Author Archives: Darren G Yancy, Sr.

About Darren G Yancy, Sr.

Love for Christ, husband, father, public servant for Johnson County, commercial insurance specialist, and radio talk show host.

Blood, Energy, & Nation Building – Beyond Pearl Harbor

This is a re-post of my 12-7-2016 blog. I am republishing because people need to see the direction President Trump is trying to take to reverse course of many years of what I believe are poor foreign policy decisions and the endless wars they have created. – Darren

Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. While it is important to take a moment and remember those that died upon that day, it is also important to recognize the impact in US international policy that arose from the tragedy of that day.

While WWI initialized the US entrance onto the world scene, its participation and impact on the outcome of WWII was when the US began to formulate and enforce an international theme. One that ties energy, nation building, and the spilling of American blood in ways that make one ill.

Before December 7, 1941, the US was on the sidelines. Watching, observing, positioning itself to protect its own interests. It is not a secret that FDR was not a fan of the current policy. However, I do not believe in any manner that FDR purposely wanted the Japanese to attack. Rather, I think FDR was naïve on how determined the bad actors of WWII were in meeting their goals. We call Japan by its singular name now; pre WWII it was the Empire of Japan. Empire creates an unmistakable desire to grow through the acquisition of land. That is why we called it the Roman Empire, The British Empire, etc. The conquest of lands grew an empire, granted access to resources, and required the spilling of a significant amount of blood. It’s why England, France, and Spain all came to the new world we now call America…..

Japan’s target with the south pacific and Korea, but it needed the resource of oil for the conquest of war. People forget the US was a major exporter of oil in the early part of the 20th century. We had a glut and our own internal appetite was not yet mature. While FDR’s cutting off the oil supply was morally correct in not supporting imperialism, its unintended consequence was the attack by Japan. Blood for oil, or in this case, a lack of it for Japan.

This theme keeps re-occurring now in US policy. Sometime the US has been the aggressor and sometimes the responder. The answer is not always obvious, but obfuscated in political garbage. Here are some, but not all, examples in recent history:

The Gulf War with Iraq 1990
Over as quick as it started, the US led coalition had very little to do with the liberation of Kuwait and the interest of freedom. It had everything to do with keeping world oil supplies safe and prices constant. While most Americans think this was a “one and done”, this operation kept US forces at odds with Iraq through most of the 1990’s under both the Bush 41 and Clinton Administrations.

Was this the precursor to the Iraq War?

The Iraq War 2003
On the surface, this was part of W’s Bush Doctrine, since Iraq was no doubt a state sponsor of terror. Did it require an invasion? Could we not have bombed the crap out of them and left them to rot? Did the fact that Iraq had oil reserves in the top 3 globally have anything to do with it? I personally think that 43 hit the button for several reasons – finish the job 41 was accused of not doing, wipe out a terror state, build a democratic republic, and get the inroad to that huge supply of oil. Well, we know how that ended.

Operation Odyssey Dawn Libyan Intervention 2011
Didn’t know this one had a name, did ya? It was known as a military intervention enforcing UN Resolution 1973 with bombing of the Libyan forces. But why? Let’s think back – Qaddafi had not been an issue since Reagan dropped a bomb on him in 1986. He had renounced terrorism and WMD in 2003 to the world. Libya had been removed as a state sponsor of terror in 2007. They were quiet and not causing any trouble to anyone.

So what happened? Fear of terrorism plays a part – Al Megrahi, the mind behind the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988 was released in 2009 and returned to Libya as a folk hero. This causes a stink internationally. Libya starts seeing some internal issues with this mans return, starting fires they don’t want. In turn, Qaddafi makes a move to bolster defenses. In 2010, Russia sells Libya a weapons deal worth 1.8 billion USD and this places DC on alert. Could the US have been the one to make this deal? Absolutely if Obama had had any sense of the region.

Also, the US Senate is having a fit the oil giant British Petroleum (BP) lobbied to get Al Megrahi released…

Did all of this intersect?

Of course. Let’s look at oil production. From 1990 to 2009, Libya averaged between 1400 and 1800 barrels a day of production. That falls off a cliff in 2010. That is the same year BP starts drilling off the Libyan Coast. 2010 is also the year Mother Russia comes onto the world stage as a new leader in oil production. What’s a few weapons for slowing down production of free market oil…..

In March of 2011, The Libyan Civil War officially ensues as part of the Arab Spring. For some reason, the US and its allies back the rebels against Qaddafi. My guess is someone got pissed off over the slowdown in oil production and what appeared to be an alliance in the making with Russia. From the US military support in March 2011 until the summer of 2012, Libyan oil production went back. All of this is at http://www.indexmundi.com/energy/?country=ly&product=oil&graph=production

Well, we know what happened on 9-11-2012 don’t we?

Now you why.

Syria 2012, 2014 to present
Bet you thought this was about overthrowing an evil dictator to spread freedom in the middle east and protect the helpless, right? Well, there is some degree of truth in that. But if Barry O hated the Iraq War so much, then why do similar actions in Syria? Let’s dig around for some facts.

In 2009, the Arab state of Qatar, a MAJOR supplier of natural gas, proposes a new pipeline to the EU that would cross Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey. That pipeline would have brought an entire new supply line of gas to the EU. Why is this important? Well, our comrades in Russia sell 80% of their natural gas supplied by state company Gazprom to the EU. Lots of energy dollars here. LOTS…. The US under Barry O likes this plan of disruption, as it would hurt Russia.

Deceased Syrian President Hafez Assad learned to fly jets in Russia. In 1970, he visited Moscow and they got a weapons pipeline going. Syria was even counted as part of the Eastern Block of the former Soviet Union. In short, Russia and Syria have a history. Here is more on this topic: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/09/economist-explains-22

Bashar Al-Assad came into power in 2010 when his dad Syrian President Hafez Assad croaks of a heart attack. Putin moves in like a hawk to befriend Bashar. Bashar refuses to grant permission for this pipeline. Russia has been at his beck and call ever since and will continue to be. So, for anyone to think the US, UN, or ANY coalition is going to knock out Bashar without getting military with Russia is nuts. Here is a great article on the topic: http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/is-the-fight-over-a-gas-pipeline-fuelling-the-worlds-bloodiest-conflict/news-story/74efcba9554c10bd35e280b63a9afb74

So why people says it’s about making Syria a democracy (nation building), I think it’s about the money involved in energy. And you libs thought Barry was benevolent? The deaths involved around this conflict, pushed by Obama, are one of the many reasons I penned him Barry the Butcher some time back.

Paid for with the blood of the brave and of the innocent.

75 Years and no one has learned a damn thing.

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The 2030 Timeline – Evolution or basis for the next Revolution

About 12 years ago, my father was telling me about a shift in the politics of construction and building. My dad was the first LEED certified engineer on the globe – literally. He spent 50 plus years with one of the largest building material manufactures on the planet.He was telling me how the increase in LEED certified projects coming down the pipeline was incredible and that the new standards would have global impact. “Sustainable” was just becoming a buzzword meaning the source of something had to be green (natural) and renewable. I thought it interesting, but paid little mind to the conversation at the time. He also referenced the year 2030 and said something to the effect that he hoped to be dead by then.

Go to construct any project in the US and the environmental standards and LEED requirements add 30 to 40% to cost factors. Have fun trying to get around the standards.

The mention of 2030 as a future date of issue did not really get my attention then. It does now.

Saudi 2030
In the Spring of 2016, I had the unfortunate experience of being cooped up in a London hotel for 3 days. Got to watch of lot of Brit TV. Two interesting things were announced while I was there: 1. The UK’s potential of leaving the EU or “Brexit”; 2. The Saudi 2030 Plan. It was all the buzz in the UK. When I got back home, the topics were no where to be found, This was my post then that I updated a few days back: https://darrenyancy.com/2019/12/04/from-behind-the-nylon-curtain-2019-update/. The 2030 plan is the Saudi’s plan for divestment from oil as a driving revenue source and preparation for the first steps for the Aramco IPO – which was forecast to be the worlds largest offering.

The Saudi’s are still swimming in oil and wont be out in 2030, so why the commitment to get out now? Were their reserves far less than thought? Why sell off Aramco? The answer lies at this site: https://vision2030.gov.sa/en/vision/roadmap. If you don’t want to go through all of that, let me summarize – Saudi is selling off Aramco to fund its economy for the benefit of its citizens as it transitions from oil for revenue. Saudi has always had the dough for Arab Socialism and the concern is the change could have a significant change to benefits. Ya think? I had not clued into the fact that the Saudi’s are firmly part of the New World Order in how we power the planet and care for the people that occupy it.

The Green New Deal
We can laugh at this all we want – global climate freaks and deep, dark money want this to happen. Oh, and that 12 year timeline comes to fruition when? 2030. That 12 year timeline has nothing to do with the end of the world from baking in the sun, drought, or raising oceans. Its the date of when a very long laid plan comes due. Ever wonder how BHO came out of nowhere and took the Presidency in 2008? Remember his speech in Denver on how the world will now begin to heal? Was HRC to be to Manchurian Candidate that would carry on the global transformation we saw under Obama? If so, you start to understand why the far left of the Democratic Party is now in charge and plowing ahead with the plan. Trump is an obstacle that must be removed to get the train back on track. Damn the torpedoes!

Look, I want clean air and water and I am a green energy guy. However, there is no way to implement this plan in this timeline without bankrupting the economies of the world. The cost is too high, the tech is not ready for the load, the job displacement will be unlike anything ever seen or experienced, people will not have the ability to live in the standards of cleanliness we now have, and people will flat starve to death. I am not saying a transition cannot take place, but a 50 to 75 year plan is more realistic. So is this 12 year farce actually happening? Read On.

UN Agenda 2030
There’s that damn date again.. A few months back, the UN came out with their Agenda 2030 plan that went mostly unnoticed here in the US. Have to admit I missed it as well till I came across a rather snarky view of the plan today. The author is almost as big of a smart ass as me and I loved the translation to common person speak: http://truthstreammedia.com/2015/09/25/agenda-2030-translator-how-to-read-the-uns-new-sustainable-development-goals/ The article outline is accurate on their goals and the timeline for completion is now a date that should concern you.

Money & Lawyers Lining Up Against Fossil Fuels
In the past few months I added energy to the radio show. As I started research, I began to notice some issues not to be found anywhere else in the media of radio or television. Insurance and capital are what keeps the world rolling and some very significant seismic shifts were happening with no media attention. After the Paris Acord in 2015 (yes the one Trump just withdrew from and Pelosi committed Sedition and violated the Logan Act by going to Spain and saying the US is still in.), extreme pressure began to be exerted on insurance companies to get out of insuring “dirty” energy like coal. Insurance is a business of layers. the company face you know takes part of the risk, the other is bought by companies who are unfamiliar here in the US. These are known as re insurers. After Paris, they began to get out of projects in energy that include coal https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/15/growing-number-of-global-insurance-firms-divesting-from-fossil-fuels. This places more pressure on the front end company and if the pressure is enough, they quit playing the game. Recently, Chubb became the first US company to back out of coal. Others are expected to follow. If you cannot get insurance, you cannot get the permit for the project….

Investment reports are now coming to light that US Shale projects that were funded 5 years ago, are not hitting the returns. Shale is natural gas – you know the clean energy source the US has plenty of…. Word is many new projects will not have funding. Oh, and the millennial crowd that has money has no intention of investing in any form of fossil fuel. OK, so the Big Boys have to come in and self insure projects…. Well…

Recently, Exxon was sued by New York and Massachusetts for allegedly lying to investors about the impact of climate change. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/04042018/climate-change-fossil-fuel-company-lawsuits-timeline-exxon-children-california-cities-attorney-general. Colorado is also seeking a suit. If any of these states are successful, the tobacco and asbestos suits of the past will feel like chump change. If the wildcatters cannot get insurance or loans and the Big Boys are bleeding from the nose, how is the US to stay in fossil fuels?

Did that light bulb just turn on?

This is not on any ballot for you to vote on. This is not being covered by ANY major media outlet.

Are you ready for 2030?

 

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From Behind the Nylon Curtain – 2019 Update

This is a re-post of an article I did in the Spring of 2016. Two very relevant topics that are now seeing light over 3 and a half years later – Darren

I had to take a short and unproductive trip to London last week. One that I will get to do again in the coming weeks. While I spent time in the hotel room, I had the great pleasure of watching all 27 channels that the hotel had to offer. There was news on items I know had not been covered in the US press corps and a major news event occurred that I still cannot find being covered anywhere here in the states.

I have been told for some time by several of my overseas friends that our news is filtered and restricted. It was not until now that I had proof we live behind a nylon curtain.

Need proof, you say? Let me share the 2 items that everyone on the globe but us are aware of.

Britain considering leaving the EU
This actually is not news in the UK. It has been a current topic for a while and will be voted on in June of this year. When David Cameron won re-election last year, one of his promises was on an up or down vote to stay in the European Union.  I am not going to cover all of the reasons for consideration, but when I found out about what the Brits call “Brexit”, I asked some people at the hotel and others when I went out walking around. Curious. While there are a load of issues (see http://www.theweek.co.uk/eu-referendum ), immigration was a real rub there in London. Under EU rules, borders with other EU countries are similar to our own borders here between states. The issues of terrorism and getting a hold of who comes in and out was at the top of the list with the people I talked with who supported Brexit.

Barry was there last week as well and “advising” the Brits to stay in the EU. Did not catch that on Fox, CNN, or MSNBC here in the states. Now why might Barry want the UK to stay in the EU? Well, for starters, the EU model is Barry’s guiding light and blueprint for a less sovereign America. The US and UK are first cousins and one cannot have their cousin walking away from the adopted brothers and sisters.  It also looks bad for Barry if the UK’s driving force on the vote turns out to be immigration. That does not bode well for his vision here for us plebiscites.

Now, I know what you are thinking: why would we care what goes on in England? Well, aside from issues on policy that made Obama look bad, there are financial considerations. What impact do you think this will have on the Euro should Britain pull out of the EU? What about its impact on the British Pound? The answers are that the Euro will be hurt, the Pound could be hurt, but the good ole US Dollar might get just a tad stronger. Could that impact trade agreements, import & export contracts, currency futures,  or travel? What if you own shares in a mutual fund that invests in Euros? You might want to have that data to make an informed decision.

Saudi Vision 2030
This came out Monday and was all over the news. It impacted oil prices here in the US, but I still cannot find it on any US news outlet. The announcement is on an equivalent basis as when the Russians declared themselves out of the business of communism. It’s that big and its like crickets chirping in the night over here.

Not one US media outlet is reporting this.

The impact of this new policy is broad and will reach all corners of the globe. It was and is all over the news in every part of the globe.

Except here.

So, what is it? Well, Monday the Saudi’s announced the end of the Era of Big Oil. Due to the impact of renewable energy sources, alternative fuels such as natural gas, and competition from other oil producers, the world’s 2nd largest producer of crude (Russia #1) and formerly the largest producer of crude for most of the past 50 years said it is going to diversify its economy away from the revenue produced by crude oil sales. That is currently 87% of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s income…. And they are going to accomplish this transition by the year 2030. Yeah, 2030…..

As part of their plan ( http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/915676 ) the Kingdom will sell of 5% of Aramco, the worlds largest oil company. If you click the link and it comes up with technical difficulties, refresh your browser and it should bring in the article. The price per share to open will be based on an estimate of Saudi’s reserves at a low market of $10 per barrel. The IPO in selling 5% of Aramco is going to be valued at over 2 trillion and will be the worlds largest… The MENA (Middle East North Africa) regional rags were quick to give their opinion: http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/saudi-reform-plan-pleases-markets-but-not-sceptics-1.1811999

Did you wonder why oil took a nose dive Monday after weeks of being on the rise. Are you starting to understand that we are getting minutia for news?

Now, oil has gained back some prices and will stable out. However, every analyst in the world now places oil prices playing on the $40 to $60 per barrel price from here on. If you’re not sure, call one. They may think your from Mars having the knowledge, but they will give you an opinion on the oil sector. Gosh, isn’t it good to know your spread in advance to best manipulate the markets? Sorry, could not pass on that one. If you still believe the markets are not run by puppets on strings, I cannot help you.

What does this do for West Texas Crude? How about renewable energy tech or holdings in natural gas? Is it time to buy Tesla stock? I watched 4 investment firms announce billions in investments in green energy projects on Bloomberg Monday while in London after this announcement came out. Was this data on your E-Trade account? I thought not.

Here is the real question: why is this sort of data being ignored here? I know both Fox and MSNBC have the news. Fox owns SKY news and it was covered in London. MSNBC has its own financial channel in the UK and it was all over it. Bloomberg has a UK channel as well and it was an all day topic for 2 days. You can find it on Bloomberg.com if you click on the section for Middle East and scroll down to the Challenge to Saudi Arabia’s Post Oil Vision article. But you have to LOOK for it. It’s not at the top and nowhere in the US section of the site.

I know money is one reason for this blackout of news. There are people who profit from this kind of data over those who don’t have it. Past that, I can’t give you any other reasons that don’t start diving off into conspiracy and paranoia.

Welcome to life behind the nylon curtain.

 

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Red Flag Laws

The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution is under attack like never before in our nation’s history.

I want to be clear on my stand on the 2nd Amendment and my opinion on certain types of weapons being scrutinized for potential banning.

I am an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment in all respects. I believe in Constitutional Carry where you can have your weapon open or concealed without a license or permit. However, since we have allowed the watering down of our rights, I follow my states law and have a Concealed Handgun Licensee. In Texas, this now allows me to Open Carry my weapon.

Hold on – I am also Federal Firearms License for a business we have that brings in implements of war. So I know what the ATF does and does not do.

I am not for convicted felons, non-citizens, or the mentally ill having access to guns and that is where the ground shifts from solid to quicksand.

Ceding Rights
Effectively, America went from being able buy what you want when you want to the Land of Legal Firearm Restrictions in the last 25 years. While it can be argued it goes further back, significant changes occurred after the end of the Cold War. As a teen and young adult of the 80’s, I had remember when rifles were on gun racks in trucks and you could walk in with your driver license and buy the gun of your choice.

Now people freak if you have a rifle on a rack and we know the process for buying has changed dramatically. While I am against most of the changes, getting better on screening for those who are felons or nutcases was an area of concern. The ability to screen for that did not come around until the 90’s and is the only positive I can say on changes, but props are due.

A Little History
The US Constitution is the Law of the Land and all things are federal unless applicable under the 9th and 10th Amendments. Understand I am a big 9th and 10th Amendment fan and want to see more clarification on items the feds have taken under control that I believe are States rights.

The 2nd Amendment is not one of them. It was written by those that had just come from a war where a tyrant set aside their laws when it suited them (sounds eerily familiar?). The locals had to arm themselves to defeat an oppressive government. Remember that. We call them Revolutionaries for a reason. 

In my opinion, our 2nd Amendment rights start with being able to protect ourselves from the government. I do hunt with my shotguns and rifle. However, my shotguns at home are for protection. My pistols on my person or in my car are for protection. My AR-15 is for shooting predators on my land. Read into that what your want.

Heller
Dick Heller was a DC cop who got tired of not being able to have a gun in his DC home due to local law. After learning of a conviction of a fellow DC resident over shooting a burglar, Heller felt the courts needed to be challenged on this. In 2003 District of Columbia v Heller was filed. In 2008, after many twists and turns, was heard by the Supreme Court. At issue was the District of Columbia ban on handguns. In the landmark 5-4 decision, it was ruled that the District of Columbia ban on handguns and trigger lock requirement violated the 2nd Amendment.

Heller has been a watershed victory for gun rights and re-establishment of the feds Supremacy Clause in this matter.

What is a Red Flag Law
They are supposed gun violence prevention laws that allow police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person they deem to present a danger to themselves or others. Might sound good in theory, but has multiple issues.

  • Conflict with the Supremacy Clause – Article VI Clause 2  This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. What that means is that the US Constitution has the trump card over all items over any law originating in the US Constitution or the US Congress. It’s the “States be Damned” Clause.
  • Those family members making the claim that a “temporary” removal of firearms have no requirement of qualification to justify their cause.
  • “Temporary” is a misnomer. If you get flagged and lose your guns, it is a tedious, lengthy, and expensive process to get them back.

These laws are the basis for removing free speech and conditioning behavior. Doubt me? Watch as states where these laws are currently on the book will have one party calling any opposition as “mental illness” or other such nonsense with the underlying goal of getting the guns.

Defining Mental Illness
Here is the real quicksand. For you to buy a firearm in the US, you have to go into a dealer and apply to purchase. A background check is done by the ATF through a web portal provided to the dealer. If anything negative comes up – DWI, DUI, reports of assault, criminal convictions, certain civil convictions, and yes – mental illness will get your purchased denied.

So how is mental illness part of the ATF background check? Well, this little thing call HIPPA was the first law that brought medical records under fed control. The ACA roll-out in 2013 has a few little known provisions for doctors reporting mental illness to HHS. Why do you think your docs, MD or psychologist ask about how you “feel” and are you mentally OK? It’s not because they enjoy it – they are required.

The question is what defines mental illness? There is the spot between the rock and hard place. Those who hate guns want a sliding scale and those of us who want guns want a firm definition and for it to be in concrete.

The only real Red Flag being flown here is a Communist one.

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HB 3781 – The Mother of All Bills – or is it Bombs?

You probably didn’t realize it, but preparations to drop a financial MOAB on the US was introduced on July 16, 2019 by US House Representative “Chuy” Garcia D-IL-4 in the introduction of a bill to increase the limit on commercial insurance per the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. That limit stands at $750,000 combined single limit (CSL) for bodily injury and property damage in an accident. Most carriers have limits of $1 million CSL in coverage, as opposed to the $750,000 CSL.

The proposed increase would take the limit to just under $5 million CSL.

Hmmm. Seems a tad aggressive.

So, what is the logic behind it? According to Rep. Garcia and the bills co-sponsor, Rep. Matt Cartwright D-PA-8, there is an imbalance of the limits in relation to what the rise in medical costs have been. Is that correct? Most likely so. Does that justify an increase in limit coverage across the board in an industry that moves the US around the clock? That would be a no, as in hell no.

The Sponsors of HB3781
Matt Cartwright appears to be the genesis of the bill with the draft of House Resolution 3383, which became 3781. He had versions of this he sent to the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure in 2015 and 2013 as well that died in committee. In research of his background, he practiced law with his wife for 25 years before seeking Congress and personal injury was an area of practice. From 2009 to 2012, he was on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice, formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. As such, I think there is little doubt that this bill has its roots in the practice of personal injury. Does that make Cartwright an evil man? No, but he may have tunnel vision on the bill and not be aware or recognize the negative impact it can have to the US economy.

Chuy Garcia sits on the House Committee for Transportation & Infrastructure and on its Subcommittee for Highways & Transit. Cartwright sent the bill to him to introduce into the Subcommittee. Garcia’s father was part of the post WW II bracero program as a farm laborer. In 1965, he was able to move here as a permanent resident. His background shows more of care of immigrants, with a focus on the Latino community. While he definitely in the progressive mold, this bill would appear out of his focus. I can only think that he has seen some crashes where there was insufficient insurance to care for victims in crashes. However, he was a backer of Bernie Sanders and his platform in 2016, so he may harbor a view of higher coverage for all regardless of cost. His background does not lend to a large view of the potential impact of the bill.

Is this really feasible?
You know, I may “need” 5 million dollars of life insurance. I may be able only to afford $500,000 due to the cost. I don’t think that Reps Garcia and Cartwright, while solid on the increases in medical costs in logic, understand you cannot insure ALL risk. That is the real issue here.

For folks in trucking, they know what’s at stake – massive increases in their truck insurance premiums. If the “average” truck liability for $1M CSL is from $6000 (large fleets and perfect in every way) to $16000, the thought might be that their insurance would go up by 500%. That is the percent increase to go from 1M to 5M in coverage. However, it would not be that severe. Rate banding, discounts, and other rabbits from the hat would offset some coverage increase shock, but it’s fair to say that premium would at least double. So, the outfits paying say, $12000 a truck go to $24000 a truck. Hmm.

Could be some fallout.

For some perspective, let’s say your auto, home, and health insurance double next week because a law says you need higher limits of coverage is passed. Would that impact your pocket book a smidge? Have we not been here already with the Affordable Care Act (Barry Care) and seen what a disaster that is for the feds to play in insurance?

Potential Fallout
The reason I used MOAB in the title (Mother of all Bombs) is that this bill has far reaching scenarios or blast radius as I like to call it. I will go through them so you get the picture, because it touches everyone.

  1. You saw my conservative projection on the rate increase for trucking companies. Most trucking is NOT done by the Big Guys, rather 80 to 85% are smaller firms, so the increase will whack them the hardest. You double their premiums and they have one of 2 choicespass on the cost to shippers who pass on the costs in higher goods to YOU John & Jane Citizen OR they close their doors. Shippers won’t take the increases – at first, so I predict a mass closing of trucking companies. They simply will not be able to get the freight at the price that will make the increase feasible.
  2. If a mass of trucking companies close, that will ripple through the economy. Class 8 truck values will drop off the cliff due to repossessions as the trucks for small firms are not operating. Financial lending/leasing companies take a big ole hit. Wait, there’s more! Those people who just went under will lose their personal cars, homes, etc. Remember 2008?
  3. Capacity for the shipping of goods shrinks. Now, could the Big Guys absorb some of the little guys going under? Yes, but not all and they are going to be impacted as well and I will get to that. So, less trucks to move goods means it costs more to move the goods and this time the shippers will have to choice but to take the cost increase. Of course, they pass it on to the consumers.
  4. Big Guys trucking companies will feel the changes as well. Even if they are on the perfect end of the rate scale, doubling of premium is doubling of premium. IF they self-insure, they still have to post bonds with the FMCSA showing financial responsibility and that is going to cost more as well. These Guys have contracts where they can pass costs to shippers and they will. Then the shippers pass costs back to John and Jane Citizen in higher prices for goods.

In every possible scenario, this bill has devastating impact to trucking and consumers will ultimately pay more for goods. There is zero chance to avoid it if this bill becomes law.

The Insurance Companies Weigh In
One item this bill does not consider is market capacity for this type increase of coverage. Truck insurance is under tremendous pressure to stabilize and return to profitability. Increases in frequency and severity are driving up premiums. Lawsuit financing has changed the litigation game for insurance carriers now in longer and more costly settlements. Nuclear lawsuits such as the Werner Case have insurance companies already considering exiting the market. Passing legislation requiring them to bite off more exposure could have unintended consequences of insurance companies exiting the market, reducing truck insurance capacity and driving premiums up even more. Yikes!

Another Potential Unintended Consequence
I keep the pulse around the nation on potential bills like this. I already know of 4 Democrat controlled states that have seen this bill and are considering something similar to personal auto insurance. That little comparison thought I did earlier was grounded in possibility. Most state mandatory limits for auto insurance are very low and the same argument for increasing limits could be made. So, the feds messed up health insurance. This example could get the ball rolling for states to mess up your auto insurance.

Solutions
The root cause for a bill like this is not just an increase in medical costs. As stated, the frequency of accidents with semis is increasing. Not a day goes by where some form of negative press is out there on an accident. That is being caused by a number of factors, with (in my opinion) the biggest being an influx of new drivers who get minimal training before being issued a CDL to drive an 80000 lb rig PLUS the freight way too soon. To correct this and reduce insurance payout for frivolous suits I would suggest the following:

  • Increase in hours of training – substantially. Fed funds already go to schools to train. While I hate federal spending, due to the importance to the US trucking provides in moving goods, we should consider paid training for those truly committed to becoming drivers.
  • Increase in driver pay and benefits. If you know what these folks do and the profit margin right now they deal with, it’s a short discussion.
  • Tort Reform – I am NOT talking about ending insurance for legit claims. What I am talking about is regulating the loan shark world of lawsuit financing as well as limits to what safety violations pertaining to accidents could and could not be used for payments. The Werner Verdict is prime example.
  • Roll back the ELD regs to common sense. While we hear its coming, this has lead directly to more accidents and higher insurance for trucking.

How to get involved
You can reach Rep Chuy Garcia at his website https://chuygarcia.house.gov/. He has multiple options on contact.

Rep Mark Cartwright’s website is https://cartwright.house.gov/. He also has multiple options for contact.

The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee for Highways & Transit is: https://transportation.house.gov/subcommittees/highways-and-transit-116th-congress All the members for this Subcommittee, who will vote to get it out to the floor for vote, are listed. Please contact them and stop this bill now.

A Bad Bill with Good Intentions
HB 3781 has good intentions.

Think we have all heard the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

 

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Big Brother Reaching Out

You may not realize it, but there is a revolution underway in how goods and services are being delivered to you. It’s not a friendly revolution either – millions of jobs are at stake in the near term and the long term capability of being able to care for oneself is being placed into the care of a machine. Machines that don’t give a rats ass about you or me.

The revolution is in transportation – trucking, shipping, and rail are all having massive pushes by technology to either reduce the roles of humans or drive them out entirely. While I am a capitalist, I also support labor. If we don’t have a workforce, you don’t have a tax base. Without a tax base, well the US goes in the toilet and Big Brother takes over. This is just one of many reasons “free stuff” from the government is never free, but that is a topic for another blog.

Right now there is a crisis in labor in transportation where those doing the work are over worked, over regulated, and under paid. Freight rates for all sectors is tight and each sector is scared to death to pass costs down to the consumer. So instead, they squeeze costs and labor is being wrung out in a big way. If tech could replace humans right now, these sectors would jump on the bandwagon. However, tech is not ready to be the savior. So, you have “driver shortages” and companies fast tracking drivers that can be hired to market with less than adequate training. The result is issues in safety and fights for drivers.

Now, Big Brother in the form of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA has deemed it necessary to get input from the public on issues that they have no knowledge of and most don’t care about. I have been working on getting the message out on caring about transportation for those that like to eat, but I cannot speak for the rest of you.

So, I am going to share some FMCSA requests, with my opines.

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/notices/2019-09944– Pilot Program to allow drivers under 21 without military experience to operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce. To date: 326 comments received. All comments must be received by July 15, 2019. As of July 3, the American Trucking Association has requested a 30-day extension, not guaranteed to be granted

Darren’s opinion – In English, the FMCSA wants to reduce the age from 21 to 18 because young upstarts will work for less. That does not give them any better training or reaction time behind the wheel. Remember that trucks weigh 80000 pounds before their trailer. Think teens can do damage with cars……

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/safe-integration-automated-driving-systems-equipped-commercial-motor-vehicles– Automated Driving Systems (ADS) for Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs); Request for Comments Concerning Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) Which May Be a Barrier to the Safe Testing and Deployment of ADS-Equipped CMVs on Public Roads. To date: 156 comments received All comments must be received by July 29, 2019.

Darren’s opinion – read my last blog on Robo Truck and you will understand why this is not the right move.

Soup kitchens were a staple in the Depression. If autonomous vehicles wipe out a sector of labor, you will see them again – DY.

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/notices/2019-12167– Request for Information Concerning Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Detention Times During Loading and Unloading. To date: 324 comments received. All comments must be received by September 9, 2019

Darren’s opinion – how would you feel about be required to hang around for hours, not get paid for it, AND its prevents you from making more money?

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/notices/2019-13014 – Entry-Level Driver Training; Application for Exemption: United Parcel Service, Inc. To date 23 comments received. All comments must be received by July 19, 2019

Darren’s opinion – what is Brown trying to do to you? Make the streets far more dangerous. Does this really need an explanation?

So, Big Brother is reaching out for the general public’s opinion. Most American’s do not have a clue as it is not being advertised, publicized, blasted on social media, or ANYTHING! Do all of us a favor and take this blog to heart, do a little research, and give Big Bro more responses than they can deal with.

The people that make sure you have grocery stores with food and gas in the underground tanks at the gas station will thank you.

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Robo Truck

There will always be a debate on the improvement technology has on society. I am seasoned enough to remember a life before cell phones and the internet. While you can get items faster and more done with less time, are we really better off? A demand for it “now” combined with the stress that “now” creates has not made us better human beings. The current generation are becoming shut-ins and are losing the ability to have human interaction such as a basic conversations, read a book, or perform actual hand written communications in the name of progress. Question is – what are we progressing to?

Optimus Prime
Unless you have been under a rock, you should recognize the above as Optimus Prime from the Transformers movie franchise. I use it as a silly illustration of what the future could hold for the trucking industry.

Why Should I Care?
For most of America, they are either oblivious to what trucking does or so damn hung up on sharing the road with trucks that no one stops to think of the value or need trucking does for the US. Let’s keep it simple – do you like to eat? My guess is that you do and unless you are a farmer, you go to the store to get groceries. Same thing with fuel. I assume you like driving whatever you drive and pulling into a gas station to fill up is a reflex action now. It does not occur to most people that the groceries and gas don’t just appear magically. Truckers bring all of those goods (plus everything else you buy) to those shopping destinations. Remember that next time you cut off an 18 wheeler…

The Human Haters
Generation Shut In does not like human interaction or humans for that matter. The creative ones that have been able to bring human-less technology into the world are not doing it to make your life better or easier – they are doing it to get people hooked on the tech to the point they never want to leave their home and make them loads of moola. Why the hell would you buy clothes from Amazon when you can go to a store and get it right there? All of the artificial intelligence and robotics coming into society are designed to replace humans – not augment them. Generation Shut In is still living with mommy & daddy (cause they don’t want to work) and being trained for this autonomous life. What do you think happens when the folks croak and junior has no people or jobs skills? Oh – that’s a political discussion on the enslavement of the free for another day.

Autonomous Trucks
There is a push from several stakeholders to roll out self-driving semi trucks as soon as possible. These groups include

  • Tech companies poised to rake in the dough
  • Large trucking firms who don’t want to pay drivers
  • Idiotic consumer groups that think these trucks will be safer
  • Lawyers – hey they know a cash cow when the see it in Strict Liability
  • Politicians on powerful committees looking to get their pockets lined from the above to stay elected

The story is trucks can be adapted into the US faster than cars because they can make money, therefore getting a faster ROI. Long haul stretches where there is “no needed human interference.” Hold that thought, I will come back to it.

But hold on Homer – the auto-bus has not left the station just yet. Now, there are tests being conducted around the nation using semi-autonomous trucks. It’s is what is called Level II – braking, acceleration, and steering where these function can be automated. A human must still be in the unit in case it hits the fan. Personally, I see this level of automation on all semi trucks very soon and drivers and companies can benefit from this.

Level IV is where Optimus Prime is here to stay. Go away stupid human – we don’t want or need you.There are companies in the EU playing with this. Even some US tech companies playing with Level IV in tests. I think that they should have had a chat with the companies making Level II autonomous cars and the 5 billion dollar rabbit hole and see how much fun that has been and its current status.

Obstacles to Autonomous Semi Trucks
So let’s have this brawl now, while the industry can be saved and people still can have jobs. Here are a few hurdles:

  • There is no insurance for autonomous. I mean not one damn drop. What that means is whomever produces these rigs is self insuring any form of loss. So, whether its the physical truck maker, the software that controls the rig, or any of the hundreds of components on a truck – they bear the costs for any and all claims. It’s called Strict Liability and NONE of the companies out there are prepared. As suckhole as insurance is, the billions it pays in claims keeps the USA rolling. Don’t tell me these units won’t have wrecks on interstates. Werner was hit with 90 million on a verdict where they did nada wrong! Think Daimler-Benz is prepared to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars every time their truck crashes? Doubtful. The software companies seeing dollar signs now will be bankrupt from lawsuits in less than 3 years into roll-out if it occurred to today.
  • There is no interest from the current manufacturers for Level IV. The truck manufacturers already are nervous rolling out Level II. They understand what Strict Liability means and want no part of that. How do I know – well I have talked with several reps. Now, that does not mean they will not perform research & development in anticipation of a potential change in laws.
  • Infrastructure. While tests are being conducted on higher levels of automation, no one will admit the US infrastructure is ready for this technology. Lots of work and loads of money have to be spent to make this work everywhere. Even the interstates are going to require investment to go more than just testing.
  • Security Issues with software. When the FMSCA rolled out the electronic log device mandate (ELD), you know the process was never thought through. The devices can and have been hacked. A fully autonomous rig will be a target for hackers seeing what fun they can have with the unit. Trucks weigh 80000 pounds PLUS their cargo. Do you really want that to become a weapon of mass destruction?
  • Legislation. Now I know I called the politicians out as green lighting the research. However, there is a difference in R&D and giving the go ahead to wipe out an entire sector of workers. Workers will lose jobs and support chains for them will lose jobs. I can see a massive force of people with pitchforks and torches coming after DC if they really pull the trigger on this without much thought. Think about it – how often do politicians pass a bill and not think the damn thing through? Politicians like getting elected and people vote and robots do not. At least for now.Voting-Robots-2425
  • People. This one above all else is the real determining factor. Does the everyday populace really want 80000 pound driverless weapons rolling around? Are truck drivers going to just roll over and play dead on this issue? Are the American Tax Payers really going to foot the massive cost for an infrastructure that seeks to replace their human condition?

Now, I am in no way naive to think that this train is not coming sooner than later. However, I also know that all of the automation roll outs for trucks has not been thought all of the way through in how it will negatively impact humans. All tech people do is spin is their opinion on positive impacts they believe will occur. I have yet to hear a cost/benefit analysis of any type from these groups.

What I have listed scratches the surface. Who is responsible for the jobs lost if this actually happens? Who pays to re-train an entire sector? Is re-training even realistic? Is automation a subversive plot to enslave civilization? OK, maybe that was too dramatic….

Or was it?

Are you ready for Robo Truck?

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