CALIFORNIA'S FAKE ELECTION
I've advocated free and open elections for the United States for years which, being familiar with the process, I know we lack. For instance, why do senators, even presidents, often spring from the same political dynasty? They protect their succession. By the way, the term "dynasty" derives from hereditary monarchies, the form of government the Revolutionary War was fought to end.
Closer to home, California's 2014 election has hit a new low in restricting choice. Probably as a result of the top-two scam, the June primary was more Soviet Russia than American.
I was nonplussed by my ballot. This year has a gubernatorial vote, I can't say contest. Governor Jerry Brown is okay, I'm sure, but he has raised so much campaign money that no one of any party is willing to challenge him.
Surely, there is someone smarter, younger and better qualified in an entire state of 38 million people. And it's not as if California is doing well. It's a land in a state of decay. Jobs, income, freedom, you name it. Everything is in decline except taxes. I looked through the 14 challengers. The only one I've heard of is Cindy Sheehan, who is listed as an author and non-profit director. Regardless of what you think of her, she is not governor-ready.
Lieutenant governor options are even more limited. Seven are listed, in addition to incumbent Gavin (Gruesome) Newsom. For Secretary of State, the only one I've heard of is Leland Yee, whom I am pretty sure withdrew from the ballot too late to have his name removed, due to the slow electoral procedure presided over by the Secretary of State. Incumbent Debra Bowen cannot run for a third term, although she may be able to run when she's 78. Candidates need not be household names, but they might be known in some way or have a strong platform.
For one office, county Superintendent of Schools, the incumbent is unchallenged although, to be honest, none of those in office are facing opposition. You'd think California was thriving. Even the county coroner has a token opponent, although the sheriff and district attorney do not.
If ever there was cause to skip an election, this ballot is it, other than a couple of confusing ballot measures. In previous elections, Libertarians ran strong candidates. They've decided to skip the costly, time-consuming process of getting on the primary ballot, since they probably wouldn't be one of the top-two vote getters, except for the unopposed offices.
The endorsement cards reveal the incestuous relationship between the machine politicians, who treat their offices as entitlements. From Congressmen and Senators, this mentality trickles down to local pols. Even term limits can't stop them from perserving power, to the detriment of the populace. As the rest of the country soaks in the Tea Party, California remains in the 20th Century.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a Nancy Pelosi accolyte, represents everything loathesome about Washington DC. [She recently kissed up to the lawless IRS.]
Regardless of her naive assessment of jihad, there is nothing the US can do about it.
Speier's challenger in November, Robin Chew, is a flimsy alternative. He says on his Nationbuilder web site that his main goal is “doing what I can to change the mindset of Washington from partisan stalemate to practical problem-solving.” Aside from that being a load of crap, some of us prefer stalemate to increased government meddling and mismanagement.
Chew's milquetoast generalizations on everything from so-called defense to controlling federal spending inspire no confidence. Nor do his thoughts about “reinventing education.” Education is a problem, in large part due to federal intrusion into what should be a local concern. While I cannot vote for Speier, I cannot swallow voting for Chew, either. The best vote I can cast is moving to another state, since there is no “Neither of the Above” option.
“Few can argue that American foreign policy, in almost any instance, has been successful in decades. From unconstitutional incursions, to covert interventions around the globe, Washington's policies have cost blood and treasure while making Americans less safe. Given its geographic position and economic power, the United States is not threatened, certainly not existentially, by any other country or organization on Earth.” |
— John Dennis
Over the county line, played out Nancy Pelosi, 74, is being challenged (if you can call it that) by Republican John Dennis. He sounds good, actually, supporting bringing back the troops, ending the Fed, returning schools to local control, balancing the budget and phasing out the IRS. Also, he is not a nutcase like Ms Pelosi. Endorsed by Ron Paul, I could vote for this guy, if I still lived in San Francisco. Unfortunately, residents of that town do not expend brain power on elections, sticking it to the rest of the country for 27 years, so far.
As California more closely resembles a third-world nation, it is tragic that the election process offers less choice than some of the world's most authoritarian governments. We're a crude Venezuela without the oil.
The only possible positive effect: lame-brained voters who enable incompetent incumbents will be less motivated to vote in November, which assists those opposing the federal status quo, since there is no hope statewide.
RIDE THE BULLET TRAIN
Brown's Big Plans for Your Money
What has Jerry Brown got planned for his fourth term? He told SF Chronicle editors, “I'm going to build great things, I'm going to do big things, and I'm not going to be intimidated by these fears of things that are part of life.”
Translation. He's going to push high-speed rail, the “Bullet Train,” as his legacy, and stick Californians with the bill, currently estimated at $68 billion for the 520 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which works out to only $130,769,230 per mile. That amount will rise. The price tag has doubled since it's inception, while the travel time has increased by 30 minutes. No word on the cost of a ticket.
Proposed as an environmental panacea, that assumes people will use the train once it is constructed. An Environmental Impact Report shows some of the immediate down sides, like reduced farmland, as reported in the Fresno Bee.
While the train is losing support from Californians, it will undoubtedly become as successful as Caltrains, the Los Angeles subway and the unsurpassed Amtrak rail system.
Another Squeaky Budget
Real elections could curb runaway government waste
California passed a budget for fiscal 2014-15 with little fanfare on Sunday, 15th June; frequent Governor Jerry Brown signed it.
It carried by wide margins thanks to the Democratic super-majority.
The total of $108 billion is about 7.28% higher than last year's budget. Funding covers pre-school for what the state consider poor children, increased welfare and expanded health-care spending in accordance with the so-called Unaffordable Care Act. It increases contributions to the teacher pension fund and shores up funding with $250 million for the increasingly-unpopular bullet train. (Hate it? Too bad.) The budget requires that $1 billion of the education funds meet specific goals, including implementing Common Core, the stealth national school takeover. There is $1.6 billion for a rainy-day account. Sweet!
The Assembly's Budget Chairwoman, Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, claims this will "put California on a solid fiscal footing." As most Californians know, that footing slips as soon as tax revenues dip, since the budget always ignores billions in unfunded liabilities.
Unlike previous years, there was no last-minute battle, although the vote went down to the wire. The total was 55-24 in the Assembly, 25-11 in the Senate. Democrats had argued a bit about restoring social-program spending that was cut during the recession, which they seem to believe ended. Although it probably passed along party lines, it requires more patience than I possess to verify the votes. If you are curious, try the user-unfriendly Assembly and Senate Web sites. Your tax money at work being wasted.