When Everyone Starts Cancelling Transit Projects…

One: As soon as he could Governor John Kasich made repeated sounds that he would cancel the Ohio Hub project, saying that Passenger Rail was not (and thus could never be) in Ohio’s future. After hearing it said enough times, the Government recaptured the funds and redistributed them to other, still active rail projects.

A one-off, right?

Two: Newly elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker canceled the Milwaukee-Madison rail line (high speed rail as well) and tried to get the money redistributed to road projects. The government told him “no thanks.”

Okay, two Midwestern governors making two seemingly low-impact moves to favor those who funded their election bids. Right?

Three: New Jersey Governor Christopher James Christie cancels a tunnel meant to duplicate tunnels already going from New Jersey to the Penn Central Station in New York.

Okay, so the ARC Tunnel turned out to be a bit of a problem as it ended up being designed, and maybe sending the #7 underneath the Hudson would be a better idea. But still…three projects canceled between November 2010 and January 2011? Must be the United States, right?

Four: On December 1, 2010, Rob Ford said that the first job of the new transit commission to be appointed on December 8 would be to “stop spending money on a project we don’t need anymore”. Meaning Transit City would be killed.

Granted, he would need the council to do that, as he admitted. He also supports mass transit, more along the lines of Subways and such. But one has to wonder…

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Four States/Provinces. Four Right-Of-Center candidates (The Three US governors were Republicans, the Canadian was definitely a right-winger who won what would have been called the Suburbs before the Toronto Amalgamation.) Four transit plans which were summarily canceled (or threatened with cancellation). All by Proclamation, and immediately after election.

Methinks the Republicans (excluding Rob Ford for the whole of this, as he wants to see Subways built up instead of LRTs around town) decided to try to shut down whatever momentum was for public transit by mass-shutting down projects being worked on. By doing so, they could say “See, people didn’t want this stuff, had they wanted it they would have voted them other guys in.” (Never mind that they never said anything before the election). Typical “Shock and Awe here, do stuff right away when the opposition is unable to even react, never mind organize and resist/move. And with state budgets tight (I’ll pummel Clinton over that in due time), striking at the few transit plans that had actually made it to the building stage is bound to have a major impact on moral and future plans (if any are allowed).

And, of course, once it becomes impossible to expand the systems, you’ll start seeing lines shut down. Not much at first, as they’ll have to pick and choose – branches to the Metra Electric, a line in Cleveland, maybe rationalizing a rail line or two in Jersey (no more branching out and branching, or branching between lines) or cutting a stub off at the LIRR. Death by a million cuts.

Already many bus lines have cut back on a regular basis. Chicago has cut back on bus service even through the oughts, don’t be surprised to find out the Rail Lines no longer go 24-7 or some other major cuts start developing.

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I’d like to say “there’s hope for a return to the future. However, things have fundamentally changed since the 1990’s (never mind the ’80’s, when there was still the idea of Government being good, Reagan to the contrary). And with so many plans for expansion having already died, there’s probably plans for closure already being set into motion or put out onto the public’s mind, only to be implemented when the people “resign themselves to the inevitable debasing” of the social contract that had once developed.

There’s no longer any sense that whatever affects us affects our neighbors (or visa-versa). And as fewer and fewer people are “alright, Jack,” less and less will be done simply because people will become bitter. Heck, we’re already losing out ability to empathize with others.

Fact is, it’s been happening since the Seventies. I’ve posted about its causes, we all know the results.


Ponderings on Tuscon, AZ (Plus an answer on when Republicans will consider moderating their speech)

Saturday (January 8th) I was driving around when I heard about the shooting. At first, the report was that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was killed and others were injured.

As the days went on, it turned out that the Representative survived but was injured in the brain, while others (including District Judge John Roll) ended up dying. Including a girl born on 9.11.01.

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Now whether you want to ponder conspiracy theories based on occult practices involving the killing of three people on this or not (if they were trying to do a ritual, they failed in that one of the three targeted survived), there’s still the issue of speech. Specifically, the type of speech that is claimed to have led to this action by some “loner” with some weird videos still up on YouTube.

So here’s my thoughts:

Words Cause Actions.
When you listen to people talk, you’re processing information and figuring out how you’ll respond. You may listen, you may respond in opposition or agreement, you may hold the information for later use, you may decide that it’s nothing and forget about it, but at some point you had to respond to the words. In short, you’re acting in response to the words being said.

Of course, people don’t usually listen to words and shoot up others. That’s a bit extreme, but then sometimes extreme speech asks for extreme actions.

People Don’t Speak Much Irresponsibly.
Simply put, people put worth into their words. And while there’s people who speak big with the idea of impressing, most people will horde their words or make a concerted effort to add force to their words. Simply put, people know that their speech is aimed to make people act.

So: Are The Right Being Responsible With Their Speech?

I would actually say “yes.”

To put it simply, they want people to react. They want people to turn against their “Liberal Opponents (Translation: someone who hasn’t moved as far right as they have yet, nor whom appear ready to move further to the right when the time comes),” and to do so violently (to some degree).

(Just so you know, what passes as the left in the United States knows what’s going on, but is unable to deal with their more bitter selves. They feel that people have to deal with other people from other places (metaphorical, not necessarily physical) – something the right knows no longer has to happen. Therefore, the right will always trump the left by constantly pushing the center closer to their side of the debate.)

And what did they get from the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona?

  1. One Democratic housemember out of commission in a district which would probably have voted Republican had the Democrat not been the incumbent. A Tea-Partier (read: ready and willing tool of the economic fascist movement) will probably take over her spot once (s)he clears the mainstream Republican out of the way.
  2. Four Democrats killed. And it would seem that the Democrats killed were the type who knew how to organize and lead.
  3. A judge was also killed. One who seemed to stand against expanding governmental power against the state-defined enemies (druggies). To be replaced by a judge to the right of him (of course).
  4. And a blond-haired girl born on September 11, 2001; probably during the tower’s final hour of life I would guess.
  5. A guy who looks like a nut gets labeled a nut. AND gets his actions explained as banal by various others. Thereby exonerating the speakers whom (admittedly) inadvertently drove the guy to do the killing of any relationship with the guy.
  6. The right now looks like the standard-bearers of freedom as the leftists, liberals and progressive get shown talking about speech control.

Overall, the right did well with their speech. They got the action they wanted, and in a location that they consider key. Plus they get the garb of innocence and freedom-loving, just from protecting themselves.

Good gig, if you can get it.

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So…is there anything that would cause the Republicans and Tea Party types to change their speech?

Yes. IF a Republican or two gets shot and dies, they will react in self-defense. It’s happened before; Waco singlehandedly shut down the state militia movement in the 1990’s. (One could comment that Oklahoma City solidified things as suddenly FBI agents had reason to go out into the country.)

So it can be done. But will it?

I’m waiting.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to find more killings of Democratic officeholders and their supporters. And more words from a Right who feel (justifiably) safe and able to ferment violence against those they disagree with.

    Coming Question: Retirement Pensions, or Municipal Bond Interest Payments

    Here’s a thought:

    At some point the taxing ability of the states and cities (gutted thanks to NAFTA and the Chinese/American agreement, hidden by bloated housing prices, exposed by the busting of the housing bubble) is going to get to the point where some hard choices will be made. More to the point, there’s only going to be so much to cut before there’s no police, fire or ambulance service, and there’s only so much you can do with stop signs at important intersections – even with potholes the size of Rhode Island to slow down traffic with and the local housing stock stripped of anything of worth and thus made uninhabitable.

    And when the states, counties and cities get to that point, the question will arise: Stop paying the muni bonds, or stiff the retirees?

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    As anyone who keeps a long eye on the Supreme Court knows, government entities must come through fully on their promises of retirement monies to their employees. “Private” (read: non-governmental) corporations are allowed to gut retirement funds, then turn around and offer 401Ks (which gut Social Security); whereas government employees who stick around long enough are given a retirement complete with COLA.

    This, of course, leads to heavy envy and hatred of Government employees by Fox News watchers and other envious types. But also consider that this means that government is on the hook for this stuff ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE.

    But, and you should see the contrast, government is also expected ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE to pay off its loans and bonds.

    So we get a conundrum: Which is TRULY number one?

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    It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this has been going up the courts right now, that some canny right wing “pro-investment rights” group is going against a “pro-labor-facade” group to make it to the Supreme Court. Just like some “pro-free-speech” group took the case that translated one-man-one-vote to one-buck-one-vote to the Supreme Court (don’t know the name, we all know the case). And with Roberts as head, don’t be surprised if the government is forced to oppress its own employees for the sake of “the grandmas who invested in the munis.”

    And watch Blackwater suddenly become active with its new branches – the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard.