Monday, August 27, 2018

The real John McCain

John McCain was surely brave as a POW, and he volunteered to serve in Vietnam, where he was a bomber pilot, not a fighter pilot, since Vietnam didn't have an air force to contest the air attack by the US.

Still it took courage to fly bombing missions over Vietnam, since many planes were shot down:

The pilots had one big gripe. They thought they were risking their lives to hit insignificant targets. The Pentagon, in its exaggerated press releases, made the targets sound more important than they were. North Vietnam was an agricultural country and did not have a big industrial sector.

The US attack on and invasion of Vietnam was stupid and immoral, as was waging an air war on what was essentially a peasant country. 

As a right-wing Republican, McCain also had a terrible record on a lot of important issues, including Obamacare.

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Economic analysis of the SMART train

SMART Train 2017 Santa Rosa.jpg
A few excerpts from An Economic Analysis of the SMART Train, by Mike Arnold, Ph.D. in The Marin Post.

Chair and Commission Members:

I am writing to provide a broader context to SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian’s August 2 presentation in Watsonville. This memo is about what he didn’t tell you and about the many questions a public body should consider before deciding to employ tax dollars to provide passenger rail services.

I have reviewed the video and the PowerPoint that was presented to the RTC[Regional Transportation Commission]. Much of what he said was incomplete. Some information was inconsistent with data on SMART in the National Transit Database or in its own financial reports. My goal is to provide the RTC with this information so that it will understand that SMART is not the success touted by SMART’s Chairperson and General Manager.

Hopefully, after reading this memo, the Commission will learn that implementation of passenger rail service “within suburbia” (in that passenger rail wouldn’t serve a major employment center) comes at great cost to the taxpayers and carries relatively few transit passengers. 

As I demonstrate below, SMART’s ridership is paltry compared with rail transit systems that do serve major metropolitan areas. Indeed, to the extent the Commission views SMART as a “model,” I urge the Commission to careful study of what has actually transpired in the past 10 years in Marin and Sonoma counties, as opposed to what the General Manager claims has transpired...

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