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The Price We Pay For Conservative Scorn Of Amtrak


The Price We Pay For Conservative Scorn Of Amtrak

Isaiah Poole

On Tuesday night, an Amtrak train spectacularly derailed on its way through Philadelphia, killing at least seven people. On Wednesday morning, a House appropriations subcommittee voted to cut federal funding for Amtrak by about 20 percent. Those are two dots Republicans don’t want you to connect.

“Don’t use this tragedy in that way,” Rep. Mike Simpson is quoted in a Politico article as saying, after Democrats on the appropriations subcommittee for transportation and housing criticized Republicans for proposing and eventually approving the cuts.


So when should America’s infrastructure be upgraded to 21st Century technology and the rest of the industrialized world. Oil and automobile industries killed the train systems and trolleys in the US in 20th century where the rest of world moves people and products by a more efficient, economical and environmentally sound ways. We the people, government, do many projects that benefit the whole. Sometimes by ourselves and sometimes jointly with private funds.


Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 empowers Congress “To establish Post Offices and post Roads”.
Of course the Constitution doesn’t mean much to the GOP when they’re trying to bankrupt the Post Office as well.


Please show us your work to end US government “my dollars used to subsidize wealthy commuters” subsidy of the petroleum / automobile / interstate highway infrastructure.

i’ll just skip past that and call you an ignorant hypocrite.


This is the type of question a freshman in high school asks. In case you didn’t know this–railroad systems did not exist when the Constitution was written. become informed, ask informed questions.


How is the interstate highway, or air traffic control, another issue?

All civilized countries of the words have national rail systems and energy technology policies that that render the USA a backward laughingstock of the world. A a USAn civil engineer, I will be the first to admit this, to considerable shame.


Now go back to “Free Republic”. “Reason” or other right-wing or Ayn Randite tea-party place you came from…


Passenger rail service is socialism, you see…


I would say the reason the train crashed was the engineer was going 102 mph…just me


Foreign wars routinely bankrupt empires. With all the blood and treasure wasted on endless conquests, NOTHING is left for repairing, rebuilding, or renovating infrastructure within the “homeland.”

Republicans love war, weapons, and demonizing anything from women, to minorities, to terrorists, to “illegal” aliens. It’s a party of narcissists that worships guns and a contrived Jesus vastly departed from the Original.


You Libertarians are a real treat in a Progressive forum. Bet you just love them thar oil companies.


You, Bligh(t), and Bin-banned are all right wing SPAMMERS who offer little in the way of intelligent or informed commentary.


Next he’ll be asking where the Constitution says the government should have a role in civil aviation, space exploration, etc. Ugh…


Actually , we’re dealing with implied powers here, and the General Welfare clause of Article 1 which grants Congress the right to tax and spend for the general welfare of the country, as well as regulate interstate commerce. The stipulation is that it does not demonstrate preference for one state over the other. This has been interpreted in a number of ways over the centuries, primarily as Congress’ right to fund such interstate projects as public transportation etc.


Article one, section 8…to provide for the general welfare…that would be trains and mass transit.


This is such a tired worn leading question that it’s not worth answering. You’re going to have a long wait for any answer to your leading question, MMinLamesa, because I doubt any answer will be able to make it into your bubble.


“Our military is one of the few things that the government does in fact spend money smartly on, yes you’ll find failures but nothing compared to the billions lost in phony “stimulus” plans and crony capitalism.”

So you’re a comedian as well! Thanks for the lol!


In keeping with Common Dreams rules of engagement, a reasoned reply is more appropriate than responding in kind to your snark.

You’re very strong on making opinionated claims that are unsubstantiated with facts. Most folks simply won’t take the time to call you on such obvious falsehoods but since you called me out and I’m taking a minute or so from my garden, I’ll take your bait.

You seem to be under the misunderstanding that the Constitution was written in stone rather than created as a living, evolving document. ie: “You believe in a living Constitution, an impossibility for rational people…” Contrary to your “rational” opinion, the Constitution was designed to evolve with the times in a number of ways including through the SCOTUS as well as the amendment process. You may not “give a crap” for the system that the Founder’s created but that’s the system we live under now and you best get over it rather than resort to revisionist history to justify your neo-Confederate views.

You said, “I could cite a dozen examples right now that were decided by the SC that set REgressives hair on fire that were clearly unConstitutional…” Then why didn’t you cite the examples you brag about? BTW you sarcastically criticize others for their lack of grammar and spelling while you misuse the term “REgressive” (sic). At the risk of stating the obvious, regressive is the counterpoint to progressive. When you use the word “regressive” you’re in fact referring to conservatives who disdain change. Conservatives prefer looking back “regressive” rather than looking forward “progressive”. Your contempt for a Constitution that was designed to be changed puts you in the camp of regressives. In that regard, you should be proud of being a regressive.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that much of your opinions rest on the type of government we had pre Civil War. The Civil War changed everything and Lincoln consciously outlined those changes in his Gettysburg address as well as through the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Just one small example is the fact that before the CW the term “United States” was plural as in “The U.S. are working toward building economic ties with Europe.” After the CW the term “United States” was singular as in, “The U.S. is working toward…” We became a true nation after the CW instead of a loose confederation of states which was what the Confederate states wanted. By keeping the Union together, Lincoln of necessity required and created a strong central government. You may not like that fact but no amount of revisionist history on your part will change it.

BTW it’s worth noting that during that same time period, Lincoln began the building of the trans-continental RR just as Repub Eisenhower began the building of our transcontinental hwy system. Both were projects designed to unify and bind us economically and culturally as a nation under a federal government. In other words, you’re living in the pre Civil War past and your defunct libertarian, neo Confederate arguments reflect such.

You said, “…the US spends almost 4% of it’s budget on infrastructure vs 3.1% in Europe…” This is an example of your deceptive use of statistics to obfuscate. The truth is that you cherry picked your statistic from the results of Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which temporarily expanded funding for infrastructure. In other words, the very gov. spending you disdain, you then conveniently try and use to prove a point.

The truth is that for the past 20 yrs, with the exception of Obama’s stimulus plan, the U.S. has spent only 3% of GDP on infrastructure. Prior to that it was 6%. Meanwhile you conveniently overlook the fact that your much touted “smart money” military spends 22% of our GDP on such debacles as the F-22 and F-35. The military is the exemplar of the “crony capitalism” you disingenuously decry.

Then there’s this piece of falsehood, “What is bankrupting the PO is an insane defined benefit pension plan as this same thing has bankrupted innumerable cities and states across the country.” “How is the GOP “trying” to bankrupt the PO?”

To answer your question:
Latter day, neo-Confederate, Repubs in Congress hate the gov. mandated USPS because they hate our government by their own admission. They’ve tried to destroy the USPS with a thousand cuts by privatizing many of its functions as well as unique mandates on its pension system which you mischaracterized. In that vein, Congressional Repubs pushed legislation requiring the Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future in an effort to bankrupt the USPS. The cost is staggering: as much as $5.8 billion per year to pay the benefits of future postal workers who aren’t even born yet. No “defined benefit pension” anywhere suffers under this “insane” mandate. However, based on your pre Civil War argument, one would have to assume that you’re in full support of the USPS since it was enshrined in the Constitution by the Founders and is thus constitutionally protected pre Civil War, which is why Repubs have not been able to do away with it entirely.

I’ve already spent too much time here but it’s worth it for the benefit of others who can’t spend time addressing all of your obfuscation, falsehoods, revisionist history, pie-in-the-sky libertarian arguments and snark. It’s become necessary for those of us on the other side to begin to confront the Fox/Murdoch talking points; the neo-confederate revisionists; the Pat Robertson fundamentalist theocrats, and more…if we are to ever bring our nation back from 30+ years of sliding backwards.

It’s not just regressive, conservative scorn of Amtrak as stated in the article’s title that’s the problem. The root of the problem is conservative scorn of our government and thus our nation. The two are inseparable. Your obvious scorn for our government is a case in point.


Like Fox/Murdoch and the Repubs you seem to think that if you repeat a lie long enough it’ll become fact. As in your repetitive accusation in nearly every paragraph against those who disagree with you as being “REgressive” (too cute by any measure). Your wish to return us to a former less developed state is by definition…regressive. (see dictionary definition below). The fact that you feel the need to sarcastically use a term that describes yourself, as a pejorative for those who disagree with you speaks volumes. Good luck with that.

Moreover, the Federalist Papers are not the Constitution. It’s a favorite ploy by neo-confederates to bypass the law of the land by quoting the Federalist Papers. Good luck with that. Maybe you’ll someday get slavery reinstated.

The SCOTUS is enshrined in the Constitution as one of the 3 branches of gov. Furthermore, Marburry v Madison made judicial review the law of the land. Decisions since then have been decried by both progressives and regressives like yourself but that doesn’t change the fact that those decisions have been instrumental in our nation’s evolution. No amount of whining sophistry on your part will change that fact. And good luck with that one too.

Your lack of knowledge about how our gov. was changed by the Civil War is instructive. No wonder you chose to skip it. Maybe if you tried to educate yourself about that seminal period in U.S. history you might help yourself. Good luck with that.

Ditto your lack of knowledge and history re: building of the RR. No sense in debating you about that since you don’t have the necessary background.

Obama’s stimulus plan worked to keep us out of another depression. Your opinion otherwise is contradicted by recent history. As noted your 4% figure was ironically if not hypocritically based on that stimulus and was the exception to the rule. Good luck with that lie also.

And BTW I had posted links and documentation for all of my claims but CommonDreams deleted them. Therefore I suggest you Google “usps pension requirements” to learn the truth about USPS pension system.

Google “cbo.gov/taxonomy/term/15/featured”…and "washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/ "…for the info refuting your lies about infrastructure investment.

However, given the propaganda you’ve posted so far I doubt any facts or documentation will dissuade you from your Fox/Murdoch talking points. Your high opinion of yourself is no more justified than your bogus argument.

However, we’re in agreement that regressives have been actively working to destroy our nation. Especially since Reagan set their movement in motion 30+ years ago. In fact a case can be made that since the Republican Party adopted its Southern Strategy representing the neo-Confederacy, they’ve been waging a low level Civil War against our nation. The signs are all there.

By their own admission regressives hate our gov/nation as represented in your comments. Many of their governors talk secession and even wave the Confederate flag over their statehouses. They shut down our gov. at every opportunity putting our economy at risk. They threaten gov. workers to the point of using snipers against them. They willfully neglect infrastructure which was created to improve our nation’s economy and culture. They continue Jim Crow racist laws by trying to suppress the vote among other tactics…ad infinitum.

Your libertarian, adolescent, utopian, regressive worldview would have us continue backwards down that road back to the “good ole days”. Good luck with that because the nation is waking up to what you and your ilk have done to our nation. Millennials, minorities, the youth and more have become aware of this while at the same time the Republican base of old white men in an arrested state of development are dying off.

I’m finished with you. I’ll leave it to others to decide for themselves who’s made the most cogent argument here. As for myself, I’m going to have to go shower off after addressing your sophomoric comments. Have a good day though.

regressive |riˈgresiv|
1 becoming less advanced; returning to a former or less developed state: the regressive, infantile wish for the perfect parent of early childhood.
• of, relating to, or marked by psychological regression.
2 (of a tax) taking a proportionally greater amount from those on lower incomes.


I don’t disagree with your premise: the Congress has used the clause to donate millions of acres of land to railroad companies in the 19th century, write laws that allow people to use public lands for personal profit–you name it. It can be interpreted to benefit the many or the few, depending on the group who happens to be in power. Amtrak happens to benefit the many. If you despise the program and feel that it is a manifestation of government tyranny, I encourage you to write to your representatives (and hope they actually care about your opinion).