Monday, July 06, 2009

A pass, payment or your head…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:54 AM Permalink

…when it comes to our constitutional rights to travel unimpeded between and among the states of this Union. I have always (apparently inaccurately) thought that meant that any American could go to any other state by way of any means public or private, unfettered from paperwork, and without declaring the reasons for which you might need or want to use public transportation.

All Americans know that this is not true in view of the 'terrorists watch list', now a few million names long, with no explanation forthcoming from government as to the criteria used to compile that list other than generalities like paying for a one-way ticket with cash, where even an employee who says you are acting erratically (like trying to check a third bag. Mein Gott! Was ist los?), and many, many other criteria that remain secret to the public.

There apparently is no means by which you can have your name removed from this list, as Senator Kennedy (probably the most well-know and most recognized Senator in my lifetime) who has several times been detained for long lengths of time until "someone" (I think it's that little guy pulling all the levers needed to pretend to be the all-powerful wizard of Oz) ultimately either sends you through or tells you you cannot board your in-country flight at all because of the list.

Blatantly unconstitutional and a violation of your rights with no one in government designated to hear an appeal against you making it virtually impossible for you to travel by a means of public transportation freely, as envisioned by our founders.

What could be more nefarious and dangerous to travel rights than this? Glad you asked.

See this for a bad, bad, idea:
Republican Gov. Rick Perry told the Austin crowd that Washington needed to hear them "loud and clear" on a message of cutting spending and taxation and shrinking the government.
Perry also drew some boos on his support of toll roads to alleviate traffic congestion
These privately owned toll roads will be yet another cancer on America as our governments take advantage and cancel public road projects, allow private roads to deteriorate even further, and, to boot, further exacerbate the line between the poor and the well-to-do even farther.

I can just see it now, a pregnant soccer mom with a car full of screaming kids inadvertently takes the wrong freeway exit and finds herself pulling up to beautiful tolls booth decorated with gold leaf highlights, well-lit, with at least two well- coiffed uniformed persons manning the booth.

As she rolls to booth, winding down her window, one of the men comes to the window and says, "That will be $122.00, please.

The shocked woman asks, "$122.00! Just to get across town for my son's Little League game!"

"Well, ma'am, you DID turn into the private toll road exit off the freeway. And by the way, we here at the Toll Roads Conglomerate donate five cents of every toll taken to support local sports and schools, so what are you complaining about?" he said.

She: "But I can't afford to spend $122.00 just to go 40 miles across town! Isn't there some alternative?"

He: "Well, yes ma'am there is. We have an entire fleet of tow trucks to tow people such as yourself back to the regular highway."

She: "Can't I just back up and turn around?"

He: "Oh, no ma'am, you've already crossed the spikes that will destroy your tires if you try to back up, and I'd hate to see that happen."

She: "All right, you win, please call me a tow truck to bring me back to the highway."

The attendant pushes a button on the wall and within a scant few minutes a big, shiny, new-looking tow truck arrives on the scene. The driver hooks her up, turns into a road hidden from view of the booth, and in short order indeed the woman and her children are back on the freeway and again have the choice of exits for privately-owned toll roads or state run freeways.

She: "Oh, thank you! Thank you! I couldn't possibly afforded that private road! By the way, what do I owe you for the tow?"

Tow Truck Driver: " That comes to 366.00 dollars, please."

Shocked, the woman asked, "How can you have the nerve to charge so much? I'm calling my Senator and Congressman about this! You'll see and learn the hard way that you just just can't do this to poor people like myself!"

Driver: "Collectively speaking your Senator, Congressman, the Governor of this state, the State Legislator, and the Highway Commission have reviewed this matter, found it to be efficient, that it reduces traffic for the rich people who shouldn't have to drive on the same road as you in your hoopty mobile packed with screaming kids, detracting from the serenity of traveling a road only for the rich. The rest of you riffraff will just have to sit in heavy traffic on public roads."

She, after paying the tow: "Well, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing YOU will have a horrible day."

How so the driver asked. "Well, said she, as you were lecturing me about being riffraff little Johnny was using the pocket knife he got for Christmas to flatten every tire on your tow truck while you were being such a pompous ass!" Her words quickly fading in the wind as she drove away.

At least five states already have in use or construction private toll rolls. Now what will they do with all those left over taxpayer's dollars while our infrastructure steadily deteriorates. What income reducing tax breaks were given to those powerful corporations which, although they haven the present ability to pay any taxes, will be tax free for decades. So has it been ordered, so shall it be done.

This new development will metastasize like a malignant cancer as it encourages the private sectors to come up with ever more expensive ways to fleece the unsuspecting, unprepared public, with each new cancer node more imaginative than the last.

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At 1:47 PM, Blogger The Sailor said...

Great post!
And may I borrow your most excellent snark the next time I have a frubious bandersnatch?

At 6:45 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...



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