The City Council of Santa Cruz, California is going to spend $200,000 to decorate, embellish, create a planned turnabout in an important touristy location. I am not sure we need a turnabout at all. It confuses Americans. If we need one, I don’t know why it has to have artistic qualities as judged by the philistines on the city council. The location itself is quite beautiful. Is the council determined to compete with Mother Nature? I guess there is no economic crisis after all. (The council is dominated by Leftists.)
To make things worse, the commission goes to an artist from Rhode Island, clear across the continent. The local paper, an objective ally of the council, does not say how the awardee was selected. Santa Cruz has thousands of artists. Sometimes, it seems that everyone who is not a therapist, an acupuncturist, a herbalist, or a teacher is an artist. Some residents combine two or more of the above avocations, as you might expect. The fiscal irresponsibility has reached the point where I am going to say “no” to any expenditure, I don’t care how justified the cause would seem to me if I understood it. I don’t want to know. It’s “No.” In the current context, this expenditure is an obscenity and a small atrocity.
I listened to the debate yesterday between the two California candidates for the beleaguered office of governor of this failing state. I am going to vote for Meg Whitman, of course, the former CEO of E-Bay. The main reason is that she is not Jerry Brown, a charlatan I have known all my adult life and a proven failure at every political office he has tried. He has tried most of them, incidentally, including Governor, twice, in the late seventies and early eighties.
It’s not that I am passionate about Whitman. She sounds like somebody’s mom. Mostly, she does not go far enough. Mildly challenged by Tom Brokaw during the debate about how to fix the State of California’s broken financial situation, she responds the usual way: Chase down fraud and waste. Given the financial condition of the state, that’s a kind of intellectual atrocity although a small one, I would agree.
As I have said before on this blog, that’s not good enough. Every politician promises to solve every fiscal problem by reducing fraud and waste. Whatever can be done has probably been done in this respect. What’s left is not worth doing or not sufficient to make a difference. Or else, it cannot be done. I wanted the Republican candidate to say:
Those are tough times for everyone. We have to reduce expenditures everywhere, no exception, We will have to cut all services, yes including fire and police. And of course, we will have to reduce educational expenditures since education eats more than half of the state budget.
As a start, as a way of limbering up for things to come. Whitman could call for across-the-board cuts of 5%, everywhere, no exception. Think about it: How many of you could not reduce their expenditures by 5% without suffering much? Think of turning off the lights, denying yourself that cookie that’s not good for you anyway, drinking (tap) water with dinner once a week, switching from double latte (that did not exist for your parents anyway). And some of you ladies: How about foregoing this absurdly expensive pair of shoes you were probably going to crumble for. (Sorry for the stereotype but there is a reason they exist at all.)
After such a cut, we would be in a better mental frame of mind to begin real cutting. Here is a mental experiment: How badly off do you think we would be if 1/3 of all state employees not directly engaged with the public were laid off suddenly? Think of the instantaneous savings.
As for the next-to-near future, it’s simple: Any politician who does not announce big spending cuts clearly and loudly is going to raise taxes and further discourage economic growth. Thus, Whitman may be a political stepping stone to a more radical retrenchment. Or, she may surprise me and do what’s right and brave. One thing is sure: Brown will not.
The most astounding news for today come from the French Le Figaro, a reasonably good centrist newspaper. It put up an article on-line about Israel’s contingency plans in the unlikely case there is a peace treaty with the Palestinian authority. As you might guess, the Israeli civil authorities expect that some Jewish West Bank settlers will riot on the news that they have to move. And, of course, Hamas will try a coup to seize the West Bank from the Palestinian Authority because Hamas wants war with Israel, not peace. (It’s in the Hamas Charter.)
The real news, is that Israel also anticipates massive riots from its Arab citizens in case of a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority. It’s easy to guess that such an accord would lead to an exchange of territories. Israel would insist on retaining large segments of the West Bank it has annexed, for practical purposes, currently occupied by hundreds of thousands of Jews. In return, it would agree to give the PA probably a thin corridor linking the West Bank to Gaza. That would not be enough, however. Israel would also cede some of its current territory, squarely within the borders of Israel proper for fifty years. Areas heavily populated by Arabs would be natural candidates for a cession as such an operation would minimize the displacement of Jewish citizens.
Now, pay attention because you may have missed the irony: The people who would be affected are Palestinians by any definition. You can bet there has not been any immigration into Israel of Arabic-speaking Muslims or Christians. Anyone currently living within the 1949 borders of Israel who is a native speaker of Arabic and not Jewish is a Palestinian. So, Israel is predicting that Palestinian Muslims (with a sprinkling of Palestinian Christians) will riot to avoid having to live under the rule of Palestinian Muslims. If that is not the final verdict on comparative humanity and civilization, what is?
If the preparations for the riots are all Israeli propaganda, it’s masterful propaganda. I don’t think so because, in the past, when right-wing Israeli politicians spoke of expelling Arabs with Israeli citizenship, there were loud protests immediately. And by the way, the Israeli government’s recent trial balloon about an oath of loyalty is probably related. Prime Minister Netanyahu proposed that all Israeli citizens should swear an oath to Israel “as a Jewish state.” Such an oath would enrage the surprisingly large number of Orthodox Jewish Israeli citizens who insist that Israel has not right to exist (for scriptural reasons), it’s true. It would also serve the purpose of sorting the goats from the sheep among Arab citizens. Interesting; worth following.
Of course, I am expecting comments about the feared Israeli Arabs’ riots from several quarters. I can’t wait to hear what the Arab League has to say about this problem. And I am looking forward to the expressions of commiseration of countless, Western, “humanitarian” anti-Zionist organizations. They may have to deal with yet another Zionist atrocity: The merciless clubbing by the brutal Israeli police of Arab demonstrators demanding to be left within the reach of Zionist atrocities.
I am not holding my breath about comments. As I keep telling you: Pay attention to what does not happen. It says a lot about reality.
You may have noticed I don’t blog much about the Obama administration anymore. I think it would be unsporting. It’s a rout, economic, political and moral. The President now looks pathetic. I might cover him again if I find anything at all he has done right. I don’t mean right by my lights only. I mean anything he has accomplished according to any constituency.
[Editor's note: this essay first appeared on Dr. Delacroix's blog, Facts Matter, on October 13th, 2010]