reprisal will not top his original performance.

A few years ago, back when Barack Obama was still president, Booker was widely seen as a favorite to succeed him. Another young, African-American senator from a blue state who undoubtedly would appeal to the same voters that loved Obama,  he also briefly flirted with vice presidential aspirations in 2016, allegedly making the shortlist for Hillary’s running mate before she selected Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia.

In the past two years, Booker has tried (and only partially succeeded) to keep up with the party’s leftward lurch in his voting record and his rhetoric. A Politico profile focused on how his past reliance on positive rhetoric and refusal to fight dirty would be a detriment in a potential presidential run. And although he seems to have shed his “nice guy” image in the wake of Kavanaugh, it may be a case of too little too late for Booker, as others like Harris snatch the spotlight and the microphone away from him.

If Booker were to run, he could best be described as the 2020 Democratic counterpart to Florida’s Marco Rubio in 2016: Once considered a rising star and serious contender, but he has long since faded.

Fauxcahontas
One other major candidate hailing from a deep-blue East Coast state is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren has been a darling of the establishment for quite some time, and was also a favorite to be Hillary’s running mate in 2016. Like Harris, she is seen as a possible bridge between the establishment and the party’s progressive base. Warren talks like a populist and often votes like a socialist.

There is no denying, however, that the same base that loved Bernie Sanders loathes Warren, despite their ideological similarities. The Sandernistas view Warren as a “sell out,” who backed Hillary over Bernie out of pure political expediency.

At the same time, just as Biden is unable to avoid saying stupid things, Warren has made herself all too easy for Republicans to lampoon thanks to her now-debunked claims of Native American heritage; her recent efforts to keep pushing this lie have even earned her the ire of many in her own party. In identity politics poker, Warren foolishly exposed her weak hand. Somewhere, Harris and Booker (and their consultants) are smiling.

Nevertheless, Warren has attempted to boost her credentials with the base as she stumped for numerous progressive candidates in the midterms. But as The Wall Street Journal noted, the vast majority of candidates she endorsed lost. This could be a testament to her endorsement being more of a hindrance than an advantage, her poor choice in candidates, or her ineffectiveness as a campaigner; any one of these things does not bode well for a possible 2020 run.

Passing on a Wet Torch
Although polling data and historical precedent seems to depict Joe Biden as the frontrunner, there is actually a strong chance he will opt not to run. Expect the former vice president to repeat the same song he sang in 2016: He will be the center of prolonged speculation of “will he or won’t he” before ultimately deciding against it, ostensibly to pass on the torch to “the new generation.”

If he does this, he will most likely make his endorsement at the same time; and if the current behavioral trends of the party leadership serve as any indication, he too will support Kamala Harris. Although others like Booker and Warren will still run trying to woo the party elite, it will be Harris who gets their imprimatur.

By cementing Harris as their new mascot, the Democratic establishment will be forging an unsteady alliance with the grassroots, as California undoubtedly is viewed as the epicenter of #TheResistance and a hotbed of rabid anti-Trump rhetoric. Once again, the mantra will be that “California is the future.” They just won’t mention that it happens to be a very, very bleak future.

With Harris cozied up with the party’s bigwigs, expect there still to be some actual resistance from #TheResistance. Many in the far-left base will not be satisfied, and will continue to demand an actual outsider, an avowed socialist who makes the party’s leadership squirm.

Who is most likely to lead this category, and headline the second act of this insane circus? That will be answered in the next part.

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Identity Politics • Post • race • The Left

Why America’s ‘Minority Majority’ Will Never Happen

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In America today, the phrase “It’s Okay to be White” is considered hate speech. Last week, in trendsetting California, that was the clear message coming from Sacramento’s leading local television news network, KCRA. Watching this top story on November 3, you would think co-anchors Gulstan Dart and Kellie DeMarco were reporting on another synagogue massacre, instead of an incident at a local college where some anonymous “racist” had taped a few pieces of 8.5 x 11-inch copy paper to campus bulletin boards that read “It’s Okay to be White.”

What happened in Sacramento wasn’t an isolated incident. “It’s Okay to be White” flyers have been printed and posted elsewhere in the U.S. You can even buy “It’s Okay to be White” T-shirts on Amazon Prime. The posters have appeared at Duke, Tufts, the University of Delaware, the University of Denver, the University of St. Thomas, and elsewhere.

The reporter on the scene in Sacramento, Walter Makaula, dutifully pointed out that “messages of inclusion and diversity” were posted “everywhere” on the Sacramento’s American River community college campus. “Black Minds Matter.” “Womyn & Femmes Circle.” And so on. But posting “It’s Okay to be White” apparently is hateful. As Dean of Student Services Joshua Moon Johnson stated reassuringly for the camera: “Quickly we addressed the situation and made sure campus police were called and made sure we had those removed.”

Good job, Dean Moon Johnson! Such bravery! Such resolute action!

A Perfectly Understandable Reaction
The common sense questions to this typical response are many. Why is this offensive? Why is this rather bland affirmation of white personhood considered a threat? Why is it called “hate speech?” And what is it that might inspire someone, presumably a white student, to print a few of these signs and post them around their campus?

Could asserting that “It’s Okay to be White” be a perfectly understandable reaction to an educational culture wherein anyone who is not “white” is obsessively celebrated? A reaction to institutional discrimination where anyone who is not “White” is granted preferential treatment in admissions, scholarship awards, and future hiring decisions? And wouldn’t knowing these flyers would trigger a hysterical overreaction, despite containing content that is trivial by any objective standard, motivate an irreverent and spirited student to post them?

While the origin of the phrase “It’s Okay to be White” allegedly is linked to “white nationalists,” that shouldn’t alter its meaning. You can’t outlaw a reasonable phrase merely because unreasonable people have uttered it. When you do, and make an overwrought fuss every time the phrase is encountered, you are inviting millions also to utter it.

The term “White” is inclusive, not exclusive, and cultural, not racial.

But what is “White”? Could it be that the term “White” is destined to become perceived as inclusive instead of exclusive? Eric Kaufmann, writing for UnHerd, has coined the phrase “Whiteshift,” which he defines as ”the voluntary assimilation of minorities into the majority though intermarriage.” Kaufmann goes on to explain how this voluntary assimilation can occur, characterizing it as “a process which will need active telegraphing as mixing won’t be strong enough on its own to make much difference to social cohesion until the end of the century.

While Kaufmann is writing about the United Kingdom, his prescriptions for assimilation apply in America as well. He writes:

The Left needs to back away from excessive accusations of racism and dreams of radical social transformation. Conservatives should worry less about Muslims, Hispanics or the behavior of other minority groups and focus instead on defending the interests of those who seek slower cultural change. This is not just about immigration levels, but should involve ethnic majority citizens inducting mixed-race children into myths of British [American] ancestry.

In this context, American “multiculturalism” is clearly the wrong approach. An entire collection of industries have been built in America to capitalize on a divisive obsession with race and ethnicity, and the elaborate scaffolding of ranked victims based on their race and ethnicity. From campus “chief diversity officers” to corporate human resources departments, to the plaintiff’s bar, to pandering politicians, to the Academy Awards and the like, American culture has acquired an unhealthy obsession with race.

Collapsing Paradigm
In a society where actual racism is universally condemned and utterly marginalized, new offenses have been invented: micro-aggression, unconscious racism, white privilege. And with the new offenses, new solutions: trigger warnings, safe spaces, speech codes. The new goal? To create a utopian society where equality of outcomes across all races is achieved. That is impossible, which is perhaps the point. No industry wants to solve its reason for existing.

Demographics favor an inclusive definition of “White.”

The good news, however, is this entire paradigm of race and ethnicity as the defining issue of the left-of-center establishment is about to collapse, for a reason the race careerists are not expecting and will not be able to counter. Quite simply put, the “White” race is assimilating “people of color” at breathtaking speed. Not just culturally, but genetically.
In 2015, more than 17 percent of marriages in America were across “racial” lines. It is the reality of ethnic intermarriage that will add critical weight to the conservative argument for cultural assimilation, just as intermarriage in America between immigrants of various European ethnicities propelled cultural assimilation ala the “melting pot” in previous centuries.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post published a fascinating article headlined, “The Demise of the White Majority is a Myth,” by USC public policy professor Dowell Myers and his political scientist colleague Morris Levy. “Under a more expansive definition that counts as white anyone who so identifies (even if they also identify with another race or ethnicity),” Myers and Levy write, “the white population is not declining; it’s flourishing. The Census Bureau’s inclusive projections show a white population in excess of 70 percent of the total for the foreseeable future.”

This observation, backed up by demographic data, provides abundant reasons for optimism. As the Myers and Levy put it: “Projections of racial demographics should reflect the great changes in the meaning of race in America. But stories about the impending demise of white America are rooted in outmoded notions of racial exclusivity. These stories of white decline obscure the ongoing changes to America’s color line, and they serve only to divide.”

Watch out, professional race hustlers. Your entire livelihood is “rooted in outmoded notions of racial exclusivity.”

Based on demographic data that Myers and Levy cite, when one uses the inclusive definition of white, America is destined to remain around 75 percent white for decades to come. Using any other definition renders unsustainable the Leftist strategy of identity politics. How can they continue to carve out preferential treatment for “people of color,” if nearly everyone is mostly “White,” yet qualifies? And if they use a more exclusive definition of White, where will they draw the line? What would stop Elizabeth Warren copycats from litigiously demanding they too receive preferential treatment? The current system of racial redress via racial quotas across all aspects of American life is going to collapse of its own weight.

Toward Unity Politics
The hopeful reality that Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, in very different ways, has propelled America towards is new wave of American cultural assimilation. Trump because he was the raging bull in the china shop of political correctness. Warren because she exemplifies the absurdity of race-based career opportunism.

The alternative to identity politics is unity politics. Affirmation of a transracial, 21st century American melting pot where conservative and libertarian values, derived from Western traditions, are overwhelmingly accepted and protected. And contrary to conventional wisdom, another great wave of American assimilation may be in the offing.

Demographics are indeed destiny, and America’s current demographic trends point to a future where White lineage is predominant in so many people who also have a lessor percentage of “non-White” heredity, that these millions of Americans will embrace their American heritage. They will reject special preferences for themselves or anyone else, and celebrate American history and traditions with the same fervor as the great waves of ethnic immigrants who arrived over a century ago from Southern and Eastern Europe.

“It’s Okay to be White.” Absolutely. Because “White” is destined to become an ethnically inclusive term, devoid of divisive connotations. Chief diversity officers may wish to find a new line of work, along with all those minions of overpaid bureaucrats they manage. The next great American era of assimilation is just around the corner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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America • California • Education • First Amendment • Free Speech • History • Post • The Culture • The Left

Blacklisting Patrick Henry and American History

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My days as an American historian may be numbered.

For the better part of 40 years, my extended family has featured American “living history” on our 760-acre apple farm in Oak Glen, California. When my wife and I built our Georgian inspired home on the farm in 1994, we originally hoped to offer 18th century dinner theater, but two mothers of fifth grade students approached us, asking for a field trip on the American Revolution.

I didn’t think it would work at first. As a child, our field trips were to museums and bakeries and theme parks. Allowing children to witness a mock battle? Allowing 11-year-olds to pretend they were soldiers? I loved the idea of showing kids redcoats and minutemen, but I wondered if California elementary teachers would approve.

I could not have been more wrong. Within five years, we were seeing 50,000 students a year, and in the last 17 years, more than 1.2 million students, parents, and teachers visited programs on the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the California Gold Rush.

Our program has no contemporary agenda and for decades it has been loved by all sorts of Americans, who are left, right, and center on the political spectrum. I’ve had great conversations with parents who were federal judges, Hollywood producers, fashion designers, actors and other farmers like me. I once had a pleasant dinner conversation with Bradley Whitford, (“West Wing,” “Saving Mr. Banks”). I wonder, had he known my politics, if the conversation might have taken an arch turn because I’m pro-life, a lifetime NRA member, and a property-rights advocate, but Brad and I kept it very human and convivial. I think, over the years, quite a few of my guests may have known something about my politics, because I’ve always been willing to speak my mind online, but if they ever did have trouble with my views, it always felt like a very Henry Fonda/Jimmy Stewart relationship. I love my customers, and most of them love me, my family, and staff.

Enter ubiquitous social media and a crusading socialist “blue wave” activist—who took the trouble to urge several public schools to blacklist our programs. For my thinking that the Reverend Louis Farrakhan is a bit more dangerous than some mythological (and certainly minuscule) “white nationalism,” I was called a “racist.” For thinking Stormy Daniels was wildly over the top assaulting an undercover police officer, I was called a “misogynist.” For being bewildered by a sudden multiplicity of gender identities, I was called a “homophobe.” Suddenly, in these polarized times, Riley’s Farm is no longer considered a “safe space” for children by timid, progressive school administrators.

This isn’t Ben and Jerry’s, folks. I’m not asking you to celebrate “Pecan Resist” when you come to my farm. There are no contemporary politics on display. Unlike companies engaged in political virtue-signaling, we’ve never asked anyone to celebrate the cause du jour. I have a political life on my own time. It has absolutely no effect on my living history programs. I hire a very diverse group of people who have one goal: making the learning of American history fun and accessible for children and families.

To that end, if I ever had any doubt that American history, her values and freedoms, could be universally appreciated it ended one day when I was leading a group of Asian American kids up through an orchard with sticks in their hands, (the sticks serve as “muskets”). I heard one of them shout to the other, “Death to tyrants! This is cool!”

One night, before one of my “Patrick Henry” performances, we asked the guests to lift their tankard and propose a toast of gratitude. There was a boy of about 14 years old, surrounded by a large family, and he kept trying to give a toast, but he kept getting emotional. His uncle put his hand on his back and said, “Alberto, you tell them what you were about to say.” The boy stood up, raised his tankard, and said, “I am grateful to be in America.” He bit his lip. “And no longer in Cuba!” His grandmother had waited for 20 years for a lottery visa, and when it came in, she gave it to him.

That’s a common reality here. I’ve talked to Cambodians, Hungarians, and Russians who love America intensely. They “get” Riley’s Farm right away, even if there is no contemporary political conversation. You can see it in their eyes when we tell the kids at the end of every field trip, “If you remember anything about today—don’t let it be the funny three-corner hats or old language or the buckled shoes—I want you to remember that there were Americans, and there are Americans, of every sort who love you, and what you believe in, enough to give their lives.” I’ve seen Americans of all sorts, but particularly immigrants, wiping away their tears.

Well, it turns out that some believe this sort of business can’t be owned by a conservative, by an outspoken Christian, by someone who has a caustic sense of humor on his own time. It’s safer to take your kids on a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream plant or maybe someplace safely zoological—where they can be lectured for making the mistake of being a human being on planet Earth.

Really, folks, all we do is celebrate American history. We’re far less political than most “educational” destinations these days, but if a lot of public schools continue to blacklist us, we will be forced to pack up and sell.

We don’t know how this will end. Thanks to some very good legal advice from our attorney Tom Eastmond, we’ve decided to fight back. Public institutions, of course, may withhold their business from an establishment for a variety of reasons, but the political speech of the owner isn’t one of them. It seems to me that the history I celebrate produced a document called “the Bill of Rights” that just might protect not only me but you as well. Do you really want an America that can deny you a job for everything you’ve said on Twitter or Facebook? Do you really want to give up your right to speak just because you made the mistake of starting a business?

That isn’t my America.

Photo Credit: MPI/Getty Images

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