The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Joseph Foster: War #3 & Motivation Oil

By Joseph Foster
Email Joseph Foster at jfoste3@aol.com  My book, ‘’Destruction of America", subtitled "Stand up for America” will be available May 2012 at all major bookstores. Visit my blog Stand Up for America! for more articles.

War Number Three! – Motivation Oil! (of course)

The evidence has begun to point out that the war by the west to save Libyans from being slaughtered by Gaddafi is not the true motive.

Here is what is coming to light; Syria Assad regime so far has killed over 70 rebels, that oppose his regime, the demonstration in Syria continues, Assad is now trying to blame outside meddling in Syria internal up rising, he will continue to use brutal force to silence the opposition, when the rebel finds out they cannot openly demonstrate or engage Syrians Army, they will resort to terrorist activity against the State.

The west will never intervene by a no fly zone since Syria has no oil that will disrupt or cause damage to western economy. If the regime of Syria decides to take a strong stand against the rebellion, a civil war may erupt in Syria, and the rebels may resort to terrorist military activity. The Iranian to gain geo political influence will then begin to supply the Syrian rebels’ military aid; also Hezbollah the Lebanese terrorist group may side with the rebels to gain more power.

In the event the rebels topple the Syrian regime with the help of Hezbollah as a pay back, by the new regime in Syria, it will fall in the sphere of Iran. The Bahrain regime is being supported by Saudi Arabia and Saudi forces has been sent to Bahrain to shore up the regime.

Libya is another story; Washington and London share similar views, in that there is no alternative but to supply weapons to the rebel, perhaps the use of NATO helicopter gun ship in the Air to support the rebel fighters.

The $33 billion of Gaddafi assets now sized by the west some of that money will be used to pay for the Arms supplied by the U.S. and UK and perhaps France may participate in the supply, a boost to the U.S. UK and perhaps France Armament Industry, and high profits to the merchants of death. 

The Russians have now learned from past mistakes never offer Arms for free, as they did to Nasser of Egypt or Castro, and others , they are now resorting to the sale of Armament, the perquisite to the buyers is cash upon delivery.

Who is going to secure Libya after Gaddafi goes? Washington just can't seem to get to understand that, vanquishing an enemy on the battlefield is not where the story ends. Gaddafi will not leave and resign even though he may be offered free passage and residency in another country, and a promise that he will not be prosecuted.

Gaddafi has supporters: members of his tribe and people on his payroll. They will be out of work and will not want Gaddafi to leave.

Moreover Gaddafi calculates that if the rebels were handed power thousands of his supporters will be slaughtered by the rebels.

A short ending to Libya civil war is not in sight it will be dragged on for many years.

Another dilemma for Gaddafi let’s assume he decides to leave the people around him will not allow him to do so, since they will feel their life will be threatened after the leader departs the country. When the U.S. decides to leave Vietnam they took with them thousands of Vietnamese that during the war cooperated with U.S. Forces, those unfortunate that were left behind were killed.

Another episode as to Egypt, I believe Mubarak did not resign willingly, his high military officers betrayed him, they told him the Best action was for him to resign, and if he does resign they will protect him, by the latest news he was betrayed and now he has been put on house arrest. After Nasser of Egypt took power by force he gave King Farouk free passage, and was escorted to his private yacht by Nasser for his journey to Italy, he lived in Italy in an affluent style until he died.

Another leader that was overthrown from power was Kwame Nkrumah, first prime minister and then president of the modern Ghanaian; he was overthrown by the military while abroad in February 1966. It was reported by former CIA employee that the CIA had an effective hand in forcing the coup in Ghana, he was succeeded by Jerry Rawlings in 1981 a Ghanaian military officer. He was wise not to return to Ghana since the new regime would have arrested him or have him killed.

Some may say Gaddafi asset held in western countries has been frozen, and will deprive him from money, that is no problem since Gaddafi has in stock in Tripoli large stock pile of Gold.

As to Iraq after the shock and awe, and at the end of thirty days when Bush announced mission accomplished, the little did he know that his mission has eight more years or more to go, also his mission will in the end cost the lives of over 4000 U.S. troops and thousands injured.

The lesson from Iraq has given Obama and Cameron a lesson not to get their troops on the ground, always keep them in the Air flying. For my investment gurus on Wall Street keep an eye on defense stocks, it is going to be a win for the defense Industries. Saudi Arabia has just presented Obama with a shopping list for Arms valued at $100 billion. The Russians are also peddling armament to would be buyers for cash, and when the west refuse to sell a customer Arms the Russians and Chinese are too happy to fulfill their customer’s needs.

Saddam shall be remembered by the merchants of death, for he has spent billions and billions of dollars on armament that was ultimately destroyed by the sellers Army. Today the sellers Army are also destroying the weapons that Gaddafi bought from them. The merchants of death should build Saddam a monument with the following inscription, ‘’ You shall be remembered as one of the major contributor to our bottom line’’ Thank you Saddam it is our hope another leader like yourself shall one day replace you.’’

One day some genius will invent the ultimate bomb that when it is tested its destructive force will react with the atmosphere, and continue until the entire human race is eliminated, leaving the creatures of the oceans alive. Or perhaps some small number of humans may remain and mankind will go back to the Stone Age and begin a new cycle to populate the earth.

Patrick J. Buchanan: Obama War
Pat Buchanan comments about Obama’s legal right to wage a war that has not been approved by congress, his argument is valid, however Pat remember the judges have always interpreted the constitution in favor of all U.S. Presidents; they will do so for Obama.
Pat did you know that there are many Laws written by politicians to protect them, for this reason they escape prosecution from many illegal act.

You will note the UN resolution 1973 is now being given broad interpretation, including the bombing of Gaddafi official residence, its broad interpretation will extent to providing Arms to the rebel, it will be further interpreted to permit NATO helicopter gun ships to protect the rebel, the interpretation will be broad base like that of the constitution.

When the congress was led by false information as to Saddam's WMD, after WMD was not found that authorization should have been made null and void. It is a fundamental principal in Law that a contract entered by false representation shall be declared by judges to be null and void. In the history of the United States only two Presidents faced impeachment charges, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, as to Bill Clinton it involve Sex, I did not know that sex is an Impeachable offense, however both were acquitted at trial.

Will Jimmy Carter talk to Momar Kadafi next?

Joe:  how can it be that Cuba is still an evil communist country, yet we can do business with China? Of course there is more money to be made in China and the Cuban looby is very tough, I’ve heard say that there isn’t a stronger lobby except perhaps the lobby for Israel. Jimmy Carter is still not well regarded and has nowhere near the stature that Clinton has. His appeasement policies were the source of great frustration in dealing with the Soviets on the matter of arms control back in the 70’s. He attempts to carve out some historical legacy but I think he is stuck with his reputation. He can go to Cuba or North Korea anywhere we need some appeasement he the top guy for the job. Maybe he will have three cups of tea with Momar? –Bob
 
Last Updated: Thu, 03/31/2011 - 3:12pm
The only American president to publicly support Middle Eastern terrorism has completed a schmooze fest with a communist dictator in a country that appears on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist-sponsoring nations.

It marks the latest “humanitarian” mission for Jimmy Carter, who just a few years ago became the only American commander-in-chief to participate in a hug fest with the head of the world’s leading Middle Eastern terrorist group. During that highly-publicized Syrian jaunt, Carter met with Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal who runs his violent operation from Damascus to avoid being arrested by the Israeli government.

The sophisticated and well-funded Palestinian extremist group has for years appeared on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and for a former president, or any western leader of Carter’s stature, to meet with its boss is inconceivable. Carter has long supported Palestinian extremism and justifies its violence as a reaction to Israeli apartheid. He even wrote a book ("Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid") about it in 2007.

This week the one-time Georgia peanut farmer made the rounds in Cuba, where he hung out with communist Dictator Fidel Castro and his brother Raul. Carter is the only sitting or former American president to visit the Caribbean island, also deemed a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. government, since Castro took power in 1959. Carter also visited Cuba in 2002.

The plan behind this week’s little excursion was to discuss ways to “improve U.S.-Cuba relations,” according to a press release posted on the Carter Center’s website. The center made sure to clarify that the trip is a “private, nongovernmental mission” and not any sort of official effort on the part of the Obama Administration. It will be interesting to see if Carter meets with Obama to chat about the Cuban escapade since both men want to lift decades-old sanctions against the country and develop a tighter relationship with the Castro brothers.

Not surprisingly, Carter took the opportunity to do some America-bashing during his stay on the island. He called on the U.S. government to take Cuba off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, criticized America’s trade embargo against the oppressive communist dictatorship and insisted five convicted Cuban government spies be freed from federal prison. The men, known as the Cuban Five, were found guilty by a federal jury and have lost several appeals despite being represented by topnotch lawyers that most working Americans could never afford. Never the less, Carter called for the prompt return “to their homes in Cuba.”

What can you expect from a guy who commends Middle Eastern terrorists and calls Israel the “tiny vortex around which swirl the winds of hatred, intolerance and bloodshed?” Israeli subjugation and persecution has driven hopeless Palestinians to honor suicide bombers as martyrs and consider the killing of Israelis as victories, according to Carter.

Who is Anti-War Now?

Joe: as you know I am all for throwing out Gadafi, having been in the military for 10 years I do have some reservations because US and others will die. I watch Fox frequently but I also watch CNN and of course MSNBC to see Ed, Rachel, & Lawrence. They get things right and they also shed light on issues where Republicans are spinning issues and they are good of course at pointing out hypocritical positions. I gues I am just surprised they are so pro-war. I respected their position when they were brutal towards Bush, I respect the Quakers and believers of non-violence but it is now becoming clear that both parties support war as long as its their guy, their party in power. Ed and Rachel are so supportive of war particullarly Ed. There are real questions about who we are supporting and if they can win. In jus a word I’m surprised, I thought they would have some reservations… -Bob

Host, MSNBC's 'The Ed Show'
Posted: March 23, 2011 05:30 PM

Red State
LIBYAN HYPOCRISY
It really has been bizarre to see both Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz do so much pro-Obama spinning to support the war on Libya. Obama didn’t approach Congress? Great strategy! No oval office address to the nation? He’s not a cowboy like George Bush! And you just know that if a Republican president had done this, Maddow and Schultz would be doing 180s to condemn the action. At least the anti-war Ralph Naders are consistent, but many of them are quiet this time.

MSNBC didn’t air one second of Senator Barack Obama’s or Senator Joe Biden’s or Senator Hillary Clinton’s condemnations of the Iraq War. Senator Biden once said that not approaching Congress first was an impeachable offense, but to MSNBC, this hypocrisy is not “what’s true in the world.”
NewsBusters discusses a little of this hypocrisy, but the Schultz-Maddow Obama-spin is really much worse to anyone who knows the facts:


Wasting $10 million at LA Community College & Jeffrey Feldman

Joe: I like the truth in Jeffrey Feldman’s article about ‘empty ritual of energy speeches’ I think I’ve heard, “ we must end our dependency on foreign oil” so many times but this does not make his solution true. This guys answer is wind & solar – yawn! More of the same nonsense… Solar panels in Arizona or New Mexico great idea right? Except that water is need to turn the heat to steam to turn the generators. Jeffrey should start his own alternative energy company and if he can develop technology that people will buy then, and it really is that simple he can replace oil. As long as these so called green companies keep getting government subsidy then there will continue to be scandals (see below for huge scandal at LA colleges) and wasteful spending. Wind & Solar what a joke. -Bob

Author, 'Framing The Debate' and 'Outright Barbarous'
The Empty Ritual of Energy Speeches
Posted: 03/30/11 04:19 PM ET
Over the past few decades this country has developed a pathetic empty ritual. Every so often -- when gas prices are high, when a gazillion gallons of oil sludge are pouring into the sea, or while a nuclear plant lies smoldering in Chernobyl mode -- the sitting president stands before the American people to call for better energy policy.

Any of us could give one of these speeches in our sleep, we have heard so many by now: less dependence on foreign oil, renewable energy, safer techniques, collective sacrifice, look to the future, it's all about the children, yada, yada, yada. The best part? When the speech is over, nothing actually happens or worse: Our energy policy, as if by magic, actually goes in the wrong direction (abracadabra).

This empty ritual of energy policy speeches has become one of the most cynical, cowardly routines of our time. And as far as I can tell, every White House is in on it.

And so, as all presidents since Richard Nixon have done, President Obama's stepped up to take his turn, issuing a noble call to 'get serious' about long-term energy policy while a nation of frustrated consumers -- all of us begging for an actual serious shift toward renewables in our national policy -- rolled our eyes while muttering under their breath.

Here is what I muttered -- occasionally punctuated by fits of shouting and throwing things -- as I listened to the president's energy policy speech:
- With the Fukishima nuclear plant in full melt down and reports of radioactive drift, how hard is it to just say, "Nuclear power is unsafe and we are going to halt it?"
- Knowing that natural gas drilling involves pumping millions of gallons of mysterious chemical soup into the ground that poisons our water, gives our children cancer, causes earthquakes, and turns kitchen faucets into flame throwers -- how hard is it to say, "No more fracking?"
- Who are these insane people who actually believe that shifting from one environmentally destructive petroleum mining technique (oil) to another (gas) constitutes a "new energy policy?"
- Why the heck do we have billions in tax incentives for producers of wind and solar, but we virtually no national campaign, incentives or conversation to educate and encourage consumers to embrace wind and solar?
- We already had the biggest oil spill in human history, do we need the biggest nuclear meltdown and the poisoning of half our national watershed system, too, before we actually embrace renewable energy?
- What... in... God's... name... are... we... waiting... for?

Certainly, I could not have been the only one who muttered these or similar questions. Well over half the country has been mumbling them for some time.

Take natural gas fracturing or "fracking," for example. This technique of mining for natural gas involves pumping boatloads of "proprietary" solution into the earth to "open" up a well. This wonderful process has caused, among other things: poisonous drinking water, cancer, earthquakes and -- craziest of all -- ordinary tap water to become highly flammable. When a drilling technique is poisoning our water and turning our kitchen sinks into a fireballs, we -- by which I mean voters -- do not need to stop and think about what we want to do.

We do not want to proclaim our commitment to do a better job over the next several decades. We do not want to encourage better practices from industry in an unspecified manner. We do not want to challenge ourselves to get on the right footing and believe in the future. We want the insane practice to stop. For goodness sakes, just stop the fracking before it poisons our water, kills our children, and destroys our land.

The kitchen tap is on fire! For goodness sakes, just stop the freaking fracking. The same for nuclear energy. For months we have been watching an American-designed nuclear power plant in full radioactive nightmare mode virtually 24/7 on cable TV. Amidst a backdrop of reports of radioactive leaks into the ocean, radioactive material dispersed into the atmosphere, and mass evacuations, we -- by which I mean voters -- do not need to stop and think about what we want to do.

We do not want to make promises to make sure that 1970s ear safety procedures are examined and scrupulously followed. We do not want to make sure that earthquake tests are up to date on facilities in the Midwest and Eastern seaboard. We do not want feel-good industry promises about nuclear plants old enough that they look like time outtakes from the The China Syndrome. We want the insane practice to stop. For goodness sakes, just stop building nuclear power plants before the next disaster is so horrific that it dwarfs the one we are watching now.

Radioactive rain is falling on Boston! For goodness sakes, just shut down the nightmarish nukes. Simple, right? Wrong. Radioactive rain showers wrong. Flaming tap water wrong.  We know what we have to do to stop the obvious madness, but we are trapped with a political system -- stuck with an energy policy Tammany Hall -- that has been bought and paid for 10 times over by an industry that does not want us to stray from the past by more than a few oily footprints.

The empty ritual of energy policy speeches, in other words, is not empty for everyone. It fills the pockets of big oil quite nicely and will continue to do so until we as voters stand up, pound a few trash can lids together, and refuse to put up with the same nonsense year after year.

The headlines from Wall Street after the president's speech on energy policy? "Natural Gas Fuel Stocks Surge on Obama Energy Speech." Why didn't wind stocks or solar stocks "surge" at the same time? Because everyone on Wall Street seems to understand what is actually happening under the guise of "new energy policy." And why shouldn't they understand -- it has been going on for decades.

Isn't it about time a few hundred thousand (a few million?) people from areas directly under threat from the nuclear power and natural gas industries got together to donkey kick the empty ritual of energy policy speeches? The mumbling needs to end. The time has come to demand real change in how this country thinks about fuel -- a new way of talking about energy policy that is much louder and much more disconcerting for politicians to hear as they look at the electoral map.

No more fracking.
Shut down the nukes.
Wind and solar -- right now.

We have been waiting way too long. We are in both political parties. And we do more than talk: we vote.

L.A. community colleges' green energy plan proves wildly impractical. The blunders cost taxpayers $10 million.
As head of a $5.7-billion, taxpayer-funded program to rebuild the college campuses, Eisenberg commanded attention. But his plan for energy independence was seriously flawed.

He overestimated how much power the colleges could generate. He underestimated the cost. And he poured millions of dollars into designs for projects that proved so impractical or unpopular they were never built.

These and other blunders cost nearly $10 million that could have paid for new classrooms, laboratories and other college facilities, a Times investigation found.

The problems with Eisenberg's energy vision were fundamental. For starters, there simply wasn't room on the campuses for all the generating equipment required to become self-sufficient. Some of the colleges wouldn't come close to that goal even if solar panels, wind turbines and other devices were wedged into every available space.

Going off the grid did not make economic sense either. Given the cost of alternative energy technology, it would be more expensive for the district to generate all its own electricity than to continue paying utilities for power.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

China's Legal Apartheid or Modern Feudalism

Joe: I am nearly finished reading this excellent book. China scholars are often exploring the subject of income inequality between the urban dwellers and the rural areas in China. Sorman spends a good part of his book on constrasting these two worlds within China and even goes so far as to call it “legal apartheid” – see the YouTube video below. I have read other books and writing that refer to this system as modern feudalism – this makes a little more sense to me because it invokes the historical reality of China.

Feudalism: ...a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labor. The Chinese Communist Party - owns the land and definately promotes rural labor's movement into cities but does not give them same rights as city dwellers for education, healthcare, etc.
Either term is very negative and I believe – very true. –Bob

Amazon.com Review & Information
Empire of Lies: The Truth about China in the Twenty-First Century
Guy Sorman gives a human face to brutal oppression in today's China. He introduces us to the daily suffering of many individual human lives: students thrown into exile for signing their names to political leaflets, pregnant women beaten for being pregnant without the authorization of the state, peasant families enduring the long, slow sufferings of AIDS brought to them by unsanitary blood transfusions in public clinics. Sorman has long been a promoter of a realistic form of democracy in China and of a "barefoot capitalism" that would begin to diminish the huge number of those who suffer. -- Michael Novak

From the Back Cover: In political philosophy, a whole generation of French thinkers like Revel, Jean-Marie Benoit, and Guy Sorman are rejecting the old clichés about state power and rediscovering the danger such power poses to personal freedom. -Ronald Reagan

Product Description
The Western press these days is full of stories on China’s arrival as a superpower, some even warning that the future may belong to her. Western political and business delegations stream into Beijing, confident in China’s economy, which continues to grow rapidly. Crowning China’s new status, Beijing will host the 2008 Olympic Games.
But as Guy Sorman reveals in Empire of Lies China’s success is, at least in part, a mirage. True, 200 million of her subjects, those fortunate enough to be working in an expanding global market, enjoy a middle-class standard of living. The remaining one billion, however, are among the poorest, most exploited people in the world. Popular discontent simmers, especially in the countryside, where it often flares into violent confrontation with Communist Party authorities. In truth, China’s economic “miracle” is rotting from within.

In this extraordinary book, Sorman explains how the West has conferred greater legitimacy on China than do the Chinese themselves. He has visited the country regularly for forty years and spent most of the past three years exploring her teeming cities and remotest corners. Empire of Lies is the culmination of these travels and perhaps the only book on China that lets the Chinese people speak for themselves.

Barry Minkow-Nicolas Marsch III-Lennar

Joe:  this is an update on the Barry Minkow story. By the way he was raised Jewish then converted to become a Protestant minister. Anyhow it seems he was fed information by Nicolas Marsch III who felt he was ripped-off by Lennar over a $37 million deal. It will be interesting to see how dirty Lennar is, as in all things sometimes the worst information about a business will come from its enemies. So while it may be true that many of the lies spread by Barry were false it may be true that some are true or have some basis in truth. So far Minsch has lost all his lawsuits but he has some pending in California & Florida. -Bob

By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
March 30, 2011, 5:00 a.m.
In a plea bargain, former carpet-cleaning tycoon Barry Minkow has agreed to help federal prosecutors investigate a developer who allegedly hired him to spread lies about giant home builder Lennar Corp. with negative stories on the Internet and a YouTube video.

In the plea agreement, obtained by The Times, Minkow acknowledges participating in a fraud with losses so huge that he could have been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison had he been convicted of the crime.

Amtrak Bailout Plan: $53 billion Over Six Years!

Joe:  I rode AMTRAK every week for nearly 4 years between Simi Valley, CA & San Diego. The conductors still use mechanical hand held credit card processing equipment. And they get angry if you pay on the train because you are inconveniencing them. I remember paying by credit at a Denny’s in Japan (some 15 years ago!) and I was amazed because the credit card was processed wirelessly at the table. AMTRAK misses out on collecting from the free loaders commonly on the train because they don’t move through the cars fast enough and so people take advantage of the slow processing situation.  AMTRAK is just another massive failure and everyone knows it. Did you know a bus ticket actually costs more but the market will pay it because people want to arrive on time – AMTRAK is always late on a long trip say from Southern California to Northern California.. There should be a reliable, reasonably fast, on time, service train from Tijuana to Alaska or maybe just Seattle. –Bob


President Obama Sees Amtrak as Key to America’s Transportation

Published on March 28, 2011 by Ronald Utt, Ph.D. WebMemo #3206

President Obama’s High-Speed Rail (HSR) program came to its unofficial end on March 11 when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the $2.4 billion in federal money promised to Florida would instead be redirected to passenger rail projects in other states. Florida’s new governor Rick Scott followed the examples of Governors John Kasich (R–OH) and Scott Walker (R–WI) in February when he rejected a federal grant of $2.4 billion to fund an HSR line between the Orlando and Tampa. Scott argued that the project’s future subsidies and projected cost overruns would burden Florida’s taxpayers and could not justify a costly project that would serve only a small fraction of the state’s travelers.[1]

With Amtrak now the key to the President’s rail program, a review of Amtrak’s recent performance reveals that this “transformational” event will take place upon a foundation of epic failure, gross mismanagement, and union featherbedding.

Shift to Slow-Speed Rail
While Florida’s grant of $2.4 billion was one of several dozen such passenger rail awards provided by the FRA in 2009 and 2010, it was one of only two (California being the other) that were targeted for genuine HSR service—i.e., trains that average 150 miles per hour (mph) or more. The other grants were targeted to freight railroads to make track, station, and signal improvements to allow somewhat higher speeds for existing and proposed Amtrak service.

For example, the rejected Ohio rail project would have an average speed of only 39 mph,[2] slightly less than the top speed of Henry Ford’s Model T, introduced in 1908. And while the California project remains on the books as the only genuine HSR proposal still standing, escalating cost estimates (now at $63 billion compared to the initial $43 billion)[3] and an absence of viable funding options by the bankrupt state suggest that this line will never be built.

As a result, what is left of Obama’s once lofty “transformational transportation” plan is now little more than an extravagant Amtrak bailout plan costing $53 billion over six years.[4]
Amtrak’s Poor Performance

Amtrak often boasts of its record ridership, and in its fiscal year (FY) 2008 annual report, its president noted that 2008 marked Amtrak’s sixth consecutive year of record ridership. What is unmentioned is that Amtrak accounts for less than one half of 1 percent of all interstate passenger travel, and 40 percent of that travel occurs in the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

Moreover, while its promotional materials suggest that Amtrak is the dominant mode of travel in that corridor, in fact it accounts for only a small fraction of NEC travel. According to Amtrak data, “Amtrak Rail” has a 6 percent market share in the NEC intercity market, with air at 5 percent and highway at 89 percent.[5] This modest market share stems from rider disinterest, not seat availability. Amtrak’s load factor in 2010 averaged 47 percent, and Acela clocks in at about 55 percent, leaving plenty of available seats.[6]

Ridership has also faltered. As Amtrak data reveal, FY 2008 was the high-water mark for ridership in recent years. Ridership fell in FY 2009 and returned only to 2008 levels in 2010, when it reached 28.7 million nationwide,[7] about 10 million fewer passengers than went through the Phoenix airport in 2009.[8] To achieve this incidental market share, Amtrak required a federal taxpayer subsidy of $4.4 billion over the three fiscal years in question. As a result, Amtrak receives the highest per-passenger federal subsidy of any mode: $237.53 per 1,000 passenger-miles compared to $4.23 per 1,000 passenger-miles for commercial aviation.[9]

The $117 Billion Boondoggle
Notwithstanding Amtrak’s long history of financial and market failure, President Obama is betting America’s transportation future on this hapless enterprise. He is not alone: As the President’s HSR program has collapsed from public rebuke, rail hobbyists, unions, foreign manufactures, Congressmen, and Amtrak management now recommend rebuilding Amtrak’s NEC to accommodate HSR. Amtrak claims that it would cost $117 billion to do this, while others note—falsely—that the NEC and its pseudo-HSR Acela line already operate at a profit. So what’s to lose?

Well, $117 billion for starters. Notwithstanding popular mythology, Amtrak’s NEC and Acela operate at a substantial loss. Amtrak’s management has never claimed NEC profitability, but its supporters do, and management is complicit in its silence.
The false claim of profitability is based on Amtrak’s inadequate line-by-line accounting standards that exclude several important costs, notably depreciation and interest expense, which in FY 2010 totaled $695.2 million. If one takes the (very) conservative approach of allocating 40 percent (NEC’s ridership share) of this $695.2 million cost to NEC operations, then the addition of $278 million in costs turns the purported NEC surplus of $51.5 million[10] into a loss of $226.6 million.

Now Up to Congress
Having been thwarted in his initial HSR plans by several newly elected, fiscally conservative governors, the President has shifted his costly “transformational” rail program to Amtrak, where only Congress gets to decide. With Amtrak requiring at least $1.6 billion per year just to provide the current level of mediocre and underutilized service, the President’s redirected challenge will test the mettle of the new Congress. Will it meet the challenge with the same gutsy determination as did Governors Scott, Kasich, and Walker? Or will it be business as usual in the go-along-to-get-along world of Washington, D.C.? Fiscal conservatives are waiting and watching.
Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D., is Herbert and Joyce Morgan Senior Research Fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Oregon College Education: Illegal Immigrant Subsidy

Joe:  any American should understand why Americans are angry. California has this same law below. So then everyone complains about the cost of education rising. We keep hearing it’s only a small part of the budget, it’s only a small percentage, and it’s only fair. For anyone who has managed a budget it’s important to establish a culture of thriftiness, to establish a culture of financial health. Giving undocumented, illegal aliens, international, students the same rates as US and State Citizens is just so obviously wrong. The cost of public & private education is rising and has risen steadily above the rate of inflation for a long time now – sad. –Bob

Last Updated: Wed, 03/30/2011 - 10:21am
Although Oregon is suffering through a dire budget crisis that will drastically slash funding for public education, state lawmakers are working to give illegal immigrants discounted tuition at taxpayer-funded colleges and universities.

Ten states currently offer the perk, which costs U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars annually, while several have reversed the outrageous and controversial policy in the last few years. Among states that still give illegal aliens heavily discounted in-state tuition at public institutions of higher learning are Texas, Utah, Washington, New York and California.

Earlier this month California lawmakers introduced a measure to also give illegal immigrants millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded scholarships and financial aid in addition to cheaper tuition. Known as the California Dream Act, the bill is quickly making its way through the state legislature and has a great chance of becoming law because, unlike his predecessor who thrice vetoed it, Governor Jerry Brown has vowed to sign it.

Oregon’s measure won’t go that far but will still offer undocumented students a huge tuition discount, currently reserved for the state’s legal residents, if they graduate from a local high school. The state’s senate approved the bill this week with a comfortable margin and it will head to the House, where it appears to have support from both Democrats and Republicans.

The timing couldn’t be worse because, like many states across the nation, Oregon is suffering through a monstrous budget shortfall that will severely cut many public services including education. The difference between in-state tuition at the University of Oregon is $8,190 compared to $25,000 for out-of-state or international students, including illegal aliens. Universities would therefore give up crucial revenue from students who would otherwise pay the much-higher nonresident rates.

But students shouldn’t be punished because their parents brought them to the U.S. illegally, say Oregon lawmakers pushing the law. They insist kids should not be penalized for their parents’ actions and that the state should encourage all students to be productive residents after investing in years of public education through high school.

Driving home the argument in a tear-jerking speech, a Republican state senator who sponsored the law, asked: " Have these children broken the law when many were carried into this country in the arms of their mother?"

Libya: Kinetic Military Activity-Responsibility to Act -War

March 30, 2011

President Obama's explanation on why we went to "kinetic military activity" with Libya is based on a principle as old as the Balkans 1990s conflict...or Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility   (americanthinker.com)

US involvement in the Kosovo War was based on a principle first espoused by Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain -- "We have a responsibility to act."  President Bill Clinton wasn't convinced at first, but after Blair's unyielding campaign to sell his idea, Clinton went along.  It was the world's first "humanitarian war", and to this day the guiding principle of Western leaders boils down to a single, undefined phrase -- "We have a responsibility to act."

President Obama had nothing to do with the principle's creation, but he used it Monday night in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington to explain why the US went to war with Libya.  His talk was aimed as much at the peoples of the world as it was at the American people, and he left no doubt in anyone's mind that nations of the world "have a responsibility to act" to defend suffering humans wherever they may be.

Like socialism, in theory it sounds wonderful -- the right thing to do, but in practice, it's full of holes because it is such an open-ended, nebulous concept.  The problem with the principle begins to break down with the first word, "we."  Who is "we"?  Is it the UN?  Is it NATO?  Is it the quartet?  No one has yet clarified who "we" are, but if the "we have a responsibility to act" principle is going to be our guiding global principle, someone will have to.  In due course, you can bet that someone will.

The "we have a responsibility to act" principle becomes even more problematic when the word "responsibility" is introduced.  What is "responsibility"?  Is it a duty, a task, or a job?  If it is, then who gave it to "us"?  The UN?  In Libya's case, the answer is yes, but in other instances the answer is no.  Take Iraq, for example.  The US and its allies were going to take action in Iraq.  That was clear from the beginning, but the UN didn't go along.  In the end, a "coalition of the willing" simply assumed responsibility, invaded Iraq, deposed Saddam Hussein, and replaced his dictatorial Baathist regime with a democratic government.  We are still enmeshed in that struggle, but the "we have a responsibility to act" principle is no clearer now than it was in the 1990s when it was first introduced.

The final problem with the "we have a responsibility to act" principle lies in the definition of the phrase "to act."  Broadly defined, "to act" can mean anything from invasion to no-fly zones to embargos of various sorts to anything the "we" decides is their "responsibility."  People who have dedicated their professional lives to law enforcement realize how thorny this arrangement is because it violates every principle of jurisprudence that we have come to accept and respect.  It's the global equivalent of vigilante justice, and it can't and won't survive. 

To become a legitimate guiding principle, the "we have a responsibility act" principle must clearly define "we," "responsibility," and "to act."  Absent those definitions, the "we have a responsibility act" principle leads to chaos and potential repression on a global scale by a "coalition of the willing" or the UN or any other group that sees as its duty the responsibility to take any action it chooses to bring about any outcome it desires.

Will the "we" be the UN?  Maybe, but it's doubtful given the UN's current configuration, its spotty record, and its propensity for manipulation by individuals and groups with dark agendas.  Will it be NATO or a similar group?  Not likely because NATO and groups like it are simply alliances of nations, subgroups of "the nations of the world."  In the end, defining "we" will challenge the very concept of "sovereign nation" because if the "we" has a "responsibility to act," then nations by definition can't be sovereign. 

We are in the process of defining what has come to be known as "one world government."  In due course, the questions I've posed will have to be answered, and they will be answered.  When they're answered we will have a "one world government" with laws, regulations, taxing authority, and enforcement powers -- everything a global government will need to operate. 

I'm not telling you this because I think it's the right thing to do.  I'm bringing it up because it's inevitable, and it's taking place right now.  We're not waiting for it to happen.

Neil Snyder earned a Ph.D. degree in strategic management from the University of Georgia in 1979 and taught leadership and strategy at the University of Virginia for 25 years.  He retired from UVA in 2004 and is currently the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at UV.