In Praise of Jim Lehrer and Real News

Jim Lehrer was a trustworhty source of news and information for decades hosting the PBS News Hour along with Robin MacNeil.  The Dallas Morning News editorial explains why he was so valuable and what is so sorely missed in today’s news media.  Jim Lehrer’s old school journalism is exactly how we should still be doing it today Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

When he signed off from his long and excellent broadcasting career, Jim Lehrer was still the same sort of journalist that he started as. He was, as he put it, a newspaperman.

The term is dated now, but Lehrer described in a common term then something important about the kind of journalism he did. It was a journalism that was sober and serious, more attached to reason than emotion, and in relentless pursuit of the facts.

His journalism was rooted in the way he did his job early in his career on the city desk of the Dallas Times-Herald and the Dallas Morning News, before he sat in front of a camera at KERA and launched himself in broadcast.

The camera’s lights never changed the man or the way he did his work, and the nation was better for it.

In his years alongside Robin MacNeil and alone, Lehrer, who died today at 85, presented the news fairly, fully and with genuine balance, standing as an example of how the work should be done of both presenting and consuming information about our world.

And it stands in such stark contrast to the nonstop nonsense of bias, noise and garbage that presents itself as television news today. That is entertainment created to hold eyeballs and sell ads. And that wasn’t Jim Lehrer’s journalism.

Lehrer was of the old school. In public broadcasting he perhaps did have the same pressures that commercial television might have applied. But given his personal character and his strong sense of the ethics of journalism, we doubt any commercial calling would have fit him at all.

Every journalist practicing the craft today should listen to his words about how to do the job and do it well. Because that is exactly what he did.

Here is what he said.

People often ask me if there are guidelines in our practice of what I like to call MacNeil Lehrer journalism. Well, yes, there are, and here they are.

Do nothing I cannot defend.
Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
Assume the viewer is as smart and caring and as good a person as I am.
Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label everything.
Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
And, finally, I am not in the entertainment business.

Rest in peace, Jim Lehrer. You were a great newspaperman.

Footnote: 

After Lehrer and MacNeil left, the PBS News Hour lost its edge, went soft and biased.  When global warming/climate change arose as an issue, the new team proved unable to steer in the cross currents.  I wrote a few times to suggest names of experts who would provide a balance to the alarmists they typically interviewed.  But environmentalists in their audience (and staff?) did not want any contrary information, and the show followed the party line rather than offending or educating.  In the old days, Lehrer and MacNeil were my go to channel for political event reporting, but that also later collapsed into panels of progressives and never-Trumpers.  It’s now little different from the other news entertainment outlets, sadly.

Uh Oh Canada

A Round up of political and social concerns in my homeland, the True North trying to be Strong and Free.

 

 

Extinction Rebellion Psychosis Patient Zero

From the Telegraph Climate activist who climbed Big Ben has ‘Extinction Rebellion psychosis’, judge says. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Aclimate change activist who scaled Big Ben in a green leotard and a blonde Boris Johnson wig has ‘Extinction Rebellion psychosis’ a judge has said.

Tree surgeon Benjamin Atkinson, 43, spent three hours on the scaffolding at Queen Elizabeth Tower last October.

Atkinson climbed the tower and unfurled a rainbow flag from the scaffolding carrying the XR logo which read: ‘No pride on a dead planet’.

He appeared barefoot at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday where he denied a single trespass charge.

His solicitor Jenny Winter indicated he intends to argue necessity in his defence and will call witnesses to give evidence on his suffering from “climate change anxiety”.

Chief Magistrate, Lady Emma Arbuthnot: “No, no, no, this is about climbing a tower, necessity is saving life or preventing immediate injury, necessity is a very narrow defence.

“The court may not allow you to rely on it,” she added.

Lady Arbuthnot described his climate change anxiety as “Extinction Rebellion psychosis”.

Crowds had gathered at Westminster during the three hour stunt at 3:30pm on 18 October last year.

While on the scaffolding he told Sky News by phone: ‘I don’t think Boris is doing his job properly – he needs to get past Brexit and start thinking about the sixth mass extinction event that’s happening as we speak.’

Atkinson, of Rydal, Cumbria, denies trespassing on a designated protected site under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and will return for trial on 14 April.

The maximum sentence for the offence is six months jail and or a fine not exceeding £5,000.

Footnote:

I was initially reluctant to label this sufferer as “patient zero” since there is an obvious epidemic of people showing related symptoms, especially on Fridays for some reason.  Finally I concluded that the label fits because for the first time a judicial authority has correctly diagnosed the condition as a form of insanity. However, the contagion continues:

 

The Greta/Davos Collusion

For those wondering why Greta is so welcome at Davos, an article at Spiked explains Why Davos loves Greta. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The super-rich and powerful politicians love being told off by supposedly radical greens.

Many people think Davos is a case of greedy capitalists and corrupt politicians meeting in dark rooms filled with cigar smoke – or, more realistically, with the scent of organic chai – and talking among themselves about how to become richer. Of course, big business and powerful politicians may well be plotting in Davos, and some crony deals will probably be on the agenda. But the real challenge they are engaged in is rather different – they are searching for a sense of purpose, of moral legitimacy.

Most capitalists have been convinced that making money and producing stuff is not purposeful enough. Apparently, it is too selfish and materialistic. Thus, they are constantly searching for a deeper meaning in their work, such as going greener, eliminating poverty or saving us from ‘fake news’ and online ‘hate speech’.

Politicians, meanwhile, feel more and more alienated from the ordinary people they are supposed to represent. They know that the average Joe does not share their cultural values or social-engineering goals. This is why they end up feeling more comfortable with activists like Greta Thunberg: she shares many of their views and celebrating her gives them a sense of legitimacy they cannot get from the likes of us.

Her constant berating of them, on a stage they happily provide for her, is a price worth paying for their desire to appear important and driven.

Today’s ‘radical activists’, including Greta, don’t tell politicians to get out of our lives. Instead, they call on them to play a bigger role in our lives, whether by changing our eco-behaviour, censoring hateful speech or managing our health. And that is music to the political class’s ears. The ‘1%’ needs these activists.

And the activists need the 1%. Social movements have been a force for good when they have demanded more freedom and less discrimination from the powers-that-be. But they tend not to do that anymore. Now, many social activists ask the state to take freedom away from ordinary people.

The anti-globalisation movement, Occupy and modern environmentalism all fall into this category. They have some legitimate concerns, such as the struggles of people in developing countries or the challenges of a changing climate. But behind these concerns, we can see an agenda whereby these supposed representatives of ‘the 99%’ turn to the 1% to ask them to make sure the rest of us change how we live. Be it consuming less, going local, cutting down on read meat, not flying with budget airlines, or substituting cheap and reliable sources of energy for expensive and unreliable ones, what started as campaigns to ‘raise awareness’ have become demands that the powerful force ordinary people to change.

The activists in Davos are really lobbyists. Only where the average corporate lobbyist tries to get a tax cut or favourable regulation, these activist-lobbyists are campaigning for changes that will have negative effects on all of us, especially on the less well-off in the global south. Alienated from the masses, these activists feel more comfortable with technocrats, bureaucrats and administrators who are happy to ordain them as legitimate representatives of ‘civil society’.

The world is indeed facing many critical challenges. Yet the solution does not lie in the elites meeting in mountain chalets and deciding what is good for the rest of us. The solution lies in trusting in human agency and ingenuity, and giving it the breathing space of freedom to flourish.

We can be certain this is one thing that Greta and the other activists in Davos will not be campaigning for.

Summary

There you have it. It’s not a mutual admiration society, but a dance of virtue signaling with a twist of SM theatrics: Greta playing Sadist to Billionaire Penitents. The activists get leverage for their agenda and the powerful get a veneer of legitimacy for imposing their will on the rest of us. Kabuki anyone?

Of course, someone else was there and not playing the game:

Things You Don’t Hear from Slanted Media

Cora Mandy explains at Real Politics Impeachment Crusade Blinds Media to Trump’s Accomplishments. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

For Americans across the country, Democrats’ and the media’s fixation on impeachment has engulfed the news the public has consumed for nearly four months. Democrats have worked tirelessly to convince the public that President Trump committed an impeachable offense. Unfortunately for them, these attempts have proved to be futile. Recent polling has shown a drop in support for impeachment. Where our country was previously evenly divided, Americans now oppose impeachment 50%-47% and Trump’s job approval rating has remained steady.

Americans see beyond spin and media narratives, but ascertaining what has been going on in Washington behind the sea of impeachment headlines can be difficult. A new Media Research Center analysis found that from the time that Democrats’ impeachment push began on Sept. 24, the evening newscasts on CNN, ABC, and NBC gave the president’s historic economy and trade developments just nine minutes of coverage, combined, out of 1,098 total minutes. Conversely, impeachment efforts and Ukraine received 849 minutes of airtime. That means news on Trump’s economy made up far less than 1% of the coverage.

Devoid of fair and balanced news sources, Americans do not realize just how much President Trump and his administration have accomplished in the face of the Democrats’ baseless impeachment efforts.

For starters, it was recently announced that nation’s average unemployment rate since Trump took office is the lowest recorded in history: 3.9%. The administration has created opportunities for Americans to rejoin the workforce, and as result we have seen a decline of over 7 million Americans no longer dependent on food stamps.

President Trump continues to break his own records: As of January 2020, more than 158,000,000 Americans are employed, the stock market is reaching new highs, and consumer confidence is at the highest in decades.

It’s impossible to refute the strength of the Trump economy. The media knows this and that is why coverage of it is lackluster; but that’s not the only victory by the administration that has been brushed over in the last few months.

Last December, President Trump signed The Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act. This bill appropriates funding for rape kit testing, DNA training programs, and the sexual assault forensic grant program. The backlog of rape kits in this country soars well over the tens of thousands. The funds granted in this bill ensure that these kits can be tested before the statues of limitations run out and that victims have a better chance of seeing justice.

President Trump took measures in November of 2019 to outlaw animal cruelty and make the prosecution of offenders easier when he signed The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act into law. This measure provides more comprehensive protections for animals against abuse, torture, and the making or sharing of videos that depict animal abuse. A prior loophole made it difficult to prosecute cruelty cases that crossed multiple jurisdictions, but PACT eliminates this.

President Trump also is keeping America’s youth safer. The development of e-cigarettes and vaping saw a resurgence of tobacco use among children and teens, with one in four high school seniors admitting to vaping. Vaping-related illnesses such as lung disease are on the rise, affecting thousands of Americans. In December of 2019, the administration took decisive action to prevent American children’s accessibility to these life-threatening products by raising the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21.

The Trump administration is keeping its promise to take care of our military and veterans and to secure our nation’s border. The spending deal passed in December delivered a 3.1% pay raise to military personnel, the largest pay increase in over a decade. Further, it provided over $1 billion in funding to continue wall construction on our southern border.

The spending bill also included paid family leave for federal workers, a measure that will bring the American government into the 21st century. Previously, the United States was one of just two countries out of 170 that did not provide financial compensation during family leave. The Trump administration is leading by example, encouraging private sector companies to follow in its footsteps to make paid family leave a possibility for all Americans.

The media will be in hysterics once more this week as Senate lawmakers set the rules and procedures for the impeachment hearings. While Democrats continue on their unfounded quest to remove a duly-elected president from office, Donald Trump will be busy delivering real results for the American people, despite what you may hear in the media.

Looking forward to 2020

 

Greta’s Sock Puppeteers Revealed

Greta, Greta and Greta? On the left, Svante Thunberg, on the right, Adarsh Prathap Photo: DR. Wikimedia Commons. Facebook

Facebook Glitch Reveals Greta Thunburg’s Father Posting As Teenage Climate Activist
by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

A Thursday evening software update at Facebook accidentally allowed anyone to view exactly who is posting under the accounts of public figures, businesses and other entities, according to Wired.

The result? For starters, some 3 million followers of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg have been reading posts written by her father, Svante Thunberg, and a climate activist in India who serves as a delegate at the UN’s Climate Change organization, Adarsh Prathap. Thunberg, Inc. claims Greta is still the one writing the content.

Greta, Inc. explained this in a Saturday Facebook post purporting to be the young climate activist.

“Some people have been asking who manages this page. First of all, since last spring I only use Facebook to repost what I write on my Twitter and Instagram accounts,” reads the post, in which ‘she’ says she tried Facebook “early on,” but didn’t like it, so she uses “my father Svantes account to repost content.”

“The rest that is shared on Facebook is reposted from Twitter and Instagram by the guy who founded the Greta Thunberg Facebook page long before I knew it existed. His name is Adarsh Prathap and he lives in India. Since a lot of people thought it was my official page in the beginning I asked if I could co-manage it and he said yes.”

Greta claims to have written all the content posted by her father and Prathap.

In other words, “of course it’s not me silly – you should have known I just ‘co-manage’ the fan page.”

Except – by all outward appearances it appeared to be her page alone.

Facebook’s ‘page transparency’ shows Greta as the confirmed owner – with the only clue suggesting she might have help being a page manager located in India.

See also Update: Children’s Climate Crusade

Includes Bablyon Bee post:  Marionette Strings Clearly Visible During Greta Thunberg Testimony

 

Media Playbook: Matching Trump and Climate Hysteria

Erielle Davidson writing about latest media Trump hysteria reveals the parallels with climate reporting. Her article at the Federalist is The Media Is Always, Always Wrong About Trump And National Security. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The level of breathless misinformation and disinformation spread after Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s killing by the individuals we rely on supposedly to report facts and offer analysis in a responsible and undramatized manner was stunning. But this isn’t their first rodeo.

No, such grossly hyperbolic reporting for the sake of convincing people that Trump may have created an epically destructive policy quagmire has become the new calling card of the media. The media has shown that they cannot eviscerate Trump with factual, state-of-affairs reporting because those affairs are never quite dire enough for the media.

Similarly, for the sake of avoiding flat-out lying entirely (although it is entertaining to watch the “mistakes” go in one direction), the media is forced to cabin their criticism in fantastic projections.

Trump almost started World War III. Trump almost catalyzed the entire destruction of the Kurds. Trump almost started war with North Korea. Trump almost started a full-blown war between the Palestinian-Arabs and the Israelis. Trump almost devastated the economy by slapping tariffs on Chinese goods. See how much heavy-lifting the word “almost” is doing? It’s utterly bizarre, because these predictions never happen.

The word’s subjunctive quality has become a shield for the media as they predict wild policy outcomes that have no grounding in the facts. When President Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, we were essentially promised insurmountable bloodshed and the irrevocable destruction of any hope at peace in the region. Thankfully, we got neither. But that didn’t stop reporters from sheepishly convincing themselves that, although their prediction never achieved fruition, it still could have happened.

That is the same dance being rehearsed now on Iran. Our firefighting media know the steps so well. The beauty of almost – and its ugly step-child could have – is that these reporters never have to be right for something to be almost true.

By all accounts, President Trump’s performance vis-à-vis Iran was stunningly effective at reestablishing the policy of deterrence (rather than appeasement) in the region. However, media reporting as of late has made it abundantly clear that wild projections of what could have been will continue to far eclipse what actually was. And the only people who suffer from such bombastic “analysis” are those who are forced to rely on it, given most people’s understandably limited knowledge of Middle Eastern geopolitics.

There’s a gross irresponsibility in such “reporting” and signals the ever-growing credibility crisis of the American media. Contrary to what Time magazine published (and delivered as a push notification), there is absolutely no reason you need to “discuss” Iran with your children. The hysteria is based on lies those in the media continue to recite to themselves and are dangerously projecting upon the greater population.

No, perhaps it’s time to “discuss” Iran with our media betters instead of children, if only not to be dragged along through their hysterical meltdowns. Indeed, we would be spared the ahistorical and insufferable nonsense. At least until the next manufactured apocalypse.

Worse Today Because Climate Change

This from the Onion confirms our suspicions.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

Report: Everything Slightly Worse Than Yesterday

NEW YORK—Emphasizing that the phenomenon is barely perceptible on a daily basis yet significant when observed on the whole, the nation’s top qualitative experts released a report Monday confirming that everything in every significant area of life is, in fact, slightly worse than it was yesterday. “While there are by no means any drastic changes for the worse in any given 24-hour period, we have observed a measurable and steady decline in each passing day,” the report read in part, specifically noting gradual but perceptible declines in personal wealth, food quality, the overall love shared by humanity, and the warmth of sunlight. “The outlook certainly looks bleak for the things that bring you joy, be it conversation with friends or the sound of children’s laughter, as they slowly become less and less fulfilling. Your favorite song will eventually become grating, the touch of your lover harsh and abrasive, and your own thoughts bitter and abhorrent as your mind itself sours.”

The report also noted that you should have noticed by now but your very awareness of things has diminished and grown hazy.

OK, but they forgot to mention that it is worst for children, women and minorities, and that cutting fossil fuels would solve this.

 

Gervais Speaks Truth to Star Power

From the Daily Caller (they watched the show, while I skipped it expecting only the usual social justice charade)

Absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing on every single level. The entire opening monologue is a great example of why Gervais is the man. 

Most award shows suck. They’re absolutely awful, and it’s usually millionaires lecturing middle Americans about why they’re the problem.

Gervais just dropped about a dozen verbal missiles on the whole crowd tonight before they even realized what happened.

Thank you, Gervais! Thank you so much. It’s about time somebody just spoke the honest truth to celebrities.

Of course my highest appreciation goes for this zinger:

“If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God and f**k off.”

Here’s the full transcript of the opening monologue:

“Hello and welcome to the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards, live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel here in Los Angeles. I’m Ricky Gervais, thank you.

You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards, so I don’t care anymore. I’m joking. I never did. I’m joking, I never did. NBC clearly don’t care either — fifth time. I mean, Kevin Heart was fired from the Oscars for some offensive tweets — hello?

Lucky for me, the Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English and they’ve no idea what Twitter is, so I got offered this gig by fax. Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense. Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon and there’s no sequel, so remember that.

But you all look lovely all dolled up. You came here in your limos. I came here in a limo tonight and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman. No, shush. It’s her daughter I feel sorry for. OK? That must be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to her. And her dad was in Wild Hogs.

Lots of big celebrities here tonight. Legends. Icons. This table alone — Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro … Baby Yoda. Oh, that’s Joe Pesci, sorry. I love you man. Don’t have me whacked. But tonight isn’t just about the people in front of the camera. In this room are some of the most important TV and film executives in the world. People from every background. They all have one thing in common: They’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow. He’s coming for ya. Talking of all you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies. Surviving R. Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes. Shut up. Shut up. I don’t care. I don’t care.

Many talented people of color were snubbed in major categories. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that. Hollywood Foreign press are all very racist. Fifth time. So. We were going to do an In-Memoriam this year, but when I saw the list of people who died, it wasn’t diverse enough. No, it was mostly white people and I thought, nah, not on my watch. Maybe next year. Let’s see what happens.

No one cares about movies anymore. No one goes to cinema, no one really watches network TV. Everyone is watching Netflix. This show should just be me coming out, going, “Well done Netflix. You win everything. Good night.” But no, we got to drag it out for three hours. You could binge-watch the entire first season of Afterlife instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself cause his wife dies of cancer and it’s still more fun than this. Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so in the end he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend but I don’t care.

Seriously, most films are awful. Lazy. Remakes, sequels. I’ve heard a rumor there might be a sequel to Sophie’s Choice. I mean, that would just be Meryl just going, “Well, it’s gotta be this one then.” All the best actors have jumped to Netflix, HBO. And the actors who just do Hollywood movies now do fantasy-adventure nonsense. They wear masks and capes and really tight costumes. Their job isn’t acting anymore. It’s going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids, really. Have we got an award for most ripped junky? No point, we’d know who’d win that.

Martin Scorsese made the news for his controversial comments about the Marvel franchise. He said they’re not real cinema and they remind him about theme parks. I agree. Although I don’t know what he’s doing hanging around theme parks. He’s not big enough to go on the rides. He’s tiny. The Irishman was amazing. It was amazing. It was great. Long, but amazing. It wasn’t the only epic movie. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end his date was too old for him. Even Prince Andrew was like, “Come on, Leo, mate.You’re nearly 50-something.”

The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy. He was also in the movie Cats. No one saw that movie. And the reviews, shocking. I saw one that said, “This is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs.” But Dame Judi Dench defended the film saying it was the film she was born to play because she loves nothing better than plunking herself down on the carpet, lifting her leg and licking her ass. (Coughs) Hairball. She’s old-school.

It’s the last time, who cares? Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Well, you say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?

So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.

So if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and fuck off, OK? It’s already three hours long. Right, let’s do the first award.”

California’s Year: Veering Left from Left Lane

Steve Greenhut writes at Spectator California’s Year in Review: Missing Jerry Brown Already. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

A new progressive administration and Democratic legislative super-duper majorities put California on a collision course with reality.

Basically, the Brown era signaled the last years of traditional liberal governance. The new governor, former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, comes out of the party’s progressive wing. Democrats have long controlled the Capitol, but an anti-Trump backlash hastened the state GOP’s long-coming meltdown. A couple of GOP lawmakers even recently jumped ship. That means no check on Democrats, which makes this shift even more noteworthy.

Looking back at 2019, we get a vision of the future — and there’s reason for concern.

Newsom was stuck dealing with raging wildfires and a bankrupt public utility that began shutting down parts of the electrical grid to prevent even more fires. This brought back shades of Gray Davis, who in 2003 was recalled by voters (and replaced by nominally Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the midst of rolling blackouts caused by a failed electricity deregulation plan. That’s not just because of the obvious electricity parallels, but because Newsom’s tepid response was reminiscent of the deer-in-the-headlights Davis.

The wildfire/electricity mess is related to liability rules, an overly bureaucratic regulatory climate, and an environmental approach to forest lands that limited brush clearance. None of these matters could quickly be fixed by any governor — even one who had a clue what to do about it. But the real trouble signs in 2019 have come from the governor’s decision to sign measures that likely would have sent his predecessor reaching for the veto pen.

I’ve covered the worst new law for The American Spectator. This was Assembly Bill 5, which banned many companies from using contractors as their workforce. It epitomizes the new, more aggressive strain of progressivism that isn’t content creating new programs and raising taxes — but is willing to destroy large segments of the private economy. The goal seems to be punishing “evil” businesses. If people’s lives are destroyed in the process, so be it.

The targets of the law were Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other ride-sharing and delivery companies whose business model is based on using independent contractors as drivers. The union-backed legislation is designed to force these companies (lawmakers exempted most other businesses from its rules, including attorneys, physicians, real-estate agents, and insurance sales people) to hire their drivers as permanent employees and pay them benefits.

Instead, we’re seeing predictable results. Freelance writers, photographers, and artists were not exempted from the measure — and the layoff notices have been coming to these workers as the year’s end approaches. The newly unemployed shouldn’t worry, though. The law’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said in a tweet (as quoted by Reason): “These were never good jobs. No one has ever suggested that, even freelancers.”

That’s progressivism reduced to one short tweet. These folks know what’s best for us and can determine what jobs are good and which ones shouldn’t exist.

When it comes to drivers, hundreds of thousands of jobs could be at risk, according to a recent economic study. Companies that hire drivers have filed suit and are gathering signatures for an initiative that would exempt these workers, but it’s anybody’s guess how this madness might shake out.

Newsom also signed a bill imposing statewide rent control, even though it’s an unquestionable fact that rent control depresses housing supply. Even California officials are starting to realize that the state’s sky-high housing prices are the result of regulations that squelch housing construction. Yet there’s been no legislative progress in addressing those state-imposed restrictions, only a push for more subsidized housing and passage of the one sure-fire way to quickly make the situation worse.

The governor also signed a package of laws that will slowly strangle the charter-school industry (even though both sides depicted it as a compromise), which is the state’s main educational bright spot. The new Legislature is targeting the gig economy, the housing industry, and the schools. Quite obviously, the next target for their destruction is healthcare. Look out for coming plans for single payer.

As Californians, we’re used to the ridiculous spending plans and the state’s refusal to deal with problems (homelessness, soaring pension liabilities, tax rates that are driving businesses out of state) that are of its own making. That’s been standard fare, and certainly was true during the Brown administration. But we’re heading into a brave new world. I predicted we’d be pining for the days of Jerry Brown.