Friday, March 23, 2018


Impeaching the moron

Hillary as a lawyer during Nixon impeachment

From Andrew Sullivan's impeachment essay in last week's NY Times Book Review:

...The founders knew that without a virtuous citizenry, the Constitution was a mere piece of paper and, in Madison’s words, “no theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure.” Franklin was blunter in forecasting the moment we are now in: He believed that the American experiment in self-government “can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.” 

You can impeach a president, but you can’t, alas, impeach the people. They voted for the kind of monarchy the American republic was designed, above all else, to resist; and they have gotten one.

Rob's comment:
Bertolt Brecht, mocking authoritarian government, proposed replacing the people:

Some party hack decreed that the people
had lost the government's confidence
and could only regain it with redoubled effort.
If that is the case, would it not be be simpler
If the government simply dissolved the people
And elected another?

We can begin repairing most of the damage Trump is doing to our democracy after the November midterm elections and finish the job by electing a new president in 2020. 

But in defense of the American people, remember that Hillary beat Trump by 2,865,075 votes, 65,844,954 (48.2%) to 62,979,879 (46.1%). Only the flawed electoral system created by our sainted Founding Fathers allowed that asshole to win.

H.L. Mencken's prediction, alas, has come true:

As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

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High-speed rail lessons


Randal O'Toole on high-speed rail lessons:

* High-speed rail will likely cost three times as much as planners say;
* It will take many years longer to build than planners estimate;
* If it is ever finished, it won’t go as fast as planners promised;
* It almost certainly won’t carry as many riders as planners claim;
* Even if you don’t think high-speed trains haven’t already been rendered obsolete by jets and automobiles, new technologies such as driverless cars and autonomous planes will render it even more obsolete by the time it is finished.

Not to be outdone, [British Columbia]Premiere Horgan mentioned Japan as a place the Northwest could learn from. 

The lessons Horgan should have learned from Japan:

* High-speed rail can be successful provided you build it in a corridor with 50 million people in which 70 percent of the travel is by conventional train and only about 10 percent is by either auto or air, which does not describe the Northwest corridor in any way;
* After the government builds a successful line, it will succumb to political pressure to build more expensive lines to places with even fewer people, such as Nagano, Japan or Spokane, Washington;
* Far from stimulating the economy, going deeply into debt to build high-speed rail lines to every corner of the country drags the economy down.

Of course, those aren’t the lessons [Governor]Inslee and Horgan learned. Instead, the most important lesson they seem to have learned is, “California conned the feds into giving the state $3 billion for a $77-billion high-speed rail project. Where’s ours?”

debt burden

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Real equality

20 rounds fired at an unarmed man

After another young unarmed black man was shot by police (Protests Grip Sacramento After Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Man), I thought of Chris Rock's riff on "real equality":

"You would think that cops would occasionally shoot a white kid just to make it look good. You would think every couple of months they’d look at their dead niggers calendar and go, ‘Oh my God, we’re up to 16! We gotta shoot a white kid quick!'" Rock continued, explaining that "real equality" would include "white mothers" crying about their dead children. "I wanna live in a world with real equality. I want to live in a world where an equal amount of white kids are shot every month," he said. "I wanna see white mothers on TV, crying, standing next to Al Sharpton, talkin' about, 'We need justice for Chad.'"

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