Tower Bridge (you know, the bridge over the River Thames that opens to allow tall ships to pass and that some American millionaire thought he had bought).
They might even have been impressed when they watched 'Prime Minister's Question Time' in the House of Commons and observed the curious sight of politicians booing and jeering as the Prime Minister answers awkward questions arising from the governance of the country.
Quaint Olde England is a long way from Los Angeles and an even longer way from the reality of life in an England under the creeping specter of socialism that drove me to say "Ta Ta" to London when the writing was well and truly on the wall.
So what was so terribly wrong with England's creeping socialism, and what is it that prompts me to write about it now? Well I would give you three guesses, but you've already guessed. The "hope and change" that Obama promised has failed spectacularly, and the warnings from the right wing of "Obama the socialist" that fell on deaf ears (my own included) when America elected POTUS #44, are proving dangerously accurate.
But while Obama has failed to end the war, fix the economy, improve education, stimulate industry, etc. etc., his real success has been promoting creeping socialism to the USA. And he's done it masterfully, right under our noses, in broad daylight. We're increasingly seeing the erosion of all that made America great and witnessing the hailing of failure as the metrics of success.
Creeping socialism is the gradual introduction of socialist concepts by dressing up its inherent failures as successes. In the process we not only become accustomed to accept that which would otherwise be decried, but the thinly disguised failure becomes the new norm.
Law and order is a prime example of the way creeping socialism infects society. In England, the Tony Blair government was faced with finding a solution to the explosion in street crime. Police force strength had been cut back as the cost of policing gave way to the costs of supporting social programs and an increasingly bloated bureaucracy.
The commonsense answer would be re-invest in policing, but that would not only be expensive, but the inevitable increase in arrests and convictions would put pressure on the already overcrowded prisons. Overcrowded because while the population of the county was increasing, not a penny was spent on anticipating the need for more prison space. Build schools, hospitals, and community centers because the larger population has those needs, but heaven forbid, don't build more prisons because the sheer logic of a bigger population could not possibly mean there will be more criminals.
So the Blair government came up with their solution; the "ASBO" or Anti Social Behavior Order. This brilliant piece of socialist crap meant that in future, if the police were to make an arrest for Anti Social Behavior, like mugging, car theft, assault, stalking, robbery, shoplifting, vandalism and residential burglary, to name but a few of a long laundry list of "Anti Social" crimes, the culprit would be given a ticket, a strong warning "Not to be such a naughty boy or else," and they would not impact the overburdened criminal justice system.
In future, the public would be protected not by the police, but by signs like the one below.
If a person who had been given an "ASBO" reoffended, guess what, they would get another ASBO, a last chance to redeem themselves. There was, of course, no limit to the number of "last chances" that could be given, because the dumb Brits had now been conditioned to regard Anti Social Behavior as something distinct and different from criminal behavior.
It was a brilliant piece of socialist bullshit. The problem of England's increasing crime statistics dealt with by tickets and signs, and we can forget about the cost of policing and prison overcrowding. Under Blair's socialist government, the festering problem of crime conveniently went "off the books." But when Blair left and his less charismatic replacement, Gordon Brown, was drummed out of office, the shit hit the fan. The English equivalent of the Chief of Police, wasted no time in saying what he had not been allowed to say under Blair's regime, "The Police have lost control of the streets."
Well all of that's in England, you say, it will never happen here. Americans have too much sense to ever buy a load of crap like that. But wait a minute, hold on a second, don't we have exactly the same sort of crap as "ASBO" here, but perhaps it's just not quite as obvious?
Let's take a look at illegal immigration, for example. Creeping socialism started here by changing the terminology. Just like a crime became an "ASBO," an illegal alien became an "Undocumented Worker." Instead of the stupid ASBO sign, we got the "Sanctuary City." The names might be different, but the effect is the same. Where socialist regimes cannot deal with a problem, their solution is to 'rebrand it,' ignore the real problem and hail the solution as a success. But the problem doesn't go away, does it?
If we needed any better example of the way creeping socialism has succeeded in changing attitudes towards illegal immigration, just look at the way Gloria Allred was able to parade an illegal alien in front of us in an attempt to derail the electoral process and embarrass Meg Whitman. No one is questioning the fact that by possessing a false driver license and social security card, the illegal alien is violating California Penal Code section 472, possession of a counterfeit government seal. And of course, we've all forgotten that Allred pulled a similar stunt to try to harm Governor Schwarzenegger's campaign in 2003 with "Grope Gate."
Failing schools are another example of the way creeping socialism masks failure. California, once the hallmark of success in public education, is unmitigated disaster. The creeping socialist response is to hand out "feel good" certificates like confetti so that all the kids who cannot speak English or calculate the angles of an equilateral triangle are made to feel good about being abject failures. That is, of course, until they have to take a standardized test. I recall a sad case while I was at the City Attorney's Office where a student suffered brain damage when stuck by a hit and run driver on her way to school. Never mind the spurious theory as to why the City should be liable of the acts of a hit and run driver, let's look at the claim. The student was a "Straight A" student at a south central public school, who wanted to be an "International Investment Banker," but now would be lucky to get a job flipping burgers (that was before Jan Perry made that career choice even less likely).
A heart wrenching case, you might say. It was a case that Rocky Delgadillo wanted to settle for $5M, but the attorney wanted $15M. But when City Attorney Carmen Trutanich learned that the "Straight A" student had taken the SAT exam before the accident, and had ranked at the very bottom, it became very clear that the straight A's at this Charter School were awarded just for showing up. That his poor young person had absolutely no idea what an "international investment banker" was, and that the phony baloney feel good crap delivered by the Charter School had really been a cruel and heartless way of covering up their failure to educate. The jury agreed with Trutanich, the City of Los Angeles was not liable, and the student got nothing but the heartache of being let down by false hopes and promises.
Last week saw the curious partnership of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and Mayor Villaraigosa.
Harris, of course, is vying to be Attorney General, and is basing her campaign not on her record, which is appalling – she has the lowest felony conviction rate of any major California city, but on a "hope and change" plan to cure truancy in elementary schools. Harris, a progressive liberal democrat, hails herself as an "innovator," someone who embraces new ideas to fight old problems. She cites her innovative policies, such as her plan to combat truancy, as distinguishing her candidacy from that of Steve Cooley, who is "old fashioned."
So Harris partners up with Villaraigosa (who appears to be eyeing up Harris) to announce this bold new "innovative" plan to tackle truancy at his Charter schools by threatening to send the parents of truant kids to jail.
There's only one slight problem. It's a problem that underscores why Villaraigosa failed the bar exam four times and has failed as our Mayor countlessly. It explains why Harris is a failure as San Francisco's DA. Neither of them bothered to check that Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley has had that same "innovative" plan in effect for at least 10 years. It's called ACT – Abolish Chronic Truancy.
Or maybe they did know that Cooley had been first to recognize and tackle the problem, but they could 'rebrand' it and claim it as their own. After all this pair of phonies don't think any of their koolaide drinkers would ever bother to check on their true records.
The reality of life under a government so constipated with leftwing driven political correctness was something I was happy to leave behind. I never thought I would be facing the same situation here in the USA, the land of the free, but the writing is one the wall. The only difference is that I believe Americans are smart enough to change the disastrous direction we're being led in. All it takes is a few people brave enough to draw a line in the sand and say "enough."
Obamacare is likely to be the next major failure dressed up as success. And while the likelihood is that Obama will be going the same way as Jack Weiss did, when he went too far, the damage that Obama has done by encouraging and promoting creeping socialism will plague us in the years to come, unless we wake up and smell the horse shit we've been dealt.
David Berger is a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles and a former candidate for City Attorney of Los Angeles.
NOTICE: The comments views and opinions expressed above are personal to the writer and are not in any way authorized, approved or endorsed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office or any candidate.