Needles, California last week

By John Ruberry

While I’m watching snow fall outdoors at Marathon Pundit world headquarters in Morton Grove, Illinois, the rest of my family is vacationing in southern California.

When they drove into California at Needles, just as the Joads did in The Grapes of Wrath, they were also greeted by more desert, as well as this 76 sign, which informs motorists that regular gasoline is selling for $3.79-a-gallon, more than a dollar above the national average.

Taxes are of course the reason and late last year the Tarnished State increased its gas taxes by 12 cents-a-gallon, to pay for road improvements.

California’s problems are vast. When the cost-of-living is figured in California suffers from the nation’s highest poverty rate. Modern day Joads are better off staying in Oklahoma. California’s roads are in bad shape because of onerous financial obligations in other parts of the budget. CalPERs, California’s public worker pension plan, is a sinkhole, so much so that Governor Jerry Brown is suggesting that pension benefits might be lowered–even for state workers currently paying into the program.

Another budget-buster is California’s high-speed rail project. Eight years ago voters approved the $40 billion project because government would pay for construction, which would make it “free.” Cost estimates for it have already climbed to $64 billion. If completed, and right now that might be stretch at best, it will run between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The relatively inexpensive segment where construction has begun, between Madera and Bakersfield, is already beset by delays, so much so that Victor Davis Hanson is musing that what little has been built could end up as nothing more than a modern Stonehenge. While the project is receiving federal funds, an increase of cash from Washington DC is not going to happen during the Trump presidency. So don’t count on a bailout, Californians.

Liberalism is expensive. And liberals love trains because, unlike cars and buses, they only go where there are tracks.

Moving up the Pacific Coast Highway into Oregon we learn that legislators are considering implementing an expensive cap-and-trade scheme that will punish large energy users, who are of course also large employers, in order to fight global warming. California has a cap-and-tax racket going already.  But there is some good news out of Oregon. Earlier this year, a new law took effect that allows drivers to fill up their own gas tanks–without an attendant. Of course some Oregonians freaked out, No, this was not an episode of Portlandia. Now only another coastal blue state, New Jersey, bans self-serve gas stations.

Blogger in Aberdeen, Washington

Heading north over the Columbia River into Washington, legislators in that blue state are debating a $10-a-ton carbon tax, one that a Democratic legislator who opposes it calls a “pretty sizable gas-tax increase.” Washington’s governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, who prefers a $20-a-ton tax, laughingly calls his plan a jobs creator.

The United States has much cheaper energy costs than Japan and most nations in Europe, which is one of the reasons, along with President Trump’s slashing of regulations–many of them involving energy–why the American economy is booming.

Does the West Coast want to be left behind as the rest of our nation enjoys prosperity? California, as it has been for decades for good and for ill, is already ahead of the curve.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

california-republic-bonesby baldilocks

Incensed by Hillary Clinton’s second unsuccessful presidential bid, California secession advocates are riled up and ready to go.

Supporters of a plan for California to secede from the union took their first formal step Monday morning, submitting a proposed ballot measure to the state attorney general’s office in the hopes of a statewide vote as soon as 2018.

Marcus Ruiz Evans, the vice president and co-founder of Yes California, said his group had been planning to wait for a later election, but the presidential election of Donald Trump sped up the timeline.

“We’re doing it now because of all of the overwhelming attention,” Evans said.

The Yes California group has been around for more than two years, Evans said. It is based around California taxpayers paying more money to the federal government than the state receives in spending, that Californians are culturally different from the rest of the country, and that national media and organizations routinely criticize Californians for being out of step with the rest of the U.S.

The attorney general’s office will give the ballot measure a title and summary, and Evans said he hopes to begin collecting signatures to get it on the ballot in the spring. Qualifying ballot measures typically requires significant resources to pay signature gatherers, and Yes California doesn’t have major financial backing. But Evans said 13,000 people have volunteered to collect signatures.

“This is real,” Evans said. “We treat it seriously.”

California has been fundamentally—and purposefully–transformed.

The state which was formerly conservative enough to have four GOP governors in the last 50 years—one being Ronald W. Reagan–has been shaped and molded into the image of the Organized Left’s fevered dreams. It has been Cloward-Pivened.

Many factors have sped the process along, the overturning of voter-approved Proposition 187 by the courts back in the 1990s being a significant signpost. And when hardcore leftist Jerry Brown was elected as governor of California in 2011 long after his first terms in the same office (1975-1983), it was a sign that the process was nearing completion. California is now a one party state.

These secessionists don’t know what they are doing; no clue about what they will likely start.

I can guess at one outcome: violence and mass ethnic cleansing. Who will be cleansed: non-Hispanics and non-Muslims—except for the rich.

A California secession would create a human calamity the likes of which most of us soft Americans have never imagined or witnessed, much less been a part of. There will be a lot of running for and being driven by force to the new border. But the Organized Left has been trying to turn this beautiful state into its utopian fantasy for a long time. Maybe the secessionists do know what they are doing.

I will actively campaign and educate against it. Some might say that it can’t be stopped, but doing nothing is not an option.

And I say that secession would be be this state’s final blunder because, at that point, the California we knew will be gone.

UPDATE: California has become not-California a lot faster than I predicted. Look closely.

ca-assemblypinmisspelled
The new California State Assembly pin

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

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