The Future’s So Bright, Gavin Newsom’s Got to Wear Shades

Jerry Brown was governor of California for 16 years. His four terms, two that ran from 1975 through 1982, then two more that ran for the past eight years, bookended California’s transition from a sprawling and remote, sun-splashed coastal paradise, defined by Hollywood, the counterculture, and a rising technology industry, to an economic leviathan, the global epicenter of technological innovation, and cultural evolution.

So much has changed. California now boasts the fifth-largest economy on earth. California’s high-tech companies—Apple, Facebook, Google, and countless others—are defining how we will live in the coming decades. In nearly every significant area of politics, culture, and technology, Californians are global leaders.

California’s politics are also unique, insofar as no other state in the union is so absolutely under the control of Democrats. Every major state officeholder is a Democrat. Both houses of California’s state legislature are controlled by Democratic supermajorities. California’s congressional delegation, which at 53 is by far the largest in the U.S. House of Representatives, consists of 46 Democrats and only seven Republicans. California’s senators, the venerable Dianne Feinstein, and the ascendant Kamala Harris, are both staunch Democrats. And all of these Democrats proudly consider California to be ground zero for the anti-Trump “#Resistance.”

And so, on January 7, the Brown era came to an end, and a new governor took office: Gavin Newsom. Elected easily, the former lieutenant governor (and before that, mayor of San Francisco) ran on the slogan “courage for change.” Newsom’s inauguration speech didn’t disappoint. Change […] Read More

The Great Green Wave Hits the American Petri Dish

The Great Green Wave is cresting again. In October, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying special report predicting widespread and imminent climate catastrophe. In November, legacy bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released an equally terrifying “Fourth National Climate Assessment.” In both cases, news reports in establishment media included the usual cataclysmic images; starving children, dying cattle with their ribs poking through their emaciated flesh, monstrous masses of ice cascading into the ocean, and raging wildfire infernos.

Needless to say, none of these media reports bothered to explore for possible examples of exaggerated findings, or selective use of data, or political bias, much less any hidden agendas at work. In terms of providing more moderate interpretations of the data, notwithstanding the dismissive coverage of the Trump Administration’s skeptical reaction, consumers of establishment media got nothing. The BBC has now gone so far as to ban any coverage of climate skepticism; the major search engines and social media merely relegate it to the algorithmic backwaters.

Worse, however, is the establishment media’s complete inability to fathom—and report—just how utterly impossible it is to accomplish the goals supposedly required if we are to avoid climate catastrophe. One economic estimate—outlandish but at least as credible as the temperature forecasts—puts the cost of the U.N.’s climate recommendations at over $100 trillion for a reduction of 0.5 degrees centigrade.

But the experts who craft these alarming reports and temperature forecasts aren’t […] Read More

The Immutable Algebra of Global Energy and Population Trends

Compassion for a child in distress is automatic. You do everything you can for that child. You use all the resources you can muster. But what if an entire continent is in distress? What if billions of children are in distress?

This is the question for which there are no easy answers. Because across the developing world, billions of people still endure political violence and extreme poverty. The most afflicted nations are almost always the nations experiencing rapid population increase. And the solutions being proposed, mass immigration and rapid transition to renewable clean energy, require authoritarian, global governance that will rob the people of the developed world of their freedom and prosperity, at the same time as it does little or nothing to help the people living in the developing world. But it is the path of least resistance.

The reason for pursuing flawed solutions has more to do with where the global elites mean to apply authoritarian pressure than with whether or not more lives will be improved, or the planet’s climate will be preserved.

Before exploring alternative solutions, the scope of the challenge should be quantified. The best way to do this is by reviewing trends in global population and energy consumption. The figures to be presented draw on two sources, the World Bank Population Estimates and Projections, and the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

GLOBAL POPULATION TRENDS

The two pie charts below depict projected global population by region in 2020, and 30 years hence, […] Read More

The Varieties and the Potential Impact of Post-Janus Litigation

The landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court in the Janus vs AFSCME case has given government workers the right to not only refuse union membership, but to refuse to pay any dues or fees to that union. In the wake of this ruling, new lawsuits have been filed on behalf of plaintiffs who allege the unions are attempting to circumvent the Janus ruling.

Enforcing Provisions of the Janus Ruling

A notable example of such a case is Few vs UTLA, In this case, the plaintiff, Thomas Few, is a special education teacher in Los Angeles. Few was told that he could end his membership in the United Teachers of Los Angeles union. But even as a nonmember, the union told him that he would still have to pay an annual “service fee” equivalent to his union membership dues. Few’s position, which is likely to be upheld, is that he cannot be compelled to pay anything to a union he does not choose to join, regardless of what the payment is called.

This lawsuit and others are likely to ensure that the Janus ruling is enforced. The practical result will be that government unions lose some of their members, and some of their revenue. But how many? After all, there is a valid economic incentive for public employees to belong to their unions. In California, unionized state and local workers earn pay and benefits […] Read More

California’s Rigged Election Process is Coming to America

The conventional wisdom of the experts who monitor elections in America is unvarying: Voter fraud is statistically insignificant. These sanguine claims are made despite the fact that internal controls are often so poor, or even nonexistent on election integrity, that it is nearly impossible to know if voter fraud has even occurred. In every critical area – voter identification, voter registration, duplicate voting, absentee ballots, ineligible voting, ballot custody, ballot destruction, counterfeit ballots, voting machine tampering – gaping holes exist that invite systemic fraud. But so what? How relevant is voter fraud, if the entire system is already rigged to favor one party over the other?

Come to California to see what’s going to roll out across America in time to guarantee a progressive landslide in 2020. It may be legal. But it’s so rigged it would make Boss Tweed blush.

When planning for the November 2018 election, California’s Democrats didn’t just aim to pad their supermajority in the State Legislature. They weren’t going to be satisfied with a sweep of every elected state position, including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. They knew they could do that, but they aimed higher. They were bent on eliminating every Republican Congressman they possibly could, and they did pretty well in that. Going into the 2018 election California’s Republican Congressional Caucus had 14 members. After the election, there were only 7 left.

The way they did this […] Read More

Alternatives to the Nihilistic Futility of Mass Immigration

In 1968, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. Ehrlich predicted mass-starvation by the mid-1970s due to an exploding human population outstripping agricultural capacity. Global population in 1968 was 3.5 billion. Today there are 7.6 billion people living on planet earth. Clearly, Ehrlich’s dire predictions were wrong, but the book was a huge bestseller.

In 1987, author and commentator Ben Wattenberg published The Birth Dearth: What Happens When People in Free Countries Don’t Have Enough Babies? In this prescient book, Wattenberg correctly identified the early signs of what is now widely understood—in every developed nation on earth, birthrates are well below replacement levels. Wattenberg’s book didn’t sell nearly as well as Erlich’s. The truth is, Ehrlich wasn’t entirely wrong. Throughout most of the so-called “developing world,” birth rates remain well above replacement levels.

To illustrate his point, Ehrlich made frequent reference to the “doubling time” of a population. It’s an apt concept because it refutes the argument that human innovation and enterprise can accommodate limitless population growth. In a public lecture at Stanford in the 1970s, Ehrlich drew a grim laugh when he explained that eventually unchecked human population growth would result in a solid sphere of human flesh expanding into the universe at the speed of light.

The fact that population growth rates vary among nations, with extremes at both ends, is not sufficiently acknowledged. It is central to discussions of immigration and refugee policies, environmental health, economic models, and the fate of nations […] Read More

California Burning – How the Greens Turned the Golden State Brown

In October 2016, in a coordinated act of terrorism that received fleeting attention from the press, environmentalist activists broke into remote flow stations and turned off the valves on pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada into the United States. Working simultaneously in Washington, Montana, Minnesota, and North Dakota, the eco-terrorists disrupted pipelines that together transport 2.8 million barrels of oil per day, approximately 15 percent of U.S. consumption. The pretext for this action was to protest the alleged “catastrophe” of global warming.

These are the foot soldiers of environmental extremism. These are the minions whose militancy receives nods and winks from opportunistic politicians and “green” investors who make climate alarmism the currency of their political and commercial success.

More recently, and far more tragic, are the latest round of California wildfires that have consumed nearly a quarter million acres, killed at least 87 people, and caused damages estimated in excess of $10 billion.

Opinions vary regarding how much of this disaster could have been avoided, but nobody disputes that more could have been done. Everyone agrees, for example, that overall, aggressive fire suppression has been a mistake. Most everyone agrees that good prevention measures include forest thinning (especially around power lines), selective logging, controlled burns, and power line upgrades. And everyone agrees that residents in fire prone areas need to create defensible space and fire-harden their homes.

Opinions also vary as to whether or not environmentalists stood in the way of these prevention measures. In […] Read More

Can Public Sector Union Power Ever Be Stopped?

Imagine you’re hoping to support a candidate for local office who will enact reforms that will improve your city, maybe even save it. Someone who will fight tirelessly to eliminate work rules that force agencies to hire more people than are actually necessary. Someone who will insist that incompetent public employees are fired. Someone who will finally do something about compensation and benefit packages that are threatening to bankrupt the city.

What do you say to them, when their response to your suggested reforms is this: “That’s all great, and I’d like to do it all, but who’s going to give me the million dollars for my campaign that I’m not going to get from the public employee unions if I actually try to do any of it?”

That is the sort of conversation that takes place, or would take place if anyone bothered to ask, multiplied by thousands, every election cycle in California.

Public employee unions run California. They exercise nearly absolute power in the state legislature, and in nearly every city, county, school district and special district. Can public sector union power ever be stopped?

Earlier this year, a California Public Policy Center analysis estimated that for 2016, total membership in California’s public sector unions was 1.15 million, and total revenue was $812 million. This equates to a stupefying $1.6 billion that these unions collect and spend every election cycle.

 

California’s Public Sector Unions (including local affiliates) Estimated Total Membership and Revenues

[…] Read More

Restoring America’s Ability to Assimilate Immigrants

Embracing the art of the possible requires a painful prerequisite, which is to eliminate the impossible. This is not compromise, it is sanity. Formulating a viable American immigration policy requires making these difficult choices. So many options are impossible.

If the goal of immigration reform is to preserve American culture and prosperity, then the question such reformers must ask is what strategies will have a chance at success. Heated rhetoric about hordes of gangbangers and birth tourists overrunning our border will work, maybe, with about 40% of American voters. Cryptic escalatory references to how “the 2nd amendment will save us” are futile jabberings. If it had to, the American government would deploy swarms of slap drones and other high-tech counter-insurgency gadgetry that would neutralize America’s rebel “militias” in hours. These are impossible options.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. American culture and prosperity can be preserved. Immigration policy can move to a merit-based system, where admittance is based on applicants having valuable job skills, English language proficiency, good health, and cultural compatibility. There is a way to build a consensus among American voters that demands these reforms. The question is where to look.

A recent article by Henry Olsen, “Arizona Illustrates the RINO Revenge,” explains “just how tenuous the Trump coalition’s hold on power is.” He continues: “Whether it is regaining a portion of the RINOs or a winning a much larger share of Hispanic or African-American votes, he and the MAGA movement […] Read More

How to NOT Solve California’s Housing Crisis

There are obvious reasons the median home price in California is $544,900, whereas in the United States it is only $220,100. In California, demand exceeds supply. And supply is constrained because of unwarranted environmental laws such as SB 375 that have made it nearly impossible to build housing outside the “urban service boundary.” These laws have made the value of land inside existing urban areas artificially expensive. Very expensive. Other overreaching environmentalist laws such as CEQA have made it nearly impossible to build housing anywhere.

Then there are the government fees attendant to construction, along with the ubiquitous and lengthy permitting delays caused by myriad, indifferent bureaucracies with overlapping and often conflicting requirements. There is a separate fee and a separate permit seemingly for everything: planning, building, impact, schools, parks, transportation, capital improvement, housing, etc. Government fees per home in California often are well over $100,000; in the City of Fremont in 2017, they totaled nearly $160,000 on the $850,000 median value of a single family home.

This is a shakedown. It has caused a politically engineered housing shortage in California that enriches billionaire property developers that have the financial strength to withstand decades of delays and millions in fees, because they reap the extreme profits when they sell these homes at inflated prices. Also enriched are the public servants whose pay and pensions depend on all taxes – definitely […] Read More