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.
The San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure, a proposal by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA), will be on the June 2016 ballot of nine Bay Area counties. In an earlier article, San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority - Nickel and Diming you to the Poor House, we discussed the proposal’s background and purported objective. Here we are encouraging voters to consider some general issues that might be of concern.
o SFBRA and the media characterize this proposed measure as “historic,” because the taxation applies to nine Bay Area Counties. In our view, this measure is historic because it opens a can of worms. “The Authority proposes to levy a special parcel tax of $12 per year for 20 years on each parcel wholly or partially in the San Francisco Bay Area, subject to two-thirds voter approval, to fund the programs identified in the Measure. Such a levy is anticipated to generate approximately $25,000,000 a year to fund specific clean water, pollution prevention and habitat restoration projects and other purposes, including, without limitation, the possible payment of debt service on bonds issued by or on behalf of the Authority…” The creation of the Restoration Authority with powers not only to tax and spend but also to incur debt which might affect our next generation sets a significant precedent. What is to keep other agencies in the growing pool of agencies from acquiring the same power?
Who decides how you get where you want to go? “Why, I do!” you might say. Well, partially so. A good portion of the decision comes from visions of the future once or presently held by others. How about where you live? Who decides that? Again, partially others. Land use, suburban sprawl, walkable cities, stack-and-pack, transit first, highway network, are words and phrases coined by those who envision and perhaps ultimately determine your transportations choices, and therefore your domicile choices.
Moreover, visions evolve. What your choices are today suddenly may not be the ones you have tomorrow.
“In the future you would no longer have to live in a city just because you worked in one. You would live in the countryside or in 'garden apartments' around the city's rim. Factory workers would live in green towns just like everybody else. You would drive to work, or to sprawling green parks in the countryside, not on packed city streets but on landscaped highways.” (Gelernter, David. 1939: The Lost World of the Fair. The Free Press: New York, 1995.)
This is a succinct description by David Gelernter of the vision expressed by the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The magnificent Futurama was designed by Norman Bel Geddes, sponsored by General Motors, and depicted automated highways and infinite suburbs. So, pretty soon, the American dream became a home in the city’s outskirts and Daddy commuting to work on a network of highways. Cars became increasingly more efficient and economical, while taxpayers accepted the idea of funding highway systems.