January-February-March 2020 Open Thread

Trump begins 2020 by banning flavored e-cigarettes and pushing WW III with Iran. lobe den Führer.

172 thoughts on “January-February-March 2020 Open Thread

  1. paulie

    As the resident “TDS” accusation bearer… I hate to point out I’ve been correct. I really do, because I wish I had been wrong.

  2. dL Post author

    Could be all of the above?

    Could be none of the above. Unlike, say, 19th century French emperors, there’s no evidence that American war criminals and/or blunderers ever pay for their crimes or mistakes. Indeed, they are usually rewarded for such. And while Trump is a chickenhawk crook, his base defines abject collective idiocy. In a room full of republicans, Trump is always smartest man in the room. personne n’a jamais fait faillite en sous-estimant l’intelligence du peuple américain

  3. dL Post author

    As the resident “TDS” accusation bearer… I hate to point out I’ve been correct. I really do, because I wish I had been wrong.

    I think you are more the resident PDS bearer. Plenty of us identified Trump as a narcissistic grifter

  4. Bondurant

    The Deep State always gets what it wants. Trump is just another puppet. GOP and Democrats. Same shit, different day.

  5. dL Post author

    The Deep State always gets what it wants. Trump is just another puppet. GOP and Democrats. Same shit, different day.

    “Deep state” is such a quaint term. When it’s completely out in the open, it isn’t so “deep” anymore. Permanent state is the more apropos description. But in this instance, if you’re looking for a conspiracy, I think “wag the dog” is the better fit.

  6. George Phillies

    Another duopoly party carpetbagger descends on the LP Presidential campaign race.

    Lincoln Chafee.

    secure.anedot DOT com/lincoln-chafee-for-president/donate

  7. Eric Sundwall

    ONce again the anti-NAPper’s have the upper hand . . . dastardly Fabian Root-ists!

  8. Jared

    “Another duopoly party carpetbagger descends on the LP Presidential campaign race.”

    It was only a matter of time. Gotta give him some credit for exercising self-restraint. Ten months in the party before announcing a presidential bid is still ten months longer than Gary circa 2012. Boy, if Justin Amash throws his hat in the ring, Nick Sarwark will have one hell of a time deciding which big shiny fish is supposed to lure more funding and member registrations.

    So will Lincoln’s next stop on this futile quest for attention and relevance will be the Constitution Party or the Greens?

  9. dL Post author

    Another duopoly party carpetbagger descends on the LP Presidential campaign race.

    According to Knapp, there is another one coming, too.

    #jamesGang
    #theEagles

  10. Thomas Knapp

    I only had one source on that claim until this morning. Now I have a second source. Both sources are from LP presidential candidates’ campaign teams.

    The second one I’m told to expect an announcement from is Joe Walsh. Unfortunately, not the Eagles guitarist.

  11. NewFederalist

    I wonder just how much support Lincoln Chafee actually has within the libertarian community? He has some positions that appear to be at considerable variance with the Libertarian platform. Perhaps Weld will abandon his GOP bid and give Lincoln a big name opponent at the convention!

  12. Thomas Knapp

    There’s always a solid core base at LP national conventions of “oh, I think I’ve heard his name, he’s famous, I’m going to scream and throw my panties on stage like a teenage girl at a Tom Jones concert.”

    That base isn’t necessarily an existing majority — IIRC, it went to six ballots in 2008 before Barr eked out a majority, and two in Orlando for Johnson — but it can be added to with fundraising claims (true or false), ballot access assistance pledges (true or false), etc. Or if necessary, as in 2016, just whining loudly enough that there’s no other real choice.

    If nothing else, Chafee’s campaign should be interesting with respect to what positions he announces, how those positions match up with previous ones he’s acted on in power, etc.

  13. dL Post author

    I’m going to scream and throw my panties on stage like a teenage girl at a Tom Jones concert.

    Did Tom Jones ever have screaming teenage girls throwing panties at him? Intoxicated Vegas !MILF’s, maybe

  14. dL Post author

    I wonder just how much support Lincoln Chafee actually has within the libertarian community?

    I might ask that about Joe Walsh

  15. Jared

    TK: “Unfortunately, not the Eagles guitarist.”

    That’s okay. I prefer the America’s Most Wanted guy anyway.

    #ToughOnCrime

  16. Darcy G. Richardson

    With so many potential shiny badges seeking the party’s presidential nomination, delegates to the hybrid Democratic-Republican convention in Austin — a reunion of retreads, if you will — ought to bring sunglasses. The glare could be tough on one’s eyes.

  17. dL Post author

    Why is the LNC in the form of its Executive Director calling for a general war with Iraq?

    See Dan Fishman’s Facebook page.

    Summarize or a screen shot. Not everyone uses facebook.. At the very least, a link…

  18. Thomas Knapp

    Fishman posted this:

    “A meaningful response that doesn’t kill anyone? Destroy the Iranian oil fields.”

    Which, other problems aside, would kill quite a few people.

  19. paulie

    Why is the LNC in the form of its Executive Director calling for a general war with Iraq?

    See Dan Fishman’s Facebook page.

    As far as I know he still has the right to his personal opinions, and it’s not an official statement in the name of the LP.

  20. paulie

    Did Tom Jones ever have screaming teenage girls throwing panties at him? Intoxicated Vegas !MILF’s, maybe

    (G)GMIWNLFs is more like it, LOL

  21. paulie

    If nothing else, Chafee’s campaign should be interesting with respect to what positions he announces, how those positions match up with previous ones he’s acted on in power, etc.

    He has Thrasher, so he will know how to make the right noises.

  22. paulie

    I wonder just how much support Lincoln Chafee actually has within the libertarian community? He has some positions that appear to be at considerable variance with the Libertarian platform.

    So do the Pauls, Amash, Bob Barr, Bill Weld….they still get LP and/or movement support.

    Perhaps Weld will abandon his GOP bid and give Lincoln a big name opponent at the convention!

    Neocon Walsh is apparently going to be jumping ship to LP. Who else? Yang? Gabbard? Where does it end?

  23. paulie

    “Deep state” is such a quaint term. When it’s completely out in the open, it isn’t so “deep” anymore.

    It’s a nonsense term. Total bunk. Is Pompeo deep state? How about Bolton? Giuliani? There are all kinds of Bushi Amerikan warmongers who are now Trumpi Amerikan warmongers. Were they deep state then? Did they stop being deep state? Are they still deep state? If so, why is Trump appointing these people when he’s supposedly against the deep state?

    In reality the whole concept is a crock. There are competing, shifting alliances within the power structure. Not a single “deep state” conspiracy.

  24. paulie

    I think you are more the resident PDS bearer. Plenty of us identified Trump as a narcissistic grifter

    True, but I think I’ve most consistently predicted how extremely terrible he will end up. It’s true that he is not there yet, but it’s headed that way. The only thing I was never sure about and still am not is the time frame.

  25. paulie

    Could be none of the above. Unlike, say, 19th century French emperors, there’s no evidence that American war criminals and/or blunderers ever pay for their crimes or mistakes.

    Paying for it was not mentioned. The all of the above refers to: chickenhawk crook, fucking idiot, crime, mistake. I don’t think you mean this was none of the above.

    And while Trump is a chickenhawk crook, his base defines abject collective idiocy.

    Yeah, that’s definitely not none of the above.

  26. Libertarian in Colorado

    Justin Amash (I, MI-3) has not ruled out running for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, according to a report of a text exchange with friend Ross Kaminsky on Kaminsky’s Denver radio show following an interview with Amash on the first half of the 9 a.m. MST hour on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Amash is planning on running for reelection.

  27. Libertarian in Colorado

    I like the “edit comment” feature, but my recent comment does not appear yet–maybe it is being moderated since I hadn’t posted in a while.

    See direct link to Justin Amash radio interview.

  28. Paulie

    Georgia bean count , 3 beans per attendee

    Kokesh 47

    Jorgensen 29

    Supreme 26

    Behrman 21

    Others not announced. 5 more participants in the debate.

  29. Paulie

    Couldn’t live blog today ask did not have access to an outlet. All speakers and panels plus the debate and socials today. Business session tomorrow. If I get a place to plug in will cover as best I can. Jbh is here, check his page for anything i missed.

  30. Paulie

    46 delegates in Georgia. Good number of out of state folks. Never found an outlet so no separate thread. Might cover a few highlights here in open thread.

  31. Paulie

    Lincoln Chafee was not among the top 4 bean getters in his first lp debate. He said deficit was one of his top two priorities along with war ; he did not seem to know the difference between deficit and debt or perhaps had the two mixed up.

  32. Thomas Knapp

    Quoth Paulie (in a comment that showed up via email but doesn’t appear to be on the site yet):

    “Lincoln Chafee was not among the top 4 bean getters in his first lp debate. He said deficit was one of his top two priorities along with war ; he did not seem to know the difference between deficit and debt or perhaps had the two mixed up.”

    In a recent interview with The Libertarian Republic, he was asked about monetary policy and the Fed, and answered about fiscal policy, spending and deficits/debt.

    Was he answering the question he wanted to answer instead of the one that was asked? Or does he not understand the difference? Or is his mind starting to go?

  33. Paulie

    Dunno but he repeatedly kept talking about a 22 or 23 trillion dollar deficit. With or without prompting. Either he does not know the difference or he was having a senior moment or something.

  34. Paulie

    Looks like they let out of state people vote here. I am now a ga state convention delegate.

  35. Paulie

    Slowenski and Metz both endorsed for the other U.S. Sen race. Vote count corrected to 56 as the chair is not allowed to vote.

  36. Paulie

    Martin Cowan, lp member since 1972, former judge and author of Fabian libertarian, nominated for us house 1

  37. Paulie

    Vc and secy reelected over only nota each. Now district caucus. Even though we are voting delegates we do not get a district.

  38. Paulie

    John monds of ga jumped into the race for the presidential nomination. Eric fontaine affiliated with the vermin campaign was the top vote getter for national convention delegate.

  39. dL Post author

    Star Trek Picard:

    Apparently, aging is a conundrum that has eluded Federation progress. It is difficult to overlook the limitations that obviously beset a 80 year old actor in the 21st century similarly affecting a 80 year old man of means at the end of the 24th century. This shit is in HD now.

    In 1987, the idea of a sentient android as 24th century tech seemed plausible. But we know this is plausibly a 21st century tech, and this persistent plot device that only one man has figured out how to build a Data in the year 2385 is nonsense. Even more ludicrous is a galactic ban on synthetic life forms. Star Trek becomes Space Force…

  40. hf

    I’d like to hear more about John Monds. I know that he’s been with the LPGA for a long time, that he’s run up some decent vote totals (by our standards), and that people say he’s a great guy (which is not that common in the LP…) but not much else.

    Any thing that sets off alarms?

  41. paulie

    Nothing I know of that sets off alarms, but he is jumping into an already crowded field kind of late. That sort of thing might work for establishment crossovers but I don’t see it working for him. I don’t think he has much name recognition among delegates nationally and other campaigns have already been working to build up support for some time.

    It’s true that he got a lot of votes in one or more two-way races for a down ticket state office in GA (Public Service Commission). So have a few other people you most likely have not heard of. His best move would have probably been to replicate that again this year; there’s a high likelihood that the guy who is running for that seat instead will do so, and little of it will be due to his or his campaign’s efforts.

  42. paulie

    Anyone available to liveblog LNC meeting this weekend? I’m missing another one or at the very least part, as I will be at the Mississippi convention. Anyone else (I do not mean current LNC members) available to liveblog?
    I may be able to cover Sunday but may be on the road back so not sure.

  43. paulie

    From the latest Vermin Supreme campaign update:

    The Arizona Libertarian Party convention was held this past Saturday,
    January 25. It was in Tucson, Arizona at the Sea of Glass Center for the
    Arts. Our own Vermin Supreme was in attendance and participated in a
    forum with seven other presidential hopefuls. Vermin introduced himself
    letting the group know that he has a full campaign staff, multiple
    endorsements, has been interviewed by numerous publications ranging from
    the Washington Post to Teen Vogue, and has even appeared on Fox News’
    Watters’ World.

    The candidates were asked a variety of questions by participants on
    the floor. Vermin was asked about the national debt, the border and
    immigration, and how to protect the Second Amendment from State-level
    infringement. Vermin gave candid answers, always being sure to align his
    thoughts with the Libertarian Party platform. A point of levity came
    when Vermin was posed with the question, “Where do you stand on sex
    workers?” Vermin responded, “Where do I stand on sex workers? NO, my
    dominatrix stands on me!” He then went on to explain how he feels sex
    work should be as free as any other type of occupation.

    Vermin received one slightly confrontational question from the floor
    when a participant asked, “What was your thought process when you
    decided to run a campaign mocking the Libertarian Party?” Vermin shot
    back with, “Sir, I dispute that whole-heartedly. I do not believe I am
    mocking the Libertarian Party. When I have run in the past as a
    Democrat, I was not a Democrat. When I have run in the past as a
    Republican, I was not a Republican. I am running as a Libertarian and I
    am a Libertarian. I fully support the Libertarian Party platform.”

    Today, members of Team Supreme and Vermin himself will be hosting a
    gathering at the Austin Public in Forest Hills, NY. They will be doing
    public outreach as well as gathering signatures for ballot access. The
    party will then move to Queens College in Queens, NY. The Golden Quills
    Libertarian Club will be hosting their event to reach out to students
    and faculty and gather more signatures for Vermin Supreme.

    What makes this run for the nomination different is that Vermin has put
    together a legitimate campaign team, has the backing of a legitimate
    candidate committee, and – for the first time ever – has filed his
    candidacy with the FEC. His new campaign website can be seen at
    https://verminsupreme2020.com , complete with a platform, policy, and
    a brand new online shop.

  44. dL Post author

    Vermin introduced himself
    letting the group know that he has a full campaign staff, multiple
    endorsements, has been interviewed by numerous publications ranging from
    the Washington Post to Teen Vogue, and has even appeared on Fox News’
    Watters’ World.

    Vermin is actually running a real campaign to win the LP nomination. Chafee on the other hand is running a pretend campaign. He has a pretend website, a pretend social media presence, pretend boots on the ground and a pretend budget and staff.

  45. Jim

    LP Iowa caucus results:

    134 Jacob Hornberger 47.52%
    36 Lincoln Chafee 12.77%
    18 Jo Jorgensen 6.38%
    17 Adam Kokesh 6.03%
    14 Daniel Behrman 4.96%
    10 John McAfee 3.55%
    9 Vermin Supreme 3.19%
    8 Other (Write In) 2.84%
    8 NOTA 2.84%
    7 Sam Robb 2.48%
    6 Max Abramson 2.13%
    4 Mark Whitney 1.42%
    3 Arvin Vorha 1.06%
    2 Ken Armstrong 0.71%
    2 Keenan Wallace Dunham 0.71%
    2 Souraya Faas 0.71%
    1 Benjamin Leder 0.35%
    1 John Monds 0.35%
    0 Daniel Christman 0.00%
    0 James Ogle 0.00%
    0 Steve Richey 0.00%

    282 Total Votes 100.00%

    https://lpia.org/2020/02/08/libertarian-party-of-iowa-presidential-caucus-winner-and-results/

  46. Tony From Long Island

    dL ” . . . . Vermin is actually running a real campaign to win the LP nomination. Chafee on the other hand is running a pretend campaign. He has a pretend website, a pretend social media presence, pretend boots on the ground and a pretend budget and staff. . . . . ”

    You are talking about someone who is a Pretend Person. He wears wizard costumes and a boot on his head. This is who you want to represent your party to the world? Says a lot about you (and your Party)

  47. dL Post author

    You are talking about someone who is a Pretend Person. He wears wizard costumes and a boot on his head. This is who you want to represent your party to the world? Says a lot about you (and your Party)

    yeah, I would like the LP nominee to be solid on abortion rights, open borders, drug legalization and anti-war. If it takes a political satirist to be that person, then so be it. It might say something about the LP that the only guy solid on core issues these days wears a boot on his head… i dunno. However, I would suggest that given that clown show that is Trump and the democrats, your concern with the respectability of Vermin Supreme(which, btw, is his legal name) says a lot more about you than it does about me.

  48. NewFederalist

    “…the only guy solid on core issues these days wears a boot on his head…” – dL

    Has anyone ever addressed the positions that are attributed to him on the “I Side With” site? Those positions are not very libertarian at all.

  49. dL Post author

    Has anyone ever addressed the positions that are attributed to him on the “I Side With” site? Those positions are not very libertarian at all.

    Yes, both Pauli and I addressed it the first time you brought it up.

    https://www.isidewith.com/candidates/vermin-supreme/policies

    Answers are attributed to “Vermin Supreme Voters,” i.e, ” an analysis of answers from N voters that have pledged to vote for Vermin Supreme in the 2020 Presidential election.” VS has never taken the survey.

  50. NewFederalist

    Can he have erroneous comments taken down? BTW, what value is that site if the views attributed to a candidate are not even those of the candidate?

  51. Jim

    Attributing Vermin Supreme’s positions to his pledged voters is the first time that I’ve seen that done on ISideWith. They may have done that because of his prior spoof-candidacies and a shortage of relevant information on him. They don’t have questions about mandatory tooth brushing or his other major planks.

    I sent in a correction to ISideWith years ago. Like 2010-2012. It was either for Gary Johnson, Peter Schiff, or one of Peter Schiff’s opponents, I don’t remember. I included a source from the candidate (a youtube video of the candidate giving a speech) and they made the correction pretty quickly.

    Candidate’s can fill in the ISideWith questionnaire directly. If Vermin Supreme wanted to do it, all he would have to do is make an account.

    Back in July 2018 someone complained to the LNC that there were some answers on ISideWith that did not match the LP’s answers. So the LNC got in touch with the ISideWith people and the ISideWith people told the LNC to have someone take the quiz on behalf of the LP. I think Steven Nekhaila did it. The result was that LP’s position shifted noticeably to the right. Still mostly toward the top, but further from due north than it had been before. The new position irritates me every time I see it.

  52. dL Post author

    Candidate’s can fill in the ISideWith questionnaire directly.

    Well, I don’t necessarily put much stock in them even if a candidate does take the time to answer the survey. I recall taking the quiz on one of them in the past(I can’t recall if it was ISideWith or something similar) and siding with Gary Johnson. I was like, ok…However, ole Gary actually took the time to annotate many of his answers w/ clarifications and as it turns out, I didn’t side all that much with Johnson’s actual positions.

    Attributing Vermin Supreme’s positions to his pledged voters

    Vermin is starting to play it straight on Twitter. He actually sounds more right libertarianish than I would have thought. He certainly is not much of a fan of Bernie Sanders.

  53. dL Post author

    If the election ends up being Trump vs Sanders, will Bob Capozzi finally give up the “lessarchy” spiel. There is no overton window. “Centrists” like Bloomberg can’t even buy their way in by spending a billion dollars.

  54. robert capozzi

    No, it would be even more indicated, especially if the L candidate doesn’t show up on the national stage, which a NAP Fundamentalist is almost assured to be relegated to an *.

  55. Thomas Knapp

    “No, it would be even more indicated, especially if the L candidate doesn’t show up on the national stage, which a NAP Fundamentalist is almost assured to be relegated to an *, just like all the ‘big names’ who were supposedly going to change that but didn’t.”

    Fixed, no charge.

  56. dL Post author

    No, it would be even more indicated, especially if the L candidate doesn’t show up on the national stage, which a NAP Fundamentalist is almost assured to be relegated to an *.

    Trump v Sanders confirms overton window politics about as much as carbon dating confirms a 6000 year old earth. And the only ones who think the latter is some type of confirmation are, um, hmmm, fundamentalists. And to blame NAP fundamentalism for why no one steps forward to challenge Trump v Sanders on the national stage preposterously presumes the LP has a monopoly on a 3rd party/independent challenge.

  57. robert capozzi

    TK,

    I’d say that GJ16 played a minor role in that election. Had things broken slightly differently, he could have played a Perot 92 role. More Normies were made aware of a 3rd, lessarchistic way.

    As for the “Overton Window,” I’d say DJT has governed within it. His antics? No.

    Sanders has shifted the window for the Ds, disturbingly so. Now, if he was running as a Green, my guess he would not have. Shifting the Window from outside the Rs and Ds is a much tougher feat.

  58. Thomas Knapp

    “Sanders has shifted the window for the Ds, disturbingly so”

    Only if FDR and LBJ (and, vis a vis “free college,” former governor Ronald Reagan of California) are outside that Window.

    The only major party candidate this year who colored even a millimeter outside the lines of the post-WWII American consensus was Yang.

  59. dL Post author

    As for the “Overton Window,” I’d say DJT has governed within it.

    That’s not what Trump’s detractors think. Nor his supporters. Bob, you’re sit solidly at the margins w/ that assessment.

    Sanders has shifted the window for the Ds, disturbingly so.

    In many respects, Sanders is leading from the caboose. Sanders, after all, voted for the 1994 Clinton crime bill and used to appear regularly on Fox News decrying immigration amnesty. A lot of old footage of tough on crime soundbites(that fit well into the “overton window” back then) is now biting candidates in the ass. Fatally. Biden. Harris. Bloomberg(although it remains to be seen if Bloomberg can buy off another life). Buttigieg is likewise ducking and weaving. Sanders has managed to sidestep the poison arrows of the past b/c, frankly, there wouldn’t be anyone remaining.

  60. paulie

    Had things broken slightly differently, he could have played a Perot 92 role.

    I don’t think so. He did about as well as he could have done. The dropdown in numbers towards the end was predictable and predicted, and what usually happens with most alt/third campaigns except those which start polling within plausible distance of winning. The fade happened a little later than usual for Johnson, but it happened. The pushback from bigger parties and their media allies was predictable. With the exhausting schedule of campaigning, any candidate would have committed enough gaffes and flubbed enough gotchas to give them something to work with.

    Perot was much closer to spending and media coverage parity with the top two. He led at one point before dropping out. He got on the main debate stage, whereas Johnson was at best around half of the polling average needed to qualify for that. After that he predictably faded. There was no scenario for Johnson to get Perot range numbers. There’s no such scenario for Weld, Chafee, Amash or anyone else the LP nominates in 2020. Not even if the party sells all the way out and nominates, say, Romney.

    Bloomberg has the money to perhaps make that possible, but he is neither going to be interested in an LP nomination nor palatable to the delegates. It’s unclear whether him running outside the duopoly would help or hurt Trump, and his main interest is to stop Trump from winning another term. Also, sore loser laws are now being applied against presidential candidates.

    There was no chance of a Perot for the LP in 2016. There is none in 2020.

    As for the “Overton Window,” I’d say DJT has governed within it. His antics? No.

    No, he just has not had the juice to make the sorts of authoritarian changes he wants to make in the US system of government yet. However, that’s changing. He’s wearing down the various kinds of institutional resistance he has faced up til now from the bureaucracy, media, judiciary and legislative branches, state governments, international influence, etc, and doing so at an increasing pace.

    Yes, the change he is bringing started out slowly, but it’s happening, faster and faster. We may have already passed the point of no return, and will no doubt have passed it in the highly likely case that he wins another term, retains Republican control of the Senate, and continues to move his people into key positions within the bureaucracy, security and military apparatus and judicial/law enfarcement apparatus.

  61. Jim

    The thing is, even if Trump doesn’t get a 2nd term, the attacks on liberalism don’t stop, they just take a different form.

    All of the leading Democratic candidates are seeking to do more damage to free market capitalism than any President in history, including FDR, and then you’ve got Klobachar out there trying to bring back the Democratic version of neoconservatism by talking about a military option for Venezuela.

    I’m starting to think that Nick Sarwark will win his bet that the 2020 LP Presidential candidate will outperform 2016.

  62. paulie

    Why are we posting on a January Open Thread on February 14th?

    Because no one who can has seen fit to create a February thread. Do you want to be signed up so you can do that? Also, it’s not really needed since there are less than a hundred comments on it right now. The monthly threads are for the purpose of breaking it up so it doesn’t take too long to scroll down to the newest comments. In the past they have been 400-something comments, maybe more. Not so much now.

  63. dL Post author

    All of the leading Democratic candidates are seeking to do more damage to free market capitalism than any President in history

    Hard to beat Bush and the collaboration w/ congressional democrats circa 2008(i.e., TARP) that single handedly resurrected Karl Marx and turned a rickety old grouch like Bernie Sanders into a rock star[sic]. Free market capitalism is already dead(if it ever was alive).

  64. Jim

    dL “Hard to beat Bush and the collaboration w/ congressional democrats circa 2008…”

    Challenging, but they’re trying their best. The proposals Sanders has made so far would increase government spending from $4.5 Trillion annually to $9.4 Trillion annually and there’s still a lot of campaign time ahead.

    Marx opposed gun control, also. At least for the workers.

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The proposals Sanders has made so far would increase government spending from $4.5 Trillion annually to $9.4 Trillion annually”

    No, they wouldn’t.

    Proposals by candidates — or for that matter by presidents — don’t affect spending. Every dime that the federal government spends has to be appropriated by Congress. Or, as Peter Suderman wrote at reason regarding Trump’s budget proposal, it “has about as much impact on the budget process as the lunch menu in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria, possibly less, given that one actually impacts the disposition of sitting members of Congress.”

  66. dL Post author

    The proposals Sanders has made so far would increase government spending from $4.5 Trillion annually to $9.4 Trillion annually and there’s still a lot of campaign time ahead.

    If budgets deficits are suddenly the measuring stick of capitalist infidelity, then the GOP loses this one, hands down. And it’s not even close.

    Marx opposed gun control, also. At least for the workers.

    Well, that just established Sanders is not a marxist. Of course, I would be remiss not to point out that Sanders has flipped flopped on guns.

  67. Jim

    Thomas L. Knapp “No, they wouldn’t. Proposals by candidates — or for that matter by presidents — don’t affect spending.”

    No shit.

  68. Jim

    dL “If budgets deficits are suddenly the measuring stick of capitalist infidelity, then the GOP loses this one, hands down. And it’s not even close.”

    Without looking it up my assumption is that whichever party most recently held power is the most responsible. On the day Bush left office, Republicans were responsible for more debt than Democrats. On the day Obama left office, Democrats were responsible for more debt than Republicans. By the time Trump leaves office, it will be back to the Republicans, if that isn’t already the case.

    But Sanders isn’t shy about raising taxes, so his budget deficits may not be as far out of the ordinary as his spending proposals.

  69. Thomas Knapp

    “On the day Obama left office, Democrats were responsible for more debt than Republicans.”

    Seeing as how Republicans had to approve all borrowing and spending for the last six years of Obama’s presidency, highly unlikely.

  70. Jared

    Budget deficits have nothing to do with capitalism or socialism per se. Roderick Long applies Ayn Rand’s idea of the “anti-concept” to capitalism, and I think he’s spot-on. The popular definition of capitalism, shared by left and right in this country, is “a free-market system such as we have in the United States”. Conservatives (well, at least used to) say they embrace free markets, so they serve as apologists the economic status quo. DemSoc progressives find the American system structurally unsound and unjust, and conclude therefore that free markets must be opposed. Libertarians should be able to spot the conceptual error. Politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle habitually refer to any market as a “free market”, no matter how heavily regulated or distorted it is.

    With respect to Marxism and gun control:

    “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.” – Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, London (1850)

    Legit Marxists today would rather nationalize the arms industry than pass strict gun control legislation, which of course is just a sinister attempt by capitalist liberals to disarm the proletarian masses and thwart revolution.

  71. Tony From Long Island

    ” . . . .On the day Bush left office, Republicans were responsible for more debt than Democrats. On the day Obama left office, Democrats were responsible for more debt than Republicans. By the time Trump leaves office, it will be back to the Republicans, if that isn’t already the case. . . . . ”

    Can’t lower the debt until the budget is balanced. The deficit is always seems to be lower at the end of a Democrat’s administration from when it began.

  72. Jim

    The budget deficit declined when the Republicans took control of Congress during the Obama years. The Trillion dollar deficits were issued when Democrats had control of the House at the end of the Bush presidency and the beginning of the Obama years. That’s not to say the parties voted in a block. Take the Cash for Clunkers crap for example. Obama signed it and it passed the House with very little – but not zero – Republican support. But it had substantial Republican support in the Senate. Someone could go through all of the spending and figure out which percentage of the “yes” votes came from each party, but really, what’s the point?

    I didn’t bring up deficits, anyway. I said spending. Government spending is a component of GDP. So, back of the envelope math:

    $7.4 Trillion government spending (local, state, federal combined)
    $21.7 Trillion GDP

    34.1% of GDP runs through the government

    (It was 37.0% at the end of 2009.)

    Sanders gets the additional $4.9 trillion in federal spending that he wants. We’ll round down to $4.0 Trillion figuring that some of that is being taken over from state governments.

    $11.4 Trillion government spending
    $21.7 Trillion GDP (assuming the private sector doesn’t take a substantial hit)

    52.3% of GDP would in some way be controlled through government spending if Sanders gets what he wants.

    What Sanders is talking about is much more substantial than what Bush/Obama did.

    Note that the BEA doesn’t count the government portion of GDP the way I just did. It makes the government controlled portion of the economy appear smaller by counting infrastructure spending as part of investment and transfer payments to individuals as part of consumption.

  73. Jared

    Tony: “The deficit is always seems to be lower at the end of a Democrat’s administration from when it began.”

    If “always” refers only to the Clinton administration, then sure. Before that, you’d need to go all the way back to Truman to find any president who left office with a deficit lower than the year his administration began. (And the reasons for that one are obvious.) The year with the largest deficit to date was 2009. The years with the highest deficit/GDP ratio were 1942-1945, followed by 2009.

  74. Tony From Long Island

    Jared:

    LBJ:
    1964: 6 Billion
    1969: 3 Billion surplus

    Obama Adminisration:
    Deficit in 2009: 1.413 Trillion
    Deficit in 2017: 665 Billion

    I don’t need to show how every republican administration since Herbert Hoover has left with a higher deficit than when they started, do I?

  75. Thomas Knapp

    “I don’t need to show how every republican administration since Herbert Hoover has left with a higher deficit than when they started, do I?”

    That’s about as relevant as how many presidents have left in a year when the Lakers won the NBA championship. Every dime that is borrowed and spent is borrowed and spent by Congress, not the president.

  76. dL Post author

    Ayn Rand’s idea of the “anti-concept” to capitalism

    But Rand’s anti-concept jargon applied to capitalism(ie, capitalism is a market economy like the United States) is more or less a legitimate definition in this instance. Capitalism is a government controlled market economy. And the United States is the best example of it. The term itself has a pejorative etymology(coined by William Thackeray, not Marx) rooted in the exploitation of wage labor. I suppose one can use a qualification like “free market capitalism” to denote a special instance of a market economy free of government control. But that system does not exist in the United States and never has. So, I would proffer making moral judgments about the current system is a valid criticism of capitalism.

    Libertarians should be able to spot the conceptual error.

    You would think so, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. For example, my understanding is that Stephen Moore recently cleaned up the “libertarian” Soho Forum arguing the case for the trump tariffs and the China trade war. I don’t have watch the video to know Moore was making a mercantilist case for protecting the capitalist class. I would venture to guess the forum audience considered themselves capitalists, even, I dare say, “free market capitalists,” but apparently capitalism is mercantilism now. Quite ironic given that Adam Smith’s , The Wealth of Nations, is typically considered a founding work of “free market capitalism.”

    Libertarians are usually blind to the conceptual error because they more often than not fetishize the capitalist class(the producers). This in part is a residue from Rand. But the aforementioned Smith and Fredric Bastiat–two important free market founders–did not share that fetish. It would be more accurate to call them consumerists as opposed to capitalists. Bastiat made it quite clear(The Law, Property and Law, Economic Sophisms) that socialism comes calling as a consequence of capitalist(the privileged classes) plunder. Indeed, Bastiat in Economic Sophisms went as far to write that the interests of the capitalist class were fundamentally antagonistic to the general interest(it was consumer interest that was in perfect harmony with the public interest) , even penning a gem like “if the secret wishes of each capitalist(producer) were realized, the world would speedily retrogress toward barbarism,” that if one–if one didn’t know any better–would mistakenly attribute to Karl Marx.

    More often I will see “libertarians” mocking Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez as examples of ignorance, laziness and envy. But I hear the echoes of Bastiat in their complaints.

    Since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief…that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class, as you have organized Protection on a grand scale for your class.

    So, in order for libertarians to spot the conceptual error, it would help if they actually read the fucking source material.

  77. Jared

    “LBJ:
    1964: 6 Billion
    1969: 3 Billion surplus

    Obama Adminisration:
    Deficit in 2009: 1.413 Trillion
    Deficit in 2017: 665 Billion”

    So you’re content to credit LBJ for the surplus of 1969, when you know Nixon took office in January of that year (’68 ended with a deficit of $25 billion), but overlook the fact that 2009’s deficit spike was the result of Obama’s bank bailout and stimulus spending.

    “I don’t need to show how every republican administration since Herbert Hoover has left with a higher deficit than when they started, do I?”

    What would be the point of that?

  78. Thomas Knapp

    “So you’re content to credit LBJ for the surplus of 1969, when you know Nixon took office in January of that year (’68 ended with a deficit of $25 billion), but overlook the fact that 2009’s deficit spike was the result of Obama’s bank bailout and stimulus spending.”

    Budgeting is done one year ahead. 1969 was LBJ’s last and 2010 was Obama’s first.

    But in both cases, it was still Congress, not the president, who did the borrowing and spending.

  79. Jared

    dL,

    I’m fine with identifying the American economic system as an instance of capitalism. It’s truer to the classical definition than the Neo-Austrian or Objectivist definition. The problem is when people, conservatives and progressives, conflate the two. And I agree with your point about Smith and Bastiat, really classical economists and classical liberals generally. Anti-privilege is a central theme of their writings.

  80. Jared

    TK: “But in both cases, it was still Congress, not the president, who did the borrowing and spending.”

    That’s true, which is why it is meaningless to argue that Democrats are more fiscally responsible if the last year of some of their administrations have lower deficits than the years they began. Let’s just ignore those years in between and pretend that the party controlling Congress at the time doesn’t matter. The executive sets the agenda, but the legislature holds the power of the purse.

  81. dL Post author

    The problem is when people, conservatives and progressives, conflate the two.

    Yes, progressives will point to the current system to demonstrate the failure of “the free market.” And Jim warning that Bernie Sanders is an assault on “free market capitalism” serves to validate that premise.

  82. Jim

    The negative effects of crony capitalism should, of course, be pointed out at every opportunity.

    But, in terms of the ability to consume, people are better off now than at any point in history. Failing to attribute that to the benefits of free market capitalism would be a horrific PR mistake.

  83. dL Post author

    Wikipedia article for Darryl W. Perry is up for deletion:

    If you have a wikipedia account, William, you can vote to keep. The lack of secondary sources criteria seems rather arbitrary, but it really just boils down to one or two people caring enough to challenge it. Updating the page to indicate he is running for Governor on the LP ticket(w/ a source) would probably help

  84. dL Post author

    But, in terms of the ability to consume, people are better off now than at any point in history.

    Inter-generational comparisons of consumption are bogus. No one thinks like this unless the “good” being consumed is a lecture. Increasing wants and desires are compared to one’s current state of satisfaction or being, not to how one’s great great grandfather had it back in the day.

    Failing to attribute that to the benefits of free market capitalism would be a horrific PR mistake.

    Once again, there is no capitalism that operates outside government control as a free market. So you are equating government-compliant markets w/ free market capitalism, and what you are actually saying then is that government regulated markets have delivered unprecedented prosperity. And it is unclear how one concludes government regulation is bad(or more regulation would be bad) from such a statement.

    In terms of the PR, i dunno, but a grumpy octogenarian who probably hasn’t had a decent bowel movement in decades–and who just suffered heart attack no less–leading the polls as an unrepentant “democratic socialist” might lead some to rethink a public relations strategy of convincing people that the liquid substance on their backs is rain, not piss.

  85. Jim

    dL “Inter-generational comparisons of consumption are bogus.”

    People can look at their own lives. Real median personal income is at an all time high. And during a recession, when it is not, blame the government.

    dL “there is no capitalism that operates outside government control as a free market. So you are equating government-compliant markets w/ free market capitalism, and what you are actually saying then is that government regulated markets have delivered unprecedented prosperity. And it is unclear how one concludes government regulation is bad(or more regulation would be bad) from such a statement.”

    Not all government interference is equally distortionary. There are some areas of the economy that have a relatively light government touch. And then there is healthcare and the other heavily interfered with sectors. That allows for a comparison. Point to the areas of the economy that have light interference and good outcomes as free market successes and the areas with a lot of interference and poor outcomes as failure caused by government.

  86. Jim

    After making an ass of himself in the Florida debate, Mark Whitney dropped out of the LP Presidential race, claiming that there were death threats against his campaign team.

    https://www.facebook.com/themarkwhitney/posts/10162986047575440?

    Jacob Hornberger seems like the leader, now. Hornberger has won the Iowa Caucus, the Arkansas convention straw poll, and the California convention straw poll. Adam Kokesh won the Georgia convention straw poll and Vermin Supreme the New Hampshire primary. I don’t know of any others.

  87. Jim

    John Monds did well at that Florida debate, although he wasn’t pressured much. Several people in the debate chat were calling for a Hornberger/Monds ticket and it wouldn’t surprise me if that ended up happening.

  88. paulie

    There have been others but I don’t know any one place they are compiled. Might make a good project. Vermin also did well in FL. Whitney changed his mind about dropping out after a few hours. There are a lot of states still planning conventions and many of the people voting at state conventions will not be national delegates.

    Also, it’s highly likely that some leading candidates are not even running yet. Off the top of my head, in 1984 and 2008 the winning candidates were not running this far out from the national convention; 2000 and 2016 can be discounted because of repeat candidates; In 2004, the candidate who ended up winning was widely considered to be in third place at this point in the cycle, and in fact all the way up through the national convention. I’d have to research any year before 1996.

    I’d hesitate to jump to the conclusion that we can predict a national ticket based on a few state convention polls in January and February.

  89. paulie

    Montana: Chafee and Hornberger 8 each; Monds 5; Armstrong 3; Behrman 2; Richey 1

    Arkansas: Hornberger 21; Chafee, Monds, Robb 2 each; Dunham, Behrman, Whitney and NOTA 1 each.

    Florida straw poll – (pictures were not final – when voting was still open)

    Final results:
    Hornberger 29 (26%)
    Monds 22 (20%)
    Supreme 21 (19%)
    Kokesh 10 (9%)
    Behrman 9 (8%)
    Jorgensen 5 (5%)
    Vohra 3 (3%)
    Whitney 3 (3%)
    Chafee 2 (2%)
    NOTA 6 (5%)

    Total 110

    CA: Hornberger 51, Kokesh 22, Chafee 19, Jorgensen 15, Whitney 13, Supreme 8, NOTA 2, Total 131

    IA: Jacob Hornberger 47.52%
    Lincoln Chafee 12.77%
    Jo Jorgensen 6.38%
    Adam Kokesh 6.03%
    Daniel Behrman 4.96%
    John McAfee 3.55%
    Vermin Supreme 3.19%
    Other (Write In) 2.84%
    None of the Above 2.84%
    Sam Robb 2.48%
    Max Abramson 2.13%
    Mark Whitney 1.42%
    Arvin Vorha 1.06%
    Ken Armstrong 0.71%
    Keenan Wallace Dunham 0.71%
    Souraya Faas 0.71%
    Benjamin Leder 0.35%
    John Monds 0.35%
    Daniel Christman 0.00%
    James Ogle 0.00%
    Steve Richey 0.00%

    This is from a “virtual caucus”; their convention is in a week and there will be a debate there, so possibly a second straw poll?

  90. paulie

    All of the leading Democratic candidates are seeking to do more damage to free market capitalism than any President in history, including FDR, and then you’ve got Klobachar out there trying to bring back the Democratic version of neoconservatism by talking about a military option for Venezuela.

    I don’t think Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar or Bloomberg are challenging the US economic system in any radical way. Sanders and at times Warren and Steyer have some rhetoric that, if they mean it and if they won and if congress and the courts went along with it suggests they’d prefer an economic system more along the lines of some of what we have seen in post WW2 Western European nations.

    But that’s a lot of ifs. 1) Most incumbents get a second term if they seek one, especially if there is no economic slump at the time
    of the election. 2) Campaign rhetoric is frequently bullshit pandering to special interests and organized groups, especially during the primary. 3) Even it’s completely sincere, it’s generally drowned in the reality of actually governing, getting things through two houses of congress and past the courts. That’s a very messy process and likely to kill the more extreme proposals.

    Sanders is probably most likely to be sincere about his rhetoric (since he has spewed it for decades) and likely to win the nomination (since he has an early lead, money, lots of fervent volunteers and supporters, etc). It’s far from a sure thing since we have yet to see Bloomberg compete in any actual votes yet, among other things. Supposing he does win the nomination, let’s even grant that he beats Trump by turning out a lot of younger, immigrant and formerly dropout voters. The problem he has is that his support is not geographically diffuse enough. Even if he gets over the hurdle of electoral votes, he’s likely to lose a lot of moderate districts, so McConnell will likely still be majority leader and Republicans may, paradoxically, win the House back even if Sanders can win the presidency.

    But supposing even that Sanders wins, keeps the House and wins the Senate for the Democrats – he’ll still contend with the filibuster in the Senate, plus moderate Democrats in both the House and Senate who will frustrate his plans, and the tactical advantage Republicans have in federal judges and justices after Trump. So it’s even more extremely unlikely his more extreme proposals will pass into law and not be blocked by the courts if they do.

    And even if Sanders can enact his entire agenda – say through executive order, and not have it thrown out by the courts – that would just make the US something akin to most of Western Europe or Canada. That’s hardly the same challenge to the rule of law, independent judiciary, press freedom, and other fundamental tenets of small l liberalism that Trump presents as he continues to follow the Autocrat/Strongman model of transforming former liberal democracies into authoritarian regimes.

    I’m starting to think that Nick Sarwark will win his bet that the 2020 LP Presidential candidate will outperform 2016.

    Not impossible, and I would not take either side of the bet before the convention since we don’t know who will drop in (including at the convention itself). If no one does, I would bet against it.

  91. paulie

    do more damage to free market capitalism than any President in history, including FDR

    FDR actually ran on a platform of making government smaller vis a vis what Hoover was doing, proving that candidates’ campaign rhetoric is often a poor way to judge what they will do in office. But, he did get a massive wave election taking control of congress in a way none of the Democrats this year have much chance of replicating regardless of what they plan or whether they mean it, as well as a massive economic and public confidence crisis which allowed him to make more radical changes than usual.

  92. paulie

    Roderick Long applies Ayn Rand’s idea of the “anti-concept” to capitalism, and I think he’s spot-on. The popular definition of capitalism, shared by left and right in this country, is “a free-market system such as we have in the United States”. Conservatives (well, at least used to) say they embrace free markets, so they serve as apologists the economic status quo. DemSoc progressives find the American system structurally unsound and unjust, and conclude therefore that free markets must be opposed. Libertarians should be able to spot the conceptual error. Politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle habitually refer to any market as a “free market”, no matter how heavily regulated or distorted it is.

    Agreed.

  93. paulie

    But Sanders isn’t shy about raising taxes, so his budget deficits may not be as far out of the ordinary as his spending proposals.

    Also agreed. Generally, rhetoric aside, Republicans favor the more dishonest form of tax and spend – that is, borrow and spend – versus Democrats, who prefer regular old tax and spend. But both do plenty of all of all three. They have slightly different spending priorities, and generally compromise on raising spending on most things most of the time.

  94. paulie

    government regulated markets have delivered unprecedented prosperity. And it is unclear how one concludes government regulation is bad(or more regulation would be bad) from such a statement.

    By comparing relative rates of regulation with results.

  95. paulie

    Increasing wants and desires are compared to one’s current state of satisfaction or being, not to how one’s great great grandfather had it back in the day.

    Yeah, a lot of USians have never experienced any prolonged lack of largely reliable electricity, refrigeration, antibiotics, fairly stable currency, flush toilets, numerous labor saving devices, etc; but that’s not in any way guaranteed to continue to be the case. This lack of personal direct familiarity with those alternatives and/or understanding of what policies are likely to lead to much more widespread personal direct familiarity with them … will quite plausibly lead to just that.

  96. dL Post author

    People can look at their own lives. Real median personal income is at an all time high.

    Yeah, well, that’s exactly what they’re doing, Jim. They’re looking at their own lives instead of a government chart.

    The “never been better” argument is silly. The silliness of the premise leads to even more nonsensical conclusions like the one I just read today where Alex Tabarrok claims Jeff Bezos is not really wealthy because ordinary people in the year 2050 will have access to better cancer treatments than Bezos has today.
    https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/02/who-is-wealthy.html

    Not all government interference is equally distortionary.

    I didn’t say every government intervention is equally distortionary. I wrote there is no free market capitalism. Not every government intervention is created equal but I categorically reject that government intervention is merely just a frictional coefficient that weighs down the free market. That being said, I don’t think there are all that many economic sectors that operate under a light government hand(light hand would be the exception, not the rule). A few years ago, I might have said Bitcoin fit the bill. But no longer. Today, every bitcoin exchange runs a blockchain analysis on the deposits to trace any origins back to darknet markets or bitcoin mixing. And if they find such traces, you better be able to explain yourself or they very well might turn you over to the pigs.

    8 years ago I wrote a little essay, “I,Spy”
    https://rulingclass.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/i-spy/

    on the “spontaneous market order of production” (I, Pencil) played against “the planned order of surveillance” and how the latter ruins the social theory of the former. And, boy, the evolution of bitcoin integration into the capitalist system has played “I,Spy” out to a “T.” You see, Jim, your broker turning you over to the police is called an incentive-incompatibility agency problem. A free market is a market that serves the ends of those who make the exchange. There is no exogenous agency whose ends are furthered other than the exchanging agents. The social theory of the free market is the spontaneous order of free market exchange in aggregate. An incentive-incompatibility agency problem is one where exchange between A and B is a means to the ends for agency C that works against the ends of A or B.

    A free market is one where the incentive-incompatibility agency problem is minimized. A capitalist system is rife with them. And even if one manages to earn one’s living in an economic sector with a light government hand, one nonetheless is burdened with the larger system that is replete with them.

    Now, despite what I’ve written above, I already know Jim’s retort. “Yeah, but the government chart says we never been better. And if weren’t for crony capitalism, the government charts compiled by bureaucrats tells us that we’d even be better off.”

    The lord hates government schools….

  97. dL Post author

    By comparing relative rates of regulation with results.

    Like comparing the economy 10 years after the repeal of Glass Steagall(circa 2008) vs the economy before the repeal(circa 1998)?

  98. dL Post author

    Yeah, a lot of USians have never experienced any prolonged lack of largely reliable electricity, refrigeration, antibiotics, fairly stable currency, flush toilets, numerous labor saving devices, etc; but that’s not in any way guaranteed to continue to be the case.

    Yeah, well, Bastiat’s The Law espouses why Socialism–expressed in terms of a right to relief –is a rational response to capitalist plunder. But most of that tract, of course, is a plea not to go down that route.

    I would add that the predominate 20th century argument against state socialism was the attendant security organs and loss of political freedom that would accompany regimented central planning. In the 21st century, it’s harder to boogeyman the department of homeland security when you already have the department of homeland security. And the ones who most identity with the word capitalism are the ones who typically have the least problems with the department of homeland security.

  99. Jim

    dL “Yeah, well, that’s exactly what they’re doing, Jim. They’re looking at their own lives instead of a government chart.”

    Do you believe that chart is incorrect? Why do you believe that?

    It’s not quite the same question, but there are gallup surveys showing that people view the economic situation in the US, in terms of finding a good job or the state of the economy as an important problem, is better than at any time since the 2000 or the late 90s. https://news.gallup.com/poll/1609/consumer-views-economy.aspx

    dL “The “never been better” argument is silly. The silliness of the premise leads to even more nonsensical conclusions like the one I just read today where Alex Tabarrok claims Jeff Bezos is not really wealthy because ordinary people in the year 2050 will have access to better cancer treatments than Bezos has today.”

    The silly argument is claiming that future prosperity has anything to do with the fact that people are better off today than yesterday. People don’t live in the future. They live today and have lived yesterday. Today and yesterday are their experience, not tomorrow.

    dL “I didn’t say every government intervention is equally distortionary.”

    It’s good that you recognize that. Now take the next step and apply it.

    dL “I wrote there is no free market capitalism.”

    In an absolutist sense, yes. There are degrees. And by global standards, the US is closer to free market capitalism than most other places. And the Democrats have been proposing to move the US closer to those other places. Some market could be 99.999% free market capitalist and until you start recognizing the value of looking at relatively free markets, you would still have to bitch that it wasn’t free market capitalism. If you think people will take you seriously at that point, I don’t know what to tell you.

    dL “Not every government intervention is created equal but I categorically reject that government intervention is merely just a frictional coefficient that weighs down the free market.”

    Given every government’s failure to do more than weigh down markets, I don’t see how you can look at it any other way.

    dL “A free market is one where the incentive-incompatibility agency problem is minimized. A capitalist system is rife with them. And even if one manages to earn one’s living in an economic sector with a light government hand, one nonetheless is burdened with the larger system that is replete with them.”

    OK Bernie.

    dL “Now, despite what I’ve written above, I already know Jim’s retort. “Yeah, but the government chart says we never been better. And if weren’t for crony capitalism, the government charts compiled by bureaucrats tells us that we’d even be better off.”

    Whining about it being a government chart isn’t an argument.

  100. Just Some Random Guy

    How is the LP coming along in ballot access so far this year? Are they on track to hit 50 states again?

  101. Krzysztof Lesiak

    Uploaded to YouTube 23 hours ago:

    3L Productions
    135 subscribers

    “Libertarian Presidential Debates hosted by the Libertarian Party of California

    This debate took place on February 16th, 2020 and was hosted by the Libertarian Party of California. The debate was moderated by Matt Welch of Reason Magazine Participants in the debate were:
    Candidates listed in their appearance on the stage
    Vermin Supreme VerminSupreme2020.com
    Lincoln Chafee LincolnChafee.com
    Mark Whitney MarkWhitney.com
    Jo Jorgensen JoJ2020.com
    Jacob Hornberger JacobForLiberty.com

    Adam Kokesh KokeshForPresident.com
    Video of the candidates that did not appear on the debate stage as part of the main debate will be uploaded once edited. The priority was on getting the edited main debate out as quickly as possible.”

  102. Just Some Random Guy

    How is the LP doing this year in terms of ballot access? Are they on track to have access in 50 states again?

  103. Just Some Random Guy

    Oops, accidentally asked twice. My goof; sorry about that. I was checking this and for some reason I didn’t see my previous comment, so I thought I forgot to post, so I asked again. Of course, in my apology I’m now using up a THIRD comment…

  104. Jim

    Jacob Hornberger won the Minnesota Caucus. Certain Congressional Districts were won by Jorgensen, Chafee, and Supreme.

    https://www.lpmn.org/libertarian-party-results-caucus-night-2020/

    Summarizing what’s been mentioned in this thread so far:

    Vermin Supreme:
    New Hampshire primary

    Adam Kokesh:
    Georgia bean count

    Lincoln Chafee:
    Montana Straw poll (tie with Hornberger)

    Jacob Hornberger:
    Iowa Caucus
    Minnesota Caucus
    Arkansas Straw poll
    California Straw poll
    Florida Straw poll
    Montana Straw poll (tie with Chafee)

  105. dL Post author

    Do you believe that chart is incorrect? Why do you believe that?

    The chart is a sinusoidal wave, Jim. What conclusions do you draw at the peak that wouldn’t be debunked at the trough?

    Some market could be 99.999% free market capitalist and until you start recognizing the value of looking at relatively free markets, you would still have to bitch that it wasn’t free market capitalism.

    No, I wouldn’t bitch about that. And when you find one, let me know.

    And by global standards, the US is closer to free market capitalism than most other places.

    That ain’t saying much….

    And the Democrats have been proposing to move the US closer to those other places.

    The places the democrats usually cite(Denmark, Canada, UK…) are actually higher up the economic freedom index than the United States.

    OK Bernie.

    Well, it’s actually Anthony de Jasay. Of course, I don’t expect you to know that. In fact, it’s not clear to me that you have any familiarity with the historical libertarian source material.

  106. Jim

    dL “The chart is a sinusoidal wave, Jim. What conclusions do you draw at the peak that wouldn’t be debunked at the trough?”

    The long term trend goes in one direction. During the temporary periods of setback, as I have already said, you explain the causes of the decline as part of government interference that ought to be eliminated.

    dL “No, I wouldn’t bitch about that.”

    Why not? It isn’t completely free.

    dL “The places the democrats usually cite(Denmark, Canada, UK…) are actually higher up the economic freedom index than the United States.”

    That depends on if you’re using Heritage or Cato’s raking. Heritage ranks the US 12th and behind Canada and the UK, but above Denmark. Cato ranks the US 5th, ahead of all three of those.

    And Sanders can claim he wants to emulate Canada, Denmark, and the UK all he wants, but his policy proposals are far less free than what they actually have. One of the reasons Denmark and the UK are even close to the US in the Cato rankings is that they have freer international trade. Sanders is closer to Trump on trade – and would add their socialized healthcare on top of that. Warren and some of the others aren’t exactly great on trade, either. And then Sanders wants to force the transfer of 20% of the ownership of US companies to the workers. And his Green New Deal is just dumping more shit on top of that, which Canada, Denmark, and the UK don’t have policies anywhere close to. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any companies comparable to Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon that are based in those countries, so breaking them up the way Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and some of the other Democrats want isn’t an option.

    dL “Well, it’s actually Anthony de Jasay. Of course, I don’t expect you to know that. In fact, it’s not clear to me that you have any familiarity with the historical libertarian source material.”

    Unless you want to reference the “libertarian” socialists, no libertarian would have criticized capitalism like that and left it hanging the way you did. All favor capitalism. Bernie, on the other hand, would have done that. It seems your “left libertarianism” is moving further left. Maybe you and Matt Kuehnel can go murder a landlord together.

  107. Paulie

    AL poll kokesh 19 hornberger 12 Whitney 9 Jorgensen and Chafee 6 each monds 4 supreme and Behrman 2 each vohra 1or 0

  108. dL Post author

    The long term trend goes in one direction.

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/1609/consumer-views-economy.aspx
    That’s a sine wave , Jim. Gallup random sampling on the economy is always going to follow the business cycle.

    as I have already said, you explain the causes of the decline as part of government interference that ought to be eliminated.

    Crediting the peak to free market capitalism and blaming the trough on government is not drawing conclusions from the data. It’s textbook confirmation bias. And you’re not going to convince anyone who is not already convinced.

    Why not? It isn’t completely free.

    Because a margin of error to 3 decimal places is mathematical nonsense. I’d take a confidence level of 90% and call it a day.

    Sanders is closer to Trump on trade

    Agree. And Trump’s mercantilist trade central planning automatically disqualifies the United States from free market consideration. If tariffs and central planning don’t matter, then why in the fuck did I waste my time reading the libertarian source material? I should just pick up my toys and go home. Apparently, the lesson is simple: If Trump does it, it is free market capitalism. If Sanders does it, it is socialism.

    Unless you want to reference the “libertarian” socialists, no libertarian would have criticized capitalism like that and left it hanging the way you did

    Actually, I linked to a lengthly old essay I wrote on the topic. As it turns out, it was quite prescient. “Incentive-incompatibility problem” was term explicitly used by de Jasay to describe the rational inability of collective choice to abide by the “unanimity” of the so-called social contact. That is to say, limited, constitutional government is a myth. That is to say, the rule of law is a myth. And the Incentive-incompatibility problem between production and consumption that Bastiat addressed in Economic Sophisms(and tried to resolve in Economic Harmonies) has no resolution. At least, not within the context of a monopoly on law. That is probably why Bastiat’s protege, Gustave Molinari, abandoned the state(but not the market). I, myself, have a simple rule of thumb: Marxist-Lenist organs of state security like homeland security are immediate and sufficient evidence of economic disharmony. QED.

  109. Jim

    dL “That’s a sine wave , Jim. Gallup random sampling on the economy is always going to follow the business cycle.

    True for the Gallup poll which only goes from 0 to 100. But that only was to confirm that people, in their own lives, are doing well right now. That was only in support of the Real Median Personal Income data, which is at an all time high. You seemed to doubt it because it was put out by the government, claiming that people would look at their own lives. Hence, the gallup poll, which was not put out by the government and confirmed that people today, not by an intergenerational comparison, believed they were doing well.

    dL “Crediting the peak to free market capitalism and blaming the trough on government is not drawing conclusions from the data. It’s textbook confirmation bias. And you’re not going to convince anyone who is not already convinced.

    It’s PR spin. People are convinced by it every day.

    dL “Because a margin of error to 3 decimal places is mathematical nonsense. I’d take a confidence level of 90% and call it a day.”

    There are no confidence levels here. This isn’t a survey with uncertainty. It is what it is.

    But if you meant that you would accept 90% free market capitalism and a 10% government regulated market as a comparison point to tout the benefits of relatively free market capitalism vs less than 90% free markets, fine. I take it that means you are willing, as I said days ago, to point to the areas of the economy that have light interference and good outcomes as free market successes and the areas with a lot of interference and poor outcomes as failure caused by government. The only dispute then is the degree to which markets are free of government interference that we are willing to use when comparing with relatively unfree markets.

    dL “Trump’s mercantilist trade central planning automatically disqualifies the United States from free market consideration.”

    No, it reduces the degree to which the US is a free market. But it is not wholly unfree.

    dL “Apparently, the lesson is simple: If Trump does it, it is free market capitalism. If Sanders does it, it is socialism.”

    It ought to have been clear from the context that on that matter I considered both Trump and Sanders to be in the wrong.

    dL “Actually, I linked to a lengthly old essay I wrote on the topic.”

    I didn’t bother clicking the link.

    dL “As it turns out, it was quite prescient. “Incentive-incompatibility problem” was term explicitly used by de Jasay to describe the rational inability of collective choice to abide by the “unanimity” of the so-called social contact. That is to say, limited, constitutional government is a myth. That is to say, the rule of law is a myth. And the Incentive-incompatibility problem between production and consumption that Bastiat addressed in Economic Sophisms(and tried to resolve in Economic Harmonies) has no resolution. At least, not within the context of a monopoly on law. That is probably why Bastiat’s protege, Gustave Molinari, abandoned the state(but not the market). I, myself, have a simple rule of thumb: Marxist-Lenist organs of state security like homeland security are immediate and sufficient evidence of economic disharmony. QED.”

    That was kind of outside of my point, but whatever.

  110. Jim

    Thomas Knapp “Libertarians favor free markets, not their opposites (captalism and socialism).”

    How are capitalism and socialism the opposite of a free market?

  111. Thomas Knapp

    “How are capitalism and socialism the opposite of a free market?”

    Their state versions are both premised on state control of the market. A state-controlled market is the opposite of a free market.

    In theory, a non-state, free-market socialism might be possible. I’m skeptical, but since socialism merely means worker control of the means of production, it’s not obviously impossible. Since state control is baked into the fundamental definition of capitalism (a mixed, state-regulated, industrial economy), “anarcho-“capitalism is an oxymoron.

  112. dL Post author

    There are no confidence levels here. This isn’t a survey with uncertainty. It is what it is.

    Every random sample has a margin of error and a confidence level associated with a measured statistic.

    But if you meant that you would accept 90% free market capitalism and a 10% government regulated market

    No, that’s not what I meant by 90% confidence level. [insert smirk tag]. 90% is the poor man’s certainty(i.e., informal). In the real world, 90% confidence in a null hypothesis can get you fired, bankrupt or a lawsuit.

    The only dispute then is the degree to which markets are free of government interference that we are willing to use when comparing with relatively unfree markets.

    No, the fundamental dispute is that GDP, consumer confidence, real median income, etc have anything to do with confirming a free market. They are certainly not a sufficient condition for such. Exhibit A

    That was kind of outside of my point, but whatever.

    But it shouldn’t be. A free market is one where production and consumption are in harmony. An economy where production and consumption are in harmony does not have marxist-lenist security organs like the department of homeland security. Departments of homeland security are what’s required to enforce the extreme disharmony between the two. They’re existence is a point blank demonstration that you are not living in a free market. Period.

    As a kid, I read Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. Friedman’s central thesis was that free market capitalism was demonstrated by the degree of political freedom a society enjoyed. The thesis in part was motivated by separating justifications of capitalism from simple standard of living or macro-economic performance arguments that pointy-head ideologues had used earlier in the century to marvel at Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Of course, I’ve noted somewhere along the way, the defenders of capitalism have dropped the political freedom standard for the central planning standard of macro-economic performance. I’m reminded of Nineteen Eighty Four(another book that’s oft quoted, but seldom read). Winston Smith’s greatest desire was to escape the damn loudspeakers constantly bombarding the outer party with government stats of macroeconomic progress.

  113. dL Post author

    “anarcho-“capitalism is an oxymoron.

    That unfettered contract results in East Germany certainly doesn’t belie the contradiction.

  114. Fernando Mercado

    Since Super Tuesday is tomorrow I’m just gonna post My Minor Party Predictions for Tomorrow’s races:

    I think Hornberger will win all three of the Libertarian Primaries: CA, MA, NC

    Hawkins will win the three Green Party Primaries (at most one goes to Sedinam or Dario): CA, MA, NC. Though he will lose the PFP Primary to Gloria La Riva

    Blankenship will win the NC Constitution Primary and will also be nominated by the American Independent Party

  115. Jim

    dL “Every random sample has a margin of error and a confidence level associated with a measured statistic.”

    True. But we weren’t talking about a random sample.

    dL “No, that’s not what I meant by 90% confidence level. [insert smirk tag]. 90% is the poor man’s certainty(i.e., informal). In the real world, 90% confidence in a null hypothesis can get you fired, bankrupt or a lawsuit.”

    Again, we weren’t talking about a sample. A given market is 99.999% free. That is what it is, no MOE, no confidence intervals. Are you going to bitch that it isn’t a free market or not?

    dL “No, the fundamental dispute is that GDP, consumer confidence, real median income, etc have anything to do with confirming a free market. They are certainly not a sufficient condition for such.”

    I never claimed that any of those stats did confirm a free market. I’m not sure if you’re setting up these straw man arguments because you have forgotten the earlier conversation or you’re just an asshole. Given your history here, including in the comment to which I am responding, I’m guessing the latter.

    What I said was, real median personal income showed that people’s ability to consume was at an all time high, and that failing to attribute that to free market capitalism would be a PR mistake. When you dismissed it as “just a government chart”, and claimed that it did not reflect people’s actual lives, I supported that with the gallup poll which showed that people’s perception of the economy was that it was just about as good as it has ever been. Your counter indicator – voter support for Bernie Sanders – is less than convincing for a variety of reasons.

    dL “Exhibit A”

    Exhibit A is not either of the data I previously offered.

    dL “But it shouldn’t be. A free market is one where production and consumption are in harmony. An economy where production and consumption are in harmony does not have marxist-lenist security organs like the department of homeland security. Departments of homeland security are what’s required to enforce the extreme disharmony between the two. They’re existence is a point blank demonstration that you are not living in a free market. Period.”

    The US is, however, a relatively free market. A free market is not one where production and consumption are in harmony. A free market is one that is free from outside interference.

    dL “As a kid, I read Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. Friedman’s central thesis was that free market capitalism was demonstrated by the degree of political freedom a society enjoyed. The thesis in part was motivated by separating justifications of capitalism from simple standard of living or macro-economic performance arguments that pointy-head ideologues had used earlier in the century to marvel at Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Of course, I’ve noted somewhere along the way, the defenders of capitalism have dropped the political freedom standard for the central planning standard of macro-economic performance. I’m reminded of Nineteen Eighty Four(another book that’s oft quoted, but seldom read). Winston Smith’s greatest desire was to escape the damn loudspeakers constantly bombarding the outer party with government stats of macroeconomic progress.”

    See, in the your comment from which this portion is descended, you didn’t say crony capitalism or corpratism or state capitalism or dirigisme or whatever you want to call it. You just said a capitalist system. And that is the game that Sanders and the “libertarian” socialists play – government creates problems, blame capitalism. Hence, “OK Bernie.”

  116. Jim

    Thomas Knapp “Their state versions are both premised on state control of the market. A state-controlled market is the opposite of a free market. In theory, a non-state, free-market socialism might be possible. I’m skeptical, but since socialism merely means worker control of the means of production, it’s not obviously impossible. Since state control is baked into the fundamental definition of capitalism (a mixed, state-regulated, industrial economy), “anarcho-“capitalism is an oxymoron.Since state control is baked into the fundamental definition of capitalism (a mixed, state-regulated, industrial economy), “anarcho-“capitalism is an oxymoron.”

    The definition of capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production for profit. That obviously can exist without a state. As with anarcho-communism, it would first require the great bulk of society to accept it.

    Free markets do not exist in a vacuum absent production. And we’re a couple of centuries beyond the time when it was possible for individuals to produce the vast majority of goods.

    In your conception of libertarianism, what is the ownership structure for the production of complex goods without either capitalism or socialism?

  117. Thomas Knapp

    “The definition of capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production for profit.”

    No, the definition of capitalism, per the Dictionary of Free-Market Economics, is “a mixed, state-regulated, industrial economy.”

    “In your conception of libertarianism, what is the ownership structure for the production of complex goods without either capitalism or socialism?”

    Probably a lot like yours, minus the false and ahistorical attribution of it to “capitalism.”

  118. Gene Berkman

    There is not a single example of a country described as “socialist” where worker’s control of the means of production is a reality. In Yugoslavia the worker’s councils routinely had their decisions made by the factory committee of the League of Communists.

    Worker’s councils in China were experimental and again, subject to party control.

    In America there are many employee owned companies, and several books that explain how a company can become employee owned. And in Germany there is a policy called “co-determination” (Mitbestimmung) which involves company affilates of trade unions having representation on the Board of Directors.

    If you are interested in worker’s control, capitalism is the best bet. In socialism the worker is a captive of the state.

  119. Thomas Knapp

    “In America there are many socialist companies, and several books that explain how a company can become socialist.”

    Fixed, no charge.

  120. dL Post author

    True. But we weren’t talking about a random sample.

    If “we” are referring to the stats you cited, yes, we are, whether it be Gallup polling on economic confidence or the census bureau’s calculation of “Real Median Household Income.”

    Again, we weren’t talking about a sample. A given market is 99.999% free. That is what it is, no MOE, no confidence intervals. Are you going to bitch that it isn’t a free market or not?

    I have no idea what “we” are talking about. Well, let me clarify that. You have no idea what you are talking about. You say you aren’t talking about a sample. Then you proceed with your test: “A given market is 99.999% free.” Well, that’s a sample, Jim. And the 99.999% figure is mathematical gobbledygook. I suppose the intent of you throwing out the number is not to test(measure) the freedom of the given market but to test if I’d impose an impossible purity standard. Of course, I made it quite clear that I would impose less rigorous and formal criteria than what is the mathematical standard for drawing confident conclusions.

    What I said was, real median personal income showed that people’s ability to consume was at an all time high, and that failing to attribute that to free market capitalism would be a PR mistake.

    Yeah, I know what you said. But the PR attribution would properly belong to government regulated markets. And you dispute that by saying good stats indicate free market capitalism. That’s circular reasoning.

    When you dismissed it as “just a government chart”, and claimed that it did not reflect people’s actual lives

    Yeah, I think responding to the popularity of autocratic populism with an appeal to government charts is lousy PR and out of step with the times.

    Your counter indicator – voter support for Bernie Sanders – is less than convincing for a variety of reasons.

    I absolutely think that the improbable rise of Bernie Sanders’ “right to relief socialism” says something about the degree of plunder in the current economy. That’s Bastiat 101.


    The excluded classes will furiously demand their right to vote — and will overthrow society rather than not to obtain it. Even beggars and vagabonds will then prove to you that they also have an incontestable title to vote. They will say to you:

    “We cannot buy wine, tobacco, or salt without paying the tax. And a part of the tax that we pay is given by law — in privileges and subsidies — to men who are richer than we are. Others use the law to raise the prices of bread, meat, iron, or cloth. Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man’s plunder. To obtain this right, we also should be voters and legislators in order that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class, as you have organized Protection on a grand scale for your class. Now don’t tell us beggars that you will act for us, and then toss us, as Mr. Mimerel proposes, 600,000 francs to keep us quiet, like throwing us a bone to gnaw. We have other claims. And anyway, we wish to bargain for ourselves as other classes have bargained for themselves!”

    And what can you say to answer that argument!

    Jim’s Answer: Just look at the government charts, Fred.

    you’re just an asshole

    wait till they take away my e-cigarettes…

    A free market is not one where production and consumption are in harmony.

    I look forward to your response debunking Monsieur Bastiat….

    A free market is one that is free from outside interference.

    Yes, without interference. Laissez Faire. The demonstration of laissez faire is a market that harmonizes production and consumption. Again, Bastiat.

    you didn’t say crony capitalism or corpratism or state capitalism or dirigisme

    State capitalism is redundant. And I think I’ve made it quite clear I consider capitalism operating under marxist-leninist security organs like homeland security to be dirigisme.

    And that is the game that Sanders and the “libertarian” socialists play – government creates problems, blame capitalism. Hence, “OK Bernie.”

    Well, I think Sanders is an opportunist and autocrat who growls like he hasn’t a proper bowel movement since the 70s. But neither am I the bizarro Bernie, wherein I mimic Sanders in viewing state and capitalism as separate, distinct things but instead assign all the credit to capitalism and all the blame to government.

  121. LibertyDave

    There is a free market in the United States. There is actually a free market in every country in the world. It’s called the black market.

  122. dL Post author

    There is a free market in the United States. There is actually a free market in every country in the world. It’s called the black market.

    Yes. And the fact that dread pirate roberts is serving a life sentence should reinforce the fact that free markets are illegal. And Ross Ulbricht is not some anomaly. The state is handing down draconian prison sentences(20 years +) for darknet site moderators and bitcoin mixers.

  123. dL Post author

    NOTE: Seeing the democratic establishment stop Bernie Sanders cold reinforces the fact the core democratic party establishment is indeed a center right, capitalist party. Capitalism vs free markets aside, the one thing that really isn’t debatable is that the democrats, not the republicans, are the capitalist party.

  124. LibertyDave

    dL, you’re so funny, pointing out the obvious. Of course black markets are illegal. After all the government can’t allow people to trade without them getting a cut of the transaction for providing a safe place to trade. And what they mean by safe place to trade is safe from government force, not safe from criminals.

    But then acting free and advocating for freedom has never been a safe thing to do.

  125. dL Post author

    dL, you’re so funny, pointing out the obvious.

    If it was that obvious we would we be having this thread? read(or reread) the sentence judge motherfucker handed down to DPR next time anyone deludes themselves into thinking the official economy is a free market.

  126. Gene Berkman

    “In America there are many socialist companies, and several books that explain how a company can become socialist.”

    “Fixed, no charge.”

    Actually, in employee owned companies in America, dissenters do not face labor camps or torture, so the resemblance to really existing socialism breaks down.

    The biggest problem in employee owned enterprises or cooperative societies is smug *******s who are constantly telling people they are wrong, even when they have the facts on their side.

  127. dL Post author

    Actually, in employee owned companies in America, dissenters do not face labor camps or torture, so the resemblance to really existing socialism breaks down.

    Actually, the socialist criterion is that the state controls/owns the means of production. Direct worker control –without any proxy, be it the state or some federated democratic community–of the means of production is something like anarcho-syndicalism.

  128. Jared

    dL: “Seeing the democratic establishment stop Bernie Sanders cold reinforces the fact the core democratic party establishment is indeed a center right, capitalist party”

    Do you place the Democratic establishment on the right because they’re pro-establishment or because they favor progressive dirigisme and punishing regulations over a nationalized or at least centrally planned economy?

  129. dL Post author

    Do you place the Democratic establishment on the right because they’re pro-establishment

    No, my reasoning is not based on the fact the democratic establishment is pro democratic establishment. Most things in this world are pro themselves

  130. Jake Leonard

    The Illinois State Board of Elections have until Tuesday to grant a reprieve for ballot access in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. An article was published earlier in the week by the Illinois Green Party, with a press release coming out from the Libertarian Party of Illinois on Thursday:

    ILGP article: https://www.ilgp.org/voter_suppression_03_17_20
    LPIL press release: http://lpillinois.benchurl.com/c/v?e=101163B&c=14604&t=0&l=EC068BF&email=KM41D10FaPWKLdVLvJeIXyBqCyDXwEVD1BqwQ2VqVVQIn%2FBhtGcY%2FQ%3D%3D
    Article as covered by my colleague at Heartland Newsfeed, Ben Cox: https://heartlandnewsfeed.com/2020/03/19/libertarian-party-of-illinois-seeking-ballot-access-from-state-board-of-elections-gov-pritzker/

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