Archive for June 2019

If I Were A Democrat…   Leave a comment

Who would I vote for in the 2020 Democratic primary coming in like 13 months?

Well I’ve run them down and here’s a list. Go read my analysis of the 13 top front runners.

If I had to vote in the 2020 Democratic primary, I’d vote for either Tulsi Gabbard or Pete Buttigieg because they have some level of competence and seem to have some libertarian ideas, but I think they both fail on the economic literacy test and I don’t think we need anymore presidents who are economic illiterates. The last time we had a president who actually knew something about economics, Ronald Reagan was in the White House and he was far from the perfect libertarian candidate.

Image result for image of ballot box

If Trump and either Gabbard or Buttigieg were in the general election, I’d be tempted to vote for either of them. If it came down to Joe Biden or Trump, I would definitely vote third-party or (increasingly considering) not vote at all.

Yes, there are other people in the race and if they suddenly break out of the single-digit poll numbers, I’ll look at them, but for now – well, I’m going to go look at the other fields.

Posted June 28, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Perfect Libertarian Candidate?   Leave a comment

I looked at the Democratic field from a libertarian perspective.

The Libertarian Party of American is not my party. I say I’m a libertarian (note the small “l”), but I’ve never been a member of the party or, frankly, any party. I might have become a member of the Alaska Independence Party had it lasted for any length of time, but frankly, I’m just not loyal to political parties.

The LPA has a long history of nominating nuts who can’t win for losing. Whoa, did I say that aloud? It’s true. Some of the candidates just seemed — uh, crazy might be too harsh a word, but I’ve had a hard time viewing them seriously. And the current field of Libertarian potentials is not inspiring my confidence.

Justin Amash official photo.jpg

The last two cycles they selected Gary Johnson as their nominee and I voted for him. He had a depth of experience as well as solid libertarian principles and he had shown them at work in New Mexico. I didn’t like his VP candidate, Weld. He was a progressive Republican who didn’t even pretend to be a libertarian. And, it made me kind of think that the LPA was finally looking for candidates who could actually win an election — not that I thought Weld was a good choice for that.

So now they’re trying to get Justin Amash to run as President as a Libertarian. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) stirred the two-party political soup when he declared “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.” That’ll make you a darling of the left these days, and gain respectful treatment from the likes of Mark Hamill, while journalists puzzle over how an alleged former “gadfly” could suddenly seem so resistance-y. Naturally, the Libertarian Party more or less begs him to switch teams.

Amash takes his job with a seriousness that is almost non-existent in the legislative branch of the US government. He holds the modern day congressional record for most consecutive votes not missed, 4,289 over six-plus years. I doubt most members of Congress have even read the Mueller report (I’m still slogging my way through it). Their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation. Who needs facts when you’ve party unity to keep you warm at night?

Amash is that nerd who insists on reading entire bills before voting on them, then explaining every vote on social media. And as an honest-to-goodness constitutional conservative, he gets stubborn when his own team violates its stated principles, or when Congress willingly abdicates its role as a co-equal branch of government.

Amash has gone out on a limb to oppose the president in past. He condemned Trump’s initial travel ban of residents from predominantly Muslim countries, helped doom Republican efforts to repeal/replace Obamacare, opposed the president’s emergency declaration along the southern border, called Trump’s comments about murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “repugnant,” and was one of the only Republicans on Capitol Hill to support setting up a special counsel investigation after the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey.

Despite what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) claims, Amash votes more with him than with Nancy Pelosi. He has an 88 percent score from the American Conservative Union and a 100 percent score from FreedomWorks. He’s anti-abortion, more anti-interventionist than the average Democrat (which isn’t really that hard since Democrats are interventionists when it suits their purposes), and he votes no on bills that contribute to the federal government’s red ink.

In other words, Amash sounds a lot like a libertarian (some of us are anti-abortion). He has been publicly mulling a third-party run at the White House all year. Meanwhile, the Libertarian presidential field is looking nutty again, and even two years ago Amash was saying things like, “Hopefully, over time, these two parties start to fall apart.” He was speaking of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Michigan’s straight-ticket voting system, whereby voters can choose a party’s entire slate of candidates by checking just one box, has probably kept Amash from jumping the Republican ship before this, but now that he has a primary challenger, and the House Freedom Caucus he co-founded unanimously voted to condemn him, the temptation to abandon Congress entirely and run for president as a Libertarian may prove irresistible.

The Libertarians don’t pick a nominee until May 2020. And, I don’t know—the chance that he would become president is small, but he could certainly derail either the Republican or Democratic candidate since Libertarians are fiscal conservatives and social (classical) liberal. Unlike Johnson, Amash knows about the city of Aleppo, as his mother is a Syrian immigrant and his father a Palestinian immigrant. And unlike Trump, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, Amash is not a septuagenarian, but a 39-year-old fitness enthusiast who actually grasps basic technology and market economics.

I personally haven’t found enough in the Mueller report to support impeachment, but I’m not a single issue voter. I think in these polarized time, it’s unlikely the voters would swing for a third-party candidate, but Johnson did get more than 3% of the vote in 2016, so I might vote for Amash and hope others consider it as well.

Posted June 28, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Unicorn Debates Part 1   Leave a comment

Seventy-one percent of Americans say the economy is doing well, so why doesn’t Elizabeth Warren know this? Is it possible that she is so out of touch that she doesn’t know any ordinary Americans?

Tax capital at the same rate as income and you end investment in this country, not to mention you bankrupt retirees who are living on their capital investments. Tax rates of 70% were tried in the past and they worked for a while but eventually the economy slowed to a crawl. Anyone remember the 1970s?

How do any of these people plan to pay for these unicorns they’re promising? Pell grants drive up education costs. $15 an hour minimum wage caused a lot of jobs to end in New York City.

Automatic and same day registration – wow, nothing like totally uninformed voters making important decisions based on someone promising them the moon wrapped in rainbow bows by unicorns.

Booker is right about corporate consolidation, but generally you make more money working for a corporation than you do working for a small business. So take a pause and think about the unintended consequences for what you’re proposing. He’s also apparently unaware that the reason for corporate consolidation is federal regulation that favors larger businesses because small businesses can’t afford to pay the fees required to stay in business.

Women are paid fairly in this country, if you factor for the time we spend out of the workforce to have kids and for the fact that we take jobs that don’t pay as much as the jobs men take. “What they deserve?” How do you determine what they deserve?

I still like Tulsi Gabbard, but it bothers me that she is still in the military. I agree with her on foreign intervention, but if she’s in the military, I don’t know that she’s being honest about her viewpoint.

DeBlassio needs to acknowledge how many small businesses closed because of his $15 an hour minimum wage. Did he miss that working people in America voted Republican last time?

John Delaney actually sounds like he might know a thing or two. I’d like to hear him talk more about what he wants to do. How would he fix education – for example. Putting more money in workers pockets isn’t going to create more jobs, because the workers don’t create jobs.

Inslee – communist!

Tim Ryan – General Motors got a bail out from the OBAMA administration, not the Trump administration. And his “the bottom 60% hasn’t got a raise in 40 years” is fallacious.

So this is the “hate corporations” show. Here’s a concept. Remove all the business regulations and let the competitors drag the big corporations down. This forced economy crap will not work.

Abolish private insurance – great, so we’ll all have insurance and very few of us will be able to get medical care. Great! It’s a wonderful idea — if you like slavery and a 45% higher hospital death rate.

Do these people think Medicare is free? You pay all your working life to draw from it when you’re old. In order for us to pay for it, we would all have to pay about 60% of our income in combined taxes and insurance. Can you live on 40% of your income? I know I can’t. And I would have to pay that regardless of whether I need a high level of heath care. So they would bankrupt me for something I don’t need or want.

And Elizabeth Warren wants us to exchange fighting with insurance companies over the health care we need for fighting with government bureaucrats for that health care. How is that any better? I’ve just recently dealt with some government bureaucrats and, trust me, I’ve never had so much trouble with dealing with a health insurance company because I paid them money and they know that. They know they work for me. Our government doesn’t seem to know that. I’m not saying insurance companies shouldn’t be reformed, but that the government should be the last people to reform anything since they are so inefficient, rude and insolent themselves.

So, by and large, this debate was a waste of time — too short and too many participants to actually learn anything. I’m being snarky, but the fact is except for Tulsi Gabbard (who didn’t get to say much so the jury is still out) and John Delaney (who sounds good except I suspect he suffers from a little cognitive dissonance), none of these people has any economic good sense at all. So, onward until tomorrow night.

Posted June 27, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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A Moderate Choice?   Leave a comment

This is my series looking at the Democratic candidates from a libertarian perspective. There are 23 declared candidates. I’m working off the following list of 13 because they have qualified for the debates later in June. I’m looking at them from lowest rating to highest.

Last, but not least because he’s the media’s favorite – Joe Biden – everybody’s handsy gaffe-master can’t-take-anything-seriously uncle.

Image result for image of joe biden touching

Let’s be clear. I LIKE Joe Biden. He was really the only good part of the Obama administration. Every time someone I knew would want to lynch (I mean, impeach) Barack Obama for his very real crimes against constitutional checks and balances, I’d point out that Uncle Joe would become President and they’d almost always change their mind. Meanwhile, I found Biden’s antics to be a laugh riot. Who can forget his advice that we take care of the intruder at our door by firing a shotgun through the door? (Note to self, don’t do things that will get you sent to prison for a decade or might kill a family member). Or — I actually appreciated this one — when he said he wouldn’t get on a subway during the swine flu event. (His wife being a doctor, I assumed he’d gotten some real advice from her that was better than the dangerous message coming from the CDC that there was nothing to worry about from a variant of the H1N1 virus – pay no attention to the 5% of the world’s population that died from another variant of that virus called the Spanish flu.) If you ever wanted to know what the straight dope was on almost any Obama administration policy, you just needed to listen to Uncle Joe and wait for some form of verbal diarrhea to occur. I didn’t want him to be president, but I like to be entertained by the circus in DC and Joe filled that need. Mike Pence hasn’t been nearly as entertaining, but hey, he’s in Trump’s rather entertaining shadow.

Joe is running for president now and the media thinks he should be the nominee. He’s running into a few issues with Democrats, who I think are racing to the left and leaving moderates like Biden behind. The last time that happened, by the way, Reagan won a second term by a landslide because of all the “moderate” Democrats who became progressive Republicans. Ooo, you mean like Trump did? Just a thought there.

I applaud Joe for taking a markedly different tack than his 473 Democratic challengers. Instead of trying to outdue everyone in showing us what a socialist he is, Biden touts his bipartisan credentials and cites Donald Trump as an aberration. This may be a tricky tactic for the primaries, where you must appeal to the base, but Joshua Spivak of Recall Elections notes that the huge untold story of the 2016 election is the astonishing success of the Libertarian Party. He suggests Joe Biden should aim for those voters in 2020.

Third parties never win in national elections in the US and rarely win in statewide elections except in a few odd-duck situations, but some observers believe they have swung elections nonetheless. Would Al Gore have won the 2000 election if the Green Party hadn’t been a factor (almost 3%) in that very close election?

The Libertarian Party had never before received more than 1.1 percent of the vote in a presidential election until, with former-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and very-much-not-a-libertarian-lead-balloon Massachusetts Gov. William Weld serving as their ticket, the party rocketed to 3.24 percent of the general election vote. In two of the critical states that Trump flipped, Michigan and Wisconsin, Johnson topped 3.6 percent. In Pennsylvania, the third normally Democratic stronghold that voted GOP, Johnson received 2.4 percent.

Numerous independent candidates have received more than 3 percent of the vote, notably Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 runs, but the Libertarian Party is different. They have run a candidate in every presidential race since 1980 and regularly field candidates in federal and state races throughout the country. Johnson’s performance in 2016 is the biggest percentage for any third-party since the Socialist Party under Eugene Debs in 1920 topped 6 percent of the vote.

It’s possible that the Libertarians have struck a nerve — especially as the Republican Party under Trump moved away from fiscal conservativsm and other libertarian ideals, and as core libertarian issues such as marijuana legalization have come to the forefront of the societal and political discussion. Things like ending mass incarceration and scaling back on the US empire also have resonated with some Democratic voters displeased with their party’s nominee. Still, Spivak believes another possibility seems more likely.

The Libertarian Party may have been the choice of the conservative voters who did not want to vote for Trump and could not pull the lever for Hillary Clinton. Yeah, that’s where I lived in 2012 when I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Obama or Romney, so it’s possible people came to the same conclusion in 2016. Spivak things one of the reasons for Trump’s surprise victory was the cratering in support for Johnson in the waning months of the election. The media flogged Johnson hard as “an idiot” after he flubbed a question on Syria (he didn’t recognize Aleppo – which might have been the first time most Americans had been aware that city existed). In September 2016, Johnson polled at 9 percent, which fell off heavily by Election Day.

If this is true, have ex-Republican voters who voted for Johnson in 2016 now acclimated to Trump enough to be willing to give him a second term or will they vote Libertarian again? Could Biden persuade these rogue voters to return to the two-party system and vote for the Democratic nominee?

Biden could possibly woo independent voters because Biden sounds bipartisan. He could definitely appear so to the mushy middle of uninformed voters. But this is a libertarian analysis of Joe Biden and this libertarian (who has never been a member of the Libertarian Party) is not convinced Uncle Joe ought to be president.

Let’s look at reality. I don’t think presidents make an economy. There’s still enough of a free-ish market in the United States that the economy rides its own waves. However, presidents can make the economy worse. We know this from history. Every time the United States economy seemed to be turning a corner on the Great Depression, FDR would do some voodoo crap and the economy would tank, usually starting in key areas where FDR’s administration was meddling. At the time, people may not have realized that, but looking back 80 years, there’s not a lot of argument that FDR prolonged a two-year depression into a 12-year one.

Trump is not responsible for the good economy the US is experiencing after eight years of Obama’s destructive policies, but his regulatory and tax reforms have helped an improving economy whereas Obama’s “stimulus” and near-doubling of the US regulatory code hurt a flagging economy. If you need a metaphor, consider regulation and taxation to be bricks on a pickup bed. The economy Obama inherited was already chugging to climb a steep hill and he slowed the climb by piling weight in the truck bed. Just as the economy was finally overcoming those burdens (against Obama’s best efforts to stall the economic engine altogether), Trump came along and took out a lot of bricks (and added a few of his own). He did it just as the economy was finally cresting despite Obama’s policies and, thanks to that fortunate timing, the economy is now up and unemployment is way down.

So why does former Vice President Joe Biden insist American workers “have been getting the shaft?”

Speaking before my husband’s former socialist involuntary society — the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — Biden settled on one example: occupational licensing reform.

Did you know hair braiders have to get a license that in some states takes hundreds of hours of training? In fact, there are a lot of government-created hoops skilled workers have to jump through to engage in their occupations. Kudos for Biden recognizing that we need to “restore America’s ability and individual American’s ability to fight for their own dignity.”

I found it ironic and not a little weird for the union members in the crowd to applaud the kind of government deregulation their leadership has fought against for decades. They almost could have been gathered at a rally paid for by libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch. Was it pragmatic centrism or cognitive dissonance? You tell me. After I spoke at a public meeting and said very much the same thing Biden said the other day, our house got egged and my husband was told by the shop steward to “shut that bitch up or you won’t be working anymore.” The IBEW (I-Boo, as Brad calls them) is no friend of the working class.

Biden, the blue-collar anti-Trump, hopes to make this sort of thing his brand as the rest of the primary pack continues to sprint farther and farther to the left.

So should libertarians vote for Joe Biden.

I wouldn’t. It’s mostly progressive media outlets that seem to see a libertarian bent to Biden. Third-party voters tend to be more informed on the issues than main-party voters are, which is why they are third-party voters, and I think most thoughtful libertarians know a lot more about Joe Biden than the progressive media do. For example, we know that a younger Joe Biden was the primary architect of the disastrous War on Drugs.

We also are aware that, while Joe Biden is one of the few DC politicians who has not amassed a fortune from being a DC politician, he has used his influence to enrich his family. If you’re already suspicious of government in general, government influence to enrich family members just looks bad to us.

Moreover, the handsyness is just plain creepy. No man should be smelling my hair if he’s not married to me. If Gary Johnson or Justin Amash starts that sort of behavior, they won’t get my vote either.

Is He Making Things Up?   3 comments

I’m continuing my rundown of the massive Democratic primary field, starting with the lowest ratings and working my way upward. You can check out my previous articles by following the links below. And, you’re always welcome to comment.

Senator Cory Booker’s (D–New Jersey) announcement that he will be seeking his party’s nomination for president set off a flurry of speculation about the candidate’s ideology, chances of success, and whether or not his drug dealer friend T-Bone was ever real. Depending on the articles you read, he’s a hero (once went on a 10-day hunger strike, kept the budget of a typical New Jersey food-stamp recipient for a week, carried a woman out of a burning building, helped shovel a 65-year-old man’s driveway and rescued a freezing dog). I don’t know if any of these things are anymore real than his drug dealer friend and I’m not all that impressed with some of them (my son has been shoveling the driveways of older people in our neighborhood, entirely for free, often without their knowledge, since he was in junior high school).

Booker, 49, was the first black US senator from New Jersey and the first vegan senator. Before that he was mayor of Newark, where he’d been on the City Council since he was 29 years old.

He’s a career politician who is also a member of the political elite, worth more than $4.1 million and gifted with a newly-signed New Jersey state law that will allow him to run for president and the U.S. Senate at the same time, if he chooses. 

Although he derides Citizens United v. FEC, Booker already has a super PAC helping him with his election. And, if you’re into following the money, First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, collected $41,000 worth of donations for Booker’s 2013 Senate special election campaign and conducted a fundraiser for him at their Park Avenue home. My reporter spidey senses are all tingly over that news.

Critics point to Booker’s popularity with Wall Street: From 2013 to 2014, when Booker ran in both a special and a general U.S. Senate election, he brought in $2.2 million from the securities and investment industry, more than any other senator that cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org data. From 2017 to late 2018, he fell lower on the list, with $439,000 from Wall Street workers and PACs. He also drew flack in the 2012 presidential election for saying the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital were “nauseating.” Booker does, however, vote against Wall Street interests occasionally.

In February 2018, Booker announced he would no longer accept corporate PAC contributions, one of now seven senators to make such a pledge. The word “corporate” is key: Booker has since taken donations from the PACs of membership organizations and unions. Yeah, that would make him seem a bit unethical. In his campaign finance disclosure report covering July through September, he listed $9,225 received from a handful of PACs, including those connected to the Transport Workers Union, National Air Traffic Controllers and Environment America Voter Action group. Booker has also raised corporate PAC money for his 2020 Senate reelection campaign — and he can transfer all that cash to his presidential campaign effort: An analysis by NJ Advance Media found that two-thirds of the $505,000 in PAC donations Booker received came from corporate committees from January 2015 to January 2018.

Booker’s January 2017 vote opposing a symbolic measure to allow prescription drug imports from Canada faced backlash, especially with supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who backed the amendment. Booker was one of 13 Democrats that voted “no”, saying the measure didn’t guarantee the safety of the imported drugs. (He later teamed up with Sanders on new drug import legislation.) New Jersey is home to many large pharmaceutical companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, and Booker has received large donations from the industry: During his 2013 and 2014 campaigns, Booker took in almost $330,000 from pharmaceutical company PACs and employees, the second-most of any congressional candidate behind Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.  

In 2014, Booker was backed by a super PAC called the Mobilization Project. It spent $532,000 supporting him, and donors included Edward Nicoll, cofounder of Structural Wealth Management LLC ($137,000), mattress maven Michael Fux ($100,000) and billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman ($100,000).

Then there are his links to corporate media outfits. In March 2012, Booker co-founded a video curation startup called Waywire, which counted Oprah Winfrey, ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner as investors. He reported he had an interest of between $1 million and $5 million in the company.

Former Booker donor and ally Linda Watkins Brashear was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for her involvement in a bribery scheme while leading the now-shuttered Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. at a time when Booker, as mayor of Newark, was also chairman of the development corporation’s board. Brashear admitted to doling out $1 million worth of contracts to family and friends in exchange for bribes. Booker and his lawyers said he was not aware of the kickback scheme and noted he never attended a meeting of the agency. Last year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by the agency’s trustees against Booker.

So there’s a lot about Cory Booker that is sketchy, but I want to focus on his views on the increasingly salient issue of housing.

As rents and home prices continue to rise for likely Democratic primary voters in progressive, coastal cities, candidates for the party’s nomination are expected to peddle some sort of solution.

All three sitting senators running for the Democratic 2020 nomination (Booker, Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D–Calif.)) have introduced housing bills that provide a glimpse of how they’ll approach the issue.

Booker’s bill—the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity or (HOME) Act—was introduced back in August 2018, and would do two major things.

First, it would offer renters making less than 80 percent of area median income (which usually qualifies one for affordable housing or federal housing assistance) and spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent, a tax credit worth whatever amount they are spending above that 30 percent threshold. The tax credit would be refundable, meaning even those with no federal income tax burden could still benefit from it.

Booker’s bill would also condition federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)—a federal housing grant program with a rather spotty track record—on localities adopting “inclusionary” land-use policies designed to increase housing supply and access.

The HOME Act includes a laundry list of policies that might satisfy this requirement, including a lot of things libertarians could get behind like upzoning, eliminating off-street parking requirements, eliminating height requirements, streamlining permitting, and even making development “by-right” (meaning local bureaucrats wouldn’t have the discretion to shoot down a code-conforming project).

Conversely, Booker’s bill would reward localities for adopting a number of more interventionist policies, including increasing the number of rent-controlled units, banning landlords from asking prospective tenant about their criminal history, and taxing vacant land.

It’s not a free marketer’s dream bill, but the focus on removing local restrictions on housing supply are welcome. By threatening to take away funding from more restrictive municipalities, Booker’s bill includes a lot more stick compared to his carrot-offering competitors in the Democratic primary.

Warren’s housing bill, also introduced last year, would have set up a $10 billion fund to reward communities that made development easier, but her bill did not threaten to take any federal funding away from cities that didn’t play ball, blunting its effectiveness and making it less palatable than Booker’s bill.

Harris’ housing bill, by contrast, totally punts on the question of local restrictions on development. Instead, the California senator’s proposal would issue refundable tax credits to “cost-burdened” renters making as much as $125,000 a year. Uh, yeah, that’s about three times what I make, so you can imagine how I feel about that. Rather than make housing more affordable, this approach would likely just raise costs for renters by subsidizing demand, while doing nothing to address restrictions on supply.

It’s still not a good reason to vote for him if you desire smaller government.

Halfway There — Maybe   3 comments

I’m continuing my rundown of the massive Democratic primary field, starting with the lowest ratings and working my way upward. You can check out my previous articles by following the links below. And, you’re always welcome to comment.

Assuming he didn’t blow it in the debates over the weekend, Pete Buttegieg is poised as a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

pete buttegieg

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttegieg does not hold an office that traditionally serves as a springboard to the presidency. That seems not to matter in the Trump era. Democrats find Buttegieg is thoughtful, even intellectual. He’s a Rhodes scholar, attended the University of Oxford, served his country in the Navy and was deployed to Afghanistan, and worked in the private sector before returning to his hometown where he took up politics. He’s a married gay man, but he’s managed to avoid engaging with his fellow presidential candidates in the culture war’s unwinnable arms race.

And while his fellow presidential aspirants are pandering to the lowest common denominator, promising the world and ignoring constitutional impediments, Pete Buttegieg is talking about ideas. Among them, the very concept of liberty itself.

“We’ve allowed our conservative friends to get a monopoly on the idea of freedom,” Buttegieg conceded in a recent speech to a group of supporters in South Carolina. But the kind of freedom conservative syndicalists promote was, he argued, defined too narrowly. “Freedom from,” he explained. “As though government were the only thing that could make us unfree.”

Oddly, though, he went on to illustrate that it is, in fact, coercive governmental institutions that are most often responsible for curtailing liberty.

And that’s a problem for some Democratic observers, who say Buttigieg sounds a lot like a libertarian. Democratic journalists really don’t know much about libertarianism, which is based on the founding principles, including voluntary association.

A thoughtful politician, Buttegieg’s intellectual journey seems to have led him halfway to small government libertarianism. Perhaps nothing better illustrates this internal conflict better than his response when asked where he stands on fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A, whose owners oppose same-sex marriages like his own. “I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” he said. “Maybe, if nothing else, I can build that bridge.” Maybe he can, but the current behavior of the modern Democratic Party wants any hand in its construction.

For libertarians, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, appears to be a welcome addition to the far-left-leaning Democratic primary. After all, his views on foreign intervention and free college are small consolations in a field that is largely set on growing the scope of government.

Some of Buttigieg’s other positions, however, put him at odds with libertarian voters.

Several Democratic candidates have expressed a desire to expand the Supreme Court in hopes of weakening the influence of conservative justices. I guess they feel that if they can’t get a majority with nine, they’ll manage one with 15. This has been tried before and it scared the Supremes enough that they did whatever FDR wanted for a decade, must of which was later ruled to be unconstitutional.

In a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Buttigieg suggested expanding the court to 15 justices. This new court would be composed of five conservative justices, five liberal justices, and five rotating appellate justices, each unanimously agreed upon by their peers. That might sound good if you despise simple majority decisions, but there are a number of complications immediately recognizable, but I’m just going to note one.

The proposal gives justices more power by choosing who gets appointed. This both goes against an important check on the judicial branch, and is likely unconstitutional, as presidents are the only people allowed to appoint justices.

Buttigieg has previously invoked his military service to criticize endless war. He’s also used his experiences to speak positively about national service. Though he hasn’t presented any official positions, his sentiments on the latter indicate that he would be comfortable with mandatory national service. While his proposal remains vaguely stated, he explained to Rachel Maddow that he sees national public service as a means ot bridging social divides. And he may well be right. Take 18-year-olds, force them to work for the government for a couple of years, brain-wash them with propaganda and, viola, you’ve created a whole generation of youth corps drones.

Though Buttigieg has yet to truly commit to a major campaign proposal, his thoughts should not be taken lightly. If libertarians are looking for a mainstream candidate who will not join pointless wars, then Buttigieg aligns with their views. If they’re looking for a firm commitment to shrinking the size and scope of government, they may not find much common ground in this candidate.

Open Book Blog Hop – 24th June   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week’s topic is:

‘How do you select the names of your characters?’

I must admit I only like traditional names, and so as soon as I read a blurb about a character with a strange or outlandish name, then I’m afraid I tend to skip that book and move on to another one.  Funnily enough I find that books with strangely-named characters are usually in fantasy novels, a genre that I have tried to get on with but unfortunately cannot.

When I write, I prefer a character to have a short name, so that I don’t have to keep on typing out a long one.  For example, I chose Amy and Beth (A House Without Windows),  Erin and Alan (A Rather Unusual Romance),  and Judy, Roger, Edie and Roz are some of the characters from The Pilates Class.’

I type clinic letters daily and always look at people’s names. …

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Posted June 24, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Bermansplaining

Unfiltered News and Opinion on Politics, Culture and Tech. Tweet a Tip or Story (@EthanBerman) or Email (bermansplaining@gmail.com).

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