Thursday, August 26, 2010

While Rome burns 

As a know-it-all teenager growing up in Iowa, I once declared with great certainty that the federal government should not do anything that it was possible for the states to do. My father looked at me over his glasses and suggested that I might not hold to that opinion if I lived in Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey. He might have added California, which took time out from not dealing with its catastrophic fiscal crisis to erect a truly asinine non-tariff trade barrier:

A bill authored by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D – San Fernando Valley) requiring companies seeking contracts to build California’s High Speed Rail system to disclose their involvement in deportations to concentration camps during World War II gained final approval from the state legislature today. AB 619, the Holocaust Survivor Responsibility Act, passed the Assembly on a vote of 50 – 7 and was sent to the governor, who will have until September 30 to act on it. AB 619 would require companies seeking to be awarded high speed rail contracts to publicly disclose whether they had a direct role in transporting persons to concentration camps, and provide a description of any remedial action or restitution they have made to survivors, or families of victims. The bill requires the High Speed Rail Authority to include a company’s disclosure as part of the contract award process.

The point, of course, is to prevent the French from competing for the contract, their trains having transported Jews to concentration camps while under occupation by the Germans. Too bad for California, because by my reckoning the French make the best high-speed trains in the world. At least among countries with relatively weak currencies.

The United States, or for that matter, the State of California, had better hope that other countries do not hold it to the same standard. See, e.g., this gem from the comments:
Just curious; how were the Japanese-Americans transported inland in 1942?

No moral equivalence implied, but I would be quite surprised if there were not members of the California legislature who were descended from people who benefited from the "forfeited" property from those deported Japanese-Americans. And do we really need the many countries against which we have waged war, however legitimately, imposing similar restrictions? Of course, the law does serve one essential purpose. It distracts at least some of the public from reflecting on the rank incompetence of the California political class.

CWCID: The always interesting Facebook feed of Mindles H. Dreck.


By Blogger pam, at Thu Aug 26, 03:12:00 PM:

UGH. Let's hold the children permanently responsible for the sins of their parents.

I knew a woman whose husband was in three German camps. Once freed, he came to America. He refused "restitution." He told them to spend the money on education so it would never happen again. . .  

By Blogger "Mindles H. Dreck", at Thu Aug 26, 04:32:00 PM:

You forget my Twitter summary - "Freedom Fries, California style".  

By Blogger Lilac Sunday, at Thu Aug 26, 05:25:00 PM:

I went with the snappy headline "California declares war on France." For Sacramento to be consumed with meaningless twaddle like this when our budget is 2 months late and $20 billion in the hole is inexcusable.  

By Anonymous Mo, at Thu Aug 26, 11:03:00 PM:

Sickening. The Dems are just truly repulsive. And, I say that as the grandson of grandparents murdered in Auschwitz. To desecrate their memories, with a bill that is so repulsive and anti-freedom, makes me want to scream.

BTW, my father was a survivor; it was his parents who were killed; he too refused reparation money from the German government. He was a principled individual (he's gone now) unlike these sacks-of-crap in Sacramento.

Is there a way to do a "de-statehood" and let California go its own way? Force it to secede? We'd be ok. I know their economy is large, but their debt is now overwhelmingly larger. Cut 'em loose until or unless they come back to sanity.

I read they are losing a number of large companies, to neighboring Utah. The Sacramento Insane Clown Posse, i.e. the Dem-controlled State Legislature, is trying to just finish off the state anyway.

Just a thought.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Aug 26, 11:24:00 PM:

It distracts at least some of the public from reflecting on the rank incompetence of the California political class.

I believe they think it distracts from the monumental stupidity of this $40 billion boondoggle.  

By Anonymous Brent, at Fri Aug 27, 11:10:00 AM:

Our Federal system needs a mechanism for putting failed states like California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, etc. into receivership and then reconstructing them. A house divided cannot stand, after all.  

By Blogger showbiz111, at Sun Aug 29, 08:47:00 PM:

The thing is that California's law does not operate solely overseas. If you take the position that the US internment camps for Italians, Germans and Japanese during WWII, were 'concentration camps' then any railroad company transporting them would be fair game for disclosure. Since it is likely that those same companies continue in operation, and by virtue of their one hundred year experience in rail travel, that they would have the current knowledge and experience to competitively compete for california contracts, California would seem to be excluding all domestic and european (and if we throw in Soviet and Japanese WWII railroads) railroad companies from developing calirail trains. At the very least there would appear to be equal protection arguments, why should domestic concentration camps railways be considered morally and legally superior to foreign companies doing the same nefarious deeds?  

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