Bill Weld tries to defend his ticket-topper and their candidacy in this interview on The Takeaway.
He didn’t do either any favors.
The takeaways for me are….
1) The tired, old lie that Democrats will “spend and borrow us into the poorhouse and hollow out the economy” when the facts are that Democrats have been cleaning up economic messes made by people like him – Republicans – since at least the original Gilded Age.
2) Debt. Another chicken-little exaggeration rooted in the childish notion that debt is bad, the government should stay out of the economy, and that the government should balance their checkbook the way people do. (Defenders of him and this idea should be forewarned not to expose their utter lack of understanding of economic and fiscal policies. In other words, save your libertarian tropes. I will not be kind to you.)
Anyway, he thinks the national debt could go to $50trillion under 2 terms of a Clinton presidency. He doesn’t even hint at how or why that would happen, but I’m sure he knows it’s another tried-and-true GOP misdirection that conservatives, libertarians, and people who think they’re Republicans lap up like a thirsty dog.
What he also conveniently fails to say is that presidents may propose budgets, but under Article I, Sections 7 & 8, the power to tax and spend rests with Congress. Gee. Which party has controlled the House ever since 1995 except for the 110th and 111th post-W-cluster-fuck and before the GOP gerrymandered state districts?
4) Aleppo. What would a conversation about this ticket be without a conversation about Aleppo?
Weld attempted to defend Johnson by saying “pop quizzes are not his (Johnson’s) long suit.” That’s so cavalier and so disconnected from the gravity of this atrocity that it stunned John Hockenberry into near complete silence.
Weld seemed to realize what a gaff of his own he made, and stammered toward an admission that, yes, “it’s been the news,” before babbling about his own experiences in foreign affairs, how Johnson has spent most of his time in Western states, and how Gary’s summiting of the world’s tallest peaks is evidence of Johnson’s international bona fides.
Listen for yourself to the whole interview for yourself. I assure you that I’m not creative enough to make this kind of shit up.
Only a libertarian could come up with bullshit like this, and only another libertarian would agree with it.
As I’ve said before. Libertarians sound good for the first 5 seconds. Johnson and Weld prove once again that that’s where it ends.
How is it possible that no one of consequence from Wall Street is in jail?
The answer is simple.
Too many Americans over the last 35 years have bought into the lie of trickle-down economics, the ridiculous fantasy of The Invisible Hand of markets, and the utterly perverse and abject moral bankruptcy of Objectivism.
Those people are called conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans, and as far as I’m concerned, the gloves are off.
If those labels – yes, labels – are how you describe yourself, you’re the problem. Unless and until you wake the eff up, you will be called out as the reason and the source of our problems because it is YOU who have been and continue to vote against YOUR OWN self-interests and the interests of EVERY American outside the 1%.
No, Democrats are by no means perfect or immune to this criticism. Anyone following this page knows this, but also know this. Both parties are NOT the same, not even close, and we need to stop acting like and talking about the political realities as if they are.
Yes, we get to feel better about ourselves when we say “Both parties are the same,” because it allows us to feel pure and untouched by petty, dirty, corrupt partisan politics.
But, the truth is simple. Both parties are not the same, and Bernie Sanders proves that. As an independent, he could have decided to run as one or as a Republican or as a Green or as a Justice Party candidate. He didn’t because he understands the reality that if we’re going to get this country back on track as a progressive nation that leads the world on social, economic, and environmental fronts, then we must stop kowtowing to conservatives and Republicans. The only way to do this at this point in time is through the Democratic Party.
One more unvarnished bit of reality as I see it.
The only other Americans more culpable for our problems than Republicans, conservatives, and economic libertarians are LIBERALS WHO STAY HOME ON ELECTION DAY.
If you don’t vote, you don’t get to bitch, and you are part of the problem.
First, the obvious. Not all libertarians are alike. The same, of course, is true for conservatives and liberals.
That said, I’ve had my fill of libertarians acting like they are the only ones who believe in a free society. That’s total bullshit, of course. I don’t know anyone who likes “state oppression,” do you? The debate needs to be – oh, eff that. I’m done debating strawman arguments like that.
What’s worse is when libertarians use phraseology like “state oppression.” They come off sounding like they have a tinfoil fear of the state.
Yes, of course, there are things about “the state” that libertarians and I want to change; from NDAA to NSA to KXL. Their incessant vilifying of “the state,” however, without including corporations and Big Money as the driving forces is, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, revealing of their libertarian naivety or outright corporatist obfuscation.
Remember this. WE ARE THE STATE.
Unlike government, corporate boards – and let’s not be naive about whatever paltry shares we as individuals may hold – are not elected by we ordinary citizens. We have no way of holding corporations accountable EXCEPT through the state regardless of the fantasy of the Invisible Hand libertarians may worship.
We do – or, rather, we’re supposed to, but too many of us don’t – elect those who are supposed to represent us in our government. We can control that.
For me and for as long as I’m able, I’m going to try to influence my fellow Americans to vote against libertarians (and conservatives) because of how their philosophies manifest into their policies; policies that put all but a few wealthy and powerful individuals in real peril because they stem from beliefs based on the fallacy perpetuated by people like Rothbard, the Kochs, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and all the devotees of Milton Friedman.
Libertarians are probably not Statists, whatever they think that’s supposed to mean and whatever is meant by it when the “purists” accuse Rand Paul of it. He and his “mainstream” libertarians are, however, most certainly Corporatists in the mold of his fore-bearers.
And that, dear reader, is the dirty little secret of libertarianism as it’s being practiced today. It is a front for Corporatism, and it’s far more dangerous to our society, to our democracy, and to our planet than some misplaced and misinformed hand-wringing about “the state” somehow holding back “free markets.”
Call them out on it, and vote against every single one of them and their big brother proxies, the Republicans.
That is, of course, unless you prefer to be just another resource used by the rich and powerful to become more rich and powerful at your expense.
I’m all for….
….putting the NSA and the CIA back in their cages,
….taking drones out of the hands of presidents,
….spending tax revenues in wiser ways,
….legalizing marijuana (which, btw, Paul is NOT in favor of doing; see here and here) and
….shrinking our global empire.
That does NOT make me a libertarian. It shouldn’t make anyone else believe they might be one, either.
I want to encourage everyone, but especially young people, to not be fooled by Rand Paul just because he successfully delivered some none-too-surprising applause lines, “…thanks, presumably, to the first-come, first-served ticketing system used by the student-run Berkeley Forum, which sponsored the event in collaboration with the Berkeley College Republicans.”
What he didn’t have the courage to do was to address, “….Republican red-meat subjects like abortion, Obamacare and gay marriage.” To his credit, he did say, “Clapper lied in the name of security; Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy.”
As with every politician, he played to the audience before him. Sure, a little silver lining was visible.
After all, not all libertarian ideas are bad ideas, just like not all Green, Republican, Democratic, or any other political party’s ideas are all bad.
While we might all find some amount of common ground everywhere, we should not mistake that for support. Yes, I share some ideas with libertarians, but make no mistake about it. I consider hardcore libertarianism as not only bad for America, it’s bad for humanity and for civil society.
In fact, the only ones who actually benefit from libertarianism are the wealthy corporatists.
Milton Friedman would either have to agree or lie to our faces about that fact.
Why do I say that? Well, I wonder how many self-proclaimed libertarians and so-called “libertarian populists” actually know about their movement’s history?
Let me share some here.
“Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit president Herb Cornuelle.
The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.
This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founding father of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.
The problem for libertarian politicians is that Americans hate libertarianism. They like Social Security and minimum-wage hikes, they are still somewhat wary of free trade and they resent that the world is full of conniving and frequently swarthy foreigners who are scheming to provide us with goods and services in exchange for little green pieces of paper.
Smaller government. Unfettered and unregulated free trade. Ending the Fed, the IRS, the EPA, the DOE, the ED. If not eliminating, at least privatizing federal social safety net programs. Banning abortions. Putting more and more decisions like voting rights, gun laws, and marriage equality into the hands of locals.
These are libertarian ideals, and they are an anachronism. It is a way of thinking about and seeing the world, people, society, and governance that belongs more to the 18th century than it does to the 21st.
Unregulated markets have proven time and time again to be a recipe for environmental and economic disaster. It is exactly what is causing our ever-widening wealth gap, and it is precisely to blame for what looks more and more like a caste system in America.
As for the social issues, we have seen time and again what locals do the minute they are given the chance to turn their parochial thinking and ideology into legislation.
We never would have had the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act had it been left to the states. The latest and most obvious example of the abuse of power at the state level is voter suppression. Some states leapt at the first chances they’ve had since the 60s to institute the very same voter suppression laws that the feds have denied to them for years because those laws aim squarely at limiting minority voters. States are getting it wrong.
Yes, the movements for marriage equality and marijuana legalization, as well as for reforming gun laws if the majority of Americans ever find the courage to stand up to the gun manufacturers, the lobbyists, the NRA, and the minority of Americans who oppose them, are movements today at the state level. They are meant to do one thing: Make these federal issues and, eventually, federal law because each state should NOT get to decide who marries whom, what vices we choose to indulge in, or whether or not the person in line with us at the grocery checkout – or in the pew next to us on Sunday – is carrying a concealed weapon. That’s not only parochial, it’s uncivilized.
So, young people, please do not be fooled or seduced by Rand Paul. Just because he went to Berkley and just because he’s talking the talk on domestic spying, drones, and military interventions does not make him your friend, your ally, or your advocate. (And remember, he’s NOT for legalizing weed. He just thinks you should spend *less* time in jail if you’re busted.)
Conservatives of all ages need to know that Rand is not your friend, either, at least not according to those ostensibly speaking for that ideology like Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.
In fact, Paul might have created what has become a rarer and rarer occurrence. He’s created agreement between extremist tea partiers and their intra-party nemeses, the so-called “mainstream” Republicans, that he’s not a conservative.
(Editorial note: The 2012 presidential election results prove that the GOP is anything but mainstream. All one has to do is look at the demographics. Data does not lie.)
Rubin excoriated Paul for how he insulted the intelligence of Berkley students and young people everywhere, first by wearing “baggy jeans” to Berkley (btw, what is it with conservatives and jeans?) and then for, “…pretending to be an undergrad who’d just rolled out of bed,” something Rubin says Jack Kemp wouldn’t have dreamed of doing.
On the more serious issues, Rubin exposes Paul’s, “…lack of forthrightness about conservative policies and solutions when it might prove uncomfortable – the desire to be something very different than what he’ll be in Iowa or New Hampshire.”
But what about CPAC and Paul’s straw poll victory, you ask?
Well, in this Bloomberg video (by way of The Christian Science Monitor) Dr. Larry Sabato tells us what Paul’s 31% straw poll win at CPAC means: Nothing.
First, there’s the math. Sabato reminds us that 7 in 10 at CPAC voted for someone else.
Next, he reminds us that CPAC is not the GOP. It is, he says, where, “…one goes to show a little leg – the right leg.”
Finally, he leaves us with this, and it’s something that everyone must understand about Rand Paul and libertarianism in general: Paul is very conservative on social issues like abortion, and he ran a very conservative campaign when he ran for Senate, but he is anything but conservative on homeland security issues like defense spending, the Patriot Act, and trials for Gitmo detainees.
What this all means – and what Sabato is pointing out to us – is the obvious about what Rand Paul is trying to do now. Rand Paul is simply trying to meld libertarianism with conservatism to appeal to younger voters.
Do not fall for it, younger voters.
The only kind of governance that would be worse for you than straight-up libertarianism would be libertarianism melded with conservatism.
Don’t believe it? Don’t think that’s what he’s doing, and don’t think it would necessarily be a bad thing if it were true?
Then understand this about what merging libertarianism and conservatism might mean. It comes from Paul’s own words from page 78 in his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington:
In talking to Palin, one of the primary things I wanted to do was allay her fears about social issues, telling her, “My opponents call me a libertarian but I want to assure you that I am pro-life.” Palin responded, “Oh, we all have a little libertarian in us.”
Palin and Paul. Try that on. Take it for a little walk.
Now, is that even an idea with any appeal at all, and to whom?
Again, my advice is don’t be fooled by Rand Paul or any hard-core libertarians, for that matter. They are not your friends, they are not our friends, and they are no friend to young people. They are, in fact, no one’s friend or champion except for those who believe the corporatist ideology and propaganda that comes out of places like The Cato Institute.
It’s way too early to be prognosticating 2016. Between then and now, I encourage everyone to put a little time and effort into keeping yourselves informed.
For more details on Rand Paul – or any politician, for that matter – my advice is to avoid their web sites. You simply won’t find deeper and faster spinning pits of political bull chips anywhere in the universe.
Stay away from cable news and most corporate media, too. They are corporatists with a single goal: To attract and retain your attention in service to advertisers and their shareholders.
Instead, look for independent and non-partisan sources. Here’s a site I came upon recently. It’s called OnTheIssues, and I’m already finding it to be pretty helpful.
You should also join the conversation with your fellow citizens of all stripes and ages. Below are a few organizations I like and recommend.
The future is yours, young people, and, like it or not, someday you’ll be in charge. It’s up to you.
For what it’s worth and speaking on behalf of the Baby Boomers willing to tell you the truth, we effed things up royally, and we’re very, very sorry. We were the generation that bought the lies of trickle-down economics, worshiped the “greed is good” ethos, and have been governing and running businesses with sadistic selfishness and unbridled narcissism born of Ayn Rand’s perverse Objectivism.
For your own sake and for the sake of the planet and humanity, please don’t miss the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and please don’t make the same ones we did.
10/1/2016: For the record, I no longer support CoffeePartyUSA as they have become a corrupt organization led by people who pick and choose whom they allow to have a voice and whom they allow was voting members as their way of holding onto power. Click here to read more.