May 15, 2015

If a very well used means of transportation is underfunded and in need of repair, and as a result, a serious accident occurs, what is the next step? Republicans think this is not the time to consider making improvements that will save lives. It's time to cut funding even more, trying to make Amtrak suffer tragically like they've made the U.S. Post Office suffer. Republicans show that human lives are nothing but collateral damage in their efforts to privatize industries in order to help billionaire villains like the Koch Brothers become the owners of all means of transportation.

This accident is merely a preview of the dire consequences of irresponsible Republican governance.

The tragic accident was, by all accounts, entirely due to perpetually inadequate funding for the nation’s transportation infrastructure; just one of the hallmarks of Republican governance when they control the nation’s purse-strings and yet another devious means to privatizing all aspects of government for the Koch brothers.

As if to punctuate their resolve to see more deadly accidents in one of America’s busiest rail corridors and expedite rail line privatization, Republicans did what Republicans do best and rejected President Obama’s paltry and insufficient $2.5 billion request for Amtrak. Instead of even approving half the necessary funding to help expedite installation of the ‘positive train control‘ safety measure, Republicans voted to cut Amtrak funding from its current level of $1.4 billion to $1.1 billion for the next fiscal year. It is little wonder America continues lagging behind the rest of the world in infrastructure repair, improvements, and maintenance; particularly in the transportation sector the Koch brothers want privatized.

In what was the most intellectually insulting interview I've seen in a while, which is saying a lot when you consider the lack of accuracy at Fox News, Brian Kilmeade graciously rolled out the welcome mat for Paul Ryan. Passing the buck on who really was culpable for this Amtrak tragedy, Ryan fabricated his own version of Congressional history conveniently forgetting his party destroyed the means to modernize our rail systems.

In 2011, every Senate Republican voted to filibuster Obama's American Jobs Act and its $2 billion in repair and renovation money for Amtrak.
As you may recall, that $447 billion package was designed to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, especially in the lagging construction and public sectors, through large scale investment in infrastructure. In section subtitled "Immediate Transportation Infrastructure Investments," the American Jobs Act featured this nugget for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, also known as Amtrak:

Subsection (e) makes available $2 billion to Amtrak for the repair, rehabilitation, and upgrade of Amtrak's assets and infrastructure, including rolling stock.

Ryan said,

"We need to find out what went wrong with Amtrak."

THAT IS COMPLETELY FALSE! We know exactly what happened: the very same Positive Train Control (PTC) measure that was necessary to prevent such accidents from happening was NOT INSTALLED because Republicans like YOU made sure it died in Congress. Signed into law in October , the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 required PTC technology on all of the nation’s rails by Dec. 15, 2015. Obviously, it was not a priority to get that implemented immediately because the previous accidents didn't have a high enough body count necessary for the GOP to act responsibly.

Ryan continued,

You shouldn't make these things political 'hot potatoes,' you shouldn't use tragedies as excuses to double funding without looking at the facts.

Except we know the facts. We know that PTC, for reasons he won't admit, was not implemented and operational. Thanks Mr. Ryan, we'd hate to prevent future tragedies from happening by paying for much needed safety measures. Let's divert funding for infrastructure to start another illegal war, whaddaya think, Budget Wonk?

He continued to discuss the insolvency of the National Highway Trust Fund, perhaps because we have two huge wars off the books to pay for and the non-implementation of beneficial stimulus programs that would have solved the funding matter. Ryan lies again and says, 'yes we believe infrastructure is important for America but we won't raise taxes.' How does that work again? Consider that this is the same genius that claims people in "the inner city" aren't thinking about working, let's cut welfare spending. Let's balance the budget on the backs of the increasing numbers of destitute Americans. That's the patriotic Republican way!

He continued the interview reiterating his support for the TPP which shows, unequivocally, that it must be bad for most Americans, like all things the GOP proposes. Then he pretends he's interested in solving the War On Poverty and says that the President's idea of early childhood education is just more liberal ideological poppycock. We need to remove regulations! You know, get rid of those dumb regulations that keep people traveling to and from work without dying. That's why there's so much welfare dependence. Regulations. Got it?

To prove his complete lack of humanity, he and the GOP savagely cut funding to the very same entity which suffered because of budget shortfalls. Without remorse, they do this the very next day after hundreds of families have suffered needlessly because he and his NeoCon buddies are too callous and irresponsible to do the right thing and keep us safe.

Ryan shows that he and his ilk are murderous, evil, profit-driven Republicans who see human lives as far less important than tax cuts for their lobbyist friends. But Fox News wants you to believe that the dreamy eyed Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee really cares about YOU. Except he doesn't care one iota about alleviating human suffering, he cares about enriching his .1% masters.

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