We Must Hang Together, Or Surely We Shall Hang Separately

The special election to recall Gavin Newsom is coming up this Fall, and the two questions on the ballot might serve as a metaphor for the dilemma confronting Republicans in California. Question one is binary: Do you want to recall the governor, or don’t you? On this question, California’s Republicans have come together. They all would like to see Newsom go.

Question two, however, presents fundamental challenges to Republican unity. It is a multiple choice question, “who do you want to replace Newsom?,” with candidates galore to choose from. So far, all of them are Republicans. Inevitably and increasingly, these candidates are choosing not only to disparage their common foe, Governor Newsom, but also to disparage each other.

In a broader sense, this typifies what Republicans have been doing for years in California. They cohere fairly well on what they oppose. Taxes are too high, there are too many regulations, and public schools are failing, especially in low income communities. Poverty rates lead the nation, as does homelessness. The forests are burning, crime is rising, and the state remains on partial mass lockdown. But what are California’s Republicans for?

The unanimity of California’s Republicans against the failed policies of Governor Newsom, and by extension the party he represents, deserves recognition even if it isn’t enough to merely come together to oppose a candidate and his party. What happened over the past year was a triumph of teamwork. It was a triumph of shared purpose over endemic rivalries and turf wars. […] Read More

California’s Gubernatorial Candidates Need to Show True Grit

In a recent Facebook post, one of the many Republican candidates hoping to replace Governor Newsom had this to say:

“Californians can’t afford to make ends meet because Gavin Newsom and his allies keep raising taxes. We need to make our state more affordable for our middle class. I spoke to @EvieFordham [Fox Digital Reporter] about lowering the tax burden in our state.” Rah rah. This was a consultant approved message.

The problem with “lowering taxes” is that high taxes, and they are horrendously high, isn’t the biggest reason California has a punitive cost-of-living. Saying you’ll “lower taxes” is the irresponsible trope that Republicans and their billionaire backers (who, by the way, have now largely abandoned them) have been saying for decades. With Republicans, all we end up with is taxes increasing at a slower rate, while deficits increase at a faster rate. That’s our choice. It’s a false choice.

The biggest problem is not taxes, it’s regulations. Excessive regulations are the reason housing costs so much. Excessive regulations are the reason utility rates are so high. Excessive regulations are the reason good jobs are leaving California.

This actually does connect back to taxes, but taxes are the cart. Overbuilt government, seeking to justify its existence and feed for its prodigious mass, is the horse.

This is where California’s politicians could do something, if they had the will. And it’s what California’s insurgent candidates could at least make the focal point of their social media posts and public statements, […] Read More

Money For Nothing

During 2020 the U.S. Federal budget deficit was $3.1 trillion, equal to over 15 percent of GDP. The deficit hasn’t been this big since the end of World War Two. The difference between now and 1945, however, is deeply unsettling. Back then, Americans were a unified, patriotic people that had just emerged relatively unscathed from a horrific conflict that left most of the world in ruins.

In the aftermath of World War Two, the American economy exploded. Industries previously on a war footing turned to manufacturing automobiles and appliances that were sold all over the world. Government funded projects – from interstate highways to reservoirs and commercial airports – were built in record time. The economy boomed, unemployment was low and wages were high. The American middle class expanded to become a majority of the total population.

Today America’s economy is fitfully emerging from being nearly shut down in 2020. Entire economic sectors – travel, entertainment, hotels, food services, retail, small businesses – have been devastated with no end in sight. The windfall the lockdown imparted to high tech companies only served to increase their ongoing assault on legacy retail and media industries. The deficit spending that back in 1945 had been used to build a war machine and spawn countless spin-off technologies was used in 2020 to help ordinary Americans buy food and pay rent. And for that, too, there is no end in sight.

There’s plenty of room for debate in this scenario, of course. Economic […] Read More

Empathy for the Thought Criminal

“Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.” Leviticus Chapter 24, Verses 19–20

This ancient law from Judaism is perhaps the first written expression of a principle that informs justice in all civilized nations to this day, that the punishment must fit the crime.

If the Old Testament introduces this concept of reciprocal justice, the New Testament might be a very early expression of restorative justice. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to Leviticus, but offers a revolutionary twist:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

The concept of restorative justice, introduced by Leftist intellectuals and now spreading across America, regardless of whether or not it is inspired by Christian precepts, rejects imposing consequences proportional to the crime. Violence is a product of oppression. Looting is a consequence of poverty. Rather than punish offenders, given them counseling, give them money, and forgive their crimes.

This leniency towards crime, central to Leftist ideology today, does not extend to cancel culture. People who commit thought crimes against values sacred to the Left are shown no mercy. They are not only denied the empathy that thugs and thieves are granted, they […] Read More

AB 1316 Aims to Destroy Charter Schools

Back in 2019, facing a barrage of legislation that threatened to destroy their institutions, advocates for charter schools reached a “compromise” agreement with lawmakers. The results were sweeping changes, expressed in SB 126, AB 1505 and AB 1507, that mingled common sense reforms with measures that have made it harder than ever for charters to operate in California.

What happened in 2019 wasn’t really a compromise. It was a defeat, accepted in order to avoid an even bigger defeat. But that was then.

Today, in what officials at the California Charter School Association have characterized as “a blatant violation of the deal that we had from AB 1505 in 2019,” and “an existential threat to charter schools in California,” we now have AB 1316. Masquerading as a “transparency” reform, AB 1316 will decimate charter schools across the state.

Weighing in at over 31,000 words, the entirety of this expansive bill is designed to prevent any growth in charter school enrollment, attack home schools, defund online learning programs associated with charter schools, and force the closure of those charter schools that are unable to cope with the avalanche of new regulations.

Among the new rules will be a requirement for tutors to have teaching credentials. The thoughtless cruelty of this can only be explained in light of the underlying goal, which is to make it harder for charter schools to attract talent and effectively teach their students. There are retired and semi-retired professionals, often coming from STEM […] Read More

HBO’s “Exterminate All the Brutes” is Anti-Racist Racism

If you have more than the proverbial 1/32 share of non-white lineage, Raoul Peck’s new HBO mini-series “Exterminate All the Brutes” will give you even more reasons to hate Western Civilization and its inextricable roots in white supremacy. Coming away from this 240 minute exercise in Euro-bashing, you will understand, more than ever, how everything that happens to you in life that’s bad is because you are a “person of color,” and everything good that happens to you in life is in spite of an oppressive system of white supremacy.

This is simplistic, one-sided, negative, polarizing pablum.

It isn’t as if anyone needed Peck’s film. Literally every established European and American institution has been spouting the same message: Unless you’re white, don’t bother to take responsibility for your life, your education, your wealth, your health, your community, or your happiness. Just don’t bother. Because if you’re a person of color, you live in an oppressive society that must be destroyed before you can truly experience freedom.

There aren’t words enough to describe how many ways this hideous message is toxic to everything it touches, people of color, people of no color, nations, institutions, civilizations, and plenty has already been written. But in the context of Peck’s “masterpiece,” a few reminders are warranted.

You won’t find those reminders in the rave reviews that have poured forth. Predictably, establishment authors writing for Time, The New Yorker, Daily Beast, Vox, New York Times, and so on, are […] Read More

Red Pills Are Falling Down All Over California

California may not have had a lot of rain again this winter, but there are other kinds of heavy weather. An atmospheric river of red pills has collided with the Golden State, and by the millions, Californians are realizing how deeply deluded they have been about the condition of their state.

The first signs of enlightenment came when an intrepid band of dissidents tried yet again to gather enough signatures to force a recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom. With no money, and four failed attempts already on record, nobody expected the fifth effort to succeed. But a year later, this volunteer army of several thousand Californians gathered nearly 2.2 million signed petitions. In early May, California’s secretary of state will almost certainly announce certification of the signatures. And later this year, California’s feckless governor will be fighting for his political life.

Recalls are contagious. Inspired by the Newsom recall, efforts are now underway to force recall elections in San Francisco and Los Angeles County, targeting the District Attorneys in those cities. Elected with money from leftist billionaires, money that was primarily directed into smear campaigns against their opponents, these two crime-friendly idiots, George Gascón in Los Angeles and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, are very likely going to have to defend their records in special elections in early 2022.

The Heart of the Beast

These are not small victories. California isn’t some remote appendage to the Matrix. California is the […] Read More

Transhumanism, Meritocracy, and National Survival

In 1950 the brilliant British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing introduced what has now referred to as the Turing Test. It consists of a human interviewing a person and a machine, trying to determine which respondent is the machine. For a machine to pass the Turing Test is considered a significant milestone in the development of artificial intelligence. The test has been administered countless times to-date, and while an indisputable machine victory hasn’t happened yet, computer scientists believe it will happen in the next few years.

Alan Turing believed if a machine could pass his test, it was thinking. But most experts do not define thinking and “consciousness” as one and the same. A machine that passes the Turing test is still a machine, an impressive calculator that imitates consciousness, but inside that big calculator, nobody’s home.

That’s hardly the end of the story, however. In 1988 the theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson published Infinite in All Directions, a wide ranging discourse on humanity’s role in the universe. In his book, Dyson predicts that genetic engineering will enable manufactured organic minds that are merged with electronic components including AI, but inside their biological mental core, they will be alive and self-aware.

According to futurists ranging from Freeman Dyson to Ray Kurzweil to Elon Musk, a millennia from now, if not much, much sooner, only a small fraction of the conscious intelligent beings once known as humans will exist as humanoids we would recognize as ourselves. Others, […] Read More

Winning a War of Attrition Against Government Unions

Anyone involved in state or local politics in California soon realizes that government unions are the most powerful special interest in the state. From time to time, as the ride-share behemoths proved in spectacular fashion last November with Proposition 22, corporations will defy the unions on very specific issues. But by and large California’s corporations have entered into a profitable symbiosis with government unions.

Small wonder. California’s state and local government unions collect and spend nearly one billion dollars per year, mostly in the form of dues from workers in the state and local government bureaucracies. The teachers’ unions alone, when you include local chapters and bargaining units representing education service workers, have nearly a half-billion dollars to work with. Every year.

There is not one member of California’s state legislature who is not likely to acknowledge, off the record, that government unions in California exercise almost absolute political power. But they have one Achilles heel, California’s initiative process.

Every two years – it used to be every state election including primaries and special elections, but in 2011 the unions got rid of that privilege – California’s voters have the right to directly approve or reject new laws and new constitutional amendments that can supersede legislation passed by the union-controlled state legislature. Not only can laws and constitutional amendments approved via a state ballot initiative overturn existing law, but the state legislature cannot pass contrary legislation to nullify these initiatives. They can only […] Read More

It’s Not How Much You Borrow, It’s How You Spend the Money

In barely one year, the America’s national debt has expanded by over four trillion dollars. It is now more than America’s GDP. But what is this debt buying Americans?

Debt hawks typically don’t differentiate between good debt and bad debt, but there’s a difference. The last time the national debt exceeded GDP was in the aftermath of World War Two. The return on that investment was not only a planet liberated from fascism and protected from communist expansion, but an industrial and technological supremacy that gave rise to an American economic boom. And with the post-war boom came deleveraging.

From a peak of 118 percent in 1946, the national debt was steadily whittled down. By 1950 it dropped to 86 percent. By 1955 it was down to 64 percent, by 1960, 53 percent. It dropped below 40 percent in 1966 and hit a low of 31 percent three times, in 1974, 1979, and 1981. But then what happened?

During the Reagan presidency, the decision was made to spend the Soviets into the ground on military technology, without seriously confronting or reducing the many new taxpayer funded entitlements ushered in by the New Deal and the Great Society. One might argue this first debt binge was justified. By 1990, the national debt was back up to 54 percent, but the Soviet Union was no more, and the United States became the lone superpower nation.

For a time, there was a so-called peace dividend. Ten years later, in 2000, national […] Read More