The Political Difficulty that is AMTRAK:

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In Consideration of Public Managers ~
This is about reality, there is no villain, not now, not in the past. Every person in business, and railroading is no different, it is a business, is a purveyor of a product or of services. In times past, an economic transportation of freight, mail, and as an afterthought, passengers was the service provided.
Horace Scudder’s painting (1897) of The first carriage of passengers in the Baltimore and Ohio’s the Directors, reporters and their wives at Endicott Mills as the ‘Tom Thumb’ locomotive pulls into the station, memorializes what was a brilliant marketing tactic, and as long as the railroad had excesses of freight revenue, it could afford to carry passengers. That was where the politicians attacked when they refused to support the progressive, anti-capital proposals sponsored by organized labor and other.
Failure is Rooted in Scope and Political Assumptions ~
The initial assumptions, made by senators and congressman, signed and sworn to by a president were made by men who had, for the most part, never run a business in their lives. Mostly lawyers, with a few other professions among them, they were and are the political elite of our nation. A single salient factor stands out, few if any have ever faced the realities of business, the balance of assets and debits, of making a payroll or of keeping the stakeholders happy. They listen to and take their guidance from special interest subject matter “experts,” most who have their own agendas, and this guidance often creates faulty assumptions. Such is the thought that passenger rail service, the bulk of which travels less than 300 miles, can survive a Break Even Analysis.
A Brief Exposure to Railroad History ~
In the beginning railroading was driven by wild eyed entrepreneurs, and much of the funding originated with unscrupulous financiers like Jay Gould and bankers who were interested in the control of as much financial activity as they could. Men like J. P. Morgan and J. D. Rockefeller. This led to extremes of competition and foolish financial decisions that made no economic sense. Examples of this error are all over the United States, like New York City, served at one time by twelve railroads and Chicago with fifteen, and St. Louis, or Cincinnati with eleven each. This causes all to suffer because no effort makes enough money to thrive. Conversely there are Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco which only had an optimal mix. Ideally a metroplex should have two, at the most three Class 1 railroads and two to four regional railroads. In this competitive environment everybody make enough to survive and prosper.
Men like John J. Hill, Edward Harriman, and Cyrus K. Holliday were entrepreneurs, financiers and railroad men. They came and built to last, make no mistake, they were all very into making money, but they sought to create a self sustaining business environment. Holliday even founded the town, Topeka, that would become the State of Kansas’ capitol.
A Word About Regulation ~
Regulations dealing with public safety and risk management among transportation utilities are an absolutely necessary, but any extension of that is restraint of trade. This is explained because the loss of revenue generated by government interference is what would lead to the perfect storm called Penn-Central. Examples of these regulations are the Interstate Commerce Act (1887) and the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890). Of themselves they were well intended legislation, but because they were ambiguously written, they begged for amendment and for supporting legislation, unfortunately they were also very subject to political manipulation, creating numerous opportunities for political chicanery. The supporting legislation laid open huge extremes of political disregard of the public’s need, of pandering to special interests, and allowing political subversion of the business model. While both the Elkins (1903) and Hepburn (1906) Acts should have been part of the initial legislation, and were legitimate additions neither were written in a way that prohibited political manipulation. The following paragraphs are an example of this.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt actions against Northern Securities Company was just this kind of manipulation. Roosevelt refused to recognize the existence of a natural trust , that is a trust agreement which is formed naturally to provide a service in the absence of all financially realistic competition.
The Northern Securities Company was an agreement between James J Hill, E. H. Harriman and J. P. Morgan; “In 1901, railroad builder James J. Hill of St. Paul, Minnesota, fought off an attempt by his arch rival Edward H. Harriman for control of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. Hill, who controlled the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific railroads, wanted to gain access to Chicago for his lines from the Twin Cities. After a protracted and potentially disastrous bidding war for the CB&Q, Hill and Harriman cooperated with banker J. P. Morgan and financier John D. Rockefeller to create the Northern Securities Company. Established in the state of New Jersey (which had laws favorable to this type of arrangement), Northern Securities held the majority of shares in the CB&Q, the Northern Pacific, and the Great Northern railroads, along with smaller roads associated with these three.”
What Roosevelt failed to realize was that the NSC was a ‘Natural Trust’ as described by Senator Sherman in the ‘Short Description’ of the Act. None of the three railroads (GN, NP, or WP {UP}) could provide adequate service to the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming or Oregon and Washington without the physical and financial resources of the others and all required the rights of way uses on the CB&Q to reach Chicago. Hill owned the CB&Q, and conveyed those rights to Morgan and Rockefeller in exchange for certain forbearances from Harriman, allowing all three roads to use CB&Q, then all three cooperated to serve the ‘Dark Territory.’ When Roosevelt railroaded the Supreme Court in 1904, gaining a one vote (5 x 4) majority, ordering the dissolution of the NPC, he only delayed the reality of a natural vacuum and the establishment of a natural trust by 70 years. This came to pass in 1970 when the ICC, refused to recognize the Justice Department’s objections, which hadn’t changed in 70 years, but failed to cite a single instance of where “restraint of trade or competition” would be created by the proposed merger. When Justice went to court, the courts denied their standing and the merger was approved and the consolidation of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific Railway and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway created the Burlington Northern.
So what does all this have to do with AMTRAK in general and the Northeast Corridor in particular?
It is necessary background of the difficulty created when progressive governance attempts to control and direct the market, any market. The blight on any cooperation, shared use or even mergers, that might be seen as reducing competition, regardless of the public benefit, continued unabated for the next ten years. There were between 300 and 500 railroads existing in 1915, but records are inexact, and many of the smaller railroads, were mostly bankrupt but operating. They might have merged with the larger, more successful class 1 railroads or been bought by them, but this was prevented by a fear of predatory litigation. When WW I started, because of this fiscal uncertainty, the railroads were unable to support the war effort, forcing Wilson to nationalize the railroads, forming the United States Railway Administration.
While mostly a bureaucratic nightmare, it did largely refurbish the rolling stock, power systems, track, roadbed and right of way, but it’s most significant product, the McAdoo Plan, reducing the confused collection of railroad companies from 270 in 1919 to just 19 while guaranteeing competition, never came to fruition, as Franklin Roosevelt scrapped the plan, a bargaining chip while forming alliances with organized labor.
AMTRAK is Created ~
By 1967 political depredation to the capitalist business model, politically supporting organized labor while subsidizing foreign competition in the form of The Marshal Plans and other loan agreements had either destroyed northeastern businesses or forced their relocation to ‘Right to Work States.’ This was particularly crushing in the heavily industrialized Northeast, Middle Atlantic, and North Central states. It took more than twenty-five years for Lowell on the Merrimack River in Massachusetts to begin to recover, and Springfield in that state is still staggering. This loss of trade, combined with their already weakened fiscal state, left nearly a third of the American Railroads, fewer than a hundred by 1969, reeling. The desperation merger of the NY Central and the Pennsylvania Railroads, intended to stave off the insolvency of both, was approved by ICC dependent on their assumption of the bankrupt New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and all its debt. The new corporation, organized in 1969, was called the Penn-Central Transportation Company (PC) [Marking Mark: PC].
The combined weight of the national situation and of their debt, combined with the intransience of Organized Railway Labor’s work rules and the ICC’s refusal to allow several abandonments of non-profitable routes caused the PC to collapse in less than seventeen months, declaring bankruptcy in 1970. Because the PC was either a necessary thru service, a debtor, or a feeder for more than twenty other railroads, the ensuing cascading bankruptcies looked like a snow avalanche roaring down a mountain.
The financial failure threatened to effectively shut down all but local business east of Chicago and north of a line from Indianapolis to Baltimore. The collective municipal, state, and federal governments went into panic mode, but instead of reversing all the excessive and degrading legislation and often felonious ICC Rule Makings that caused the calamity, they mentally recused themselves and wrote more legislation. The National Railway Passenger Service Act of 1970, formed AMTRAK as a subsidiary of the National Railway Passenger Corporation, with the absurd requirement that it should make money or at least break even. Now forty years later, it has yet to make its first honest dime of profit. The Regional Railroad Revitalization Act of 1974 which created CONRAIL, was the second piece of absurd ineptitude. Herein we will only discuss AMTRAK, the CONRAIL difficulty has been superbly treated in Rush Loving’s “The Men Who Loved Trains” .
The absurdity that a passenger railroad can make money is a significant but failed assumption, regardless of who make that postulation. To the best of my knowledge, reading and research no railroad ever made a viable profit by operating a passenger railroad. Several of the ‘extra fare’ named, express service trains did break even in the middle twentieth century, Santa Fe’s Chiefs serving LA from Chicago, GN’s Empire Builder, from Chicago to Seattle, IC’s City of New Orleans, from Chicago to New Orleans, both NYC’s Twentieth Century Limited, and PRR’s Broadway from New York to Chicago, among them. But no less than 300 mile trip including the heavily utilized, less than 150 mile commuters like the Broker and the Congressional (PRR) made a nickel of profit. All were subsidized by the carrier’s freight operations. NRPSA’70 put paid to that idea.
All this continues to be aggrandized by congress and by AMTRAK propagandizing the political line, as we taxpayers continue to be billed more than 875 million dollars a year in addition to other fiscal support legislation and the various transportation bills that support the continuation of this difficulty. Having a viabal nationwide passenger rail service is an extreme necessity. However, supporting an organized labor and political featherbedding effort on a scale this extensive is illogical. AMTRAK and the states commuter services provide about 48 percent of the passenger services once provided by the Commercial ‘for profit’ Railroads, and by comparison, employs about 20 percent more people to do that work.
Talking About the Northeast Corridor . . .
The home of the cooked books, AMTRAK has become an expert in the government art of favorable fiscal reporting and projection. The company’s pride, its Northeast Corridor redesigned from a functional format in 1970 to a chewed up mass of parts pretending to be one, from South Boston Massachusetts to Washington D.C. is in reality, it’s biggest weakness. The infrastructure, including the catenary, is an average of eighty years old. There are two tunnels under the North River and three bridges before you get to Newark New Jersey that are a hundred year old and they are showing their age. Having a few thousand temporary patches installed in the last forty years and a power grid that is undependable does not help either. All this is exacerbated by seven less than cooperative state tenants and two limited ROW freight railroad running on it. The entire operation is supposed to be controlled from three Centralized Electric Control Centers (CECC), unfortunately, much of the corridor is not fully linked and is still under local control by about twenty towers.
The NEC, Boiling Water and Books, to Generate Favorable Reports and Forecasts ~
AMTRAK cooks the books in many varied ways, but the most egregious are timeliness and NEC Profitability. The only NEC trains that regularly runs reasonably close to on time is the ‘Acela’ an extra fare HSR express, and though some short distance regional’s are getting better, most are abysmal. Deficiencies begin the instant they roll off AMTRAK rails. Claims of 97 percent on time are based on the Acela and reports almost everything else as a long distance train, claiming their off corridor locations as origins or off corridor destinations.
Financially, the water in the pot is even hotter. On the Northeast Corridor 2007 independent studies report that the Acela is 0.871 cents per mile (CPM) to run and the regional trains cost about 0.633 CPM while most “Long Distance Trains” are on the average of half that. AMTRAK will not report actual numbers to the public only statistical generalities. Much of this is abetted by charging every train entering the corridor or passing through it twice what it charges itself for its own corridor trains, producing a false revenue entry and reports a false bottom line, making the corridor appear more profitable.
The reality of this is a product of the system environment, organized labor, despite being only an operational element is largely driving the train. Work rules are set by labor in a way that is only beneficial for the worker, not a shared benefit for the work provider and the worker as it should be, i.e.: Riding to Washington a while ago I counted eight conductors on a six car Acela Train when at most there should be three. This is just the tip of the Iceberg, but it is no one’s fault, it is the center of an appropriations managed storm.
Turn AMTRAK’s Difficulty into Tremendous Success . . .
There is an old adage buried somewhere in some obscure management manual that says, “Only criticize when offering a positive suggestion or solution.” A Prescription for AMTRAK’s Health is offered in the five following alternatives, they are ranked, in order by likelihood of success, with success, not likelihood of selection, the final one being the status quo ante.
1. The necessity of saving the system is unquestioned.
a. To do this AMTRAK and the National Railway Passenger Corporation (NRPC), since they have a single purpose, must be merged eliminating one set of management expenses.
b. The new corporation’s federal funding must be changed from an appropriations based argument to a fixed allocation of 900 million dollars with a provision to increase the allotment by the annual cost of living increase.
c. Further waste must be trimmed by expanding the current business units and converting them to semi-autonomous operational regions. All metropolitan, state and regional passenger systems must voluntarily join the operating region accepting the loss of autonomy and excepting the reality of the regions choice of personnel and equipment accepted for transfer to the region with NRPC accepting fiscal responsibility for the equipment transferred.
i. All metropolitan, state and regional passenger systems will immediately, upon the NRPC’s startup cease operation, any presold local tickets or monthly passes will be valid for the period covered, unused tickets will be turned in to the servicing NRPC ticket office/agent for dollar for dollar credit.
ii. All federal money used to fund metropolitan, state and regional passenger systems will be paid to the NRPC from the 90th day following startup. This is intended to give the intrastate agencies sufficient time to legally furlough, buy out or to retire individuals not selected for transfer.
iii. All NRPC personnel, regardless of position or duty will treat every customer, no matter how rude or disgruntle, like they were their best friend who had something they needed badly, they do, their continued patronage.
d. All freight and passenger rail operations within a region will be conducted by the dominant Class 1 railroad in that region, i.e.: east of the Mississippi River there are two major carriers, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Corporation. They will be required to decide between them how they will provide the necessary service to deliver the passengers and freight on time and budget as they once did.
i. Reimbursement for service will be based on passenger miles served. This will be based on the actual cost of operations per passenger, plus any special services required plus a allowed profit of 6 percent. Initially this rate will be determined, for the first two years, by dividing the total cost of AMTRAK and the applicable state or states federal and state aid and the total revenue divided by passengers served [Rate=(((Fed Aid + State Aid + Total Revenue) / Passengers Served) x .06)]. In year three that formula will be applied to the NRPC Region’s year 1 factors.
ii. Any validated ticket sold in any region of the nation will be accepted for service in any other region, i.e.: A passenger traveling from San Diego to Huntington Station, Long Island, NY via San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York City shall be accepted on every train necessary to complete their journey.
iii. Conductors on any train can electronically sell any ticket to anywhere.
iv. Because operations are the predominant purpose of the system’s purpose, organized labor bargaining units will negotiate with the Class 1 carrier operating the specific route.
v. There will be a single nationwide set of operating rules, local conditional adjustments will be supplied to foreign operators from other regions ½ hour prior to going out after clocking in.
vi. When trans-regional trains will change crews crew members will be authorized to bid one, two or three turns before returning to home dispatch. No crew will make a run across new territory without a regional safety check ride.
e. Additional reforms as they become necessary.
2. The necessity of saving the system is unquestioned.
a. To do this AMTRAK and the National Railway Passenger Corporation (NRPC), since they have a single purpose, must be merged eliminating one set of management expenses.
b. The new corporation’s federal funding must be changed from an appropriations based argument to a fixed allocation of 900 million dollars with a provision to increase the allotment by the annual cost of living increase.
c. Further waste must be trimmed by expanding the current business units and converting them to semi-autonomous operational regions. All metropolitan, state and regional passenger systems must voluntarily join the operating region accepting the loss of autonomy and excepting the reality of the regions choice of personnel and equipment accepted for transfer to the region with NRPC accepting fiscal responsibility for the equipment transferred.
i. All metropolitan, state and regional passenger systems will immediately, upon the NRPC’s startup cease operation, any presold local tickets or monthly passes will be valid for the period covered, unused tickets will be turned in to the servicing NRPC ticket office/agent for dollar for dollar credit.
ii. All federal money used to fund metropolitan, state and regional passenger systems will be paid to the NRPC from the 90th day following startup. This is intended to give the intrastate agencies sufficient time to legally furlough, buy out or to retire individuals not selected for transfer.
iii. All NRPC personnel, regardless of position or duty will treat every customer, no matter how rude or disgruntle, like they were their best friend who had something they needed badly, they do, their continued patronage.
3. The necessity of saving the system is unquestioned.
a. To do this AMTRAK and the National Railway Passenger Corporation (NRPC), since they have a single purpose, must be merged eliminating one set of management expenses.
b. The new corporation’s federal funding must be changed from an appropriations based argument to a fixed allocation of 900 million dollars with a provision to increase the allotment by the annual cost of living increase.
4. AMTRAK’s federal funding must be changed from an appropriations based argument to a semi-fixed allocation of 900 million dollars with a provision to increase the allotment by the annual cost of living increase.
5. Status quo ante remains in effect, maintenance of the system will continue to decline and in spite of increasing ridership, the variable and fixed expenses will continue to exceed the system’s total income. Eventually mechanical and safety deficiencies will combine to cause a catastrophic accident, hope fully involving only the railroad, because that will limit the casualties. If such a thing involves a city the casualties will be extreme.
In Summary~
Our nation has, since the inception of railroads, and trains, has come to depend on rail transportation, facts cannot be denied, it is, in reality, a requirement of our way of life.
Without our rail system, carrying both freight and passengers, and despite the mightiest efforts by government and all other modes of transportation and delivery system, the commerce and inter and intrastate trade would grind to a halt. Our economy, weak as it is, would be reduced to 1835 levels. The majority of us would be as challenged by our circumstances as a Pashtun peasant in the Hindu Kush.
Our only solution is to force the issue, pushing up against the progressive political glass, forcing the adoption of one of the top three options, rolling back the government of industry. Only in this way will the America we know and love survive. We must learn and live by JFK’s words, “Ask not what your country can do for you . . .” be self reliant, go out and do it yourself.

“Why Do They Hate Us So Badly?”

“Why Do They Hate Us So Badly?”

Was the question posed to her mother by a pretty young lady of perhaps ten or eleven, big tears in her eyes, in Target©, watching a colorful publication of rhetoric and vitriol from an Arab Street, on a television mistakenly left on a news channel by the staff.

The simple answer, “Because we have the things they can only dream of.”  Does not adequately answer the question:

They do not know us for who we are.  Our major media and our government have ripped the generic “Ugly American” from the pages of Eugene Burdick’s 1958 novel [Of the same Title] and published it.  We are, all of us, portrayed as secular, atheistic, loud, and ostentatious abusers of the common man, as consumers of pornography and violent abusers of children, the poor and defenseless.  We are the only nation on earth that freely washes it’s dirty laundry on the world stage, and that is flat-out wrong!

While our educational system is failing along with our economy, at our government’s behest, an educated person is the greatest enemy of a dictatorship or an oligarchy, we are still, as a general matter of literacy, in the upper 15 percent of the world.

As a people we are easily the prime provider of charity, but the peoples charity is overshadowed by badly used “Foreign Aid”.  Aid from people and churches to people, churches and civic organizations is welcomed by people in need when the people know who is doing the actual giving, too often receptive governments seize these donations and portray it as their own giving if it gets where it is supposed to go at all.  In Darfur hundreds of thousands of tons of grains and foodstuffs, contributed by American Farmers and shipped for free by Lykes/Hapag-Lloyd, was confiscated by the War Lords and resold internationally with the full knowledge of the American Government and the United Nations.  The money the War Lords made was used to buy more arms to kill more defenseless people.

“Foreign Aid” is a concept of modern Keynesian Government, and is generally abhorrent to receiving governments; as a gift, in the American way, it is a direct affront to their personal and national pride.  They’ll always accept it, looking down their collective noses at us, stealing it at the first opportunity, and almost never using it as it was intended.  Soviet Marshall Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko, Premier Khrushchev’s Minister of State had it right.  “Foreign Aid” must be, he proposed, targeted loans administered and controlled by the making nation, with suitably long terms, with collections enforced by the maker’s military power for cash or suitable value.  Franklin Roosevelt, in one of the few things I feel he did right, when he created the “Lend-Lease” program in 1938.

A final three points:  Our media and our government must stop portraying us the way they do.  For the largest part, we are “People of the book,” to use an Islamic phrase, good God worshiping people who are largely strict Constructionist Constitutionalists, among the most free and literate in the world, and we are, one to one, more than willing to help.  That we will help, as a people and as a nation, is what must be shown!

A Conservative’s letter to the Speaker. I challenge anyone who reads it to replicate and mail one of their own.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

 The Honorable Mr. John Boehner

Speaker of the House of Representatives

H-232, The Capitol

Washington, District of Columbia, 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker;

When you took the Gavel on behalf of a Republican Majority many of my fellow Republicans and I applauded, cheered with high hopes, the power of the purse rests in your collective hands.  The euphoria is past, and the structure of your legacy is failing, brave words do not a notable speaker make, brave, resolute actions do.  Are you a Republican In Name Only?

Your actions, essentially kissing the emperor’s hem, chanting “Yes your majesty!  Yes, immediately!” would seem to indicate that you are, going along to get along, a true R.I.N.O.  Obey the Rule of Law, obey the Constitution you stood so proudly for when your chamber formed and was sworn.

Article I § 2, [3] states that “all direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states based upon the population,” this clause implies that ‘Block Grants’ shall be used to distribute the largess of government, not the several extra constitutional Executive Branch Departments, only the Departments of State and Defense, though the Constitution classifies them as Armies, Militia and Navy, are Constitutionally authorized to exist.  Further § 7, [1] states that all revenue bills shall be conceived in the House of Representatives.  Neither the Senate nor the Executive are authorized Constitutionally write a budget, though the Senate may propose, by amendment, changes that must be agreed to in conference committees.  Past Practices and ‘Rules’ are not Law, the Constitution is.

Therefore I must ask why the Affordable Care Act is still funded, why do all the extra constitutional departments of the Executive Branch still receive funding.  It is understood that there are certain extra constitutionally created entitlement programs, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid and Temporary Aid for Needy Families, that must exist until they can be successfully implemented as state programs with necessary civil service employees transferred to the several states, immediately followed by the dissolution of their parent departments or agencies.

Lastly, I will tell you that you and all of you work for us, the American People, and that we demand several immediate actions:

1)       A National Right to Work Law that requires the States to allow unionization at the demand of the workers only within a particular place of employment, not at the requirement of the State.  That employees of a place shall neither be forced not coerced to join an union or similar association.

2)       That the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs shall become subordinate the former, transferring the entire operational staff to the former, to better keep the required effort to keep Mr. Lincoln’s promise, in all that it implies.  I am,

Respectfully yours,

Aside

Gun Violence in the United States:

Important Overlooked Factors:

Human Beings Are:

Carnivores, meeting all the required descriptive characteristics for the lesser classes of the organism.  We are, or rather mostly were, sight-hunting scavengers, differing from the Herbivores by our sight and our digestive system.  Our eyes face forward in the direction we are looking, unlike the Herbivores we cannot look behind ourselves without turning our heads and physically looking where we’ve been.  Our brains and ability to solve problems catapults even the least of us to the top of the food chain.

Our physicality and health require some protein intake, generally those who do not ingest sufficient protein suffer a lack of vitality and often, a shorter lifespan.  Among the non human genus Homo erectus the only species that does not willingly hunt are the Great Apes, being resourceful scavengers, eating insects and deceased animal flesh to satisfy their required protein intake.  Do not however, mistake this benign indifference for gentility, if they feel threatened, they will kill you as quickly as they need to.

Progressive Politicians Are:

Intending to control us all, without regard to how they achieve that goal, there are no scruples, no ethic or moral concerns, it’s all about control.  Their anticipated strength and dictatorial position rises from that control, which allows them to control the flow of Government Largess collected from everyone and given to others according to their whim, actual need having nothing at all to do with it.  It is likely that the determinant factor will be political reliability.

And make no mistake about who they are, being Liberal is the same thing as being Progressive or Communist.  Marx wrote, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need,”  Leaving out a small fact, he intended to be in control of that distribution.

Using Marxist Socialism as a base for comparison, it was the philosophical basis of the American Progressive Movement in the 1870’s and 80’s around Chicago and in the Midwest, one will note that without regard to their names, National Socialism, Fascism, which is just another name for National Socialism, and Communism are extremely similar with very minor differences.  And lest we forget, the world’s last, semi-successful socialist state, the Bolshevik-Communist, Soviet Socialist Republic, was born in fire and died in fire, existing for just seventy-four years, one month and nineteen days of poverty, famine, and repression!

The United States Constitution, 1789 till the Progressives Burn It:

But some key things stand in their way of the Liberals, in the United States, not in the rest of the world.  They are our Constitution, which the progressives hate and want to rend from the face of the earth, and our weapons which they fear will prevent them from taking over, especially those weapons being held in the hands of Patriots, Oath Keepers and Parties of people who brew Tea with Harbor Water.  It is the only remaining constitution on earth that recognizes the people and their God, however they perceive Him, as the source of the government’s powers.  The American Generals Patton and MacArthur patterned the post-war Constitutions of Germany, Italy and Japan on ours; but they have all been modified by government actions allowed by apathetic constituencies, to a point where their Freedoms are gifts of their government, not from their people to their government.

 

Therefore It’s all about Our Guns:

The Gun Violence in our nation is rooted in impossibly ineffective law enforcement.  A person of our nation, convicted of 1st degree murder, done with a firearm, can with good representation, get a negligible sentence, or if severely sentenced, get paroled with less than half of the time served.  Do not even think about Victim’s Rights, it’s all about Perpetrator’s Rights.  Left leaning Associate Justices like Sonia Sotomayor, and Chief Justices like John Roberts, worried about his personal legacy, not the Constitution, that are appointed for life, are proof of that.  There are 70,000,000 legal guns out there, that one gun for every five of us.  Some estimates say that there are 210,000,000 illegal guns on the streets, thankfully many are lost, broken or misplaced.  But disarming the law abiding public is the shortest road to anarchy.

Thankfully, at least temporarily, the Progressives are more concerned with the cosmetic appurtenances of a weapon then with its functionality.  The rifle pictured to the right is just 3 feet long and weighs slightly less than 6 pounds, “Ready to Rumble,” and has a 500 bullet per minute rate of fire using standard 20 round magazines.  It doesn’t have a muzzle break or flash suppressor, a pistol grip or a ‘carry handle’ (actually a sight mount, Dianne Dearest!), yet it’s .30 caliber bullet can reach out 812 yards (750 meters) accurately.  In comparison to the .223 caliber “Bushmaster,” a semiautomatic rifle which loses accuracy at 380 yards (350 meters) (It is not the AR 15, which the media often claims that it is, which was the circa 1964 commercial version of the M16.).  It is not commercially available today, it is an Automatic Rifle, a Machine Gun.

Either the Media, has Drank the Progressive Kool Aid, or They are Incredibly Naïve:

The unquestioning support of the Progressive Talking Points, Candidates, and Legislation, by most outlets except (For the most part) Fox Network, has got to be Kool Aid intoxication, nobody can be that naïve.  I cannot understand how they think that the Government will continue to give them the Freedoms they enjoy now.  Especially since a third of the 1st Amendment has already gone down the tubes at the behest of our ‘President,’ forcing people of conscience to violate the tenets of their religion, supplying chemical birth-control, beyond the means out creator gave us.

If they have the mistaken opinion that they will continue with the status quo, then they need to watch some old 1960-75 era news from the Soviet Union, Cuba or China.

So What’s It All About:

Let’s start with a little honest reporting, and by the way, most conservatives value honest reporting, false reporting that is not proved, or opinion that is broadcast or printed as news should cause a media outlet, the whole thing, all of its’ associated channels and owners and reporters should lose their 1st Amendment protections.

Why is all this angst not delivered to the Mayor and Police Chief of Chicago?

The Black-on-Black, Gang related violence there is Genocidal, you can call it nothing else!

It is committed with mostly illegal firearms, and mostly short guns (pistols), where the violence is directly reflected in the struggle over the illegal Cash and Carry Drug Business.  It is an everyday occurrence, yet this horror gets little or no media attention, because it doesn’t align with the Progressive Talking Points.

And let’s get a little cooperative compliance between the States and the Federal Government, both entities need to define what is and what is not a mentally challenged person who is not allowed to purchase a firearm, a combat knife or even a damn rock.  Then let’s decide, once and for all which is more important, the privacy of a troubled person or the safety of the people, putting politics aside, because the Progressives’ pro privacy stance is simply a politically expedient way of getting the people to give up on their right to possess a weapon.  Before we worry about more stringent background checks we must have a mechanism that will make those checks accurate and effective.

When we get all that settled, let’s pass a federal law and fifty identical state laws creating license reciprocity and recognition and recognizing ‘straw’ purchasers for the criminals they are by making them responsible for any crime that involves a weapon they purchased and passed on, making that part retroactive to January 20th 2009 while honoring international extradition applications for these criminals.

The shootings in Newton and Littleton, horrible as they are, are aberrations, the human berserker, a rabid wolf loose among the sheep.  The fact that the weapons in Newton were legal guns in the hands of Mrs. Lanza, who was brutally murdered by her criminal son, to get those guns for illegal purposes, who used them for illegal purposes, does not change the equation, “To stop a bad man or woman with a gun, you must have a good man or woman with a gun.  If any of those six brave women were a trained combat shooter the terminal gunfight would have ended right in the hall where the perp shot out the door lock and we wouldn’t be morning twenty-six beautiful children.

   

  
   

  

   
   

When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

   

When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

   

When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

   

When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

   

When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

   

   

  
   

  

   
   

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Kommunist.

   

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

   

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
    habe ich nicht protestiert;
    ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

   

Als sie die Juden holten,
    habe ich geschwiegen;
    ich war ja kein Jude.

   

Als sie mich holten,
    gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

   

   

The Armed Deputies, though not Special Weapons and Tactics trained, at Columbine vastly reduced the body count.  Klebold and Harris came armed for bear, between ammunition and bombs they were prepared to kill as many as six hundred of their fellow students the Deputies held that body count at just, and it is shameful to reduce such a tragedy to mere numbers, just eleven students, one (unarmed) teacher and two murderers.

 

In closing, let us consider Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem with its unwritten prefix:

First they came for our weapons . . . and the media lauded their action, Blogger’s Comment[i].

The origins of this poem first have been traced to a speech given by Niemöller on January 6, 1946, to the representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt. According to research by Harold Marcuse[ii], the original groups mentioned in the speech were Communists, the incurably sick, Jews, and people in occupied countries. Since then, the contents have often been altered produce numerous variants. Niemöller himself came up with different versions, depending on the year. The most famous and well known alterations are


[i] Blog Writer’s Comment.

[ii] Harold Marcuse; U.C. Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, California; created Sept. 12, 2000, last updated Feb. 28, 2013

   <http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/niem.htm&gt;

Aside

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Roosevelt’s Ponzi Scheme:                                      Social Security

Forethoughts:

Consider, please, the caterwauling by the Administration, Democrats, their tame media, and variously uninformed paid professional pundits mindlessly braying the same party-line talking points, “Oh the horrible Sequester,” etcetera, etcetera, Ad nauseam!  President Obama’s Sequester, and yes, it is his, even though he tries to blame everyone else.  He ordered it.  He created it, and he passed it.  Now a year and a half later, he’s trying to blame everybody else for it.

Who’s he going to blame when, as badly as we need it, the Gang of Eight’s balanced approach to Immigration fails because of his failure to lead?  Native Americans?  La Marquis de Lafayette?  Maybe Hugo Chaves?

An Employee and Employer Tax to Create a Social Security Insurance:

That’s what Roosevelt called it in 1935, the largest single bureaucracy until Harry Truman created the Defense Department.

The actuality of it was anything but.  At a time when the life expectancy of an adult American Male was only 59.73 years and the life expectancy of an adult American Woman was 61.27 years, the bill stipulated that no person could collect until they reached 65 years and 30 days.  Imagine the chagrin of every living Democratic Politician when . . .

Ida May Fuller was the first beneficiary of recurring monthly Social Security payments. Miss Fuller (known as Aunt Ida to her friends and family) was born on September 6, 1874 on a farm outside of Ludlow, Vermont. She attended school in Rutland, Vermont where one of her classmates was Calvin Coolidge. In 1905, after working as a school teacher, she became a legal secretary. One of the partners in the firm, John G. Sargent, would later become Attorney General in the Coolidge Administration.

Ida May never married and had no children. She lived alone most of her life, but spent eight years near the end of her life living with her niece, Hazel Perkins, and her family in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Miss Fuller filed her retirement claim on November 4, 1939, having worked under Social Security for a little short of three years. While running an errand she dropped by the Rutland Social Security office to ask about possible benefits. She would later observe: “It wasn’t that I expected anything, mind you, but I knew I’d been paying for something called Social Security and I wanted to ask the people in Rutland about it.”

Her claim was taken by Claims Clerk, Elizabeth Corcoran Burke, and transmitted to the Claims Division in Washington, D.C. for adjudication. The case was adjudicated and reviewed and sent to the Treasury Department for payment in January 1940. The claims were grouped in batches of 1,000 and a Certification List for each batch was sent to Treasury. Miss Fuller’s claim was the first one on the first Certification List and so the first Social Security check, check number 00-000-001, was issued to Ida May Fuller in the amount of $22.54 and dated January 31, 1940.

So deep was their shock that they forgot the tenet of the bill that allowed them to bump the retirement age in two year increments, which was stricken by a Democratic Congress under Dwight Eisenhower, a Liberal Republican President.  Eisenhower also signed the Democratic initiative, called Social Security Disability into law in 1956.  Disability Fraud is slowly reducing the projected insolvency date, which is now project, the last I’ve been able to verify anyway, in 2037, because like any other Ponzi Scheme, it requires new money and judicious control of outflows and it definitely is not getting that attention.  During the current administration’s tenure, Social Security Disability is up 31 percent and Supplemental Income Claims are up 24 percent.

A Great Society or a Great Dependency:

In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson, one of Roosevelt’s handpicked Congressional Candidates in 1935, who learned at his master’s knee, declared “We will end poverty for all time!”  Creating as part of the “Great Society” that will bankrupt America if it remains unrestrained, created Public Welfare.  Even initially the program dwarfed the Aid to Dependent Families with Children (AFDC).  By the end of Johnson’s Administration, in 1969, Welfare and Food Stamps consumed more of the Federal Budget than all the other programs and branches together, including Defense, Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security.

Since that time, no president, excluding William Jefferson Clinton, under extreme duress from a Republican House and Senate, has succeeded in even controlling the growth of entitlements.  Today, they are the real culprit involved in Americas coming economic collapse, amounting to more than 72 percent of the budget.

Ronald Reagan, though he will never achieve sainthood, struggled manfully with the obstinate Tip O’Neil, and reversed the short term numbers, as did Clinton in his second term, but neither could do more than poke at the entitlement mess, and that must be corrected before we have the slightest hope of controlling either the deficit or the debt, currently at or around 16.61 trillion, not including Federal Unlisted Liabilities (Pensions other than military and all other entitlements except Social Security Income Insurance, though that will be cut drastically.) somewhere about 22.8 trillion in total.  But be warned, total failure is right around the corner, about 23.4 or .6 trillion.  So get off your dead A and chew out your senators and congress persons . . . either we turn it around this year or we are toast, and no Barrack, stealing China’s credit card and spending your way into poverty will not work.

I am, Respectfully yours,

Joseph E Herbert

That government of the People, by the People and for the People shall not perish from the earth.

                                                              Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Money:       Where did it go???

An Occasion of Political Frivolity:

The night before last we watched a Congress, a Judiciary, and an Administration came together to selectively fulfill a Constitutional Requirement of Article II § 3,

“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and Expedient;”

It was, as it has become in the last eight years, an exercise of political chicanery, where the minority party of the Senate sat on their hands and the majority party of that Senate jumped up, cavorting like a Congress of Baboons, which of late, both parties bear resemblance.

In the areas populated by the Peoples House, the opposite was the effect and the reason was clear before the evening, in reality, an occasion to be seen and to be seen, ever began.

This is all a result of an uninformed constituency, not, in spite of Mr. Limbaugh’s contention, a recent occurrence.  Rather this is something dating to the suffrage of the “Me Generation”, the so-called “Baby Boomers”.  We have, as a majority, far more interested in our own pursuits and our own pleasures than we have in the necessary participation required for the maintenance of our participatory Democratic-Republic, been negligent.  Now Our Freedoms are at risk.

Social Programs, the Cost of Governance and Administration:

The fiscal madness that afflicts our nation today; the voluntarily dependence tool is not solely a monopoly of governance, having been used by the controlling bureaucracies of business for years.  The voluntary submission to dependency is an addictive enslavement of the mind and of the body.  Which, has been proven to create a generational dependence, a chain that is hard, even nearly impossible to sever.

This progressive, or limousine liberal, if you prefer, ideology creates dependency upon government for everything, and like socialism and communism fails because, generally, more than half the population, around 51 or 52 percent are unwilling or unable to pull their own weight, and this imbalance leads to, as Dame Margret Thatcher so aptly stated, “Eventually you run out of other people’s money!”

This dependency was not always prevalent.  Consider the difference between Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt, Coolidge refused to allow congress to bail out the states and farmers after crop failures on the advent of the drought crisis in the midwest in 1928, where Roosevelt started more fiscally unsupportable social safety-net programs than anyone before or after Lyndon Johnson.

As a Fiscal Conservative, I do not disdain safety-net programs, but they must be time limited, not a form of life support.  Social Conservatism is, an must be a personal choice, save anti-social activities, a person’s beliefs, and the privacy of them is supported by the Constitution and by law, as is the right of speech, assembly, and others.  Nowhere, however, is it stated that others must conform to our personal beliefs.  It is not in Common Law, it is not in the Constitution and it is not in the United States Code.  It is not even in the Bible, which guides a person’s activities, but does not authorize us to interfere with another person’s Free Will!

More on this thread next Thursday!

I am, respectfully yours,

J. E. Herbert

J. E. Herbert, MPA

 

I am, respectfully yours,

J. E. Herbert

J. E. Herbert, MPA

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