No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘California

Money. Wall. Pissing against.

You may have thought that the current NZ Labour government was a shocker when it came to spending vast sums of money to no good effect, but as is often the case now, the US state of California leads the way.

As if the high taxes, poverty, filth, crime, killer fires, water problems and energy problems were not bad enough it appears that they can’t even run a basic book keeping process.

This is Betty Yee, and she is the “State Controller” of California, which means that she is the person responsible for:

  • “Accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources.”
  • “Auditing all funds disbursed by the state and all claims presented for payments to [her office.]”

Given that California is the world’s fifth largest economy, that is a hell of a lot of spending responsibility. Her office issued 49 million checks in payments worth $320 billion in 2018.

Being in a public office she’s also accountable directly to the public in terms of more than just votes, being required to produce information about all this spending, subject to the usual Official Information Requests that we see across the Western world. There’s always scrapping between such offices and the people demanding the information as to timely releases and so forth – no bureaucrat is ever keen on revealing everything to the proles – but by and large the process works.

So it was no surprise when some activist group called Open the Books (OTB), requested to see the line item details of all these payments, starting in 2013. The letter they finally got in 2019 surprised the hell out of them:

“The State of California, State Controller’s Office does not maintain a centralized vendor contract database which would allow it to identify all contracts regardless of the agency awarding such contract,”

That came from Yee’s general counsel Richard Chivaro, who went further:

“In fact, many state contracts are paid for directly by the contracting agency,” Chivaro continued. “This procedure allows the contracting agency to make such payments as expeditiously as possible thereby taking advantage of an early payment discount which may be available.” 

“Moreover, the Controller’s Office receives literally thousands of claims for payment daily. Claims are batched by date received and are not segregated, logged or otherwise tracked by agency employee or payment type. Consequently, because of the way the claims are batched and processed by this office, we are unable to locate or otherwise provide you with the documents requested,”

The fuck? In other words the Controller’s Office literally cannot answer the question of where all the money went in a $302 billion spending list. They simply do not and cannot know exactly who got the money because they just don’t bother tracking that level of detail.

Incredible. Almost beyond belief.

OTB is suing the state of California but frankly I don’t how that can succeed: if the system doesn’t track this stuff at a line item level (or even a couple of levels up) then what’s the lawsuit going to produce? They have had to sue Illinois and Wyoming in the past to get such data, but they did get it in the end, and they did not need to take such action to get spending records from the other 47 states according to the OTB Chairman:

“We even get the checkbooks from the historically, systemically corrupt Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” he said. “We do get the second set of books from there.” 

In some respects it’s hardly surprising given an earlier story that blew out of the same state a few months ago:

California Labor Secretary Julie Su told reporters in a conference call Monday that of the $114 billion the state has paid in unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic, 10 percent, or $11.4 billion, involves fraud and another 17 percent is under investigation. 

Nearly all of the fraudulent claims were paid through the federally supported Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The program was approved by Congress to provide unemployment assistance to those who usually wouldn’t be eligible, such as independent contractors. 

The even got scammed by the usual suspects, criminal organisations from Russia and Nigeria, as well as 21,000 prisoners in the state who scored more than $400 million, including 100 prisoners on death row

I like to think the latter group really just did it for kicks, given that they’re not likely to be able to spend any of it.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 29, 2021 at 2:20 pm

Secessionitis and Greater Idaho

In the last twenty years, every time a Republican has been elected President, there has been a squall of voices from Lefty celebrities about how they’re going to move to Canada or some other clime more hospitable to the Left.

Because of their lightweight nature, few people take any notice of them, especially since it’s been heard three times now (2000, 2004, 2016), but with no appreciable followup actions on their part, aside from crashing the Canadian Immigration website on election night 2016.

Still, the calls are growing louder with each subsequent Republican victory. After the 2016 election no less an august personage than Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reflected that she might have to retire to New Zealand. I’m sure she would have appreciated our lack of a written constitution since she never seemed overly impressed by the US one.

But these calls have often applied to individual states, and it does go the other way, though in a more joking form. Hence the occasional cracks from Texans when a Democrat gets elected President. In their case they have more history behind them, since Texas stood as an independent nation for a few years before joining the Union.

More often, and more seriously, California is regarded as the state that could secede. It’s the world’s fifth largest economy on its own, it has long regarded itself as quite different to the rest of the USA (and vice versa – even the Lefties of Chicago and New York consider California to be “weird”), and given its natural resources and gifts it could theoretically stand on its own. I say theoretically because its government and people seem determined to screw their gifts up with government policies.

The thing is that while the Californian Left may talk of this occasionally, there actually have been plans made by their fellow Californians for a different proposal; for parts of the state to secede from California and form new states:

Frankly I can’t see “Northern California” doing too well with San Francisco and all its insanity still embedded. Better to let that belong to the coastal state, along with LA. It’s what most people think of when they consider the current state anyway. One billionaire venture capitalist has taken that into account with his proposal for six states to be carved out of California:

Admittedly getting six rather than three states is a tougher deal, but for various reasons none of this is likely to happen, as with this proposal for the state of Oregon, although it’s counties themselves making the push, and they’re hoping to pull in surrounding neighbours to Greater Idaho:

The grassroots group Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho wants to move Oregon’s mostly rural eastern and southern counties into Idaho, believing they’d be better served in the neighboring state’s more conservative political environment.

That would leave a small portion of Oregon, including Portland, Salem, Eugene and Bend.

Phase 2 of the plan would bring in parts of southeast Washington and northeast California. The California counties under consideration, the group says, are Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Modoc, Lassen, part or all of Plumas, and parts of Butte and perhaps Sierra.

The California area includes Redding, which would become Idaho’s fourth-largest city.

There’s always a boundary that cannot be crossed and such was observed by a South Carolina politician during the increasing arguments over secession prior to the Civil War:

“South Carolina is too small for a Republic and too large for an insane asylum”.

But the real stumbling block to all this is that the originating state has to approve of such things. This has happened in the past, perhaps most notably with West Virginia. It was originally part of Virginia until it was admitted as a new state in 1863 after the General Assembly of the “Restored Government of Virginia” (heh, heh, heh) magically consented to the request in 1862. Now you may wonder how Virginia consented since it was one of the Confederate states. What happened was that anti-secessionist Virginians formed a government in exile during the Civil War and were recognised by the Federal Government, which then approved the state’s partition.

I doubt the Democrat leaders of these states, nor their partners in crime in Washington D.C. will allow this to happen to them again, especially since it would lead an influx of new, and decidedly. non-Left Wing senators. However, since such accommodations were made in the past perhaps several such things could be negotiated across the nation so that things are kept even at the Federal level.

But further down in the grassroots of the US left it turns out that these proposals may actually get some traction:

Basically they think it’s a great idea for their Democrat Controlled One Party cities to detach themselves from all those useless rural areas that create no IT billionaires and other Super Smart People but produce food, oil, gas, timber, and minerals, as well as being fiscally conservative along with having healthy communities and little crime.

Nothing would make me happier than to divide all urban areas from all non-urban areas and separate entirely.

Let’s do it.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 26, 2021 at 6:00 am

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with

California Screaming – Fire

For decades in the USA there has been a cartoon character who would warn the good people of America that:

Only YOU can prevent forest fires”.

Smokey the Bear was invented in 1944 by the US Forest Service as a way of enlisting the public in helping them fight forest fires, which was also a wartime concern as Japan tried forest fire attacks via balloons launched into the stratosphere aimed at the USA’s West Coast.

In addition to this the US Forest Service decided to throw everything and the kitchen sink at fighting these fires, using as much technology and manpower as they could afford, which was a lot in the booming post-war American economy. Their compatriots in the National Park service followed suit.

But as the years went by they began to notice that the fires were getting worse – much worse – even as they did everything to slow them down and stop them. Finally, in the early 1960’s, the Department of the Interior commissioned a study to look at ecosystem problems across the board in National Park, including predator control (Yellowstone elk were having to be constantly culled) and what came to be called fire ecology.

What the conclusions boiled down to for fire was that the “kill the fire” policy was actually making things worse because it was allowing huge buildups of fuel on the floors of the forests instead of steadily reducing and then stabilising it. So when fires did break out they became monsters.

So by the late 1960’s/early 70’s the policy was changed from suppression to management, allowing fires to burn while keeping an eye on them and acting only to protect developed areas. Events like the massive 1988 Yellowstone fires resulted in public and political backlash about this but although the decision criteria around fire fighting was modified the basic policy remained. However, the environmental movement began to impact this in other ways. Not that they went back to fire suppression, but – thinking that they were being kind to the environment – they started doing things that caused the same problems:

Shortly before leaving office in 2001, Clinton limited the ability of the United States Forest Service to thin out a dense thicket of foliage and downed trees on federal land to bring the West into a pristine state, Bob Zybach, an experienced forester with a PhD in environmental science, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The former president’s decision created a ticking time bomb, Zybach argues.

“If you don’t start managing these forests, then they are going to start burning up. Thirty years later, they are still ignoring it,”

It was more than just underbrush management:

Under this policy, thousands of miles of forest roads were ripped out, roads built to allow the harvesting of timber, but also used by firefighters to access wildfires in the hinterlands before they spread to populated regions. And timber harvests plunged as much as 84 percent from 12 billion board feet per year to less than 2 billion board feet per year.

California was, as usual, the leader in this policy for the future, being even more fanatical than Clinton’s policies, (although other Western states like Colorado and Oregon are up there) reducing the state’s timber industry to less than a third the size of what it was 60 years ago. The state now imports 80% of its timber.

You would think that, given the natural dryness of California and the massive forests in the state, its leaders would not have been so stupid as to ignore the science. But even worse than the national logging policy, California’s Green sentiment also prevented controlled burns (for fear of disrupting animal habitats) and barred even minor brush-clearing programs.

As a result its forests are now twice as dense as they were 150 years ago — when the population was a fraction of today’s. Behind that unnatural density: state and federal rules that make it nearly impossible (and insanely expensive) to lay a finger on any of this precious overgrowth.

historically, ponderosa pines grew in stands of 20 to 55 trees per acre, but in some areas, they now grow in densities of 300 to 900 trees per acre. The unnatural density allowed what were formerly isolated pockets of insect infestations to morph into massive infestations killing large swaths of forests. There are now more dead trees in many federal forests than live ones, drying out and becoming growing stockpile of fuel for wildfires. Indeed, the U.S. Forest Service estimates more than 190 million acres of public land, almost all of it in the arid west, are at risk of catastrophic fires.

There’s a whole generation
With a new explanation

In addition to the mountain forests the hillsides above the cities of San Francisco, LA and most others are also overgrown with drought-stricken scrub and half-dead trees, in part due to restrictions on grazing, brush removal, as well as logging. They’re the kindling.

And it’s not just the evil Right Wing of the Heritage Foundation that’s pointing this out. Here’s The Guardian:

As part of a project to study California’s fire history, we sampled almost 2,000 fire-scarred trees and stumps in the Sierra Nevada. What was equally arresting as finding 10 or more scars in a single tree, however, is what we did not find. Of the hundreds of living trees we sampled, only a handful had even a single fire scar in the 20th century. 

Naturally, because it’s the Grundian, there’s shout-outs to Global Warming and the genius fire management of indigenous peoples, but the key point is not denied and it’s not just current science but history telling the tale:

… a 2007 paper in the journal Forest Ecology and Management found prior to European colonization in the 1800s, more than 4.4 million acres of California forest and shrub-land burned annually, far more than the area of California that has burned since 2000, which ranges from 90,000 acres to 1,590,000 acres per year.

But even though wildfires have declined over all in the USA (and around the world), in California 10 of the state’s 20 largest, most deadly fires ever occurred in the last decade.

To make things worse California’s leaders, instead of admitting they got it wrong, have actually been using the wildfires of recent years as an excuse to go even crazier on the environmental front, via blaming the fires on AGW.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. They warn of cataclysmic climate change if we don’t suddenly remove the fossil fuel energy on which their state (and the Western world) built its modern, prosperous, comfortable lifestyle. Then they work against any sensible management of California’s forests that would reduce the severity of routine regular wildfires. Then, when the wildfires become record-breaking conflagrations, they point and say, “See, I told you so.”

They’re like arsonists admiring their handiwork from afar.

Just one other example of how these political and media “environmentalists” don’t understand the environment is shown in how they shed tears about the terrible fires destroying the great redwood forests:

“Hundreds of trees burned at Big Basin Redwoods State Park,” reported Shawn Hubler and Kellen Browning for The New York Times. “Park officials closed it on Wednesday, another casualty of the wildfires that have wracked the state with a vengeance that has grown more apocalyptic every year.”

“The protected trees, some 2,500 years old, were nearly wiped out by loggers in the 1800s,” claimed CBS News’ Jonathan Vigliotti. “Now human-caused climate change has damaged or destroyed many of these ancient giants.”

Except that these old-growth redwood forests need fire to survive and thrive. Heat from fire is required for the release and germination of redwood seeds, and to burn up the woody debris on the forest floor. The trees themselves survive – as long as the fires are of normal, historic scale, rather than monsters fueled by the stupidity of environmentalists:

“I see [the current California fires] as a normal event, just not one that happens every year,” Jon Keeley, a leading forest scientist, told me. “On July 30, 2008, we had massive fires throughout northern California due to a series of lightning fires in the middle of the summer,” he said. “It’s not an annual event, but it’s not an unusual event.”

“The idea that fire is somehow new,” said geographer Paul Robbins of the University of Wisconsin, “a product solely of climate change, and part of a moral crusade for the soul of the nation, borders on the insane.” 

The cherry on top is that despite all this sturm and drang, California’s GHG emissions over the past decade have fallen less than 39 other states.

Coastal California is hilly, difficult to build on, and prone to devastating earthquakes. It is semi-arid, without much of an aquifer. The watershed of the Sierra Nevadas is more than 200 miles away. In other words, some of the people most eager to offer green sermons to others live in one of the most artificial and ecologically fragile environments on the planet, and they’ve been managing it very poorly even as they’ve shouted their own praises from the rooftops.

On his final day in office in January 2019, California Governor Jerry Brown admitted as much by quietly signing bills removing impediments to “controlled burns” and allotting $190 million a year to “improve forest health and fire prevention.” Whether this is followed up by enough practical action to slow down the monster fires is yet another question since the state increasingly can’t seem to accomplish anything.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 22, 2021 at 9:43 am

California Screaming – Water

From the 1900’s to the 1970’s California made huge plans for its future, building power stations and the transmission lines to link them, bridges and expressways for transport, and dams, canals, and aqueducts.

The latter was part of a vast system designed to bring water from the snowy mountains of the Sierra Nevadas to the deserts of the Central Valley and the coastal cities.

The dryness of those cities had been noted early on:

Our California ancestors understood this; they saw, after the 1906 earthquake, that the dry hills of San Francisco and the adjoining peninsula could never rebuild without grabbing all the water possible from the distant Hetch Hetchy watershed. I have never met a Bay Area environmentalist or Silicon Valley grandee who didn’t drink or shower with water imported from a far distant water project

It was a golden era and through the 1950’s it was planned for 25 million people. As the 1970’s rolled around new plans for further development were made in all these areas, for a 21st century population of 40 million or more. But then something terrible happened.

Actually that’s being unfair to the hippies, although they did vote for the real problem – Jerry Brown, seen here on a Time cover as he ran for election in 1974.

Jerry’s father was known as the builder of California, especially with the California State Water Project.

Perhaps it was just the usual father-son dynamic but Jerry turned his back on all that and began cancelling such projects as far and as fast as he could. Thanks to the 1960’s Counter-Culture revolution he had plenty of support from California Democrats in the State House and Senate.

The 10 largest reservoirs in California were built between 1927 and 1979. The New Melones Dam was the last of these, work already advanced enough that they couldn’t kill it. It was completed in 1979. Since then, 15 million more people have been added to the state’s population.

To a certain extent the voters cannot be blamed, since they have approved 15 of 16 state water bonds since 1970, yet this did not deliver major new water storage or canals nor maintain existing infrastructure. They can be blamed for voting in the likes of Brown and company who either didn’t care or actively opposed such plans.

Since California is basically a desert state, with a geological history of droughts, this was going to bite them in the bum sooner or later and the irony is that the worst drought in decades started not long after Brown climbed back into the throne in 2011 for another two-terms as Governor.

He wasn’t helped by the fact that his immediate predecessor. two term GOP Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger (2003-2011), while hectoring state residents about global warming, green energy, wind and solar power in a beautiful example of UniParty thinking, allowed things to get even crazier, as this 2010 report noted:

It started with a 2008 federal court order that stopped water flowing from northern tributaries on a supposed need to protect a small fish — the delta smelt — that was getting ground up in the turbines of pump stations that divert the water south. The court knew it was bad law, but Congress refused to exempt the fish from the Endangered Species Act and the diversion didn’t help the fish.

After that, the water cutoff was blamed on “drought,” though northern reservoirs are currently full. Now the cry is “save the salmon,” a reference to water needs of the state’s northern fisheries.

Whatever the excuse, 75% of the fresh water that has historically irrigated California is now being washed to the open sea. For farmers in the southwest part of the valley, last year’s cutoff amounted to 90%.

It was also a waste of time for the fish, as reported by The Wall Street Journal in 2015:

“To protect smelt from water pumps, government regulators have flushed 1.4 trillion gallons of water into the San Francisco Bay since 2008

That would have been enough to sustain 6.4 million Californians for six years. Yet a survey of young adult smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta last fall yielded just eight fish, the lowest level since 1967.”

“Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.”

So no extra storage provided in those eight years either and water sent running to the sea. Actually that’s what Noah Cross did in the movie Chinatown. Of course, he was one of the creepiest movie villains of all time, whereas this was done by Congress and environmentalists, which somehow makes it better.

As a result there was no margin for error left in the system and as the drought grew worse in Brown’s first term he finally had no choice but to impose water restrictions, starting in 2015 with a target of 25% usage reduction and then going even harder in 2018:

California citizens will be limited to using 55 gallons of water a day now and just 50 per day by 2030.

According to the San Jose  Mercury News, the new laws will “require cities, water districts and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets, face fines of $1,000 per day if they don’t meet them, and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies.”

As some have noted, the restriction could make it difficult for some California citizens to do laundry and take a shower on the same day without going over the limit.

Naturally, rather than blaming themselves for the short-sighted decisions over the years, or changing their minds and policies, the California Democrats began attacking the state’s agricultural industry for “wasting” the water. However:

It’s now popular to deride California agriculture in cost-benefit terms, given that its share of state GNP (anywhere from 4 percent to 8 percent, depending on how one counts related industries) supposedly does not justify its huge allotted consumption of state water (anywhere from 65 percent to 80 percent). But note the irony: California supplies a staggering percentage of the nation’s fresh vegetables and fruits; it’s among the most efficient producers in the world of beef, dairy, and staple crops.

One can purchase an iPhone 6 or a neat new Apple watch, but he still must eat old-fashioned, pre-tech food. There are no calories in Facebook, and even Google can’t supply protein. On the other hand, I can live without an iPad. Who is to say which industry is essential and which isn’t?

The drought would grind on for fifty months as Brown and friends watched in a calm and detached manner the inland parts of the State start to die:

[As of 2015 the]Central California water table has fallen in depth anywhere from 50 to 500 feet—the severity predicated on the distance from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. That decline has prompted the drilling of thousands of new private wells, but at costs often quadruple the pre-drought rate.

Small rural homes with dry wells, especially along the western corridors of the valley, are now often abandoned. If they had been rented out, several years of rental income would not have paid for the exorbitant cost of new replacement domestic wells. Most valley residents, especially those retired, could not afford the $60- to $100-a-foot expense to drill down hundreds of feet to tap falling water.

There were also perverse results in agriculture:

The huge demand for limited drilling rigs, the need to drill to unprecedented levels to find water, the soaring power bills to pump from greater depths, and the increase in permanent orchard and vineyard acreage all conspired to spike agricultural expenses.

Only the record net profits from almonds (between $5,000 and $9,000 per acre) allow new wells to be drilled. The larger the farm, the more frequently profitable almonds are planted, the more reasonably an operation can afford the cost of buying scarce surface water or drilling deeper—and the more likely smaller farmers sell or lease out their ground to those with the capital to make the costly transition to almond and other nut orchards.

So the Big Guys got even bigger thanks to the Democrats and with even more mono-cropping. In addition almonds and other nuts are the most mechanized of all crops, so that crunched down hard on the working classes who otherwise would have had thousands of farm jobs in the vineyards and fruit orchards that were ripped out to plant almonds. The final joke is that these crops use about the same amount of water per year, so no water savings on that front.

The following is an excellent documentary on the Central Valley disaster, Dead Harvest:

Après nous, le déluge

Meteorologists had long forecasted that the cyclical return of the so-called El Niño Southern Oscillation – the rise in temperature of a band of ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific – would end the California drought. The warmer Pacific alters winds, air temperature, and atmospheric pressures and thus reroutes northern storms to their proper course over the Western United States.

At the end of 2015 that is exactly what happened.

The cherry on top of this whole drought disaster was that when the rain and snow finally did start to fall and as the weather turned even wetter through 2016 and 2017, there was nowhere to store all that extra water.

There would have been if the giant reservoirs of The Sites, Los Banos Grandes, and Temperance Flat had been built – basically the second stage of the California State Water Project. They would have drought-proofed the state for years. To make matters worse, the existing, aging infrastructure, starved of maintenance for years, could barely cope, as witnessed by the crumbling spillways of the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States, which threatened a massive breach in early 2017.

Given the lack of water-storage capacity, and due to environmental diversions, 20 million acre-feet of precious water had simply been washed to the ocean by early 2017. That’s 6.5 trillion gallons or 24.6 trillion litres of water: enough to sustain about twenty million Californians for ten years.

That is criminal mismanagement. About the only thing that is funny about it is that a bunch of arrogant, ignorant environmental fantasists have found themselves at the mercy of early and mid-20th century water systems that they now condemn.

There is also some irony in the fact that while the likes of Brown and Newsom politicised the drought by blaming man-made global warming and leveraged that to obtain even more extreme environmental rules and nutty projects like high speed trains, instead of attending to water infrastructure (among other basics) – the Meteorological analysis that accurately forecast what would end the last drought also works in the opposite direction; a natural, cyclical and slight cooling of the Pacific Ocean will cause future droughts in California.

And that’s before we get to the likelihood of the return of mega-droughts lasting 100, 200 years or more.

Will the Democrat government of Californian be ready for the next drought? I don’t think so. To paraphrase the French diplomat, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, officials in Sacramento “have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.”

But that’s okay. The state needs to shrink drastically anyway. Losing twenty million people to other states would fit the population to the old infrastructure and make the place sustainable again.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 10, 2021 at 6:00 am

LUV THIS ONE

I see on the thread discussing the news that the recall petition against California’s Democrat Governor had reached the trigger point required to force the issue that there was a poll in California where respondents were asked whether they thought illegal immigration was a serious and concerning issue …

28% said it was while 72% said ‘No es un problema’. Very droll.

Written by The Veteran

April 27, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with

California Screaming – an energy desert

From the 1930’s to the 1970’s California made huge plans for its future, building large numbers of power stations and the transmission grid to link them, bridges and expressways for transport, and dams, canals, and aqueducts as part of a vast system to bring water from the snowy mountains of the Sierra Nevadas to the desert of the Central Valley and the coastal cities.

It was a golden era and it was planned for 25 million people. As the 1970’s rolled around new plans for further development were made in all these areas, for a 21st century population of 40 million or more.

And then in the 1970’s it all came grinding to a halt as the newborn environmental movement cranked up, with California seeing itself as the leader, starting with Jerry Brown, the son of the legendary California Governor, Pat Brown. While Pat became known as “The Builder of California”, his son stopped almost every project in its tracks in his first term as Governor after Ronald Reagan, serving from 1975 to 1983. Legendary Chicago journalist Mike Royko labeled Brown “Governor Moonbeam” and it stuck. There is no sign that he has ever regretted his earlier decisions.

There’s plenty of evidence that the rest of California is, although that has not yet shown up in the voting, with heavier totals for the Democrat Party than ever. Just like its two most famous cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the state has slowly stumbled into a miasma of failure, almost entirely due to the complete domination of the Democrat Party and the resulting unconstrained implementation of some of the Left’s most insane ideas of how to run a society. Even in the areas of energy.

Recently Governor Newsom ordered CARB (California Air Resources Board) to implement the phaseout of new gas powered cars and light trucks by 2035, barely 14 years from now. He also called on the state legislature to ban fracking. Meanwhile California, which has always had its own oil and gas fields, but which now is steadily banning the exploitation of them, increased its crude oil imports from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to 57% in 2018.

In addition, the problems with electricity in the state have resulted in memes like this one, which are a direct result of similar government control in the area of power production.

In 2006 the state passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (or Assembly Bill 32), which mandated state-wide reduction of GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 30% reduction statewide, with mandatory caps beginning in 2012 for significant emissions sources. As part of this the aim was to get “renewables” (excluding hydro) to 33% by 2020. Spinoffs of this legislation created retail and corporate tax and pricing incentives to push that move.

It worked within its narrow field of vision, with solar rising from almost nothing to 14% of capacity and wind to 7% by 2018. Some 170,000 distributed solar systems are now hooked into the state’s grid. Excited by this success AB 32 was pushed further in 2015 with legislation known as SB 350 that requires California to generate 50 percent of its electricity from “renewables” by 2050 – with emissions-free nuclear power not eligible for inclusion. The latter hardly matters since the only remaining nuclear power plant in the state, Diablo Canyon, is slated to close by 2022 anyway despite having decades of life remaining. In August 2018, California passed a mandate to have 100% carbon-free electricity generation by 2045. Strangely, hydroelectric facilities greater than 30 megawatts don’t qualify as renewable under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement. Both large and small hydro generation in California have plummeted over 60% in recent years.

But as exciting as these renewable numbers may be there are also negative consequences arising from the “success”. Since wind and solar power are non-dispatchable – meaning they can’t produce power when it’s demanded – there are unusual factors to consider:

  • Baseload power generators like coal-fired, gas-fired, hydro and nuclear can fill the supply gap, but it means they have to be idling away in the background all the time and they have to be able to crank up fast, which they’re not designed to do. Still, having such power is better than nothing when the wind drops and the sun goes down and their marginal running costs are very low.
  • But of course such stations are being shut-down so California has to reach out for alternative supplies.
  • One of those are “peaker” plants, natural-gas-fired units that can fire up in minutes. These have high marginal running costs.
  • Another source is imported electricity from other states.
  • The huge surges in power from solar and wind place additional stress on the transmission network that was designed for baseload, and these surges almost always occur when the power is not needed, meaning the power has to be given away for free – assuming anybody else wants it – or the sources have to disconnected from the grid, both of which screw the profits of solar and wind producers.

And the results of these factors are the following.

First, California was the largest net electricity importer of any state in 2019

Second, because the peak hours for electricity use are from 4pm to 7pm when solar and wind are the least available the gas peakers have to ramp up, which of course pushes the costs higher even before subsidies or price support for solar/wind is taken into account. (Incidentally this is called the Duck Curve because the time demand energy use profile looks like the silhouette of a duck.)

Good times for natural gas and also the reason why so many fossil fuel outfits are right behind the renewable energy push. The fewer baseload power supplies that exist the more gas-fired peaker plants needed. This is the Achilles Heel of the “carbon-free electricity” goal.

Third, the inevitable result is that electricity prices have increased faster in California than in the rest of the USA and it now has the highest average electricity rates of the lower 48 states—nearly twice as high as the national average (18.64 versus 11.10 cents per kilowatt hour), and even almost twice as high as nearby Oregon and Washington.

Fourth, this electricity is not only expensive but unreliable as the Duck curve grows greater and increases the cost pressure via gas-fired peaker generation, renewable subsidies and the grid. By 2014 California easily led the nation with nearly 470 power outages a year (compared to 160 for second place Texas, which is really amazing because Texas produces 125% more electricity). They’ve only grown worse since then as the outages become deliberate actions taken to save the system.

Things have got so bad that the Babylon Bee produced a mocking headline, Texas Luring Jobs Away From California With Promises Of Electricity, based on actual arguments being put to California businesses by Texas officials. The joke has rebounded in just the last few days as Texas has suffered rolling power outages – with wind power (23% of Texas supply) again at the heart of the problem.

Fifth, despite all the subsidies and price support, the solar/wind movement continues to struggle financially, with the Tonopah solar station filing for bankruptcy, even though it was being paid $139 per megawatt-hour, five times that of other solar producers, and the Ivanpah solar station being classed as GHG emitter because it’s been forced to use natural gas to run, again despite being paid four to five times as much per megawatt-hour as natural-gas powered plants.

Sixth, none of this flood of subsidies has improved the grid, let alone turned it into the “Smart Grid” needed to support renewable energy. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the nation’s power infrastructure a grade of D+. Some elements of the interconnected transmission and distribution systems, including 400,000 miles of electric lines, date to the World War II era, and even the 1880s. But when the power utilities in the state requested modest rate increases to pay for such maintenance, the California Public Utilities Commission refused – because nothing says private sector than only be able to charge what the government allows you to. Undoubtedly one of the reasons for the refusal was the already sky-high price of power in the state.

You too can have a decrepit grid like this when you pay twice the national average for electricity that doesn’t work when you need it. The utilities might as well be government-owned, except the government is terrified of the ensuing responsibility, which involves….

Seventh, wildfires. This, in 2020, was the latest reason for the rolling blackouts. In 2018 one of the worst wildfires in the state’s history, the Camp Fire, killed 85 people and the cause was ultimately traced to a steel hook on a PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) transmission tower that broke in windy conditions, causing sparks. Within a couple of months PG&E filed for bankruptcy as it faced lawsuits totalling $30billion, ultimately paying out about $13 billion.

In 2020, lacking the money to upgrade the transmission grid and with no other options, the company simply started switching off large chunks of the system. The state government could not force them to do otherwise without becoming a party to any wildfire lawsuits.

The following cartoon is therefore entirely appropriate, and California’s increasing problems with fire will be the focus of the next post, for it is not just the decrepit power grid that is a factor in them but more wonderful “environmental” ideas.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 23, 2021 at 6:00 am

California Screaming – Filth, Drugs and Poverty

Humans have done well in California, building one of the world’s most advanced tech industries and growing rich in the process. At least up until the 1960’s it poured the resulting tax revenues into massive amounts of infrastructure in the form of cities, expressways, water systems and so forth.

This spirit was still evident in 1988 when the Los Angeles Times Magazine pub­lished a 25-year look ahead to the year 2013 and used this piece of cover art.

Wonderful vision isn’t it? More like a 1960’s view of the future than what I’d expect from the 1980’s, but then it was as much of a “Go Go” decade, Material Girls and all.

Instead, this is the reality of LA in the 2010’s and 2020’s. Homelessness and poverty on a scale never imagined in the state.

And don’t think that the housed, employed locals are all that isolated from this, with what The Atlantic magazine described accurately as the return of medieval diseases:

Infectious diseases—some that ravaged populations in the Middle Ages—are resurging in California and around the country, and are hitting homeless populations especially hard. Los Angeles recently experienced an outbreak of typhus—a disease spread by infected fleas on rats and other animals—in downtown streets. Officials briefly closed part of City Hall after reporting that rodents had invaded the building.

Typhus, in a “modern” major American city FFS. There’s not much information yet on the impact of Chinese Lung Rot on the LA and SF homeless populations, but with weakened immune systems because of drugs, poor hygiene, bad food, and all the other stuff that comes with living on the street, it’s hard to believe that the virus won’t hit them.

And then are incidents like this every day, as shown by this video of a deranged, homeless man punching a random woman in the head as she walks her little kid along a perfectly ordinary street in San Francisco.

David Thomas, who works the area as a security guard, told KPIX 5 it appears that the suspect was having some mental problems, which may have caused him to lash out at the woman. “Of course I would try to help the lady. But there’s a lot of people like that, who walk around like ghosts, not a care to the world,”.

Ghosts is probably the best description of these sad, hopeless people, but it could well apply to the useless Democrat politicians of San Francisco, LA and California, and their empty Words on homelessness:

Ten to 15 years ago, homelessness policymakers had vision to spare: they were ramping up their “campaign to end homelessness,” and Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, participated energetically in that nationwide push. It wasn’t successful, but the “end homelessness” rhetoric has endured. In his speech this week, Newsom asserted—as if we’re still in 2004—“I don’t think homelessness can be solved; I know homelessness can be solved.” Bold applause lines and “make no small plans” promises long ago ceased to be inspiring—or even credible—for most people.

Newsom’s words did address mental health, which is one of the big problems and the one that has to be solved first to at least get these people into shelter – except that there are “Do-Gooders” in charge:

I’m not a sociologist, anthropologist, or field reporter. I’ve only taken care of homeless douchebags (and, to be fair, that insults the other 0.5%, to whom I offer my apologies) for a quarter of a century, …

People are homeless for several reasons, most of them intertwined like the trunk of a braided ficus tree.

1) They’re batshit crazy, in ways that, until the mid- to late-1960s, would have seen them happily locked up for life in appropriate facilities in perpetuity. No small number for violent behavior and poor impulse control.

2) The don’t take their psych meds for that, because those drugs make them feel “weird”. (Normal people call that feeling “sanity”, by no coincidence.)

3) They self-medicate with alcohol and drugs

And as he points out, homeless shelters have rules banning booze and dope – which the homeless don’t want to obey, naturally enough. It’s much easier to live on the streets where there are effectively no rules anymore:

… former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon decriminalized anti-social behaviors – open-air drugging, urinating and pooping on the streets. He refused to enforce the law and, indeed, wrote Proposition 47 – passed by voters – that has made the homeless problem even worse.

Incredibly, Gascon is now the Los Angeles district attorney and shows every sign that he will pursue the same policies in that city. San Francisco celebrated his departure by electing one Chesa Boudin, raised by 1960’s Weather Underground terrorist leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who has vowed to go further than Gascon in ignoring “quality-of-life crimes” like “public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, and blocking a sidewalk.”

No word on how he’ll deal with the homeless increasingly using SF’s BART rail system as a homeless shelter, which is interesting because it directly screws up the Left-Wing desire for mass public transport; BART loses 10 million riders in five years:

Last Friday at the Richmond Station parking garage, there were four elevators. One was broken, one had a large pool of vomit at the elevator entrance and inside, and on the sixth floor (top level), there was tons of pigeon poop in front of the elevator doors. So walk through vomit to get on the elevator and bird poop to get off. There was no agent in the booth, and no visible police or security. Separately, the double-tall pay gate made me feel like I was entering and exiting a prison.

That last comment perhaps points to the plan; make ordinary people feel like they’re in prison and they’ll commit to higher taxes and whatever other societal ideas that Far Lefters like Gascon and Boudin have. Is it any wonder that California homelessness and poverty has actually increased dramatically in the last twenty years, despite all the money spent:

However, after covering administrative costs and paying for those on the brink of becoming homeless, Oakland spends just $13 a day on each homeless person, while San Jose spends only $1 daily. About $36 a day is spent on each homeless person in San Francisco.

And in San Francisco that money is doled out by a bureaucracy with a $12 billion annual budget and 31,800 staff with average annual pay and benefit packages of $175,000. 

But while the truly homeless crash out on the street, the Middle-Class that has to co-exist with them are also getting squeezed to death by rising house prices and rents, courtesy of zoning regulations, building codes and NIMBYISM that has severely restricted house building. It’s not just general infrastructure that now takes decades to build. San Francisco is famous for that but surrounding cities are no different:

One of the strangest sights in California is the horde of trailers, ratty cars, and dilapidated Winnebagos parked throughout moralistic Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale, juxtaposed with gleaming high-tech corporate campuses. The most empathetic and caring people in the world, as they remind us hourly, turn out to be pretty callous about the “losers” in their midst who live in mobile and makeshift quarters on the street to keep Silicon Valley humming.

The coders slaving away in the hopes of hitting the stock-option-tech-startup-jackpot not only live in Winebagos on the street but in cheap, crowded “hotels” explicitly set up like the university dorms they just graduated from. Then there’s Santa Monica:

Santa Monica, like the rest of the city, is a shell. As I wrote a few months ago120 stores were smashed and looted in the business district during the May/June Floyd riots. To this day, it’s a ghost town with plywood on nearly every window.

You know what else is everywhere? Homeless people. Not just glassy-eyed gutter punks lounging in decrepit tents. I mean ranting, fully naked zombies defecating and peeing on every corner. It’s been called Skid Row by the Sea for years, but today Skid Marks by the Sea is more accurate. 

(Side note: the median price of a home in Santa Monica is $3,750,000, making it the third most expensive ZIP code in America.) 

Plenty of money then and California has tried to take advantage of that with the highest income tax rate in the US, plus plenty of other taxes, none of which have any affect on the IT billionaires but which the Middle Class can only escape from on foot, further turning the state into a feudal one. As lifetime resident and historian Victor Hanson put it:

California has become a cruel and unusual state because callousness and narcissism were redefined as caring and compassion.

As can be seen by all that tax revenue having done nothing for the homeless and the poor except create or attract more of them to the state:

I’ll leave the last word to former homeless man, Thomas Wolf:

Wolf, who now works for the Salvation Army helping homeless people rebuild lives and has just been appointed to a specialist civic taskforce, sees untreated addiction as the root cause of the city’s problem. He says most people living on the streets are hooked on either drugs or drink.

‘If you see someone shouting at the wall, it is crystal meth, not mental illness – although meth might have destroyed their mind.’

Wolf claims that while the city distributes drug paraphernalia, he was never asked to quit or offered help. He says many users sell their monthly welfare $190 food stamps on receipt to go on a binge. And he wants to see generous welfare benefits – almost $600 a month in return for 12 hours of voluntary work – slashed…

Wolf believes that the decision by a state ballot six years ago to reclassify thefts of property below the value of $950 as misdemeanours has backfired badly, leading to a huge increase in shoplifting.

But what would lowly people like him know compared to the credentialed classes like Breed, and Newsom and the Far Left fanatics like Boudin and Gascon? Judging by actions they clearly could not care less, just like all other Californian Democrats, including especially their voters.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 8, 2021 at 6:00 am

Hidden Points from the US election

The fact that the supposed Blue Tsunami of a Democrat landslide actually turned into a Red Tide, plus another huge failure in US polling and MSM coverage, are subjects worthy of separate posts.

As are the factors behind the Presidential Race itself, and what’s likely to happen (and not happen) in a Biden Administration. In saying that I should note that Al Gore was given 37 days to explore his legal options in 2000, without any MSM screaming about how he should concede, or that Democrat Stacey Abrams spent two years saying the Georgia Governor’s election was fraudulent and stolen from her in 2018, with nary a scoff from the MSM.

But there were three other election outcomes that came as a pleasing surprise, both because of the merits of each case and perhaps more importantly the location of the voters who decided them – in California and Illinois.

I’ve long held that California increasingly resembles a failing state due to all sorts of fundamental problems with road, water, and power infrastructure, taxes, homelessness, illegal immigrants, welfare and the general craziness that attends any One Party State. A place held up only by Silicon Valley but at the price of increasingly looking like a feudal kingdom, with a thin upper crust of incredibly wealthy people, a vast pool of the underclass, and the Middle Class fleeing to neighbouring states – and unfortunately taking with them the same voting habits that created the conditions driving them away.

Illinois is where California is headed, simply because it doesn’t have a Silicon Valley. It is the first US state to have its bonds officially rated as junk. Its prime city, Chicago, is in even worse shape than Illinois.

So the idea that anything sensible could emerge from these two states has seemed increasingly unlikely as the years passed, and recent policy initiatives from them seemed like just another pile of insanity.

California – AB5

First up was California’s AB5 legislation, which requires Uber, Lyft and other kinds of “gig economy” workers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. Now I have issues with the gig economy, given how fragile it can be and the lack of protection of workers rights. But simply shutting it down was a move of incredibly stupid, callous brutality. And predictably such a crude rule affected far more than the targets of the taxicab union’s wrath. For example it screwed the MSM in California by limiting the number of articles a freelance journalist could write at 35 per year.

Hilariously, one of these outfits, Vox Media, held out by the likes of Obama as a shining example of the new, Super-Smart media, and which had championed the law, then announced hundreds of layoffs before it went into effect in January 1, 2020. Vox employees were not the only ones to suffer; immediately, independent contractors and freelancers across many industries – catering, entertaining, media, trucking, construction, etc. – became unemployed and had their contracts terminated by companies who ceased business operations in California. People’s jobs and incomes were destroyed overnight – with nothing to replace them. The bill’s author, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, got it in the neck from hundreds of those people – and with all the hubris and arrogance that compiles from a One Party State – told them to suck it up. Uber and Lyft decided to fight it in the courts, and lost.

Worse yet, moves were afoot to take this idea national as Democrats in Washington D.C. crafted a Federal version of the law. Bear in mind that 57 million Americans partake in freelancing. These 57 million Americans contribute $1 trillion to the economy, or the equivalent of 5% of the U.S. GDP. These 57 million Americans are making freelancing a viable longterm career choice, pushing advanced skills, believe workplace freedom awards them more flexibility.

Fortunately opponents were able to put up measure on the ballot for this year’s election that would gut AB5. Given the mad ideas passed by California I expected the measure to be rejected and the law to continue. Amazingly it won, with 58% of the voters approving the measure. AB5 is dead – for the moment.

One more note is that the gig economy mostly consists of Millennials and younger Americans and it seems that despite complaints about it, including many specific complaints by Uber drivers themselves about Uber, they also weren’t that keen on returning to an ancient, mythical past of union membership, protection and control. So much for the idea that the Left understands the “Youf” and their future.

California – Proposition 16

Far worse in my opinion was this legislation. Years ago, California voters passed Proposition 209, a law that would prohibit race-based university admissions, public hiring, and public contracting. That’s a good thing right? We’ve all grown up hearing endless paens from the Left about how terrible racial discrimination is, especially when it has practical consequences around jobs and education.

Well that was then and this is now, with today’s Democrats having absorbed huge doses of Critical Race Theory and thus believing in “Systemic Racism”, with one solution being “positive” racial discriminaton. Thus was born Proposition 16, which would roll back Prop 209’s rules and allow racial discrimination to be practiced by state and local government in California.

Prop. 16’s proponents claimed that race-based favouritism is needed to promote “diversity,” but it is increasingly clear that what is really desired is a simple racial spoils system. I’d like to know what some benchmarks could be for achieving diversity, because in many ways the USA is already there. Consider this recent data from the U.S. Department of Education: it shows that the proportion of Black and Hispanic women enrolled in college is now higher than white males:

Amazingly, this piece of shit law also went down to defeat. Multiple polls showed that the very groups it was supposed to help, like Hispanic voters, could not stand the idea, and Asian-Americans clearly saw that it was aimed at screwing their kids.

Note that Biden won California by the usual overwhelming margin that accrues to Democrats there. So the loss of AB5 and Prop 16 is a marker that even California Democrats have limits to their own party’s bullshit.

Illinois – Progressive Income Tax Scheme

Finally we come to my personal favourite. Rather than tackling the myriad financial problems of the state and Chicago, the billionaire Governor, Pritzker, decided that the answer was to gouge more money out of the state taxpayers, an estimated $4 billion. And he devoted millions out of his own pocket to win.

It was a bold exercise since the state’s flat income tax was written into the state constitution. Politicians have long been able to change the rate, and they have, with it rising from 3% during my time there, to 5%. But it was recognised that there were limits to this and Pritzker’s idea was to have a graduated, progressive scheme like that of most nations, with different income tax rates for different income levels.

As in California, Illinois is a One Party State. The last GOP governor (2015-2019) could get nothing done in the face of opposition from the real power in the state, Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House for thirty years and more. So they felt arrogant enough to change the constitution.

They failed. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated in the election, even as the voters returned Democrats to their usual positions of permanent power in the state.

There were two reasons for this loss.

First, of the $4 billion expected windfall, Pritzker and company were willing to apply only about $100 million to dealing with the financial problems, which are mainly caused by the terrible situation of unfunded liabilities for Illinois and Chicago pension funds. No, the vast majority of the money was going to go to expanding old state programs and adding new ones. Pension reform was off the table, as usual, as well as any other meaningful reforms. It was an insult to the voters.

Second was the sheer emotional reaction to handing over more money to politicians already knee deep in corruption. Given the past I’ve no confidence that the current FBI investigation into Madigan – for getting ComEd, the state’s major power company, to hire some of his supporters in return for favors – will result in any meaningful change. At best it’ll be plea bargains and him stepping down, but with cronies lined up to do the same in his place while he exerts control over them. Pritzker himself has become a byword for tax avoidance. He’s also under investigation for trying to avoid taxes on a Chicago mansion he owned by making its bathrooms inoperable. His substantial offshore trusts have not paid Illinois taxes. He also inherited his money and was not even trusted to run the major businesses of his own family.

So what now? The flat tax could be raised but that’s going to hurt, and of course it won’t solve the pension problems. The Democrat machine has finally, reluctantly, started talking about “painful” budget cuts, but I suspect they’re hoping to make things so awful via petty things that voters will yield to some new version of the tax scheme. In any case, while there are thousands of state and city government workers who have been getting paid to sit at home during the Covid-19 scare, and who could be cut in theory, it still would not change the fundamental, structural spending problems that exist outside of the operating budget.

And those problems are the result of a corruption far deeper and more subtle than mere wads of cash being thrown across a table. Illinois public-sector unions support the Democratic Party in return for the party giving them sweetheart deals with the state – all perfectly legal. Unfunded pension liabilities are the consequence because many politicians hope to retire or move on to the federal level before the full bill comes due. Those liabilities also mean the schools, police, fire and other services get screwed in spending on what should be their core missions.

==================

While it’s pleasing that Californian and Illinois voters have put a dent in these plans, sadly that’s all they’ve done.

They re-elected the same Democrats.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 10, 2020 at 9:48 am

The Democrat Cities: San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the world.

Or at least it was once beautiful. In terms of buildings, houses and nature’s geography it still is. And it’s still rich.

But humans, who once contributed greatly to that beauty through those houses and the rest, are now making it ugly, and I’m not talking about the homeless themselves but the “leaders” of the city who have created this hell-scape.

Watch this 13 minute video on the homeless situation in SF, especially the interview of one of those leaders, Hillary Ronan at 8:16. It takes her not one minute to start blaming taxes, Federal Housing policies, and “Republican ideology”.

As the interviewer points out, San Francisco is the most unequal city in the world. What he does not point out is that the last Republican councillor left office in 2000: the last Republican mayor in 1964.

If the Democrats are still implementing Right-Wing policies then they must be the most mindless puppets in the history of the Left.

Then there’s the related matter of humans crapping on the streets of SF.

The San Francisco Street Crap Map App

By the end of 2019, these factors, plus the housing shortage causing soaring rents, resulted in a rather astounding survey produced by the city administration itself:

35 percent of San Franciscans consider leaving for good, according to city survey

As usual the survey was dismissed as fear-mongering: why the city administration would want to indulge in such was not a question asked. What should have been obvious was that with such feeling about, a tipping point was approaching and the only question would be what it was.

It turned out to be COVID-19, or more precisely the response of SF and California government to the virus, with Lockdowns the now-standard answer. And so…

Real estate inventory change from February to July 2020, in metro area and city proper.

The 2020 San Francisco exodus is real, and historic:

A new report confirms what many have been talking about for weeks: There is an exodus out of San Francisco, and the numbers are staggering.

… inventory has risen a whopping 96% year-on-year, as empty homes in the city flood the market like nowhere else in America.

As the article pointed out this cannot be blamed on the local tech giants of Google, Facebook and their like switching to people working from home. The nearby San Jose metro area has not suffered any such exodus.

No city with such beauty, effectively sitting beside a 21st Century industry, will suffer the fate of Detroit, but unless the Progressive Democrats who dominate the city begin to dump their cherished Left-wing beliefs, ideas and policies about how to run the place – in terms of housing, policing, regulations, homelessness and drug use – all these problems will continue to worsen and the city’s slow decline will continue.

Nobody wants to live in a city like this.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 27, 2020 at 10:00 am

Californian Curtain-Twitching Fascists

It was noted here the other day that a NZ Twitter account had commented that:

The big problem is you’ve all become curtain-twitching fascists in the space of a week, 

Although notably this observation was made only after some member of the public spotted the deputy Minister of Health breaking his own government’s rules for how their subjects should get out and about, for which he’s now apologised to the PM and kept his job.

But that’s the problem with this level of State control; it doesn’t work unless you have curtain-twitching fascists supplying the state with information about their fellow citizens – although the more precise term is Informeller Mitarbeiter.

Eric Garcetti, LA Mayor

And so it is in California, where the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti

“You know the old expression about snitches,” Garcetti said this week. “Well, in this case, snitches get rewards.”

He added: “We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe,” he said.

Obviously it’s tough to square this circle of goodies and baddies, but all you have to remember is that curtain-twitching fascists are bad, while curtain-twitching leftists are good.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 4, 2020 at 7:45 pm