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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Progressives inflict progress in California

Posted by M. C. on September 19, 2020

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation requiring all 430,000 undergraduates in the California State University system to take an “ethnic studies” course, and there may soon be a similar mandate for all high-school students. “Ethnic studies” is an anodyne description for what surely will be, in the hands of woke “educators,” grievance studies.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=02be34d5b

California, our national warning, shows how unchecked progressives inflict progress. They have placed on November ballots Proposition 16 to repeal the state constitution’s provision, enacted by referendum in 1996, forbidding racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. Repeal, which would repudiate individual rights in favor of group entitlements, is part of a comprehensive California agenda to make everything about race, ethnicity and gender. Especially education, thereby supplanting education with its opposite.

The 1996 ban on preferences was not intended to, and did not, end all measures to increase the participation of minorities and women in the state’s post-secondary education, or in doing business with the state government. So, Proposition 16 should be seen primarily as an act of ideological aggression, a bold assertion that racial and gender quotas — identity politics translated into a spoils system — should be forthrightly proclaimed and permanently practiced as a positive good.

California already requires that by the end of 2021 some publicly traded companies based in the state must have at least three women on their boards of directors, up from the 2018 requirement of one woman. Last month, the legislature mandated that by the end of 2021 at least one director shall be Black, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaskan Native, or identify as LGBTQ. And by 2022, boards with nine or more directors must include at least three government favored minorities.

Where will this social sorting end? Proposition 16’s aim is to see that there is no end to the industry of improvising remedial measures to bring “social justice” to a fundamentally unjust state, and nation. The aim is to dilute, to the point of disappearance, inhibitions about government using group entitlements — racial, ethnic and gender — for social engineering. Most important, Proposition 16 greases the state’s slide into the engineering of young souls.

They are to be treated as raw material for public education suffused with the spirit of Oceania in George Orwell’s “1984”: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Progressives have a practical objective in teaching the essential squalor of the nation’s past. The New York Times’s “1619 Project” — it preaches that the nation’s real founding was the arrival of the first slaves; the nation is about racism — is being adopted by schools as a curriculum around the nation. If the past can be presented as radically wrong, radical remedies will seem proportionate.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation requiring all 430,000 undergraduates in the California State University system to take an “ethnic studies” course, and there may soon be a similar mandate for all high-school students. “Ethnic studies” is an anodyne description for what surely will be, in the hands of woke “educators,” grievance studies.

Discussions of the proposed high-school requirement are being conducted in the progressive patois about “collective narratives of transformative resistance” in the “postimperial life” of a nation groaning under the bondage of capitalist, patriarchal and other “systems of power.” Students will be taught to become “positive actors,” with the government’s public-education bureaucracy stipulating what political positions are and are not “positive.”

Coming in the context of such measures, Proposition 16’s proposed repeal of the ban on racial preferences should be understood as repealing all scruples about the government- approved groupthink that Orwell warned against in “1984.” In this enterprise, California progressives have company.

Writing in the British journal Standpoint, Charles Parton, with 22 years of diplomatic experience working in and on China, explains that President Xi Jinping’s hostility to freedom’s prerequisites includes root-and-branch rejection of education, understood as the development of individuals’ abilities to think critically. Xi, who calls teachers “engineers of the soul,” wants education to be, Parton says, “collective, ideological and political.” The Chinese Communist Party says education begins by “grasping the baby,” primary school promotes “loving” the party, socialism and the collective, secondary schools inculcate “the ideology of socialist builders,” and universities must be, in Xi’s words, “CCP strongholds.”

The CCP’s and California’s indoctrinators differ somewhat concerning the particular mentalities they aim to impose. But both groups would extinguish actual education — teaching individuals how, as opposed to what, to think.

The principal difference is that the CCP is more candid than California is about replacing thinking with the regurgitation of governmentstipulated orthodoxies.

In 1932, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis celebrated how a single state “may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Or as a warning to it. George Will is a Washington Post columnist. Email him at georgewill@washpost.com.

George Will

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Why U.S. Wildfires Hit California More Than the Southeast | Intellectual Takeout

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2020

The wildfires are a reminder of an unpleasant reality: governments are poor stewards of the environment.

Looking elsewhere for a solution.

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/why-u-s-wildfires-hit-california-more-than-the-southeast/

By Jon Miltimore

California wildfires continue to blaze in one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory. While California fires are nothing new, government data show the damage has been substantial.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says that since August 15, when California’s fire activity accelerated, there have been at least 24 fatalities and more than 4,200 structures destroyed. (Ten people have also died in Oregon, CNN reports.) So far in 2020, California wildfires have burned more than 3.2 million acres of land – an area roughly the size of Connecticut.

As the fires rage, politicians argue over what (and who) is to blame.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti say climate change is the culprit, while President Donald Trump says the fires are the result of poor land management.

These answers are not mutually exclusive, of course, and evidence suggests that both poor land management and California’s high temperatures and arid climate have played a role.

While addressing California’s extreme temperatures is difficult, especially in the short term (unless you’re a member of the X-Men named Storm), evidence suggests immediate solutions are available to improve state and federal forestry management.

Excessive Extinguishing

Citing the fires scorching the West, The New York Times last week ran an article that stated it was time for government agencies to rethink their fire management policies.

“For over a century, firefighting agencies have focused on extinguishing fires whenever they occur. That strategy has often proved counterproductive,” the Times reports. “Many landscapes evolved to burn periodically, and when fires are suppressed, vegetation builds up thickly in forests. So when fires do break out, they tend to be far more severe and destructive.”

This was precisely what economist Jairaj Devadiga pointed out in a 2018 FEE article that examined why California’s wildfires historically have been much worse than those of Baja California, where fires are allowed to burn naturally at low intensity, regularly clearing out forest floors and limiting the spread of large conflagrations.

Though the Times doesn’t mention Baja California, the paper does endorse the Mexican state’s strategy of allowing fires to burn naturally to eliminate vegetation, pointing out that experts attribute the tactic to the more successful fire prevention approach found in the Southeastern United States.

Scientists who study wildfires agree that allowing forests and grasslands to burn periodically — by, say, intentionally setting smaller fires under controlled conditions — can be a more effective way to clear out vegetation. In Ponderosa pine forests, for instance, low-level fire can nurture ecosystems and help prevent destructive large-scale fires from breaking out.

This already occurs in the Southeastern United States, where officials use prescribed fires to burn millions of acres each year. While the region still sees destructive blazes — like Tennessee’s drought-fueled Great Smoky Mountains fires in 2016, which killed at least 14 people — experts credit the use of controlled burns with sparing many Southeastern communities from fire damage.

Contrary to Western states, “fire is widely accepted as a tool for land management in the Southeast,” fire scientist Crystal Kolden told the Times. This is in stark contrast to California, where just 50,000 acres were intentionally burned in 2017. (As a point of reference, academics estimate between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres of forest burned annually in prehistoric California.)

Fortunately, it appears that political leaders are beginning to recognize the problem. In August,

Newsom signed a memo acknowledging California needs more preventive fire.

While this is a step in the right direction, federal regulations could prove an obstacle to the strategy.

As Sam Rutzick at Reason point outs, the Clean Air Act of 1990 treats the smoke from a controlled burn as a pollutant (in contrast to a wildfire allowed to burn) and the National Environmental Policy Act requires “a couple-thousand-page document analyzing every single conceivable impact to the environment that the (burn) plan might have.”

Ownership vs. Stewardship

The wildfires are a reminder of an unpleasant reality: governments are poor stewards of the environment.

 

As the economist Holly Fretwell has observed, it has become conventional wisdom that government officials know best when it comes to protecting the environment. But the reality is government officials and bureaucrats operate under incentive structures and management systems that often run counter to effective land management.

Unlike private landowners, they have little incentive to be prudent long-term stewards of the land, which is why, Fretwell points out, “almost one-third of the acreage managed by the Forest Service is at high risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

The truth is federal agencies are much better at enforcing regulations than providing meaningful land stewardship. This is one of inherent problems when lands are owned collectively. As FEE’s Webb Beard has observed, echoing Aristotle, when something is owned by everyone, it is effectively owned by no one. The incentive to maintain or improve it is removed because these decision-makers do not benefit from prudent stewardship, and often do benefit from imprudent exploitation, neglect, and virtue-signaling but counterproductive “protection.”

This is why many economists see property rights as a solution to federal land mismanagement. When individuals own something, they have incentive to maintain it and protect it effectively, evidenced by the strong record of private property owners who have turned around threatened ecosystems.

“Ted Turner and buffalo ranchers brought the buffalo population back from the brink of extinction because of property rights. Fishermen almost fished the population of British Columbia halibut into extinction, and property rights brought their population back,” Beard wrote. “In many regions of Africa, trophy hunting helps to keep populations of certain animals from dipping to extinction levels and helps to fund conservation.”

If you’re wondering why you rarely hear of wildfires ravaging Texas, consider this fact: 95 percent of Texas’ land mass is privately owned.

As the Times points out, effectively managing wildfires will require “a cultural shift” in thinking.

This means finally accepting the efficacy of prescribed burning, but it also means decentralizing the process and allowing more private ownership and more localized stewardship over these lands.

As Dr. Kolden points out, indigenous populations have a long track record of using fire effectively to manage forested areas.

“We should be empowering the people who know how to do this,” Kolden told the Times.

This is no small matter. It’s not exactly the hallmark of government agencies and bureaucrats to acknowledge that others might have more local knowledge and expertise to solve a problem than they do.

There’s also the matter of addressing federal regulations that make it difficult for state agencies to use controlled burning as a tool (though simply eliminating policies that call for automatically extinguishing natural blazes is a step in the right direction).

It should also be acknowledged that no solution will immediately solve California’s wildfire problem. The journal Nature Sustainability published a report in February stating the Golden State would have to burn 20 million acres of forested land to restore forest health. You don’t solve a century’s worth of mismanagement overnight.

The good news is, as Elizabeth Weil noted in a recent ProPublica article, “we know how to prevent megafires.” The solution is ending aggressive fire suppression and empowering individuals who understand land management.

Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension and director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, said this means embracing the hands-off fire prevention culture of the Southeast.

“Your average person goes out back with Grandpa, and they burn 10 acres on the back 40 you know, on a Sunday,” Quinn-Davidson told Weil.

In other words, it means relinquishing control, which is something politicians and bureaucrats have a hard time doing, especially in the Golden State.

That may be the biggest hurdle for preventing disastrous wildfires in California.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.

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Exclusive: California Official Confirms Double-Voting on Super Tuesday – Double Trouble: Allegheny County, PA Mails Duplicate Ballots

Posted by M. C. on June 2, 2020

Government incompetence and criminality beats the ordinary criminal every time.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/04/15/exclusive-california-state-election-official-confirms-double-voting-by-mail-in-super-tuesday-primary/

by John Binder

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has confirmed that double-voting by mail took place in the March 3, 2020, Super Tuesday primary, Breitbart News has exclusively learned.

Days before Super Tuesday, citizen watchdog group Election Integrity Project California sent a letter to Padilla requesting his office look into possible double voting in the 2020 primary election.

More than a month later, in a letter dated April 7, 2020, Padilla confirmed double-voting in one case and suspected double-voting by a number of other registered voters on Super Tuesday, according to the letter obtained by Breitbart News.

Padilla confirmed in at least one case that two ballots from one voter were “opened and counted on election night.” Twelve of the 15 total registered voters identified with “duplicate voting history” are “suspected to have cast two ballots for the March primary election,” Padilla wrote in the letter.

In the remaining two cases, Padilla said county election officials “caught the duplicate voter records prior to election day and only one vote was tallied.” Padilla said the findings have been “forwarded to investigators to follow-up as necessary with the voters.”

The letter from Padilla can be read below:…

But that is nothing compared to Allegheny County

https://editions.lib.umn.edu/electionacademy/2020/05/15/double-trouble-allegheny-county-pa-mails-duplicate-ballots/

Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), PA is fielding questions from voters after a software problem resulted in mailings of duplicate ballots for the state’s upcoming primary. WESA has more:

Allegheny County’s efforts to encourage mail-in voting for the June 2nd primary may be almost too successful: A state database has apparently sent out duplicate ballots as it struggles to keep up with demand – although the county says no matter how many ballots come in the mail, no one will get more than a single vote.

In a release sent out late Thursday afternoon, the county’s Election Division said that a problem with the state’s SURE system, a voter registration database, has caused the printing of duplicate labels for mailing and absentee ballots. According to the release, that’s because printing orders are so large that the system is “timing out”: When an employee clears that condition, the system sends the rest of the job to the printer, while apparently also returning the job to the queue to be reprinted again.

Allegheny seems, in part, to be a victim of its own success in encouraging voters to cast absentee ballots:…

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Disrupting Schools For Racial Justice | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2019

I cannot imagine how the teachers in the State of California, always on the cutting edge of things progressive, feel after the passage of this law:

Maybe African American males and females, for some reason or reasons, disrupt at a higher rate. Ever thought about that? Of course they haven’t. In the Kingdom of the Woke, it is forbidden to act on the evidence of your senses when that evidence contradicts progressive dogma.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/disrupting-california-schools-racial-justice/

Rod Dreher

I’ve mentioned in this space before what a revelation it was to me to transfer to a new school for my 11th grade year. I went from a good public school to a better public school: a boarding school for gifted kids. The revelation was what a classroom environment could be like when teachers didn’t have to spend so much time trying to make kids be quiet so she could teach. I had never experienced that before.

In my old school, I don’t recall that it was a racial thing. Kids just would not shut up. I remember going back to visit my favorite teacher in my old school, on the first break we had from my new one, and being gobsmacked by how much time she had to spend trying to discipline her class. And this was normal for every class! Like I said, my old school was considered to be one of the better ones in the state, too. The impression I had — and this was coming up on 40 years ago, so take it with a grain of salt — was that our poor teachers had to spend a shocking amount of time as disciplinarians. There was nothing bad, just the constant chit-chat of restless teenagers who refuse to keep their stupid mouths shut.

I cannot imagine how the teachers in the State of California, always on the cutting edge of things progressive, feel after the passage of this law:

A California bill that passed the Legislature would prohibit schools, including charter schools, from suspending students for willful defiance.

That means if a student is acting up in class, teachers and school officials will not be able to suspend them from school.

More:

The bill by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would ban the suspension of students in grades K-8 for refusing to obey a teacher or administrator, a practice known as willful defiance.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of these cases,” said Berry Accius, founder of Voice of the Youth, a nonprofit mentoring program in Sacramento. “Unfortunately, I’ve had kids that have been suspended for sometimes three months.”

Accius said school suspensions are used disproportionately against students of color.

“African American males and females, they are suspended at a higher rate — especially the African American males,” Accius said.

Maybe African American males and females, for some reason or reasons, disrupt at a higher rate. Ever thought about that? Of course they haven’t. In the Kingdom of the Woke, it is forbidden to act on the evidence of your senses when that evidence contradicts progressive dogma.

Now state legislators, in their wisdom, have condemned elementary school teachers and the well-behaved students — black, white, Latino, Asian, whatever — to the tyranny of brats. Progressives are dismantling the ability of a basic social institution — the school — to defend itself, and to maintain order sufficient to fulfill its function. And then, when the parents who can afford to get their kids out of the public schools do so, progressives will call them racist.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a black friend, an older woman, who retired a few years back from a lifetime of teaching in Louisiana public schools. She could have taught longer, but she was sick and tired of having to deal with disruptive students and the parents who did nothing but make excuses for how their poor little preciouses were being picked on by the mean old teacher. I don’t blame her a bit, but I do feel the most sorry for the kids who come to school to get the education they deserve, but which the state and society won’t provide for them, because parents and school authorities lack the will to impose basic classroom discipline.

At least in the Golden State, disruptive students will be able to go act up in, by law, the bathroom of their gender choice, because as the state’s public school superintendent said, “In California we move forward, not backward.”

 

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Editorial: California can’t account for billions of education dollars

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2019

Expand that concept to a national level.

We are probably better off not knowing where that Kalifornia money went.

Safe rooms and Play Doh maybe.

Then think about what is taught. That is the scary part.

Government is the last thing we need in the education system.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/12/04/editorial-california-cant-account-for-billions-of-education-dollars/

By Stephen Frank

Want to waste tax dollars? Give it to your failed government schools. Want quality education? LAUSD is a holding action, no longer an education facility—so few graduate with real diploma’s earned. Now we find the government schools can not even keep accurate the money given to them…

Inexcusable that, six years after K-12 spending revamp, audit finds needy kids aren’t getting help they should

By Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, 12/4/19   |

It’s been six years since California lawmakers revamped the state funding formula for local schools.

It was heralded by then-Gov. Jerry Brown as a way to simplify K-12 education spending and close the state’s achievement gap by giving more money to districts that disproportionately serve needy kids.

Since then, state spending on schools has increased about 50%. But, as state Auditor Elaine Howle explained in a troubling report last month, there is no way to track whether money is being spent as it should.

School officials across California have co-mingled billions of dollars of state money that was supposed to be used for children who fall into one of three categories: English learners, low-income or in foster care.

Howle’s findings confirm what critics have been saying for years: Rather than specifically helping needy kids, the money has simply been used to boost general spending.

That partially explains why California students’ test scores continue lagging the national average and the state has failed to close the achievement gap that divides along racial and economic lines.

If California has any hope of narrowing that divide, legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom should require accountability for the $63 billion of state money currently spent annually on K-12 education.

It’s time to end this reckless spending. As we enter the state budget cycle for the 2020-21 fiscal year, lawmakers must stop doling out money without a meaningful tracking system for how it’s spent.

Brown’s original plan made sense. State spending for schools had become far too complicated, with more than 110 special “categorical” programs that had different funding and eligibility requirements.

The plan was to eliminate the categorical programs and give local school districts more control over the money. Hence, the Local Control Funding Formula was created.

LCFF is pretty simple. School districts receive a base amount determined by students’ attendance figures and grade levels. In addition, they receive a supplemental 20% for students falling into one of the three needy categories. And in districts with concentrations of more than 55% needy students, per-pupil funding increases 50% for each kid beyond the 55% threshold.

The so-called supplemental and concentration funding is supposed to be spent to provide additional help for those targeted children. But when Howle audited a sample of three school districts — Oakland, Clovis and San Diego — only Clovis tracked how the money was spent.

That’s because there are no state regulations to ensure districts separately account for the extra funds. Moreover, if the districts don’t spend the money on those needy students the year they receive the funds, they can spend it on anything the following year.

Hence, there are no rules to ensure Brown’s law is being followed. Indeed, while he was in office, Brown repeatedly resisted such a requirement. Consequently, there is no way to determine whether the additional funding is producing measurable student performance improvements.

The idea behind LCFF was to provide more local control. Parents were supposed have input into how the money is spent — something that’s meaningless if they’re not provided useful data — and school districts were supposed to be freed from the restrictions of hundreds of categorical spending programs.

But LCFF was never intended to be a giveaway of funds without obligations. Our neediest students were supposed to be better served. There’s no way to know whether that’s happened.

The lack of accountability — for how the money is spent and whether it’s producing results — is no longer acceptable.

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Why These Five States Would Be Better Independent Countries | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on December 1, 2019

Add New Jersey. Many of us Pennsylvanians would gladly add Philadelphia as an incentive.

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/why-these-five-states-would-be-better-independent-countries/

By Joe Jarvis

Trump scares me. But progressives terrify me.

Whoever comes next will be more extreme than Bernie Sanders.

Californians may hate Donald Trump now. But you can bet Texans will hate whoever comes next.

The federal two-party system ensures a perpetually unhappy populace. Each tries to force their will on the other when it is “their turn.”

And the rest of us, who aren’t on one side or the other, constantly lose.

This is unneeded friction. Forced unity creates far more problems than it solves.

But why put up with the swaying whims of federal politics?

In America, we have a marketplace of 50 state governments lying in wait.

I moved from Massachusetts to Florida three years ago. The taxes are lower, the living is cheaper, the laws are less restrictive, there’s little traffic, and the weather is nicer.

But that didn’t allow me to escape the shadow of Washington DC.

But imagine if we could keep the ease of moving from state to state, but without the federal government following us.

States would sink or swim on their own merits. No help from DC. And no interference either…

Plus, not a single US state would even be close to the smallest country on earth, by population or land area. Much tinier countries do just fine on their own.

California has plenty of reason to become its own country. It is the most progressive state without much in common with DC or many other states.

Californians are still being prosecuted by the feds for owning state-legal marijuana dispensaries. California wants liberal immigration policy, while the US government thinks otherwise.

It’s also the most populous state. It would be the 36th largest country on earth by population. Larger than Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Poland. Slightly smaller than Spain, Argentina, and Ukraine.

California has the 5th largest economy in the world. That’s ahead of Great Britain despite having less than 2/3 the population.

Some states are net payers of federal taxes. They pay more to the federal government than they get back.

California receives $.99 in federal expenditures for every $1.00 it pays. That means it would hardly be affected financially by divorcing the US government. Overall California would keep 1% more money in the state without federal taxes and without federal programs.

Other estimates claim it is much worse, and California only gets 70 cents back on every dollar it sends to Washington DC.

An initiative Calexit wants a 2020 ballot question to ask Californians if they want to secede from the US. Louis Marinelli is the co-author of the initiative. Here’s his take:

[C]an you think of 25 red states that might like to see blue California secede? I can think of 30 that voted for Donald Trump.

Look, the United States claims to be the freest country in the world. We ought to enjoy the fundamental right of self-determination, and if we so determine, self-rule.

Then California can sign a military base agreement with the Americans to lease land for their existing bases. California will not be hostile towards them, but our immigrants will be protected from them.

Additionally, by keeping the tens (sometimes hundreds) of billions of dollars we lose each year supporting red states that hate California, we will reduce our debts, fund our liabilities, and provide every Californian with a debt-free college education and universal healthcare.

I personally think Cali’s high taxes, restrictive regulation, and overbearing laws are ridiculous.

But who am I to tell Californians that they can’t bankrupt their state? I’d prefer to have them govern themselves, especially if that meant California voters didn’t have control over me and my affairs.

California isn’t the only state where federal taxes and aid zero out. New York and Florida are also large population states with close to even return based on what they give to DC.

Florida has millions more residents than Chile or the Netherlands.

With no income tax, it is quite attractive to work there.

Plus Florida has the 17th largest economy on Earth, topping $1 trillion GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

That’s bigger than Turkey’s economy, despite having just a quarter of the population.

At just under 21 million inhabitants, Florida would be the 58th largest country on Earth by population.

New York would be 59th by population.

With the 15th largest economy, this is slightly smaller than Spain’s economy. Meanwhile, Spain has twice the population of New York. Clearly, New York is quite capable of operating as an independent nation.

Of course, New York City alone could be its own country. And then they wouldn’t be able to dictate oppressive urban laws to rural upstate New Yorkers.

Then again, NYC wealth is redistributed to other portions of the state…

This highlights the natural friction of grouping incompatible regions under one government.

 

Texas is another large state that would do just fine on its own. As a country, it would be 51st largest by population, larger than Australia.

Texas’ GDP of $1.6 trillion is also slightly larger than each of the Australian, Russian, and South Korean economies.

The size of the economy is on par with Canada. Yet Canada has almost 9 million more residents.

Only three states receive less money per person from federal expenditures than Texas. Texas takes in the fourth smallest amount of money per capita from the federal government.

Oh, and of course there’s that little fact that Texas was once an independent country.

It became its own country, called the Republic of Texas, from 1836 until it agreed to join the United States in 1845. Sixteen years later, it seceded along with 10 other states to form the Confederacy. The Civil War forced it back into the Union, where it has stayed ever since.

New Hampshire would be a relatively small country–a little bigger than Estonia in terms of population.

But New Hampshire would also be the richest country in the world.

At least among the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. This list includes 34 of the most advanced countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, Chile, etc.

Median income, adjusted for purchasing power, even puts New Hampshire ahead of Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland.

New Hampshire is another net payer of taxes. It gets about 70 cents back on every dollar it sends to DC.

New Hampshire also has a small secession movement. One organization is called the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence. Another calls itself NHexit.

A 2014 Reuters poll showed 23.9 percent of Americans would support their state peacefully seceding from the union if necessary, while 53.3 percent opposed the idea.

Secession

This list is far from complete.

For instance, Hawaii probably has the most legitimate reason of any state to secede. They were an independent Kingdom until 1893. The USA annexed Hawaii after the monarchy was overthrown.

Native Americans are another group who have a strong historical claim to independence.

And what’s Alaska still doing as part of the United States anyway? It isn’t even attached.

Being united by force just averages the good states with the bad. It means states can’t feel the full benefit of their good policies. It means they don’t suffer the full consequences of their failures.

It means wealth is redistributed. It means power is centralized. It means individuals have less control than they would over a smaller, more local government.

Forced unity eliminates the marketplace for the government. Let the states compete, and the best policies will rise to the top.

The American people will then truly have a choice and a voice in government.

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California Dems Show us the Future. Run for Your Lives – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on November 8, 2019

The most clear-cut evidence that Democrats do not care about democracy is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent decision to halt the death penalty (unless administered by an illegal alien, as in the case of Kate Steinle).

We’re horrified by people who commit violence with firearms. They’re horrified by people who haven’t committed any violence and never will — but who engage in speech displeasing to Democrats.

https://www.takimag.com/article/california-dems-show-us-the-future-run-for-your-lives/

by Ann Coulter

In this column, I will prove that Democrats: 1) Don’t care about “Russians,” (Ukrainians?) or anyone else interfering with our democracy; and 2) they also don’t give a crap about guns.

Let’s begin by looking at the Democrats’ Platonic ideal of a democracy: California!

California is wholly controlled by the Democratic Party. The governor is a Democrat. The lieutenant governor is a Democrat. The attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer are Democrats. All these positions have been held by Democrats since the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was a Democrat). The state Senate is just under two-thirds Democratic, while the assembly is more than two-thirds Democratic. Both U.S. senators are Democrats, as are 46 of 53 members of Congress.

And what a paradise they’ve created! For the last several years, with a direct pipeline to the fifth-largest treasury on the planet, California has been waging war on decent people in favor of drug addicts, the mentally ill, criminals, the homeless and transgenders.

In the last century, every great thing started in California: surfing, jeans, Disneyland, tax revolts, McDonald’s, movies, car culture, the Grateful Dead, right on red turns, Merle Haggard, skateboarding, Apple computer and the last two elected Republican presidents not named “Bush.”

Big political movements used to begin in California. Proposition 13’s cap on property taxes led to President Ronald Reagan and a nationwide tax revolt. Proposition 209’s ban on affirmative action was followed by Supreme Court rulings restricting the government’s ability to discriminate on the basis of race. California’s anti-crime rebellion, including a massive prison expansion and the voters’ removal of liberal lunatic Rose Bird from the state’s highest court, foreshadowed an anti-crime pushback across the country.

These days, the only California-originated idea to sweep the nation is: banning plastic straws. The state is a calamity. Its optimism and vigor are gone. Instead of “The Golden State,” California is now “The Human Excrement State.”

Let’s just pray that California is no longer a window into our future.

People are leaving the state in droves — and more than half of those who remain say they’d like to leave, according to a survey published in The San Francisco Gate earlier this year.

It takes single-minded fanaticism to wreck California. Within the borders of a single state, you can visit Yosemite, the Pacific Ocean, Death Valley, redwood forests, the snow-capped Sierras and the pastoral vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, and go to the beach on Christmas Day.

But starting with Gray Davis’ refusal in 1999 to appeal an activist judge’s announcement that it was “unconstitutional” for taxpayers not to give welfare to illegal immigrants — an initiative that had passed overwhelmingly just a few years earlier — California’s elected officials began an all-out war on its own citizens.

Democrats are worried about “Russians” interfering with our elections? California Democrats simply ignore elections.

The most clear-cut evidence that Democrats do not care about democracy is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent decision to halt the death penalty (unless administered by an illegal alien, as in the case of Kate Steinle).

I doubt any other state’s voters have been more emphatic about their support for the death penalty than Californians, voting for it in statewide initiatives in 1972, 1978, 2012 and again in 2016 — just three years ago.

But earlier this year, Gov. Newsom flagrantly disregarded the voters’ repeated endorsement of capital sentences and single-handedly imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.

Forget Facebook ads. Who cares if Russians hack into our voting machines and change the vote totals? Democrats are going to ignore the results anyway…

It’s the same with guns. This September, during a fiery debate on guns, the left demanded “red-flag laws” to take guns away from citizens after having their politics, their writings, their previous exercise of free speech examined on a granular level by bureaucrats empowered to revise the Bill of Rights. In the middle of that debate, Gov. Newsom commuted the sentences of 21 convicted felons — almost all of whom were serving lengthy terms for murder or attempted murder with a gun.

And get this: Newsom specifically cited the unfairness of enhancing a criminal’s sentence merely because he used a gun when committing a crime.

Liberals don’t care about guns in the hands of violent criminals. They’re coming after the guns of conservatives.

We’re horrified by people who commit violence with firearms. They’re horrified by people who haven’t committed any violence and never will — but who engage in speech displeasing to Democrats.

Like a magician revealing his trick, the governor of California provided the proof, making it absolutely clear that Democrats don’t give a fig for democracy and aren’t disturbed in the slightest by gun violence.

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Of Two Minds – Has California Lost The Mandate of Heaven?

Posted by M. C. on October 31, 2019

https://oftwominds.cloudhostedresources.com/?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lewrockwell.com%2F&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oftwominds.com%2Fblogoct19%2FCA-mandate-heaven10-19.html

Charles Hugh Smith

t that point, it’s too late: there’s no bid for overpriced decaying bungalows, overpriced tech stocks, etc.

In Chinese history, natural disasters were viewed as portents that the The Mandate of Heaven (tianming or “Heaven’s will”) had been withdrawn from the ruling dynasty. Broadening this concept a bit to regional dominance and power, we might ask: has California lost the Mandate of Heaven?

How many conflagrations does it take for it to sink in that the Golden State has lost its lustre in some profoundly karmic fashion?

How many messes of human excrement on our doorstep does it take to realize the situation will never get better, it can only get worse–much worse?

How many power blackouts, traffic gridlocks and mandatory evacuations does it take for those in denial to accept that the Mandate of Heaven has been withdrawn?

Young residents of the state have never experienced the velocity and depth of California’s famous busts. The last real spot of bother in California’s economy occurred almost 30 years ago in the early 1990s. Since then, it’s been one boom after another.

California’s cycles of enormous booms followed by equally gargantuan busts date back to the first Gold Rush. The eventual collapse of mining shares and overpriced real estate in San Francisco was epic, and Mark Twain’s account of his chest full of mining shares going from a tidy fortune to zip-zero-nada is a rueful reminder of how quickly fortunes can turn in the land of boom and bust.

It’s deceptively easy to take a pencil and ruler and extend a boom into infinity: the number of iPhones sold (always up), Apple’s quarterly earnings (always up), property tax revenues (always up) stocks’ multiple expansion ((always up) and so on.

California’s vast chattering class has ridden the IPO/VC/tech-monopoly/ stock buyback bubble for so long that it can’t believe the bubble could ever burst. This class lives in enclaves protected from human excrement, the addicted and the deranged, and in an information enclave of me-too tech/entertainment boosterism.

But as Benoit Mandelbrot showed in his book The (Mis)behavior of Markets , markets and human behavior are inherently fractal, i.e. chaotic, which means there are limits on the predictability of markets and economic trends.

Thus the chattering class has no inkling that the masses can cancel their Netflix, Disney and Apple subscriptions as easily as they signed on. Once jobs, tips, bonuses and gigs dry up, the tech-entertainment giants will find expenses are still rising while revenues are cratering. Once revenues and profits crater, it’s harder for management to justify borrowing billions more to fund more stock buybacks.

Extending booms into infinity doesn’t track reality. The last real recession circa 1990-1991 blew a $20 billion hole in the California state budget, and accounting for inflation and growth since then, we can expect a $35 – $40 billion hole being blown in the budget once the IPO / tech bubble collapses, as the state is heavily dependent on capital gains taxes for much of its income tax revenues. (There is no long-term capital gains rate in California; all capital gains are taxed as ordinary income, a rate that quickly hits 13.3%.)

Once capital gains dry up, the state is in a fiscal crisis with no solution.

And if the state can’t solve the homeless crisis with current spending in the hundreds of millions, then what will happen when the revenues dry up? What will happen if the homeless population doubles or triples? Look at the social havoc generated by the homeless population in San Francisco, which is roughly 1% of the total populace (around 9,000 homeless and a total population of 860,000.)

Phase transitions are intrinsic to systems displaying self-organized criticality such as markets and human behavior. Everything seems fine on the surface, and there’s no pressing need to sell the house and move away; there seems to be plenty of time until the phase transition kicks in and suddenly everything has changed for the worse, and so much faster than anyone expected.

At that point, it’s too late: there’s no bid for overpriced decaying bungalows, overpriced tech stocks, etc. Just like Mark Twain’s chest of mining stocks, the transition from being worth a fortune to no-bid near-worthlessness can be sudden indeed once California loses the Mandate of Heaven.

Beneath the surface, pressures are building and resilience is eroding, and when the tipping point is reached the transition will not be gradual and controllable, it will be non-linear and uncontrollable.

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Jerry Brown Blames Trump, Republicans for California Fires: ‘The Blood Is on Your Soul’

Posted by M. C. on October 30, 2019

Critics fault California and its utility companies for spending money on complying with “green” initiatives rather than on burying power lines. Others also cite homeless camps, where past fires have started, and poor forestry management policies that have barred the clearing of brush that can provide fuel for wildfires.

But Brown and other Democrats have identified climate change as the cuplrit, even though there is no scientific evidence to support that claim.

There is a reason they call him Moonbeam.

Climate Change is a Russian Agent!

https://www.breitbart.com/environment/2019/10/30/jerry-brown-blames-trump-republicans-for-california-fires-the-blood-is-on-your-soul/

by Joel B. Pollak

Former California Governor Jerry Brown told Congress on Tuesday that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party were responsible for the ongoing California fires because of their opposition to drastic climate change policies.

“California’s burning while the deniers make a joke out of the standards that protect us all,” Brown told the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, as quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. “The blood is on your soul here and I hope you wake up. Because this is not politics, this is life, this is morality. … This is real.”

Brown was testifying against efforts by the Trump administration to rescind California’s waiver that previously allowed it to set its own emissions standards for vehicles — effectively giving the state control of the entire auto industry. The administration argues that California’s policy is actually worse for the environment because higher standards make new cars — which are more energy-efficient than old cars — more difficult for consumers to buy.

The ongoing California wildfires have a variety of causes. The immediate cause of the Getty Fire in Los Angeles, for example, appears to be a tree branch that was blown by high winds into power lines, according to the Los Angeles Times. Critics fault California and its utility companies for spending money on complying with “green” initiatives rather than on burying power lines. Others also cite homeless camps, where past fires have started, and poor forestry management policies that have barred the clearing of brush that can provide fuel for wildfires.

But Brown and other Democrats have identified climate change as the cuplrit, even though there is no scientific evidence to support that claim. In 2015 and in 2017, Brown also blamed climate change for wildfires in California, though scientists disagreed, calling Brown’s arguments an example of “noble-cause corruption.”

California Democrats are facing new criticism at home, as utility companies have begun cutting power to electricity customers in peak fire conditions — a new practice for which the state government seems to have been unprepared.

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California’s Electric Vehicle Dream Is Turning Into A Nightmare | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2019

Forest fires, no water, no electric, massive deficits.

Solution: Open the border, give away free stuff, screw US citizens.

Why do you always read about California’s electric cars and not Montana’s nor Pennsylvania’s? Here is the chilling answer. Note it is a pro-electric, mild winter UK source. Your real life experience may be different.

Your summer weather, windows up, no accessories running, no AC, maybe one passenger mileage takes hit.

Happy winter charging.

https://www.zerohedge.com/technology/californias-electric-vehicle-dream-turning-nightmare

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California might be blazing a trail with getting a large number of electric vehicles on the road, but the only trail California is currently blazing is the wildfire/PG&E fiasco that could once again plunge millions of Californians into the dark in the next wave of blackouts, expected today, the likes of which could sour investor confidence in purchasing a vehicle that relies on sketchy power sources.

It’s windy in dry California, and apparently that’s enough to trigger another preemptive blackout for PG&E customers. For starters, PG&E will cut power to 179,000 residents on Wednesday.

But it’s not just PG&E. Other utilities, too, such as Edison International and Sempra, are also expected to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of Californians who are in an area that is notoriously dry, with winds expected to combine with those dry conditions to create too much of a fire risk.

The result? A blackout akin to the Venezuela 2019 blackouts that kept millions in the dark.

The blackouts – which one might expect from a third-world or mismanaged nation such as Venezuela or even Pakistan, which leads the world in the number of annual blackouts – are life and death for some California residents, and the problem isn’t expected to be resolved anytime soon. But it also may mean life and death for California’s plan to encourage residents to adopt EVs.

Unlike third-world blackouts, critical California operations such as medical facilities are all equipped with backup generators for times of outage. But residents who rely on electricity to power medical devices are at great risk. And EV owners may find themselves stranded.

The PG&E purposeful blackouts are part of a wildfire safety program that the state-mandated after the wine country fires that overtook $9.4 billion in property. The cause of that fire, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, was PG&E equipment. PG&E points the finger at the usual suspect: climate change.

As for those electric vehicles that various California state agencies have earmarked $2.46 billion in public funds for—the state might do better to spend that money on some plan to keep the lights on. If that thought is not palatable enough for Californians, the state could earmark those funds as a way to keep those EVs charged.

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