Saturday, May 16, 2015

Annals of the Right-Wing Right to Lie: Ryan, Boehner, and Amtrak


"Thank God for human error!" says Rep. Paul "Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Stoopid" Ryan. And thank God, he and his fellow right-wing lying nutjobs are no doubt saying, that right-wingers have their Official U.S. Right to Lie. If you want to watch the Burbling Boobster, you'll find the clip here.

by Ken

Ah, you have to hand it to the Fox Noisemakers and their golden boy, Rep. Paul "Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Stoopid" Ryan. It's like the kid who, fearing that his parents suspected he was wearing his sister's underwear, thought he could distract them by suddenly declaring angrily, "Just so you know, there's no way I'm wearing Sissy's underwear." And never mind that at the time he was wearing no pants over Sissy's panties and Sissy's bra was popping out of his unbuttoned lumberjack shirt.

So we know that the train that crashed in Philadelphia was going 106 mph as it entered that fateful curve (speed limit 50 mph). The Republican's who've been doing their darnedest to starve Amtrak are off the hook!

Disasters are always awkward for right-wing misappropriators. They expect the important funding needs they disdain -- because of their unyielding commitment to Ideology, Imbecility, and Personal Profit -- to suffer and shrivel comfortably out of sight of mainstream Americans. It takes some finesse to lie their way through the awkward public displays that occasionally flare up in the wake of disasters.

Finesse like Frankenstein's monster look-alike Paul Ryan exhibited this week. Here's ThinkProgress's Josh Israel reporting Thursday (lots links onsite):
At least seven people died and 200 were injured in Tuesday’s Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia — even though technology exists that could have prevented the tragedy. A day after his Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to cut about one-fifth of Amtrak’s budget, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) incorrectly claimed that Congress had already funded implementing the safety system it mandated in 2008.

Positive Train Control (PTC) would allow railroads to use GPS to stop or slow trains in cases of driver emergencies, switches left in the wrong position, hijacking, natural disasters, or other human error. Seven years ago, Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which required the nation’s busiest railroad operators to have these technologies fully in place by December 2015. Though Amtrak’s president has called PTC “the most important rail safety advancement of our time,” the chronically cash-strapped Amtrak has struggled to put in place its Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) PTC technology system on the timetable it planned and the section of track where Tuesday’s accident did not yet have an operational PTC system. The train was reportedly traveling at more than 100 miles per hour in a 50 MPH zone. Robert Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board official leading the investigation into Tuesday’s crash, made clear on Wednesday, “Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed on this section of track, this accident would not have occurred.”

Paul Ryan, who has made budget cuts a top priority, warned in a Fox News interview on Thursday that Congress cannot “rush to judgment and try doubling the size of government programs” in response to what he believes was “human error.”

Ryan noted that Congress had already “authorized and mandated the sort of speed control systems to be put in place,” though he noted “it wasn’t put in place here at this time.” Asked by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade whether Congress had actually funded those systems, Ryan claimed that they had.

“Yes!” Ryan responded, “Yeah, we already passed an Amtrak funding, an authorization bill earlier this year. And the appropriations process is working its way through right now.”

Ryan did not note that this appropriation would be well below Amtrak’s request which had included millions for PTC — and below even the past several years’ funding levels. And if Congress had provided the necessary funds to install PTC across the country, there would be no need for a Senate bill filed just weeks ago to delay the implementation deadline from December 2015 to 2020.

Ryan said he hoped “cooler heads can prevail” and “people won’t seize on political opportunities out of tragedies like this” to spend more money. Asked whether he thought rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be a priority, Ryan noted that the Highway Trust Fund goes bankrupt later this month but that he would not back tax increases for infrastructure improvement as “we can do better by saving more money [and] being more efficient.”
Well, oops! As stoopid as Ryan always pretends to be -- every time he opens his fool mouth -- he knows perfectly well that Amtrak operates on a bare-bones operations-only budget and has no way of finding money for capital projects like installing PTC, which therefore have to be done in dribs and drabs as driblets of money can be found. Yes, Paulie knows, but Paulie doesn't have to tell, 'cause Paulie's officially allowed to lie his stinking guts out.

Phew, thank goodness for the Official U.S. Right to Lie that absolves right-wingers from any need to even acknowledge, let alone explain or apologize for, their lies. Their mandate is just to continue dreaming up bigger 'n' better ones.

Kelly Eleveld chronicled this some other instances of the all-important Official U.S. Right to Lie as applied to the Philadelphia train crash. Here, for one, is a little committee kerfuffle growing out of House Republicans' "slash and burn infrastructure habits":
GOP Rep. Mike Simpson went at it with Democratic Rep. Steve Israel in the committee hearing where Republicans ultimately voted to cut Amtrak's budget just hours after the crash:
After Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) told the committee that Congress had “failed to invest in their safety,” an irate Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) accused him of exploiting the incident.

“You tied it directly to an accident and a tragedy and suggested because we hadn’t funded it that caused that accident and you have no idea what caused it – and that’s a shame,” Simpson said.
Yep. When your party doesn't fund infrastructure projects, that's the risk you take Congressman—being on the hook for safety concerns.
And here's the biggest House Republican slasher-and-burner of them all (again, links onsite):
House Speaker John Boehner fired back at a reporter Thursday who dared to ask him about the House committee vote Wednesday to cut Amtrak funding.
"Are you really going to ask such a stupid question?"
Well, yes. People are just a tad concerned about Tuesday night's crash that has now claimed the lives of eight people. But Boehner apparently isn't.
"It's hard for me to imagine that people take on the bait on some of the nonsense that gets spewed around here," he said.
And... scene. Boehner ended the press conference.

Maybe people are concerned about Amtrak's $21 billion backlog in maintenance and repair. That's the type of "nonsense" that Democrats were trying to address by increasing Amtrak funding another $1.31 billion instead of cutting about a fifth of its budget.
Now Sunny John obviously knows he's lying. He and his cronies know perfectly well that they starve Amtrak, and only wish they could starve it more so they might have a little more money to disperse to their Big Money patrons worthier citizens. After all, people who want more money for Amtrak are people: (1) whom they don't know, (2) who don't vote for them, and, most important, (3) who don't give them generous piles o' cash. Why would they shovel more money to people like this when they have so many rolling-in-dough people who satisfy two if not all three of the above-noted conditions of Worthiness to Receive Gummint Handouts?

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home