The Great Depression Online

Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

Californication in the Land of Fruits and Nuts

Great Depression Online
Long Beach, CA
September 01, 2009

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** Scoundrels, Rascals, and Malefactors
*** Back When Money Was Free
*** Californication in the Land of Fruits and Nuts
*** And More

Scoundrels, Rascals, and Malefactors

Out here in the land of fruits and nuts, convicted felons are being paroled like catfish at a catch and release pond.  You see, the state’s looking to save $1.2 billion a year by letting criminals go free.

What’s more, in addition to budget reductions putting the criminals out on the street, the Feds have ordered it too…

“With federal courts this month ordering the state to reduce the prison population by 40,000 inmates, a budget crisis that makes it crucial for the state to do so and a major riot recently at a crowded Chino lockup,” reported the Los Angeles Times, “the likelihood of relieving pressure and saving money at California's correctional institutions has appeared higher than ever.”

~~~~~~Stop the Bleeding~~~~~~

In the past year, we’ve gone from bad, to worse, to unthinkable.  And the shocking economic numbers we are seeing these days are more than just faceless business statistics.  For most Americans these losses represent, in very real terms, their own blood, sweat and tears expended over some the best years of their lives.  POOF - gone in a flash.

But regardless all the doom and gloom out there today, by the time you finish this brief letter I'm absolutely certain you will be very excited about your upcoming financial prospects…

Stop the Bleeding 


We’re not sure what to make of it.  With all the laws on the books even the most well intentioned fellow’s likely to be in violation before he steps out the front door in the morning.  Perhaps there wouldn’t be so many criminals if there weren’t so many laws.

Here in Long Beach, did you know, it’s illegal to curse on a mini-golf course.  Up the way, in Los Angeles, you cannot bathe two babies in the same tub at the same time.  If you happen to be in San Diego, don’t forget, it’s illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar.  And in San Francisco, thou shall not wipe one’s car with used underwear.  Really…we aren’t making this up.

All absurdity aside, letting some non-violent troublemakers, scoundrels, rascals, and malefactors out early may not be as bad as it sounds…just as long as they don’t move in next door…or across the street.

Back When Money Was Free

Of course, California’s always been a little loony.  There must be something in the raggedy fabric of the place, particularly the Los Angeles Basin, which compels its inhabitants to behave with random acts of madness.

During the pre-Word War II days, before the mania to splatter every square foot of its surface with concrete took hold of the local spirits, the place was already a magnet for eccentrics, delusionals, and hucksters galore.  Madcaps like Howard Hughes, who’d dream up his latest flying machine invention and then crash it into Beverly Hills.

Or Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, who for no good reason spent 33 years chicken wiring steel pipes and rods together, erecting numerous towering eyesores in his backyard in the Watts district of Los Angeles.  Ironically, these monstrosities known as the Watts Towers are now a National Historic Landmark.

And there was Griffith J. Griffith, who amassed a fortune in the mining industry…before he shot his wife in a Santa Monica Hotel.  To make good for his transgressions – and to commute his time in San Quentin to just two years – Griffith donated the land for Griffith Park to Los Angeles and funded the city’s observatory.

Back then state and local governments were small and feeble and money was practically free.  It was the beginning of a long property boom…where, for the next 50-years, property values went up without interruption.

Even the most harebrained business ventures were almost guaranteed to succeed.  For instance, you could buy an old mail service boat – like John Clearman did – tow it from the Long Beach Harbor up to a wide open corner lot in the San Gabriel Valley, plop it down, and get rich selling hotdogs out of it to passers buy on there way to and from work in Los Angeles each day. 

Those must have been the days.  Could you imagine pulling something like that off today?

If you could ever get it permitted, some stuffy neighborhood activist would make a federal case out of it…that it degrades the aesthetic value of the landscape.  You’d be out of business before you sold your first polish schnitzel dog.

Californication in the Land of Fruits and Nuts

How things have changed.  All the drive thru hamburger stands are now taco shops.  Property’s no longer going up; it’s going down.  And the state government’s pulling out all the gimmicks to raise cash.  For example, the ‘Great California Garage Sale’ took place over the weekend. 

We’re not sure what made it so great, but if you like used Blackberry cell phones at $25 a pop…wood desks for $30…or even a BMW motorcycle used by the California Highway Patrol fleet for just $2,200…then this sale’s something you can cheer.

“The prison department contributed dental chairs and surplus prison shirts and jeans,” reported the San Jose Mercury.  Just what’s needed if you’re refurbishing your living room furniture or wardrobe selection.

The Governator heralded it as a “win-win for the state and shoppers.”  He also “autographed 15 car visors in an effort to fetch more money during the sale Friday and Saturday.”

How this gimmick does anything much for the state is beyond us.  But such is the state of the state here in the early days of the depression…where the delusion that selling junk to each other can somehow help the economy.

California, for whatever reason, has always considered itself the trendsetter state for the nation.  Much of this, we suspect, is just unwarranted self adulation.  But if not, then look out…

For Californication in the land of fruits and nuts is coming to a town near you.


M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

P.S.  How can using an offshore bank account, offshore asset protection and offshore investing strategies reduce your taxes, increase your privacy, and build your wealth?  The answers may surprise you…  Discover the Gateway to a Brand New World of Personal and Financial Freedom!  Learn all about it here.

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