Archive for August 2019

A Vote for Sanity   1 comment

If you’re interested in checking out what I had to say about other Democratic candidates, you can get started here.


If I had to vote in the Democratic primary today, I would vote for John Delaney, an American attorney, businessman and politician who served in the US House of Representatives for Maryland’s 6th congressional district from 2013 to 2019.

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Delaney became the first Democrat to announce he was running for president in 2020 when he declared on July 28, 2017. He chose not to run for reelection to Congress in 2018 so he could focus on his presidential campaign.

I would go so far to say that he is the sanest of the 132 Democrats running for the nomination and he’ll be boring compared to Donald Trump, which isn’t really a bad thing for me, but is the reason he’s not going to get the Democratic nomination in 2020. If there’s still a Democratic and/or Republican Party later in the 2020s, he might have a shot, but right now, craziness is ruling, so the chances of a sane person winning are equivalent to a snowball’s chance of surviving a trip through hell on the afterburner of rocket.

Delaney was raised in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey and worked on his father’s construction sites growing up. He used scholarships from his father’s labor union (IBEW) and the American Legion to fund college at Columbia University and then got his law degree from Georgetown University in 1988.

He co-founded two companies that were publically traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1993, he co-founded Health Care Financial Partners (HCFP) to make loans available to smaller health care service providers that were largely ignored by larger banks. Delaney also co-founded CapitalSource, a commercial lender provided capital to roughly 5,000 small and mid-sized businesses. So, he made his money the old-fashioned way, by providing a service some people wanted. Small businesses, especially in the medical field sometimes face titanic opposition to securing financing.

In 2010, Delaney ran in a gerrymandered district against a 10-term Republican incumbent. Good for him. We need more vote-applied term limits for incumbents. The gerrymandering by Governor Martin O’Malley assured Barack Obama a win in that district in 2012.

During the primary, Delaney was endorsed by former President Bill Clinton and Washington Post. [22]

On April 3, 2012, Delaney won the five-candidate Democratic primary field with 54% of the vote. The next closest opponent, State Senator Robert J. Garagiola was 25 points behind Delaney.

In the November 6, 2012 general election, Delaney defeated Bartlett by a 21-point margin. He served three terms and introduced legislation to end partisan gerrymandering (which I find ironic). His bill would have appointed independent redistricting commissions nationwide to end partisan involvement in election districts and would have made Election Day a federal holiday and create an open top-two primary system (this is the system used in California to assure that no Republican will ever appear on a general election ballot in that state again.

Delaney was ranked as the 53rd most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy/ In 2015, a similar ranking by the nonpartisan site GovTrack ranked Delaney third highest for bipartisanship among all House Democrats. He served on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations as well as the Joint Economic Committee.

Like I said, Delaney is the sanest of the Democrats winning (Biden is 78 years old, enough said on that topic). He favors universal medical insurance and has proposed a public plan that would cover all Americans under the age of 65 (while leaving Medicare for those over 65 untouched). He opposes Medicare-for-All, arguing that advocacy for the policy would help Trump get re-elected. During a June 2019 debate, Delaney claimed that hospitals will be shuttered under Medicare-for-AllPolitifact, the Washington Post fact-checker and Kaiser Health News, both far from unbiased sources, insist this claim is false and unsubstantiated. My cousin explains that Medicare reimburses specialists at such a low rate that most can’t even cover their cost of care. By the time they pay the several support staff needed to file a claim with Medicare, the doctor  is working for free, so yeah – very likely, Medicare-for-All will mean medical care for far fewer.

Delaney has been frequently referred to as a “moderate”. However, he has has remarked,

People have a hard time labeling me. Some of the things they hear me talking about are on the total progressive or liberal end of the spectrum, and in other ways I’m kind of a solutions-oriented moderate who wants to get things done.]

He has received the top score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign for his support of equality-related legislation, with him stating “No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love” in response to this recognition.

Delaney has said he would support increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 23 percent “to raise about $200 billion for infrastructure”.

Delaney and his wife April (née McClain) met at Georgetown University Law Center.They have four daughters. His wife is the Washington, D.C. Director for Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating families on social media. Two of his daughters attend Northwestern University.

Delaney says that he is a Catholic, and has said that his “social justice orientation” was influenced by his faith “to some extent”.

Delaney was a member of the Board of Directors of several organizations: St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School (Chairman), Georgetown UniversityNational Symphony Orchestra, and the International Center for Research on Women.

The very fact that Delaney supports so many initiatives I categorically stand against and yet I say he’s the most sane of the Democratic candidates should tell you something about the field of Democratic nominees. They are FAR to the left of moderate and their values are not the same values as most Americans. In fact, quite a few of them would force their values on the American people “for our own good.”

So when I say I would vote for John Delaney in the Democratic nomination I’m not saying I would support him as president. I just think the Democrats ought to be selecting a candidate who has a snowball’s chance in hell on a rocket’s afterburner of winning against Donald Trump. And, none of the others really do. Maybe if Joe Biden could be a bit younger, but that’s not going to happen, so –.

Posted August 19, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Open Book Blog Hop – 19th August   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week the topic is:

“What does literary success look like to you?”

To me it looks like Stephen King, J.K Rowling, and E.L James to name but three!  They’ve made a success of their literary careers, and can live off the money they earn from book sales and film rights.

Hey ho,  but for those in the higher echelons of success there are also millions striving for the same success currently having to be satisfied with selling the odd book or two.  For us lowly mortals it’s a success to sell one or two books per week, so success is all relative to where you are in the pecking order.

Would those three at the top of the pile feel they are not as successful if their book sales start to dwindle to thousands rather than hundreds of thousands/millions?  I would be in seventh heaven if I sold thousands…

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Posted August 19, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Posted August 19, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in #openbook

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Literary Success #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

My friend PJ McLayne’s article for the Open Book Blog Hop this week.

Source: Literary Success #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted August 19, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Goal!   9 comments

What does literary success look like to you?

Rules:

1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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What Tastes Like Literary Success?

The easy answer for me is seeing that my books are being read. Yeah, all indie authors are jazzed to see our books finally in publication. And, yeah, it feels good to sell a book and make some royalty. A little coin in the pocket isn’t a bad thing, especially since there’s a cost to publishing and it’s nice when your books break even or, gasp, make a profit. I’m a capitalist and, while writing as a hobby is something I’d do anyway, making some money off it is gratifying.

But, unexpectedly, was what happened when I published my most recent book in November 2018. The sales weren’t especially overwhelming, but I’m used to that and it was before I had discovered Amazon ads. The book that comes out later this year will be a full test of the efficacy of that program. No, in November I clicked on Kindle’s KENP Reads beta report and saw this amazing report that showed me which books were being read and I could do the math and see how many books that translated into. I could see that someone (I imagine the same readers) were starting with Book 1 (Life As We Knew It), going to Book 2 (Objects in View), going to Book 3 (A Threatening Fragility) and then finishing with Book 4 (Day’s End) and they were doing it, often day after day … binge-reading my series. While I’d love it if they left a review when they were finished, this is sufficient applause for me.

In fact, it was far better than getting paid when someone buys the book, which could sit on someone’s TRB for years. Instead, I get real-time data showing the books are being read. (KENP has now come out with a royalty estimator so you can see approximately how much money you’re making from those reads). That scratches the literary success itch for me in a way I didn’t even know I wanted.

Would I like to be a best-selling author? Of course I would. Any author who says they don’t want that is either lying or in denial. We wouldn’t publish our books if we didn’t want them to be read. Most of us are, unfortunately, going to languish in the shadows for our entire careers. We have to define success in something other than the dollars our books bring in the door. For me, it’s people reading my books. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do a happy dance if I broke into best-seller territory, so isn’t it lovely that KENP is now being used to calculate best-seller rankings. And, last month was the first time my KENP royalties outranked my sell royalties, so … yeah … starting to look kind of shiny around here.

A Prince of Liechtenstein Discusses Private Property and Political Discourse | Claudio Grass   Leave a comment

[Adapted from an interview with His Serene Highness Prince Michael of Liechtenstein. H.S.H.

Source: A Prince of Liechtenstein Discusses Private Property and Political Discourse | Claudio Grass

 

A Prince of Liechtenstein Discusses Private Property and Political Discourse

TAGS Global Economy

08/16/2019

[Adapted from an interview with His Serene Highness Prince Michael of Liechtenstein. H.S.H. Prince Michael of Liechtenstein is the Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG, as well as president of the Think Tank ECAEF (European Centre of Austrian Economics Foundation). He is Chairman of Industrie- und Finanzkontor in Vaduz (Liechtenstein).]

Claudio Grass (CG): The spirit of governance, as well as the local culture of Liechtenstein, seem to support and work in harmony with the ideas of personal freedom, independence and especially respect for private property. To what extent do you think this was influenced by the heritage and the history of your family and of past generations?

H.S.H. Prince Michael of Liechtenstein (PML): We have a very well-balanced governance system here in Liechtenstein, which results in cohesion and prosperity. It is proof that the combination of monarchy, direct democracy, and the high autonomy of the municipalities works well. This combination forces all parts of government to apply credible politics. The monarchy’s reputation and strength are based on the balanced family constitution and the rigidity applied by the Princely family toward its members with the effect of discipline and a high sense of responsibility. It is widely agreed that a democracy can only function on the ideals of personal freedom, independence, subsidiarity, personal responsibility, and respect for private property.

CG: What about today? Do you see these values and individual rights as being under threat in recent years and how are they defended in Liechtenstein?

PML: Unfortunately, even in Western democracies, the values of freedom and independence and the respect for private property get more and more eroded. A flood of laws limits freedom of choice and regulations violate property rights. In today’s European societies, many are tempted to happily exchange freedom against an illusion of security. Unfortunately, also in Liechtenstein we see such an attitude, much less pronounced but still existing. However, our systems are robust enough to protect individual freedom and property rights.

CG: The European Center for Austrian Economics Foundation (ECAEF) has played a key role in researching and promoting sound ideas and advancing arguments for self-responsibility and limited government. It can be argued, however, that the political trend seems to be headed in the opposite direction for quite some time, with some even claiming that WWI marked the end of civilization. What is your view on this and do you think we should still remain optimistic about a possible reversal toward more individual freedom?

PML: World War I might not have marked the end of civilization, but it marked the start of the phase where Europe’s influence in the world and its combination of Christianity and Liberalism (a very successful model) started to decline. Liberalism, which includes values such as personal freedom and property rights, is based on Christianity. Personal responsibility is a basic factor in Christianity.

This system has played very well also for Western economy and prosperity. But Europe became very saturated. After seventy years of peace after World War II, Europe left the path of a drive to achievement and turned to a drive of self-protection, anxiety, and redistribution. This saturated situation will necessarily lead into a crisis and I believe — as unfortunate as it is — that a big disruption will be necessary for a return toward more individual freedom. In case this does not happen, Europe will again fall into poverty and a loss of freedom. However, I am optimistic in the long term, but I see quite some troubles in the near future.

CG: The last few years have seen a sharp decline in the quality of public debate in Europe and in the US, as deep divisions and political polarization has turned civilized dialogue into name-calling and shouting matches. Freedom of speech and its limits have also come under scrutiny and many attempts to curb it have backfired. How important a role do you think freedom of expression will play if we are ever to return to a higher level of public discourse?

PML: Political correctness has degenerated the public debate in Europe and the US to a high degree of mediocrity. The essence of democracy and free society is an open debate of sometimes clashing opinions. Under the term “polarization” deferring opinions are decried and ideas, which do not correspond to the accepted mediocrity, are marginalized as either radical or populist or right-winged, etc. As a result, freedom of expression is limited.

Therefore, all of a sudden, as soon as there are differences, name-calling and shouting matches are replacing a sound public debate. In order to get to a higher level of public discourse, we have to come back to the real freedom of expression, which unfortunately is more and more limited. Sometimes polarization is a necessary ingredient of a functioning and healthy democracy.

CG: What are the key challenges and opportunities you can see emerging from this ongoing technological push toward decentralization and digitalization? As new ideas and systems give power back to the individual, do you expect to see a social impact, apart from an economic one too?

PML: All new positive technologies make men more efficient and a society more prosperous. The fear that there will be less jobs due to new technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, etc., is unjustified. In fact, new technologies will create new types of jobs. The challenge will be to manage the transformation.

Blockchain with its system of decentralization has the big advantage that the individual becomes much more independent from centralized institutions such as state agencies or some private providers such as banks, notaries, etc. This will have a very positive social impact, as the grip of government on individuals will become weaker. And the economic advantage will be a considerable reduction of transaction costs. Blockchain will be successfully applied in many areas, but it will need time for the benefits to ripen.

CG: It can be argued that we are going through strange times geopolitically, with the US shifting away from its traditional leadership role in many global issues and with rising trade tensions threatening to rupture or redefine key alliances. At the same time, we see a lot of political undercurrents in Europe rise to the surface, with key electoral victories of anti-establishment parties and movements. In your position as the Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Intelligence Services (GIS) in Vaduz and from your own extensive experiences, do you believe this period to be unique or do you see historical parallels and patterns that might guide our expectations and outlook?

PML: The World is in a time of extreme political disruptions. But we had similar times before, especially in the age of Renaissance in Europe which finally shaped today’s situation in the Continent. It is very difficult to apply historical parallels and patterns. World War I was an incident not as disruptive as the Renaissance, but started a new period of European and Western decline. But the time before is a good example to see today’s lingering conflict between the US and China. The mistakes that the European powers made in the late nineteenth century with the outbreak of World War I should be a warning for today’s politics.

CG: The global economy also seems to stand at a crossroads. After a decade of heavy-handed interventions by central banks in all major economies, combined with an explosion in debt levels, it would seem that unsupported, “organic” growth is arguably dead, while financial markets are addicted to low rates and central bank accommodations. How do you evaluate the impact of these policies and what are, in your estimation, the biggest economic risks moving forward?

PML: The biggest problem, not only economically but also politically, is the debt problem. It is unimaginable, how this madness of creating more and more debt and just pushing the economy by inflating the money supply will end. The only outcome one can imagine now is that the resulting catastrophe will be big. A small group of people already believes that the only solution, as terrible as it is, will be a major war. I cannot really disagree with that assumption, because the resulting crisis might lead to more and more political tensions, which could unload like a thunderstorm in a war. How such a war will happen is unclear, it might be limited to the cyber sphere or it might also be likely that traditional military forces will be deployed.

CG: In this context, what do you think the role of gold will be in the coming years? What do you make of the fact that we’re seeing key central banks, e.g., in Russia and China, racing to increase their reserves in recent years?

PML: I think gold will always play an important role. People simply trust in it, although it is not always very practical. I believe that the central banks in Russia and China have seen the possibility to increase trust in their currencies by having larger gold reserves. This is important, because we must not forget that the value of money is based on the trust of the people who use it. Gold is a good hedge against the inflated amount of the currencies which will finally destroy the trust that people still have.

[Adapted from an interview with His Serene Highness Prince Michael of Liechtenstein. H.S.H. Prince Michael of Liechtenstein is the Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG, as well as President of the Think Tank ECAEF (European Centre of Austrian Economics Foundation). He is Chairman of Industrie- und Finanzkontor in Vaduz (Liechtenstein).]

Claudio Grass is a Mises Ambassador and an independent precious metals advisor based out of Switzerland. His Austrian approach helps his clients find tailor-made solutions to store their physical precious metals under Swiss law. ClaudioGrass.ch

Posted August 17, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Cover Reveal Nearly Here   Leave a comment

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