About Crucis

I'm a retired telecom engineer, life NRA member, Amateur Radio Operator and Air Force vet. I created this blog at the urging of some folks who think I have an occasional thought. A liberal friend once described me as "being just to the right of Atilla the Hun." I thanked her for that description and told her I'd do my best to maintain her expectations.

If you fail to understand history…

…you’re a target of any fool blathering nonsense that comes down the road. There’s more truth in that statement than many people realize.

Obama spoke at the National Prayer breakfast and made a fool of himself. That, in itself, is not surprising. What was surprising was his logic that gave a pass to the atrocities committed by ISIS.

What did Obama do? He compared the atrocities committed by ISIS to the Crusades, the last Crusade occurred around 700 years ago, and the Inquisition. The worst acts by the Inquisition occurred around 500 years ago, although the office of the Inquisition wasn’t abolished until after the Napoleonic Wars. The ISIS atrocities occur NOW!

Let’s take a look at the Crusades. There wasn’t just one. There were several, including one called “the Children’s Crusade.”

First.Crusade.Map

Map of Europe and the Mediterranean Lands, Circa 1097.

The first Crusade began around 1095 supposedly in response to a plea for help by the remnant of the Byzantine Empire. The Muslim Seljuk Turks had invaded the Byzantine Empire and the Empire was losing. The Empire lost the battle of Manzikirt in 1071. After that battle, the Turks proceeded to seize most of what is known today as Turkey.

The Catholic Church in Rome gave little thought to the Byzantine request. The “Eastern” Empire formed when the Roman Empire split. It also created a schism in the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church, under the Pope, remained in Rome. The Eastern Church, later known as the Greek Orthodox Catholic Church, resided in Byzantium, modern day Istanbul.

According to many historians of that period, the pleas from Byzantium were not the primary motivator of the West. After winning the battle of Manzikirt, the Seljuk Turks proceeded to consolidate their new territory. They did so by slaughtering any Christian, Pilgrim and Jew they found or forcing them to convert to Islam. They had done the same, previously, when the Seljuk Turks seized Jerusalem a few years earlier.

In 1065 the Seljuks began a campaign of persecution against Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land in which the Bishop of Bamberg and 12,000 pilgrims were massacred by the Muslims only two miles from Jerusalem. — Crisis Magazine.

News traveled slowly in those days. The massacre at Jerusalem was still fresh in the minds of the Cardinals and the Pope in Rome when the plea from Byzantine Emperor Alexius I arrived. By that time, the Church was already in the process of calling for a Crusade to free Jerusalem and resume the Pilgrimages.

In all, there were eight crusades from the first in 1095 until the last in 1279 with the Invasion of Tunisia by King St. Louis IX of France.

Crusade

Dates

Major Events

Major Characters

First 1096 –1102
  •   Liberation of Antioch
    – 1098
  • Liberation of Jerusalem
    – 1099
  • Godfrey of Bouillon
  • Raymond of Toulouse
  • Bohemond
  • Bishop Adhemar
Second 1147 – 1149
  •   Siege of Damascus (failed)
  •  Louis VII of France
  • Conrad III – Holy Roman Emperor (HRE)
Third 1189 – 1192
  •   Liberation of Acre
    – 1191
  • Treaty = Christian access to Jerusalem for 3 years
  • Saladin
  • HRE Frederick Barbarossa
  • Richard I – King of England
  • Philip II – King of France
Fourth 1201 – 1205
  • Sack of Constantinople
    – 1204
  • Pope Innocent III
  • Doge Enricho Dandolo – Venice
  • Alexius Angelus
  • Boniface of Montferrat
Fifth 1218 – 1221
  •   Invasion of Egypt
  • Cardinal Pelagius
  • St. FrancisAl-Kamil
Sixth (a.k.a. Crusade of Frederick II) 1228 – 1229
  •   Restoration of Jerusalem by treaty
  • HRE Frederick II
Seventh (First Crusade of St. Louis) 1248 – 1254
  •   Invasion of Egypt
  • King St. Louis IX of France
Eighth   (a.k.a Second   Crusade of St. Louis) 1269 – 1272
  •   Invasion of Tunisia
  • King St. Louis IX of France

The later Hapsburg-Ottoman Wars are thought by some to be a continuation of the Crusades by the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire. The Muslim invasions of Europe continued for another 300 years after the Eighth Crusade culminating with the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Remember that date—1683! It was just 100 years before the end of the American Revolution. Muslim aggression was more recent that many now realize.

Not only more recent, but also much earlier than many know. In fact, Muslim forces invaded Europe well before the first Crusade, seizing modern day Spain and marching deep into France.

The Crusades were the result of Muslim acts of atrocity and in response to Muslim invasions of Europe. How many know that today? Is it being taught anywhere? It was a fifteen-minute discussion when I took Western European History in college.

I had intended to include a history and background of the Inquisition but that will have to wait for another day. Just one bit of information, the Inquisition wasn’t just in Spain. It covered most of Europe and throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

If/When you listen to Obama’s pack of lies from the National Prayer Breakfast, read this and know the truth.

Brrrrr-Dink! Brrrr-Dink!

KenwoodTS570S

Kenwood TS-570S

If you’ve ever bother to read my short bio on my ‘About’ page, you’ll see that, among other things, I’m a amateur radio operator, a Ham. My call sign is W∅TMW. I’ve been licensed since 1972. Forty-two years! Wow! I hadn’t added up all those years. Time just seems to quietly slip by.

I haven’t been active all those years although I have been continuously licensed. After I got out of the Air Force, I worked for a computer repair company. I traveled a lot. My territory covered Missouri and Kansas, north to the Canadian border. I put in a lot of windshield time and it wasn’t unusual to spend an entire day and several hours into the evening on one service call. Other times, I could put almost 500 miles on my car in a single day and never get outside of Kansas City’s I-435 loop.

Drake TR-22C, 1.5 Watts.

During those driving times, I had a radio next to me. Usually it was a VHF, a 2-meter, radio. For a period, I also had a HF single-sideband transceiver mounted in my car on the 40-meter band. There was a net on 40-meters for mobile operators like me. If we had trouble on the road (and some places I went had to work up to be a gravel road,) you had someone on 40-meters who could pass along pleas for help.

As you’ve gathered, this was long before cell phones. Even today, some of the places I made service calls are out of cell coverage.

But that’s history. Old history for some. I eventually changed jobs and didn’t travel much, just to and from work. My on-air time declined. I dropped off the air for a while. It’s not uncommon. Ham radio requires time and practice to be proficient. Code, CW, was a requirement for license. Five words-per-minute (WPM) for a Novice license, 12 WPM for a General or Advanced license, 18 WPM for an Extra class license. I have an Advanced class, I could never quite get consistent enough to pass the 18 WPM. But the differences between the frequency coverage of Advanced class compared to that of an Extra class was slight.

I dropped out. Work took more time as did family. Our daughter was small but growing. When I worked for the computer company, I nearly missed her birth. I was in the company school in San Antonio and returned home a week before she was born. I also missed three of my daughter’s first five birthdays. I still think of that.

Model28SR

Western Union Model 28 AST TTY (I owned one for several years when I first started RTTY.)

But, some years later, I dusted off my ham gear and got back on the air. Wow! Things have changed. There was something new, well, more common. Digital modes! RTTY, radio teletype had grown. More importantly, many of those stations were from other countries. The price of used TTY gear had dropped and some Hams had created electronic versions of the older mechanical TTY machines. I was back on the air!

Fast forward a decade or two. Ham radio communications had a competitor, the internet. The internet was beginning, first with bulletin boards with a telephone line or two connected to a PC. Communication was via a modem. 300/1200baud was most common and within a few years, speeds increased to 33.6kb and higher.

In some metropolitan areas, you could connect directly to the internet via a cable connection or an ISBN line to your home. Hams moved from the air to the internet in droves. I was one of them. The internet was the new medium.

I’m retired now. I spend much of my day writing, emailing, reading and my ham gear sits next to me unused. It’s covered with dust that has accumulated over a number of years. I turned on my 2-meter rig this week and heard few hams on the air. Fifteen years ago, hams were competing with the internet. There was a nation-wide network of linked packet radio stations. We passed emails to one another via packet radio. There were on-air bulletin boards, too. Some were linked via HF stations to provide world-wide coverage. Packet beacons popped up like weeds.

Now, only a few of those beacons can be heard. The packet radio network has mostly disappeared. The internet won the competition. Ham radio has no purpose in this new digital age some think. The FCC has dropped the CW requirement for some of the classes of ham licenses. But without the need to work to achieve proficiency, to have a goal to work for, the draw of ham radio has diminished. There is little need to work to earn a ham ticket, and that which isn’t earned, isn’t valued.

Some hams believe that reducing the license requirements will draw new hams. For some that is true. But the idea has not attracted as many new hams as the advocates of no-code licensing thought. More hams dropped out.

But the FCC, the same government agency that licenses ham operators, is now planning to seize control of the internet. The internet must be managed, so the FCC says. Half a century ago, we would believe the FCC commissioners. Not now. When we hear the FCC declare the internet must be managed, we know the truth is that it’s not the internet that is the target, but the content of the internet that must be managed. We now know that when the government sticks its fingers into a portion of society, nothing good comes from it and when the government control who, what, when and how content flows over the internet, censorship is the result. Perhaps it is time to revert to the original mode of communications? A few years ago when Prepping was the vogue, many of them acquired ham licenses. Could this act by the FCC spur more hams? Maybe.

Amateur radio still has the means to provide communications. When disaster strikes whether from tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or wildfires, ham radio operators are there.

Maybe it is time to, once again, dust off my ham gear. Repair my antennas. Replace some coax and cabling and get back on the air.

I think so.

Oh! Today’s title? What does it mean? It is the sound of a digital radio exchange. Data sent, with an error-correcting datablock at the end.

Here are some samples of some ham radio digital protocols I’ve found on the ‘net via WB8NUT.

The original RTTY: sound_icon

HF Packet: sound_icon

PACTOR: sound_icon

And, this is PSK31, a relatively new protocol that only requires the same bandwidth as does CW: sound_icon

WB8NUT, a ham operator has a webpage that delves more deeply in these and more digital modes. If you’re interested, he has a column in .PDF form that you can download and read. It may be old, old-fashioned, antiquated, but of all the modes, I still like RTTY best.

Interested in ham radio? Check out the ARRL. The ARRL is to ham radio what the NRA is to firearm ownership and the 2nd Amendment.

No post today

I’ve appointments today. I’ll be back tomorrow.

More Missouri Moments

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/stltoday.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/7b/87b666b9-fe90-5331-91d1-3d57fe8eda0d/530a3d118898d.preview-300.jpg

Ed Martin, now chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, in an Oct. 6, 2010, file photo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Missouri GOP Chairman Ed Martin announced his resignation yesterday. Rumors had been floating around some some weeks before the announcement. Martin is leaving to become President of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.

The announcement did surprise many. Today, we’re hearing some news who may replace Martin. Some are well-known conservatives. Others, such as the protégé of Ron Richard, aren’t.

Possible Four Way Race Shaping Up for Missouri GOP Chair

Duane Lester, February 3rd, 2015

Yesterday Ed Martin announced he was not running for re-election for the Chair of the Missouri Republican Party, instead taking a position with The Eagle Forum.

When I heard that, I only knew of one person who was in the hunt: John Hancock.

After I posted Martin’s press release, I had someone reach out and say, “Did you hear that someone else may jump in?”

I hadn’t, but today I have a name: Eddy Justice.

Justice has shown interest in leading the Missouri GOP, but didn’t want to challenge Martin. He said he didn’t have any problem replacing him though.

Another name that’s being mentioned is Pat Thomas, current Secretary of the Missouri Republican Party. She’s also deputy Treasurer.

Finally, a name I’m hearing as being possibly recruited for the position is Nick Myers, Newton County GOP Committee Chairman. Myers is a good friend of Sen. Ron Richards, and a power player in southwest Missouri.

So, overnight, this turned from a one man race into a bit of a dog pile for the leadership of the Missouri GOP.

I’ll be working on doing some profiles on each of these folks.

I’m reminded how Ron Richard betrayed the GOP by reversing his votes in the last veto session and in the veto session in 2013 to block passage of some key bills. The 2013 reversal came after a mid-east junket with democrat Governor Jay Nixon. Ron Richard had earlier voted for the bills. But when it came to support the GOP, he didn’t. Richard has no core principles other than his own advancement. Consequently, I would not be a supporter for anyone connected to him.

***

CNBC Reporter Kelly Evans, tried to ambush Senator Ron Paul during an interview. Paul didn’t fall for the tactic and turned the tables. Before the interview left the air, Paul called Kelly’s attempts as ‘slanted’. I always like to see a lib’s plan fail. Especially when it backfires so spectacularly.

I’m not a believer that vaccines cause autism. I believe it falls into the same category as global warming—cherry picked data to fit a preconceived objective. The originator of the ‘vaccine causes autism’ cherry-picked data and actually fabricated data in a study that started this controversy. Every study since, that I’ve examined, still uses that original false study as source document.

Be that as it may, I also believe it is a parent’s right to choose which, if any, inoculations her or his child receives. The libs are pushing for mandatory vaccinations using the current measles outbreak as justification. The ‘anti-vaxxers’, as they have been called, claim that their children are the only ones at risk. Those vaccinated should not fear being infected.

That last statement, too, is false logic. First, no inoculation is 100% perfect. Some will get sick regardless. The inoculation will not work for some. Some, whose immunizations work, can still be a carrier. There is some justification for inoculation. However, the final choice still belongs to parents, not government.

***

The current buzz today is the straw poll conducted on the Drudge Report yesterday. Scott Walker was the clear leader of the possible GOP candidates with 46% of the votes. Ted Cruz was second with 14% and Ron Paul third with 12%.

The poll is meaningless, of course, but it did create a storm of discussion on the ‘net! For me, it was a toss-up between Walker and Cruz. I’m more aligned, politically, with Ted Cruz. On the other hand, Scott Walker has proven to be a fighter and the GOP needs a fighter. There are none in Washington, DC.

Missouri Spotlights

The Kansas City Star ran an article about Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich who is running for Governor on the ‘Pub ticket. I’ve met him a few times, heard him speak and was generally impressed. However, if the Red Star’s quotes of him are accurate, I would have a hard time voting for him.

The article is written by Steve Kraske, a well-known rabid liberal who has, on occasion, fled far from the truth. Given his reputation, I’m accepting this article with a large grain of salt while I wait for Schweich to comment on it.

Tom Schweich is running against the Missouri GOP, but wants Republican votes

ANALYSIS

As Tom Schweich launches his bid for the 2016 GOP gubernatorial nomination, he’s doing so as an outspoken critic of much of what the Missouri Republican Party has become.

And yet, he needs GOP votes.

The party, Schweich says, is dominated by one man, the wealthy party benefactor Rex Sinquefield.

It’s beholden to other special interests, too, and has often not acted on behalf of the vast majority of Missourians.

Party leaders have flaunted ethics laws, Schweich insisted, and he reels off several examples. “It’s like Ethics 101,” he said during his quick stop in Kansas City last week when he rolled out his campaign.

They’ve threatened to go too far with tax cuts, and the GOP has picked up a reputation as a “mean party,” Schweich said.

“What I’m seeing from my party is not good,” he said.

Tough talk, to be sure. But is this the way to curry favor with his fellow Republicans?

Schweich is gambling that rank-and-file Republicans are fed up, too, and that he will contrast favorably with his GOP primary opponent, Catherine Hanaway, a former House speaker who has received more than $900,000 in donations from Sinquefield.

But these days, evidence that Republicans are frustrated is tough to find.

The GOP is sustaining record majorities in the General Assembly. They control six of eight congressional seats and believe they’ve got a great chance to pick up statewide seats in 2016.

And lawmakers report a dearth of phone calls from constituents when it comes to concerns over Sinquefield and the state’s standing as the only one in America that permits unlimited campaign donations and unlimited lobbyist gifts.

Still, when voters have been asked to crack down on lawmakers through term limits or low-dollar strict campaign donations, they’ve done so in overwhelming numbers.

And Schweich himself has taken big money from other mega GOP donors, including former Ambassador Sam Fox.

Schweich rightly points out that his job as state auditor presents a strong platform from which to base a gubernatorial candidacy. Example 1A is Claire McCaskill, now a two-term state senator. Schweich can talk a lot about rooting out inefficiency and corruption and cracking down on wayward city and county governments all over the state.

But last week, he kept coming back to a single theme, and that is the lost-in-the-wilderness modern-day Missouri Republican Party.

“I don’t like the direction the…party is going now,” he said.

Will his fellow Republicans agree?

By the end of the article, I’m a bit unsure who Kraske is attacking? Schweich, Sinquefield, Missouri’s open campaign contribution laws, or those nasty, mean, unrepentant republicans in general. Regardless, he has quotes from Schweich that if accurate, draws questions on Schweich’s run for Governor.

***

Today is a big day for Right-to-Work advocates. They will be heading to Jeff City for a RTW hearing on HB 116, sponsored by Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, and HB 46, HB 47, HB 48, and HB 69, sponsored by Bill Lant, R-Pineville.

This year there is something new! Some democrats are talking about voting for or are sponsoring some Right-to-Work bills, too. One democrat, Representative Courtney Curtis, has sponsored such a bill, HB 582. It’s a soft bill, of course, but  it is still a loosening of the rigid, pro-Union stance democrats have held for nearly a century.

Is Democrats’ Big Tent Open To ‘Right To Work’ Legislation?

More unintended consequences

In the aftermath of 9-11 and the aircraft hijackings, the FAA issues some directives concerning aircraft structure and modifications to make similar hijackings more difficult. One of these changes was strengthening the cockpit door. Before 9-11, the door, if it existed, was of light aluminum. It was for crew privacy more than anything else. Afterwards the door was strengthened to prevent someone from simply kicking it open.

I had a thought about that door at the time. What would happen if it got stuck? Well, that’s now happened.

Delta: Pilot Locked Out Of Cockpit In Flight From MN To Las Vegas

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Delta Air Lines flight traveling from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Las Vegas has landed safely at its destination after the pilot was unable to reenter the cockpit, according to the airline.

According to a statement from Delta, prior to the plane’s final approach the captain was not able to enter the flight deck due to a door jam. The First Officer, or co-pilot, was able to then take control and land the aircraft safely without incident.

“A commercial aircraft can be landed with one pilot at the control and Delta pilots are fully trained to do so if the situation were to occur,” Delta said.

The door will be evaluated by Delta maintenance technicians.

Frankly, I’m surprised something like this hasn’t happened before. It may have on a non-passenger or cargo flight where it would have received much less notice. The problem with strengthening the door, making it more rigid, is that airplanes aren’t rigid. They flex.

On the tarmac, the wings and fuselage droop. The wings droop more with filled with fuel. In flight, the wings rise. If you look out the window in flight you can actually see the wings curve upward. The aircraft body, in flight and on the ground flexes in numerous ways.

When a plane is in flight, fuel is burned, air density changes with altitude and weather. The forces and stress on the aircraft changes and the aircraft flexes. People moving around inside changes the weight and balance of the aircraft. Sometimes cargo shifts slightly. All these changes could cause the new, stronger, cockpit door to get pinched in it’s frame. If the pilot has to visit the head (the restroom for you non-military folks), a sudden change of those stresses and forces could cause the cockpit door to bind behind the pilot…locking the pilot out and locking the copilot in.

The copilot is often as fully experienced as the pilot, only lacking flight hours and time in service to be bumped to pilot. In this circumstance, pity the poor copilot. The pilot is locked out, he’s locked in, and both have been swilling coffee for hours!

***

Breaking news! Mitt Romney won’t run for Prez in 2016. Whoop! I also heard all his moneymen slithered off to back Jeb Bush. Other close advisors say Romney will support some new, unannounced candidate. Hope it’s not another RINO like Lindsay Grahamnesty.

***

Ref yesterday’s post about the FCC. The FCC issued new regulations concerning internet speed. It actually does nothing except when it comes to reports concerning the number of people with access to “high-speed broadband internet.” When the facts don’t support the FCC’s agenda, change the labels to change the numbers to support the agenda!

New benchmark means 55 million Americans currently lack broadband access after chairman derides internet companies’ advertisement claims

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday changed the definition of broadband to increase the threshold speed – a move that has already angered cable companies.

In a 3-2 vote, the commission approved a measure that increases the minimum standard for broadband speed, giving the agency more power to force internet service providers to improve their service.

The definition of broadband is set to be raised from 4 megabits per second (Mbps) to 25Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps to 3Mbps for uploads.

With that speed as the benchmark, significantly fewer Americans have access to high-speed broadband. Under the previous definition, 19 million Americans were without access; the new definition means that 55 million Americans – 17% of the population – now do not have access to high-speed broadband, according to the FCC’s 2015 Broadband Progress Report, which is in the final editing process but was cited at the hearing.

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC is responsible for ensuring that broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion”.

The FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, had repeatedly expressed support for the proposal ahead of the vote. In his remarks at the vote meeting, he was critical of telecommunications companies including Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. He said these companies’ statements to the commission differ wildly from what they tell consumers – part of his testimony included an incredulous reading of advertisements promoting the company’s seemingly fast broadband speeds.

“Our challenge is not to hide behind self-serving lobbying statements, but to recognize reality,” said Wheeler. “And our challenge is to help make that reality available to all.”

The cable industry’s largest lobby group, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), said in a statement that changing the definition is an attempt by the FCC to expand its ability to regulate industry:

“While cable network internet speeds already meet and exceed the FCC’s new broadband description, we are troubled that the Commission majority has arbitrarily chosen a definition of broadband in its Section 706 report that ignores how millions of consumers currently access the Internet. Instead of an accurate assessment of America’s broadband marketplace and the needs and uses of consumers, the FCC action is industrial policy that is not faithful to Congress’s direction in Section 706 to assess the market, but a clear effort to justify and expand the bounds of the FCC’s own authority.”

US broadband speeds clock in as the 25th fastest in the world, according to analyst Ookla’s Net Index. Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan top the list. Countries including Finland, France and the Netherlands boast of higher speeds than the US.

In reality, this change affects those broadband providers that use DSL technology instead of the faster cable based methods used by Comcast, Time-Warner, and others. Telecommunication carriers like AT&T use DSL taking advantage of their embedded facilities, often 2-wire telephone cables to individual homes. The internet speed of DSL is less the further the home is from the carrier’s local central office or remote signal amplifiers.

If you read the comments by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn who voted for the change, you’ll understand this is nothing more than political maneuvering to acquire more federal power over providers.

“What is crystal clear to me is that the broadband speeds of yesterday are woefully inadequate today and beyond,” said Clyburn. — The UK Guardian.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who opposed the change said this:

O’Rielly said he supports expanding broadband access but that the report relies on “intentionally flawed analysis”. He said that increasing the definition does not resolve broadband access because it does not include a plan to promote deployment in the areas lacking it.

“Selecting an artificially high standard and applying it in a way that is impossible to meet in order to reach all Americans certainly in the near term makes a mockery of a process that was supposed to provide an honest assessment of broadband deployment in the United States.” — The UK Guardian.

This is, in part, reminiscent of the Broadband fiasco here in Cass County—a federal solution is search of an issue. Millions wasted nation-wide on an agenda what couldn’t be supported by fact. There are methods to acquire broadband internet access where cable and DSL does not exist. Yes, it may be more expensive but it exists. The fallacy of government is to use taxpayer money to subsidize those few users.

Every day another federal agency sticks its foot into the political arena supporting some liberal agenda. And every day, I make another federal agency that has proved its worthlessness. The FCC is near the top of my list.

Change comes to Illinois

…but will it succeed?

Bruce_Rauner_August_2014

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Newly elected Illinois ‘Pub Governor, Bruce Rauner, is preparing to engage one of Illinois’ largest political machines. Yes, one even larger that Richard Daley’s Chicago machine at its heyday. He preparing to battle Illinois’ public service unions and the SEIU. Rauner wants to bring Right-to-Work to Illinois.

I can hear the screams and howls already.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Primed for a Showdown with Unions

Jake (Diary)  | 

Up in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker has shown it’s possible to take on unions, including government unions, and live to tell the tale, and in large part because of his courage, he is now being considered as a Presidential candidate. It looks like his neighboring governor to the south, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, wants to follow in his footsteps. Rauner is one of the many Republican success stories of the 2014 election, and it looks like he isn’t going to be one to waste his mandate. In a recent appearance in Decatur, Illinois, he announced his intentions to take on the government union bosses. Northern Public Radio quoted him as saying:

“The taxpayers on the outside. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s a closed loop. This is what’s going on. Big problem. And it’s driving up our bureaucracy and jobs are leaving. It’s that closed loop up that; it’s what going on: the unions that contract with the state. I think it’s the number one conflict of interest in our state today.”

As their article also notes, he is blaming prevailing wage and Project Labor agreements for playing a role in driving up costs. He did not stop there. The major goal of his Decatur speech was to push one of his major policy goals: the establishment of “right to work zones” in the state. According to one of the local CBS stations, here is what he said specifically:

“The states that are already growing don’t force unionization into their economy,” Rauner told an audience at Richland Community College in Decatur, a city he said could benefit from such a plan.

“I’m not advocating Illinois becoming a right-to-work state, but I do advocate (for) local governments being allowed to decide whether they’re right-to-work zones,” he said.

As Scott Walker proved up in Wisconsin, it is possible to take on the unions and live, but it is by no means an easy task. I hope Gov. Rauner has the spine his neighbor to the north does. It will be very interesting to follow him over the next few years. He could be the next big star for the Republican Party if he is successful in his endeavors. The articles I linked here make it clear that the unions are not happy with the Illinois governor’s remarks, so we should expect a battle that could be just as intense and drawn out as the one that happened in Wisconsin. We need to make sure Governor Rauner knows he has our support, especially if you live in Illinois.

Rauner is also proposing to lower Illinois’ minimum wage to the federal standard to make Illinois more competitive to its neighboring states. That, too, is an anathema to Illinois unions.

Right-to-Work is returning to Missouri’s legislature this year as well. There have been a number of Right-to-Work bills already filed for the 2015 legislative session, House Bills 47, 48, and 116 as well as Senate Bill 127 and 129. In all, nearly 20 labor related bills have been filed.

The unions had and still have massive clout in Jeff City. One of the leading union shills in the Missouri Legislature, Jeff Roorda, lost his election in November. He was in the news today when he engaged in a scuffle with a St Louis Alderman.

It is time to pass Right-to-Work in Missouri and Illinois.

***

Many of us would like to see the EPA abolished. If that agency ever had a real, useful purpose, that purpose could just as easily be performed by the states. In fact every state has an EPA equivalent so the transition or responsibilities would be minimal.

Another federal agency whose time may have come to fade away, or at least be constrained, is the FCC. The FCC, or the Federal Communications Commission, is a child of the 1930s, a product of FDR’s New Deal. Its creation was a merging of the older FRC, or Federal Radio Commission, that regulated radio stations and wireless communications with telephonic communication of wired telephone and telegraphic operations by the ICC, the Interstate Commerce Commission.

In the early days of wired and wireless communication, some oversight was needed. Before federal intervention, multiple radio stations used the same transmitting frequency, or frequencies so close to one another that they created mutual interference. The result was a race to acquire the most powerful transmitter. The stronger signal received the most listeners. The FRC was created to insure no two stations used the same frequency within a given geographic area and to insure stations on adjacent frequencies had sufficient separation to prevent mutual interference. The FRC issued regulations that governed transmitter power. signal bandwidth and standards for signal purity.

Early wired telephonic and telegraphic communications was a patchwork of carriers across the country. There was little to no interoperability and many companies openly competed, sometime violently, for the same territory. As wired technology increased, standards were required to insure seamless communication across the country and with our neighbors, north and south, who used different national standards. British standards in the case of Canada.

Unfortunately, the FCC, especially under recent liberal administrations and commissioners, has wandered far astray from its original purpose. No longer is the Commission primarily concerned with technology and interoperability, but has shifted focus to content, and that is where the conflict between the FCC and Congress rests.

FCC Under Scrutiny as GOP Senators Try to Head Off More Internet Regs

Republican measure would limit the commission’s regulatory authority while many Dems want to treat Net like public utility.

by Rob Longley, January 28, 2015 – 10:45 pm

A Senate hearing last Wednesday took aim at a controversy that has vexed Congress, federal regulators and the telecommunications industry for the better part of a decade: How best to regulate the Internet — and how large a role the Federal Communications Commission should play.

The hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee focused on a Republican proposal to maintain so-called “net neutrality” — the idea that all Internet content should be open to the public and treated equally.

The GOP bill, crafted by the committee’s chairman, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), and his counterpart on the House panel, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is an effort to head off the FCC’s own plan to preserve net neutrality. Most analysts expect the FCC to push for greater regulatory control over the web and the Internet service providers that deliver it to consumers. The FCC has sought greater control in the past, but the federal courts have struck down its efforts, saying the commission lacked congressional authority to take such action. The commission is set to announce its latest plan next month.

The Republican measure would allow the FCC to impose tough new limits on ISPs, especially with respect to how they manage their networks. But it also would limit the commission’s regulatory authority, and would fall well short of the solution touted by many Democrats and consumer groups: Turn the Internet into a veritable public utility like water and electricity, a move that would give the FCC broad powers to control service providers and, in effect, oversee their operation.

Such a scenario does not sit well with Thune.

“There is a well-founded fear that regulating the Internet like a public utility monopoly will harm its entrepreneurial nature [and] chill investment,” the senator said in his opening statement Wednesday.

Meredith Atwell Baker, president and CEO of industry trade group CTIA — The Wireless Association, agreed. She was one of five witnesses to testify at Wednesday’s hearing. Baker said the FCC’s expected plan, which would include a decades-old set of regulations known as Title II, would force “1930s-era wired rules” onto wireless broadband services. That, in turn, she said, would stunt growth and innovation, and in the end, lead to higher costs and diminished services for the public.

“It would harm consumers and our economy,” Baker said.

But Democrats fear that weakening the FCC’s bite would lead to a less-than-open Internet, a development that could also harm consumers, said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. Consumer groups fear that service providers would use “loopholes” in the GOP plan to set up a two-tiered Internet by charging companies a kind of information-superhighway toll to boost their websites’ visibility and access, an option known as paid prioritization. By necessity, that means companies who refuse to pay the toll have less visibility — a situation that goes against the principles of an open Internet.

“[The public] does not want their access to websites and services blocked,” Nelson said Wednesday. “They’re worried about their broadband provider picking winners and losers on the Internet by relegating those content companies who refuse to pay a toll to a slow lane of service.”

You can read the entire article at the PJ Media website.

Some of the same groups fear an impotent FCC as well. No one disagrees that the FCC was done a great job and provided a needed service—in the past. However, its current focus on content is negating that accumulated good will from the public. The FCC needs to be reined in and returned to its focus of maintaining the nation’s lead in communications and cease its efforts to enforce a liberal political agenda. For be broken up into a less oppressive organization.