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Betty Arenson: California’s crazy train

Posted: August 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 22, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari pegged it: The high-speed rail is Jerry Brown’s Crazy Train. Equally, The Signal named it “the high speed hoodwink” (July 13, 2014).

In 2008, California feel-good voters approved Proposition 1A, a proposition to issue nearly $10 billion in general obligation bonds to fund a high-speed rail project with a main focus on Los Angeles-to-San Francisco travel.

That $10 billion stacked onto the existing $100 billion bond debt.

Before promotion of 1A began, somebody with the checkbook had already spent $58 million on consultants, impressive brochures and European travel (enamored with Japan’s system and others) without “one inch of track.”

The measure passed 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent with authors utilizing about 8,000 words to sell Gov. Moonbeam’s Legacy as:

  •  $33 billion final cost for 800 miles of track;
  •  completed by 2020;
  •  no increase in taxes, yet “appropriates money from the general fund to pay bond principal and interest”;
  •  travel time from L.A. to San Francisco in 2 hours, 40 minutes, for $50;
  •  no subsidies necessary for operational expenses;
  •  all funding and environmental approvals will be obtained before construction starts.

Shortly the reported cost tripled. Channel 7/NBC San Diego covered a news conference as late as Nov. 6, 2011 giving a figure of $98.5 billion with completion stretched to 2033.

Mysteriously the number shrunk to $68 billion; the $33 billion vanished.

Numerous lawsuits from environmentalists, farmers and others are at appellate-court levels and on the way to California’s Supreme Court. Among others, potential plaintiffs include Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

The latter is owned by Berkshire-Hathaway (chairman is billionaire Warren Buffet). These two systems foresee violations of their property rights and operational interferences.

A June 2014 Los Angeles Times article offered the pro-con battle of the high-speed rail, stating: “When the restrictions were written, they were unprecedented.”

Quentin Kopp, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority when the proposition’s restrictions were written, said: “I can’t recall any general obligation bond issue that incorporated legal provisions to the extent this one does.”

The article underlines that the intent was to place “safeguards on the biggest infrastructure project in California history.”

Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, who also wrote many of the restrictions, concurs: “We didn’t put them in as guidelines. ... It was clear what we wanted.”

In contrast, another former chairman of the California Rail Agency, Rod Diridon, claims: “The conditions were unnecessary and ill-conceived ... guidelines, not hard and fast rules.”

If such language were so impotent, why was it foisted upon the public — the voters?

There we have it: a bunch of legal minds, politicians, chairmen and former chairmen of countless agencies and departments who have or are collecting a check from taxpayers, spending incalculable dollars, arguing which side has the upper hand — all in the name of “interpretation.”

One dilemma cited: “Does a requirement to ‘design’ the train so it can travel from L.A. to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes mean the state has to provide such service?” Huh?
When “fiscal effects” are discussed, a lot of “ifs” are issued. One site stated operating costs after construction as “unknown ongoing maintenance and operation costs, probably in excess of $1 billion a year.”

The bureaucrats’ $50 fare would require 54,794.5 riders per day to meet $1 billion annually. Does anyone believe operation/maintenance will not require subsidies?

Actually, “hoodwink” is a titanic understatement, but The Signal is on point with: “High-Speed Rail Authority executives themselves are pretending that all is well and are forging ahead.”

Michelle Boehm, California regional director for the California High-Speed Rail, quickly countered with a lot of bureaucratic goop to set us straight.

She failed, merely regurgitating much of the aforementioned, all based on “projections,” “scenarios” “robust risk analysis” and “pure run time for non-stop trains.”

There is much more, but there are obvious conclusions:

  •  California taxpayers know the promised $33 billion price tag is nonexistent;
  •  The experts who wrote the supposed tight language do not agree but sent it to voters anyway;
  •  The funding is not in place;
  •  The final sum and costs of lawsuits are inestimable;
  •  Jerry Brown will be 95 years old at his train’s target completion date.

Crazy Train promoters love reminding voters they voted this in.

Not so! Voters approved a huge deception and should not be bound by it.

Legislative promises should be bilateral. The only promise being kept here is that taxpayers must pay.

Voters, demand a mulligan. Proposition 1A would not pass today.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident, has lived in the SCV since 1968 and is active in a local Republican club.


OldReliable: Posted: August 22, 2014 10:04 a.m.

A boondoggle of the highest order! Excellent op-ed, Betty Arenson.

BrianBaker: Posted: August 22, 2014 10:30 a.m.

Excellent piece, Betty.

I've read legal opinions to the effect that this entire Browndoggle should be stopped right in its ... "tracks", so to speak.

Prop 1A authorized bond funding of $33 billion, with no authorized mechanism for further funding using General Funds. In order to fund beyond that $33 billion mark, a further bond proposition is required.

Clearly, any such bond prop would fail dismally at this time.

Therefore, any further expenditures should be prohibited until and unless such a proposition is approved by the voters.

Yes, we'd be throwing away $33 billion, but that's just a drop in the bucket compared to what this disastrous not-so-"high speed" lunacy is going to cost long run.

It will NEVER be self-supporting; the demand for this "product" simply isn't there. This is like trying to resurrect buggy whips and horse carriages as a primary means of transport.

This is going to be a perpetual money pit.

tech: Posted: August 22, 2014 12:42 p.m.

Ms. Arenson's column illuminates the forces aligned against the interests of citizens represented in the Crazy Train bait and switch.

In low population density areas of the USA, trains became an outmoded means of passenger transport last century. To my knowledge, no government public transport system is self-supporting via passenger fares. No amount of state central planning and subsidy will alter that fact.

I support rail transport for freight because the economic model is rational. Here in the West, passenger rail is a novelty and shouldn't be subsidized by taxpayers.

17trillion: Posted: August 22, 2014 1:44 p.m.

Of all the problems CA has! We're running out of water. Our pensions are unfunded by hundreds, HUNDREDS, of billions of dollars. We have an uneducated population that is getting worse. We have the highest poverty in the nation. The highest welfare in the nation. The highest taxes in the nation. We're dead last in business friendliness. We run almost perpetual deficits, despite being told by our masters that the budgets are balanced. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We have massive debt created by bonds that will continue to sap our yearly budgets more and more.

So, to address all that we're going to spend, 70?, 80?, 90 billion dollars on a train that nobody will use that will never make money and will take a decade or more to build?

California, WTF is wrong with you? I continue to hate this state and look forward to showing it my behind.

BrianBaker: Posted: August 22, 2014 1:48 p.m.

You left out the fact that we have more illegal aliens than any other state.

Pard, I gotta tell you, if my offspring weren't here, I'd have been gone a l-o-o-ng time ago.

Lotus8: Posted: August 22, 2014 2:01 p.m.

Great piece! Loved it. Imagine if we spent the money on desalination of sea water or building more water retention areas for when it does rain to capture the water. In other words, on projects that might actually address real problems we have.

I can fly from LA to the Bay Area in less time than this train will take as currently envisioned and for around the same price.

Notice to voters in our state. When you elect the same party to every office up and down the state you get an entrenched mob rule. There is no way anyone is going to stop this train project because the blue party owns the courts, the legislature and the governor's mansion. Kudos to the zombie electorate! Back to your morning entertainment news and bouncy weather girls everyone!

tech: Posted: August 22, 2014 3:53 p.m.

"Kudos to the zombie electorate! Back to your morning entertainment news and bouncy weather girls everyone!" - Lotus8

Haha! Nice.

CastaicClay: Posted: August 22, 2014 5:39 p.m.

Bill passed in 2008. Brown elected in 2011. How is this his crazy train?
The law was passed and it is not his option weather to implement it or not. Until another vote is taken on a bill to repeal the current law I believe his hands are tied. Blame away.

BrianBaker: Posted: August 22, 2014 6:59 p.m.

Current law no longer valid. Can't stay in budget prop authorized. No further funding legally authorized. Brown charging ahead anyway.

That's how it's his crazy train.

Lotus8: Posted: August 22, 2014 7:27 p.m.

Clay, you sound like the kind of guy who also says that everything going on with the economy, terrorists, Russia, healthcare, etc. is all Bush's fault still. If you are the top dog, you have the bully pulpit and the power to make things happen. The voting populous of this state opposes going ahead with the train, but Jerry and his blue state minions are powering forward to serve their labor union and other political contributor masters. The governor could stop the funding for the train dead in its tracks (pardon the horrible pun) if he so desired by refusing to sign a budget with funding for the train in it. He would tell his legal team to hit the press with some talking points regarding the will of the people when they voted for this and how he refuses to let big business hoodwink the people of this great state.

Seems simple enough, right? Open your mind for one short moment Clay and see the power brokers in this state for what they are. They are only interested in getting reelected and setting themselves and their family/friends up to make piles of cash. They don't do anything because they believe it is the right thing to do. They only do things that are in their own personal best interest. --edited.

Indy: Posted: August 22, 2014 7:54 p.m.

24 Countries on Track for High-Speed Rail
by Beth Goodbaum | July 10th, 2012

While 14 countries operate high-speed rail (HSR) systems today, in just two years that number will rise to 24, including China, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and the United States, independent research organization Worldwatch Institute reveals. Worldwatch, which works on energy, resource and environmental issues, explores the key reasons why the system is a success around the globe.

HSR systems have proven to be effective at bridging the gap between vast geographic distances and isolated regions in a relatively short time span, and they are also an alternative to conventional but less eco-efficient plane and auto transportation. Worldwatch cites the Center for Neighborhood Technologies’ analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, which reveals that HSR lines produce 30-70 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer, compared to 170 for airplanes and 150 for automobiles.

The benefits of HSR systems go beyond travel and eco-friendliness. Jobs created for such networks could boost the economy. A high-speed network that operates electric trains could also reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Discovery provides a list of the additional benefits of high-speed rail.

With such extensive advantages, high-speed rail has spread fast— but mostly across Europe. France’s HSR systems account for 62 percent of European high-speed rail travel, while Worldwatch reports that Spain has the largest high-speed rail network in Europe, at approximately 2,000 kilometers in length. In 2004, the Spanish government implemented its Strategic Plan for Infrastructure and Transport, which calls for 44 percent of transportation investment to be directed toward rail development.

China, which set a goal of building nearly 12,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines by 2020, has also been recognized as a global rail leader.

Based on track length, China, Spain, France, Germany and Japan are leading the way on high-speed rail development. Other countries that plan to expand track lengths to exceed 1,000 kilometers include Turkey, Portugal, the U.S. and Italy.

In April, “Italo” was introduced in Italy, the country’s newest high-speed rail locomotive. Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, Italo’s creator and Europe’s first private operator of high-speed domestic trains, announced that it will run 25 trains to connect nine of the country’s cities, with a 20-25 percent market share expected by 2014, the New York Times reports.

With speeds reaching 186 miles per hour and passenger amenities that include Wi-Fi and special cinema coaches, such domestic rail lines may become a trademark for European transportation, a travel goal that has been heavily advocated for, but difficult to achieve, in the U.S.

Indy: The US used to 'lead' in transportation . . .

tech: Posted: August 23, 2014 12:45 a.m.

"24 Countries on Track for High-Speed Rail" - Indy

Non sequitur and an appeal to popularity. Europe is more compact and has a higher population density than the Western USA. This applies to Japan as well.

CaptGene: Posted: August 23, 2014 8:49 a.m.

Indy Nile: "The US used to 'lead' in transportation . . ."

It would be interesting if this strong willed progressive ideologue were to give specific examples of his/her assertion. Sadly, hyper partisans such as this poster can only ever offer folklore recitals they have memorized from MSNBC.

Sad, pathetic.

ricketzz: Posted: August 23, 2014 10:48 a.m.

Prior to deregulation of airlines the USA had a functional system of passenger rail. Why Capt Gene would call a halt for clarification at this point might bear some scrutiny.

While the Western USA might not be "dense", the West Coast is. San Diego to SF; Sacramento to Bakersfield are as heavily populated enough. Trains are the future. Air travel is inefficient and polluting.

tech: Posted: August 23, 2014 11:49 a.m.

"Prior to deregulation of airlines the USA had a functional system of passenger rail." - ricketzz

Why was that? Oh yeah, because air fares were kept artificially high by government price controls and only the affluent could afford airline travel. If airlines had done this independent of government, it would be considered acting in collusion to fix prices.

From airline fares to long distance telephone to interstate trucking, in every instance that government price controls were removed, consumers benefited.

Passenger rail in the West is the past and your argument is economically illiterate, ricketzz.

CastaicClay: Posted: August 23, 2014 1:00 p.m.

L8 - off topic but you brought it up. What is the statute of limitations on culpability? When you kick a snowball down a hill, how far does it go before it is no longer your fault? Your standard will be applied evenly across the board.

therightstuff: Posted: August 23, 2014 2:57 p.m.

"""When you kick a snowball down a hill, how far does it go before it is no longer your fault?"""

Depends. If Democrats think something is going right for this administration, it was obviously the brilliance of Barack Obama. (We sure haven't heard much of that.) But if something goes wrong with this administration, it was obviously George Bush's fault.

Reagan inherited a much worse mess than Obama and he not only stopped the snowball rolling down hill, he reversed it's course. That's a leader. Can anyone imagine after six years in office that Reagan would STILL be blaming Jimmy Carter?

CastaicClay: Posted: August 23, 2014 9:53 p.m.

A ricochet from the distance. Barely audible and redundant.

ricketzz: Posted: August 24, 2014 9:33 a.m.

My statement was merely an answer to the question about whether the USA ever was a leader in transportation. I was not speaking for or against regulating anything.

"Economically illiterate"? What are the externalities associated with air travel? What government subsidies are afforded the carriers? What about the destruction of human habitat; how much should we charge for that?

tech: Posted: August 24, 2014 10:54 p.m.

"What are the externalities associated with air travel?" - ricketzz

What's the opportunity cost of stasis or regression in technology and efficiency? You're the one making the assertion that rail travel is the future. Prove it.

ricketzz: Posted: August 25, 2014 9:56 a.m.

BTU per passenger mile is nearly identical when comparing latest generation airliners with our Amtrak fleet of commuter trains. So any modernization of Amtrak will tilt "efficiency" to rail. The greenhouse gasses airplanes emit are deposited directly into the upper atmosphere, fresh and undiluted from migrating 6 miles vertically.

Nitsho: Posted: August 25, 2014 11:24 a.m.

Let's see. 5 hour flight to NY..or 3 day train trip...

No one has thought of trains in the last 80 years with the exception of Government, Unions and Eco-mentalists. What's the common factor there?

Nitsho: Posted: August 25, 2014 11:28 a.m.


Monday, August 25, 2014
Los Angeles, CA - Union Station (LAX) to
New York, NY - Penn Station (NYP)
2 Adult, 2 Child

$840 - Coach Seat
$1311 - Coach Seat
$2516 - Sleeper

LA - CHI 43 hr, 0 min
TRANSFER - CHI (6 hr, 15 min)
CHI to NY 19 hr, 53 min

And this was the shortest, and cheapest option.

Your argument is invalid now.

Lotus8: Posted: August 25, 2014 2:25 p.m.

Nice Nitsho! Had a friend who thought it would be fun to take the train with his family to Chicago for a wedding. He said he would never, ever do that again. Uncomfortable sleeping, marginal food, took what seemed like forever, kids totally bored, not cheaper than flying, etc.

tech: Posted: August 25, 2014 6:19 p.m.

Ricketzz is retired now and apparently has no time value assigned other than the finite amount left on this plane of existence. If he wants to spend it on Amtrak trains, that's an option for him.

For the rest of us, passenger rail fails a cost/benefit analysis massively.

ricketzz: Posted: August 26, 2014 9:52 a.m.

Again, I was using Amtrak as a source of data, not extolling any virtues it may have. Compute your travel times based on modern trains averaging 125 MPH NYC is less than 24 hours. Elon Musk's system supposedly is 10 times faster and more efficient.

The current travel rail system in the USA sucks. Flying sucks. And here we are.

Nitsho: Posted: August 26, 2014 11:01 a.m.

"Compute your travel times based on modern trains averaging 125 MPH NYC is less than 24 hours"

And will this magical unicorn train stop along the way or will it be an express, non-stop from LA to NY? If it stops. add another 24 hours, assuming 30 min per stop with 48 along the way.

AlwaysRight: Posted: August 26, 2014 5:39 p.m.

I regularly fly all over the United States. No issues with the airlines. Fast, efficient, and economical.

The analytics;
A 747 burns 3600 gal/hr and produces 34 tons of CO2. In a 5 hr trip, that is 170 tons. However, modern aircraft are roughly 50% more fuel efficient. This number is closer to 85 tons.

A locomotive in a 20-car train will weigh 400 tons. A locomotive will average 400 mi to haul 1 ton with 1 gal of fuel. This is roughly 1 gal per mile. Factoring a 3000 mi trip, 3000 gal, or roughly 30 tons of CO2 produced.

I would guess that diesel is dirtier than jet fuel, so figure 40 tons of CO2 produced.

So, ricketzz is right. Traveling by train does save about 50% of the CO2 made by these machines.

Nitsho: Posted: August 27, 2014 8:35 a.m.

747 has been regulated to international travel and largely have been replaced with the baby owl friendly 777. Domestic carriers use smaller 767, 757, 737 and the small Airbus A320's for coast to coast and localized traffic.

ricketzz: Posted: August 27, 2014 9:41 a.m.

There are curves that compare efficiency v distance. Beyond a certain distance air makes more senses, but below that distance rail clearly makes the most sense. As the environmental degradation caused by flying gets more well known people will insist on trains.

Jet fuel and Diesel are pretty much the same thing; jet fuel might have a little ethanol additive.

AlwaysRight: Posted: August 27, 2014 12:51 p.m.

Nitsho- yeah, that is why I dropped the CO2 output calculation by 50%. I've seen numbers as high as 3% of all greenhouse gases due to aircraft. I couldn't find any other data on more updated aircraft. There was a study on a 757 but I couldn't get any decent numbers from it.

While I don't agree with what ricketzz is saying, I can understand why he is advocating this point.

AlwaysRight: Posted: August 27, 2014 12:54 p.m.

ricketzz- and the New York to Paris train trip becomes a bit, shall we say, problematic? LOL ;)

Remarkably, ricketzz is correct again. The performance characteristics of jet fuel and diesel are remarkably similar. In fact, a diesel engine can run on jet fuel. My hat is off to ricketzz on this one. --edited.

tech: Posted: August 27, 2014 8:19 p.m.

We'll soon be driving vehicles equipped with turbo diesels, AR.

ricketzz: Posted: August 28, 2014 10:19 a.m.

The percentage of total Greenhouse Gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane) from jet travel is not as important as the fact the GHGs are deposited in the stratosphere and do not have to migrate from ground level.

New York to Paris, or even LA to New York via air is not unreasonable to me. China and Russia are building a train to Vancouver. This will require the biggest railroad tunnel project ever and cooperation from the USA; such great works are the best manifestation of what we as men and women are capable of. Saving the future for our grandkids is another great work that requires international cooperation. China is putting more Green Energy on line than we are now. We can't use their bad habits as an excuse anymore. They are using coal as a bridge fuel but know the future is renewables. If any place ever screamed out for no grid whatsoever it is India. They get beau-coups sunshine.

tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 12:01 a.m.

You're being selective with your facts, ricketzz. I'll remedy your omission.

China is the largest consumer of coal in the world, and is about to become the largest user of coal-derived electricity, generating 1.95 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, or 68.7% of its electricity from coal as of 2006 (compared to 1.99 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, or 49% for the US).

tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 3:07 a.m.

Coal’s Share of World Energy Demand at Highest Since 1970
By Nidaa Bakhsh Jun 16, 2014 4:24 AM PT

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and use of it expanded at utilities from China to Germany.

Coal dominated world energy markets last year by supplying the biggest share of demand since 1970, making it the fastest growing fossil fuel, according to an annual review by BP Plc.

Consumption grew 3 percent last year, driven by coal use in developing nations, according to a statement today from Europe’s third-largest oil company. Use of renewables such as solar and wind also reached a record, accounting for 2.7 percent of all energy demand.

The findings are another indication that consumers are prioritizing cheap fuels over efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and use of it expanded at utilities from China to Germany.

“Europe is increasing its carbon emissions because it’s using too much coal because it’s cheap,” Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said in an interview on Bloomberg Television June 3.

Coal’s share of global energy use reached 30.1 percent, just below the 32.9 percent share for crude oil, which lost market share for a 14th consecutive year. China was the world’s biggest coal consumer, followed by the U.S. and India.

China’s Coal

In China, coal accounted for 67.5 percent of the total energy demand, the lowest on record because of new measures to combat pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels use grew by 4.2 percent, or 358 million metric tons, the slowest in five years, the report showed.

“The big story in coal markets is China,” Christof Ruehl, BP’s chief economist, said today at a presentation in Moscow. “New policies to combat local pollution by shutting down coal-intensive production and encouraging coal substitution may have played a part” in cutting the fuel’s dominance to the lowest on record.

Natural gas consumption rose 1.4 percent, below the historical average of 2.6 percent, to account for 23.7 percent of world primary energy use. Gas demand growth was below average everywhere but North America, where hydraulic fracturing technology opened new supplies.

That so-called fracking technique also helped boost oil supply in the U.S., which had record output, a trend that will continue this year, Ruehl said.

ricketzz: Posted: August 30, 2014 10:04 a.m.

Mr. Tech. This paragraph from your outstanding post sort of leaped out at me:

“The big story in coal markets is China,” Christof Ruehl, BP’s chief economist, said today at a presentation in Moscow. “New policies to combat local pollution by shutting down coal-intensive production and encouraging coal substitution may have played a part” in cutting the fuel’s dominance to the lowest on record." -ibid

tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 11:17 a.m.

Grabbing a lifeline and ignoring the rest, ricketzz?

Yes, they're closing plants in or near cities to avoid choking their citizens and moving to gas fired. But the fact remains that coal dominates rather than the "green" renewables you were implying.

tech: Posted: August 30, 2014 6:36 p.m.

Oops! Yet another explanation for the warming pause/"slowdown" not predicted by climate models, ricketzz. Since you're a climate alarmist tracking the issue so closely and constantly warning us of dire consequences, why didn't you bring this up?

Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration

ricketzz: Posted: August 31, 2014 10:31 a.m.

I brought this up several months ago. It is looking largely now irrelevant because it is already plenty warm enough to fundamentally change the earth. Feedbacks are under way. You do not want to mess with the salinity of the ocean. It is what keeps us from glaciating, via thermohaline circulations. If the Gulf Stream stops New and Olde England both get covered in ice.

I'm about ready to give up and go coal rollin'.

tech: Posted: August 31, 2014 11:48 a.m.

Oh, cheer up, ricketzz. The Earth has been "saved"! Again.

The gibbering idiots in Sacramento bent over for another environmental non sequitur by banning "single use" plastic bags. The highly symbolic legislation uses government force to subsidize markets with a 10¢ per more energy intensive paper bag. In addition to the insult of more taxation, consumers will now need to launder reusable cloth bags to avoid food borne disease. Reusable plastic bags will require sanitizing with household chemical surfactants. Finally, there are government subsidies in the bill for plastic bag manufacturers!

It's another win for propaganda over science and data.

In Defense of the Plastic Bag

ricketzz: Posted: September 1, 2014 10:23 a.m.

I have nothing to do with Sacramento. None of the people for whom I vote ever win. The annoying thing about plastic bags is that people let them escape.

In a working system, government force and the will of the people are synonymous.

ricketzz: Posted: September 1, 2014 10:26 a.m.

Tech has a terrible habit of getting hung up on immaterial side shows. A debating technique one gleans from talk radio solves nothing.

Tell me again how trains are less efficient. Try to stay on topic.

A new rail system is the kind of great works people are here to do. Americans need to join together for the greater good. Then it will be our finest hour.

tech: Posted: September 1, 2014 11:39 p.m.

"Tell me again how trains are less efficient." - ricketzz

From a prior post of mine: "You're the one making the assertion that rail travel is the future. Prove it."

I have no obligation to defend an argument I haven't made. But I'll help you with a simple fact: Commercial jet aircraft are faster than trains.

A reminder: I don't listen to talk radio shows. You do.

tech: Posted: September 1, 2014 11:43 p.m.

"In a working system, government force and the will of the people are synonymous." - ricketzz

In a dysfunctional system, a minority of politicos and "activists" distort reality and use government force against the will of the majority of people.

ricketzz: Posted: September 2, 2014 9:53 a.m.

Corporations are the ones who have usurped government, not the activists. The activists are the only ones fighting back. People don't know who their real friends are. This country was started by left wing activists.

tech: Posted: September 4, 2014 10:53 p.m.

"The activists are the only ones fighting back. People don't know who their real friends are." - ricketzz

I'd posit they do and that's why "activists" are held in such low esteem.

ricketzz: Posted: September 6, 2014 10:52 a.m.

Where are "activists" held in low esteem? You are too quick to condemn things you know little about. Were the Sons of Liberty bad activists? They were according to the Tories, whom we chased back to Canada and England. Unfortunately some of their DNA managed to linger. The USA was the Liberal answer to the old way, solidly fascistic.

tech: Posted: September 6, 2014 3:24 p.m.

"Where are "activists" held in low esteem?" - ricketzz

In the USA, currently.

Your conflation of current "activist" objectives with that of the Founders is amusing. So is your assertion that I'm not well informed, especially when I continually correct you with supporting data.

ricketzz: Posted: September 7, 2014 9:58 a.m.

Two thin unscientific surveys from 2 years ago is not "supporting data" anywhere besides the playground. The TV has turned you into a pre-adolescent intellectually.

We have activists, reactionaries and sheep. Which one are you. --edited.

tech: Posted: September 10, 2014 4:28 a.m.

None of the above. And you idiotically keep referring to TV I don't watch. Must be a glitch in your programming.

By the way, you uniformly disregard polls you don't agree with. It's noticed.

Your retiree revolutionary rants are amusing, however.

CaptGene: Posted: September 13, 2014 9:58 p.m.

Tech, don't even get him started on how Salisbury Steak has taken a turn for the worse lately.

tech: Posted: September 16, 2014 7:49 p.m.

It's so much better than the dog food those evil Republicans want to feed to grandma.

Democrats have "saved" SS so seniors like ricketzz can dine heartily!

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