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Democrats

The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail

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Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Alternatives to the HSR

High-speed rail was well-intentioned but the reality is, that HSR is extremely expensive and it is obsolete technology. We must look at new innovative ways and look to future technologies of the 21st century not technology from the 1970s.

If we want an alternative to the HSR, there are two promising technologies that might be the future of transportation in California. The first is HyperLoop. Speeds-up to 700 mph, more affordable to build and operate, and could be used to transport cargo cutting down traffic congestion on the roads. This could be ideal for long distances.

 

 

The second alternative that is ideal for larger metropolitan areas and fast enough at 200 mph for longer work commuting trips is the skyTran. This is also much cheaper and better than the HSR.

 

 

Regardless, of what we do and decide, we must look beyond the current paradigm and have a vision that looks to solve the problems we have now and will face in the future. It’s time we dump the HSR and look to the future, not the past.

 


Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at cacontroller.com, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Democrats

Stop underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left

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Stop underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left

As a conservative, I can break down the left vs. right paradigm by using two edited axioms. For the left, it’s “If at first you don’t succeed, double down and make it even worse.” For the right, it’s, “If it ain’t broke, do everything to keep the left from trying to fix it.”

I’m sure my friends on the left (few, but present) would disagree. I do what I can to keep never completely alienate my progressive friends because I need them to help me understand why they react certain ways to different people, ideas, and circumstances. For example, a cordial conversation I had with a former Bernie supporter the other day revealed to me she still likes him, but she’s much more excited about Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren. I asked her opinion of Pete Buttigieg. She knew nothing about him.

Yesterday, she told me she was all in for Buttigieg. I asked why. She said he seemed more genuine than Beto and a better campaign strategist than Pocahontas (her choice of nicknames).

That’s the state of affairs in the Democratic Party. Every candidate has their share of faithful followers, but outside of Sanders and possibly O’Rourke, the game is wide open for most Democratic voters. They move their preferences up and down, left and right just as Republicans did during the early days of the 2016 primary season. In that regard, the left and right aren’t very different. At this stage, a lot of the popularity of the candidates will be based solely on personality. People like who they like and as long as they check the right ideological boxes, the early days are nothing more than a personality contest.

This is why every candidate is picking and choosing their policies to promote as well as the policies to avoid. You can tell when a candidate believes in a more moderate approach to handle any issue when they’re not willing to say much about it. When they’re radical on an issue, they blast it out there. This is the part that scares me.

Those who were paying attention in the late months of 2014 and the early months of 2015 know something that would probably shock most voters today. There was a topic the GOP wanted to avoid altogether. Strategists said not to bring it up. Analysts said it was a losing issue. Then, Donald Trump announced his intention to run and suddenly the taboo topic was front-and-center. That’s right, before Trump entered the race and gave his famous speech about deporting Mexicans, the GOP consensus stated that immigration was a topic to be avoided through the primaries and possibly onto the general election.

It’s important to understand this because it demonstrates very clearly how election season, especially primary season, sets the stage for not only the topics that will be discussed but also the way the country will be governed based on which side wins. It concerns me greatly that the topics being discussed by the Democrats today are Medicare-for-All, Green New Deal, reparations, higher minimum wages, eliminating student debt, and socialism in general. The presence of these radical ideas in the early days of the primary season tells us these are the topics that will be driven home by the eventual winner of the Democratic nominee.

If the Democrat then wins, they’ll be expected to start implementing these ideas just as President Trump was expected to repeal Obamacare and build the wall. He ran on those ideas, so he’s expected to deliver.

Republicans might think, “Bring it on.” I hear about it when talking to GOP strategists. I see it in the bluster of keyboard pundits on Twitter. I even see it in the posts and statements by the GOP itself. Most are licking their chops at the opportunity to take on these radical progressive ideas. Unfortunately, they’re not doing it right, and by “they” I mean I’ve seen a tiny handful who are even taking it seriously.

What we’re seeing instead is the complacency that goes with underestimating the ignorance and gullibility of the left as well as the malleability of the center. That friend who now supports Buttigieg happens to be a nurse and happens to adore the ideas of both the Green New Deal and especially Medicare-for-All. When one of my other friends (who happens to be a more moderate leftist) asked her the standard question of how they’re going to pay for it, the new Buttigieg fan said, “The rich will pay for it.”

I started to rain on her parade with actual numbers, but stopped immediately. This wasn’t the time to debate anything, let alone the idiocy of believing only the rich would be dramatically effected by such dramatic increases in the budget. After all, I need to keep some progressive friends around and this particular one would never have spoken about politics with me again if I shared the truth with her. I let it go.

It’s anecdotal, but I have a very strong feeling this thinking is common and growing more prevalent every day. After all, this wasn’t a random reasoning. This is what they’re saying among the hyper-leftists in the Democratic Party. It seems every candidate has a variation of the “hose the rich” plan. They know very clearly that the numbers are far too large for the average American to stop and think about. There are sheep on both sides of the political aisle, but the numbers are going up dramatically on the left thanks to the sudden total disregard for fiscal responsibility that is now Kosher to the new Democrats.

And the people will follow. They won’t challenge them. They won’t question them. They won’t do the math. They’ll nod their heads in unison as these candidates promise exponentially more than Bill Clinton or Barack Obama ever had the gall to promise.

The fact that these socialistic ideas absolutely, positively cannot work will be ignored by the candidates and over the heads of the leftist voters. I’m not saying they’re stupid. Many are quite bright. But anyone who believes socialism has any chance of success is willfully ignorant to the facts and gullible to the progressive sales pitch.

It is incumbent on conservatives to do everything we can to educate the population. If you’re as cynical as me, you’ll probably think it’s a nearly impossible task. If you’re as worried as me, you’ll know there’s nothing else we can do but try.

What we MUST NOT do is take jabs at the ideologies and policy proposals with an assumption the voters will get the jokes. Here’s Tweet tonight from the GOP:

As Tweets go, this one is horrible. Imagine a leftist or even a centrist leaning towards Medicare-for-All reading this. Government takeover of the healthcare system, single-payer, and elimination of private health insurance – to someone who doesn’t understand the numbers, this might seem like the GOP is endorsing Buttigieg because none of the negatives they pointed out are negatives in the minds of most leftists.

But it’s worse than that. This Tweet nor anything I’ve seen from the GOP so far on Twitter or elsewhere does anything to teach Republican voters how to counter arguments in favor of Medicare-for-All. Zero. The next election is going to be won or lost based on whether the GOP can demonstrate these “new” ideas are bad. And it won’t just be the candidates and pundits who need to do this. The voters themselves need to be able to make a solid case for why any one of these ideas are horrible.

The GOP needs to step up its game and attack the horrible leftist policy proposals with facts. Right now, it seems like they assume most Americans believe socialism is bad. Come election day, that may not be the case if the GOP doesn’t fix their messaging.

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Culture and Religion

Not even close: Socialism isn’t about social media, being social or ‘sharing’

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Not even close Socialism isnt about social media being social or sharing

Leftists would like their label for organised evil to mean something other than subjugation and mass murder.

We tend to avoid making light of America’s favourite socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [aka ‘AOC’] from the rationale that when someone is making a mistake it’s best to just get out of their way. However in this case, this is not about the women whose antics will cause her ideology of organised evil to be laughed from the pantheon of practical governmental forms. This is about an adorable 8-year-old and perfect her impression of Ms. Cortez, specifically the point that socialism isn’t about being ‘social’, ‘social media’ or ‘sharing’.

For those who haven’t seen this viral video, it’s a perfect rendition of ‘AOC’ and her ruminations on climate change and socialism.

In light of this adorable impression, we will take this occasion to eviscerate what seems to be a very odd understanding of some basic words on the part of the National Socialist-Left.

Socialism is not about being ‘social’

No doubt this partially arose from certain elements who like to weaponize words to maximum effect. First principles hold that politics can be considered to be of the two basic forms: Individualism or Collectivism. With priority given to either the Individual or the collective.

Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians favour the rights and freedoms of the Individual. Certain civil Liberties such as the common sense human right of self-defence stems from this first principle.
Even though it may at first blush seem counterintuitive, the individual striving to improve themselves and their lot always tends to do the same for everyone else. As stated in The Wealth of Nations:

‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.’ – Adam Smith

Conversely speaking, Collectivism is the other basic form whereby the group is favoured over the Individual. In point of fact, since a group is merely an arbitrary aggregation of individuals with no true form, the result is that it cannot have any true civil Liberties. This is exemplified by the treatment of the common sense human right of self-defence. Whereby the principle ‘collective’ rights is applied, meaning there is no Liberty in this regard.

Individualism is vastly superior to Collectivism

Collectivists like to phrase their construct of one of the labels of their base ideology as simply adding the suffix ‘ism’ to their idea of ‘social’ or group dynamics to make ‘social+ism’. Even though this word has come to signify the worst excesses in authoritarianism.

The problem is that when the ‘rights’ of group are prioritized, the rights of the individual disappear. Despite the window dressing of supposedly being ‘Liberal’, the Collectivist-Left only sees the group as having importance. Individuals become disposable to the whims of the collective. This is how the Left terms idea of self-defence as unimportant and how they end up will millions of dead individuals.

Socialism is not about ‘sharing’

Despite being extremely late to the party of collectivist ideological thought, Karl Marx did imbue one of the lines that epitomises it’s base principles with the saying: ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’

Sharing has to be a voluntary process. Such is not the case with socialism where that ‘From each according to his abilities’ is done at the point of a gun. This is why the Collectivist-Left obsesses over the disarming of individuals with Liberty control aka ‘Gun Reform’.

The Takeaway

Leftists love to exploit the language to hide their true base ideological intent. This is why they use words like ‘socialism’ or ‘Liberal’. They cannot be honest about what they truly want: control over everyone.

Thus, they have to pretend that ‘socialism’ means being social or sharing instead of an ideology that is truly organised evil at its core.

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Democrats

Rep. Seth Moulton enters the Democratic nomination race

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Rep Seth Moulton enters the Democratic nomination race

The clown car continues to fill up as a new Democrat announces their presidential campaign seemingly every week. This time, it’s Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), marking the third politician from Massachusetts to vie for the top spot. He joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Republican governor Bill Weld as hopefuls from The Bay State.

An Iraq War veteran from the U.S. Marines, Moulton led efforts to replace Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi once the Democrats won back control of the House last year. His politics are pretty much indistinguishable from other candidates as he favors Medicare-for-All, gun control, and other common leftist notions.

Moulton has a tall mountain to climb on the fundraising side if he hopes to make it to the main debate stage. There’s still time, but he’ll need to get some heavy attention very quickly to be able to make a serious run.

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