Adding High Speed Rail

Recent comments by Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and other reporters at CNN have criticized the new rail installed in New Hampshire because the service was not high speed rail as found in Europe. This group of reporters did not do their job in finding out the limitations of high speed rail service over existing rail lines. For example, several years ago I was parked next to a man who was an engineer on a train for Union Pacific. He was telling me about the limitations of passenger train travel over existing rail lines and why passenger train speeds were limited over the lines. He told me that the rail lines were no longer short links of rail but were a mile and a half of a continuous rail. This was done to take out the clicks and clacks sound made by the trains rolling over short pieces of rail. The rails worked very well for freight trains but not for passenger trains. Freight trains travel at relatively low speeds compared to passenger trains. Passenger trains tend to derail at speeds above 50 to 60 miles per hour particularly during hot summer months because the rails expand and the passenger trains which are much lighter derail at high speeds.

High speed trains in France have their own dedicated rail lines which are enclosed by high secure fences so that no animal or person can get onto the rail line and cause the train to derail and cause an accident. So if we are to have High Speed train travel in the United States, we would have to build dedicated rail lines to be used only for Passenger trains. This might seem like a unneeded expense, but when one considers the expense and congestion at airports, I would opt for the comfort of high speed rail over air travel. I have read about the use of special airlock terminals where one could board a train and exit a train without it stopping. This sounds much like the old movies on Star Trek, but I am can imagine some very intelligent engineer designing such a system.

It continues to irritate me that the Republican Party is intent on not spending any money on our decrepit infrastructure for outdated bridges, freeways, schools, railroads, and so forth. The latest ploy to vote down the talking filibuster is and example of the lack of rational leadership by Republicans in the Senate. In any business one has to spend money in order to build and business and earn money. Investing in rebuilding our infrastructure would put millions of unemployed people to work and would be paid for by increased public benefits.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

The United States has long been a leader in new technologies, but recently other countries such as Germany have taken the lead in developing hydrogen as its primary source of fuel. In order to transport that fuel, it is building a special pipeline for nationwide distribution of hydrogen with refueling stations for its cars and trucks. Because hydrogen is the smallest molecule, it can penetrate the walls of steel pipelines and leak the hydrogen through the walls. High grade stainless steel with a special coating on the inside of the pipeline is necessary to prevent such leakage. The cost of building such pipelines is expensive, but the benefits of completely of burning hydrogen without polluting the atmosphere is worth the added expense. A simple means of producing hydrogen is through hydrolysis by passing an electric current through water with a positive and negative electrodes which produces hydrogen and oxygen. In reading the literature on the production of hydrogen by this method uses more energy than it produces. However, there are some ways to use wind energy, energy from the ocean and energy from hydroelectric dams to mitigate some of the costs. For example, during the night time periods more electricity is produced than is used at hydroelectric dams. The same is true with windmill farms and certainly the energy produced by wave action is wasted when unused. Presently it is possible to store electrical energy as mechanical energy in off peak hours. Fiber flywheels which rotate up to 60,000 rpm can store the electrical energy as mechanical energy during the nighttime and can then be used to produce electrical energy as needed. The flywheels rotate in an evacuated chamber with magnetic bearings so that their expected lifetime with minimal maintenance is greatly reduced. The flywheels are slowly being produced and used for many other applications such as storing energy used in braking on diesel locomotives and greatly decreasing the amount of energy used by the locomotives. Fiber flywheels are also used in race cars and can also be used in ordinary cars to store energy for use when needed.

Training and education are also needed to help the United States to become a world leader in the use and production of new technologies. In the October 2012 issue of Scientific American is an article on the complementary nature of corporations, technical schools and universities used by Germany to produce outstanding workers who are the highest paid employees in the world. This defies the logic of the US corporations who set up factories in other countries in order to produce products which cost very little because the workers are paid sweat shop wages and forced to work long hours without health care benefits or retirement benefits. Our US corporations and billionaires do everything to denigrate labor unions which were once responsible for great worker benefits and longevity of the workforce in our US based industries.

There is now a move toward INSOURCING, where our companies are returned to the United States. There are several reasons for this reversal, such as increases in the wages paid to foreign workers, quality control of parts and design, costs of shipping the materials to a foreign country and then shipping the finished products back to the U.S., language barriers, and many other problems in manufacturing at a distance. Boeing is a prime example of a company that finally had to bring all of the manufacturing back to Seattle, Washington when they were building the newest passenger jet, the Dreamliner. This jet is built of carbon fibers which are much stronger that steel or aluminum. It was necessary to build a special loom for weaving the fabric into the desired shape because of the extremely small diameter of the carbon fiber strands. Before the manufacture of the Dreamliner was moved back to Seattle, Boeing was plagued by cost overruns due to shoddy parts manufactured in many parts of the world. The American workers are well trained and very capable of overcoming design problems. I used to work as a consultant to a German engineer who worked on the German Rocket program in World War II. He was impressed with the ability of American workers to repair their own cars, homes, and almost anything that either needed repair or a new design for a product. In Germany in the 1980’s one had to hire a professional to do any kind or repair. Because our high schools no longer have shop classes, we have lost part of that level of skill. If a person wants to work as a skilled worker in a specialized trade, it is necessary to pay either to attend a Community College or a specialized school to repair automobiles, dishwashers, and all other kinds of equipment. These schools cost far more than the shop classes in our High Schools. For further insight into the high level skills now required in Germany for their industries, read the October 2012 issue of Scientific American. Germany has the highest paid workers in the world due to their educational system, and yet is able to compete with other nations throughout the world in selling their products.

WELCOME TO THE SOUTH

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

I decided to add a preface this post after reviewing what I had written. It has to do with the onset of World War II and the incarceration of Japanese American citizens into Concentration Camps. There were those in the War Office who considered them a threat to the war effort against the Axis powers of Japan, Italy, and Germany. Two lifelong friends, one Japanese and one Caucasian, are part of this post because prejudice is not confined to any part of this country or to any particular race or group of immigrants. The Japanese sent to the concentration camps were loyal Americans who were sent without proof that they were disloyal. They came to live and go to school with us because the father of my lifelong Caucasian friend suggested releasing the Japanese to farm. We needed farmers to replace all the young men who went off to fight in World War. Once the Japanese were released from the Camp in Idaho, they came to work as farmers. Farming was new to most of the Japanese so the crops they chose to plant and raise were row crops such as lettuce, potatoes, sugar beets, and onions. Their first task was to take out the fence rows and farm adjacent to the roads. They did not raise any livestock or any crops such as corn, alfalfa, or grain. The children of the Japanese became our classmates and entered into learning with greater effort and diligence than their Caucasian classmates. They entered into the sports programs such as boxing, football, track, and baseball. There was prejudice at first, but as we got to know each other better the prejudice diminished and we became friends. The first Japanese and Caucasian marriage caused an incident by both families. The couple married and divorced because of their families, but they remarried each other after the brief divorce. There were many more intermarriages. The Japanese decided to build a cultural center to commemorate their arrival and development as citizens of Malheur County in Eastern Oregon and also Western Idaho, but decided to dedicate it to all the citizens of the region because they realized we were all immigrants. My lifelong Japanese friend still lives in Eastern Oregon and is married to a Caucasian woman, and my other friend lives in Southern Oregon.

On October 1956, after graduating in June from what is now Eastern Oregon State University, I was drafted by the U.S. Army. I had three school choices, cook’s school, military police, or aircraft maintenance school. I chose the latter and set off for basic training at Camp Carson in Colorado. The elevation at Camp Carson is about 6000 feet, but because I had been building a telephone line from La Grande, Oregon to Baker, Oregon, where the elevation was about 4500 feet, I was not bothered by the difference in elevation. For those who were overweight or in poor physical condition, it was so difficult that some would pass out and have placed in the medical truck which followed us on our marches. After about five to six weeks, those who were out of shape at the beginning of basic training were able to keep up with the rest of the company. My work during the summer had prepared me very well, because I had been finishing up digging the holes for telephone poles using an eight foot metal bar that was pointed on one end and flat on the other end. I also had and eight to ten foot spoon to scoop out the loose rock. I did this work for about twelve weeks or more in temperatures that were often 110 degrees. I always got a severe headache because dynamite contains liquid nitro-glycerine which is placed in diatomaceous earth or sawdust to form a means of holding the liquid. The nitro-glycerine fumes cause the headaches. When I went into the Army, we had to take physical training tests(PT Tests) to determine our degree of fitness, plus we all had to pass a medical exam and take shots of all kinds. So with my fitness at a very high level, I did better at the PT tests at the beginning of basic training than at the end. As soon as I finished basic training, I was sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama, now Fort Rucker, to train as a helicopter mechanic. It was an interesting assignment and an interesting place. I was sent there in December from Camp Carson wearing my winter uniform which was a heavy wool uniform. When I got off the train at Montgomery, Alabama the temperature was in the 80′s and the humidity was very high so we were very uncomfortable. As I looked around the train station, I saw that the water fountains and restrooms had signs “Whites Only” and “Colored Only”. My mother was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas and had told me about the South, but I was puzzled by the signs. It was my first introduction to the South in the late 1950′s. I should have known better because my mother told of traveling from Jonesboro to Memphis, which was about 60 miles, and seeing a black man hanging from a telephone pole. His crime could have been as minor as looking at a white woman ore even worse flirting with her. The other information of interest was that we were told that the blacks had refused to give up their seats to whites on the buses and were boycotting the bus company, so that the busses were not running at a full schedule. There had also been a black Minister, who had been traveling around the South, demanding the same Civil Rights enjoyed by the white citizens. I had never heard of this Minister who turned out to be the Reverend Martin Luther King, or the woman, Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man. Rosa Parks had been arrested sometime either in late 1955 or in 1956 for this crime. She had also been arrested about ten years prior to the latest event, when she refused to pay her toll and then get off the bus. walk to the back of the bus and enter the bus through the back door so the white passengers did not have to look at the blacks as they went down the aisle. This earlier crime had taken place on the same bus with the same driver before the one in 1955 or 1956. The Army had sent us to Montgomery, but had not provided us with transportation or with money to travel to Camp Rucker, so we had to stay overnight in the YMCA for a night which cost us 50 cents plus a little more for food. Some of my companions went out looking for women and reported back that the women they had met were very light skinned but the palms of their hands were even lighter. They thought they might be mulattos, a term seldom used anymore, to label a person of mixed race primarily black and white. After spending the night in Montgomery and contacting the Army in Fort Rucker, we took the bus to Fort Rucker. As usual, I walked to the back of the bus and got peculiar glances by the blacks sitting in the last ten rows of seats. I sat down next to a young black boy and talked to him as we rode along. I later learned that the State of Alabama could have arrested me for riding in the back of the bus. I liked riding in the back of the bus because it was usually empty or not crowded. In my case, ignorance was bliss because I was neither arrested nor did I have any problem because I rode in the back of the bus.

In the rest of my service, I had little contact with blacks except for a Warrant Officer who was one of the 34 helicopter pilots in our company. The only segregation I observed was that we started to get NCO’s in our company from the Infantry because the military was going through a downsizing and had to put the senior NCO’s somewhere. These NCO’s did not want anything to do with the Specialist class of soldiers who had been through helicopter maintenance school and tried to impose spit and polish techniques on the rest of us. One thing they tried was to insist that both pairs of boots had to be polished to a high shine, but once any hydraulic fluid was spilled on the boots, they would no longer shine. With the help of the First Sergeant and the Commanding Officer, this life threatening problem was solved by leaving one pair of boots polished for inspection. These same infantry sergeants did not want to share the mess hall with such low-lives, which the specialist class of soldiers represented. We also had army officers who had been victims of reduction in force, but they had a choice of retiring with less than twenty years of service or staying in the service as a Master Sergeant to finish their years toward retirement. The moral of this story is that different branches of the US Army operate without the need for strict rules of hierarchy because the pilots need to trust and respect the enlisted personnel who take care of the aircraft they are flying. Before the infantry sergeants, we did not have this class distinction in our company. I guess another moral of this story is that rigid class distinctions can arise anywhere at anytime.

It was in 1991 before I returned to the South where I lived for three years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The State of Mississippi had changed greatly due to the Civil Rights movement. The black kids and white kids who were poor attended public schools, while the affluent black kids and affluent white kids attended the once all white academies which were set up by the whites as the result of the desegregation. This meant that the Southern States spent more on education than the Northern States on a per capita basis, a statistic seldom discussed in Educational Circles. The other result of the resegregation of schools on the basis of affluence and not race, is that it robs the public schools of the leadership qualities which the affluent kids enjoy because of their enriched life experiences. The Northern States have a similar segregation due to affluent parents sending their kids to private schools, such as charter schools and other private schools that were set up before the United States were formed as a Union. Now the Public Schools are under assault by the large companies which make up ALEC, because they do not want to support public education through taxation. We are entering a new era of segregation with the super wealthy citizens refusing to pay their fair share of taxes in order to provide financial support for public services. In politics, we see new voting laws which try to keep underprivileged citizens from voting. These wealthy corporations and citizens have no sense of patriotism. Segregation as once practiced in the South now finds new areas in which to flourish, from the avoidance of taxes to prejudice against less affluent citizens in the Hispanic, Muslim, Black and White communities. We have states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania trying to void municipal laws, elected officials, labor unions. and so forth.

In contrast while living in Mississippi, we had Black police officers, mixed church congregations, mixed schools and many other examples communities working together for the good of their communities. In contrast, on the eve of Inauguration of President Obama we had Rep.Eric Kantor, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, probably Minority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and many others attending a secret meeting and agreeing to do everything in their power to thwart the Obama Presidency because he was of both Black and White heritage. We had Senator McConnell of Kentucky declaring that he would do everything possible to ensure that Obama would not be elected for a second term.

To summarize this post, I have a favorable view of Southern Politics and my Southern Relatives. I grew up in Oregon, but my mother taught me the Southern tradition of manners, and my Southern Wife from Mississippi has continued the lessons, although she is sometimes in despair over my progress. Southeners are not perfect. Neither are the Northeners or Westeners because in many of the Western States such as Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Idaho, there are some of the most conservative political leaders anywhere in the United States. We have some of the Oklahoma delegates who do not believe in global warming and would not even if that state formed rain forests and jungles. My deceased brother-in-law had many black friends in Mississippi, including a Deputy Sheriff who met in each others homes. He once asked me what I would think of his asking his friend. Deputy Sheriff Bubba, over for drinks. I replied that if he were my friend I would not care what others would think if I invited him over for drinks. I am certain he and Bubba had shared many drinks in each others homes, but he wanted my approval. In true Southern tradition white and black women would often assist each other during child birth or if there was an illness in each others family. During the early 1920″s, my father bid on a construction project while he and my mother were living in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He was criticized for hiring black carpenters to help him on the project. He told the white relatives and friends that he did not care what color their skin was as long as they could do the job. I cannot state my true disdain for any political leaders who would meet in private and pledge to oppose the first White and Black President of the United States in everything he proposed. I promised myself not to use profanity in my posts.

REBUILDING THE UNITED STATES INFRASTRUCTURE

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

We have heard many speeches on rebuilding our infrastructure, but so far very little money has been appropriated to start such projects. If we go back to the Great Depression of the 1930’s, we had President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was very wealthy, but also had great compassion for those who were poor and out of work. He fought a long fight to convince the Republican Party to work with him to rebuild old infrastructure, and to build new projects which would provide for the long term prosperity of not only the wealthy, but to build a prosperous middle class which would have a public safety net for health and retirement. He did not succeed in all of his attempts, but he did establish social security and provided funds to build hydroelectric dams which provided for electricity and water for irrigation. He expanded his efforts to large and small metropolitan areas in order to provide money to rebuild their infrastructure and to provide jobs. These efforts were very important because unemployment was approximately 25% nationwide, and included mostly men, since the number of women working outside the home was small compared to the present time. Also, the percentage of people engaged in agriculture during the 1930’s was well over 30%, and has gradually declined to under 3% in 2012.

As a young man, he was crippled by polio and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair, but he was always careful to be photographed standing up in a special set of braces that allowed him to walk a few steps to a podium. He would not allow himself to be photographed in a wheelchair because he did not want pity or to be described as weak because of his illness. He brought the country back to prosperity from 1934 to 1937 only to have a second deep depression which was worst than the first. He did not despair but continued to develop new agencies such as the WPA, PWA, and the CCC’s. He put millions of unemployed workers to doing jobs which would develop the infrastructure across the nation. Many of these projects included hydroelectric dams which still provide electricity and water for irrigation, and included the Tennessee Valley Authority(TVA) and the Bonneville Power Administration(BPA) which eventually spanned the length of the Columbia River, as well as the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. All three of these great projects are still working today to bringing power and irrigation to large areas of this nation. He was fought at every turn by the Republicans, but he continued his work until his death just before the end of World War II, when his Vice President Harry S. Truman became President. He was elected as President four times and guided this nation through the great depression and through much of World War II. He also set up the CIA with the help of the British before World War II, so that he could use their services in espionage projects overseas, since the FBI operation is confined to the US. The automotive factories and other manufacturing facilities were converted to building all kinds of war machines from the Jeep, to trucks, to tanks, to landing crafts, to ships and to airplanes. Our industries provided the Allied nations including Russia and Great Britain with war machines and materiel to fight World War II. After the war, the Marshal Plan was put in place to rebuild the infrastructure over much of Europe and Asia. President Roosevelt used radio broadcasts throughout his Presidency to communicate with the nation. He had a great speaking voice, much like President Obama, and could convince people to support his policies in both peace and war. I grew up listening to his broadcasts, because my father always listened to the news on the radio when he came home from work. TV was first broadcast in New York in the late 1930’s, but did not expand around the nation until the 1950’s. Once the war was over, President Truman carried on President Roosevelt’s policies, and the equally progressive Republican President, President Dwight Eisenhower provided the funds to build the national highway interstate system so that we now have the United States connected by high speed freeways. The G.I.bill provided funds for the retraining of returning World War II veterans in colleges and trade schools. During the Korean War and the Vietnam War the G.I. bill was also provided for veterans. I used my G.I. bill to attend graduate school to earn a Ph.D. at Oregon State University. I was glad to see the G.I. Bill reinstated for the veterans of the Gulf War, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. These were the most cost effective programs ever instituted because they provided well educated individuals to work in building the infrastructure of the the U.S., and because they included both skilled workers and college graduates.

President Obama’s efforts to rebuild the infrastructure has been met with much the same opposition by the Republican Part that President Roosevelt experienced in the 1930’s, except the present Republican Party vow was to oppose his efforts in order make certain that President Obama was a one term President. In the meantime our infrastructure is between 60 and 80 years old. Our buildings such as schools are old and decrepit, our cities are showing signs of age and disrepair, our highways and bridges are unsafe and old, particularly in areas where salt is used to melt snow in the winter, our rail system needs to be updated to include high speed rail which is found in Europe, China and Japan. I would like to see high speed rail on the West Coast from the City of Tijuana , Mexico to Vancouver, B.C. Further, we need a high speed rail from Chicago to Seattle, and one from New Orleans to Los Angeles. I do not know enough about the needs of the East Coast to comment intelligently. I do know, that a high speed rail system would take the pressure off the airplane travel and offer an alternative to air travel which has become congested and increasingly expensive. Lastly I would like to see a Western White House built in one of the Western States possibly Nevada. We westerners get the impression that politics on the West Coast do not matter, but we do have a growing and influential population.

Voter Suppression Laws

Walter L. Bell, Ph.D.

The voting rights act was put into place to provide citizens of the United States with the opportunity to vote without undue registration requirements. With the Republican Party desperately trying to win the next election for President, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, their best opportunity appears to cheat by passing bogus laws which makes it more difficult for the poor, the aged, and the minority voters to vote. If our Supreme Court were awake and concerned with all members of the United States, it would not have passed the Citizens United ruling allowing the billionaires to buy votes. I have not forgotten how my vote was ignored and suppressed in the 2000 election when the Supreme Court appointed George Bush as President, and again sat silent when the Secretary of State for Ohio ignored pleas for a recount when thousands of ballots disappeared, and George Bush was appointed again by the Ohio Secretary of State.

In a Democracy, the right to vote is sacred if were are to survive as a free nation and not end up as dictatorship. A judge in Pennsylvania has allowed the new law which discriminates against about 750,000 voters who have voted in previous elections, by requiring new voter identification rules and not allowing any voting on weekends. Many of these voters are poor and cannot afford the cost of new identification, and have no way to get to the proper place to register or to vote once they get their new registration. Many of the elderly black people were not born in hospitals because the white run hospitals would not allow them to give birth in a hospital. An elderly black woman who marched with Martin Luther King will not be able to vote. Latinos, young students in colleges will not be allowed to vote unless they vote via absentee ballots.

Here is what I would suggest for all Americans to do, because it appears that our dysfunctional Supreme Court has gone to sleep again. It appears that certain members of the Supreme Court have contracted the BAT-CRAP-CRAZY-VIRUS that infected the Tea Party Members, such as U.S.Rep Michelle Bachmann. Clarence Thomas and his wife were also infected by the virus with regard to the $800,000 she earned from the Tea Party. Clarence Thomas claimed he did not understand income tax rules. He got a second dose of the virus when he attended the secret meetings hosted by the infamous Billionaire Koch Brothers. Also infected by this virus were Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito who also attended these secret meetings.

It is no wonder that to please themselves and the other Republican members of the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as most of the Billionaire group, they voted to pass the Citizens United law that gave Billionaires the right to buy votes nationwide to influence legislation and buy Senators, Representatives at the National and State level. The Citizens United law was the most biased and stupidest law ever passed by any Supreme Court in our history, by declaring corporations to be persons. The last I heard, only children born by other people were legally persons. This same Supreme Court has been silent regarding Voter Suppression Laws passed by states with a vast number of minority citizens, both poor, old and ethnically impure with the basic intent to prevent them from voting and thus ensuring that a Republican President is elected. So in order to help these voters to be able to vote in the next election I am suggesting the following:

1. Send a letter to the Supreme Court Justice of the United States, John Roberts, and to the Associate Justices as well. If you need help get together with your friends and neighbors and send out letters as a group. Explain your discontent with their inaction and mention the attendance of Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas at the secret meetings with the Koch Brothers where much of these actions were discussed and planned,

2. Send a copy of the letter to the State Supreme Courts, the Secretary of State for your state or whoever is in charge of elections, the local person in charge of elections. If you can, try to get a bipartisan group involved, but I would not be disappointed if you do not get the cooperation of the Republican Party. It is not in their best interest to have fair elections in our government.

3. Also, send a letter to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, telling him you support his efforts to challenge voter suppression laws.

4. Start a fund drive to help those voters in other states who do not have the financial means to pay for voter registration.

5. Current Members of the Supreme Court of the United States:

Name Service Assoc Justice Chief Justice Birth Place Date Religion

Antonin Scalia 1986– *** N.J. 1936 Roman Catholic

Anthony N. Kennedy 1988– *** Calif 1936 Roman Catholic

Clarence Thomas 1991– *** GA 1948 Roman Catholic

Ruth Bader Ginsberg 1993– *** N.Y. 1933 Jewish

Stephen G. Breyer 1994– *** Calif 1938 Jewish

John G. Roberts 2005– N.Y, 1955 Roman Catholic

Samuel A. Alito, Jr. 2006 *** N.J. 1950 Roman Catholic

Sonia Sotomayor 2009 *** N.Y. 1954 Roman Catholic

Elena Kagan 2010 *** N.Y. 1960 Jewish

Mailing Address for the Supreme Court:
U.S. Supreme Court Building, 1 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20543

ON DAY ONE I WILL DO THE FOLLOWING

Since the Republican hopeful for POTUS needs only one day to completely change the direction and function of the United States of America, I suggest limiting Willard Romney to a one day Presidency. After all, he constantly talks about firing people, doing away with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Department of Education, Commerce, all Wall Street reforms, taxation for the Wealthy, etc. I suggest that he also do away with the Supreme Court since it has become so inept and biased toward the Citizens United Billionaires that it no longer functions as the third branch of government. He could also revoke the citizenship of all the 1% millionaires and billionaires and send them to the Cayman Islands and other off shore tax avoidance havens. He could export Jaime Dimon(James Dimon). James “Jamie” Dimon is an American business executive. He is the current chairman, president, and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, one of the Big Four banks of the United States. Under his expert leadership JPMorgan Chase lost at least 2 Billion dollars gambling with derivatives. He reportedly lost 3 Billion dollars or more, but who is counting with such exemplary leadership. He could serve as a one day Secretary of the Treasury and continue to Bankrupt the United States as President George W. Bush did with Treasury Secretary Henry(Hank) Paulson(The Sky is Falling Treasury Secretary). Hank Paulson, knowing that our treasury was in default, and knowing that the four of the largest banks in Great Britain were near default bought Puts on three of their largest banks and earned 5 Billion dollars. If Paulson had purchased Puts on the US Banks which were also in default, he would have been guilty of insider trading and could have been sentenced to prison. You buy puts on financial trading as a bet that the price of a commodity or some other financial transaction is going to decline. You buy Calls on a financial transaction if you think it is going to increase in value.

So you see that we need Romney as President for one day only to finish the job of bankrupting this country started by eight years of the failed Presidency of George W. Bush. We would then fire Romney and turn the Presidency back to Barack Obama in order to clean up the destruction and disorder imposed upon this great nation by the Supreme Court, the Bush and Romney Administrations, and rename the Republican Party, the “Citizen United Party for the Destruction of the United States with the aid of Republican Supreme Court Justices of the United States”. That is a very long title for the Republican Party but since we would have our one day President Romney, not only firing himself but the entire Republican Supreme Court Justices and all of the Republican Representatives and Senators, including Rep. Eric Kantor, Rep. Paul Ryan, and especially Sen. Mitch McConnell, who would in his final act as a Senator make Romney a ONE DAY PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, I do not have the time at this moment to come up with a shorter title.

Some song writer could write a stirring melody for this occasion commemorating the One Day POTUS and the former Republican SCOTUS members would be replaced by newly appointed members by the the Second Term President Barack Obama. I have not exhausted my store of ideas, but I need to stop at this point and Cook Breakfast, which given my limited cooking skills includes only making coffee. You see my definition of cooking is applying heat to some food or beverage.

The Vulture

Since our home backs onto a wildlife refuge, we have all kinds of wild animals including hawks, vultures, blue herons, geese, ducks, ravens, crows, mountain jays, fox, coyotes, deer, eagles, five different snakes, rabbits, feral cats, humming birds, and frogs. The one animal I will tell you about is the turkey buzzard because the buzzard or vulture doesn’t kill anything it only eats dead animals.

I once had a poster of two buzzards sitting upon a road sign out in the desert with two signs pointing in two directions. At the bottom of the sign was a sun bleached skeleton of an animal which had been picked clean. Since I grew up in the high desert of Eastern Oregon, it takes less than 30 days for a dead cow or horse to be nothing but a skeleton with only a few pieces of hide and sinew left on the bones. After a year of two the sun will have bleached out the skeleton so that the bones are completely white. My poster, in which my wife saw no humor, had two buzzards sitting on the sign post looking down at the bleached out skeleton. One buzzard turned to the other and said, “Patience hell, let’s kill something.”

We have been hearing on the news about Venture Capitalists buying a company, selling off all its assets, laying off all its employees, confiscating its pension funds and leaving the company with a mountain of debt, so that it has to file for bankruptcy,and keeping all the profits for themselves. This is the kind of business Mitt Romney was involved in when he started Bain Capital. Venture Capitalists, now referred to as Vulture Capitalists do not create anything but only leave a skeleton of a company that is bankrupt and lies bleaching it the sun as a dead company. Romney will try to explain that he merged companies or reorganized them into viable companies, but what he doesn’t tell you that his investors or partners never lost money. Instead, they stripped all the assets out of the company and kept the money for themselves. In order to keep from paying taxes on their money they established off shore accounts which were not taxed. This is how he set up a hundred million dollar offshore account for his sons. It is also the reason he is reluctant to present his income tax records for the public until the very last moment before the next election.

Romney also wants to defund public sector unions, including teachers unions, and use that money for other schemes he and his cronies in ALEC have set up. One only has to look at Romney’s record as Govenor of the State of Massachusets, which he left with a huge debt, to get an idea on how he would try to run the Federal Government. It would be a government of the Rich, for the Rich, and by the Rich. He wants to cut taxes on the rich and has probably already signed the “Vulture Document”, authored by Grover Norquist, never to raise taxes.

We need to spend money to get us out of this depression. We will have to do deficit financing on a scale similar to the Great Depression of the 1930’s and after World War II in order to get us out of this quagmire the Republicans have got us into with their refusal to fund any public works projects such as building roads, and bridges, and schools. You do not see the employees of banks and other financial institutions working in buildings which are falling apart. Go to any small town or big city and you will find that banks waste more space than any other institution. By contrast, public schools in large and small communities are overcrowded, have high levels of molds that make students ill. Many were built either in the 1930’s or after World War II. The high school where I taught was literally falling apart. It got so bad it was finally torn down and a new building was built. My students were always asking me why we did not have air conditioning, to which I always replied, “We do, it is air conditioned hot and hotter.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, from Kentucky refused to allow his Republican colleagues in the Senate to provide money to rebuild a bridge in his own state, that is unsafe and causes traffic delays which ultimately costs more than the cost of rebuilding the bridges. This is sheer stupidity and makes one wonder why the citizens of Kentucky keep electing people like he and Rand Paul. The bridges and freeways were built after World War II when President Eisenhower, a liberal and well respected Republican, signed the highway bill to bring our roads up to the standards he saw in Germany during World War II. Our level of national debt was higher in proportion than at the present time. So the solution is to use deficit financing until we have rebuilt our factories, employed our own workers, and have a fully functioning private and governmental work force which is able to buy our own products. You will hear the argument that our goods and services will cost more because of labor unions, but at least our citizens will be employed and have more money to spend. This plan worked well until the past two Bush Presidencies out sourced our jobs, failed to finance two wars, gave tax breaks to companies and wealthy individuals to set up companies overseas.

An update on current events has Bain Capital moving a company to China because it can make more money and escape paying taxes in the United States. The final irony, is that current employees of this company are required to train their Chinese counterparts in the job they are doing. I have always wondered why an employee would do agree to train someone else for their job unless they were getting a large severance package to do this work.

WELCOME TO THE SOUTH

I decided to add a preface this post after reviewing what I had written. It has to do with the onset of World War II and the incarceration of Japanese American citizens into Concentration Camps. There those in the War Office who considered them a threat to the war effort against the Axis powers of Japan, Italy, and Germany. Two lifelong friends, one Japanese and one Caucasian, are part of this post because prejudice is not confined to any part of this country or to any particular race or group of immigrants. The Japanese sent to the concentration camps were loyal Americans who were sent without proof that they were disloyal. They came to live and go to school with us because the father of my lifelong Caucasian friend suggested releasing the Japanese to farm. We needed farmers to replace all the young men who went off to fight in World War. Once the Japanese were released from the Camp in Idaho, they came to work as farmers. Farming was new to most of the Japanese so the crops they chose to plant and raise were row crops such as lettuce, potatoes, sugar beets, and onions. Their first task was to take out the fence rows and farm adjacent to the roads. They did not raise any livestock or any crops such as corn, alfalfa, or grain. The children of the Japanese became our classmates and entered into learning with greater effort and diligence than their Caucasian classmates. They entered into the sports programs such as boxing, football, track, and baseball. There was prejudice at first, but as we got to know each other better the prejudice diminished and we became friends. The first Japanese and Caucasian marriage caused an incident by both families The couple married and divorced because of their families, but remarried each other after the brief divorce. There were many more intermarriages. The Japanese decided to build a cultural center to commemorate their arrival and development as citizens of Malheur County in Eastern Oregon and also Western Idaho, but decided to dedicate it to all the citizens of the region because they realized we were all immigrants. My lifelong Japanese friend still lives in Eastern Oregon and is married to a Caucasian woman, and my other friend lives in Southern Oregon.

On October 1956, after graduating in June from what is now Eastern Oregon State University, I was drafted by the U.S. Army. I had three school choices, cook’s school, military police, or aircraft maintenance school. I chose the latter and set off for basic training at Camp Carson in Colorado. The elevation at Camp Carson is about 6000 feet, but because I had been building a telephone line from La Grande, Oregon to Baker, Oregon, where the elevation was about 4500 feet, I was not bothered by the difference in elevation. For those who were overweight or in poor physical condition, it was so difficult that some would pass out and have placed in the medical truck which followed us on our marches. After about five to six weeks, those who were out of shape at the beginning of basic training were able to keep up with the rest of the company. My work during the summer had prepared me very well, because I had been finishing up digging the holes for telephone poles using an eight foot metal bar that was pointed on one end and flat on the other end. I also had and eight to ten foot spoon to scoop out the loose rock. I did this work for about twelve weeks or more in temperatures that were often 110 degrees. I always got a severe headache because dynamite contains liquid nitro-glycerine which is placed in diatomaceous earth or sawdust to form a means of holding the liquid. The nitro-glycerine fumes cause the headaches. When I went into the Army, we had to take physical training tests(PT Tests) to determine our degree of fitness, plus we all had to pass a medical exam and take shots of all kinds. So with my fitness at a very high level, I did better at the PT tests at the beginning of basic training than at the end.

As soon as I finished basic training, I was sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama, now Fort Rucker, to train as a helicopter mechanic. It was an interesting assignment and an interesting place. I was sent there in December from Camp Carson wearing my winter uniform which was a heavy wool uniform. When I got off the train at Montgomery, Alabama the temperature was in the 80’s and the humidity was very high so we were very uncomfortable. As I looked around the train station, I saw that the water fountains and restrooms had signs “Whites Only” and “Colored Only”. My mother was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas and had told me about the South, but I was puzzled by the signs. It was my first introduction to the South in the late 1950’s. I should have known better because my mother told of traveling from Jonesboro to Memphis, which was about 60 miles, and seeing a black man hanging from a telephone pole. His crime could have been as minor as looking at a white woman ore even worse flirting with her. The other information of interest was that we were told that the blacks had refused to give up their seats to whites on the buses and were boycotting the bus company, so that the busses were not running at a full schedule. There had also been a black Minister, who had been traveling around the South, demanding the same Civil Rights enjoyed by the white citizens. I had never heard of this Minister who turned out to be the Reverend Martin Luther King, or the woman, Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man. Rosa Parks had been arrested sometime either in late 1955 or in 1956 for this crime. She had also been arrested about ten years prior to the latest event, when she refused to pay her toll and then get off the bus. walk to the back of the bus and enter the bus through the back door so the white passengers did not have to look at the blacks as they went down the aisle. This earlier crime had taken place on the same bus with the same driver before the one in 1955 or 1956.

The Army had sent us to Montgomery, but had not provided us with transportation or with money to travel to Camp Rucker, so we had to stay overnight in the YMCA for a night which cost us 50 cents plus a little more for food. Some of my companions went out looking for women and reported back that the women they had met were very light skinned but the palms of their hands were even lighter. They thought they might be mulattos, a term seldom used anymore, to label a person of mixed race primarily black and white. After spending the night in Montgomery and contacting the Army in Fort Rucker, we took the bus to Fort Rucker. As usual, I walked to the back of the bus and got peculiar glances by the blacks sitting in the last ten rows of seats. I sat down next to a young black boy and talked to him as we rode along. I later learned that the State of Alabama could have arrested me for riding in the back of the bus. I liked riding in the back of the bus because it was usually empty or not crowded. In my case, ignorance was bliss because I was neither arrested nor did I have any problem because I rode in the back of the bus.

In the rest of my service, I had little contact with blacks except for a Warrant Officer who was one of the 34 helicopter pilots in our company. The only segregation I observed was that we started to get NCO’s in our company from the Infantry because the military was going through a downsizing and had to put the senior NCO’s somewhere. These NCO’s did not want anything to do with the Specialist class of soldiers who had been through helicopter maintenance school and tried to impose spit and polish techniques on the rest of us. One thing they tried was to insist that both pairs of boots had to be polished to a high shine, but once any hydraulic fluid was spilled on the boots, they would no longer shine. With the help of the First Sergeant and the Commanding Officer, this life threatening problem was solved by leaving one pair of boots polished for inspection. These same infantry sergeants did not want to share the mess hall with such low-lives, which the specialist class of soldiers represented. We also had army officers who had been victims of reduction in force, but they had a choice of retiring with less than twenty years of service or staying in the service as a Master Sergeant to finish their years toward retirement. The moral of this story is that different branches of the US Army operate without the need for strict rules of hierarchy because the pilots need to trust and respect the enlisted personnel who take care of the aircraft they are flying. Before the infantry sergeants, we did not have this class distinction in our company. I guess another moral of this story is that rigid class distinctions can arise anywhere at anytime.

It was in 1991 before I returned to the South where I lived for three years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The State of Mississippi had changed greatly due to the Civil Rights movement. The black kids and white kids who were poor attended public schools, while the affluent black kids and affluent white kids attended the once all white academies which were set up by the whites as the result of the desegregation. This meant that the Southern States spent more on education than the Northern States on a per capita basis, a statistic seldom discussed in Educational Circles. The other result of the resegregation of schools on the basis of affluence and not race, is that it robs the public schools of the leadership qualities which the affluent kids enjoy because of their enriched life experiences. The Northern States have a similar segregation due to affluent parents sending their kids to private schools, such as charter schools and other private schools that were set up before the United States were formed as a Union. Now the Public Schools are under assault by the large companies which make up ALEC, because they do not want to support public education through taxation. We are entering a new era of segregation with the super wealthy citizens refusing to pay their fair share of taxes in order to provide financial support for public services. In politics, we see new voting laws which try to keep underprivileged citizens from voting. These wealthy corporations and citizens have no sense of patriotism. Segregation as once practiced in the South now finds new areas in which to flourish, from the avoidance of taxes to prejudice against less affluent citizens in the Hispanic, Muslim, Black and White communities. We have states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania trying to void municipal laws, elected officials, labor unions. and so forth. In contrast while living in Mississippi, we had Black police officers, mixed church congregations, mixed schools and many other examples communities working together for the good of their communities. In contrast, on the eve of Inauguration of President Obama we had Rep.Eric Kantor, Rep. Paul Ryan, the Ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, probably Minority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and many others attending a secret meeting and agreeing to do everything in their power to thwart the Obama Presidency because he was of both Black and White heritage. We had Senator McConnell of Kentucky declaring that he would do everything possible to ensure that Obama would not be elected for a second term.

To summarize this post, I have a favorable view of Southern Politics and my Southern Relatives. I grew up in Oregon, but my mother taught me the Southern tradition of manners, and my Southern Wife from Mississippi has continued the lessons, although she is sometimes in despair over my progress. Southeners are not perfect. Neither are the Northeners or Westeners because in many of the Western States such as Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Idaho, there are some of the most conservative political leaders anywhere in the United States. We have some of the Oklahoma delegates who do not believe in global warming and would not even if that state formed rain forests and jungles.

My deceased brother-in-law had many black friends in Mississippi, including a Deputy Sheriff who met in each others homes. He once asked me what I would think of his asking his friend. Deputy Sheriff Bubba, over for drinks. I replied that if he were my friend I would not care what others would think if I invited him over for drinks. I am certain he and Bubba had shared many drinks in each others homes, but he wanted my approval. In true Southern tradition white and black women would often assist each other during child birth or if there was an illness in each others family. During the early 1920″s, my father bid on a construction project while he and my mother were living in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He was criticized for hiring black carpenters to help him on the project. He told the white relatives and friends that he did not care what color their skin was as long as they could do the job. I cannot state my true disdain for any political leaders who would meet in private and pledge to oppose the first White and Black President of the United States in everything he proposed. I promised myself not to use profanity in my posts.

SLEEP APNEA

We have four members of our family with SLEEP APNEA which can lead to death, fatigue, early dementia, diminished lung capacity, and heart failure. It is a very serious disease and affects millions of people. I just learned that professional truck drivers must have a sleep machine and must be monitored in order to continue driving. Athletes of all ages need to be tested for sleep apnea particularly if they gain weight during the off season when not exercising. Only your partner can help you detect if you have sleep apnea. For example, my wife could not get a good night’s sleep because I snored so loudly that I kept her awake so we visited a doctor who specialized in this disease. The results were dramatic because I started out awakening very early in the morning with severe headaches which started out at one time per week and progressed to 4 times per week. One time I was driving our 36 foot RV and towing a Jeep when I feel asleep enough to start to go off the road. I recovered in time to prevent an accident.

Besides snoring, some people snort in their sleep and awake themselves as well as their partner. Others flail their legs and arms as they sleep. I felt tired all the time because I did not get enough sleep. One of the linebackers for the Green Bay Packers retired at about 39 years of age and died at age 42 of sleep apnea. Linemen are particularly vulnerable because of their size, and they tend to gain weight once they retire. I gained weight once I retired, but I had sleep apnea for many years without knowing it. I recently convinced my wife to have the doctor prescribe a sleep test for her and now she has had two good nights sleep for the first time in years. It took me awhile to convince her, but she could not go to sleep and stay asleep. She might fall asleep for an hour and the stay awake for two or more hours, and would often finally go to sleep at five a.m. and then sleep during the day. Since I have had a sleep machine for several years, I go to sleep immediately once I turn on the machine and put on my sleeping mask. I noticed her sleeping problems when she slept during the day.

A sleep study consists of sleeping over night in a hospital equipped for sleep studies. You are hooked up with electrodes in your hair, on your chest and on your legs. The monitor allows the attendants to measure the number and severity of sleep episodes during the night. My step daughter had 80 or more episodes per night which included not breathing, snoring, fatigue and the usual sleep apnea episodes. I had to convince my doctor that I had sleep apnea before he would order a new study. His wife told me that I had a slight sleep apnea which is like telling a women that she is slightly pregnant.

The machines used in treating sleep apnea have progressed in their design over the past several years. My wife’s new machine has a built in wireless antennae which sends the results to the provider of the machine who then forwards the report to your doctor. It also has a vaporizer to prevent dry mouth which is a leading cause of tooth decay. Luckily I do not have this problem but my wife does have it. Some people cannot wear a full mask like I use because of claustrophobia, so there are all kinds of masks which are available for persons to use. My wife is using a sleeping pill for the first two weeks so that she can go to sleep as soon as she puts on her mask. The technician told us that most people do not need it after the first two weeks, because as soon as you put on your mask the brain tells you it is time to go to sleep. I have always wondered why I go to sleep immediately as soon as I put on my mask. Also, as soon as you fall asleep, you rarely have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom, because again the brain monitors the kidney function while you are asleep. Your medical provider will pay for the sleep study and the sleep machine provider will call you and ask what supplies you need. It is great that we now have universal health care provisions in this nation, if the politicians and citizens do not try to vote it of existence. It took over a hundred years to get our current health coverage after President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, tried to provide it 1900. It is not perfect, but a healthy nation is a more productive nation because we have less catastrophic illness which drive up health costs.

LEGAL INVESTIGATION OF CITIZENS UNITED AND ALEC

The Supreme Court decision declaring that corporations are persons in the Citizens United case is drawing much adverse publicity. The reason for this adverse publicity is the amount of money flowing into Super-Pacs with no requirement to disclose the source of the money which could be an international corporation or a domestic corporation. You can easily look up membership in ALEC for your own state and see which elected officials are members, and see which ones are singled out for recognition, which means that money was a motivating factor in securing such recognition.

In a previous post I explained that ALEC provides what is called “Boiler Plate” legislation which can be tweaked to suit the particular State Legislature needs or desires. Because of the actions of ALEC and the Koch brothers and other billionaires in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, there is great concern that our rights to collective bargaining, voting rights, influence by foreign nations in our laws and voting rights, and the passage of laws without our own citizens approval, that we we could easily become a nation without our own citizen participation and approval.

I recently received an email urging me to sign a petition to send to all 50 State Attorney Generals requesting that they petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn their Citizens United decision and remove the Corporation as a Citizen, and to prevent organizations such as ALEC from interfering with the political outcomes of elections such as the funding of Super Pacs with money from the large corporations and the purchasing of politicians whose vote is for sale to the highest bidder.

I do not know if this will do any good, but it is certainly worth the effort because we can easily lose our freedom and rights as citizens of our states and of this nation. Your willingness to act should not be constrained by any political party or other affiliations, because we are all citizens of this great nation and have an obligation to help preserve our freedoms. The right to vote and to have that vote count is the reason this nation has been a beacon to people all over the world. Part of my ancestors left Scotland for the opportunity live in a free country while the other ancestors were already here trying to preserve their own freedoms.