Saturday, May 25, 2013

Safe Bridges Held Hostage to Light Rail

Since the collapse of the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon, Washington, the rhetoric has grown increasingly heated over decades of deterioration of our highways and bridges. We all know hundreds, if not thousands of bridges across America have been allowed to fall into disrepair, jeopardizing the safety of our families as we commute back and forth.

With spending trillions of dollars each and every year, why have our roadways become tantamount to death traps for commuters? With well paid engineers, expensive equipment owned by states and state employed crews, as well as private companies fully capable of repairing, rebuilding or even replacing aging bridges, what possible excuse is there for our bridges to be in such poor condition?

Even with that, bridge collapses are rare. After the deadly Minneapolis Bridge collapse back in 2007, ABC ran a story Deadly Bridge Collapses Through the Decades listing such collapses at that time. But still, as rare as they may be, given the known condition of so many bridges, we are tempting fate with letting them continue in such condition.

As the ABC article shows, most are due to uncontrollable outside factors, fuel truck fire weakening steel, struck by out of control ships and as we now know on the Skagit Bridge, over-sized loads striking critical structural beams.

Part of the rhetoric now heard is those bridges should be designed to withstand such impact, as if we humans can foresee every occurrence of the future. We may as well call on engineers to design airplanes so they don’t crash or our automobiles to not run into each other.

There is only so much one can do to prevent tragedy and even though we cannot predict such events as a ship or truck impacting critical components on our bridges, we can do our best to maintain such bridges so they don’t just collapse unexpectedly as happened in Minneapolis in 2007.

With all of the money taken from taxpayers and borrowed from corporations and foreign countries like China, giving us some $17 Trillion in National Debt, the highest Debt of any country on the planet, how is it we don’t have safer bridges? Just what stops our bridges from being repaired or replaced as need be?

While it may not be true of every bridge in the country, we need look no further than the Columbia River Crossing light rail project for a good indication of why.

While Democrats like Washington State Rep. Jim McDermott latch onto the Skagit Bridge collapse to engage in partisan finger pointing, left out of the discussion is word of Democrats like Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber of, “no light rail, no bridge” in replacing the aging I-5 bridge between Washington State and Oregon.

The light rail issue has been a thorn in the sides of people for many years, Clark County Washington voting it down directly in 1995 and Oregon devising a sneaky way to force it into Clark County against voters’ wishes by attaching it to a replacement bridge across the Columbia River as explained in the article, The $2.5 Billion Bribe from the Willamette Week.

What happened to safety, easing congestion or improving freight mobility? Since those are the reasons given for replacing the spans, how does light rail fit in? How does a simple $800 Million bridge project turn into an excess of $5 Billion to accommodate extending light rail that taxpayers repeatedly rejected?

Also not being discussed is that in order to build a bridge along the I-5 corridor that will accommodate light rail, the bridge must decrease river traffic clearance, light rail unable to climb steeper grades that a bridge with proper clearance would have.

If you look back to the ABC article above you will see, “a 500-foot section of a bridge spanning the Arkansas River in Webbers Falls, Okla., collapsed after a barge ran into one of its supports,” “Texas’ Queen Isabella Causeway gave way after a string of barges driven off course by currents crashed into a bridge support” and “the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida collapsed after a freighter struck it during a storm.”

Three of the worst collapses in America were caused by impacts from waterborne craft.

And proponents of the CRC want to force us to accept a bridge with the lowest clearance for river traffic for 190 miles, knowing how heavily the Columbia River is used for shipping barges and more downriver?

Looking at the graphic below, supplied by the CRC, light rail will be confined in an enclosed second tier hung beneath the main roadway, causing the inadequate river traffic clearance problem, leaving it more susceptible to collision with waterborne craft.

Every year across America, hundreds of billions of dollars are diverted from transportation budgets to construct light rail lines. Sometimes with voter approval and often times with voters being ignored. Hundreds of millions of dollars are also diverted every year to maintain and operate light rail lines across the land.

That is hundreds of billions of precious tax dollars diverted away from bridge repairs and maintenance, even replacement of much needed unsafe bridges to light rail that many communities cannot even afford, causing taxes on middle class citizens to greatly increase.

Money is taken away from reliable, flexible buses to be spent keeping inflexible, unreliable light rail cars going.

In the link above, Rep. McDermott blames Republicans, ignoring that it has been his party primarily diverting those hundreds of billions of tax dollars to light rail programs while our bridges languish.

And his answer? “Lawmakers can find extra money to pay for transportation projects by raising the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax.”

We hear the same answer from Washington Governor Jay Inslee who also wants to raise the states gas tax, both ignoring, or not caring about the burden they are placing on struggling middle class families currently paying $4 a gallon for gas to be able not drive to work or drive to job interviews.

Neither gives any consideration to backing away from expensive, bloated light rail projects and using what tax dollars we have to repair or replace so many bridges.

No, they fall right in line with Oregon Governor Kitzhaber in holding bridges hostage to light rail projects with his “no light rail, no bridge.”

While many have latched onto the Skagit Bridge collapse to berate conservatives for wanting to allow the middle class to retain a little more of their paychecks, do not let yourselves be fooled. The money to repair these bridges has been there all along, but has been and is still being squandered on expensive and unnecessary light rail projects.

Obviously, the people’s safety when crossing bridges is not as important as forcing communities to accept light rail across America, especially here in Clark County Washington with the Columbia River Crossing light rail project.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bidding the Boy Scouts of America Goodbye

As a young boy, I was really proud when I became a Cub Scout, then a Weblogs and finally a Boy Scout, rising to Life (I discovered cars & girls that occupied my attention in High School before earning my final merit badge to be an Eagle Scout), Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and enjoyed several years in the organization.

Camping, hunting, caring for the land we camped on and Patriotism are skills learned that have served me well, discipline I learned early serving me during my 8 years active duty in the U.S. Army and tours in Vietnam.

It is an organization that has taught many a young boy skills needed to go on to becoming great leaders of society.

Since its inception in 1910, the Boy Scouts have taught young boys a moral code that is seriously lacking in America today;

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.

That simple oath has stood the test of time in teaching between right and wrong.

But as our society began shifting away from a moral society based on traditional strengths, some were discovered within the organization that never should have been and the organization was rocked by scandal as word leaked out of young boys have been sexually molested by older scouts and adult leaders.

Costing the organization in the Millions of dollars by lawsuit settlements, to preclude that happening again, homosexuals were banned from the group, their lifestyle not being compatible with the Boy Scout Oath.

But somehow, instituting that step to protect young boys became “discriminatory” as groups like the ACLU and homosexual activists launched a decade’s long battle to have the ban lifted.

Through courts, demeaning accusations by civic organizations that embraced homosexuality, the battle raged for years.

Cities banned them from using public parks they has restored and maintained free of charge when homosexuals complained about the ban.

Even the left leaning U.S. Supreme Court of the United States, agreed that they have a right to ban Gays, as they also do Atheists and Agnostics, under their “constitutional right of freedom of association and free speech under the First Amendment.” By a 5-4 vote in June of 2000, the Court overturned a lower court ruling and upheld the Scouts right to determine by their moral code, who can and cannot belong.

For several years, they stood strong, adhering to their moral code they taught me and so many others. And the assaults continued as did the ridicule and demeaning.

But they also had supporters that stood with them against the homosexual onslaught and supported their resistance and devotion to the moral code they taught for many decades.

But for some reason, ignoring all of those who have stood with them for so long, the organization has caved and has voted to lift the ban on homosexual members. It is claimed the ban on adult leaders being openly homosexual remains in place, mark my words, now that they have their foot in the door, it is only a matter of time before that ban too disappears, once again allowing homosexuals to be in positions of authority over young, impressionable boys.

It is inevitable as this the manner homosexuals have gradually come to be accepted as the normal ones, while heterosexuals are gradually being relegated toward abnormal.

Given that homosexuality is well known to be immoral as well as the health concerns associated with it and not to mention neither homosexual men or lesbians can procreate without the other sex, I see no way possible for the Boy Scout Oath to carry any meaning any longer.

It is with great sadness that I am now compelled to bid the Boy Scouts goodbye and cease any and all support I had for them.

Like many, I stood for them and they have decided to cave.

Homosexuals have succeeded in the eventual destruction of yet another traditional American Organization that has stood the test of time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Don’t Let Yourselves Be Monica Lewinskied, Again

If there is one thing the left knows well, it is how easily conservatives are distracted to focus their attention where led to, often by the left or their willing accomplices in the lamestream media.

A prime example of this would be the impeachment proceedings of former President William Jefferson Clinton over his lying to Congress about sexual relations he was accused of having with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

The country became fixated on that scandal and the Republicans fell for it hook, line and sinker.

If you think back, Ken Starr was getting close to the Clinton’s in his investigation of the many scandalous acts of the Clinton’s when suddenly, news broke of he was receiving oral sex from a young intern and a dress had his semen on it. The country’s attention became fixated on that allegations while Republicans in the House launched impeachment proceedings over his lie of “Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you!”

It was also about this time we saw Hillary Clinton blasting Republicans over a so-called “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” to support her husband.

As we know, the allegations turned out to be true, the House passed Articles of Impeachment, the Senate drug their feet on an Impeachment Trial and finally when one was held, he was acquitted along party lines, a 2/3 majority required to remove a sitting President.

In the meantime, Republicans were scoffed at as being prudes, infatuated with sex, being uptight and not “with it” today and more.

Clinton finished his term and went on to be hailed a hero, well liked while the media continued with despising Republicans.

Gone from public view were the many serious scandals Special Prosecutor Ken Starr was investigating and eventually won convictions of lesser known individuals involved, while the Clinton’s skated, even though it is now alleged they were very close to also being indicted before the country’s attention was diverted to the sexual affair.

By now you are probably wondering just what relevance does this trip down memory lane have to today, considering old B.J. Clinton is long out of office and the impeachment is a mark in our history? But it is relevant as by all outward appearance, the Democrats are engaging in yet another “circle the wagons” around an equally inept and corrupt President, Barack Obama.

Since first announcing his intent to run for President, mid-way through his first term as a U.S. Senator, Barack Obama has been surrounded by rumors and allegations of scandalous past conduct, ignored by all lamestream media as they flew to Wasilla, Alaska to dig up any and all dirt they could on Sarah Palin, then Vice Presidential candidate for the Republicans.

Since winning office, the allegations of rumors and scandalous actions have increased, still all but ignored by the lamestream media who only begrudgingly report if they can somehow tie them to the former administration of George W. Bush.

But some they have not been able to ignore and news grew, even though the lamestream media attempted to ignore them or marginalize them. Fast & Furious, the gun running scandal that sent thousands of illegal weapons into the hands of Mexican Drug Lords without the knowledge or cooperation of the Mexican Government, the Economy, Bail Outs to ‘Green’ companies that filed bankruptcy, Obamacare, Gun Grabbing, Ammo stockpiling, Non-enforcement of Immigration Laws, Assassinations, Drones over America, Turning a blind eye to a terrorist attack at Ft. Hood, ties to the domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and more.

But none rise to the level of what occurred at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the subsequent cover-up attempt by the Obama Administration as whistleblowers line up to reveal what really happened and how it was allowed to happen, with allegation of the direct involvement of Barack Obama.

As even some in the lamestream media have taken notice and actually reported on it, lo and behold, all of a sudden we begin hearing about the IRS targeting and auditing conservative Tea Party groups during last year’s campaign and even tapping phones of the Associated Press.

While scandalous itself, such wrongful actions do not rise to the level of what is coming out about the Benghazi Terrorist attack and subsequent attempts to cover it up, also involving former First Lady and then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, expected to be the Democrat candidate for President in 2016, if Obama actually leaves the White House.

But, if you take notice, the lamestream media and many conservative outlets are beginning to focus in on the IRS Audits as the effort switches to color Benghazi as merely ‘political circus.’

Let’s face it, whatever comes out on the IRS Audits will be laid in the lap of the IRS, Obama mouthpiece Jay Carney already reminding the nation that the head of the IRS at the time was actually a George W. Bush appointee.

Even if tied to Obama it would amount to little more than a “sorry ‘bout that” as even Obama expresses questionable outrage over the targeting along with his doubtful vow “to hold the Internal Revenue Service accountable if reports of political targeting turn out to be true.”

In my view, while this too should be investigated, we cannot lose sight of the main scandal of the ineptness and potential treason of the Obama Administration over what happened in Benghazi, Libya last September 11.

It just seems too convenient that the long suspected targeting of conservative groups last year suddenly turns out to be leaked and made public, as the Benghazi Scandal continues to grow.

We must remain steadfast and focused in demanding the truth of Benghazi and not let ourselves become distracted again by a much lesser scandal that will never touch an inept, corrupt President.

Don’t let the Democrats create another distraction to circle the wagons where we need and deserve answers.