Thursday, June 8, 2017

Coming of Age in California

At Dodger Stadium

The Klonsky Bros. are winding up our Hitting Left listening tour, combing L.A. for current and future listeners. Our search has taken us from ocean-front Santa Monica and Venice, through Topanga Canyon to the Valley, and back west with a stop in our old Silverlake hood for lunch.

Yesterday we touched base with potential listeners at Dodger Stadium while watching one of the great pitching match ups of the century between the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. Dodgers won, of course, by a predictable 2-1 score.

Having come of age here in the '60s, I've had to come to grips with the reality that (for better or worse) this is not that California. Aesthetically it's so much worse. Politically, it's so much better. I grew up and went to college here in the Nixon/Reagan era when the state always went red in national elections and big ag and the defense industries ruled the roost. Republicans won the state in nearly every presidential election between 1952 and 1988.

But the expanding need for farm and service workers led to an explosion in California’s Latino and Asian populations which boomed in the 1990s and the GOP's racist and anti-immigrant stance became the party's achilles heel. It still is.

Since the party closely tied itself to Proposition 187, a ballot measure that denied public services to those without legal documents. Democratic candidates have won decisively in every election since 1992 by performing well in the most populous areas. Despite failing to win the presidency, Hillary Clinton won a higher percentage of votes than any candidate since Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Dems keep talking about how she won the popular vote by 3 million -- it was essentially California.

Is Gov. Brown the new leader of the "free world"? Politics in CA these days are a bundle of contractions. The state has become a leader in green technology and regulation of big polluting companies. Now its the information movers and high-tech that have the power and enormous concentrations of private wealth. Their globalists, not nationalists and they especially like their pan-Pacific partnerships.

After Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, CA's Gov. Jerry Brown, stepped into the breech and took up the environmental banner. His recent meeting with top Chinese officials will lead to a massive expansion of cooperative business ventures. It also had Brown and Chinese President Xi Jinping sharply criticizing Trump's America First line.

According to the Washington Post:
Xi “has definitely given the green light for more collaboration between China and California and, I would say, other states through this subnational-level arrangement,” Brown said.
So while Trump's unilateral abandonment of the Paris Accord pretty much handed over leadership of the pact to China and Europeans, it also has opened up possibilities for states like California and cities to act autonomously or in concert, forming global partnerships for the new economy.

The other side of the California contradiction lies in the assault by a handful of billionaire corporate reformers, Republican and Democrat, on the state's public school system. What ties the likes of Democrat-leaning CA billionaires Eli Broad and Bill Gates to Trump and Betsy DeVos is their autocratic style, disdain for government regulation, dislike of public employee (especially teacher) unions and their ideological bent towards privatization, "choice", charters and vouchers.

Broad recently bankrolled successful pro-choice school board election campaigns in the most expensive board elections ever.  His dream is nothing less than the total replacement of L.A. public schools with privately-run charters, a la New Orleans.

But we will keep hitting left.

Tune in tomorrow at 11 CDT to Klonsky Brothers radio on WLPN FM,streaming live on the internet at Lumpen Radio to hear move about our west coast listening tour.

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