#HSR: California high-speed rail boondoggle lowers revenue projections

April 15, 2014
Boondoggle

Boondoggle

Can someone please just shoot this project and put it out of our misery?

In a new business plan submitted to state legislators last week, the California High-Speed Rail Authority offered lower revenue projections than it had two years before, predicting that revenue will be “5 percent lower than originally projected by 2025 and 10 percent lower by 2040,” according to a report by Sacramento’s KCRA.com.

So, let’s see. Costs are higher than projected (pace the HSRA), the train won’t be as fast as projected, even Democrats are breaking with Governor Jerry Brown over the project, and now revenues, which are supposed to pay back the billions we’re borrowing for this thing, won’t meet initial projections.

Explain to me just why Brown deserves reelection? I’m waiting… smiley well I'm waiting

RELATED: Past posts on Uncle Jerry’s high-speed choo-choo.


Democrats’ “Look it’s Elvis!” strategy not playing on Main Street?

April 14, 2014
"Don't get distracted"

“Don’t get distracted”

The Democrats would really rather you talk about anything other than Obamacare, which has become a huge millstone around the neck of their political fortunes (1). To distract you from this anti-constitutional monstrosity and rally their base voters, they’re desperately deploying the weapons that have served them so well in the past, such as the Race Card.

Another weapon is the “War on Women,” the accusation that, in short, Republicans and conservatives want women barefoot, pregnant, and underpaid, shouting that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. (2) There’s no denying that the “Sexism Card” was effective in the 2012 election, but how is it working for them, now?

If a Pittsburgh waitress is any indicator, not so good:

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.

A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

“I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.”

And she is “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it’s insulting.”

Her last remark is telling. Progressives have long dreamed of instituting nationalized health care in the US, but the ACA’s passage was controversial (to say the least), the bill has never been popular, and it’s rollout to date has been a train wreck. Now faced with an electoral shellacking potentially worse than 2010′s, they’ve gone back to their happy place in the 1960s and whipped out the magic fetishes that have always saved them before: cries of racism, sexism, and class warfare.

Only, as the astute waitress observed, what worked 40-50 years ago doesn’t necessarily work now. American society has made enormous progress on issues of unfair treatment based on gender or race, and only an ideologue or a charlatan –or a desperate pol (or, in this case, all three)– would claim otherwise.

Remember what Lincoln said?

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

The Democrats have been able to fool enough of the people, but, at some point, people get tired of being taken for fools. They notice how dog-eared those cards in the Democrats’ deck have become from being played so often and they’re not impressed anymore. In fact, as our waitress noted, they’re insulted. And insulted people take their business (and votes) elsewhere.

More from the article:

Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another — women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.

He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.

This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.

Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.

Or the answer is “C,” both. Obama and the Democrats clearly over-promised to win over a public tired by war and frightened by an economic crisis, but it is also who Obama is: a political “slice-and-dicer.” Remember that Obama got his start and his education in retail politics as a community organizer, a profession invented by Saul Alinsky. The whole point of community organizing is not to unite or build bridges, but to divide communities into “us and them” and then organize your faction to achieve your goal by setting them against the other guys. Thus no one should be surprised that Obama has operated this way over the course of his presidency.

It’s who he is and all he knows.

PS: The article’s author, Salena Zito, is a great reporter who looks at politics from a “Main St.” perspective, the point of view of the people the Beltway often forgets exist. You should add her to your reading list.

RELATED: John Fund on the race card as a losing game.

Footnotes:
(1) And deservedly so.
(2) And even though even the White House admitted that was wrong.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Well, scratch Mike Huckabee from the 2016 contenders list

April 13, 2014
Foot, meet mouth

Foot, meet mouth

Not that the former Arkansas governor and current FOX host was on my list, anyway (1), but making statements as facile, lazy, and, yes, ignorant as this should give anyone pause:

Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stunned a New Hampshire crowd on Saturday by likening the federal government’s treatment of airport passengers to the totalitarian regime of Kim Jong-un.

‘My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States,’ he told a partisan crowd at the inaugural New Hampshire Freedom Summit.

‘When I go to the airport, I have to get into the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms to prove that I’m not going to terrorize the airplane,’ he deadpanned.

In a speech filled with jokes, Huckabee seemed deadly serious.

Really, Mike?

Look, the TSA can be infuriating, it’s definitely ineffective, and it should be disbanded, but as if we were in North Korea? Please, spare me the hyperbole.

North Korea is a nightmare realm ruled by an alcoholic man-child whose subjects fear him as a god. It is a bizarre mix of Confucianism and Stalinism in which all bend to the will of the Dear Leader, lest they die by flamethrower. It is a land of starvation and cannibalism, where multiple generations of whole families are consigned to a vast gulag of prison camps. In fact, all of North Korea is a prison masquerading as a nation.

And to compare the United States to that, even if just to get your point across through the shock value?

That’s just stupid, Mike, and I don’t vote for stupid.

via ST’s Hot Headlines

Footnote:
(1) He rubs me the wrong way, giving me the impression he’s a right-wing statist who would keep feeding Leviathan, not much better than the left-wing statists running the show right now. Others, of course, may well see him differently. Big tent, and all that.


Ted Cruz explains #Obamacare’s success in one graphic

April 13, 2014
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Obamacare salesman on the job”

With the recent announcement of more than seven million sign-ups for Obamacare, the administration and its supporters have been running around shouting “Success! SUCCESS!!”, as if an enrollment figure means that the implementation of the law itself, with its myriad problems (for example) (1), will be just a matter of working “the bugs” out.

Nevertheless, seven million was the administration’s goal, and they met it. So, how does one explain this victory? How did they do it?

Senator Ted Cruz is ready with the answer:

obamacare broken window bastiat ted cruz

Apparently the good Senator is a student of Frederic Bastiat’s “Parable of the broken window.” Would that the rest of Congress were.

Footnote:
(1) For lots more, check out my Obamacare archives.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: the nightmare of living under a god

April 11, 2014

North Korea Yeonmi Park

There’s an interesting and frightening interview posted to Business Insider today with Yeonmi Park, a woman who escaped from North Korea with her family as a teenager, but needed years to get over the brainwashing she endured there. An indoctrination so intense, she believed the late Kim Jong Il could read her mind:

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, under the watchful eye of then-leader Kim Jong-il.

Though she escaped with her family when she was 15, it took her years to get over the intense brainwashing she experienced. In a recent interview with Australian public broadcasting channel SBS, Park went into unbelievable detail about growing up in the totalitarian state.

Growing up in North Korea, according to Park, was like “living in hell.” She describes constant power outages, no transportation, and watching classmates and friends disappear without a trace. While that may be unsurprising, the most interesting part of Park’s experience is her admission that she believed Kim Jong-il to be “a god” who could literally read her mind.

“I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear,” Park said.

Ms. Park’s story is part of a larger program on mind-control shown by SBS, the Australian public broadcaster.  The whole show is worth watching.

In an article at SBS, she tells more of her own story:

I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a God. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.

It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.

It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.

I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.

George Orwell’s 1984 depicts the UK after an atomic war and a Socialist revolution. Big Brother is a de facto god to the people: his every word the undeniable truth, no matter how it contradicted what he might have said just the day before. Your innermost thoughts known to him, and he held the power to make you willing to accept your own death and the deaths of those close to you as just. His Animal Farm is a parable of a just revolution hijacked by an anti-democratic cadre, who maintain power by turning the other animals against each other and all into slaves. Both are taught as works of fiction, but Yeonmi Park’s story reminds us that they were more like docu-dramas and that the story hasn’t come to an end.

It reminds me of a saying of John Adams:

“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power”

Our second president was right, but left something out: it’s not just that Mankind is too morally weak for any one person to hold absolute power, but there is also the weakness that makes us willing to surrender our responsibilities as citizens and entrust a small group of people or a single person with unlimited power. It is dangerous because, eventually and inevitably, that power will fall into the hands of evil men.

And then what is to stop them from proclaiming themselves gods?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Victor Davis Hanson on the new Inquisition and freedom of speech

April 10, 2014
"The new liberal tokerance"

“The new liberal tolerance”

And even freedom of thought.

Writing at National Review Online, Dr. Hanson reviews recent incidents of people being hounded for their political opinions or scientific skepticism –among others, Brendan Eich at Mozilla; Dr. Richard Tol for not towing the party line on global warming; antisemitism at a major university that only draws a slap on the wrist;  and let’s add Brandeis University’s disgusting insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali– and then argues that the president has enabled or encouraged this behavior both actively and passively. (And I do believe Hanson is right.)

After all that, VDH offers this about how civil liberties will die in America:

All of that them/us rhetoric has given a top-down green light to radical thought police to harass anyone who is open-minded about man-caused global warming, or believes that gay marriage needs more debate, or that supporting Israel is a legitimate cause, or that breaking federal immigration law is still a crime and therefore “illegal.”

Our civil liberties will not be lost to crude fascists in jackboots. More likely, the death of free speech will be the work of the new medieval Torquemadas who claim they destroyed freedom of expression for the sake of “equality” and “fairness” and “saving the planet.”

And either the irony is lost on them, or they don’t give a damn.

UPDATE: And just like that, another example — the progessive, tolerant, open-minded mob has gone after Dropbox for adding Condoleezza Rice to their board of directors. Can we call them “racists,” yet?  (h/t Stephen Kruiser)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Kim III orders execution by flamethrower

April 10, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Really? Let’s hold a BBQ…”

Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:

A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.

O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.

Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.

Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.

The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.

I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.

Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”

Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.

No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.

PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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