(Happy Passengers on Train)
River Laurel, WV
Fear and Loathing on the Rails
Bipartisan control freaks in American government are so obsessed with fear and violence that they can't seem to stop laying on fascist laws, rules, regulations and taxes on its citizenry. Who are these pilfering people, this lot of neurotic busy-bodies who leech off of US taxpayers?
From the fascism-fused, really, really bad Baucus B.S. Health Insurance bill that forces every American to subsidize the corrupt medical industrial complex of for-profit insurance providers and tech companies to the woeful Cap 'n Trade bill, if the Senate gets its way, be prepared to suffer the same indignities you currently do at the airport and wait in long lines the next time you want to catch a train.
This time, it's all about “safety” (ehm) as gun rights advocates won a legislative battle in the Senate today that passed an amendment which threatens Amtrak from receiving $1.6 billion in federal funds if it “prohibits customers from transporting their weapons.”
So what is the bill really about? This sneaky bill is about stripping away privacy rights for citizens who use public transportation, and is hardly a victory for rank and file gun rights advocates who ride the trains and pack heat anyway at their own discretion. When was the last time you hopped aboard an Amtrak train and got your body and your luggage frisked and x-rayed? This bill is a veritable gift to the manufacturers of guns and to the burgeoning Police State of the USA. If this bill passes, it will force Amtrak to harass its riders the same way the TSA do at the airports.
If this bill passes, Amtrak will be forced to quickly implement the “necessary infrastructure for proper screening.” Will we still be able to keep our shoes on? What will this do to the cost of tickets? Will Amtrak pass along the TSA salary and screening equipment costs to the consumer/passenger?
Once upon a time in America, rail travel (sans occasional delays) offered an efficient, relaxing and delightful way to see the many beautiful parts of this country. Unlike emissions polluting car travel, riding the train means not having to endure overcrowded city highways. Rail travel (pre-TSA) has so much to offer, where one can enjoy the freedom of reading a book, hitting up the dining car to catch a meal and even strike up an intriguing conversation with a complete stranger.
What will this bill do to discourage would be travelers from avoiding yet another downgraded form of public transportation? Just great. If this bill passes, riding Amtrak will never be the same. (Imagine a car load of passengers sitting around looking at each other, guessing which one is packing a Luger...)
Like Working Families Czar Joe Biden, I love riding the train as do millions of other Americans – some who prefer it to airline travel, which has degenerated into one of the most loathsome forms of human transport that assures discomfort and indignity on its under-privileged passengers not privy to the soaring private jet industry.
Where is a Passengers Rights Czar when you need one?