The California Contradiction – Protect Us From that Straw

 

 

By Mel Mann     

Imagine a state that passes a law welcoming, coddling and protecting criminals who already have a history of endangering citizens.  Next, imagine a state where the State’s Attorney General warns business leaders they will be prosecuted if they work with or provide information to federal authorities.  Lastly, imagine that same state passing laws, and judges issuing orders that make no sense except to micromanage people’s lives, all in the name of keeping them safe.  This may seem a contradiction, but indeed, this is California.

The state of California keeps a list of chemical it considers possible causes of cancer, one of which is acrylamide which, among other sources is created when coffee beans are roasted.  A lawsuit first filed in 2010 by the nonprofit ‘Council for Education and Research on Toxics’ targets a number of companies that make or sell coffee, including 7-Eleven and Starbucks.  The lawsuit alleges that the defendants (7-Eleven, Starbucks, etc) “failed to provide clear and reasonable warning” that drinking coffee could expose people to acrylamide.

In addition to coffee, acrylamide can be found in potatoes and baked goods like crackers, bread and cookies, breakfast cereal, canned black olives and prune juice, although its presence is not always labeled. Its presence is noted in some food packaging, though it is most commonly found as a component of tobacco smoke. According to the National Cancer Institute, the highest levels of acrylamide that people are exposed to come from tobacco smoke, not food. Studies done on humans have found “no statistically significant association between dietary acrylamide intake and various cancers,” according to the 2014 research review.  

The World Health Organization in 2016 removed coffee from its “possible carcinogen” list in 2016, citing studies that “indicate coffee is unlikely to cause breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer, and it seems to lower the risks for liver and uterine cancers, the agency said …” Despite all this good research, a California judge in early 2018 ruled that Californians need to be protected from their coffee-drinking habit. Maybe baked potato’s also need a warning label.

While a Los Angeles judge was making a ruling on coffee without any clear scientific consensus or evidence, California Gov. Jerry Brown was pardoning five ex-convict illegal aliens facing deportation.

The Washington Times provided the following details on the men below who had their records wiped clean by a governor.

-Sokha Chhan: who is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending deportation to Cambodia. He was convicted of inflicting corporal injury with the intent to terrorize his spouse. Without the legalese, that means beating his wife.

-Daniel Maher: a native of Macau who was sentenced in 1995 for kidnapping, robbery and using a firearm. He was detained by ICE in 2015. 

-Phann Pheach: a native of Thailand convicted in 2005 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and obstructing a police officer. He has been detained by ICE and is facing possible deportation to Cambodia. The possession and sale of drugs used to be considered a serious offense.

-Francisco Acevedo Alaniz: convicted of vehicle theft.

-Sergio Mena: sentenced in 2003 for possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Clearly, with disregard for public safety, Governor Brown is specifically taking actions to thwart President Trump.  Infighting and backstabbing among politicians is not new, but it is seldom done at the expense of the safety and well-being of the people of California.

President Trump tweeted, “Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs. Is this really what the great people of California want?  If one of the goals of our public institutions is to ensure public safety, clearly these pardons contradict that notion.

In October of 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that places sharp limits on how state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  Effectively, the law made California a ‘sanctuary’ state, offering virtually any illegal immigrant substantial protections.  This was followed in January of 2018 by a statement from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.  After rumors circulated that ICE was going to do an immigration enforcement sweep, Becerra warned employers he is prepared to seek fines if they violate the state law that prohibits them from giving information on employees to federal authorities.  He went on to state that employers who violate the new law face fines of up to $10,000.

While I have read the U.S. Constitution, I am neither a lawyer nor a politician so my interpretation may be somewhat naïve.  It would seem outwardly that California, as it openly rebukes federal authority might appear to be planning to succeed from the union.  What other explanation is there for telling people at a state level they will be fined and prosecuted if they respect federal authority. The last time this was tried more than half a million people died, federal authority won out and the carpetbaggers were the only real winners after the dust settled.

America was built by immigrants and continues to evolve on the energies of both existing and new residents.  As a country, the U.S. still accepts more than half a million new legal immigrants every year through a variety of channels.  All of these people represent an investment in our future, but the borders are the responsibility of the federal government and not the states.  Of course, if illegal immigrants continue to enter the country, there will continue to be periodic amnesty programs granting them citizenship.  Could this merely be a ploy to recruit waves of new democratic voters?

California is considering a new law to ban removable plastic bottle caps and to restrict plastic straws. All these restrictions are in the name of saving the ocean.  Saving the ocean is an important cause that we should all take seriously.  In this spirit, it is important that we have meaningful policies that actually addresses this issue.  Regulating the plastic products that go into our landfills seems to have little relevance to the trash that ends up in our oceans.  In a 2015 issue of “The Journal Science”, it was reported that millions of tons of plastic trash flow into the world’s oceans each year.  It was also reported in a new study findings that most of the plastic comes from China and developing economies in Asia. The study estimated that “China’s heavily coastal population contributes 1.3 million to 3.5 million metric tons of plastic to the world’s oceans each year, largely due to mismanaged waste.” It is difficult to understand how California redesigning bottle caps and taking away plastic straws will solve the issue of other countries trash ending up in the ocean.

Magicians specialize in misdirection; make you look to the left while all the action is happening to the right.  Maybe, all these environment policies are a form of political misdirection.  It appears like our politician’s actually care about the environment, and that our lifestyle is the problem.  Maybe neither is true, but with enough razzle-dazzle, we are entertained and accept what we are being told?

Despite how confusing, frustrating and at times irrational this legislation appears, it has helped me to better understand the philosophy of the Democratic Party in California.  California being a predominately Democratic state is considered a benchmark for the Democratic agenda. Pundits and politicians will often describe the current Democratic philosophy as “progressive”, “Liberal”, “big government”, “regulation intensive”, etc.  Therefore, the Republican Party is often described as conservative, unregulated, etc.  Regardless of the terms you affix to these political agendas, they seem more the symptom than the philosophical foundation of the political agenda.  There is a philosophical debate in evangelical Christianity that closely parallels the difference between the Republican and Democratic Party platforms. 

The religious debate centers on “Determinism” and “nondeterminism”.  Determinism is the doctrine that the good and bad things that happen in life are predetermined by some external force or plan.  The advantage to a Determinist view is that you are never really responsible for things that do not go well. Nondeterminism is much more about free will.  This ultimately means that you own your success and can blame no one but yourself when things do not go well.  The foundation to the Democratic Party is very similar to Determinism.  The liberal belief is that big government and lots of oversight is necessary because people can’t be trusted to run their own lives properly.  Much like Determinism, individuals are not in control of their own destiny.  This approach also ensures there are no losers at the expense of the success of others.  Effectively, this means that citizens are presumed to be potentially inept, and therefore policy must be developed to protect them from themselves.

While many people will frustrate over the frivolous legislation that California politicians create, there is clearly value here.  For people who don’t like to think for themselves there is significant value to living under a heavily Democratic political system.  In contrast, if you enjoy thinking for yourself and making smart decision on your own behalf, California may be a continuous source of angst and confusion.  The concept that a few select individuals are allowed to impose their personal view on the manner in which many people conduct the smallest aspects of their lives should be something to fear.

Personally, I don’t think I need to be protected from the straw I was planning to put in my cancer causing drink.

 

Mel Mann currently works as a software developer as well as dappling in playing the blue grass banjo.


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