Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Arcadia: Does It Function as a Cayman Islands for the People's Republic of China?

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(Mod: You might wonder whether it is possible to bag on Arcadia enough, to which we emphatically answer, "No!" But today we need to take this one step farther and ask the following question: "Why is it that incredibly wealthy Chinese nationals are coming to our little slice of God's reward to build vastly oversized houses that look as if their designs were stolen from the platinum mausoleum section at Rose Hills?" And yes, we do have an answer to that one. The United States does not have an extradition treaty with China. Meaning that if you smuggled a few billion yuan out of the Worker's Paradise and brought it to the land of the Capitalist Oppressor, the rulers of your now former homeland cannot demand that you be summarily arrested here for your crimes and sent back to China to likely be shot. For this keen insight we are in the debt to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Their observations follow.)

AMERICA REVEALED AS TOP SPOT FOR CHINA'S 'NAKED OFFICIALS' (link): Let’s say you are a corrupt Chinese official and you want to flee to a safe haven. Where do you go?

One place is the United States.

China Daily, a state run newspaper, reported that more than 150 of what it calls “economic fugitives” – allegedly corrupt officials or those suspected of graft – remain at large in the United States. Liao Jinrong, an official with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, told the publication that “the U.S. has become the top destination for Chinese fugitives fleeing the law.”

One big attraction for these allegedly corrupt officials is that China has no extradition treaty with the U.S. Even more, foreign governments are also reluctant to hand suspects back to China where they could face the death penalty. So far, according to the publication, only two fugitives have been brought back to China to stand trial in the last decade.

“We face practical difficulties in getting fugitives who fled to the US back to face trial due to the lack of an extradition treaty and the complex and lengthy legal procedures,” Mr. Liao was quoted as saying. Another Chinese official with International Cooperation Bureau, Wang Gang, said that one problem stems from that fact that other countries suspect that Chinese courts are guilty of human rights violations. Mr. Wang added that China is trying to set up a meeting with U.S. judicial authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, in order to apprehend more of these fugitives.

In China, these fleeing expats are called “Naked Officials,’’ a term used to describe government workers under investigation who have moved their families or their assets overseas.  Just recently, China announced a six-month campaign called “Fox Hunt 2014” to identify fugitives by getting local police and citizens to blow the whistle on suspected fugitives and to pursue more international cooperation.

Besides the U.S., Asia and Africa are popular destination for economic fugitives. China has 37 extradition treaties, but not with the U.S., Canada and most European countries.

For the fleeing Chinese, it gives the phrase – “We going to Disney World’’ – a whole new meaning.

(Mod: I personally would never want to mess with a Chinese government official named Wang Gang. It just doesn't seem wise ... Next: We did give you the answer to the question, "Is it possible to bag on Arcadia enough?" Of course it is not. At least until they give us that stolen water back. To assist us in our quest to achieve a state of ecstatic peace with our larcenous neighbor down the hill, we now turn to the website VDARE.com. They have something important to add to this conversation.)

Arcadia Vice: Chinese Oligarchs Laundering Money in My Late Aunt’s Suburb (link): I’ve been to Arcadia, California, a non-descript but pleasant suburb of Los Angeles a few miles east of Pasadena.

The picture above was taken in my relatives’ c. 1800 sq. ft. house in Arcadia during one of the recurrent Davey Crockett manias. I’m guessing it’s my birthday in 1965 but I could be off by a couple of years. The picture at the right from a real estate website is of somebody else’s house, but it gives you a good sense of what Arcadia’s housing stock looked like before Chinese Money started pouring in about a quarter of a century ago.

Arcadia is currently in the news because the amount of Chinese dubious money cascading in to tear down small houses like my late aunt’s and put up feng shui mansions has reached a crescendo.

The Chinese government isn’t going to go Maoist again and take away all the capitalists’ property. Periodically, however, there are anti-corruption campaigns in China, so owning a huge house on a small lot in Arcadia is a way to launder money.

Why Arcadia, though, which always struck me down through the decades as a generic suburb? My aunt’s house, for example, was about 1600 square feet, but then they added on to get it up to maybe 2000 or a little more for their family of five. But the lot is tiny, maybe 6,000 square feet.

One reason that doesn’t get mentioned much is that it’s right next to the Santa Anita racetrack and the Chinese tend to be fanatical gamblers. Back in the 1990s, a sportscaster friend used to host a small TV show about horse racing at Santa Anita, which completely failed to make him a local celebrity in his own neighborhood. But when he’d go to Las Vegas, Chinese tourists would ask to have their picture taken with him because his talk show was Huge in Hong Kong.

Another reason is that Arcadia is on flat ground, whereas affluent white people in Southern California prefer hillier suburbs like nearby Sierra Madre where my uncle lived back in the 1960s.

Also, the San Gabriel Valley used to be smoggy, but Chinese immigrants didn’t exercise outside, so they didn’t care.

Finally, like I’ve mentioned before, the San Gabriel Valley has its own small school districts, while most of the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up, is under the thumb of the vast LAUSD. The Chinese believe in concentrating and taking over small school districts, which hasn’t yet been possible in Los Angeles.

(Mod: There is much more to the VDARE.com piece. Especially the pictures the author mentions but I did not include here. You really should click on the link above and read the rest.)

Today is Election Day. Can't you just feel the excitement?
My guess is it's the bald one.
(Mod: Just to show you how deeply election fever has gripped the State of California, we are posting here a piece from SFGate.com. You can link to it in its native locale here.)

40% of voters unaware Jerry Brown is seeking another term: Here’s an eye-opener: With the election Tuesday, a whopping 4 out of 10 voters don’t even know Gov. Jerry Brown is running for another term.

“Isn’t that astonishing?” said David Metz of the polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates. Metz included the question, “As far as you know, is Gov. Jerry Brown up for re-election this year?” on a statewide survey of 457 likely voters last week.

Metz said the question was prompted by several casual conversations he’d had with people not involved in politics. “I was struck by how many of them were totally unaware that Brown was up for re-election, so I decided to test it out,” he said.

The findings: Forty-two percent of likely voters didn’t know Brown was running — and only about 1 in 5 could name Republican Neel Kashkari as his opponent. The lack of awareness cut across all voter groups and party lines. More Republicans knew about Kashkari, but not many more: Fewer than 30 percent of Republicans could name him as Brown’s opponent.

“It’s difficult to imagine a similar lack of awareness at the end of the 2010 contest between Gov. Brown and Meg Whitman,” Metz said. “Or even in the 2006 election between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Phil Angelides, where Schwarzenegger led by a wide margin comparable to Brown’s lead today.”

“I believe it,” said Brown campaign consultant Sean Clegg, who noted that the governor has spent only about $6 million so far — almost all of it on TV ads promoting his pet initiatives, the $7.5 billion water-infrastructure bond Proposition 1 and a measure to beef up the state’s rainy-day reserve, Proposition 2. “He’s not even asking for your vote in the ad,” Clegg said.

Kashkari will probably wind up spending about $7 million, mostly for television commercials — but nowhere near the $150 million spent by Republican Whitman when she ran against Brown in 2010.

(Mod: We're not as upset about this as you might think. Our research shows that fewer than 40% of all Sierra Madre residents could supply you with the name of the Mayor here even if you dangled a delicious Mother Moo ice cream cone in front of them. It's just the way things are ... Oh, and Vote NO on Props 1 and 2, and Prop P. All three stink on ice. Don't feed the animals.)

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

45 comments:

  1. Has anyone seen the pink one as you go up Baldwin? Looks like a cheeseburger done rare.

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    Replies
    1. I'm blown away by the contagion that's spreading on Highland Oaks.

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    2. Is it Development Services or Community Destruction Services?

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    3. Check out te Singingwood Drive area. Many new hotels have open up for business.

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  2. Don't forget to vote early and to vote often

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    1. It is tiring going from town to town just voting voting voting. After a while all the poll stations start to look the same.

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  3. Nancy Walsh is Mayor. She did that fantastic landscaping project in front of City Hall. Oh, wait.

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    1. The dead lawn is all that remains of her tenure. Everthing else Farmer's market, converted bathrooms, helping the downtown business, etc all flushed into the dirty water.

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  4. So here's the process for voting in Tennessee. You must show a photo ID (driver's license works) and your voter registration card to the person at the desk. She has you fill out a slip with your name and address and then sign it. You also sign next to your name in the registration book. Next stop is the table where a person logs your name and the voter number from the slip. You again sign that paper and then she initials the slip and hands it back to you. When it's your turn to vote, you give the initialed slip to the person at the voting booth who then activates the voting machine for you. You vote your ballot and then hit the big red button to cast your ballot. So I had to show a photo ID and sign my name three times in order to vote. I gotta tell you, it felt pretty good.

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    1. The polls have just opened here, so I am taking my mailed election info pamphlet to show. Then I'll sign once, and that's it.
      Tennessee sounds better.

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    2. No fair! How's my dead grandfather supposed to vote?

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    3. Don't have to show ANY ID to vote in CA. Just pick a name out of the book, tell them that's who you are, and they have to give you a ballot.

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    4. Gosh and you're Caucasian (I assume) think what it's like for a person of color or homeless to vote prolly impossible.Congrats. to the confederacy..............

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    5. 10:45 you're sounding racist.

      Are you telling us that persons of color are unable to get a free photo ID? The same persons who mostly likely have ID to cash checks, get a bus pass, medicare card, social security card, birth certificate.

      Don't blame the South for your condescending attitudes. Although you sound like you may have been a planataion owners in an earlier life.

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    6. When you assume, you make an ass of u and me.

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    7. I don't need ID to vote illegally. Heck, I don't even need to be legal to vote in Cali. I LOVE this country!

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    8. 10:54 Where do you get your FREE photo ID? And where is your voter registration card? And where is your Social security card? I don't have any of those guess I can't vote if I live in TN. You that naive to think there is not a huge racism problem in TN ? Of course I'm a racist i'm white and privileged don't wanna loose that.

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    9. Your problem with getting a scial security card and a govt ID has nothing to do with race and everything to do with your inability to think straight.

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    10. I'm of the ruling race,I'm affluent, I have no children to take care of,I don't have to work, I'm can read and write,I have private transportation, I am not oppressed. I would have no problem with the TN. poll tax.

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    11. There is no poll tax in Tennessee. You may be all the things you claim here, but genius you ain't.

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    12. That pesky 24th Amendment, don'tcha know.

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    13. Inconvenient truth, lefties:
      Every state that requires voter id has free photo i.d.'s available.

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    14. so simple, even Al Gore could do it.

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    15. The Federal Govt. will soon enough if TN voter disenfranchisement is a poll tax by another name.

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    16. 12:50 is a poll cat.

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    17. The Feds will be after TN after they clean up the IRS and the VA. Should be about 10 years or so.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. I am disappointed we only have two choices for governor in this election. In the past I would have cast a third party protest vote with a choice like this. How can this be democracy?

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    1. Thank Charlie Munger and his gazillions of $$ support of Prop 14, the "top-two" primary. What a piece of cr*p.

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    2. If people are wondering why the voting turnout could be the lowest in California history, this might be one of the reasons. The fastest growing portion of the electorate are independents. Why should they be forced to choose between the two parties they have rejected?

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    3. Good point. I didn't vote for governor. I voted no on the bond and tax measures, and for some of the down ticket people.

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  7. Too bad Chris and Halcyon are not here to help us fight this McMansion invasion, A great loss to Sierra Madre.

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    1. I think they are still involved. Don't write them off just yet.

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    2. If you voted for Republicans they would stop the Open primaries which gives only two choices in the General election.

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    3. As opposed to what? The Democrats who supported two choices in the general election?

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  8. Who is jerry brown?

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    1. Pat's kid he was hanging out with Linda Ronstadt be it was fashionable to be "unwed"

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    2. hanging out with Linda Ronstadt was the coolest thing Moonbeam ever did.

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    3. Yeah, but I think he ran for president to impress her.

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  9. Voting is brisk at my precinct, usually a line waiting to sign in. Most people come prepared although one lady asked for a voters information pamphlet and went outside to read it.
    Just to be safe, I voted NO on all the propositions, it seems there is something wrong with every one of them including prop. P which was a good idea at the time.

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    1. High information voter. I like it!

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    2. LOTS of folks voting today in a heavily Republican district! I was relegated to the green table.

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    3. I didn't vote for any of the Republicans. But I did vote against all of the incumbent Democrats.

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