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

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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.

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Immigration

As predicted, Trump offers DACA amnesty in exchange for border wall

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As predicted Trump offers DACA amnesty in exchange for border wall

Throughout Trump’s first two years in office, I’ve been one of only a handful of conservative voices shouting from the rooftops that the New York liberal’s promise to fix America’s out-of-control illegal immigration problem was nothing but a lie.

As a candidate, Trump promised to build a “big beautiful powerful wall” on our southern border at Mexico’s expense, and he promised to overturn Obama’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order that allowed illegals to stay in America indefinitely. Unfortunately, the “wall” has become an “artistically designed” barrier of some sort funded by the U.S. taxpayer, and DACA is not only still in effect, it’s on its way to becoming permanent.

While the reality of Trump’s broken promises dealing with illegal immigration have been crystal clear to those not drinking the orange Kool-Aid, his inevitable betrayal on the issue has been brought sharply into focus since last summer.

In May 2018, as Trump and the GOP were looking for ways to save their jobs ahead of the midterms, the House Freedom Caucus joined hands with Democrats to push for a “fix” to DACA.

In June 2018, Paul Ryan proposed a plan that would allow DREAMers to legally stay in the country and be put on the pathway to citizenship in exchange for $23 billion for building a border wall.

Following their September 2018 budget betraying funding everything from Planned Parenthood to DACA and sanctuary cities, rumors began spreading around Washington that Trump was ready to cut an immigration deal with Democrats in light of the reality that the Democrats were about to retake the House in the midterms.

The Democrats did retake the House, and in the days since their victory, Trump and the GOP have been laying the foundation for their inevitable immigration betrayal. With the help of Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, trading DACA amnesty for a border wall is now the official position of the Trump administration and the GOP-controlled Senate.

So, it came as no surprise when Trump proposed a deal over the weekend to end to his manufactured government shutdown by offering Democrats a three-year extension of DACA in exchange for $5 billion for border security funding — an idea originally conceived by Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Three years? I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but that’s just enough time to kick the can down the road until after his 2020 election … assuming there is one. And just in case there are any doubts about the motivation behind this three-year timeframe, consider this: Mitch McConnell, who has refused to let the Senate vote on the shutdown, has endorsed Trump’s offer and will hold vote on it this week.

Mickey is also up for re-election in 2020.

For now, Democrats are rejecting Trump’s offer, but it’s only a matter of time before they get what they want. After all, Trump and the GOP want the same thing.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is 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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Culture and Religion

How ‘Progressives’ are a small but vocal political minority

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How Progressives are a small but vocal political minority

The data shows that most people are in the rational majority while the Left is a small but vocal minority.

A recent video from Daisy Cousens makes the very important point that far-Left ‘progressives’ are an extremely vocal minority that dominates the media, culture and government indoctrination centres. Even though they are only 8% of the population, they take on the false pretense of representing everyone else.

Equally important is the fact that the data from the Hidden Tribes Study shows that the people trying to conserve Liberty on the Right have a lot more in common with the exhausted middle. This majority on one side of the issues, while the small minority of the far-Left on the other. As she points out, this is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the national socialist Utopia the Left would like to force on the rest of us.

This is a short description of the 7 groups identified in the study:

Progressive Activists (8 percent of the population) are deeply concerned with issues concerning equity, fairness, and America’s direction today. They tend to be more secular, cosmopolitan, and highly engaged with social media.

Traditional Liberals (11 percent of the population) tend to be cautious, rational, and idealistic. They value tolerance and compromise. They place great faith in institutions.

Passive Liberals (15 percent of the population) tend to feel isolated from their communities. They are insecure in their beliefs and try to avoid political conversations. They have a fatalistic view of politics and feel that the circumstances of their lives are beyond their control.

The Politically Disengaged (26 percent of the population) are untrusting, suspicious about external threats, conspiratorially minded, and pessimistic about progress. They tend to be patriotic yet detached from politics.

Moderates (15 percent of the population) are engaged in their communities, well informed, and civic-minded. Their faith is often an important part of their lives. They shy away from extremism of any sort.

Traditional Conservatives (19 percent of the population) tend to be religious, patriotic, and highly moralistic. They believe deeply in personal responsibility and self-reliance.

Devoted Conservatives (6 percent of the population) are deeply engaged with politics and hold strident, uncompromising views. They feel that America is embattled, and they perceive themselves as the last defenders of traditional values that are under threat.

What was truly interesting was that the nation’s Socialists on the far-Left have their own set of priorities, that just happen to centre around control of others:

The polarization of opinion between the opposing ends of the spectrum is very clear from the issues that different groups prioritize:

After the issue of poor leadership, Progressive Activists rank climate change (47%) and economic inequality (42%) next, both issues that rank high on the liberal agenda. These are both considerably higher than the average (18% and 12%, respectively).

While the majority Conservatives, Moderates and Liberals have their own priorities. They don’t explain how someone favourable to individual rights and freedoms would naturally buy into the strict controls on Liberty that go along with the authoritarian Left’s climate change agenda. Or that the forced wealth redistribution that would have to be a part of Leftists plans to address the economic inequality would square with individual Liberty.

It’s also important to emphasis this statement from the study:

The Politically Disengaged group resemble the Conservatives in their focus on jobs (56%), immigration (60%) and terrorism (59%).

[Our emphasis]

This is how we are in the majority, the Politically Disengaged resembling Conservatives on many important issues.

A very vocal minority is still a minority

While the majority of the country may quibble over some issues, they are still supporters of Liberty. The far-Left, socialist minority is in a world of it’s own, working actively against our rights and freedoms while hiding behind the Liberal label. Please take note of this when considering those who like to throw Liberals into the Leftist camp, incongruously conflating both sides as the same.

The Takeaway

Most people want to be free from the control of others. Most people want to be able to defend themselves and speak freely without constraint. Most people want to keep their earnings and property. This is the rational and largely silent majority that would just like to live their lives in peace.

Contrast this with the far-Left minority that preaches collectivism and control. People who openly want to banish what they deem to be ‘Hate- speech,’ ‘Assault weapons,’ the presumption of innocence and due process. It’s a small group obsessed with political power and denigrating freedom with far too many false labels.

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Opinions

Kevin McCarthy doles out political payback against conservatives

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Kevin McCarthy doles out political payback against conservatives

When he was still in Congress, John Boehner was a master at selling out conservative values to Barack Obama’s agenda, and he routinely did all he could to silence conservatives who dared to oppose him or the Republican Party.

Boehner’s capitulating cowardice in favor of Obama and the Democrats was so blatant that there was an attempt in 2014 to kick his progressive posterior to the curb as House Speaker, an attempt that failed in large part due to retaliatory threats leveled against those who dared to vote against his re-election for the job.

When another attempt to replace Boehner as Speaker started picking up steam in 2015, he not only re-issued his threats, but he picked up the endorsements of Democrats who were concerned that a TEA Party Republican might replace him.

When Boehner eventually resigned as Speaker late in 2015, Republicans settled on Paul Ryan, the man who reminded America of the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who — meet the new boss, same as the old boss. However, before Ryan, there was another Boehner clone being considered for the job, Rep.Kevin McCarthy, the current minority leader after the Democrats retook the House in the 2018 midterm.

McCarthy was rejected in 2015 because he was too close to Boehner, and he was involved in Boehner’s personal vendetta against TEA Party and other conservative Republicans, along with being a participant in Boehner’s five-year sellout to Obama’s agenda.

McCarthy still carries this baggage today.

As the new Congress gets underway, McCarthy is channeling his inner Boehner and has begun retaliating against Freedom Caucus members who voted against him in favor of one of their own, Rep. Jim Jordan.

McCarthy and his partners in crime on the Republican Steering Committee began taking out their revenge by removing Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) from the Armed Services Committee, and there will likely be more suffering Hice’s fate.

There were six Freedom Caucus members and affiliates who voted against McCarthy including: Hice, Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Scott Perry (R-PA).

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows — notice his name wasn’t listed above — told The Hill.com that “removing any member from a committee solely because they voted according to their constituents’ wishes is viewed very poorly by the general public and is the kind of punishment politics that the American people hate.”

I don’t feel all that sorry over the plight of many on the Freedom Caucus. Having abandoned conservatism for Trumpservatism, people like Meadows have lost all credibility.

McCarthy’s deeds simply prove what we’ve known for many years now, the Republican Party is no longer the home of conservatives, and the sooner we realize that, the better.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is 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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