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Bringing fiscal discipline to a liberal state: An interview with the GOP candidate for CA state controller



There may not be a bluer state in the country than California, although there are certainly areas of the state which are as conservative as rural Texas. Getting elected to statewide office as a Republican is problematic at best (unless you’re the Terminator).

I spoke with Konstantinos Roditis (“Kons” to his friends), GOP candidate for State Controller, about this and some other issues. I had questions on policy, politics, and challenges.

To understand the conversation better, know that the State Controller in California is the person in charge of audits, and can be described as the person most responsible for investigating fraud, waste, and abuse. Mr. Roditis pointed to California’s high-speed rail project as an obvious example of waste.

The interview

BW: What specific education and experience do you have that makes you feel qualified for the position of State Controller?

KR: I received a Bachelors in Political Science from UCSD with a focus in national and international security studies, which gave me an education on how to navigate the political bureaucracy.

I then worked for The Performance Institute, a San Diego based think tank, where I helped develop a plan for budget and pension reform in San Diego.

I’ve also run several small businesses, and so I am fully versed on what fiscal discipline looks like and what needs to happen to cut wasteful spending.

BW: What makes you a better choice than your opponent, the incumbent Betty Yee?

KR: The post of State Controller is supposed to be apolitical. The only thing the Controller should be looking at is making sure programs and projects are running in an efficient and cost-effective manner, regardless of whose pet project it might be. Ms. Yee has failed to audit several obvious wasteful projects and programs such as the high-speed rail project.

As State Controller, I will audit all programs that need it regardless of whether I like the said project or program. I’m a staunch conservative and a Federalist, so while I may not agree with many liberal programs, I recognize the right of Californians to make those decisions for themselves. I owe it to the taxpayers of California to make certain their money is being used in the most efficient possible manner; which any taxpayer, regardless of political affiliation or ideology, should want.

Betty Yee has remained silent on the politicization of fiscal policy, programs, and pension investment strategies, and in these ways, I believe she has been an absent Controller.

BW: If elected, what would be your top priorities?

KR: Well, obviously the most important thing to do would be to audit those programs that have gone unchecked for the previous four years.

After that, it is advocating sound fiscal policy through trickle-up taxation.

BW: You’ve made trickle-up taxation a big part of your platform and written about it several times. Can you explain trickle-up taxation and why you feel it is important?

KR: Sure. In business, a producer makes a product, who then sells it to a distributor, who then sells it to a wholesaler, who then sells it to a retailer. Each time the product changes hands the price increased to cover costs and profit.

In much the same way, when money is collected by Sacramento and then distributed back to the counties and municipalities, who then distribute it to their programs and services there is the potential for fraud and costs that are unnecessary. Allowing monies to stay locally saves taxpayer dollars because, in a sense, it cuts out the middleman (e.g. distributor, wholesalers, and retailers).

Trickle-up taxation keeps more taxpayer dollars locally. Giving communities the ability to address their unique needs without having to lobby Sacramento for money. It brings government to where it should be, the local level.

By implementing trickle-up taxation you will take power away from Sacramento and gives it back to local communities, where each communities needs and desires are best met instead of a centralized government agency far removed from one’s community.

For example, if San Fransisco wants a single-payer healthcare system, I may not personally think it’s a good idea, but I don’t live there and should have no say in it. With trickle-up taxation all the money for the program comes from the local population, not the state, and therefore it’s not my money going to a program in San Fransisco. Thus, it’s really about returning power and money to local communities and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse at the state level.

Further, it will create competition between California communities to have a business-friendly tax system, which will keep businesses from fleeing the state altogether to places like Texas, and rather keeps those businesses in the state but perhaps in a more business-friendly city.

BW: Turning from policy and to politics for a moment, what challenges do you see yourself having getting elected in deep-blue California, and how do you plan to overcome them?

KR: Well they are extensive, especially right now. The country is as polarized as it has been in decades, politically, and many on both sides tend to paint the other side with a broad brush, assuming they are “Nazis” or “Communists.”

While I am very conservative, whenever I’ve explained my policy ideas to liberals, they have actually really liked them. I’m willing to go anywhere and talk to anyone to speak about policy. If everyone could just get past labels and instead listen to policy, I think the voters of California will be receptive to my message, because ultimately it does help them.

BW: Last week US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was changing the Obama-era policy of not using Federal law enforcement to go after marijuana in states where it is legal. California is perhaps the most prominent of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana, via a voter-approved ballot measure. How do you feel about this?

KR: This move by Jeff Sessions is an absolute violation of state’s powers. I didn’t personally vote in favor of legalizing marijuana, but I respect the voters of California and what they want for the state is paramount. I join with Democrats and Republicans alike who are calling for Sessions to resign or be fired. Anyone who cares about states powers and an overreaching Federal Government should care about this issue, regardless of your personal stance on marijuana.

That is why if I was in the U.S. Senate I would not have voted to confirm Jeff Sessions. With his unconstitutional stance of violating state powers because of his stance on marijuana and his love of the unconstitutional and wholly un-American civil asset forfeiture programs, I could not and still cannot support him as Attorney General.

My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law not being a party hack that will support anyone because we happen to wear the same jersey.

If you want to learn more about Mr. Roditis and his policy positions, visit his campaign website here.


  •  Author’s disclosure: The author of this piece, who interviewed the candidate, is a colleague of the candidate, but interviewed him under the same rules as any other interview.

Benjamin Wilhelm served as a commissioned officer in the United States military for 10 years, serving one combat tour in Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge among other military awards. Ben has worked in a variety of private sector businesses both large and small. He is a former military and civilian firearms instructor and an advocate for veterans issues. Ben is a strict Constitutionalist who sees the Federal government as an out of control leviathan, and the federal debt as a burden that will break the country. Ben is a divorced father of two boys.

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That tax-cut money Trump and the GOP gave you? They want it back!



When Paul Ryan shared a story on Twitter about a public-school secretary who would take home and additional $1.50/week in her paycheck thanks to the GOP tax overhaul, he took so much heat for his obvious display of cluelessness concerning the trials of average Americans that he was forced to delete.

Maybe Ryan should have left it posted because as we are beginning to see from Trump and his big-government GOP buddies in Congress, the average American will be lucky to pocket even that pittance after they’re through with their plans.

With deficit increases in the trillions of dollars already a certainty following the tax cut, the party that once advocated for smaller government and fiscal responsibility has taken steps to make it worse, thanks to the recent budget deal and Trump’s Obama-style infrastructure spending plans.

Of course, you can’t spend money you don’t have—well, unless you work in Washington—so, Trump and the GOP are gearing up to pay for their spending addiction through increased borrowing and higher taxes.

Let’s begin with their plan to raise money to pay for Trumps $1.5 trillion infrastructure Wall Street boondoggle via a $.25/gallon gas tax. Considered unthinkable only a month ago, Trump and the GOP are totally cool with reclaiming over $375 billion of your tax-cut to finance this unnecessary plan.

But gasoline is a small part of the overall economy, so Trump had to look for other ways to raise taxes. Not to worry, folks, he found it.

Speaking to the House Ways and Means Committee recently, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testified that Trump supports a national tax on internet sales. Though Mnuchin has indicated in the past that Trump was only moderately interested in the idea, he told the committee that Trump now “feels strongly” about creating an online tax.

Higher taxes aren’t the only way Trump and the GOP plan to deal with the budget; they’re also making plans to cut Social Security and Medicare. Citing the deficit as their motivation, House republicans consider these “entitlements” theirs to do with as they please and are making plans to reduce benefits.

While it is true that Social Security’s unfunded liabilities are enormous, Americans have paid into the Social Security program. It’s their money. Congress can’t be allowed to create deficits and then rob Americans of their benefits to pay for it.

That tax-cut money Trump and the GOP gave you because it was yours in the first place? They want it back.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Guns and Crime

The Top 5 Reasons Gun Control is Dead.




Time to bury the non-functional authoritarian idea of people control that has been negated by circumstances and technology.

It’s the same pattern every time, within minutes of a mass murder attack, calls for Intergalactic Background Checks or Gun confiscation are heard throughout the media. To be clear, these repeated assaults against our common sense civil rights by those who are supposedly ‘Liberal’ are contrary to the very precepts of individual Liberty, but that has become all too commonplace these days.

One should be extremely suspicious of ‘solutions’ that have to be passed in the heat of the moment, on the basis of a ‘serious crisis’. Were these ‘solutions’ of good quality and worthy of rational support, they could be discussed in the context of an open debate without the inclusion of useless emotional appeals.

The fact is the world has passed by the gun grabbers without their notice. Americans today own an estimated 600 million guns, they also are wise to the incremental attacks on their fundamental liberties. Advancing technology and the fact that gun control has never worked have also contributed to the death of this old tyrannical idea. Finally, this common-sense civil right is an integral part of the truly Liberal philosophy of individual Liberty.

1). Millions of gun owners and millions of guns in circulation make the ultimate gun grabber goal of Confiscation impossible.

A few months ago The Washington Free Beacon ran an analysis using data from a recent poll and census data and determined that ‘Nearly 120 million Americans have a firearm in the home’

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey of 1,200 adults found 48 percent of Americans said they or somebody else in their household owned a gun.

The United States Census Bureau estimates there are 249,454,440 adults currently living in America. If the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey is accurate, that equates to 119,738,131 Americans with a gun in their home.

In addition, the website ‘WeaponsMan’ ran an analysis of ATF and came up with an estimated 412-660 Million firearms.

2). Gun grabber mendacity over the issue of People Control.

Nothing epitomized the sheer lack of honesty on the part of the gun grabbers on the nation’s Socialist-Left than statistic supposedly showing 18 school shootings this year or that the New York Times reported 430 People Have Been Shot in 239 School Shootings.

If they truly had a righteous cause that made sense, they would have no need to lie about it.

The plain fact is that most, if not all people control proposals are predicated on trust. For example, there really is no justifiable reason for Intergalactic Background Checks other than to force citizens to get permission to exercise their Civil rights and as a precursor to gun confiscation. But the gun grabbers will solemnly attest that this further infringement will not lead to that obvious end result. We are supposed to trust them not to use purchase data to create a registration and confiscation database. Well, they are perfectly willing to Lie about school shootings as well as other issues, so what is to stop them from doing so in this case?

3). Gun Control has Never Worked as advertised.

Gun control has never worked – as is most, if not all of the Left’s Socialist national agenda. There are plenty of examples that range from Chicago to Caracas. Basic logic will inform those who thoughtfully consider the issue. People control laws only impact those who obey it anyway. These are people who don’t really pose a threat, so these impositions on personal liberty only serve to help criminals and the government.

Of course, a further analysis of these measures would show that they were never meant to work in the first place. They merely set up the next infringement without ever solving the problem, as intended.

In recent years the gun grabber set has openly and freely admitted their goal of Gun confiscation – whether they dress it up in euphemisms of ‘Gun buy backs’, Gun bans or merely getting rid of the 2nd amendment. They all mean the same thing.
It should be clear that any proposals to ‘Just do something about guns’ are but precursors to gun confiscation, whether it’s Intergalactic Background Checks or Registration. It’s ‘All or nothing’ with the anti-civil rights crowd, so they get nothing.

4). The Rapidly advancing technologies CNC machine tools and 3D printing will make gun control impossible.

The authoritarian ideas of gun control are almost as old as the guns themselves. As soon as the common man was able to get a means of self-defense, potential tyrants tried to keep this from taking place. Back then, not many had access to the technologies to manufacture their own weapons. In recent years, this has drastically changed to the point that almost anyone can manufacture a firearm completely free from governmental control. Reason recently profiled the pioneers in this field and how it has rendered a death knell to any hope of controlling guns.

For those who may be logically challenged, please try to follow along: It is becoming easier and easier to make weapons. Thus any restrictions on our common sense civil will only have an impact on the innocent. So any future attempts at people control will be negated by everyone and anyone manufacturing their own without government interference. But of course, we have outlined this issue on these pages as well.

5). The Common Sense Civil Right of Armed Self-defence is an integral part of the cause of Individual liberty.

There is a reason the Liberal founding fathers set out the Civil Right of Armed Self-defence at the top of the Bill of rights. They had just fought and won a war where the possession of the common ‘weapons of war’ was crucial to victory. In fact, the possession of these arms by the colonials was the spark that set off the American revolution. The founders knew that the possession of firearms was the only way the new nation would be able to maintain it’s security. These were the ‘weapons of war’ commonly held by the infantrymen: The ubiquitous AR-15 of today as was the musket of the colonial time period.

The Right to keep and bear arms was also an integral part of the philosophy of individual rights. The right to ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is meaningless without a self-defense capability.

There also a reason that the Liberal founding fathers used the word ‘unalienable’ – meaning they cannot be taken or given away by the possessor of these rights. In other words, even if people were persuaded by slick marketing or Leftists, they could not give up the right to life and by extension, the common sense civil right of self-defense.

The Takeaway

Therefore, it should be quite clear that millions of gun owners, possessing millions of guns will not fall for Leftist lies or their fantasy world of safety by disarmament. Furthermore, it should be clear that advancing technologies and civil rights that cannot be given away signifies that gun control has metaphorically drawn its last tyrannical breaths.

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Mitt Romney will run to replace Orrin Hatch in the DC swamp



In an announcement as obvious as hearing that the sun rose in the east this morning, Mitt Romney let America know that he’s running for the US Senate seat being vacated by a man who attended the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Okay, not really, but he is a poster child for term limits after “serving” in Washington longer than any Republican in history.

Mitt’s decision to run has been a given since Hatch announced his retirement last month, which followed months of talk between the two about how to conduct Operation Switcheroo in a way where it wouldn’t be seen as political nepotism. They failed miserably.

The Mitch McConnell-led GOP establishment is nearly orgasmic over the prospects of having the Massachusetts liberal—who tried to convince America that he was “severely conservative” during his 2012 campaign for president—join the swamp. However, there are those who are none too happy about Romney’s carpetbagger campaign including Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson.

“I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here,” Anderson said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.

While I sympathize with Mr. Anderson, I don’t feel sorry for him because he isn’t talking about true conservatives. Mr. Anderson is a Trumpservative which is to say he wants a pro-Trump Republican going to Washington. Again, from the article:

“(Romney) has never been a Trump supporter. I just want somebody to support the party platforms.”

What’s it going to be, Mr. Anderson? Trump supporter or party platform supporter? You can’t have both.

GOP establishment concerns over Romney’s opposition to Trump are overblown. Heck, he blames the media and conservatives for the woes of the GOP just like Trump does. Based on his service as governor and his senatorial campaign against Ted Kennedy in his home state of Massachusetts, Romney has proven that he’ll be whatever and whoever he needs to be in the name of political self-preservation.

Unfortunately, that makes Romney a perfect fit for Washington; it’s a swamp filled with people just like that.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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