California • Elections • Post • Republicans • taxes

Requiem for John Cox

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In the end, it wasn’t even close.

John Cox, the venture capitalist and housing developer from San Diego by way of Chicago, was the third Republican candidate to lose—bigly—the California governor’s race to a Democrat in as many elections.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom sailed to victory Tuesday, defeating Cox by more than 1.3 million votes (and counting, since the final official tally won’t be available until next month).

By Wednesday morning, Newsom’s margin of victory looked strikingly similar to Jerry Brown’s curb-stomping defeat of Republican Neel Kashkari in 2014. Cox might have narrowed the gap somewhat, but let’s face it: Doing a little better than the last guy is a small consolation.

Cox deserved to do better. He really did.

Read the rest at the Sacramento Bee.

Photo credit: David McNew/Getty Images

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California • Congress • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Russia • The Left

The Day California Died

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Even as the 2018 midterms were a rather mixed bag for the GOP nationwide, it’s only natural that one of the few bright areas for the Democratic Party was in the progressive utopia of California.

Despite some hype over internal polls suggesting a close race for governor, or a contentious push to repeal a recently enacted gas tax, the California Republican Party once again fell short, even of its own meager expectations.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward
Whatever small consolations California Republicans can take away from election night were overwhelmed by more losses, as the Democratic tide inevitably engulfed them.

There is currently only one undecided race that the California GOP was hoping to flip. In the State Assembly’s 60th District, located in Riverside, Republican Bill Essayli was hoping to oust Democratic incumbent Sabrina Cervantes. With a lot of votes still left to be counted over the next few days, the race is a literal dead heat: At the time of writing this, Cervantes leads by just three votes—26,731 to Essayli’s 26,728.

Unfortunately, other hotly contested races in the lower chamber (Districts 32, 44, 65, and 66) were all tenaciously defended by their Democratic incumbents.

In addition, the Democrats made two flips of their own, taking seats from outgoing moderate Republicans Marc Steinorth in San Bernardino’s 40th District and Rocky Chavez in Orange County’s 76th District. Thus, the overall net change in the Assembly is D+1, slightly expanding their supermajority.

The state senate was even worse, with both losses for the GOP coming from the San Joaquin Valley. In the 12th District, Democrat Anna Caballero managed narrowly to defeat Republican Rob Poythress for the seat being vacated by another moderate Republican, Anthony Cannella, and in the process won the seat that she narrowly lost to Cannella in 2010.

But in a more shocking result, the neighboring 14th District saw a sizeable Democratic upset against the popular incumbent Republican Andy Vidak, who was defeated by Democrat Melissa Hurtado.

With these two flips, the Democrats erased the minimal gain made by the Republicans’ successful recall of Democrat Josh Newman in Orange County in June, and once again brought this year’s net change to D+1. This gives the Democrats another supermajority in the upper chamber after it was briefly taken from them with Newman’s loss.

While Republicans managed to defend most of the open U.S. House races, there were still three devastating losses, two in neighboring Orange County districts and one in Los Angeles.

In the 48th, the senior-most Republican congressman in the state of California, Dana Rohrabacher, narrowly lost his re-election bid to radical Democrat Harley Rouda. In the race to succeed outgoing Republican Darrell Issa in the 49th District, Bernie Sanders-endorsed progressive Mike Levin handily defeated Republican Diane Harkey. And in the Los Angeles-based 25th, incumbent Steve Knight was defeated by Democratic challenger Katie Hill.

Not only did the Republican delegation to Congress shrink by three, but it did so by losing two of the longest-serving Republicans in the state.

Dominant Democrats
The poor performance in local races was a clear result of the Democrats’ usual routing of Republicans at the statewide level. In state races, every single office was won by Democrats in the double digits, with some margins easily as high as 20 percent. This included the top race of governor, with ultra-liberal Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom besting former Illinois businessman John Cox by almost the same margin of victory by which his predecessor Jerry Brown beat his Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari.

Even in the unusual race for insurance commissioner, despite strong support for Republican-turned-Independent Steve Poizner, Democrat Ricardo Lara apparently managed to eke out a narrow win. This is by far the closest Democrats have come to losing a statewide contest since 2006, yet it is still telling that in order to get that close, the popular Poizner had to change his registration to “no party preference,” Republican being too toxic a word in California.

After a closely watched race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Dianne Feinstein successfully fended off her socialist challenger Kevin de León. Although her despicable crusade against Kavanaugh was clearly in reaction to de León’s surging support against her, her re-election was the second-narrowest of her career, winning by less than 9 points; only her first re-election in 1994 was closer, when she narrowly beat Republican Michael Huffington by just under two points.

And beyond any of the races for elected office, one other major battle to which the California GOP pinned its hopes was lost. Proposition 6, the effort to repeal a recently-enacted 12-cent gas tax increase, was defeated by the electorate, thus solidifying the majority of California voters as willing to raise taxes on themselves voluntarily. The people who led a national revolt against high taxes 40 years ago are long gone.

The Planned Collapse
California has been on a sharp and serious decline. With an explosion in poverty, crime, and homelessness, a surge in illegal immigration and a mass exodus of law-abiding citizens from the state, it was recently declared the state with the worst quality of life.

The most infuriating part is that, even though this collapse is taking place entirely on Democrats’ watch, they don’t care; and, as is evident in the results of this latest election, neither do the majority of California’s citizens, or whomever voted on Tuesday.

It is often speculated that the only way the California GOP can realistically make a comeback is if the state has a total, all-out implosion—a collapse of the government, a crash of the economy, a breakdown of society itself—under Democratic rule. Wasteful government spending, skyrocketing unemployment combined with an out-of-control welfare state, and the societal strain of unfettered immigration seems to be contributing all it can to the hastening of this process—but California, zombie like, hangs on.

Now that he holds the title of governor, Gavin Newsom undoubtedly will spearhead his signature campaign promise: A single-payer healthcare system, better known as socialized medicine. He will do this, not only out of his own partisan arrogance and his and the state party’s determination to “resist” President Trump, but he will also do this because he knows it will cause the state to collapse. He’s willingly leading the state off a fiscal cliff.

That’s because Democrats in California have already figured out how to engineer the coming collapse to work to their political advantage, so they figure they might as well hasten it.

Here’s how it will work:

As studies have confirmed, a single-payer healthcare system would cost California $400 billion a year—twice the entire state budget. Even though some on the Left have suggested simply raising taxes even higher than the already-obscene rates, the fact is that a system such as this one would almost immediately bankrupt the state.

Once the state goes bankrupt, to whom must Governor Newsom go for a bailout? President Trump. Although Newsom has no intention actually of working with the president, he will make the effort anyway in order to get his participation trophy. Newsom will be counting on Trump to the correct and predictable thing and refuse to save California from our self-imposed misfortunes.

Although telling Newsom to “drop dead” would be the fiscally responsible and morally correct move, it would allow Newsom and his entire party to point the finger at the president and, by implication, the Republican Party: “See? Those Republicans are the reason for the collapse of the country’s formerly most prosperous state! You need to elect more Democrats!”

The common sense of the matter won’t mean anything to their supporters, who will not be able to see that the blame is still clearly on the Democrats and their destructive policies. There is no question that millions of the party’s most loyal followers—namely illegal aliens and Millennials—are so brainwashed that they will buy into this narrative entirely. And this is not just in California, but nationwide. The object is to saddle Republicans with the coming downfall of California, which even blind Democrats must see.

And just like that, the state will continue to elect and re-elect the very people and push through the very policies that brought about its destruction. Worse, they will begin to build a case for this rot to spread.

Photo Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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America • California • Department of Homeland Security • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Immigration • Post

The Military’s Most Important Role Is Border Defense

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Our country has been thrust into a scene out of The Camp of the Saints: a large caravan of migrants organized in Honduras is streaming towards our southern border proclaiming the right to enter and work in our country. They’re not invited, nor is this legal, but they are seizing their destiny (and ours) as pueblos sin fronteras, “workers without borders.”

The Fourth Generation Threat to National Sovereignty
Some have scoffed at the description of this “caravan” as an invasion, dismissing it as right-wing hyperbole. But what is the difference? Formal or informal, through modern armies or tribal warriors, invasions are objects of concern because they determine who controls a land and its resources.

Post-Westphalia, states and their professional armies became dominant; noncombatants were mostly off limits. Tribal warriors gave way to professional soldiers. Armies would cross borders, leaders would change, and the peasants would go about their affairs mostly with indifference. Then nationalism appeared on the scene. It tapped into a deep emotional well, the abiding quest for community. National leadership was perceived as more legitimate, more in line with the ethos of the governed, and thus naturally less burdensome. Various choices a state and its leaders face—what language to speak, which religions to respect, which heroes to honor—are less disruptive when there is an alignment of political borders and national culture. The natural justice of nationalism was one of the reasons it became a formula for peace between nations and happiness within them.

Before nation-states, the alternatives included: multinational empires, nations without states, and nations divided among dozens of indefensible statelets. In the past, as now, there were transnational allegiances—religion, language, ethnicity—and there were local allegiances, as well. But the nation-state proved, until recently, the most legitimate and powerful mode of political organization.

Much of the literature about “fourth-generation warfare” recognizes that nation-states and their authority are under threat, diminished by global and transnational forces—powerful multinational corporations, mass migration, and international religious movements—as well as competing, less hierarchical organizations, such as terrorist cells and criminal gangs.

This destruction of state authority is not completely apparent within our borders, but it appears dramatically so elsewhere.

Who runs Mexico, for example? Is it the government? And, if so, which part of it? Clearly the Mexican government is, at best, only nominally in charge, having given up on stopping the caravan after a pro forma attempt to assert sovereignty and placate its stronger neighbor.

The U.S. Military Can Be Legally Deployed on the Border
Threats to nation-states, including military threats, are not limited to other states and their militaries. The U.S. military spent the better part of the 19th century fighting pirates and hostile Indians, only briefly becoming a modern conscript force during the Civil War. The army reverted to its heritage as a frontier constabulary thereafter. More recently, the military has been fighting a plethora of nonstate enemies, especially Islamic Jihadist groups and drug cartels. Yet, unlike the earlier Indian Wars, nearly all of this activity takes place today overseas.

Before its growth and dominance in the two world wars, the U.S. military was focused inward, operating almost exclusively within U.S. territories and on the border. In addition to the Indian wars, it played a large role in occupying the defeated South. The latter proved controversial, however, ushering in strong limits against the employment of the military in domestic “law enforcement” through the Posse Comitatus Act.

But just because the military operates domestically does not mean it is engaged in law enforcement. Using the military on the border is as American as the Constitution, which provides: “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

The divorce of the military from border defense—an artifact of World War II and the subsequent Cold War—should be considered more critically.

No one saw a conflict between Posse Comitatus and the deployment of troops in a string of forts along the border with Mexico to deter and punish incursions. This use of the army in border security culminated in Black Jack Pershing’s 1916 punitive expedition against Pancho Villa. Thereafter, the military focused almost exclusively on overseas threats from nation-states, particularly in Europe, mostly ceding its role at the border to a law enforcement agency in 1924 when the Border Patrol was created.

In the 1950s, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed massive illegal immigration from Mexico, the military demurred. Historian Matt Matthews, in his excellent paper on the deployment of the army on the Mexican border, described the decision as follows:

In 1954, U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell launched Operation WETBACK, a major coordinated effort to round up and expel illegal aliens. Hoping to reinforce the Border Patrol, Brownell turned to the U.S. Army for help. To his dismay, the proposal was rejected. The Army claimed such an operation would “seriously disrupt training programs at a time when the administration’s economy slashes were forcing the service to drastically cut its strength. Army generals also opposed the idea because a division would be needed just to begin to control the influx, while sealing off the border would require even more troops.”

The Military Must Reorient Itself to National Defense
While renaming itself the Department of Defense in 1947, the old Department of War was far more concerned with immediate national defense. The post-war military prepared to refight World War II in many respects, devoting its training and equipment to countering a conventional threat, the Soviet Union. The wars we actually fought, particularly the one in Vietnam, deviated from this plan, as the fighting tended to be counterinsurgencies against mostly unconventional enemies.

As with border protection, counterinsurgency did not align with the large conventional military’s ethos and strengths. It had inherent ambiguity and required the skills of the soldier, as well as the teacher, policeman, engineer, and social worker. After Vietnam, the military refocused on confronting the Soviets, ditching much of its hard-won counterinsurgency wisdom. This culminated in a big victory in the first Gulf War, but thereafter—whether in Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan—the U.S. military found itself facing unconventional threats for which its training, doctrine, and equipment have yielded mostly inconclusive results.

This institutional resistance from the Pentagon to countering unconventional, transnational threats has not dissipated, in spite of the loss in Vietnam and the inconclusive results of the long War on Terror. The military continues to buy expensive weaponry mostly useless against guerillas and criminals, while pivoting its doctrine and training towards conflicts with “near peer” competitors. This reboot is happening even though international gangs, illegal aliens, and insurgents have killed far more Americans than any Russian soldier ever did, and even though the majority of wars we have fought since World War II have been “low-intensity conflicts.”

The creation of a Department of Homeland Security in wake of the 9/11 attacks should have been far more controversial than it was. If we needed such a department, what the hell was the Department Defense doing?

The Pentagon was devoted to preparing for a conventional war. But such conventional conflict is mostly avoidable and highly unlikely—not least because of the possibility of escalation to nuclear war—even as unavoidable and extant fourth-generation conflict is already here, most dramatically in the immigration caravan.

Trump’s call for the military to stop the caravan and protect the border—along with his call for the wall—are controversial because they call into question the entire paradigm of our foreign policy experts and the related “defense” apparatus. His “America First” policies aim to provide a tangible benefit to America and its people, as opposed to pursuing purely global interests such as “stability” and “influence.”

Playing whack-a-mole with mobile terrorists, massive forward deployment of U.S. forces, and occasional brinkmanship with Russia and China have proven to be expensive dead ends. By contrast, the application of military power and a sophisticated wall along a defined frontier leverages the power of the state against non-state actors. It surely can work; it’s a question of will and resources. It worked for Israel, which effectively shut down the problem of far-more-motivated Palestinian terrorists through a sophisticated wall.

Non-state actors threaten our country, but they cannot take on our military power head on. Our poorly protected southern border and Byzantine protection for dubious “refugees” benefits big business, the Democratic Party, and illegal immigrants themselves, but this neglect of the border comes at a high price to American citizens. The flow of mere economic migrants provides a crowd in which dangerous groups can hide. Moreover, the steady flow of illegal aliens represents a cumulative threat to our national sovereignty, prosperity, and unity.

Our military and political leaders must adapt to the times. The reluctance to use the military on the border comes from the obsolete paradigm of a world where nation-states have a “monopoly on force.”

Yet many historically transformative invasions were not by uniformed militaries and may not have even been particularly violent. The first English colonists in North America came as religious farmers seeking peace. At first, they had peaceful relations with native tribes, which we celebrate on Thanksgiving. The barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire were as much an immigration phenomenon as they were a military invasion. Whether violent or not, the result in each of these cases was the same: displacement of the existing people and their way of life.

Before political correctness stifled common sense, it was common to say, “If we hadn’t won World War II we’d all be speaking German.” This metaphor spoke to something deep and powerful: the fear of feeling like a stranger in the land of your birth. Today, in many parts of the country, you need to know Spanish just to get by; Germans and Frenchmen are now finding their streets filled with the sounds of Arabic and Turkish. These shifts in linguistic unity signal a broader disunity, the fruits of massive, unrestrained, and unassimilable levels of immigration.

The caravan forces us to face a very important question: does the state and the military protect the nation and their way of life?

A nation without borders will not long exist. President Trump, with his uncommon common sense, knows this, but his subordinates are reluctant to change course. The military’s own history, however, and the history of every defeated army on earth, should provide a ready source of wisdom: militaries lose when they are preparing to fight the last war. A new type of invasion is manifest, and it calls for a new type of military, one at home on the border.

Photo Credit: Caitlin O’Hara/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Immigration • Post • The Left

Because We Live Here

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What surges toward the United States from the south is not a “caravan,” it is an invading force.

Mothers who take money from leftist activists to drag their children on for thousands of miles in front of cameras are not brave, they are mercenary.

Men who tear apart metal barriers and cry, “Donald Trump is the antichrist,” are not “just looking for work,” they are looking for a fight and are daring anyone to stop them.

Just as well, I would refer the “free market” fearmongers, who insist that America needs a constant influx of fresh “diversity” as tribute to satiate the Invisible Hand, to Chilton Williamson Jr.: “You could ‘prove’ to me that, without the immediate transference of the entire population of Hong Kong to the state of California, the United States would be in a major economic depression by the middle of next year, and I would still be against transferring it there.”

Yet even as we scramble to address the threat before us, another rears its head. There is now a second mob 2,500 strong organizing to march on the United States.

Some still wonder, incredibly, what is the worst that could happen should we simply welcome them all among us?

Just before his death, Murray Rothbard broke away from supporting open borders in an article called “Nations by Consent: Decomposing the Nation State.” As the Soviet Union collapsed, wrote Rothbard:

it became clear that ethnic Russians had been encouraged to flood into Estonia and Latvia in order to destroy the cultures and languages of these peoples. Previously, it had been easy to dismiss as unrealistic Jean Raspail’s anti-immigration novel The Camp of the Saints, in which virtually the entire population of India decides to move, in small boats, into France, and the French, infected by liberal ideology, cannot summon the will to prevent economic and cultural national destruction. As cultural and welfare-state problems have intensified, it became impossible to dismiss Raspail’s concerns any longer.

What did Americans think Mexico was up to, when it began printing manuals to help illegal aliens enter the United States? At least now we know for certain that the governments of Latin America are making more money than ever before on remittances—all at the expense of American citizens.

What do Americans suppose Augustin Cebada of the Brown Berets meant when he said: “Go back to Boston! Go back to Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims! Get out! We are the future. You are old and tired. Go on. We have beaten you. Leave like beaten rats. You old white people. It is your duty to die . . . Through love of having children, we are going to take over.”

Better yet, what do Americans suppose Mario Obledo, former California Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Governor Jerry Brown, and founder of MALDEF (the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) meant when he said: “California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn’t like it should leave. Every constitutional office in California is going to be held by Hispanics in the next 20 years.” And people who don’t like such demographic changes, according to Obledo, “should go back to Europe.”

Our failure to distinguish between people who came to this country truly to be part of it, to assimilate into Anglo-Protestant culture, and those now marching toward our border, has only encouraged a generalized enmity and eliminated any distinction between myself and hostile foreigners soon to be at our gates. This road, history will show us, is pitched with blood.

After Spanish Christians successfully drove Muslims from their lands in 1492, many Muslims left, but many more remained. Though they promised to behave themselves, they colluded with Turkish and North African Muslims to stage revolts within the country, while Spain’s enemies attacked from without. After the Spanish government put an end to these revolts, the decision was made to integrate Muslims with the rest of the population. Muslims were given a choice: convert to Catholicism or leave. Some left, but many stayed and claimed to have converted, known then as “Moriscos.” But many, however, continued to practice Islam in secret, refused to assimilate, and maintained contact with Turkish and North African Muslims. They eventually staged more insurrections, destroying churches, and beheading and burning Christians.

In the end, the Spanish government decided to expel all of the Moriscos. Caught up in the expulsion, however, were those who were faithful Catholics and patriotic Spaniards. In Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote there is an account of the expulsion, as told by a patriotic Morisco who acknowledges that most of his fellow Moriscos were hostile to Spain.

And what forced me to believe this truth was that I knew what vile and foolish intentions our people had, and it seemed to me it was divine inspiration that moved His Majesty to put such a bold resolution into effect. Not that we were all to blame, for there were some who were solid and true Christians. But these were so few that they couldn’t compare with those who weren’t, and it would have been unwise to keep enemies in one’s own house, like sheltering a serpent inside one’s shirt. So, with good reason we were punished with the sentence of banishment—which seemed soft and easy in the opinion of some, but to us it was the most terrible sentence that could be given to us. Wherever we are, we weep for Spain, where we were born, after all, it’s our native country.

The compassion of the Spanish up until the expulsion was admirable, but too many of the Moriscos never actually assimilated, and it proved calamitous for everyone in the end—especially for those Moriscos who truly loved Spain and were faithful Christians. The price of misguided “compassion,” then, is paid most dearly by those it is intended to help.

There can be no more illusions about what is at stake. As Chilton Williamson noted in his 1991 column, “we are no longer a young, powerful, restless, and inexhaustibly optimistic society capable of surmounting great difficulties and eager to accept all challenges, in particular idealistic ones.” Inked during the first stages of our culture wars, Williamson wrote:

Today we are a very different country from what we were in the 19th and early 20th centuries: middle-aged at least, perhaps prematurely old. We are no longer restless, we are bored and tentative; we are not optimistic but increasingly (and with good reason) the opposite; we have lost confidence in our heritage, our traditions, and above all perhaps our faith. This does not mean that we will necessarily adopt other traditions and other faiths; it does mean that we will have less and less of ourselves to offer peoples whom we would assimilate to the remnant of an indigenous culture. We know this. And so do the people who have recently appeared among us.

If we cannot assert our right to exist as an Anglo-Protestant civilization, then why should we expect foreigners to assimilate or have any respect for us?

The president could commit troops to the border to stop the incoming mob in its tracks, but it would not matter if Americans lack the cultural courage to demand that the line be held, that their civilization be preserved. Why? Because we live here and it’s our house. We don’t need a better reason than that.

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Photo Credit: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Congress • Democrats • Elections • Post

For California Republicans, Political Revenge May Come in a Progressive Package

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A case can be made for California Republicans and disaffected conservatives to vote for Kevin de León for U.S. Senate.

Note my wording: I’m offering a case for Republicans and conservatives to vote for de León, the state senator from Los Angeles. But I am in no way making a conservative or a Republican case to vote for a candidate who has campaigned as a “progressive” alternative to five-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The distinction is vital.

My friend Michael Anton, who was President Donald Trump’s National Security Council spokesman before leaving to toil in the groves of academia, once warned: “Whenever you find an article that begins with the title, ‘The Conservative Case’ for or against something, lock your door, check your wallet, and grab your gun. You know what’s coming is an unadulterated sell-out of everything ‘conservatism’ purports to hold dear.”

Republicans have no real candidate for U.S. Senate, thanks to the state’s idiotic top-two primary law — a parting gift from former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the soft-headed Republican duo who somehow thought the key to winning was to make it easier for the GOP to lose.

Read the rest in the Sacramento Bee.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Elections • Post • Republicans • The Left

Beware of Fool’s Gold: Democratic California’s Cautionary Tale

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It’s become fashionable among certain conservatives, libertarians, and assorted free-market types to claim that Republicans are no better than Democrats. Both parties, according to the disenchanted, have lost their way. Both parties are controlled by establishment cronies, who support big government of one sort or another.

But conservatives who are disillusioned with Republicans need to remember just how much is at stake if Democrats take over. To indulge in understatement, California offers a cautionary tale.

In the name of saving the planet, and helping the poor, Democrats win votes in California. Assisting these Democrats is the most powerful coalition of leftist oligarchs in the history of the world. But the planet is not better off and California’s poor get poorer. How can this be?

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Since at least 2006—the year Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, totally capitulated to the Democratic establishment—Democrats have exercised absolute power in California. Their ongoing agenda, much of which has already been implemented, offers insight into just how different Democrats are from Republicans—even those watered down Republicans who struggle to earn votes from true conservatives.

California’s Democrats, in pursuit of environmentalist perfection, have legislated artificial scarcity of everything necessary to civilized life: land, housing, electricity, gasoline, water, transportation, and quality education—you name it. California has the most expensive homes, the highest utility prices, the worst roads, and failing schools. Behind the high-minded environmentalist rhetoric stand oligarchs who profit from scarcity; established corporations, public utilities, large landowners, and “green” entrepreneurs.

It’s no exaggeration to say California is a left-wing, Democrat-ruled oligarchy. If anyone thinks they aren’t poised to take over the rest of the United States, think again. California is merely the epicenter of an uncontained nationwide leftist oligarchy that now controls nearly all traditional media, online media, social media, academia, and the entertainment industry. It has also co-opted most major corporations and government bureaucracies, and draws additional support from powerful government unions as well as most private sector unions.

All of this elitist support is self-serving. All of it is hypocritical. All of it is deeply cynical, and utterly indifferent to working Americans.

California’s Proposition 10 offers an excellent example of how Democrats think. This deeply flawed state ballot initiative addresses the high cost of housing in California by authorizing cities and counties to impose rent control on all rental units, right down to the second homes that middle-class Californians may own in order to earn supplemental income. The negative consequences of a measure like Prop. 10 are obvious not only to anyone with a basic understanding of economics but also to anyone with plain common sense.

If Prop. 10 passes, what few incentives remain for investors and developers to build new housing in California would be further undermined. Who would want to invest in new apartment construction if the rental income from those apartments could be frozen by the whims of populist Democrats as they exert their influence on the local city councils? And what landlord would want to invest to maintain or upgrade their rental properties, if the rental income they can recover on their investment is frozen via rent control? And what renter will move into more appropriate housing as their life circumstances change, if moving means losing the favored low rent they currently enjoy?

Not one Republican supports California’s Prop. 10, but plenty of Democrats do, including the notorious U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, U.S. Senate candidate Kevin de León, and Los Angeles mayor and future presidential contender Eric Garcetti. And behind these Democrats, also endorsing Prop. 10, are California’s all powerful public sector unions, including the California Teachers Association, the California Nurses Association, AFSCME California, and SEIU California. And, of course, the California Democratic Party.

Prop. 10 is an example of how Democrats are making California’s housing shortage worse instead of better, but it’s not the only one. Also appearing on California’s statewide ballot next month are Prop. 1, which would borrow $4 billion to build “affordable housing,” and, Prop. 2, which would use state tax revenues to build more government-run homeless shelters. It is possible, if not likely, that every one of these propositions will pass.

Scandalous Inefficiency, Unassailable “Compassion”
Democrat “solutions” to the housing crisis aren’t limited to the state ballot, however. In Venice Beach, California, along one of the most expensive, touristy stretches of coastline in the world, are now permanent homeless encampments. To address the challenge, Los Angeles city officials are proposing 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. Imagine what could be done with that much money.

That a solution so scandalously inefficient could even be considered by the Democrats running City Hall in Los Angeles offers additional insights into the Democrat mind. Solving the homeless crisis really isn’t their goal here. Rather the intent is to create additional government-owned properties, hire additional government bureaucrats, while pretending to solve a problem. Should the Venice Beach property be developed as currently proposed, well connected construction contractors will rake in government funds, so eventually a few hundred homeless people will find shelter. Meanwhile, tens of thousands will remain outdoors.

Democrats, and not Republicans, made California’s housing unaffordable by passing restrictive laws such as CEQA, AB 32, SB 375, and countless others at both the state and local level. At the same time, it is Democrats, and not Republicans, who are inviting in the world’s poor en masse to come and live there. An estimated 2.6 million illegal aliens currently live in California. But the rhetorically unassailable compassion exhibited by these Democrats does nothing to alleviate hardship in the nations where these refugees originate, because for every thousand who arrive, millions are left behind.

The result? While California’s Democrats, and not Republicans, engineer a shortage of housing supplies, their welcoming sanctuary policies engineer a burgeoning housing demand. This is the deeply flawed, misanthropic vision Democrats have for America. Democratic power is rooted in wishful thinking by the naïve, and by the savvy because of epic greed. Republicans, no matter how tepid their convictions may be, would never have done to California what these Democrats have done. And it’s not even close.

When conservatives and libertarians think about where to cast their vote, they should look west to California, and think very hard about whether or not they want to live in a nation ruled by Democrats.

Photo Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Elections • Post • Republicans

California Is Worth Fighting For

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Is California a lost cause, politically? There are more than a few people making the case that it is, and that the only worthwhile vote for people who believe in common sense, freedom of speech, and property rights is the one they cast with their feet. More people are leaving California than are moving in, which is a new and dismaying trend.

But it’s not just businesses and families who are giving up on the California Dream. The birthplace of Ronald Reagan’s political career and spiritual home to freedom and westward progress is now a fully non-functioning one-party state, with a Democrat governor, majority Democrat state Senate, and a supermajority of Democrats in the state Assembly. In the upcoming November election, there’s no Republican candidate to choose from in 10 of the 24 open Assembly seats in Los Angeles County, and the Senate race is a choice between two flavors of doctrinaire leftists, Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León.

The choice of metaphors to fully illustrate what we face behind the Blue Curtain is dizzying. Should I say that we are in the locker room at halftime down a ridiculous number of points, so many that officials have switched to a running clock? Maybe it’s more apt to say that we are a patient on an operating table who’s flatlining and the defibrillator is shorting out. Perhaps California Republicans are like a battered spouse, so broken by the roller coaster of punishment and reward that we have Stockholm Syndrome. Sadly, they all work.

Some experts say that the only way to return California to her former glory as a reddish state is let it all burn. Only then can Republicans rebuild, rising from the ashes like the fabled phoenix.

They’re wrong. California is worth fighting for, and the time to have that fight is right now, before it’s too late.

Lest you think, from your perch in a state with no income tax, or one where you can actually be a registered Republican and not worry about losing friends or your livelihood or even your health, that the sorry state of California politics doesn’t affect you, think again. Almost every bad idea in current American nanny statehood came from out west. When a state this big mandates that textbooks, for example, highlight the contributions of LGBT people, companies aren’t printing two sets of books. The entire country falls in line. When our legislators, “drunk on virtue” as Lionel Shriver says, ban plastic straws, bags and God knows what else, companies around the country trip over themselves to show their allegiance to the mighty once-Golden State.

And don’t forget that when all those departing California head to colder or more humid climes, they take their poor voting habits with them.

The most destructive thing my adopted home state does, however, is to encourage illegal immigration and fraudulent voting to such an extent that estimates now suggest that as many as 5 of our 55 electoral votes would be lost if we played by the rules.

For those of us who remain in California, however, this untenable lopsided governance cannot stand for a very simple reason—it’s no longer safe, or affordable. It’s also pretty close to no longer being fun to live here, and that is a crying shame. After emigrating from Jamaica as a child and settling in Florida, I came to California as soon as I could. Our amazing state—with its lack of humidity and flying bugs—has always been attractive to aspiring actors, creators and entrepreneurs, and used to evoke feelings of envy when others heard where you lived.

The natural resources we have plus the amazing (and very good-looking) people we attract should add up to a booming economy and vibrant, 21st century lifestyle. Instead, the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles are literal cesspools, and we are afraid to walk anywhere lest a track-marked arm shoot out from one of the myriad tents that dot our sidewalks. Jerry Brown loves to point out that California has the fifth largest economy in the world. To paraphrase Bill Whittle, it’d be third if it weren’t being run into the ground.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let me return to my bag of metaphors to give you good news. All is not lost. The GOP can and should turn things around and it can start today. We need to stay in the game. We need to not give up on the patient. We need to realize that we have a voice and we can use it to ditch our abusers.

Why am I hopeful? It is possible that I’m totally delusional. After all, I’m a mom of four who’s left her family for almost a full year in order to run against a Democrat incumbent in a district with 14.5 percent Republican registration. Only someone who can’t take no for an answer would do that. Then again, only someone truly stubborn would move to LA to become an actress and actually make a living for thirty years in TV and film, so I have that going for me. I don’t want to move away. I don’t like bullies, and I don’t want to let them win. Here’s the game plan:

Los Angeles is key. In raw numbers we have more registered Republicans here than in almost every other county in the USA. So what if we’re outnumbered? We are not alone. Every conservative living in California needs to realize that. It’s easy to think you are flying solo, since it’s likely that you have to hide your true thoughts and opinions from friends and co-workers. Why do you think Decline To State is a bigger registration identification than Republican? It’s so that people can keep their jobs. And remember: Even if they’re evenly split between left- and right-leaning, anyone whose response is “none of your business” is a friend of freedom.

Moreover, we are the home of many of the brightest lights of the conservative movement and of its great thinkers—Victor Davis Hanson, Kurt Schlichter, Bill Whittle, the late, great Andrew Breitbart, Thomas Sowell, and the editors of this magazine. Just the radio shows of Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, Jennifer Horn and others should remind you that the immutable law of supply and demand is at work here in La La Land.

Next, if the definition of a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality, are we ever in luck! The State Assembly and Senate have let so many criminals out of jail; and reduced the definition of what used to be felonies; and Los Angeles and San Francisco have such feckless, pro-crime leadership, that new conservatives are being minted every day. My own campaign video tells the truth about what it’s like to live here now, and it’s not pretty. And because I’m part of the new Republican Party, it’s even available in my not-perfect Spanish. Normal people are noticing that the kids aren’t alright after all.

Even the entertainment industry, where the GOP ceded so much ground, has Gary Sinese (who’s group of closeted conservatives in the Biz still exists although formally disbanded in 2016), Tim Allen, John Voight, Patricia Heaton, Stacey Dash and others all willing to speak up against incredible odds. Artists and visionaries like Peter Duke (full disclosure—he took my headshots back in the late 80s) and Sabo are shaking up the establishment and making people think, which is the first step towards voting for freedom.

California has been the ATM for every politician in every other state for far too long. We even used our tremendous manpower to make millions of phone calls on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign for president—into other states. It’s time for the physician to heal thyself and for the cobbler’s kid to get some shoes (I told you there were too many metaphors to choose from!). Pundits and putative expert commentators (cough, Hugh Hewitt, cough) have to stop telling us that our state is a lost cause.

If you want to make a real difference this election, find a conservative California candidate and send him or her money and share their information on social media. People are waking up all over the state to the fact that the good intentions of one-party rule have led us straight to a hell filled with encampments, lawlessness and unaffordability.

Miracles can and do happen. And in 1980, those college kids facing the Russian pros in one ice hockey game for Olympic glory weren’t told by Herb Brooks to let it go, to forget it, that no-one would think worse of them for losing when so overmatched. He said,

“Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. . . . Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! . . . . This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. . . . Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”

California conservatives, it’s our time. Now go out there and take it.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Post • The Left

‘Dem & Demmer’: Missing Backstories in Feinstein’s Reelection Bid

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Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León are contending for the U.S. Senate in California. On Wednesday, they faced off in what Dan Walters of CALmatters billed as their “one-and-only quasi-debate,” streamed online by the Public Policy Institute of California. The few voters who saw it might have learned something, but the “conversation” left out crucial backstories.

Feinstein, 85, was the executive producer of “The Summer of ‘82,” starring Christine Blasey Ford, Ph.D., a psychology professor who didn’t know the meaning of “exculpatory evidence.” In fact, Ford had no evidence that Trump Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982.

In this modern high-stakes courtroom drama, the accusation itself is supposed to carry the day. Kavanaugh stood his ground, refused to back down, and duly gained confirmation. So Feinstein’s production flopped, but quasi-debate moderator Mark Baldassare asked if the accusations should be investigated further.

The answer is yes,” de León said, and Feinstein agreed with him. This is the same senator who told Seventh Circuit nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a Roman Catholic, that “dogma lives loudly within you.” For the San Francisco Democrat, the concept that life begins at conception is a “dogma.” In reality, there is no other place where life can begin.

In 1992, FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot Vicki Weaver through the head as she held her 10-month-old daughter. This took place as her husband Randy Weaver was being investigated by the government on weapons charges. In the Ruby Ridge hearings, Democratic senators Herb Kohl and Patrick Leahy sympathized with the Weaver family, but as the San Francisco Examiner reported, “Feinstein dealt sternly with Weaver, asking whether his children wore Nazi armbands and shouted Nazi slogans at neighbors.”

In 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno approved the use of military tanks in an attack on the Branch Davidians’ compound at Waco, Texas, claiming the lives of 75 people, including 25 children. In her statement following Reno’s death, Feinstein expressed full support for all Reno’s actions.

The San Francisco Democrat has always been a partisan militant but her current opponent contends she and other Democrats are not sufficiently hostile toward Trump and Republicans. “We need Democrats in Washington, D.C., that have the courage of their convictions, to not just be on the sidelines, but on the frontlines” said de León, a supporter of government monopoly health care, advertised as “single payer.”

If she had the courage to do so, Feinstein could have brought up few things about her challenger.

In 2017, the California state senate boss spearheaded a smackdown of Republican Janet Nguyen, a refugee from Communist Vietnam, for speaking out during a tribute to New Left icon Tom Hayden, one of de León’s heroes. The Democrats told Nguyen to shut up, turned off her microphone, then had her carted off the senate floor.

Nobody in Sacramento could recall an attack on free speech quite like that. De León feigned outrage and promised an investigation, but of course nothing came of it. The senate leader, author of California’s sanctuary state law, apparently has a problem with Asian women. But his issues go even deeper. For one thing, as the Sacramento Bee explains, “the name on his birth certificate isn’t Kevin de León.

On that yet unrevealed document, and on voter rolls, the name is Kevin Alexander Leon, born December 10, 1966, at California Hospital on South Hope Street in Los Angeles. In 2017, de León began claiming that his father was a Chinese cook named Andres, born in Guatemala, same as his mother, Carmen Osorio. Even so, he grew up on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and “identifies strongly with Mexican culture.”

When he became senate president pro tem in 2014, de León threw a massive “inauguration” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Voters easily could believe this guy wants to be the “Latinobama,” hence the highly derivative story about the lost father. The tale defies belief but the establishment media has not chased down the details and neither has anyone in the federal government, even though it would be a simple matter to do so.

For her part, Feinstein isn’t going to call him on it. Like Christine Blasey Ford’s story, Kevin Alexander Leon’s tale is simply supposed to be believed, not challenged. The leftist challenger is unlikely to unseat Feinstein, but her defeat would affirm the new reality of Democratic Party politics. After Dreams from My Father, which Obama biographer David Garrow called a novel, not a memoir or autobiography, just about anything goes.

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California • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Democrats • Identity Politics • Post

In the Name of the Father? Ammar Campa-Najjar’s Questionable Campaign

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Running for Congress in California’s 50th district against Duncan Hunter Jr., Ammar Campa-Najjar has been described as a working-class progressive, a “Latino Arab-American,” and a “Palestinian-Mexican.”

Though he has been described and describes himself many things, “transparent” is not one of them. So it came as a shock when it was revealed that Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was Abu Yousef al-Najjar—the “leader and operational head” of Black September, a notorious Palestinian terrorist cell. Black September carried out the abduction, torture, and murder of 11 Israelis and one West German police officer at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Yousef joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1951, and later helped organize the Fatah, formerly known as the Palestinian Liberation Movement, as a deputy to Yasser Arafat. He also coordinated Fatah’s military arm, Al-’Asifah, served on the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and was a member of the Palestinian National Congress. Not exactly a small fish.

In 2014, a video surfaced of Yousef posthumously being awarded the Grand Star of Honor Medal by President Mahmoud Abbas for his martyrdom as a member of the Fatah, of which Black September was a clandestine component. Yousef was honored along with Kamal Nasser and Kamal Odwan, a leader in the PLO killed in a 1973 counterterrorism operation. Yousef, like Odwan, was a key player in the Munich massacre.

“The leader of the Palestinian State,” says the unidentified speaker in the video, “honors the martyr Mohammed Yousif Al Najar (Abu Yousif). He is honored for his efforts and willingness to sacrifice for the cause of the Palestinian state.”

Campa-Najjar tried to hide this connection, and disturbingly he then downplayed the atrocity that was the Munich massacre, saying:

For the sake of the victims, I hoped this tragedy wouldn’t be politicized. But if these old wounds must be re-opened, then I pray God gives purpose to their unspeakable pain. I pray that purpose is to see peace prioritized by my generation of Palestinians, Israelis and the whole of humanity.

In and of itself, Campa-Najjar’s family connection to Yousef al-Najjar is not damning. He didn’t ask to be born into this lineage and, in any event, the events in Munich happened well before Campa-Najjar was born. He never knew his grandfather.

But given this statement, voters in the staunchly supportive Navy town of San Diego have a right to wonder if Campa-Najjar carries any sympathy for the atrocity his grandfather committed or for the cause in the name of which it was proclaimed to have been carried out. It’s not unfair to ask the question and his “answer” (such as it is) is not satisfactory.

“Tragedy” implies that no one is to blame. It sounds so much more benign than “murder,” “atrocity,” or “massacre.” The murders in Munich, an atrocity facilitated by Campa-Najjar’s grandfather, are accurately described as a massacre. Palestinian terrorists castrated Yossef Romano, one of the Israeli victims, in front of his teammates before executing him.

Saying that innocent civilians should never be killed is not the same as specifically denouncing the Munich massacre. Does Campa-Najjar harbor sympathy for the cause his grandfather “served”? He should answer that question clearly and forthrightly.

Between the infamous grandfather and the ambitious grandson, however, there is a pronounced gap: Who is Campa-Najjar’s father?

The young Democrat seemed keen on evading this question and received aid from Californian’s old-line establishment media in dodging that question. The San Diego Union-Tribune, for example, took the unusual step of endorsing Campa-Najjar before the primaries, while labeling talk of his family history as “attacks” rooted in racism, and quoted his supporters saying that it is “ridiculous” to inquire about his family ties.

Anyone who took the trouble to locate Campa-Najjar’s father would understand why his son left him out of the story. The only clue was Campa-Najjar’s claim that his father returned to Gaza in the 1990s to “help Yasser Arafat lead a secular unity government,” ostensibly to promote “peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.” Arafat? That man presents as doing many things but none of them involve “seeking peace with Israel.”

An Envoy to Norway
In February 2013, Norwegian state-owned TV, Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK), ran a special report on anti-Semitic “hate incitement and terror glorification” by the Palestinian Authority.

The report was based on the findings of Palestine Media Watch (PMW), a Middle Eastern research institute, whose operational focus is to monitor the messages that leaders from the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, and Hamas, promulgate. Based on PMW’s research presented to the Norwegian Parliament, reporters illustrated the connection between the PA’s promotion of hatred and terror glorification and Norwegian funding of the PA to the tune of roughtly 300 million kroner per year, or $52,628,700:

[Palestinian] children grow up learning that Jews are “Satan with a tail”… Adults hear that Jews are evil and not to be trusted. It is perhaps not surprising that the [Palestinian] hatred is growing. The messenger is a [PA] government that receives large amounts [of money] from Norway.

The Palestinian ambassador who went on the record to dismiss the findings as an Israeli conspiracy of “rumors and exaggerations” was Yasser al-Najjar, son of Abu Yousef al-Najjar, and the father of Campa-Najjar. “We are present and we have experience,” said Campa-Najjar’s father in response to PMW and the Norwegian government’s findings, “praise Allah, in dealing with the counter-information spread by Israel.”

Yasser al-Najjar spun the report as proof not of Palestinians using aid money to promote anti-Semitism, but of an “incitement campaign” by Israel, the goal of which was to “stop Norwegian aid to the Palestinian people and the PA.”

Norway upgraded Palestinian diplomatic representation to the “Palestinian Mission” in 2011, and al-Najjar represented both the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. In the United States, a career ambassador is the civilian equivalent of a four-star general.

According to his LinkedIn profile, al-Najjar served in this capacity until April 2018. Did Barack Obama know this when he brought Ammar Campa-Najjar into the White House?

Al-Najjar says that he was in the room when Israeli commandos raided his father’s abode in retaliation for his role in the Munich massacre. He claims that his mother, Campa-Najjar’s grandmother, was killed when she lept in front of gunfire.

In 2016, Campa-Najjar wrote in the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Washington Post that his father “saw both his parents gunned down right in front of him when he was only 11 years old,” but failed to mention why his grandfather was killed in either column. The story of his grandfather’s involvement in the Munich massacre did not break until 2018, much to the Democratic candidate’s chagrin. It would seem, then, that Campa-Najjar was playing for sympathy while hiding relevant facts.

Following the death of his parents, Yasser al-Najjar was adopted by the king of Morocco and lived in Egypt until 1981, when he moved to San Diego.

The United States and Israel are close allies and their intelligence agencies often work in tandem. U.S. government officials and voters alike had good cause to wonder how the son of a high-profile terrorist managed to enter the United States.

Why Gaza?
Campa-Najjar has mentioned living in Gaza during his childhood, but has never explained why the family moved there from sunny San Diego. He has also claimed that his father “took off” when he was six, but a profile on Heavy.com complicates this claim: “When Campa-Najjar was nine years old, the family moved to Gaza. They spent three years living there.” The Huffington Post reports that “Campa-Najjar’s family left San Diego for Gaza when he was 9 years old,” while the Los Angeles Times reports that “when Campa-Najjar was 5, his father returned to Gaza, leaving his wife and two sons in San Diego County. Three years later, she and the boys moved to Gaza.” Still, Campa-Najjar’s own op-ed in the Washington Post confuses the claim he made with NPR: “In 1993, my father asked the family to relocate to the Middle East for a few years . . .” Did Yasser al-Najjar leave on his own? Did he take the family with him or send for them later?

What is certain is that Campa-Najjar’s father returned to Gaza and the family went with him. An NPR profile of his father from 2003 provides more illumination.

Campa-Najjar’s father told NPR that when the Palestinian Authority was created and Yasser Arafat returned to Gaza, he moved his family, including the young Campa-Najjar, known then as Ammar Yasser Najjar, to Gaza to follow Arafat. As an aside, court documents show that Campa-Najjar legally changed his name from “Ammar Yasser Najjar” to the more Latino sounding, “Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar,” on June 12, 2018. Some have speculated that this was a move to pander to Latino voters, and to obscure his family ties to the Palestinian Authority.

According to NPR, Campa-Najjar’s father returned to Gaza because “he wanted to fulfill his father’s dream of returning to Palestine.”

The regime that Campa-Najjar’s father left the United States to serve was indicted by Amnesty International for “serious human rights abuses,” including “unlawful killings and “extrajudicial executions,” and exploited the Oslo Accords to obtain weapons, training, and consolidate political power in its war against Israel.

“I can hate the Israelis or Ehud Barak forever, you know,” al-Najjar told NPR, “and I’m entitled to—I never supported Israel and will never do it, either.” So much for “promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.”

According to a Washington Post column that includes a brief profile of al-Najjar, he “is proud of his father (Campa-Najjar’s grandfather) and refuses to accept that killing [Israeli] athletes was more repugnant than the violence of Israeli occupation over the years.” Campa-Najjar’s father isn’t exactly remorseful about the Munich massacre, either.

Speaking of his father the martyr, al-Najjar went on: “We will never measure up to him and people like him. But the nature of the struggle has changed dramatically. Today it’s a worse struggle: coexistence.”

Factional Trouble
Forward to 2018, and now al-Najjar’s son, also appears in Post columns.

“Only in America can the son of a Hispanic woman from the barrio and an Arab man,” wrote Campa-Najjar in an op-ed, “from an occupied territory have the freedom to reimagine his life and pursue his dreams.” What Campa-Najjar omits is that his father left the United States to “pursue his dreams” in Gaza as a servant of the late Arafat, like Abu Yousef al-Najjar before him, in a brutal regime. Why would Campa-Najjar mislead and evade about the years he spent in Gaza with his father?

Al-Najjar, like Campa-Najjar, claims to seek peace with Israel, but Al-Najjar’s reaction to a 2009 incident is revealing.

Three years prior to the Norwegian report, al-Najjar was implicated in what appeared to be an attempt by Hamas to frame him as sympathetic to Israel. Hamas and Fatah are mortal enemies, both vying for the hearts and minds of Palestinians.

In a letter published on a pro-Hamas Arab-language site, an “ambassador al-Najjar” is presented writing sympathetically in support of Israel and the Jewish people. “Regardless of the validity of this document,” responded one pro-Hamas reader, “it is no surprise that Abbas’s ambassadors are not worthy of representing the Palestinian people.”

For this stunt, the real al-Najjar received a slew of death threats. He went on categorically to deny having authored the pro-Israel letter. Translated versions of the article are available here and here. Curiously, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet makes no mention of Yousef’s involvement in the Munich massacre, referring to him as an “activist,” and to Israeli counterrorism operators as “an Israeli death squadron” that killed al-Najjar’s parents.

“If people believe the letter, then I can understand that they react with anger,” said Campa-Najjar’s father. “You can imagine someone who lost their children in the war, and then they will hear that one of their own is a traitor. Obviously they get angry. But it’s also not true. I never supported Israel and will never do it, either.”

Once again this raises the question: If according to al-Najjar goodwill to Israel is tantamount to treason, how then can Campa-Najjar claim his father promoted peace between Israel and Palestine?

Campa-Najjar and the Obama Administration
Of course, besides being the progeny of high-profile Palestinians, Campa-Najjar’s other claim to fame is that of having worked as an Obama administration Labor Department official. Indeed, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Campa-Najjar’s “political history is rooted in Barack Obama’s presidency.”

In 2012, one year after his father’s diplomatic mission in Norway was upgraded, Campa-Najjar served as deputy regional field director for Obama’s reelection campaign. Incidentally, Obama drew criticism that year for his apparent reluctance to endorse a moment of silence at the London Olympics on the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre.

The begrudged show of support came one month after Obama announced that he was unfreezing a $192 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority, which Congress had previously blocked after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought U.N. recognition of Palestine.

As the Norwegians discovered, but Campa-Najjar’s father denied, aid money to Palestine ends up funding anti-Semitic propaganda or worse, subsidizing the families of terrorists.

Starting in the 1960s, the PLO has delivered payments to the families of those who have lost a member “in the fight against Israel.” This is not just payments to hapless victims in the struggle between Israel and the PLO, these payments also go to terrorists. The program effectively incentivizes terrorism by paying off the families of those killed while attacking Israelis, and families of prisoners jailed for attacking Israelis. The Palestinian Authority took over the program in 1998.

Base monthly pay to families of every Palestinian killed by Israel is $350, with an additional $100 if the person was married, and an additional $50 per child. To families of Palestinians jailed in Israel, $350 for those jailed for five years or less, $1,312 for sentences between five and 10 years, and $2,624 for those jailed 30 years or longer—with an additional $131 per month if the person is married, and $52 for each child per month.

Aid money from the United States has been found to be tied up in this payment system. Apart from releasing $194 million in Palestinian aid in 2012, Obama quietly—and over Republican protests—delivered a generous $221 million to the Palestinian Authority in the last hours of his presidency. Trump has since appropriately frozen aid to the Palestinians. Will Campa-Najjar push to thaw American taxpayer money for this purpose?

Lingering Questions
When President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinians predictably reacted with violence. Some of the Palestinians wounded in those clashes with Israelis probably found themselves at Martyr Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital, named in honor of Campa-Najjar’s grandfather.

The dust from those clashes may have settled, but many questions linger.

If the Obama Administration knew about Campa-Najjar’s background, was he taken on because of his father’s political clout in Gaza? Forget running for Congress. If today the son of a Russian ambassador to Norway, for example, was working in the White House—in any capacity—that would be the subject of a frontpage story about foreign influence in American politics.

It’s bad enough that his grandfather orchestrated the Munich massacre, but Campa-Najjar’s father feels no remorse for that atrocity, has continued to demonize Jews, and happens to have served as a high-ranking PLO-PA official. What is Campa-Najjar’s opinion of his father these days?

As far as his campaign website is concerned, Campa-Najjar may as well be the product of immaculate conception. He has left his father squarely out of the picture. Yet, here he is praising his father on social media in this Father’s Day picture in 2015.

Why is Campa-Najjar being so evasive and misleading about the relationship with his father? Did then-Ambassador al-Najjar come and go as he pleased into the United States? Or did Campa-Najjar make periodic trips to Gaza? And if the latter, for what purpose?

This is information that should have been disclosed earlier on in his congressional bid. But the Najjar clan evidently wants to keep all of this hidden—and the media are content to oblige them. Thus does democracy “die in darkness,” as the Washington Post likes to say, even as they turn off the lights. Could any Republican survive this kind of cover-up?

It is true that Campa-Najjar has rather feebly distanced himself from his grandfather, but what of his father? Campa-Najjar’s father sees his grandfather, the mastermind of the Munich massacre, as a hero and shares his anti-Semitic views. Campa-Najjar has yet to publicly denounce Yasser al-Najjar. Will he now?

If Campa-Najjar goes to Congress, will he push to reinstate the PLO’s mission so recently (and appropriately) shuttered in our nation’s capital?

Considering his familiarity with extremism, is Campa-Najjar’s instinct to denounce President Trump’s travel moratorium (for which, we should remember, Obama laid the groundwork) as “immoral” (it isn’t) and “unconstitutional” (it’s not) related to his upbringing? Do his family ties factor into his positions on issues related to the Middle East? Has his father influenced that outlook? If so, is this not a conflict of interest born of foreign influence? And don’t voters have a right to know?

Will Campa-Najjar attempt to act as a sort of Palestinian ambassador in Congress? Will he argue for the PA funding that Trump has, for good reason, denied?

Campa-Najjar calls for “country over party,” but considering the emphasis that he places on himself as a diverse “Palestinian-Mexican” and “Latino Arab,” can Americans expect him to place country over identity politics?

Why have news outlets such as NPR and the Washington Post been mute about Campa-Najjar’s relations with a hostile foreign government? They know who his father is, who his grandfather was, yet say nothing. Actually, Politico and the New York Times, too, have come to the defense of Campa-Najjar—both publications have characterized his opponent Rep. Duncan Hunter’s attacks as baseless, Islamophobic, “racist,” and “desperate.” Let’s consider this for a moment.

The Times, for example, suggests that Rep. Hunter is wrong to fear that Campa-Najjar is a potential “terrorist sympathizer and national security risk.” But based on what we know—that his father, the former Palestinian ambassador to Norway, unapologetically celebrates grandfather Najjar and is hostile to Israel, an American ally—how can the Times suggest there is no legitimacy to Hunter’s concerns?

If one is congenial toward an organization that uses terrorism to advance an agenda, is that not sympathizing with terrorists? If one has concealed (going so far as changing one’s name) a connection to a high-profile foreign dignitary, does that not warrant concern for a potential national security risk? If the media does not like these “attacks” on one of their approved candidates, they have no one to blame but themselves for not asking the questions in the first place.

Note, I’m not making any accusations—I’m simply asking the questions that the media and Campa-Najjar’s allies seem perfectly content to brush aside. Is this not peculiar in an era during which Americans are implored to check under their beds at sunset for foreign meddling? Voters might expect a candidate for Congress to disclose this sort of information, as well as not having to worry about establishment media looking the other way.

Before Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was killed, he was interviewed by L’Orient-Le Jour, a prominent Beirut newspaper. “We plant the seeds, and the others will reap the harvest,” Yousef al Najjar said. He lamented that his generation of Palestinians wouldn’t be the one to defeat the Israelis, but remained hopeful that the future promised their destruction. “Most probably we’ll all die, killed because we are confronting a fierce enemy. But the youth will replace us.”

Campa-Najjar, too, has said that he intends to “sow the seeds” of “progress” in the “soil of hope.” Revolutionary poesy runs in the family.

It is yet unknown what sort of “seed” the grandson of Yousef is. What we do know for certain is that Campa-Najjar attacks his opponent for a breach of the public trust, even as he hides critical details about himself, including intimate connections to hostile foreign governments, from American voters.

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: Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call

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

California’s Socialist Oligarchy: Who They Are

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California’s policymakers have condemned Californians to endure contrived scarcity, unaffordability, and inconvenience in all of the basic necessities of life.

Second of a two-part series.

This is a crime, but it’s not a conspiracy. Rather, it is caused by a collection of powerful special interests whose political agendas align.

Left-wing Oligarchs
At the top of the pyramid are left-wing oligarchs, crony capitalists who want to protect their business interests. Whether it’s renewable energy, “connected” appliances, or homes built on those rare parcels of land that are entitled for development, California’s left-wing oligarchs benefit from artificial scarcity. But these direct beneficiaries are only a segment of California’s left-wing oligarchy.

The indirect financial benefits of artificial scarcity are even greater. As the prices of real estate assets ascend once again into bubble territory, as the earnings per share of public utilities swell on the strength of selling overpriced kilowatts, and as Silicon Valley firms see their stock values ascend into the stratosphere, wealthy individuals and investment funds, most assuredly including California’s public employee pension funds which manage over $800 billion in assets, see their portfolio values soar.

Which brings us to the final subcategory of left-wing oligarchs in California, the high-tech moguls of social media. These left-wing billionaires of Silicon Valley, along with their only slightly less well-heeled entertainment industry counterparts in Los Angeles, are the most influential opinion makers on earth. They shape values and behavior using tools that make the overwhelming mass propaganda breakthroughs achieved by radio in the 1930s appear as primitive as smoke signals by comparison. What is their agenda?

Social Media and Entertainment Complex
The communications kingpins of California have no allegiance to ordinary Californians—or ordinary Americans, for that matter. To them, ordinary people are Pavlovian proles, expendable parasites that pollute the environment. To the extent these kingpins have compassion, it is to profitably create for the expendable multitudes a benign zoo; smart cities of high rises, contained in areas as geographically minute as possible, so that only wild nature, corporate farms, and private estates of the super-rich exist outside the urban containment boundaries.

In these algorithmically managed metropolises, human values, including their voting behavior, will literally be programmed, using the most sophisticated and individualized techniques of manipulation ever devised. Borgcubes, aesthetically optimized by AI psychometricians, with soothing soft edges of gingerbread. Metaphorically speaking, Matrix-like cocoons. A Brave New World, complete with Sexophones and Soma. Get ready. Another innovation from California.

The Environmentalist Lobby
California’s socialist oligarchy probably can continue to consolidate their power without any help, but help is abundant. Most importantly, they have the help of the environmentalist movement.

The power behind this movement, apart from the oligarchs who financially benefit from scarcity, are the trial lawyers who populate and and control the boards of most major environmentalist nonprofits. Leaving sensible, and vital, environmentalist causes far behind, these misanthropic organizations prevent any significant infrastructure investment or private development of land and other resources.

Collecting legal fees and settlements thanks to a sympathetic judiciary, California’s environmentalist organizations have amassed immense financial power and political influence. And when all else fails, they now have the boogeyman of “climate change” to stop literally anything, anything that so much as scratches the earth, dead in its tracks.

Public Sector Unions
Enforcing the edicts of California’s socialist oligarchy are public sector unions; their full-time paid armies of lobbyists, operatives, political consultants, PR firms, and litigators. Their membership that is both cowed and co-opted. California’s unionized public servants, while not entirely immune to the higher costs imposed on them by the oligarchy, are nonetheless exempted from its worst effects, because they are the most lavishly compensated public employees in America, if not the entire world.

The average total compensation (pay and benefits) for a full-time city, county or state worker in California in 2015 was $121,843. In that same year, the average full-time private sector worker in California made $62,475 (with benefits), which is 51 percent of what the public sector worker earned. That’s not all. This pampered class of public servants also enjoys, typically, 72 paid days off per year (no, that doesn’t include weekends).

How that breaks down is as follows: A veteran employee gets 20 vacation days, 12 designated holidays, two floating holidays, 12 “personal days,” and if they are on salary and they work eight hours a day for nine weekdays, through the very common “9/80” program, they get every 10th weekday off with pay. When they retire, if they work 30 years (most private sector workers put in 45 years), their average pension is nearly $70,000 per year, not including health benefits.

Public sector unions, which ought to be illegal, are squarely to blame for “negotiating” pay and benefit packages that threaten to force California’s cities and counties into bankruptcy despite sky-high taxes. California’s public sector unions are the most powerful in America, collecting and spending more than $800 million per year in dues and fees. These unions are, in most cases, avowedly socialistic, and in virtually all cases these unions have a political agenda in lockstep with the California’s left-wing oligarchy. As the most powerful permanent political organizations in the state, they are the brokers and enablers of corporate power.

In stunning irony, these unions also play a vital role in convincing ordinary Californians to vote contrary to their own best interests. There are two big reasons for this.

First, these unions proclaim themselves in solidarity with the working class, despite the fact that they represent workers who have financially transcended the challenges facing ordinary private sector workers. They conflate themselves with private sector unions, despite the fact that unlike private sector unions, they elect their own bosses, they are funded through compulsory taxes instead of through profits earned in a competitive market, and they operate the machinery of government allowing them to use that to intimidate their opponents.

Second, and equally insidious, these unions have taken over public education from kindergarten through graduate school, and they have now infected two generations of Californians with their left-wing ideology.

Thoroughly Indoctrinated Voters
While the elites represented in the above categories do represent millions of Californians, it is the influence they have on tens of millions of California’s voters that give them their political power. This starts with college educated liberals, often living in homes they’ve owned for so long that they aren’t adversely affected by property taxes (Proposition 13), and often living on the coast where they don’t have to spend thousands of dollars per year to heat and cool those homes.

These people live and work in educational, corporate, and media environments that are saturated with left-wing propaganda, and they don’t feel the harmful impacts of these policies enough to question them. Many of these liberals work in entertainment or high-tech, where their business model is primarily virtual, which prevents their exposure to the intrusive, stifling laws and regulations that affect businesses in the real world.

The other voting bloc that determines California’s political destiny, perhaps more than any other, are ethnic voters, or, to use a ridiculous, pretentious, obligatory phrase that makes normal people cringe every time they say it, “people of color.” The POC vote in California overwhelmingly favors Democratic candidates for public office. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, among California’s “likely voters,” more whites are registered as Republicans (39 percent), than Democrats (38 percent). But among Latinos, registered Democrats (62 percent) far outnumber Republicans (17 percent). Among blacks, the disparity is even greater: 82 percent Democrat versus a paltry 6 percent Republican. Among Asians, where the disparity is less, the Democrats still have a nearly two-to-one advantage, 45 percent to 24 percent. But can the Democratic grip on ethnic voters endure?

An Alternative Future for California
If you poke at the supposed unbreakable hold by Democrats on ethnic and racial minorities, you find cracks. Many Latino citizens actually favor immigration reform. Many Asian citizens fear affirmative action will rob their children of opportunities. Black voters in recent polls are supporting President Trump in percentages greater than any Republican in recent history. All “POC” are becoming increasingly incensed at the way the teachers unions have destroyed public education.

It wouldn’t take much to persuade California’s racial and ethnic minority voters that the Golden State’s artificial scarcity and high cost-of-living is something completely engineered by Democrats. California’s current Republican candidate for governor, John Cox, is doing a good job of educating voters on that subject.

And for that matter, what does “people of color” even mean, as greater and greater intermarriage occurs? Who is to say that a Mexican-American, with Christian European roots and a shared heritage of settling the American West, would not, does not, embrace American pride and American patriotism just as much as any other proud member of the American melting pot? Maybe all that California’s kaleidoscopic electorate needs is a coherent and unwavering pro-growth, pro-freedom vision, from a new coalition of patriots.

Something’s Got to Give
The biggest mistake that California’s socialist oligarchs can make is to assume they are unassailable. Their certainty could become their downfall.

It’s true that someday we will need to move beyond fossil fuel. It’s true that someday we will live in a world where borders slowly wither away and we are one global people. It’s true that eventually we will let machines do most of our work for us, and we will need to invent economic models that account for this new reality.

It’s even true that someday we may genetically engineer ourselves into transhuman beings. But those future days are not these present days, and for California’s socialist oligarchy to proclaim they have all the answers to trends this transformative displays stupefying arrogance.

While ordinary Californians are deciding between buying gasoline or paying rent, these elites are inventing new ways to make everything cost more. While immigrants from abroad and indigent Americans from east of the Sierras come to California to collect taxpayer funded benefits, these elites are prohibiting the types of economic and infrastructure development that might create the wealth to sustain them, along with those already here.

While commuters curse their way to work and back in clogged lanes on neglected freeways, these elites continue with their $100 billion bullet train project. While Californians pay more taxes than anyone else in America, California’s Democratic candidate for governor reaffirms his commitment to universal, single payer health care for everyone, free healthcare for non-citizen immigrants, free public pre-schools, and free community college education.

Something’s going to give. Preventing broader private sector participation in competitive development of housing, energy, water and transportation guarantees eventual failure of California’s existing socialist schemes, much less the new ones they’re promising. But so far, California’s elites benefit from and promote these financially unsustainable policies. It cannot stand. Rebellion is brewing. Resistance is not futile. New alignments and alliances are forming. One economic hiccup could be all it takes.

California’s extraordinary potential is diminished by this ruling class of socialist oligarchs, and their coercive utopian supporters. They think they have all the answers when in reality they are flirting with economic and cultural disaster. Republicans, or some new movement, need to offer Californians a vision of abundance instead of scarcity, through competitive development of natural resources, market-driven urban and suburban growth, realistic immigration policies, and a proud, assimilative message to its residents to join together as a united and prosperous people. Concurrent with an agenda of growth that is as pragmatic as it is optimistic, California’s socialist oligarchs need to be exposed for their hypocrisy, their hubris, their venality.

Be warned, America. Democrats do know what they want. They’ve been building it for years in California.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Post • Technology • The Leviathian State

California’s Socialist Oligarchy: Making the State Unaffordable

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If you don’t think the Democrats have a platform or that their entire message accurately reduced to one vacuous word, “resist,” come to California.

First of a two-part series.

If you think Democrats aren’t offering concrete alternatives to the policies pursued by President Trump and the Republican Congress, come to California. And if you actually believe that President Trump and the Republican Congress are indistinguishable from the establishment Democrats, come to California.

Touted as the “fifth-largest economy on Earth,” and recently heralded as delivering the “greatest increase in average income,” these statistics obscure an alarming reality. California has become a feudal state, where the benefits of prosperity are unequally distributed, rewarding corrupt plutocrats and punishing ordinary working families. Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University in Orange, California, characterized California’s current political economy as “Oligarchical Socialism.” This is a perfect description of a system that destroys the middle class at the same time it protects the ultra rich.

California’s leftist oligarchy benefits financially from precisely the depredations they accuse conservatives of committing. They have enacted policies that are designed to make California unaffordable to all but the wealthiest residents, and hostile to emerging small businesses, at the same time as their preexisting wealth and politically connected corporations reap enhanced returns and profits.

Plenty of Land, Impossible to Build
Nowhere are the consequences of California’s oligarchical socialism more evident than in the cost of housing. State legislation has made it nearly impossible for developers to construct new housing outside the so-called “urban growth boundary.” Instead, development is redirected into the footprint of existing urban areas.

While there is a natural tendency as population increases to see higher density redevelopment in urban cores, by restricting outward expansion of urban areas, the value of the limited remaining eligible land becomes artificially inflated. But established landowners and large development firms benefit from these restrictions. They are able to withstand years, if not decades, of expensive permitting delays and endless litigation. They are able to afford millions in permit fees because these costs are offset by their ability to sell residence units—from high-rise condos to detached single family dwellings—at prices far beyond what they would cost in a normal market.

These billionaire business interests get richer, while ordinary Californians who want to own or develop land cannot afford to go through the permit process. Meanwhile, the median cost of a home in California is $539,400—nearly 2.5 times the national average of $216,700. And that’s not even in the tougher markets.

With all land development, environmentalist laws such as California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) create additional barriers. California’s legislature has now made it necessary for new home construction to be 100 percent “energy neutral” by 2020. Not only does this require installation of photovoltaic roof panels, but also more expensive insulation, as well as more expensive appliances that use less energy (and also happen to be less durable and don’t work as well). These mandates make homes less livable, for example, requiring smaller windows in order to make the homes easier to heat and cool.

The amazing fact that California’s legislators willfully ignore is the incredibly abundance of expanses of land that remain virtually empty in this vast state. California is only 5 percent urbanized. According to the American Farmland Trust, of California’s 163,000 square miles, there are 25,000 square miles of grazing land and 42,000 square miles of agricultural land; of that, 14,000 square miles are prime agricultural land. In other words, you could put 10 million new residents into homes, four per household, on half-acre lots, and you would only consume 1,953 square miles. If you built those homes on the best prime agricultural land California’s got, you would only use up 14 percent of it. If you scattered those homes among all of California’s farmland and grazing land—which is far more likely—you would only use up 3 percent of it. Three percent loss of agricultural land, to allow 10 million people to live on half-acre lots!

Instead of allowing land owners to build millions of inexpensive homes on, say, just a small fraction of California’s 25,000 square miles of grazing land, California’s lawmakers want to have “smart growth.” And as prices rise, the solution? On the ballot this November, propositions to enforce statewide rent control, borrow $4 billion to build “affordable housing,” and use state tax revenues to build more government-run homeless shelters. After all, expanding the private sector threatens the oligarchy. Best to expand the public sector.

Plenty of Energy Resources, Unaffordable Energy
While the cost of housing is an obvious example of how California has been turned into an enclave for the super rich and an expensive ordeal for ordinary Americans trying to live there, it is not the only example. California’s legislature has curtailed, if not completely shut down, development of oil, natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power.

In the summer of 2000, during California’s energy crisis, as brown-outs were rolling up and down the state, total disaster was averted because two nuclear reactor complexes, San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, were continuously pumping 4.2 gigawatts of electricity—more than 10 percent of California’s peak demand at the time—into the power grid. But instead of retrofitting, San Onofre was shuttered in 2013 and Diablo Canyon is set to shut down by 2025.

And what’s replacing these power plants? Wind and solar farms, with their intermittent output backed up by natural gas power stations.

If the massive amounts of surplus electricity produced when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing could be stored, it might make sense to decommission clean nuclear power plants and ban development of fossil fuel. But despite decades of research, and dozens of promising but failed attempts, grid-scale electricity storage remains prohibitively expensive. But that’s OK. According to the state legislature, Californians can just pay more. And of course, when consumers pay more, utilities—whose percentage profit is limited by regulation—make far more in absolute profits, since they get to charge so much more per kilowatt-hour. The average cost for electricity is 19.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in California, compared to 13.1 cents per kilowatt-hour nationally.

And there’s no end in sight. True to form, California’s state legislature just passed a law that calls for 60 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045. With hydroelectric and nuclear power off the table, that’s going to be a neat trick.

With oil, it gets worse. We’re not talking about California’s aggressive formulation requirements that make tailpipe emissions cleaner. Perhaps California’s geography justifies this, as offshore winds blow the entirety of coastal city smog into the inland valleys where it is trapped and accumulates. But the reason gas is so expensive in California has little to do with that. It is nearly impossible to maintain refinery output in California, and California’s state gas taxes are among the highest in the nation. Gasoline in California costs around $3.87 per gallon, compared to $2.87 nationally.

While ordinary Californians suffer, left-wing oligarchs prosper.

Green technology entrepreneurs flourish, selling products that consumers are required by law to purchase. Not just solar panels and the related “balance of plant” systems. There are also “negawatts,” a good concept that is being taken to extremes. Sensors and chips designed to make appliances more “energy efficient” are designed by Silicon Valley companies whose prosperity depends on legislative mandates that compel Californians to purchase their products. Promoting the “internet of things” is purportedly justified on environmentalist grounds, while in reality it is a lucrative source of income for high-tech manufacturers, as well as a lucrative means of surveillance and data mining. These new appliances save some electricity. But are they durable? Easy to operate? Do they work as well as conventional appliances? Are they easy to use? Are they inexpensive? No to all.

Plenty of Water, Yet Water Is Rationed
Water is another area where ordinary Californians needlessly suffer inconveniences and pay more.

California receives between 150 and 300 million acre feet of rainfall per year, depending on whether it’s a drought year or a wet year. Regardless of the year, most of that water either evaporates, percolates, or runs off into the Pacific Ocean. And of the roughly 65 million acre feet that are diverted, fully half of it is saved for re-release into the environment, to maintain river flow and to prevent saltwater intrusion into the Sacramento Delta. Of what remains, almost all of it is used for agriculture. Less than 4 million acre feet of water each year are used by California’s households, and less than half that much is for indoor use.

You wouldn’t think that were the case if you reviewed California’s new laws regarding water, and the ways they’re going to be implemented. This year California’s state legislature passed a law requiring average daily indoor water use by California residents to not exceed 55 gallons per day, an amount that lowers to 50 gallons per day by 2030. Maybe you’ve encountered the “solutions” that will effect this reduction: Water faucets that spray eight tiny concentrated, 1.0 mm thick jets of water onto your hands, making it difficult to get them wet and nearly impossible to rinse off soap. Or “low-flow” shower heads with the same problem, magnified for anyone who wants to rinse shampoo out of long hair. What about “smart” laundry machines that start and stop randomly, ostensibly to save energy and water, that do a poor job of cleaning your clothes. Or supplemental “tankless” water heaters positioned close to your kitchen sink, that cost thousands of dollars and don’t work all that well, in order for residents to avoid running unnecessary gallons down the drain as they wait for the hot water to flow through their pipes.

All this expense and bother, to save what, at a statewide level, amounts to a trivial amount of water. California’s total residential indoor water use represents less than three percent of California’s total water diversions.

And California’s bureaucrats still aren’t done. In a hearing postponed till just after November 6—no coincidence there—California’s State Water Resources Board is expected to mandate increased “natural flows” in California’s rivers, which will create additional water scarcity, especially for farmers.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Californians could easily escape water scarcity by investing in additional reservoirs, desalination plants, and wastewater recycling. But environmentalists torpedo all of these projects, successfully lobbying for laws that tie every project up in permitting delays that cost millions, if not tens of millions, and take years, if not decades, to overcome. When permits are finally granted, along come the lawsuits.

A good example of a project that makes compelling economic sense, but is bitterly opposed by environmentalists, is raising the height of the Shasta Dam. In exchange for construction costs under $2 billion, an annual yield of a half-million acre feet would be added to California’s water resources. Not only does this amount of water exceed how much water could be saved by additional household rationing, there’s even an environmental benefit, because summer releases of this water from Shasta’s deep, cool reservoir would improve fish habitat on the Sacramento River.

Roads Are Congested, And the State Builds a Bullet Train
There is nothing more versatile than the common road. On a road, anything on wheels, from bicycles to 80-ton trucks, can get from their point of origin to their destination. The simple flat surface delivers transportation options that nothing requiring rails or runways can hope to match. Moreover, cars and trucks are becoming cleaner and greener every year. One may argue vehemently over how exactly clean energy abundance will be achieved, but only the most pessimistic Luddite might cling to the notion that it will never happen.

Meanwhile, Californians urgently need new roads, wider roads, and upgraded roads. Californians may supplement these new roads with hyperloop technologies, or flying cars and other next generation vehicles, but what California does not need is the much criticized but seemingly unstoppable “bullet train,” a project that fails any rational cost-benefit analysis.

Using the California High Speed Rail Authority’s own projections, the system will not be profitable for 10 years. And what projections! The CHSRA assumes an average ticket price of $60, and average daily ridership of 120,000 people. Will 120,000 individuals actually be willing to spend $600 per month to commute from California’s less expensive Central Valley, into their jobs in coastal Silicon Valley and Los Angeles? And so what if they did? California has a workforce of more than 19 million people. How does spending around $100 billion on high speed rail help these other 18.9 million commuters?

To build a road in California takes years of permitting and litigating, then costs far more than it would in other parts of America. Environmentalist restrictions, project labor agreements, and a bloated, inefficient State Department of Transportation are all contributing factors. Meanwhile, in comparison to other states, California consistently ranks at or near the bottom in terms of pavement conditions and traffic congestion. There is no end in sight.

Housing. Energy. Water. Transportation. These are the basic necessities of civilized life. And for power and profit, California’s socialist oligarchs have made them all prohibitively expensive. The social agenda of California’s Left is well understood. But the punishing economic agenda, engineered by California’s socialist oligarchy, is equally disturbing. It represents a devastating threat to the American way of life.

The second part of this report will identify the special interests that constitute this coalition of scarcity profiteers, and how they might be stopped.

Photo Credit:  Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Congress • Democrats • Elections • Post

How California Republicans Could Avenge Kavanaugh

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When discussing the electoral implications of the circus surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation battle of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the conversation is often divided into a question of a “red wave” versus a “blue wave.” Will this blatant character assassination fire up the Republican base in November? Or will the constant backing down and delaying from spineless Republicans lead many would-be GOP voters to simply throw their hands up and say “What’s the point?”

Either thing could happen at this point, especially as we still don’t yet know if the good judge will even be confirmed.

Electoral motivations should not be the object of these hearings, of course, but given where we are, it’s hard to see how this mess could be explained in any other way. Accepting that reality, when it comes to one particular individual from one particular state, it may very well still be possible to punish her, even if it involves electing another Democrat in November.

The Guilty Party
It is no question in the mind of any decent, fair-minded American that what is happening to Brett Kavanaugh and his family right now is pure, unadulterated evil. A particular group of people, hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to possess political power, are willing to fabricate outright lies, claim evidence doesn’t matter, and trot out well-paid activists to blubber and whine in front of cameras in an effort to convince people that due process is a thing of the past.

That, of course, is when their mobs are not outright physically accosting people everywhere they go, accusing them of the “crime” of being a Republican. Actions that are encouraged by leaders of the Democratic Party, and now by spineless Republicans like Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), are going to continue because they have proven to be “effective,” even if in a most disturbing way. It is pure evil, and a threat to our great republic.

And to whom do we owe our thanks for this whirlwind being unleashed? The ranking Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

From the very beginning of this entire confirmation process, there was a brief ray of hope for DiFi. In early September, when a new protester was popping up every few seconds during the first Kavanaugh hearings (remember those?), Feinstein actually took time out of her line of questioning to apologize to the judge for “the circumstances,” and said at the time that “we’ll get right through it.”

And of course, how did the far-left react to this apparent lapse of sympathy for their rage coming from a Democrat? With more outrage, of course! Outrage is all the rage and the conductor of that particular orchestra was none other than Feinstein’s challenger in this year’s Senate race, fellow Democrat Kevin de León, who actively has been running much farther to the left than the ancient incumbent. “We should be praising the protesters and standing outside with them, not apologizing for their actions,” De León tweeted, adding, “We need a senator from California who will stand up and #RESIST not #ASSIST.”

What a far cry from where we are now.

Early on it already seemed strange that Feinstein, of all people, was the one to open this unholy can of worms so late in the process. After de León’s criticism, as well as the emergence of further worrying indicators such as the California Democratic Party’s endorsement of de León, it was clear that Feinstein had to start appealing to her far-left base. What better way to do that than to fabricate your very own #MeToo allegation and suddenly become Judge Kavanaugh’s archnemesis in the Senate? The woman who saved Roe!

No Pros, Just Cons and More Cons
Now of course, the only way to beat these vile Democrats and squishy RINOs is to elect more conservative Republicans all across the country and defend all incumbent Republicans, so that the majorities in both houses become so large that the agenda can no longer be thwarted by a small handful of self-righteous “moderates.” As frustrating as the actions of the Senate GOP have been, abandoning the party in order to “burn it all down” (as some have suggested) is not the answer.

In California, however, when it comes to the U.S. Senate race, there is no Republican option. California’s ridiculous “jungle primary” system means that only the top two vote-getters in the primaries advance to the general, regardless of party. This year, just as in 2016, two Democrats advanced to the final round: Feinstein took a decisive first place, while de León narrowly defeated the top Republican James Bradley, a pro-Trump veteran and businessman.

De León, the President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate, has been running as an outright socialist and even more anti-Trump than Feinstein. He is against the very idea of the Second Amendment and advocates single-payer healthcare and increased minimum wages, among many other things, and has been loud in denouncing Kavanaugh, even before these allegations emerged. Long story short, a Senator de León would make Kamala Harris look like a moderate.

If anything, de León would become the U.S. Senate’s equivalent to what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) would be to the House of Representatives. And as has been made abundantly evident from her numerous interviews and other press appearances, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t have the first damn clue about how economics work, how politics work . . . or how pretty much anything works. She is a laughingstock.

But at least Ocasio-Cortez has a Republican opponent in the general election; Feinstein and de León’s race is simply a “choice” between one Democrat or another.

A Senator de León undoubtedly would be much further to the left than a Feinstein could ever hope to be. But his mere existence would put the total lunacy of the far-left on full display for the entire nation to see. Every other word that comes out of his mouth will incite either laughter at its sheer stupidity, or anger at its anti-American or anti-capitalist tones. He could be every bit as inadvertently damaging to the already-tarnished Democratic brand, and alienating to moderates and independents, as the creepy porn lawyer and his ill-FFFFFitting suits.

Justice for the Judge
When all this is said and done, we had better hope and pray, for all that is good and just in our world, that Brett Kavanaugh makes it to the Supreme Court. Not only would his confirmation be a victory for due process and his decades-long tenure drive the Left even further over the edge, but you had better believe that Justice Kavanaugh will never forget what the Left tried to do to him. They will have made a powerful enemy out of the fifth justice in a 5-4 originalist Supreme Court.

But even that just won’t be enough to demoralize them.

There are few better ways to demoralize an army than to take down their leader. Even if the Democrats are reduced to an even smaller minority in the Senate, and don’t take back the House, it would still be an insult if the orchestrator of this madness isn’t punished. Feinstein has problems. The far Left wants her gone. Moderates and independents may be turned off by the fact that her age and tenure in office puts her on par with the Crypt Keeper in terms of longevity. And Republicans don’t have a candidate of their own.

Republicans have little hope in California this year. Aside from defending all incumbents in key congressional races, as well as potentially flipping a few state assembly seats, it looks to be another Democratic sweep at the statewide level.

A vote for de León would be a way for Republicans to send a message to Democrats. It would punish the incumbent for leading the charge on the most despicable character assassination crusade in recent history. Republicans could join with the far-left in ousting the woman who has unleashed an unspeakable evil by weaponizing fake claims of sexual assault, which has greatly devalued real acts of sexual misconduct while turning women into props in our already-debased political discourse.

If Feinstein truly believed that this anti-Kavanaugh charade would help her win reelection, then it truly would be poetic justice if that were the thing that crushed her.

Perhaps after she is handed an early retirement, she can work as a lobbyist for the Chinese government?

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Elections • Identity Politics • Post • Republicans

‘Where’s the Beef?’ Burgers, Latinos, and the Democratic Party

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Recent polling from Opinion Research on Elections and Public Policy shows California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom at 44 percent and businessman John Cox at 39 percent in the California governor’s race, with 17 percent of voters unsure. Remarkably, “Cox is well outperforming his GOP base—fewer than 25 percent of of California voters—and captures a similar percentage of the Latino voters as Newsom.” In Cox, Californians have the opportunity of a lifetime.

Latino voters, whom Democrats expect to keep in lockstep with their party, will be the deciding factor. But do Democrats actually care about Latino citizens? Do they even see them as fellow Americans, or are they rather just a convenient ethnic voting bloc to be manipulated and cajoled?

For decades, Democrats have made pandering to Latinos a core tactic in achieving total dominance over California politics. Their policies and priorities, however, from education and taxes to small business creation, are utterly at odds with Latinos’ stated real concerns.

Case in point: The state Democratic Party’s lame attempt to boycott the fast-food chain that is the number-one dining destination for Latinos. This was tone deaf and taste blind because In-N-Out Burger consistently receives the highest marks from Latinos for its quality, affordable pricing, and family-friendly environment—and Democrats actually expected Latinos drop their delicious burgers and toe the party line.

More than tasty burgers, Democrats were in effect calling for people to boycott something that California desperately needs: decent paying entry-level jobs.

In-N-Out, for example, starts employees at $13 an hour (well above California’s inflated $11 minimum wage) and offers a benefits package with health care, a 401(k)-retirement plan, and paid leave. Unlike many entry-level retail jobs, there’s room for advancement and strong salary growth. Store managers—who virtually all start as cooks or clerks—earn on average $160,000 a year. That’s triple what other fast-food chains pay.

For California’s Latinos looking for their first job or a career path without advanced skills, In-N-Out is a godsend. Over 94 percent of employees recommend working there, according to Glassdoor.

While Latinos certainly do love In-N-Out, the same cannot necessarily be said for the Democratic Party.

According to the most recent Los Angeles Times poll, only 7 percent of Latinos back a gubernatorial candidate because that person is part of “my party” (and in California, that often means the Democrats). That’s less than half of the white voters (18 percent) who said they are more partisan-leaning. A whopping 42 percent of Latinos said “values” drove their vote. In other words, Latinos vote on issues, not on blind party allegiance, and every single Latino poll respondent named “fiscal issues” and “jobs and the economy” as somewhat or extremely important as a voting issue.

Democrats fail to understand that “Latino values” are American values, because they do not see Californians collectively as Americans with a common interest, a common vision for the future, and common values, but instead segregate them by their skin color into voting blocs.

So, for the 39 percent of Latino voters who remain undecided between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox, let’s explore the “values” and accomplishments of Newsom’s party.

Democrats have given Californians the highest rate of poverty in the country when factoring in the cost of living, along with the worst quality of life in the United States.  The U.S. News and World Report survey looked at drinking-water quality, air quality, and pollution and industrial toxins; community engagement, social support, and voter participation. Altogether, California ranks the worst in these categories.

But hold on to your burgers, because it gets worse.

Although Democrats have made identity politics a cornerstone of their ploy to keep minorities in the party, they have failed these communities—and Latinos in particular—most of all. Latinos comprise California’s greatest number of poor. In 2014, the California Senate Office of Research reported, “Latinos tended to earn less than Californians as a whole and were underrepresented among higher income brackets, overrepresented at lower income brackets, and more likely to live in poverty.” Today, more than 1.3 million Latino children live in such poverty.

In 2015, around 80 percent of Latino households headed by noncitizens fell at or below the level of “economic distress” calculated by the nonprofit United Way’s “Real Cost Budget,” which takes into account the cost of housing, childcare, healthcare, and transportation.

Speaking of transportation, California’s Democratic-led legislature approved Senate Bill 1 in 2017, raising the state tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon—a 40 percent increase. Now, California Democrats are on record opposing a gas tax repeal, despite evidence such regressive user taxes hit the poorest people the hardest.

While Latinos consistently say when surveyed that education is the key to their children’s success, “there is not a single county in California where the majority of Latino students are proficient in math or English language arts.” Instead, under Democratic Party leadership, California has lowered the standards of learning for Latino students.

“Congratulations to districts everywhere. You’ve rendered high school diplomas meaningless by replacing even the slightest attempts at academic rigor with academic garbage,” writes a high school teacher to the Los Angeles Times. “My school boasts a graduation rate of over 85% while producing less than 40% who are college ready.” To make matter worse, Democrats want to regulate charter schools—which are wildly popular and successful among Latinos—out of existence. This is progress?

Californians of all hues were made promises that were never meant to be kept, and the upward mobility that was once a pillar of the American Dream has crumbled with it.

When my father came to California in the 1950s from Apatzingán, Michoacán, Mexico, his credentials read “Federación de Colonias Proletarias.” By 1985, “Sustaining Member—Republican National Committee.” The Republican Party is far from perfect, but in November California will choose between certain calamity and uncertain hope.

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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America • California • Center for American Greatness • Cities • Government Reform • Law and Order • Post • Progressivism • The Left • The Media

‘I Left My Shart in San Francisco’

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The tax reform and regulatory policies of President Trump and the Republican Congress can claim much credit for facilitating the green wave of economic growth sweeping the nation. Yet they can’t claim all the laurels.

No, the Left gets the credit for the new job opportunities now opening up on the sullied streets of Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco.

According to Heather Knight of the San Francisco Chronicle:

[In a city] where people called 311 to report [human] feces a whopping 14,597 times between Jan. 1 and [August 13], public piles of poop are serious business. For the record, that’s about 65 calls regarding sidewalk poop every day. And it’s 2,427 more calls on the stinky subject than were made in the same time period last year.

With residents slipping and sliding across its soiled sidewalks, ankle deep in the rising crisis Mayor London Breed stepped into the fray and beckoned to the heavens and the Department of Public Works: “I’ve been talking to the Department of Public Works director on a regular basis, and I’m like, ‘What are we going to do about the poop?’”

While we don’t know the heavens’ response, we do know the DPW chief and the mayor seemed to adopt a fatalistic attitude toward the fecal deluge. “He and I talked about coming up with some different solutions,” said the mayor. “I just want the city to be clean, and I want to make sure we’re providing the resources so that it can be.”

Not that reducing the number of vagrants could ever be an option in the City by the Bay. No, conjuring up the Rutles lyrics vis-à-vis the elected officials and the defecators—“You’re so pusillanimous, oh yeah, nature’s calling and I must go there”—the city created a Poop Patrol to spray and sweep the streets to wipe away the mounting mounds of excrement.

Nor is that the only municipal response. Again, per the Chronicle: “The city’s latest budget includes nearly $100 million in expenses designed to mitigate the disaster plaguing San Fran’s public streets and sidewalks.”

Indeed, as broken down by the Daily Wires Emily Zanotti:

In addition to the [$830,977] Poop Patrol, the city is spending $72.5 million on a street cleaning budget, $12 million on cleanup services for homeless encampments, $2.8 million on biohazard removal, $.23 million for specially designed street sweepers that use steam (which can effectively sanitize areas affected by human waste and drug use), $3.1 million for a series of portable toilets that won’t be open at night, $364,000 for a “needle team” similar to the Poop Patrol but charged with locating and eliminating drug use waste, and $700,000 for a “needle cleanup squad” that requires its own vehicle to transport bio-hazardous waste.

Ah, how compassionate one can be spending other people’s money!

Speaking of which, while I feel sorry for the residents of San Francisco who don’t wish to have their tax dollars continue to subsidize the insanity of the Left’s unsanitary policies, I shan’t begrudge the people who perform these sanitary civic duties from making as much money as they can—specifically, “$71,760 a year, which swells to $184,678 with mandated benefits.” As Zanotti noted, it’s a “Crap Job”—literally—and these folks should be paid a crapload of money to do it.

As for the rest of us, what do we gather from this vulgar vignette?

Yet more proof of what I and others have said all along: the Left is not progressive—the Left is regressive. It is regressive in both its ideological roots in Rousseau’s screed that insists we must all be “forced to be free” from corrupting civilization and returned to a state of “noble” savagery and in the practical consequences of said ideology’s application upon the rest of us—such as the poor San Franciscans who daily go slip, sliding away in alleys, off sidewalks, and from civilization itself because the Left’s “compassionate” policies have turned their beautiful city into a septic tank.

Unless, of course, you think turning “the City by the Bay” into an open-air sewer is “progress.”

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: Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Immigration • Post

‘Laura Ingraham is Right’

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To understand why Ms. Ingraham has a point, let’s take a trip to San Diego, California, where you can catch Los Tucanes de Tijuana playing the San Diego County Fair in summer.

Los Tucanes are billed as “global ambassadors of Nortena music and corridos and ballads,” and if you miss them in California, you can probably see one of their shows in Central Park, Dodger Stadium or the Astrodome. They also have a massive following in Texas.

“Somos gente de el cartel de el diablo,” sings frontman Mario Quintero Lara, “les decan a los federales, de inmediato les abran el paso, era mas que se activa la clave, saben bien que si no hacan caso, sus cabezas volaran al aire.” In English, it goes something like this: We are the people of the devil’s cartel, they tell the federales and they let us through, they know what happens if they don’t obey, their heads will fly through the air.

Charming.

Read the rest in The Washington Times.

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California • Immigration • Post

This Is Why All Americans Should Support President Trump on Immigration

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Donald Trump was serious when he campaigned on stricter enforcement of immigration laws. With “zero-tolerance” for illegal border crossers, a travel moratorium from certain countries and stricter limits on the number of legal immigrants, the president has kept his promise (short of building the wall) to reduce the number of newcomers to the United States.

Even people who disagree with Trump’s approach on immigration – or think they disagree – should support him. Because it’s not about what might be the best immigration policy but rather who gets to make it.

The president, in his crude way, is simply standing up for the right of the people to be represented by their government and for their wishes to have some voice in their governing. In other words, it’s about the consent of the governed to say what their country is – and “who we are.”

The media has long focused on Trump’s incendiary remarks, conflating his often-savage denunciations of criminals who are illegal immigrants with immigrants in general. But the press overlooks or dismisses his basic point, which he stated and restated throughout his campaign: “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

Read the full story in the Sacramento Bee.

Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Free Speech • Post • Progressivism • Silicon Valley • Technology

The Day of the Slap Drones

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Some of them, the big ones, will intrude the old fashioned way, beating down the door. Maybe others will look like insects, crawling innocuously across your property to come inside through your drains and A/C ducts. Or they’ll find an open window.

Across America, they’ll come by the millions, having manufactured themselves. They’ll be several generations smarter than the smartest smartphone in your hand today. They’ll know everything about you. And at 4:30 a.m., after a hot night in late June, all at once they’ll come for you and everyone like you. Some of you will die, deemed too dangerous to live, but most of you will just be humanely incapacitated. Against all this technology, your AR-15 rifles are pathetically inadequate. Remember that. When it comes to protecting yourself from a tyrannical government, your guns are obsolete.

This may be a hypothetical scenario, but it isn’t a fantasy. It’s less than a decade from being technically feasible, if it isn’t already.

The Virtual Panopticon is Already Here
High technology has already transformed our military and law enforcement. Autonomous warfare is a new reality, relegating inhabited ships and planes to irrelevance in a transformation of stupefying velocity and consequences. Robots now patrol shopping malls and parking lots. Police drones watch us from above. Cameras (with blinking lights) now surveil even residential neighborhoods. Networked cameras are using AI to monitor license plates, identify individuals via facial recognition, and respond to “suspicious anomalies.” Applying the concept of “crime prevention via environmental design,” police camera surveillance is being augmented by “directly linking into residential and business cameras.”

So what, right? We want to be safe. We’re not doing anything wrong.

Hold that thought. Let’s continue.

Do you use the internet? Of course you do. This means the government is able to (1) monitor your phone records, (2) mandate ISPs to turn over records of your online activity, (3) hack your mobile and wireless devices, (4) utilize “back doors” into your encrypted apps, (5) track your location at any time via your cell phone, (6) tap into any internet line, (7) monitor all your financial transactions, and (8) read your email.

Big deal. My life is boring. Have a look. Knock yourself out. I don’t care. Ok, here are a few more reminders of just how far big tech has intruded into our lives.

Do you use a washer, a dryer, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, and, of course, a television? What about a coffee maker, an oven, an air purifier, or a clock or a radio? Do you have a swimming pool? Do you water your lawn? Well, guess what? The “internet of things” means all of that is being remotely monitored. And if none of your appliances are “connected,” it doesn’t necessarily matter. If you use electricity, there is now software that “profiles” anything that’s plugged into an electrical outlet, then generates a database of unique appliance signatures to “train an artificial neural network that is employed to recognize appliance activities.”

And then there are our new and omnipresent digital helpmates, Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and all the rest of those devices who talk to you and listen to you.

It’s all wondrous. Bring it on. The fun has just begun. Just wait till the androids arrive; we’ll marry them, give them rights, let them vote and own property. Because they aren’t going to be remotely monitored, and they won’t adhere to programs written by human beings with an agenda. Of course not. Relax. But someday soon, just try to tell an atheist who married his android that it’s just a toaster, and that apart from big brother watching from afar, nobody’s home inside.

If you think the millions are brainwashed today, imagine tomorrow.

The Owners of the Panopticon are Leftist Oligarchs
Which brings us to the big tech giants who have created near-monopolies on how we communicate online, how we learn, how our opinions are shaped, and what we believe in. We have seen how, in order to influence elections and mass political sentiments, Google manipulates search results, Facebook meticulously curates fantastically detailed profiles of its billions of users at the same time as it suppresses politically incorrect views, YouTube selectively demonetizes or restricts videos, and Twitter “shadowbans.” And we know they coordinate their efforts. Where’s this headed?

If you want to know where high technology is taking us, go to the Silicon Valley, in sunny California. In this epicenter of high tech, Santa Clara County, 45 percent of working-age residents (25-45) are foreign-born. These foreigners tend either to be wealthy, highly educated Asians who own and work in high tech companies, or relatively poor, uneducated Latin Americans who do menial service jobs. That dichotomy is reflected in the price of housing, bid upwards by Asian immigrants who bring with them suitcases full of cash, and the poverty rate, pushed up by hard working, low wage Latino immigrants who can’t afford the cost of living. Santa Clara’s median home price is $925,000 and the poverty rate is 9.4 percent. But how are these demographics represented in Silicon Valley’s politics?

The White liberal elite, who love to hire Asian programmers on H-1B visas (thousands of whom are foreign agents), and love to hire Mexicans and Central Americans to cook, clean, landscape, and drive down wages for service workers across the board, have concocted a winning political message. It is cynical and dishonest, but devastatingly effective. They posture and bellow as loud and as often as they can how much they care about “people of color” and “diversity,” at the same time as they enact draconian restrictions on land development, conventional energy use, or any sort of infrastructure investment that might actually help lower the cost of living. For them, it doesn’t matter. They’re rich.

And now they have Donald Trump, the most convenient boogeyman in the history of American liberalism.

Leftists Want to Turn America into California
One recent and very representative expression of the liberal arrogance that informs the Silicon Valley elite is an influential article written early in 2018 by Peter Leyden, a journalist, and entrepreneur who calls Silicon Valley home. Titled “The Great Lesson of California in America’s New Civil War,” the article claims “there’s no bipartisan way forward at this juncture in our history—one side must win.” Perhaps, sadly, that is the only thing in this frighteningly arrogant manifesto where everyone might find agreement.

Leyden’s partisan certainty is only matched by his astounding failure to recognize the cold reality of his state’s supposedly enlightened policies. He writes “Since 1980, their [Republican] policies have engorged the rich while flatlining the incomes of the majority of Americans.”

But California has the fourth highest rate of income inequality in the United States, eclipsed in major states only by the equally Democrat-controlled New York. Leyden is invited to take a walk through the barrio in East San Jose, or the ‘hood up in San Francisco’s Hunters Point. He should ask the residents how they feel they’re being served by the politicians running California. He should ask them how they like watching millions of wealthy Asian immigrants buy up all the homes and drive up the prices, while poor Latino immigrant workers drive down all the wages.

When it comes to “climate change,” Leyden’s pronouncements are also representative of California’s liberal elite. In between his despicable use of the term “Deniers,” which equates climate skeptics with holocaust deniers, Leyden writes “California is leading the world in technological innovation and creative policies to counter climate change.” But what if Leyden and all his alarmist cohorts are dead wrong? What if the debate over climate change should not be silenced? Because what if including clean fossil fuel and safe nuclear power is the only possible way humanity can rapidly and effectively empower aspiring billions of people in the developing world, delivering the energy-driven prosperity to their cultures that is absolutely correlated to lower birthrates and more prosperity? What if renewable power is actually less sustainable? More immediately, what if creating this artificial scarcity of energy is making it impossible for low-income Californians to pay their bills?

But the elite doesn’t don’t care about that. They’re rich.

By the way, try to search Google for balanced information on clean energy—you pretty much can’t find it. And if you can still find robust links to credible information produced by climate contrarians on your Facebook feeds, know that you are only seeing them because Facebook has put you into a “silo.” Those with online activity patterns that indicate they aren’t already receptive to climate contrarianism will not see those links. They won’t know. They will view monolithically packaged information spreading one message—the debate is over, fossil fuel and nuclear power are bad for humanity and the earth. Case closed. Ditto for every other important, politically incorrect premise of conservatism.

The War for America’s Future is Happening Now, and Later Will Be Too Late
There’s nothing wrong with some immigration; there’s nothing wrong with investing in renewable energy. But to brand the skeptics as “racists” and “deniers,” and to suppress their arguments in the electronic public square—that is where the Silicon Valley abuses their power. And it has just begun.

The most chilling part of Leyden’s discussion on the virtues of California’s “one-party state” is when he asserts “America today does exhibit some of the core elements that move a society from what normally is the process of working out political differences toward the slippery slope of civil war.” He goes on to write,

two different political cultures already at odds through different political ideologies, philosophies, and worldviews can get trapped in a polarizing process that increasingly undermines compromise. They see the world through different lenses, consume different media, and literally live in different places. They start to misunderstand the other side, then start to misrepresent them, and eventually make them the enemy. The opportunity for compromise is then lost. This is where America is today. At some point, one side or the other must win—and win big. The side resisting change, usually the one most rooted in the past systems and incumbent interests, must be thoroughly defeated—not just for a political cycle or two, but for a generation or two.

Leyden’s remarks epitomize the implacable resolve of the left wing in America. He should be taken seriously. “One side or the other must win—and win big.”

The problem here, of course, is that we “deplorables” don’t want to be “thoroughly defeated.” We don’t want to live in a nation where we can’t afford homes, we can’t find good jobs, we can’t afford heating or cooling, and our transgressions are perpetually monitored inside and outside our rented apartments. We don’t want to live in “smart growth” communities where the only places we can afford to live are in high rises and the only transportation we can afford to use are trains and buses. We don’t want our culture destroyed by mass immigration nor do we want our economic ambitions crushed by unfair trade and punitive environmental mandates. We don’t like what the Democrats have done to California. We’re not going to accept their way of life.

Silicon Valley is the origin of modern high technology. It has offered innovations, most of them desirable if not the stuff of dreams. It is transforming the world. But it is easy to imagine how so much power can be misused. And Silicon Valley today is controlled by leftists. These high-tech titans form the most powerful group in a leftist coalition that includes academia, entertainment, mainstream media, and the HR departments in every major corporation in America. If you don’t think this coalition is powerful enough to take over the federal government and turn America into California, you’re dreaming.

Which brings us back to the Night of the Slap Drones. Back in June, 1934, another virulent pack of leftist utopian fascists decided that the “side resisting change” had to be “thoroughly defeated.” Within hours, on this “Night of the Long Knives,” hundreds of people identified as the resistance were silenced forever—shot in their beds at 4:30 in the morning, or arrested and hanged within days. And if it happens this time, it won’t be knives and guns that do the killing. It will be robots and drones, controlled by the left-wing oligarchs and their minions of “anti-fascist” true believers, the elite of the Silicon Valley.

Stop them now. Because if and when they take power, resistance will be futile.

Photo Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Congress • Democrats • Healthcare • Obamacare • Post • Progressivism • The Left

Bread and Circus Politics

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The masquerade is finally over: Democrats are finally coming out as the socialists they’ve always pretended not to be. Apparently they find it freeing—I find it refreshing. Americans might finally get a clear choice moving forward between undisguised socialism and free market capitalism.

Now there are nearly a dozen Democratic gubernatorial candidates openly calling for a universal healthcare, single payer system, pounding the lectern and insisting that, by God, insurance is a human right.

But I’ll tell you what it really is: bread and circus politics.

Promise the voters anything and everything in the hope of gaining power, the consequences be damned. How one actually pays for the universal healthcare is a minor inconvenience to these socialists in the great bending arc of history. Onward to glory, comrades. Until of course the bill comes due. Loosely quoting the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, socialism is great fun until you run out of other people’s money.

The sad fact here is just how fast they would spend other people’s money. The costs are staggering with universal healthcare: for a national, Medicare for all approach, it could cost up to $32.6 trillion in the first 10 years, overshadowing our already massive $20 trillion national debt.

At the state level, the costs are also sobering: California’s universal healthcare plan would cost $400 billion annually, or twice what California’s annual budget for everything is, including the newly formed Plastic Straw Stasi Division. In New York, people are being assured that yes, taxes would have to go up 156 percent, but have no fears, this will actually save money in the future. Question: have you ever in your life seen a government program that cost less or saved money? Me neither.

At the very heart of this universal healthcare plan is a falsehood that insurance somehow equals better care. That’s empirically untrue. In fact, we can see that in many places across the world, the quality of care actually goes down with universal healthcare.

Take Canada, for example. Between 1993 and 2017, the average wait to see a specialist more than doubled to from nine weeks to just over 21 weeks while the corresponding costs went up 40 percent. In England, the annual budget for the National Health Service (NHS) in 1998 was 60 billion pounds or $77,345100. In 2017 it was 124 billion pounds or $159,836,000. While costs have doubled over the last 20 years, there’s no corresponding increase in quality of life; life expectancy hasn’t gone up. Typically in universal healthcare systems you see health services more interested in efficiency, you see death panels, you see overworked nurses and doctors, and you see a lack of innovation. Do you see many people flying into England or Canada for surgeries? Didn’t think so.

Beyond the costs and the decrease in quality of care, universal healthcare would be a smash and grab policy hurting our younger generations. We would have to steal from the idealistic and sometimes, sadly, very stupid young but healthy (there are some blessings still to being a young American) to fund Americans who are their opposites in all of these respects.  When the young finally figure this out they’ll be facing a hopelessly mortgaged future exactly when many businesses will abandon their states. As in they got played for suckers. But onward, comrades, and all that.

Adding to the absurdity of it all is this concept of using the vehicles of Medicare and Medicaid for all. The socialists’ idea is to ride those two broken, corrupt, and nearly insolvent (at least with respect to Medicare) systems to socialist glory.

While it shouldn’t be a surprise that failing ideologies attach themselves to failing systems, it might surprise most people that in 2017 alone, Medicare and Medicaid combined made $141 billion in improper payments. But by all means, do tell me how glorious it would be to run $32.6 trillion into those broken systems. It’s almost as though the socialists and modern Democratic Party want to collapse our entire system of government and then offer Big Brother Government as the solution.

At some point, if Congress can’t or won’t tackle the root of the problem instead of simply throwing taxpayer dollars at broken corrupt systems like Medicare and Medicaid, it should at least do something to ease the pain of access to care—like allowing people to form associations and shop for insurance plans across state-lines anywhere in the country, potentially driving down premiums by 50 percent. There should be block grants for pharmaceuticals instead of forcing people to go through Medicare or Medicaid. People should have options to put money into savings accounts, spending their money as they see fit. Nonprofit hospitals should be compelled to have pricing and cost transparency. Let market forces go to work and I bet we’ll all be amazed at what will happen.

Photo Credit: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Administrative State • California • Post • Progressivism • self-government

Straw Bans vs. Common Sense

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By now you’ve heard that the Santa Barbara, California city council outlawed the distribution of disposable plastic drinking straws. For a moment, it appeared the city would actually send minimum-wage workers to jail for handing out the newly reviled objects. While that sensational detail captured Americans’ imaginations, another crucial admission might have been overlooked. During council’s discussion of the ordinance, councilman Jason Dominguez said, “Unfortunately, common sense is just not common. We have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.”

Dominguez later disavowed the plain meaning of his words, but we should applaud him for making a perfect statement of modern progressivism’s core idea.

Progressivism is the rejection of Americanism, of the American idea. Progressives reject the American founders’ core idea—that all people are born free and equal and capable of self-government. Instead, the progressives believe they have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives—that government by experts is better than government “by the people, for the people.” Why? As Dominguez let slip, “unfortunately” common sense is simply not common enough for the Founders’ design to work.

Notice what Dominguez’s clear statement of progressivism does to the the Founders’ idea of “we the people.” In the modern progressive view, the “we” (meaning the ruling elite, to which group Dominguez assumes he belongs) regulate “the people.” There are now two classes: the rulers and the ruled.

America’s Founders put their faith in the people’s common sense. America has been called the “common sense nation,” and Tom Paine’s book Common Sense did much to ignite the American Revolution. Paine’s essential contribution was convincing a sufficient number of Americans that America did not need a royal sovereign, that we could rule ourselves.

According to the founders, the people are sovereign. In their time, that idea was bolder than bold. In that era it was actually a contradiction in terms. A sovereign was a king or queen; it was the role of the people to be ruled and the role of the sovereign to rule.

The purpose of the Founders’ design was to enable us, the American people, to rule ourselves. The government was to be, quite simply, the agent of the sovereign people. As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote: “It is the plain dictate of common sense, and the whole [American] political system is founded on the idea, that the departments of government are the agents of the nation . . .”

The Founders’ focus was liberty. Consequently, their design provided a limited role for government. Here is Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural address:

Still one thing more, fellow-citizens—a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…

Progressivism, by contrast, is all about restoring the old order of rulers and ruled. Thanks to the modern progressives, federal, state, and local governments in America are now populated with people who believe they “have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.” They may claim to be “liberal” or they may call themselves “progressive.” Whatever label they choose, their target is an America in which more and then still more is either forbidden or compelled.

You have to give them credit; they have made remarkable “progress.” When they are able to regulate plastic straws out of existence, they really have come a long way, haven’t they?

Perhaps President Trump’s “common sense conservatism” gets it just right. If we are going to restore America, we must return common sense to its rightful place in American life.

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America • California • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • The Left

Democrats Betray Their Leadership in the Name of Socialism

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Thirty or 40 years ago, the saying “As California goes, so goes the nation” meant the Golden State set the trends in national politics. California made Ronald Reagan governor, then president. Today, the old saw refers to the fact that California’s ever-shifting demographics—and the far-left tilt of its politics—will more than likely be the future of America as a whole if illegal immigration remains unchecked.

As President Trump continues to take strong measures to halt this wave of illegal immigration, there is one other way in which the nostrum would still apply: If California is not the future of the country, at the very least it is likely to be the future of the Democratic Party.

Leaving Their Leaders Behind
Over the last few years, the California Democratic Party has taken drastic steps to demonstrate how far leftward it is willing to go, almost entirely in the name of pleasing its radical baseconsisting mostly of Millennials and illegal aliens. This has included such unusual endeavors as bills making it no longer a felony knowingly to infect someone with HIV (obvious pandering to the LGBTQ crowd), the more recent folly of the “sanctuary state” law (partially an appeal to the illegal crowd, and partially a rebuke of President Trump), and current gubernatorial frontrunner Gavin Newsom’s push for a single-payer health care system (a cry for an expansion of the mindset that gave us Obamacare).

But recently, in a move clearly fueled by the upset victory of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District, the state party has all but devoted itself to the cause of outright socialism.

After neither the incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein nor her challenger, State Senator Kevin de León, won the party’s official nomination ahead of the June primary, the state party’s board finally made a decision. Thanks to California’s top-two primary system, the two Democrats will face off in the general election in November. Without the worry of a Republican opponent, the Democratic Party leadership voted overwhelmingly in favor of endorsing de León over Feinstein; of the 360 members who make up the party’s executive board, 217 voted for de León while only 22 voted for Feinstein.

There were already hints that the state party was leaning towards the more radical challenger rather than the long-time incumbent; in the party’s pre-primary convention, de León had received 54 percent of the delegates’ votes, while Feinstein received only 37 percent. Since neither reached the threshold of 60 percent required for an official endorsement, the issue was put off for just a few more months before it became clear which candidate was truly the favorite of party activists.

Now it is clear that at least a majority of both the party’s base and the party’s executive leadership are shifting much further to the left than previously imagined. In the name of socialism, they are choosing a far-Left challenger who opposes the Second Amendment and supports single-payer healthcare, over the four-term incumbent whose name, alongside departing Governor Jerry Brown, is easily the most-recognizable in modern California Democratic politics. The socialists who make up the party’s base and are effortlessly infiltrating its leadership are now willing to jettison their senior leaders who aren’t “progressive” enough.

And they’re not afraid to admit it anymore. Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated one of the Democratic Party’s highest-ranking House members in the primary, has been open about the fact that her socialist agenda, “once considered to be radical,” has now become “the mainstream.” It wasn’t actually a gaffe when she declared that her intention was to flip a congressional seat in Kansas “red” in November; she was subtly echoing the words of a Democratic Socialist who, upon winning her primary for the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives, declared: “We’re turning the state the right shade of red tonight.”

Take Advantage of the Divide
But just as California need not be the inevitable future of the country at large, it is not already set in stone that the Democrats will so easily and shamelessly become a branch of the International Socialist Organization.

Most recently, former senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman has come out in opposition to Ocasio-Cortez, and implored voters of New York’s 14th Congressional District to vote for the incumbent Joe Crowley anyway, as his name is appearing on the ballot through a third party’s nomination. Similarly, de León still has to overcome a massive challenge in California as Feinstein, who received 44 percent in the primary, has broad support among moderates, independents, and even Republicans who acknowledge that it’s better to vote for an establishment Democrat than a socialist firebrand.

It is clear that the Democrats are still divided, even if they will never admit it. Even as the aging leaders of the party seem to have continued on past their expiration date, they will not give up power so easily, as much as they give lip-service to the rising socialist wing. At the same time, more moderate figures such as Lieberman acknowledge the fact that outright socialism will hurt the Democratic Party, and the country, in the long-run.

The Democrats are heading into the midterm at a severe disadvantage. Their major issues, from gun control to abolishing ICE, have proven wildly unpopular. With the economy still on the upswing and a wide variety of foreign policy successes for President Trump such as North Korea and Russia, the Republicans already had momentum going into the November elections.

But the Republicans could solidify an even greater victory if they exploit the other major enemy that the Democrats are facing right now: themselves. The GOP should not balk from the fight now when the opposition has so utterly exposed itself. It must demonstrate the ways in which even the more moderate elements of the Democratic Party lead, inexorably, to the leftism that now dominates their political conversation. There should be no delusions about making common cause with the apparent voices of reason on the Left, for they are destined to lose.

Nothing would mark a more perfect poetic irony than one of the Democrats’ top political strategies being used against them, especially if it even further condemns them to minority party status in 2018.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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