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Outsiders vs. Insiders: It’s about time we ask: Are Californians crazy or just plain stupid?

“Are you crazy, or just plain stupid?” – Bubba’s mother in Forrest Gump.

Living in California certainly is crazy but it’s never boring. I should know having spent my first 27 years of life in the Golden State, most of which were lived under semi-sane Republican rule and governmental policies that made sense. Coming of age in the 80’s on the west coast with favored son President Ronald Reagan frequently Sean Hannityextolling the virtues of his adopted home state (in addition to vacationing at Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara) and leading the country with lofty “Shining City on a Hill” rhetoric was about as good as it got for an American kid.

Back then California was a grand mix of everything – different peoples, varied topography, a burgeoning economy, growing communities, incredible weather, endless recreational possibilities and perhaps worthiest of all, a “we are the best of the best” attitude that was contagious. Everyone wanted to be a Californian – or at least to know or be related to one.

Remember the Randy Newman song, “I Love L.A.?” It was our mantra. California was the stuff of dreams – and if it wasn’t found there Hollywood would most certainly create it in a studio.

In 2018, however, California is a shadow of its former self. If the 80’s were the golden age of the Golden State then the second decade of the 21st century represents its nadir – or at least to be near rock bottom. How much lower can California go? If things continue the way they are the rest of America is about to find out.

Let’s begin with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s lawsuit against the Trump administration, contesting the Commerce department’s recent announcement the feds intend to re-add the “Are you a citizen?” question to the 2020 census. It seems the one-party-rule California government objects to a query that was non-controversially part of the census for decades.

According to reporting from Jeff Daniels of CNBC the gist of the suit is thus: “California sues the federal government over its decision to add a citizenship question on the 2020 Census; Xavier Becerra, California's attorney general, says Tuesday the citizenship question was ‘another reckless decision’ by the Trump administration; The suit says the decision ‘will directly impede’ efforts to obtain an accurate population count, and, The state is concerned a lower population could ultimately jeopardize billions in federal funding as well as a congressional seat.”

Did you get all that? In other words, Becerra and the California powers-that-be insinuate that the federal government lacks the authority to ask people residing within the borders of the United States whether they are citizens (much less have legal sanction to be here). If this is the case – and here’s guessing some federal judge somewhere will fall for Becerra’s contention – then the Constitution basically ceases to be.

We can’t even ask people if they’re a citizen anymore? Really?

Anyone who’s ever taken the long-form census knows the feds ask some crazy stuff. In 2010 we had a gentleman pester us relentlessly to allow him to ask all of these questions. He even came in and sat at our kitchen table. We were assured that all of the information was confidential and it was only meant for government data crunchers to get a better understanding of who’s who and where they live, yet it wasn’t exactly a comfortable experience spilling the beans so openly to a representative of Uncle Sam.

With Obama in charge of the executive branch at the time and the IRS and the Tea Parties…you never know what could happen.

But why would anyone object to the simple citizenship question being added? The information would (unfortunately) not be used against anyone. Lord knows “undocumenteds” apply for drivers licenses, send their kids to public schools and universities, get free healthcare and a host of government benefits and services without being here legally. Why is this any different?

Is California really concerned illegal aliens will be so frightened by the “Are you a U.S. citizen?” query (no doubt worded in Español, too) that they won’t even fill out a questionnaire?

Not to mention the census form is but one method the government uses to tabulate population figures. Needless to say not everyone returns their census documents (for a variety of reasons – the dog ate it?), yet there still are ways to count people. Literally since the founding of the republic the government was required to make a good faith estimate of who resides here regardless of their “status”.

The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “There is much fretting on the Left that the resurrected question might affect congressional representation, but this is an absurd notion and would never hold up in any court. The Constitution makes it clear that the decennial census must count everyone. A good textualist judge would tell you that we know this because that's how it's always been understood. At the time of the founding, the census counted many classes of people who couldn't vote, such as children, women, and slaves. The Three-Fifths Compromise was created specifically to prevent slave states from taking even greater advantage of slavery to enhance their numbers in the House of Representatives.

“So the precedent is solidly established that House seats have to be apportioned based on total population, not voter-eligible population. No one can reasonably read the Constitution and conclude otherwise.

“But that doesn't mean the census can't ask other questions, too. The citizenship question was asked by the census before 1960, so what is the basis today for a court to rule that it violates the Actual Enumeration Clause, as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is arguing?”

Once again it goes back to those crazy Californians supposing they’re special and demanding a separate set of rules than everyone else has to live by. In fairness other liberal Democrat state Attorneys General (in only slightly less loco places like New York and Massachusetts) are joining with Becerra to object to the Trump administration’s action, but there’s no “question” where the main thrust of opposition is coming from. Hint: it’s the land of fruits and nuts with beaches facing the setting sun and a border with Mexico.

Obviously Becerra and other Democrat cohorts are terrified that if not all of their illegal aliens respond to the census form they’ll lose government goodies desperately needed to maintain their servile underclass. Thanks mainly to the tech industry California has one of the healthiest economies in America yet its poverty level is the highest and its homeless problem (in the biggest cities) teeters on the edge of a third-world-like humanitarian crisis.

Even those who technically aren’t homeless are having a heck of time putting a roof over their heads. The crazy California leaders love their illegal aliens but they also don’t want to tick off their environmental nutcase financial backers by actually geographically expanding communities to account for the overpopulated non-citizenry. Lack of housing is a huge issue on the west coast.

Steven Greenhut wrote at The American Spectator last week, “California’s leaders ... have created a housing crisis thanks to myriad policies that make it difficult — at times, nearly impossible — for those ‘greedy’ developers to build new homes, condos, and apartments even as the state’s population grows. They can’t figure out why the rent is too darned high and U-Hauls (heading east) are so hard to come by.

“To most normal Americans, supply and demand is a concept as basic as gravity. To the Left, it’s something that can be overcome by central planning. So listening to the state’s Democrats debate housing policy is as mind-twisting as listening to Venezuela’s leaders argue about changing the numbers on the currency. It’s almost unfathomable, actually. And, in fairness, California’s leading Republicans don’t have a firm grasp on the concept, either...”

Greenhut further explained localities make the new construction permitting process so arduous it can take over a decade to get official government permission to build something. Meanwhile, places like San Francisco apparently have a healthy number of vacancies despite astronomical market value because of rent control and tenants-rights laws. Landlords are foregoing the monthly money rather than risking having to evict a tenant (which is nearly impossible).

“The housing statistics are daunting. The median home value in the state has topped a half-million dollars. California’s cost-of-living-adjusted poverty rate is the highest in the nation due primarily to housing costs, according to the Census Bureau. Homeless encampments are spreading. It’s a simple supply and demand issue, yet even a bill to address the situation in an infinitesimal way is a huge controversy. And the Left is on the march to make things worse,” Greenhut wrote.

Any notion I periodically entertain to one day relocate back to the land of my birth are quickly dashed by the insurmountable cost barriers to doing so. In addition, there’s little incentive to live in a place where illegal aliens receive more consideration from state government than longtime citizens. Who wants to be taxed into oblivion to pay for the mess?

California was once a shining beacon of opportunity for Americans. “So goes California, so goes the rest of the nation” people were fond of saying. If this is true then Kamala Harris will be president in 2021, everyone’s guns will be confiscated and sold to Mexican drug cartels to pay for her campaign, no one dare speak out in favor of limited government and Americans (citizens, at least) will be required to swear an oath of allegiance to abortion and gay marriage.

And don’t forget legalizing drugs. A pot store on every corner, perhaps?

It's gotten so out of hand that certain localities within the Golden State are rebelling against their own government. Paulina Dedaj of Fox News reported, “Officials in California's Orange County voted Tuesday to join a lawsuit from the Trump administration fighting the state's ‘sanctuary city’ laws, hours after the county sheriff's department announced its own methods of pushing back against the legislation aimed at protecting illegal immigrants.

“Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra would not rule out taking action of his own against officials who fight the laws, including the sheriff.

“’State law is state law. It’s my job to enforce state law and I will do so. We want to make sure that every jurisdiction, including Orange County, understands what state law requires of the people and the subdivisions of the state of California,’ Becerra said at a news conference. When asked if that meant an arrest or lawsuit against the sheriff, Becerra responded, ‘I think I just answered that.’”

In other words California’s Attorney General sues the United States government because of the Commerce Department’s adding of a citizenship question to the census but is unwilling to allow local jurisdictions to comply with federal law when he disagrees with it. Talk about tyranny.

Yes, in California the state government sues or arrests its own citizens for deferring to the Constitution. Will Becerra throw the Orange County Sheriff (who happens to be a woman) in jail for enforcing the law? Is that crazy? You decide.

For his part, President Trump sides with Orange County.

There’s a movement afoot in America to compel Trump to build the border wall, too. Last week 380 sheriffs in 40 states demanded that Congress build the president’s wall and battle illegal immigration. Not everyone believes in sanctuary cities/states, apparently.

It's a sad fact of life that California has become the running joke of the United States. One wishes the Golden State’s leaders could just stare into a mirror and recognize exactly how stupid they look to the rest of the country. But then again, if they did that, they just might see a crazy person.

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