Saturday, July 07, 2012

Well that didn't take long...

I figured it'd be a while before I looked at a news story about California and thought, "Those idiot Californians."


Nuts to sugar coating (and the readership shouts, agape, "You were sugar coating before?!") now that I feel psychologically free of California, I don't even have to pull punches to keep myself from jumping off one of California's beautiful, majestic, and brilliantly preserved cliffs.

High Speed Rail doesn't exist.

It's a fleece, a flim-flam, a fraud, a hoax, a shake-down, and lots of other words from the thesaurus.

It isn't legislation, it isn't badly planned, there aren't a few bad apples, there isn't someone "skimming off the top."

This is a long con. Ever see The Sting?

Everyone is in on it except the public. The hundreds of Sacramento lamprey eels from the highest appointees to the Board of Important Stuff, down to Joe Blow dirt shoveler union member #6724 of the International Brotherhood of Dirt Relocation Specialists.

They set up the con, telling you what it's going to be. How amazing it will look, how it'll grow hair on the bald, cure AIDS, clean your room, and walk your dog. They actually DO work on this part. They spend money and time building an impeccable presentation with 3D models, artists renditions, and pies in the sky, all backed up with reams and reams AND REAMS of paperwork from people who are in on the scam, telling you that you can't live without this, and you'd be an idiot to pass on this opportunity. This is all backed up expert "plants" who step out of the audience and say, "I'm an expert, and everything this man says is completely true!" Followed my murmurs of ascent (murmured by more plants in on the scam).

"Well," thinks you, "Everyone seems to agree with these people. I suppose I must just be stupid for questioning this. I'd better agree too, lest my peers think me thick."

Then everyone clamors for the snake oil. Except, snake oil would have been too kind to the dupes. One big hit of cash isn't enough. They get to slow bleed the mark for years if not decades, because they're not selling a thing, they're selling an idea. And that idea needs multiple installments of money, and constant improvement, and maintenance.

After the vote, the public's part in the scam has ended, and the bloodletting begins.

Committees are formed, and directorships, and organizations, and boards, and teams, and groups, and lots of other words from the thesaurus. And all these groups need office workers, and marketing, and public relations, and lawyers, and office space, and lunches, and computers, and HVAC work, and desks, and conferences, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and all these things are bought through contractors and political contributors who are also in on the scam (though lower on the totem pole).

Then when any of this work is actually done, it suffers delays, and comes in over budget, and racks up contractual penalties, and spawns lawsuits, and usually never gets done. Which means the next firm must come in to do the work, and do the same thing to gather their percentage of the scam winnings.

So it is that the legislator writes an extra sentence into the bill with a wink and a nod, and the lobbyists tell their client contractors how to exploit the sentence with a wink and a nod, and the contractors plan the job to get the additional payout with a wink and a nod, and the dirt relocation specialist moves half a shovel of dirt and signals to his boss that he's taking his 4 hour lunch with a wink and a nod.

All the way down.

Every single one of them.

Playing their parts in The Sting.

Gorging themselves on the scam's winnings.

Circling wagons and promising empty when questions arise.

And eventually, when the host withers and dies, the parasites detach, pick a new target, and with a wink and a nod formulate their next presentation.

The high speed rail does not exist any more than the beachfront timeshare in Arizona you just bought. You haven't used it in the years since you bought it, but you're sure that one day you'll visit.


NotClauswitz said...

Well put! It's a Neverending Story, and story-time is always NOW.

Joe Markowitz said...

If you think high speed rail does not exist, maybe you should take a trip to Japan or France or China, or any number of civilized countries, where it most assuredly does exist.

If the US decides not to build high speed rail, we would be the lone exception in the civilized world. Maybe then we could promote tourism from more advanced countries, to visit our backward nation. The way people in our country like to go visit the Amish country and see what it's like to go around by horse and buggy.

ErnestThing said...

Hello Joe! Long time, no talk!

I appreciate that you've maintained your selective reading skills, I suspect they are required to maintain your political and social views.

California does not have high speed rail. There are no high speed rails. The rails that have been laid are not high speed. I was not implying that high speed rail does not exist in the universe.

Clearly, leaving a single sentence improperly qualified was my mistake, not all the other arguments you felt free to ignore.

Knowing that you won't read this comment either, let me provide you with a single statement you can argue against.

Obama raised taxes!

Joe, can I call you Joe? I've taken to calling you something else, but lets keep this polite. Joe, I recently redesigned the sidebar on this blog, and wanted to prominently feature the things that really had an impact on my life, and your reaction to the murder of your family friend, Lily Burk, was one of them. I thank you for reminding me that people like you exist because it renews my drive to fight people like you who elevate cognitive dissonance to an art. Congratulations on keeping the bogeymen of cause and effect out of your life. It must be a struggle.

Joe Markowitz said...

Why do you want to fight? Last time we had a discussion on your blog, I thought we had agreed we should have a beer sometime. People can disagree without being disagreeable.

You are skeptical of this high speed rail project, and you think it is likely to cost more than advertised or maybe never get built and probably will fall victim to corruption and waste and abuse and lawsuits and all kinds of other horrible stuff.

I say you might be right about that, but I would still be for it anyway even if it costs twice as much as advertised and doesn't get finished in my lifetime, because if it does ever get built, we won't care what it cost to build it. We'll just be happy to whiz up to San Francisco without waiting in airport security lines or sitting in freeway traffic.

ErnestThing said...

Sorry Joe, I've spent much time talking to people with whom I disagreed, and never felt the need to be disagreeable (it kind of shuts down the argument). But I argued with those people in good faith that they were never told the realities of the "good" ideas they had been spoon fed through their lives.

You, on the other hand, know exactly what your "good" ideas have wrought. I find you morally repugnant. I find your refusal to deal with reality disgusting. I find the core of your ideals to be the purest form of evil. I don't care what your good intent is. You murder people.

People like you are the reason Lily died.

I hope that some day you will understand that.

defiant_infidel said...

You are quite an amazing individual, E.T.... (OK, you probably have known that for awhile.)

I still hope I someday get to shake your hand. Take good care, Sir.

Anonymous said...

Less than a year later!

Anonymous said...

whoop! forgot my keys...