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My Recommendations on the California Propositions (2008)

Let us now revisit the issues involving the California Propositions …

Basic Philosophy …

“With California in financial trouble, let’s spend even more money on social engineering programs that will produce little or no results … but are of great interest to the special interests that are promoting them.”

[X] NO -- Proposition 1 Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century

A bureaucratic boondoggle that invites waste, fraud, mismanagement and corruption plus the opportunity to divert bond funds into other unfunded initiatives. For more detail see my blog entry:

[X] NO -- CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 1A (2008) SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT

[X] NO -- Proposition 2 Treatment of Farm Animals. Statute.

While this law plays on the public’s emotions and requires that an enclosure or tether confining specified farm animals allow the animals for the majority of every day to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up, and turn around, the law would drive business from the State of California, raise overall meat and poultry prices, encourage the importation of Mexican-raised meat, poultry and dairy products which may put us at risk from contaminated or disease-related food.

The major issue here is the “Bambi” syndrome where Americans are taught by the media that all animals are cute, cuddly and should be treated as well as we treat our pets. The harsh reality is that these animals are raised for food, much in the same manner as our forefathers raised animals on the farm. While I am dead set against animal cruelty, what a person thinks is animal cruelty based on their media-driven preconceptions is often far different from the realities faced by farmers, ranchers and others who are charged with producing a clean, safe food product. If we need to spend money in this area, let us place our money into the inspection process which keeps our food and families safe.

[X]  NO -- Proposition 3 Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Statute. Authorizes

I am tired of the liberal “its for the children” argument when clearly the issue is about special interests and social engineering. This issue would provide $980 million in bonds which must be repaid and obligates the taxpayers to pay $2 BILLION dollars over 30 years – including hefty commissions to the Wall Street Wizards who package and sell these bonds.

Note this discrepancies in the title and the actual use of the proceeds … Designates that 20 percent of bond proceeds go to University of California general acute care hospitals. These hospitals have built or are building new facilities – often downsizing the number of beds they offer the community.

This bill also exacerbates the illegal alien health care issue by requiring that qualifying children's hospitals provide comprehensive services to a high volume of children eligible for governmental programs. Sort of an unofficial reimbursement plan for taking care of illegal aliens.

This is a special interest bill which was tried before in 2004 at a cost of $750 million – and now they want even more.


[X]  NO -- Proposition 4 Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy. Constitutional Amendment.

“Amends California Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor's parent, legal guardian or, if parental abuse reported, an adult family member. Provides exceptions for medical emergency or parental waiver. Permits courts to waive notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor's maturity or best interests. Mandates reporting requirements, including reports from physicians regarding abortions on minors. Authorizes monetary damages against physicians for violation. Requires minor's consent to abortion, with exceptions. Permits judicial relief if minor's consent is coerced.”

“Emotionally charged abortion bill which requires a 48-hour waiting period after a minor’s parents are notified. This is a trial lawyer’s full employment opportunity act to go after deep-pocket physicians, institutions and others – all based on the word of a emotionally distraught teenager. I noticed that they never ask the “father” what he might think.”

This places teens who come from abusive homes at grave risk – and I am not willing to sign on to a measure which will harm teenagers.

[X] NO -- Proposition 5 Nonviolent Offenders. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Statute.

Requires State to expand and increase funding and oversight for individualized treatment and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees. Reduces criminal consequences of nonviolent drug offenses by mandating three-tiered probation with treatment and by providing for case dismissal and/or sealing of records after probation. Limits court's authority to incarcerate offenders who violate probation or parole. Shortens parole for most drug offenses, including sales, and for nonviolent property crimes. Creates numerous divisions, boards, commissions, and reporting requirements regarding drug treatment and rehabilitation. Changes certain marijuana misdemeanors to infractions.

For more detail see my blog entry:

[X] NO -- CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 5 (2008) -- NON-VIOLENT DRUG OFFENSES GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD

“Get out of jail early for drug offenders… this is the ultimate do-gooder legislation. Full of dangerous precedents that will enable drug offenders to commit additional property crimes with impunity. More divisions, commissions, boards for paid political appointees to dominate. Further decriminalizes marijuana. “

“If they were going to decriminalize marijuana, I have always thought that they should specify that the marijuana be grown in the United States as a cash crop to avoid giving additional money to the foreign drug cartels and their corrupt politicians.”

[X] NO -- Proposition 6 Criminal Penalties and Laws. Public Safety Funding. Statute.

“Requires minimum of $965,000,000 each year to be allocated from state General Fund for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, jails and juvenile probation facilities. Some of this funding will increase in following years according to California Consumer Price Index. Makes approximately 30 revisions to California criminal law, many of which cover gang-related offenses. Revisions create multiple new crimes and additional penalties, some with the potential for new life sentences.  Increases penalties for violating a gang-related injunction and for felons carrying guns under certain conditions.”

Yet another measure which supports programs that are filled with waste, corruption and mismanagement. This is the vehicle for the prison guards to get their outrageous salary increases. The changes in the statute law can be done quickly and easily by the legislature and do not need to be tied to a spending bill which would benefit the politicians, bureaucracy and special interests.

[X] NO -- Proposition 7 Renewable Energy. Statute.

“Requires all utilities, including government-owned utilities, to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010, a standard currently applicable only to private electrical corporations. Raises requirement for all utilities to 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025. Imposes penalties for noncompliance. Fast-tracks approval for new renewable energy plants. Requires utilities to sign longer contracts (20 year minimum) to procure renewable energy. Creates Solar and Clean Energy Transmission Account to purchase property or rights of way for renewable energy. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State administrative costs of up to $3.4 million annually for the regulatory activities of the Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission, paid for by fee revenues.”

“Until somebody proposes how to make wind and solar more reliable, how to transport this electricity over current electrical grids and how to do it profitably without government subsidies and increased prices, then we will talk.” 

“ Please hike my utility bills to fund special interest alternative energy source to mitigate global warming. Another bureaucratic boondoggle on behalf of certain special interests.”

[X] YES --Proposition 8 Limit on Marriage. Constitutional Amendment.

Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

I switched positions on this proposition after finding that the education of California’s children would be impacted in such a manner as to severely impinge on parental rights. For more detail, see my blog entry:

[X] YES -- CA PROPOSITION 8 (2008): Who says so?

“I do not believe gays should have any more rights than any other individual. I also believe that the “civil union” procedure covers all of the necessary bases including inheritance, acting in medical emergencies, sharing spousal employment insurance and other spousal privileges as well as other legal issues regarding such matters as joint financial and property matters. Marriage is a traditional term with common usage antecedents.

[X] YES -- Proposition 9 Criminal Justice System. Victims' Rights. Parole. Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Requires notification to victim and opportunity for input during phases of criminal justice process, including bail, pleas, sentencing and parole. Establishes victim safety as consideration in determining bail or release on parole. Increases the number of people permitted to attend and testify on behalf of victims at parole hearings. Reduces the number of parole hearings to which prisoners are entitled. Requires that victims receive written notification of their constitutional rights. Establishes timelines and procedures concerning parole revocation hearings.

“Hallelujah … a bill the recognizes victims instead of increasing the privileges of perpetrators.”

[X] NO -- Proposition 10 Bonds. Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Statute.

“Authorizes $5 billion in bonds paid from state's General Fund, allocated approximately as follows: 58% in cash payments of between $2,000 and $50,000 to purchasers of certain high fuel economy and alternative fuel vehicles; 20% in incentives for research, development and production of renewable energy technology; 11% in incentives for research and development of alternative fuel vehicle technology; 5% in incentives for purchase of renewable energy technology; 4% in grants to eight cities for education about these technologies; and 3% in grants to colleges to train students in these technologies. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State costs of about $9.8 billion over 30 years to pay both the principal ($5 billion) and interest ($4.8 billion) costs on the bond. Payments of about $325 million per year. Increase in state sales tax revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to beyond 2018. Increase in local sales tax and VLF revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to about 2018-19. Potential state costs of up to about $10 million annually, through about 2018-19, for state agency administrative costs not funded by the measure.” For more details, see my blog entry:

[X] NO -- CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 10 (2008) ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

“Automobile industry subsidy … from your pocket and Vehicle License Fees – No way, Jose! Just what type of vehicle would qualify you for a $50,000 cash payment? Read the bill and you would see that it is a alternative energy truck subsidy which would allow truck buyers to milk the California taxpayer for large CNG-fleets to be operated outside of California. This is a T. Boone Pickens’ initiative.”

“This makes more sense since RINO (Republican In Name Only) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger provided Tesla Motors with government tax relief and subsidies to manufacture cars in the state. Hence we are actually subsidizing a private company with tax money – without our permission. To be noted, the Governator has one of the pricey $100,000 vehicles on order. No word about the actual delivery or price.”

[X] YES -- Proposition 11 Redistricting. Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Creates 14-member redistricting commission responsible for drawing new district lines for State Senate, Assembly, and Board of  Equalization districts. Requires State Auditor to randomly select commission members from voter applicant pool to create a commission with five members from each of the two largest political parties, and four members unaffiliated with either political party. Requires nine votes to approve final district maps. Establishes standards for drawing new lines, including respecting the geographic integrity of neighborhoods and encouraging geographic compactness. Permits State Legislature to draw lines for congressional districts subject to these standards.

“This is the way to keep the politicians from perpetuating ‘safe’ districts that guarantee certain politicians and parties an absolute majority before one vote is cast. Whatever the outcome, the battle will probably be fought for years in the courts until the political parties get exactly what they want.”

“The two questions I have: one, just who will these people be – high muckety-mucks or will some ordinary citizens participate and two, will they count illegal aliens in the redistricting mix?  The last statement ‘permits state legislature to draw lines for congressional districts subject to these standards’ is what you are trying to avoid.”

[X] NO - VETERANS’ BOND ACT OF 2008.

“This measure authorizes the state to sell $900 million in general obligation bonds for the Cal-Vet program. These bonds would provide sufficient funds for at least 3,600 additional veterans to receive loans.”

“The money from these bond sales is used by the State Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase farms, homes, and mobile homes which are then resold to California veterans. Each participating veteran makes monthly payments to the department. These payments are in an amount sufficient to (1) reimburse the department for its costs in purchasing the farm, home, or mobile home; (2) cover all costs resulting from the sale of the bonds, including interest; and (3) cover the costs of operating the program.”

Although the emotionally charged word “veteran” appears in the title and is the subject of this bond measure, there are better ways of assisting those who have served our nation in securing loans. This is a perpetuation of a large bureaucracy and does not discriminate between those who put their lives on the line and those who never left the continental United States. This is an area which does need to be re-examined carefully within the context of an all-volunteer military and the impact of those who serve under the National Guard in domestic settings.

The importance of the State vote … 

The California State propositions are every bit as important as our choice for a President – and there fiscal and physical safety effects will be felt on a more dramatic and personal level than may legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.

What can YOU do?

You need to vote. Your economic future and physical safety hangs in the balance. Discuss the issues with your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” -- P.J. O'Rourke

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

An ironic note: The Secretary of State often refers to the Voter Information Guide as the “VIG,” a traditional term for the interest charged by loan sharks.

From the California Secretary of State:

Bond Measure
Proposition 1A - Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.

Initiative Statute
Proposition 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute.

Initiative Statute
Proposition 3 - Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment
Proposition 4 - Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Initiative Statute
Proposition 5 - Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute.

Initiative Statute
Proposition 6 - Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute.

Initiative Statute
Proposition 7 - Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment
Proposition 8 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute
Proposition 9 - Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Initiative Statute
Proposition 10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute
Proposition 11 - Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Bond Measure
Proposition 12 Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



GLOBAL WARMING: RETHINKING THE MODELS TO ACCOUNT FOR UNEXPLAINED BEHAVIOR

Once again, we are reminded that the claimed certainty and so-called consensus among climate scientists is a myth. Especially when scientists must continually readjust their thinking about the underlying processes that give rise to the measurement of physical phenomena; and its eventual incorporation into explanative and predictive computer models.

A world-wide phenomenon?

Today’s object lesson comes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where two scientists have encountered an, as yet unexplained, simultaneous world-wide increase in methane, a global greenhouse gas that accounts for approximately 20% of the greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere and whose effect is said to be twenty-five times the effect of carbon dioxide.

“The amount of methane in Earth's atmosphere shot up in 2007, bringing to an end a period of about a decade in which atmospheric levels of the potent greenhouse gas were essentially stable, according to a team led by MIT researchers.”

Methane levels in the atmosphere have more than tripled since pre-industrial times, accounting for around one-fifth of the human contribution to greenhouse gas-driven global warming. Until recently, the leveling off of methane levels had suggested that the rate of its emission from the Earth's surface was approximately balanced by the rate of its destruction in the atmosphere.”

Whoops – something appears to be different …

“However, since early 2007 the balance has been upset, according to a paper on the new findings being published this week in Geophysical Review Letters. The paper's lead authors, postdoctoral researcher Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, say this imbalance has resulted in several million metric tons of additional methane in the atmosphere.”

So how can we be making broad public policies?

How then can be be making broad public policy which may have an upsetting and deleterious effect on our national economy, based on nothing more than computer models which use past scientific data from historical records and climate proxies (e.g. ice cores, ocean carbonates, tree rings, etc.) to predict an uncertain future? All based on a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) methodology.

As we have said on numerous occasions, the current crop of global climate models need to be constantly re-tuned to account for the observation of what appears to be happening in the physical world – and to see if these models can be used to extend predictions of future behavior within a reasonable probability range.

What they apparently found …

The two MIT researchers, Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, found that  they have “recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels.” Furthermore, this appears to be “the first increase in ten years.” So what is baffling scientists is “that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas.”

What, it is possible that man may not be responsible for global climate change?

“It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature - and not the direct result of man's contributions.”

“The authors state that as a result of the increase, several million tons of new methane is present in the atmosphere.”

A self-regulating feedback loop?

As with most natural processes, there appears to be some mechanism which forms a self-regulating feedback loop. That is, while there are fluctuations in the observed phenomenon, it seems that these values often regress to some mean value – and all is right with the world. Unfortunately, with the present level of global climate science, we do not know the amplitude and periodicity of global temperature swings, and only have a vague idea of where we may be in nature’s cycle.

“Its impact on global warming comes from the reflection of the sun's light back to the Earth (like a greenhouse).

“Methane is produced by wetlands, rice paddies, cattle, and the gas and coal industries” which give rise to concerns about cow burps and moose farts as well as the emissions from energy producing processes.

“Methane is typically broken down in the atmosphere by the free radical hydroxyl (OH), a naturally occurring process. This atmospheric cleanser has been shown to adjust itself up and down periodically, and is believed to account for the lack of increases in methane levels in Earth's atmosphere over the past ten years despite notable simultaneous increases by man.”

There might be alternative explanations …

“A rise in Northern Hemispheric [methane] emissions may be due to the very warm conditions that were observed over Siberia throughout 2007, potentially leading to increased bacterial emissions from wetland areas. However, a potential cause for an increase in Southern Hemispheric emissions is less clear.”

“An alternative explanation for the rise may lie, at least in part, with a drop in the concentrations of the methane-destroying OH. Theoretical studies show that if this has happened, the required global methane emissions rise would have been smaller, and more strongly biased to the Northern Hemisphere. At present, however, it is uncertain whether such a drop in hydroxyl free radical concentrations did occur because of the inherent uncertainty in the current method for estimating global OH levels.”

More study required …

Far from the cut-and-dried conclusions of those who are attempting to manipulate science for political, institutional or personal gain, more study is needed. Both to ferret out any systemic errors associated with the measurement methodology and to find some contextual meaning in the observation.

“Prinn has said, ‘The next step will be to study [these changes] using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks. The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus [an increase] in the rate of removal. Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each [is responsible for the overall increase].’"

“The primary concern now is that 2007 is long over. While the collected data from that time period reflects a simultaneous world-wide increase in emissions, observing atmospheric trends now is like observing the healthy horse running through the paddock a year after it overcame some mystery illness. Where does one even begin? And how relevant are any of the data findings at this late date? Looking back over 2007 data as it was captured may prove as ineffective if the data does not support the high resolution details such a study requires.”

Raising more questions and coming to the only possible conclusion …

“One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a handle on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure if man's impact is affecting things at the political cry of ‘alarming rates.’ We may simply be going through another natural cycle of warmer and colder times - one that's been observed through a scientific analysis of the Earth to be naturally occurring for hundreds of thousands of years.”

What can YOU do?

Demand that your elected officials concentrate their efforts on first fighting industrial pollution and the contamination of the air, water and ground before they concoct any schemes which are based on misunderstood or partially understood science.

Demand that the profit component be removed from the equation. Is is my personal belief that the proponents of global climate change are self-interested charlatans seeking to screw the citizens of the world for their own private gains. The politicians want increased political control,  higher tax revenues and great deals of lobbyist money sloshing around the political process. The scientific institutions are on-board to increase their funding and ability to expand their research. The industries that produce prodigious amounts of pollution are certainly interested as they can purchase government pollution credits which mitigates criminal and civil penalties and pass the costs of these indulgences along to their customers; and, by extension, the general public. And the Wall-Street Wizards are salivating over the chance to create new pollution derivatives for sale at healthy commissions to worldwide investors – using the Enron energy model of emissions trading.

Since no results may be measured for hundreds of years, this is the perfect scam and the schemers need to produce nothing of substance to cash-in on a world-wide bounty of political power and money. Demand that the science be relatively settled before embarking on programs which would make a billionaire out of a poseur like Al Gore and those of similar ilk.

On a broader note, the idea that man can alter nature by affecting the solar output, stopping the planetary movement, altering the cloud cover and reversing the tides to control global climate change is the height of sheer arrogance. To believe that this can be done by a carbon cap and trading system is sheer lunacy. But, as the H. L. Mencken quote goes:

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

-- steve

Quote of the day: “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” -- Carl Sagan

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

TG Daily - MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data

MIT Tech Talk


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



WHY DO YOU THINK OUR ENEMIES SUPPORT BARACK OBAMA?

WHY ARE MIDDLE EASTERN TERRORISTS APPARENTLY  SUPPORTING OBAMA?

It is no secret that foreign influences are trying to corrupt the American Presidential Election … with evildoers, terrorists and other socialist/Marxist organizations falling on the side of Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama accepting funds from suspicious sources using prepaid credit cards and phony name/address data …

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Palestinians telephoning American families to urge Obama vote …

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WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

Obama’s associations with radical leftists, domestic and foreign terrorists and their representatives?

  • Reverend Jeremiah Wright
  • Father Phleger
  • Louis Farrakahn
  • Rashid Khalidi
  • William Ayers
  • Bernadine Dohrn

Obama’s lax attitude toward immigration?

Obama’s perceived weakness and naiveté in foreign policy?

Obama’s casual “go along to get along” demeanor?

Or simply because he appears to be a “push-over” when he is compared to John McCain?

ARE YOU WILLING TO BET YOUR LIFE, THE LIVES OF YOUR CHILDREN, AND THE SAFETY OF YOUR COMMUNITY AND NATION ON AN UNKNOWN QUANTITY?

I’M NOT AND I AM VOTING FOR JOHN McCAIN!


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



Political process or organized corruption of the political process?

Not a fan of the unions …

As readers may have noted, I am not a fan of the unions who tend to value seniority and political connections over actual on-the-job performance. It has become increasingly clear to me that many present day unions have been infiltrated by far-left liberals who are using their member’s dues to further corrupt the activities of our cities, state and nation with their political activities.

In an era when civil-service style power over public employees has been decimated by the unions, I am extremely fearful that we are fast approaching a tipping point where the public’s input into running their own cities, towns and states are being eroded by union activities.

It seems that there is no longer any pretense of fighting for “health and safety” issues, but that there is an all-out effort to secure additional political power that benefits the union executives rather than its membership.

Past posts have indicated my concern with the union activities.

Unions: Ever wonder what they are doing with their funds when not seeking to buy political influence and change the course of elections? (Updated)

And when the ultra-liberal Los Angeles Times seems concerned, perhaps it is time for a closer look …

“Unions' campaign fund for Ridley-Thomas raises fears about special interests”

'Independent expenditures' outside the candidates' control could play an increasing role in city and county elections, some officials believe.

“Three years ago, campaign finance experts watched with alarm as one-fifth of the money raised on behalf of Los Angeles mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa came from ‘independent expenditures,’ special interests with no limits on how much they could collect and spend.”

“The numbers were even more jaw-dropping for Villaraigosa 's opponent, then-Mayor James K. Hahn. Although he lost his bid for a second term, Hahn saw one-third of his financial backing, or $2 million, come from such groups.”

“But those amounts look tame compared to the $8.5 million amassed so far this year by an array of labor unions seeking to elect state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas to the county Board of Supervisors on Nov. 4. For every $1 raised by Ridley-Thomas, those unions have raised nearly $9 for a separate campaign on his behalf, according to fundraising reports.”

Fearing the incursion of the special interests …

“The change has not gone unnoticed by other city and county politicians, who fear the supervisorial election will establish a new precedent, inspiring real estate developers, billboard companies, employee unions and other special interests to pursue a similar strategy in future campaigns.”

Buying an election?

" ‘It's out-and-out buying an election,’ said Supervisor Gloria Molina, who has endorsed Ridley-Thomas' opponent, City Council member Bernard Parks.”

" ‘If the special interests see this as being successful, there's no telling how far it will go, and it will be much easier for candidates to submit to special interests instead of going out, working hard and raising [their own] money,’ she said.”'

It’s all about self-interest over the rights of the people …

Like all politicians, Supervisor Molina is not so much concerned with the toxic effects of special interests on the people’s government as she is in protecting her own seat from future challenge.

“Molina predicted that she would be the next target of a union independent expenditure campaign when she comes up for reelection in 2010.”

Lobbyists are also concerned, especially if their political influence is greatly diminished by labor unions and others who do not seem to require their lawyerly skills.

“Meanwhile, one veteran Los Angeles lobbyist marveled at the sheer size of the union campaign, calling it ‘off-the-charts extraordinary.’”

“ ‘Other than governor, I don't know that there are statewide candidates that spend that much,’ said lobbyist Steve Afriat.”

Undue influence?

“Ridley-Thomas said Parks and his supporters are simply upset that they failed to secure the backing of the county's powerful Federation of Labor, known for its ability to win elections.”

And he defended the current campaign arrangement, saying he is following all laws that apply to outside campaign groups. ‘It's appropriate. It's fair. It's legal,’ he said. ‘And the only reason they're criticizing it is because they don't have this level of support.’"

Mark Ridley-Thomas is a far-left, liberal democrat politician who has pegged his career on his social activist positions. He has a superb background and I would hate to see his influence further corrupted by unions and the special interests.

Free speech or gateway to political corruption?

“Independent expenditures came into being in the mid-1970s, after Congress passed a law placing a $1,000 limit on campaign contributions. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the limits on individuals and groups spending independently on behalf of candidates, saying they violated donors' constitutionally protected right to free speech.”

If “free speech” were truly the issue, why can’t anybody give any amount to any politician of their liking?

It seems to me that the Supreme Court’s ruling was to strike a balance between the power of the incumbency to raise money and those who would ever-increasing amounts of money to challenge them. The goal being to keep the money flowing from all directions in the political process.

But little is said about the corrupting influence of the special interests which have led the nation astray. Military contractors putting forth expensive and unworkable defense systems, the financial industry lobbying for a bailout from their imprudent lending standards, the trade associations lobbying for relaxed regulation which is designed to protect the public or for increased protectionism against would-be competitors. 

Corrupting influence to allow candidates to avoid public fundraising events?

“So far this year, the labor coalition has used its largesse to hire researchers, send campaign mailers, erect campaign signs, purchase full-page newspaper ads, reserve radio advertising time and develop 30-second television spots in English and Spanish for Ridley-Thomas, none of which can be coordinated by the candidate.”

Multiplying the political effort of the candidate …

“The overwhelming effort means that Ridley-Thomas has been able to avoid some of the expenses that candidates typically face. For example, many who run for office in South Los Angeles, including Parks, place at least a few advertisements in the Los Angeles Sentinel, the region's most prominent black-owned newspaper. Last spring, two union groups bought at least 11 full-page ads promoting Ridley-Thomas as part of their independent expenditure. Ridley-Thomas did not purchase any.”

This is wrong …

“Service Employees International Union Local 721, the biggest donor to the union initiative, called a news conference Friday at which Ridley-Thomas was expected to discuss county hospital funding. Only union officials attended, not Ridley-Thomas.”

Coincidently, or maybe not so coincidently, SEIU is the union I cite in my blog entry [link here] as being investigated for internal corruption by their leadership.

The remedy is not yet at hand …

“The only thing that could stem the tide of independent expenditures -- frequently called I.E.s by political professionals -- is a successful lawsuit before the high court, said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Government Studies, a Los Angeles group that tracks campaign finance laws.”

" ‘Until it reaches a point where the court says it's gone too far and is corrupting the system -- and I think it does -- there will be unlimited I.E.s,’ he said.”

Union bashing?

Lest someone accuse me of union bashing, I am doing exactly that. With the exception of union activities which impinge directly on the health and welfare of their members and to prevent egregious punitive actions against those who advocate for safer jobs (think coal mines, etc.), I believe that most unions are fundamentally incompatible with the precepts on which this country was founded as they sap individual and collective will and creativity in favor of forcing European-style “collectivism” on the nation. I strongly believe individual rights need be protected against an increasing hostile left-wing collectivist movement which brings nothing but socialism and despair to the process.

What can YOU do?

Remember, what the unions are purchasing is not only access to politicians, but the right to implement their own political agenda.

  • Unions want to eliminate “secret ballots” which provide anonymity for those voting to authorize union representation. By eliminating the traditional secrecy of the ballot, each employee and their family is made more susceptible to union thuggery and coercion.
  • Unions want to demand a closed shop where all employees are union members or must pay an amount equivalent to union dues to another entity.
  • Unions want to enforce on-the-job work rules which gives them power almost equal to the owners who are risking their own capital on the enterprise or management which is charged with making a return on the owner’s investment. Often incompetent employees are retained due to the difficulty of firing a union member for anything short of murder. In essence, the unions want to be an extra-legal partner in all private and public enterprise.
  • Unions want to obtain ever increasing wages and benefits to prove that they are being of service to their membership. These demands are ongoing and very rarely take into account the financial considerations of the business.
  • Unions want to extend their political power at all costs.

In the case of public employee unions, the power to shut down a municipality and inconvenience thousands of law-abiding, hardworking citizens has long been another goal of the union. Like in France, we have seen shutdowns in our public transit systems, garbage collection used to great political advantage by the unions to enforce their dictates.

I suggest that my fellow citizens vote for the non-union candidate whenever possible and to demand that civil service regulations replace union representative in public entities.

And for union members to demand that their leadership bring political endorsements to the rank and file for a secret ballot vote on the expenditures.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the far-left and their infiltration into trade unions, public employee service unions, and into environmental challenges of existing law or projects is rapidly reducing the quality of life in America. Substituting corruption for competence with the end result of controlling our society.

-- steve 

Quote of the Day: “Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.” --Dr. Edwin Land (Polaroid Inventor)

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Los Angeles Times: Unions' campaign fund for Ridley-Thomas raises fears about special interests


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



OBAMA'S CHANGE: NOT FOR THE BETTER!

Capture

The ONLY change you will see is the change in your pocket after your "tax cut" arrives!

   


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



THE OBAMA INFOMERCIAL: SELLING OUT AMERICA? (Updated)

UPDATE: 10-29-08 MY REACTION TO BARACK OBAMA'S INFOMERCIAL

Capture10-30-2008-12.19.04 AM

Like all made-in-Hollywood products, the production values were superb. However, the entire exposition can be summed up in the opening shots ...

"[fade up on Sen. Obama on-camera]"

"We’ve seen over the last eight years how decisions by a president can have a profound effect on the course of history … and on American lives."

It should be acknowleged that decisions by a president can have a profound effect on the course of history ... and on American lives.

"But much that’s wrong in our country goes back even farther than that.  We’ve been talking about the same problems for decades … and nothing is ever done to solve them."

We being the democrats and the Republicans who have collaboratively divided this country into a equally divided and polarized nation -- where the fringe elements of society are openly courted in order to provide that tipping point to political success. It is the influence of the corrupt politicians, special interests and these fringe elements which have made a mockery of our political system as they each fight for political and personal advantage.

"This election is a defining moment.  The chance for our leaders to meet the demands of these challenging times and keep faith with our people."

But my problem is that I do not know or trust Barack Obama. When he says "keep the faith with our people," I am unsure if he means far-left radicals like Reverend Wright, Father Phleger, Louis Farrakahn, Rashid Khalidy, William Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and Tony Rezko -- or people like me. 

I am unsure of what he has promised radical far-left groups to insure their support. Has he given the unions his promise that he will vote for legislation that eliminates the sanctity of a secret ballot when voting for unionization? Has he given his word to the far-left media sources that he will crack down on their greatest competition, talk radio and the Internet, with some sort of fairness doctrine.

"[Sen. Obama to camera]"

"Earlier this year, we already knew our country was in trouble.  Home foreclosures, lost jobs, high gas prices … we were running a record deficit and our national debt had never been higher."

"But then a little over a month ago, the bottom fell out." 

"What happened in the financial markets was the final verdict on eight years of failed policies.  And we’re now going through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."

And here Barack Obama either shows his lack of understanding of the crisis or is disingeuously ignoring the fact that much of the current financial crisis can be laid squarely at the feet of the democrats with their policies of demanding that banks, under penalty of fines and prosecution, lend money to those least able to repay their obligations by relaxing loan origination criteria. In addition, demanding that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase these loans knowing full well that they carried a higher rate of default. Add to that the Administration's lax regulatory policy and the only conclusion you can draw is that both parties were complicit in the mess.

"A few weeks ago, we passed a financial rescue plan.  It’s a step in the right direction … and as president, I’ll ensure that you, the taxpayers, are paid back first." 

Nobody really knows if this was a step in the right direction. But what we do know is that the democrats demanded the bailout bill be larded with special tax breaks and pork for democrat interests for their support. A sign of things to come? Truth be told, if anyone knew the solution to this problem, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and others would have acted with swift and decisive remedies instead of dribbling out money and waiting to see what will happen. Today the Federal Reserve reduced the Federal Funds target rate to 1.0% -- exactly the same response used to cure the dot com bubble burst, and which set the stage for the current mortgage crisis as the global pool of money sought higher yields in mortgages -- and Wall Street complied. This is a pattern which we see being repeated today.

I am not sure Barack Obama or even John McCain can put their finger on the political and financial causes of this mess, let alone make promises to resolve it. But what I do know is that Barack Obama's plan to increase the size of the government bureaucracy, increase taxes and enlarge our entitlement spending will drive this recession into a Hoover-like Great Depression.

"As president, here’s what I’ll do:

Cut taxes for every working family making less than $200,000 a year.

Give businesses a tax credit for every new employee that they hire right here in the U.S. over the next two years … and eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Help homeowners who are making a good faith effort to pay their mortgages,  by freezing foreclosures for 90 days.

And just like after 9-11, we’ll provide low-cost loans to help small businesses pay their workers and keep their doors open.

None of that grows government.  It grows the economy and keeps people on the job."

Obama does not seem to know his own economic plan. First it was Americans making less than $250,000, then it was Americans making less than $200,000, and now it is families making less than $200,000 or $100,000 per married individual? Who knows? And in response to criticisms of welfare payments to those who pay no taxes, he has added "working family." Although one can hardly trust the final form of the legislation (yes, Congress still makes the laws, not the president).

All of this other stuff is just words ... meaningless until you see the actual legislation. By the way, delaying foreclosure for 90-days does little or nothing if the person cannot pay for their home. Even at reduced rates and longer maturities, foreclosures are inevitable if you lack the cash flow to service your debt.

Obama goes on to speak of education and one wonders if this is the type of radicalized activist education proposed and supported by Obama and his unrepentant domestic terrorist friend, Bill "the education professor" Ayers?

I could continue, but it is pointless. Bottom line: until legislation is crafted and passed by both the House and the Senate, signed into law by the President and interpreted by the bureaucratic agencies -- it is all just a big guessing game. 

Nothing in this infomercial has changed my mind ... see for yourself

For those who would like to see the video or read the transcript, it can be found at the Los Angeles Times. The same Times which is implicitly supporting the Obama campaign by refusing to release a video showing Obama hobnobbing with both foreign and domestic terrorists. <Link Source Here>

Original blog entry ...

In anticipation of Barack Obama's prime time paid television infomercial ...

It is apparent that Barack Obama needs a tightly-scripted messaged played out in a controlled environment using TelePrompTers in order to become the messiah.

If we wanted such an individual to become the President of the United States, we should have simply turned to Hollywood to obtain the services of a competent actor and a great screenwriter like Aaron Sorkin to polish both his words and his public policy.

So why should we believe Barack Obama’s story? Especially since he is apparently a man who will say anything and do anything – and more importantly, deny everything to get elected.

I believe Barack Obama to be a Marxist-style socialist parading as a far-left liberal democrat. Oh, wait a minute, in today’s political environment, they are often the same thing.

Issue:   The Defense of the United States

I believe Barack Obama is dangerously naive and lacking any fundamental diplomatic skills. He does not appear to be a man of his word and his positions are constantly changing. Hardly a man who can be trusted by our military and allies. Hardly a man that can stand up to those enemies who have a similar Marxist philosophy. Here is a man who openly fetes foreign terrorist (Rashid Khalidi) and domestic terrorists (William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn).

Issue:   The Economy

I believe that Barack Obama’s views on the Marxist-like redistribution of wealth is fundamentally Un-American. Playing off a class warfare scheme to tax the rich to provide entitlements for the poor – for the sole purpose of buying the election is right out of the corrupt democrat playbook. I believe that his tax the rich, provide entitlements to the poor and significantly enlarge the size of the government will deepen this undeclared slowdown/recession into a real Hoover-like depression.

Issue: The Supreme Court

By his words, Barack Obama wants a Supreme Court that will support his key social and political philosophy, one that he recently described as redistributive. I want to see strict constructionists who rule on the Constitution as it was written, and not social activists who usurp the power of the legislative branch of government by making law from the bench; in many cases crafting law out of whole-cloth which is made possible only by the most tortured interpretation of the Constitution. It is likely that there will be two, possibly three, Supreme Court positions to fill in the coming four years.

Issue: The Second Amendment

By his words and actions, Barack Obama believes that you do not have the individual right to protect your own home against invaders using a weapon. He is virulently anti-gun. The basic problem is twofold. One, Barack Obama confuses crime control with gun control. And two, Barack Obama apparently supports the far-left notion that the United States should be disarmed, both militarily and personally. As a life member of the National Rifle Association (Patron Level), I remember and honor the words of our late President, Charlton Heston, “I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands.”

Issue: Tolerance

Although Barack Obama speaks of tolerance for both ideas and people, his behavior is to brook no dissent and engage in no discussion. Those on the far-left of the liberal spectrum are some of the most intolerant people on the face of this Earth.  Witness how a simple man, “Joe the Plumber,” was investigated using government computer systems by either the campaign or its unaffiliated representatives. It is wrong to investigate fellow-Americans in order to neutralize their campaign message and to distract the American public from a politician who inadvertently ignited a firestorm by telling the real truth about his beliefs.

I certainly do not want to return to the days of Nixon and Clinton when the White House maintained an enemies list and that the operative policy was to reward our friends and punish our enemies. Especially since Barack Obama has mentioned that he would like to see a domestic civilian defense corps with all of the power of military. It is not seemly that a politician should consider this option and it certainly is not right in a free and open society.

Issue: Immigration

I believe Barack Obama will immediately move to legitimize all illegal aliens in such a manner as to encourage even more illegal aliens to enter our country illegally. This to satisfy those who believe that these illegal aliens will boost the union’s support of the democrats as well as producing a generation of solid democrat voters. I might add that most unions are left-leaning organizations and are becoming more like their European counterparts as time goes on. In California, we have seen our healthcare, educational, judicial, social and cultural infrastructure destroyed by hordes of poorly-educated, unskilled workers who poured across our borders to take illegal advantage of our hospitality. It is a fact of life that we cannot continue to support these unassimilated peoples when to do so means that our quality of life and our income is greatly diminished. Our goal is should be to help other nations to achieve independence and prosperity while building our own trade relations. 

Issue: Racism

I believe Barack Obama is a racist that views everything through the prism of race and personal opportunity. To exploit the racial issues of our time for his own personal benefit. And to continue a long association with those of similar beliefs and who are openly racist and/or anti-Semitic.

How do I come to these conclusions?

By listening to what Barack Obama says when he is not “on message” and is speaking fairly freely – as he did before his fellow elitist friends in San Francisco when he claimed that there were those disillusioned people in American that continued to cling to the guns and religion.

From his 20+ year association and collaboration with a racist, anti-American pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright,  whom he used to regard as his spiritual mentor and others of his ilk such as renegade Catholic Priest, Father Phleger and the notorious racist and anti-Semite, Louis Farrakahn.

From his association with a PLO terrorist Rashid Khalidi and the unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

From his association with the Chicago political machine which is world-famous for its political corruption. Especially from his association with his convicted criminal friend Tony Rezko who is going to jail for political corruption and who assisted Barack Obama in purchasing his million-dollar mansion.

This is my opinion …

There will be some that say that I am racist because I do not support a black man for the presidency. My problem is not that I will not support a black man, but that I refuse to support this black man: a man of little or no experience, a man who is both telegenic and well-spoken – yet says absolutely nothing when he speaks, a man with dubious, to say the least, associations – and a man whom I cannot trust with my future and the future of my country.

This is not even an arguable position. There is no refutation of Obama’s lack of experience. There is no refutation of Obama’s unsavory associations. There is no refutation of the man’s own words.

So where does that lead us?

To supporting a candidate who I am sure will defend the United States from its enemies, both foreign and domestic. A man, who may not be as glib and polished as Barack Obama, but a man I trust – even though I do not agree with all of his policies – I trust McCain to do the right thing at the right time. He is a leader where Barack Obama has displayed no hint of leadership. He is a reformer where Barack Obama has “gone along to get along.” He is an advocate of bi-partisanship whereas Barack Obama is singularly focused on the democrat party. And he is a man of whom his Vice Presidential choice did not have to say that his election will spark a trumped-up international crisis and that the American people should support him even though his initial response to world events may be wrong.

With matters in Afghanistan and Iraq coming to a politically acceptable solution, with the pending conflict of Israel and Iran and with our possible need to intrude into the sovereign space of Pakistan to prevent further problems in Iraq – Barack Obama is the last person I want to see in command of our military. A military, I might remind you, that his party wants to cripple much in the same manner Bill Clinton crippled both our military and intelligence efforts.

Bottom line, Barack Obama is a lawyer from a “party of lawyers” who are trained to be able to argue both sides of the issue. Like Bill Clinton who believed that enemy combatants were criminals and should be treated as such, I do not want a President who can look evil in the face and claim that he sees some merit to his argument.

In the fight between good and evil, I believe Barack Obama to be a lawyer rather than  warrior for the American way of Justice.

In closing, I only wonder what a man like John Wayne would say to an elite, effete snob who has second thoughts about his country and demands that we change to fulfill his vision about how things ought to be?

-- steve

As always, comments are welcome.

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



[X] NO -- CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 1A (2008) SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT

What the Proposition 1A purports to do …

  • Provides long-distance commuters with a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices.

There is no proof that long-distance commuters will use this rail system any more than they currently use the Amtrak rail system for long commutes. This assumption is based on surveys and if these surveys are wrong, the project will become a permanently subsidized rail operation.

  • Reduces traffic congestion on the state’s highways and at the state’s airports.

The number of passengers carried on a rail system would be less than the number of cars that commute daily on California’s freeways, especially the I-405, I-5, I-1o and I-134. I would rather the money be spent on widening the freeways and eliminating that social engineering experiment called the diamond lane.

  • Reduces California’s dependence on foreign oil.

The amount of energy saved would be negligible compared with the overall amount of energy consumed by idling cars on packed freeways.

  • Reduces air pollution and global warming greenhouse gases.

Based on projected ridership.

  • Establishes a clean, efficient 220 MPH transportation system.

The current level of engineering and roadway planning may not support these speeds.

  • Improves existing passenger rail lines serving the state’s major population centers.

Perhaps we should spend more money on upgrading existing roadway.

  • Provides for California’s growing population.

Yada, Yada … most of the current projection on a growing population indicates it may come from illegal aliens.

  • Provides for a bond issue of $9.95 billion to establish high-speed train service linking Southern California counties, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Has anybody noticed that most rail traffic is driven by vacation destinations and that short-haul routes obviates the benefits of shorter “commuter runs?”

  • Provides that at least 90% of these bond funds shall be spent for specific construction projects, with private and public matching funds required, including, but not limited to, federal funds, funds from revenue bonds, and local funds.

Can you spell waste, fraud, graft and mismanagement.

  • Requires that use of all bond funds is subject to independent audits.

Big deal. All State projects are independently audited and waste, fraud, mismanagement and graft abounds.

  • Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay bond principal and interest.

The source of all State funds remains the citizens of California and the money that is rebated to the state from federal sources.

Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:

  • State costs of about $19.4 billion, assuming 30 years to pay off both principal ($9.95 billion) and interest ($9.5 billion) costs of the bonds. Payments of about $647 million per year.
  • When constructed, additional unknown costs, probably in excess of $1 billion a year, to operate and maintain a high-speed train system. The costs would be at least partially, and potentially fully, offset by passenger fare revenues, depending on ridership.

First, state-managed construction costs are historically wildly underestimated.  And second, there is no guarantee that the ridership will ever pay for this system and it promises to be a subsidy to infinity.

The problem …

The very same politicians and far-left political system that spent us into a $16 BILLION deficit plans to manage the States own railroad? This is crazy. There is no evidence that this rail line will every be built or if it is, that the costs would not balloon to $100 BILLION. This is a project backed by the trade unions who demand that the project be built with union contractors at an inflated price.

Example of political malfeasance?

They took the public’s money that was allocated for capital equipment and purchased busses and trains … and then sold them to investors who leased them back. Thus we converted money that needed to be used to purchase capital equipment into money that could be spent on their wild-eyed social engineering projects.

According to published reports …

MTA Faces Financial Dilemma Due to AIG Demise

“Nearly 1.5 million people who ride buses and trains in Los Angeles County might face major service cuts from the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, which faces a financial dilemma after one of its major lenders fell victim to the nationwide economic crisis.”

“MTA officials said their deals to lease trains and buses from investors is in jeopardy because American International Group Inc. -- which loaned the agency $1 billion to finance the transactions -- recently ran short of cash and nearly collapsed. Now MTA must find another lender or pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to investors to keep all its commuter services running.”

“ ‘With the current state of the markets, there are no people who are willing to provide a replacement for AIG at any price.’
Matsumoto said the agency's board has not discussed possible cuts, but a loss of $100 million would equal about 10 percent of the MTA's bus service.”

Trying to tap into the financial industry bailout honey pot … 

“Transit officials have met with congressional staffers and asked the federal Treasury Department for help, hoping to get some of the $700 billion bailout package that is earmarked to buy troubled assets.”

Financial engineering or something more malevolent?

“Between the late 1980s and 2003, the MTA sold its buses, rail equipment and facilities to investors such as Wells Fargo & Co. and Comerica Inc. to raise money. The investors then leased them back to MTA, with AIG providing the money to finance the deals. AIG, in return for fees paid by the transit agency, also guaranteed that the lease payments to investors would be made on time.”

More public money is to cover up the stupidity of the politicians and their transit managers …

“The company's near collapse and the subsequent federal bailout slashed its credit ratings, which triggered a clause in the lease-back agreements that requires the MTA to reimburse investors $100 to $300 million for their down payments and lost tax benefits, or find a new firm to guarantee the deals.”

“Metrolink and other large transit agencies in San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C., have entered into similar transactions.
Metrolink, a commuter rail agency in Southern California, also sold most of its train cars and locomotives in four lease-back deals -- three of which involved AIG -- and made a $35.5-million profit, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca. Metrolink, like MTA, must find a replacement for AIG.”

Bottom line …

There is no guarantee that this new public money would not be used to bailout private investors and confer special privileges on special interests with political connections.

Bottom line – do we want to trust this crowd with additional millions when they have proven that they can’t even manage the current system? I think not.

Therefore I urge a NO vote on Proposition 1A!

What can YOU do?

Vote NO on Proposition 1A to keep the public’s hard-earned money out the hands of the politicians and their special interests until they clean up the present financial mess.

Do not buy into their claims that this would provide more jobs and help the economy. The truth is most of the money initially received would be spent over years on plans and purchases of roadway. All subject to waste, mismanagement and fraud.

Considering the recent disatrous train crash between a passenger train and a freight train, perhaps the money should be spent on upgrading California's rail system.

Now is clearly not the time to vote for this boondoggle proposition. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 1A!

-- steve

Quote of the day: “The difference between a criminal stealing your money and a politician stealing your money is that the politician uses lawyers to produce a ream of paper telling everybody who could even read the document that it is not theft when a public official holds a gun to your head to extract taxes.” -- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

MyFox Los Angeles | MTA Faces Financial Dilemma Due to AIG Demise

PROPOSITION 1A: SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT

From the California Secretary of State:


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



[X] NO -- CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 10 (2008) ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

Do you want your hard-earned money to be used for cash payments of between $2,000 and $50,000 to purchasers of certain vehicles with high fuel economy and clean alternative fuel use, with the bulk of the rebates for trucks and other medium-and-heavy duty vehicles.

This is a bad bill which attempts to do at the state level what the federal government is planning to do at the national level.

There is no rational reason why we should subsidize the cars of our neighbors, contribute more money to politicians to hand out in the form of grants and subsidies and to pay for alternative energy fuels which should be developed by their own proponents as a commercial venture.

Or pay out hard-earned money coerced from California’s taxpayers  for cash subsidies for those who will purchase trucks in California and operate them out of state. How stupid is that?

Why we should subsidize people like T. Boone Pickens, who seems to be providing funds for this proposition, so that he can make another multi-billion dollar fortune is beyond me. He has the money, let him pay for his own research and development.

According to the opponents of Proposition 10, they point out that the majority of the subsidy money will be used to support the purchase of heavy trucks powered by non-renewable natural gas (CNG or compressed natural gas) which is a form of corporate welfare.

The fact that the trucks can be purchased in California for a subsidized price and then move out of state is just another boondoggle in a State that is struggling to solve its 16-BILLION dollar deficit with more borrowing.

For those who worry about global warming, cow farts and other such matters, under Proposition 10, natural gas cars and trucks would be exempt from air pollution and greenhouse gas reduction requirements.

Creeping socialism

Are you willing to pay a higher sales tax and higher car license fee in order to provide a subsidy to your neighbor to purchase a new car or continue to fund energy initiatives which do not even consider nuclear energy … the cleanest, most sustainable and economic method for gaining energy independence.

“Clean alternative fuel” means natural gas and any fuel that achieves a reduction of at least 10 percent carbon intensity as contained in Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-01-07.”

What the legislation will do …

  • Provides $3.425 billion to help consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.
  • Provides $1.25 billion for research, development and production of renewable energy technology, primarily solar energy with additional funding for other forms of renewable energy; incentives for purchasing solar and renewable energy technology.
  • Provides grants to cities for renewable energy projects and to colleges for training in renewable and energy efficiency technologies.
  • Total funding provided is $5 billion from general obligation bonds.

Impact on the State’s citizens …

  • State costs of about $10 billion over 30 years to pay off both the principal ($5 billion) and interest ($5 billion) costs of the bonds. Payments of about $335 million per year.
  • Increase in state sales tax revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to about 2019.
  • Increase in local sales tax and vehicle license fee revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to about 2019.
  • Potential state costs of up to about $10 million annually, through about 2019, for state agency administrative costs not funded by the measure.

What can YOU do?

Realize this is another special interest proposition that has little or no benefit to the average citizen and is being used for the purposes of corporate welfare and political handouts.

Vote NO on Proposition 10!

-- steve


Quote of the day:  “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world.” - George Bernard Shaw

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

PROPOSITION 10: ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGY BONDS

From the California Secretary of State:


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



Global Warming: Think we were kidding about why governments are backing junk science?

Something for everybody, except the people ...

Imagine, if you will, a government program which could justify the expansion of government power, increase tax revenues and reward all of its special interest friends without ever having to produce proof of any programs efficacy or effectiveness.

That day is coming ... aided and abetted by those who are planning to cash in on the global warming boom ...

Using highly suspect computer models based on theory, supposition and very little experimental confirmation, those who are proposing to control entire nations through their economies are making carbon dioxide the villain.

In this Orwellian world where words have little meaning: up is down, right is left, black is white and red is actually blue ... people are attempting to characterize carbon dioxide, a gas necessary to sustain life, as a pollutant.

While there are any number of actual pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and oxides of sulfur that can be proven to do significant damage to our air, water and ground, one wonders why "carbon dioxide" was chosen to be the "face of global climate change?" Could it be for no other reason that these evildoers want to first control the production and consumption of energy as a means to their political and personal ends? Considering that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide as occurred before and it appears that the rise in carbon dioxide levels lags temperature rise by 600 –1000 years, it seems unlikely that this is the causal effect of global climate change.

Personally, I would suspect that global climate change is a function of solar output, our position relative to the sun, the rotation of the earth and the interactions of our oceanic currents and the almost unpredictable prevalence of the largest greenhouse gas that can be characterized simply as water vapor. Yes – moisture in the air seems to affect global temperature more significantly than carbon dioxide – although there is little that we can do about monetizing the control of what are essentially clouds.

So it comes as no surprise when I read in the U.K. Guardian articles like …

“The carbon cash-in”

Fresh from the devastation they have wrought on the global financial system, some of the world's leading investment banks meet in London today to discuss how they can "cash in" on carbon.”

Speaking the truth ... 

“But at least delegates and speakers at the Cashing in on Carbon conference are open about not trying to reduce emissions or helping the environment. Oh, no. This event is to see how ‘investment banks can profit today from an increasingly diverse range of carbon-related investment opportunities’.”

Interestingly enough, the United States government has eliminated the concept of a traditional investment bank when they allowed both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to assume the guise of “regulated bank holding companies” to assist them in accessing the taxpayer’s money that is no longer locked up in the United States Treasury. But, as we all know from past experience, this is a semantic detail without a distinction. They are mostly the same freebooter executives with the same lawyers, accountants, lobbyists and paid-for politicians they were before the stroke of the pen changed their designation.

Oh no ... more toxic derivatives?

Particularly reassuring is the emphasis on ‘hybrid and complex carbon credit structured products’, and how to identify investor demand for them in the US; ‘derivative/synthetic carbon products’; and ‘sub-index arbitrage strategies’.”

“Particularly reassuring?” What is that all about? There is nothing particularly reassuring about financial institutions planning to financially rape the populations of several countries.

Substitute the word “mortgage” for the word “carbon credit” and you have a replay of today’s financial fiasco.

These financial institutions are re-creating today’s financial crisis to be served up once again in a future tomorrow. Presumably after the United States Treasury has been looted by those seeking bailout funds to compensate them for their lack of due diligence and imprudent investments in derivatives which need sophisticated computers to developing pricing models – and whose real value relies on a willing counterparty (read sucker) to purchase these bits and pieces of paper.

Wall Street Wizards are found everywhere including on Wall Street … 

“Also, we can refresh our knowledge of the basic options for ‘productizing carbon’ and of "access channels for producers ... speculators, proprietary traders and investors". Good to see that execs from Lord [Nicholas] Stern's company, IDEAcarbon, will be there, too.

Looters are looters, bankers are bankers; and they are found wherever capital congregates in the world to plan their next big score.

Enough is enough …

When are people going to stand up and yell: “Bullshit! We will recall or fail to re-elect any elected official who is complicit in stealing money from the public via unworkable programs.” When are Americans this complacent or this stupid to see what our politicians and their friends have done to our nation?

What can YOU do?

Beware of a democrat-enabled governmental rape of the United States. It wasn’t enough that the democrats created the GSEs (Government Sponsored Entities) and then forced them to purchase home loans from people who barely qualified to buy a used car. It wasn’t enough that the complicit Bush Administration reduced, relaxed or eliminated the regulation of sound lending practices and encouraged the practice of subprime lending with their American Dream legislation. American Dream? More like an American nightmare! Especially as you see your nest-egg, retirement and rainy-day invested funds significantly eroded and then decimated by the ravages of inflation that are caused when money is  pumped willy-nilly into the economy without adequate financial controls.

Do not allow anyone to destroy our nation, our military and our economy with unproven global warming theories. Even as we speak, California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is setting the groundwork for long-term utility company contracts with energy suppliers which would allow them to make derivatives out of the revenue streams associated with high utility payments by utility customers. That is, after he failed to “collateralize” the future earnings of the California State Lottery in exchange for a lump-sum payment which would, once again, allow the governor and the legislature to paper-over California’s deficit that resulted from unbridled spending on socialistic special interest and social engineering projects.

Demand that those who broke the law be sent to jail. And those who earned tens of MILLIONS of dollars while their companies lost BILLIONS be held accountable to their shareholders. Perhaps by demanding the return of a major portion of their ill-gotten gains to avoid jail sentences. While stupidity is not punishable under the law, making false and misleading statements about one’s company is a direct violation of rules and regulations established by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Demand that the creation, sale and use of derivatives be controlled. The same for credit default swaps; where a reported $55 TRILLION liability greatly exceeds the combined net worth of the companies that issued them.

Demand the end to political appointees heading regulatory watchdog groups. These people serve only to politicize the agency in favor of reducing public protection to the benefit of the evildoers in the incumbent’s political party. Or as they say in Washington, pay for play.

Our nation is teetering on the precipice of becoming a socialistic nation controlled by a ruling political elite and their special interest friends. We need to stem the tide NOW, before we find ourselves in a bottomless abyss – and becoming just another third world nation.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Isn’t it ironic that reporter Andrea Mitchell is loudly complaining about the money spent on campaign clothes by Sarah Palin when her husband, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, may have single-handedly ignited this financial firestorm with his low-interest policies?” – steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Eco soundings: October 22 | Environment | The Guardian


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell



IS THE LA TIMES WITHHOLDING A DAMNING PIECE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING BARACK OBAMA ASSOCIATING WITH KNOWN TERRORISTS? (Updated)

Update:  10/29/08 L.A. TIMES CLAIMS JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY PREVENTS THEM FROM SUPPLYING THE TAPE ...

"The Times on Tuesday [10/28/08] issued a statement about its decision not to post the tape."

" 'The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,' said the newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton. 'The Times keeps its promises to sources.'"

"Jamie Gold, the newspaper's readers' representative, said in a statement: 'More than six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite -- the L.A. Times brought the matter to light.'"

This goes beyond the selective "journalistic" ethics displayed by the Los Angeles Times when they made audio tapes of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's leaked meeting tapes public. This new tape was leaked to the media for a particular purpose and the public, in turn, should hold the Los Angeles Times responsible for supressing the nuances which may either clear or damn Barack Obama.

Original blog entry ...

Is the Los Angeles Times suppressing critical information regarding Barack Obama that may demonstrate, once and for all, that Barack Obama is not who he portrays himself to be and would be an embarrassing and dangerous detriment to the United States of America should he be elected President?

Apparently, according to published reports, the Los Angeles Times is sitting on a critical piece of videotape that purportedly shows Barack Obama celebrating and toasting terrorists including PLO Operative Rashid Khalidi and unrepentant domestic terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn who were complicit in planning and executing bombing attacks on American institutions.

From Gateway Pundit …

“LA Times writer Peter Wallsten wrote about Barack Obama's close association with former Palestinian operative Rashid Khalidi back in April. Wallsten discussed a dinner held back in 2003 in honor of Khalidi, a critic of Israel and advocate for Palestinian rights.”

“Barack Obama has denied his close association with Khalidi, too. According to Wallsten the evening not surprisingly turned into a classic Jew-bash:  ‘During the dinner a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, ‘then you will never see a day of peace.’
One speaker likened ‘Zionist settlers on the West Bank’ to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been ‘blinded by ideology.’"

“Barack Obama also praised the former PLO operative during the event. And, Obama confessed that his family often shared dinner with the Khalidis: His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been ‘consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases... It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table,’ but around ‘this entire world.’"

“...The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.”

“Khalidi and the Obamas were great friends in Chicago and often shared meals together. By the way, Khalidi was also best friends with Bill Ayers.”

DO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO VIEW THIS CRITICAL PIECE OF EVIDENCE CONCERNING BARACK OBAMA’S CHARACTER AND BELIEFS?

I believe that we should know who we are electing to the Office of the Presidency. In spite of the democrats wanting to do anything or say anything to secure their grasp on power, it is now time to stand up and demand that the Los Angeles Times release the video to the rest of the media OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS.

Hurting the Los Angeles Times by reducing their subscription and advertising revenue …

This is  billionaire Sam Zell, born of Jewish immigrant parents from Poland who fled the country just before the Nazi invasion in 1939, who completed a leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Is it apparent that he is both customer focused and interest in generating revenue.

Perhaps Sam Zell is willing to stand up for his country and demand that his arrogant left-leaning editorial staff  release this critical tape prior to the election?

If this video remains buried and Barack Obama is elected, perhaps we should demonstrate the power of the American people by boycotting the Los Angeles Times into bankruptcy?

What can YOU do?

Decide for yourself whether or not the Los Angeles Times needs to be accountable to their audience, advertisers and the citizens of the United States for their actions in possibly suppressing a critical piece of background information that may shed doubts on his suitability to become the President of the United States.

"The New York Times' circulation fell 3.6 percent to 1,000,665, while circulation at the Los Angeles Times fell 5.2 percent to 739,147." <Source >

[Los Angeles Times] Newspaper spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan said Monday that 75 staffers are being laid off in the latest round of cuts. She declined further comment and would not disclose how many journalists will remain at the paper. The Times, which is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., reduced its overall staff by 250 people last summer, including 150 from the newsroom." <Source

Decide for yourself if the suppression of this key evidence is worth boycotting the Los Angeles Times and their advertisers in order to punish them for being complicit in an effort to control the outcome of this election.

If Barack Obama is elected, demand that your elected officials cease any and all business with the Los Angeles Times and its subsidiaries.

If Barack Obama is elected, boycott the banks who lend the Los Angeles Times money.

This is a serious matter involving national security and the sanctity of American politics. We need to take control back from those who would manipulate the American public for their own political and private ends. Especially if such ends involved allegiance or capitulation to a foreign sovereign nation or an alien ideology.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: " Political polls are fortune telling for the educated." -- Cal Thomas

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Gateway Pundit: Confirmed: Mainstream Media Holds Video Of Barack Obama Attending Jew-Bash & Toasting a Former PLO Operative... Refuses to Release the Video!


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell