o The Tea Party movement helped elect a lot of Republicans to Congress, but so far has done nothing to turn the tide of government growth.
o Much talk about how the economy is rebounding has failed to mask a deep dissatisfaction within the American “working class.” Workers want work not programs, services, or political correctness. Workers are willing to get behind a presidential candidate who might prove to be a loose cannon, but who himself has provided jobs for thousands (even if forced by unions and Labor Department rules to seek H-2B visas to run highly seasonal industries).
o The Founding Fathers established a Republic not a Direct Democracy in hopes that the wisdom of elected statesmen would protect the people from rash voting decisions. Is this what we are witnessing today on the part of conservative Republicans, or are we witnessing protection of a status quo that benefits the establishment class?
The first set of debaters tackled health care. Progressives rallied behind a single-payer system under which everyone would be insured, overhead necessitated by competition would be eliminated, robust negotiation with drug companies by government would be possible, costs to individuals would decrease because out of pocket expenses would be eliminated. Libertarians argued that cost estimates of a single-payer system are unrealistic because government would need to absorb costs now borne by private employers, government’s track record running Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA would predict equally poor outcomes in a government-run health care system, competition and accountability which are principal means of quality control would disappear, and voluntarism would be further discouraged.
The interpretation of extremism becomes difficult when violence is added to the mix. “States’ rights” might sound good in light of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” However, even a modicum of morality would prompt anyone to reject the tactics of the Ku Klux Klan. What would a frank discussion of extremism in the American Civil War contain, a conflict in which 620,000 souls were claimed.
Today’s presidential elections reveal extremisms. Not violent extremism, but that bred from years of incremental visions. If the Tea Party could get droves of conservatives elected, progressives could pass the Affordable Care Act, and Ron Paul could become an icon of liberty, could conservatives not turn the nation into a quasi theocracy, progressives turn it into a socialist paradise, or libertarians/Libertarians into the small-government republic originally intended? And let’s not forget the latest vision, seemingly not yet fully understood, of "making America great again."
San Francisco is once again going through epic changes. True to its rising Phoenix, the City has survived conflagration and political sea changes. Hopefully, it will survive the current Board of Supervisors. Each day brings news of another scatty proposal. As we at the Libertarian Party of San Francisco have repeatedly noted, each proposal when turned into legislation, 1) brings consequences, which then require more legislation, and 2) should remind us of Lucy telling Peanuts this time she will hold the football still (the iconic symbol of trusting souls by the late great cartoonist Charles M. Schulz).
These two proposals illustrate the chain-reaction effect:
o Hotel tax increase of 1% over the current 14% to help address homelessness. If a hotel room rate is $300 without tax, with tax it will cost $345. High lodging costs might discourage some visitors if not from staying in the City altogether, surely from staying at hotels. So, looks like an additional fix might be needed to prevent vacant hotels rooms.
It has been nearly a year since the War and Law League told of President Obama’s request for congressional rubber-stamping of his wars in Iraq and Syria. It appeared tantamount to an admission that they had been unlawful. See “Terrorist group wants to suck U.S. into religious fight, Kucinich says, warning against war authorization.”
Obama gets his wish and more in Senate Joint Resolution 29, introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Republican leader, from Kentucky. It is cosponsored by Senator Marco Rubio, a GOP presidential candidate from Florida, and Republican Senators Coats (IN), Ernst (IA), Graham (SC), and Hatch (UT). Its language bears a striking similarity to the resolution that Bush Jr. submitted and Congress rubber-stamped in 2002 to authorize his impending attack on Iraq.
Despite congressional Republicans’s perennial refrain that the Democratic President Obama has exceeded his constitutional power, McConnell aims at thrusting nearly unlimited war power upon the president.
In doing so, McConnell appears to be tossing out all the normal procedural safeguards: referral to committee, public hearing, discussion, debate. He wants war and is strong-arming it through -- democracy be damned. The resolution was “read” the second time on January 21 and placed on the Senate calendar.