Category Archives: California

Fish Instead of People, Ideologies without Consequences

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

If only people had to live in the world that they dreamed of for others.

Endangered species everywhere are supposed to be at risk — except birds of prey shredded by wind turbine farms, or reptilian habitats harmed by massive solar farmsHigh-speed rail is great for utopian visionaries — except don’t dare start it in the Bay Area, when there are yokels aplenty down in Hanford to experiment on. Let’s raise power bills to the highest levels in the country with all sorts of green mandates — given that we live in 70-degree year-round temperatures, while “they” who are stupid enough to dwell in 105-degree Bakersfield deserve the resulting high power bills. We need cheap labor, open Read more →

Meet the Richerals

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

The new millennium has also given us a new American profile — the hip richeral. Richerals are, of course, well off. But they are even more cool and liberal. The two facts are not so much incompatible, as Stack_of_moneycomplementary.

For some, big money allows three things: wealth’s cocoon enables you to dream safely about utopia rather than being laid off and broke; it exempts you from worrying much about the high taxesand regulations needed to pay for your redistributionist fantasy agendas; and it gives you the influence, capital, and opportunities to flee from the messy ramifications of your own ideology.

The other side of being liberal is just as important for the richerals. Guilt is a primordial human emotion — usually in civilization’s history assuaged by religion and the accompanying fear of damnation in the hereafter. But richerals are more likely than average to be either agnostic or atheistic. Yet that fact does not mean that they feel any less guilty about unfairness and inequality. So they do have deities of sorts — a hip Read more →

Let’s Save California Now!

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

Just a handful of legislative acts might still save California. Here are 12 brief examples:

1. The Hetch Hetchy Smelt and Salmon Act

This so-called “Skip a Shower, Save a Smelt Act” would transfer control of the Hetch 800px-Flag_of_California.svgHetchy reservoir releases from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The legislation would dismantle sections of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct west beyond the San Joaquin River, stop the present unnatural diversion of fresh water to San Francisco, and allow instead Hetch Hetchy fresh water to resume natural flows to the San Joaquin River — thus allowing the San Joaquin River and Tuolumne River to recover their salmon populations.

In addition, the transfers of fresh Hetch Hetchy water into the delta and beyond to the Pacific Ocean would preserve delta smelt populations.  To make up the losses, the law Read more →

The Costs of the Environmentalism Cult

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

California is in the third year of a drought, but the problem isn’t a lack of water. The snowfall in the Sierra provides enough to help us ride out the years of drought. All we need to do is store it.

WaterArchives.org via Flickr

WaterArchives.org via Flickr

But California hasn’t built a new dam in 35 years. Worse than that, every year we dump 1.6 million acre-feet of water––about enough to serve 3.2 million families for a year––into the Pacific Ocean in order to protect an allegedly “endangered” 3-inch bait-fish called the Delta smelt. California’s $45 billion agricultural industry, a global breadbasket that produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, is set to take a huge hit, with hundreds of thousands of acres left fallow and the San Joaquin Valley region’s already sky-high 17% unemployment destined to increase.

Meanwhile President Obama continues to dither on approving the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada. The latest in a string of environmental impact studies since 2008 has determined that the pipeline poses no threat to the environment. Indeed, it will lessen spills and pollution by transporting oil by pipeline rather than by more risky trains. Nor will abandoning the pipeline reduce carbon emissions, as the 830,000 barrels of oil will simply go someplace else, most likely China, the world’s leader in carbon emissions. What will happen is up to 40 thousand American jobs will not be created, and dependence on imported oil from hostile countries like Venezuela will not be reduced. Meanwhile because the pipeline crosses our border with Canada, Secretary of Read more →

Republicans Go On an Immigration Reform Bender

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

Rather than twisting the political knife in the gaping wound that is Obamacare, House Republicans are off on a “comprehensive immigration reform” toot. The 519px-Greatwall_largelatest news has the Speaker putting off any action for now, and waiting until after the midterm elections in order not to anger the anti-amnesty base, and “to goose Latino turnout or to swing purple districts” in 2016, as political blogger Allahpundit put it. In other words, electoral timing rather than principle is determining what happens.

But principle, not to mention common sense, is what’s at stake here. Anyone proposing “comprehensive” anything after the debacle of Obamacare is delusional. Complex problems are not going to be solved with grandiose legislation that tries to politically please everybody. Nor are most sensible voters likely once again to play Charlie Brown to the Congressional Lucy jerking away the promised “enforcement triggers” and “border security” football after the de facto amnesty is already in place. We went through all that in 1986, when the same promises of employer checks of legal residency and beefed-up border security were broken, more than doubling the number of illegal immigrants from 5 million to 11 million today. Read more →

A Tale Of Two Droughts

by Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Content Agency 

Despite recent sporadic rain, California is still in the worst extended drought in its brief recorded history. If more storms do not arrive, the old canard that California could withstand two droughts — but never

Photo Credit: NASA/NOAA

Photo Credit: NASA/NOAA

three — will be tested for the first time in memory.

There is little snow in the state’s towering Sierra Nevada mountains, the source of much of the surface water that supplies the state’s populated center and south. The vast Central Valley aquifer is being tapped as never before, as farms and municipalities deepen wells and boost pump size. Too many straws are now competing to suck out the last drops at the bottom of the collective glass.

The vast 4-million-acre farming belt along the west side of the Central Valley is slowly drying up. Unlike valley agriculture to the east that still has a viable aquifer, these huge farms depend entirely on surface water deliveries from the distant and usually wet northern part of the state. So if the drought continues, billions of dollars of Westside orchards and vineyards will die, row cropland will lay fallow, and farm-supported small towns will likewise dry up. Read more →

The Rural Way

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

Hard physical work is still a requisite for a sound outlook on an ever more crazy world. I ride a bike; but such exercise is not quite the same, given that the achievement of

Richard Croft

Richard Croft

doing 35 miles is therapeutic for the body and mind, but does not lead to a sense of accomplishment in the material sense — a 30-foot dead tree cut up, a shed rebuilt, a barn repainted. I never quite understood why all these joggers in Silicon Valley have immigrants from Latin America doing their landscaping. Would not seven hours a week spent raking and pruning be as healthy as jogging in spandex — aside from the idea of autonomy that one receives by taking care of one’s own spread?

On the topic of keeping attuned with the physical world: if it does not rain (and the “rainy” season is about half over with nothing yet to show for it), the Bay Area and Los Angeles will see some strange things that even Apple, Google, and the new Read more →

The World of the Coliseum

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

I woke up one morning not long ago, and noticed that the world that I was born into no longer exists. It was as if I had once lived in Republican Italy, took a nap, and awoke to the Roman 472px-Carl_Gustav_Carus_-_Das_Kolosseum_in_einer_MondnachtEmpire, AD 200.

Latifundia

Let me explain. All the farms in these environs that I grew up with — 40-80 acres with a farmhouse and family — have simply vanished.

Where did they go?

I suppose when I meet someone with 5,000 acres that I am supposed to think that spread represents the old, and now recombined, 100 50-acre farms under new management. Yet where did the 100 farm households go — and what replaced them?

When I ride around the rural landscape, I see the old skeletons of farmhouses; but they are mostly rented to farm workers.  Are the social circumstances of renting a house and working on a 5,000-acre farm different from 100 agrarian households doing it — in terms of local PTA, Little League, the regional hospital board, or city council?

I leave it to you to decide. I can attest only that in terms of agricultural productivity, today’s 8,000-acre almond operations look far more efficient, up to date, and savvy than what 100 80-acre almond orchards used to seem like: old barn, clunky tractors in the yard, kids out in the orchard not up on the latest scientific approaches to fertilization, mom doing the books in a way the computerized corporate whiz kid would laugh at, tight-fisted gramps hobbling about looking for loose tire-popping nails in the alleyway while giving sermons about avoiding a mortgage. Read more →

The Bay Area’s 1 Percenters

If you’re hip and liberal, your kids don’t have to go to school with the gardener’s kids.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Strip away the veneer of Silicon Valley, and it is mostly a paradox. Almost nothing is what it is professed to be. Ostensibly, communities like Menlo Park and Palo Alto are elite enclaves, where power couples can easily make $300,000 to $700,000 a year as mid-level Photo Credit: Chris Smart via Flickrdot.com managers.

But often these 1 percenter communities are façades of sorts. Beneath veneers of high-end living, there are lives of quiet 1-percent desperation. With new federal and California tax hikes, aggregate income-tax rates on dot.commers can easily exceed 50 percent of their gross income. And hip California 1 percenters do not enjoy superb roads and schools or a low-crime state in exchange for forking over half their income.

Housing gobbles much of the rest of their pay. A 1,300-square-foot cottage in Mountain View or Atherton can easily sell for $1.5 million, leaving the owners paying $5,000 to $6,000 on their mortgage and another $1,500 to $2,000 in property taxes each month. Add in the de rigueur Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus and the private-school tuition, and the apparently affluent turn out to have not all that much disposable income. Read more →

Reading Among the Ruins

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

I have been reading both new and classic books this week among the ruins (see photos below).

Martin Anderson, now almost in his 90th year, has written a fascinating memoir about fashioning a cattle and big-game preservation ranch in Africa: Galana: Elephant, Game Domestication, and Cattle on a Kenya Ranch. At one time Galana was believed to have been the largest single ranching operation in Africa, and one encouraged by the Kenyan government to be a model of tourism, cattle production, and wildlife protection.Galana is an analytical but also personal memoir about what Africa was like in its once hopeful and immediate postcolonial phase, and how Martin Anderson in his late thirties came to the Kenyan wild in 1960, when most Westerners were leaving, often for understandable reasons. When I last saw Martin two weeks ago, he was headed to Nairobi, undaunted by the recent Islamic violence at the shopping center, and eager to return to his ranch. When talking with Martin (who appears more like 65 than 89), one realizes that in some sense age is a state of mind — and old age a referendum on a life either smartly or unwisely lived.

Speaking of the bush and the wild, as I was finishing rereading Galana last evening, I got a call from my son about a truck speeding out of the family vineyard alleyway across the road. Yes, I know, reader — same old, same old:

The miscreants had already dumped their trash: chemical drums, paints, solvents, oils, concrete, tires, garbage, and lots of broken fluorescent glass tubes — something a bit worse than the usual toxic brew that is left on San Joaquin Valley property. Read more →