The Journal of History     Fall 2003     TABLE OF CONTENTS


Closing Post Offices and AMTRAK

Congress is set to close "unprofitable" US post offices and hike already inflated postage rates due to the "budget crunch" (i.e. $5 billion per month down war-Zionism's Iraq hole).

The Post Office was never expected to turn a "profit," any more than the US Marines are. The Post Office was intended by the Founders to help bust any news monopoly by mailing the people's own correspondence, gazettes, bulletins, newspapers and brochures for free or at greatly reduced rates. The Post Office remains necessary, even in an Internet age. But ours is becoming too expensive to use.

Next in line for elimination thanks to the Iraq war and the Zionist-war agenda of Bush/Lieberman and their Republicrat party, is our national passenger rail system, AMTRAK. Yes, I know it's flawed, but with the further reduction of bare-bones Amtrak funding, large portions of the American plains, with their vast distances, will be without passenger train service.

One reason why Americans are so easily duped is that we don't meet in any collective or community space, except the shopping center, where we don't even speak to each other while waiting in line at the cash register.

Users of mass transit engage in discussion, communication and networking with their fellow riders outside of the System's pre-set agenda.

Moreover, rural towns and farms are dying because they were initially built by mass transit but are now dependent on automobiles and trucks. How do the rural poor and the elderly travel long distances in winter by car or truck? In major cities time spent in the car contributes to "road rage," not to mention reliance on foreign oil.

Bush's legion of flag-waving, taxpaying true-believers are the among the most egregious suckers in American history. They wave their flags before Emperor Bush while their train system and mail system is decimated and their medical care is increasingly unaffordable. American workers who gave their whole lives to one company's factory, are finding their pension looted, along with their health care, and they are spending their last years in poverty.

Productive people with a 30 or 40-year record of hard work are dying in poverty because Bush's corporate raiders can no longer "afford" to maintain the pension and health benefits promised. But there is always money to maintain the Israeli welfare state, and the health and well-being of the immigrants from Latin America and East Asia lured into the cheap labor colony known as the United States.

The docility of Americans in the face of rank treason and tyranny guarantees more of the same. Frederick Douglass said, "The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

Wave your flag, America!

US Rail System to be Trashed in "Budget Crunch"

On July 24, the US House of Representatives' Committee on Appropriations unveiled its 2004 Transportation & Treasury Spending Bill. If it passes without modification through a number of stages in both houses of Congress, it would:

Cut passenger rail (AMTRAK) to half its minimum operating budget (to $900 million from the $1.8 billion it needs to maintain its skeletal existing services)

Boost highway spending to $33.8 billion, an increase of $6.1 billion over the 2003 budget.

The bill would direct AMTRAK to eliminate its national passenger rail system. A few profitable corridors in the Northeast and the West Coast would be maintained. This would leave the United States as the only industrialised nation without national passenger rail service.

One major problem is that Congress sees support for AMTRAK as a "subsidy" - rail is expected to somehow turn a profit - while the much larger expenditures on highways and airline industry bail-outs are couched in the more neutral or positive language of "expenditures" or "economic investment" and have no profit-making expectations.

Another problem is that Congress members still think that more money spent on highways will help solve road congestion. This is no longer a credible argument. As various studies on traffic generation have shown, road building would in most cases have the opposite effect: the more road capacity is increased, the more traffic expands to fill the available space. To solve traffic congestion, we would do better to reduce road capacity than to expand it.

Bare-bones highlights of the bill can be found here:

The Transportation Enhancements program would also be slashed.

Since 1991, the Transportation Enhancements program has built 8,000 bicycle and pedestrian projects in communities large and small across the US.

"Transportation Enhancements account for less than two cents of every Federal surface transportation dollar," says Keith Laughlin, President of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. "For less than two cents per dollar we get a popular program that supports locally-initiated transportation projects in communities across America. Those who would eliminate this program believe that every single Federal penny should be spent on highways. I urge Congress to reject such short-sighted thinking."

If you are a US citizen, please call or write your congressional representative as soon as possible and urge him or her to cut highway spending, fund AMTRAK for at least $1.8 billion and preserve and expand the Transportation Enhancements program. (Congressional Switchboard number: (202) 224-3121; President Bush: (202) 456-1111.)


Editor's note: This "America's Concern" came from Michael Hoffman.

The HOFFMAN WIRE is a public service of Independent History and Research, Box 849, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83816 USA

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The Journal of History - Fall 2003 Copyright © 2003 by News Source, Inc.