Right On: California’s looney left

Scale image: Photo by Bet_Noire/iStock/Getty Images Plus, Lawyer image by Chris Ryan/iStock/Getty Images Plus, California Flag and McDonalds sign courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Starbucks cup courtesy Pixabay, Ritz Crackers box courtesy Flickr, St. George News

OPINION — A petri dish is “a shallow, circular, transparent dish used for the culture of microorganisms.” California is a giant petri dish teeming with all the latest liberal political, social and environmental microorganisms.

All three branches of its state government are a cautionary tale as to what happens when the looney left controls government.

California’s elected executives at both state and local levels actively work to ignore, thwart and undermine federal law. So much for the rule of law on which democracy depends.

Years of supermajority have allowed California’s Democratic Legislature to tax and spend without restraint: Liberal nirvana. The state is home to the country’s highest state income tax rates while spending the proceeds on things like its $98 billion bullet train to nowhere.

A California court showed what happens when liberal judges interpret the law to suit the latest radical left whim. The case shows that even companies who are liberal darlings are not exempt from arbitrary punishment.

Here’s the story.

Always health conscious, California voters approved the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Sounds good; after all, who wants toxins and unsafe water?

But like the federal Environmental Protection Agency, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment was taken over by zealots and morphed into a bureaucratic monster.

Both agencies were created to tackle the real environmental and health hazards of their day. But once these problems were addressed, both agencies looked for ways to justify their existence and expand their reach by finding evermore obscure supposed-problems.

California’s OEHHA proudly announces on its website that some 800 chemicals have been found to cause cancer or birth defects. Any product sold in California must be labeled as a cancer risk if it contains even miniscule amounts of any one of these chemicals.

It’s fair to ask why California merely labels rather than bans these carcinogens. The answer: Far too many mainstream products available in the other 49 states wouldn’t be found in California stores.

To see how liberal good intentions evolve into an over-the-top nanny state, take one of the state’s cancer sources: coffee.

Coffee causes cancer? Maybe those Mormons are onto something.

Like a number of previous health scares – are eggs healthy or not? – the coffee/cancer connection is clearly tenuous. Studies have found that acrylamide found in coffee increases the risk of cancer in rats and mice at doses “1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the levels people might be exposed to in foods.”

Want to be safe? Don’t drink 1,000 cups of coffee a day.

But before you sell all your Starbucks stock and swear off your morning cup of joe, take comfort in any of a number of studies that claim coffee is (mostly) good for you. (Full disclosure: I am not a coffee drinker.)

Click here for a list of common foods – many that you eat regularly – and the amount of acrylamide they contain, compiled by the Canadian government. Look for coffee at the bottom of the list. Worry instead about Ritz crackers, Oreo cookies, McDonald’s french fries and all the rest.

Not discouraged by the facts, nonprofit loonies sued Starbucks saying the chain had failed to provide a cancer warning starting in 2002 when acrylamide first found its way onto California’s cancer list. They want a $2,500 penalty for every person exposed since then. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars.

The judge required Starbucks to prove a negative: that coffee wouldn’t cause cancer in more than 1 of every 100,000 drinkers. Never mind that most coffee studies found no connection between coffee drinkers and cancer.

Confirming that California is governed by the screwball left, Starbucks lost. In addition to a possible fine of hundreds of millions, it must label its coffee as carcinogenic.

The unnamed beneficiaries in this fiasco are the lawyers. California’s law is a gold mine for the tort bar, the Democratic Party’s biggest campaign contributors. More nanny-state regulations equal more lucrative lawsuits.

Coffee joins thousands of other products carrying the ominous cancer warning in California. But with so many products labeled as cancer risks, can any reasonable person think the warnings are effective or useful?

Then again, effective and useful are not criteria the far left applies when micromanaging the behavior of the benighted masses like you and me. Liberals know what’s good for us.

Is there a lesson for Utah in this?

Suppose an analogous criterion was applied to marijuana. I don’t know how many joints a very mellow lab rat would have to smoke to contract cancer, but there are a variety of competing studies on marijuana’s other effects on users, especially the young.

Should a Utah judge be able to pick and choose between studies? Should she be able to prohibit marijuana sales if its proponents couldn’t prove that less than 1 in 100,000 users would be adversely affected in some way? Should growers and sellers be liable for massive fines?

The next time you visit California be sure to stay away from all 800 cancer-causing chemicals. And for sure, stay away from Starbucks, McDonalds and Ritz crackers.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Rafiki May 10, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Educating the people is never a bad thing. It’s because of programs, like those being slammed, that made us all aware that lead is harmful and perhaps asbestos shouldn’t be used.

    Requiring a multi million dollar company to label that their product contains possible harmful chemicals is a good thing.

    Do I still get to choose to drink coffee, or chew on a piece of lead, yes. That is up to me as a human to decide. I’m glad California is so progressive (but I’m also glad I don’t live there 😉

  • RadRabbit May 10, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    California is a cancer on this country, the amount of crazy going on in that state you could write thousands of articles and just scratch the surface. A few years back there was a bill they were trying to pass banning black cars because they get hotter and need to run the AC more in turn causing global warming. Happy to say I’ll never move back there.

    • No Filter May 11, 2018 at 10:28 am

      A cancer that feeds our country with all the agriculture it has in the central valley. A cancer that provides everyone with the 100’s of T.V. shows and movies that you all watch. A cancer that has the biggest sea port in our country and processes all that crap you buy at wal-mart. And a cancer that homes the second largest Naval base in the world. If we killed this cancer we would lose the worlds 5th largest economy. Think about the federal tax revenue we would lose alone. California gave us McDonald’s and In and Out Burger, not to mention the best best food truck tacos in the world. Maybe it’s to expensive to live there for many, but I still like to visit and enjoy the many cultures that preside all in one state.

  • PatriotLiberal May 10, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    “California’s elected executives at both state and local levels actively work to ignore, thwart and undermine federal law. So much for the rule of law on which democracy depends.”

    I wonder though, would you say the same thing if I changed 9 words, “California’s elected executives at both state and local levels…” to “Cliven Bundy and his family…”

  • comments May 10, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    So Howard’s biggest problems with CA are the things they are doing right? hmm. I guess there was a brief mention about illegals, but you’re just prattling on and on here, howard. Starbucks being driven out of business would make for a better world as well.

  • NickDanger May 10, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Good article. California is a nightmare. I’m not only in favor of their secession, I’m in favor of the other 49 states banding together and giving California the boot. It makes me laugh when Californians talk about secession as if it’s a threat. Go. Yes. No problem.

    • comments May 10, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      I’m disappointed that CA has become “baby mexico”. It’s not really a place I’d aspire to live because the place is overcrowded, real estate costs a fortune, crime is bad, etc. It’s only a great quality of life if you can afford to get away from CA’s poor people. But to be fair, CA’s economy is absolutely massive compared to UT’s. They make UT look like a nothing in that respect. But with all those people contained in that state I don’t know if it will ever really be a nice place to live again, at least for those of us that aren’t multi-millionaires.

      • Striker4 May 10, 2018 at 11:24 pm

        comments says he wouldn’t live in California….lucky California

    • No Filter May 11, 2018 at 10:15 am

      We will see how in favor you are of the secession, when the prices on everything goes up because we lose our biggest port of entry from China.

    • RadRabbit May 11, 2018 at 10:17 am

      I’d agree kick them out of the US.

  • No Filter May 11, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Funny how everyone hates on California, if you don’t like it, don’t go there. Everyone from Utah who complains about California needs to shut up and mind their own business. This is a problem in America, we care too much about what everyone else is doing and not enough about what we are doing. I don’t see how California is affecting your lives, just as I don’t see how Texas and their crazy gun waiving, bible thumbing people there affect my day to day life. At least California has Disneyland and they make movies to entertain me. If you want California to change then move there and vote, otherwise keep your mouths shut.

    • John May 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      That’s what liberals do, if it isn’t broken it’s because the liberals haven’t tried to fix it yet! WE laugh at California, we don’t go there..hahahahaha! In reply to another brain fart from that famous THC depostory, clogged filter!

    • comments May 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      to be fair, filter girl, all the movies coming out of hollywood now are absolute utter garbage.

    • ladybugavenger May 11, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      Born and raised in California here! Left for the second time in 2011. Went back to take care of my mom in 2016. I’ll take your advice no filter, if I never go there again, I would be ok. Unless, I win the lottery and live by the beach ?

      I got spoiled by utah and oklahoma “traffic” it ain’t nothing compared to orange county and la county.

      Disneyland? The frustration of traffic and tons of people and waiting isn’t worth it. But then again, I’ve been there dozens of times when I was a kid. And a couple as an adult. So, i may be biased.

  • Steve May 12, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    More smarmy ranting from Howard. His arguments are so vacuous that he sucks the air out of this place.

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