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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco

Flyover State

The term “Flyover country” was invented by US Progressives some years ago as a pejorative smear against all the rubes living in the USA between the East and West Coasts, over whom the Advanced Thought Leaders jet back and forth on their way to making the world a better place.

Other such descriptors are “Jesusland” and my personal favourite, “The Land Of The Low Sloping Foreheads”.

😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅 Oh those English graduates. Such wit.

Incidentally the reporter who coined that term died of cancer and heart disease just a while later after collapsing in the newsroom of The New York Times, which seems very appropriate when you consider that this attitude had been around long before, as this famous 1976 New Yorker cover shows.

But what else could you expect from a magazine for whom this cover became its logo.

“Flyover Country” has stuck and even rebounded on them a bit in recent years, particularly after the mid-term elections of 2010 that booted Nancy from power after just four years when she thought had twenty, and of course in 2016.

I say rebound both in terms of the shock the Coastal Progressives suffered at discovering those people still mattered and had power, plus the inland yokels grabbing the term and starting to wear it with pride.

However, the one thing never considered was that it might be applied by any Democrat Progressive to their own State. Yet that is exactly what the idiot Governor of California did just the other day in a staggeringly brain-dead admission he made while being interviewed by The Atlantic magazine for their article on his recall election, What California’s Recall Election Says About America:

Still, he had to get moving—he was driving to Los Angeles, not flying, so that he could make stops along the way and talk with voters on his own. Flying over California his whole life, he had “never fully absorbed and appreciated it,” he told me. He’s hoping that the state cares enough to appreciate him, at least a little longer.

Incredible, and this guy is sold as “smart”. This is what happens to disconnected politicians; they don’t even realise how disconnected they’ve become from the voters. This guy was born and raised in the state and has never even driven between San Francisco and Los Angeles? That’s flyover country to him. No wonder the I-5 and CA-99 are in such shocking states of disrepair; the local pols don’t drive them, don’t know and don’t care.

Governor Hair Gel rose in politics because he was a Democrat in a One Party state and because he was mates with some of the richest families in San Francisco (Nancy Pelosi’s being one of them).

At the RedState news site there’s also an excellent summary of both The Atlantic article and a similar one from The Economist (“The Trials of Gavin Newsom“), where both are stripped apart for being nothing more than perfect reflections of Newsom and his class. On The Economist article:

It is interesting how these lefty writers always view it from their filter, rather than from the actual filter of the people who have spoken out in favor of recall. Did this writer bother to watch that heart wrenching video of Angela Marsden of Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill? Did this writer bother to interview any of the mothers whose children were shut out of school for almost two years? How about the mothers who had to quit their work to manage their children on Zoom?

I loved the following Tweet response to that news of Newsom’s fly-not-drive:

If you’ve wondered why Trump made serious gains with Hispanic and Black voters across the USA, that Tweet sums it up.

I subscribed to The Economist in the 1990’s because detailed news of the world can be hard to come by in the US, but clearly it’s gone well to the Left and shallow. RedState notes a reference to the awful “Recall” actions as “They should try to fix the quirk”, and points out that:

It is a 110-year old provision baked into the California constitutional republic. The fact that it has only succeeded once in 110 years shows the solidity behind its intent. The persistent dismissiveness of it shows that the Left has no issue with the Recall law, as much as they have issue that it has been successfully used against them.

Something the useless Economist writer should have known. The Atlantic writer gets the same treatment for ignoring the very real and genuine factors driving Newsom down in the polls:

However, this writer prefers to fixate on what he knows: Trumpism, COVID hysteria, and why Republicans are so stupid. He touts an unspecified poll about how people blame the unvaccinated for this latest surge (so original). When, according to Hair Gel, 80 percent of California is fully vaccinated. The major population centers (read Los Angeles, Ventura, and Alameda counties) are still restricted and masked to the hilt—so how is it possible that the unvaccinated are causing this surge? But, the Left loves their narratives, and they are not going to let this one go. Always in need of a bogeyman instead of actually looking at their failed policies.

It’s that last part that is the reason I’ve paid so little attention to this election to date. Even if Newsom is recalled and replaced by a Republican, the failed Democrat policies will remain in place because the Democrats have overwhelming control of the State House and Senate. For almost twenty years now they’ve been able to pass whatever laws they wanted and override the Governor’s veto. It’s why Arrrnuullld (RHINO) was turned into a pussy so quickly when he became Governor after Gray Davis’s recall – although judging from comments in recent years, there was not much difference between him and the Democrats anyway.

It’s possible that Larry Elder, a Black Conservative talk radio star, might actually win the election. Certainly he’s viewed as the Number One Danger by the LA Times, who went so batshit insane that they produced this headline, complete with a pure Post-Modernist argument explaining why.

As to the election itself, it seems to be moving along the lines of a Preference Cascade. People who six months ago did not consider recalling Newsom and probably thought the petition to do so a waste of time, have seemingly come to think that now they have the opportunity they may as well give him the boot. The polls have shifted dramatically from “will never happen” to “almost certainly will happen” – hence all these worried Lefty reports on Newsom and his sudden transition from dismissiveness to flop-sweat efforts at currying favour with the voters.

Either way, for the rest of the USA the following warning will still apply.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 30, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Your daily WSW

White Supremacy Watch that is. I’m thinking of making it a series, given how much White Supremacy we’re drowning in across the Western world.

So here’s your first daily dose of this focused news, with two good ones to share. First are fireworks and gun smoke.

Then there’s this from San Francisco, where one of the Liberal Luvvies who’s probably voted Democrat all her life, expresses a Bad Opinion…

… and finds herself in the crosshairs of her very own Democrat Party representative, Kate Chatfield, a senior director at the San Francisco DA’s office.

The DA is one Chesa Boudin, the son of legendary Weather Underground terrorists and convicted murderers, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert. He was raised by their friends, the un-convicted Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in Chicago. If you’re thinking this might be a John Banks situation you would be wrong. Chesa has swallowed all the theories of Society As The Real Criminal and is trying to decriminalise a lot of crime in SF and release as many prisoners as possible.

Still, the SF crime increase seems to be more around theft of all types, plus muggings and general assault so I think “Michele” is being a bit OTT. In Chicago that’s all regarded as “meh”. If local DA, Kim Foxx, ever gets tired of the job maybe Chesa can swap places, since she thinks the same way as he does about crime and criminals.

They jumped the gun a bit on that and should have checked with the most trustworthy and accurate source for Chicago crime data, HeyJackass.com (“Illustrating Chicago Values”). The toll for the past weekend is now 104 shot and 19 killed. Luckily, when Mayor Lightfoot is not being insane with her staff, she’s on the job explaining how 99% of the questions she gets come from a source of racism and sexism.

Grateful and Ungrateful

I don’t know about you but I’ve never walked into a hardware store like Mitre10 or Bunnings and thought to myself how beautiful it is, or that some parts are like a carnival.

But then I’m not from Cuba, whereas the guy in this video is and it documents his first ever visit to a Home Depot store in the USA.

Watching it I’m reminded of a scene from the 1980’s movie Moscow on the Hudson, where Robin Williams, playing a Soviet circus musician who defects during a US tour, is so overwhelmed by his first experience of supermarket shopping that he faints.

Little ordinary things that we all just take for granted in Western democratic capitalist nations.

On the other hand there’s this video from San Francisco that has gone viral in the last few days. It shows a shoplifter just blatantly filling up a garbage bag with stuff from a Walgreens store in daylight and right in front of a security guard, who simply videos the whole event. When the thief cycles out of the place, the guard does make a half-hearted grab for the bag but fails.

The woman beside the guard is also videoing the theft and asks about calling the cops on 911. However, arresting the man would be a waste of time since San Francisco has implemented a policy of not charging shoplifters if they steal less than $950, which has produced daily scenes in the city like this one, as shown in the rest of the video.

The inevitable happened when Walgreens recently closed seventeen of its stores in the city, but blatant shoplifting like this has become a common feature of other large, Democrat-controlled cities as well.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 20, 2021 at 3:04 pm

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