Political Surprises

2016 has been full of them.

A recent surprise was the jury acquittal of 7 people who occupied a remote federal building in protest earlier this year.  Two of those seven were members of the Bundy family, Ammon and Ryan.  The Bundy family became politically important during a 2014 standoff with the Feds, centered on the fact that the Feds own half of the west.   It was a very pleasant surprise to learn the Feds did a lousy job of making their case, and the jury determined the 7 were guilty of no crime.  Federal prosecutors have a notoriously high conviction rate.

The Brexit vote in June surprised all the mainstream media.  Perhaps they are not difficult to surprise though, given the one sided coverage that is too obvious to ignore anymore. They push the result they want, regardless of any evidence or trends to the contrary.  Again, a pleasant surprise, to see globalism rejected.

The Trump Republican nomination process followed a similar path to the Brexit vote, as far as media coverage went.  It started with “Trump will never get nominated!”, progressed to “La La La La, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening”, and ended with “OMG how did that happen!?”

Trump’s staying power in the race, despite the entire political and media establishment leaning against him, is a surprise.  Serious cracks are showing in the stranglehold the establishment has on controlling the prevailing narrative.  A very pleasant surprise, this one.

HRC getting a “nothing to see here” verdict, for mishandling classified information, from the FBI earlier in the year, not a surprise.  The FBI re-opening the investigation inside of two weeks to go in the election cycle, a pleasant surprise.

WikiLeaks and other sources continuing to release inside information on establishment power players, a pleasant surprise.  This surprise is likely intertwined with the FBI investigation re-opening.   There are more disclosures to come from WikiLeaks and the ultimate impact could be another big surprise on election day.

Perhaps we will see some local political surprises.   John French almost defeated Mae Flexer in CT senate district 29 in 2014.  Maybe the growing discontent with the establishment (and correspondingly rising Trump numbers) will put him over the edge this time.

Daria Novak might send Uncle Joe Courtney packing in congressional district 2.

Anne Dauphinais and Tony Fantoli are both dedicated advocates of liberty (and so is Novak) and dedicated to their goal of winning CT house seats in districts 44 and 49, respectively.  They are both putting in the hours to stand up for what they believe in, a greatly underappreciated labor.     Fantoli has a big hurdle to overcome,  given the voting record in D-49,  but who knows what the rest of this election season has in store.

It’s a standing assumption that CT is all left wing Democrat, all the time.  But we have seen many political surprises this year.

We may see a few more to come, both close to home and nationally.

-Brian

BOE Vote 9/27, The State Will Take More Control From Us.

By Brian Saucier

Windham, CT voters will head to the polls for the fourth time on Tuesday 9/27 to vote for the BOE budget, already voted down three times this year.  Well, about 10% of them will head to the polls … and the vote will be close to 50/50, but that 5% counts as a majority, don’t you worry!

A recent CT court decision provides a fresh perspective to consider as we dedicated few head to the polls.

I call it fresh because a judge has managed, in 90 pages, to piss off nearly everyone in the state’s education establishment power structure:

  • The Malloy administration is appealing the decision because Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher stepped all over their turf.
  • The legislature is in (mostly) feigned shock – feigned because Congress and state legislatures have been all too happy to hand over power to the other two branches of government for a century or so.
  • The Plaintiffs of the case are appealing because they want  boatloads more money spent on education in poor urban districts, but the judge was honest enough to point out the state already spends boatloads on education in poor urban districts.
  • Teachers unions are in huff because the judge had the audacity to stipulate that teachers’ employment terms should be based on results (like the rest of us), and not simply showing up for 30 years.
  • Special Education advocates are equally huffed up by the judge’s cruelty in deciding that towns don’t have to spend “staggering” sums on educating any and all special education students, regardless of the impact that spending will have on other students.

It is a controversy a bit like Donald Trump.  A large part of Trump’s popularity is his anti-establishment perception.  Yet somehow the point is missed by those shouting loudly “lots of important people don’t like Trump!”

So I am intrigued by anything the establishment is wailing against.  Does this court decision have any real, honest, change potential packed into its 90 pages?  Yeah, a little.

The discussion on teacher’s compensation is pretty good, though the judge sounds as if he wants to establish a functional free market for teachers, which would of course require the government to not be involved with education, which of course the rest of the judge’s decision directly contradicts.

The discussion on special education spending also comes across as eminently reasonable.  There is no reasonable way to justify spending $200,000 a year on a profoundly disabled student when it means a 1000 other kids will have a more limited educational experience.

It is noteworthy that the words “family” or “families” do not appear once in 90 pages.  When dealing with a case centered around poor urban school districts and their dismal performance,  it is telling that the root of the problem,  not enough families that prioritize education, is entirely avoided.  Understandable though,  the judge seemed to be in an honest mood when writing this decision and going down that rabbit hole might have led to the unsettling conclusion: The state plays a large role in weakening families, urban, rural and otherwise.

Unsurprisingly though (never forget who a judge works for), the main thrust of the decision is very clear:  The State of CT needs to take a more direct role in education.

This is the part that the Windham voter’s need to let sink in.    Some choice quotes:

“The state’s responsibility for education is direct and non-delegable: it must assume unconditional authority to intervene in troubled school districts.”

“As the Pereira Court ruled, whatever local boards of education do, they do “on behalf of the state.””

“The state loudly reminds local governments that they are merely its creatures, and that “the only powers a municipal corporation has are those which are expressly granted to it by the state.””

So Windham voters, I suggested in June after the BOE budget was voted down for a third time, that lack of true local control was one of the main causes of the current dissatisfaction with the BOE.  This decision, despite all the controversy it is causing now, is a sign of things to come.  The state, can, and will, same as the feds, continue to erode the power of parents and local communities.

Despite all the dire (and false) warnings of hurting children, refusing to go along with the plans of local BOEs, plans which hand over more and more control to distant, unaccountable bureaucrats, is one of the only options we have left.

I suggest we refuse to go along with the plan again on Sept 27th.

Brian Saucier – LocalLiberty.org

A Brief Overview of Anarcho­-Socialism

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.” 

                                                                    Emma Goldman

 

A Brief Overview of Anarcho-­Socialism

 by Larry Rector

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of Social Anarchy­ what it is, what it’s ideals are, and how it functions in modern society. It is not meant to be a complete covering of the topic in all its subtleties. There are (as you can well imagine) far too many ideas to cover this subject in its entirety. I assume no knowledge on the part of the reader, as this topic is considered somewhat obscure. If you already have an understanding of what social anarchy is, feel free to skip this article entirely, and look forward to more in­depth articles on specific subject from me in the future. This is a follow­up to my interview on Local Liberty (link at end of article).

 

What it Anarchy?

 

Simply put, Anarchy (as we Anarchists define it) is the absence of government and absolute freedom for the individual as a political ideal. We are opposed to the state as a form of society, and seek to discover new ways to live in freedom and harmony without the imposition of the the state in our lives.

How does Anarcho­Socialism Differ from other forms of Anarchy?

Anarcho­Socialism (also known as Social Libertarianism or Social Anarchism) distinguishes itself from other forms of Anarchy by placing emphasis on supporting communitarian and cooperative aspects of Anarchy theory. Its philosophy can be summed up as: “Individual freedom is dependent upon mutual aid.” Our main focus is on community and social equality.

 

What are the main beliefs of Anarcho­Socialists?

A lot could be said here, but I will stick to some key principals for now. Also, I cannot presume to speak for all Anarchists, or even all Anarcho­Socialists, as such a large and free­thinking group will be composed of many people with many ideas. These are just the basics that most of us agree on. (Feel free to post any questions in response to this article and I will gladly go into more depth on any given subject.)

We are opposed to the state as a form of society, and to capitalism as a form of economics.  That being said, we are not entirely opposed to Federalism or authority altogether. For instance, a mother rushing into the street to pull her child to safety while scolding him for running into danger and ordering him not to do so again is a perfectly acceptable form of authority and in the case of her physically pulling the child out of danger is even a warranted use of force. The guidelines we set for any form of authority are as follows: 1.) It must be necessary and 2.) It must be moral. On these two ideas, we feel the state has failed as an institution, as we do not believe it to be necessary or moral. We also believe in democracy and the right of the people to vote on issues that affect them, and when necessary to have representatives or leaders for large projects.

We are opposed to both nationalism and to any form of oppression, including racism, sexism, religious sectarianism, homophobia, etc.… We are (obviously) anti­authoritarian at our core, and any group that seeks to impose its will on another stands in stark contrast to us.

 

How do Anarcho­Socialists involve themselves with modern society? What do they see their role as?

The major ways in which Anarchists get involved and help to influence and shape society are by getting involved with mass movements, involvement in labor groups, and work within any group or organization which has goals common to our own (such as feminist groups, or racial equality movements). In this regard, we see ourselves as “thought leaders.” Ask any ten people at an occupy protest what they are protesting, and you are likely to get ten different responses. It is therefore imperative that we work to help shape the narrative, as well as offer our support. When working with mass movements, labor groups and others we also discourage any forms of racism, sexism, homophobia or other negative trends from springing up within such movements.

Most of us in modern times work with ‘Platformist Theory’ which offers a set of four major guidelines to follow when doing such work: Theoretical unity, Tactical unity, Collective action and discipline, and Federalism.

I realize that this article may seem somewhat short for being an introduction to a topic as complex as Anarcho­Socialism, but hopefully I’ve been able to give you a brief insight into an interesting world of radical political beliefs. If I’ve sparked your interest at all, feel free to leave a comment or question and I’ll be sure to write more in the future.

Live Free, Live Well­

-Larry Rector, owner of the blog: LivinLikeLarryOnline.com

 

 

Is the War on Drugs a failure?

 

Is the War on Drugs a failure and with what should we replace it with, if it is?

by Shane Goodrich

The drug war is a fantastic failure, a complete disaster on all fronts. The costs to fight this “War” have been great. Billions of dollars, millions incarcerated over the past 30 plus years and thousands of lives lost from the side effects of the black markets such as overdoes due to lack of knowledge of what person is actually taking, spread of infectious diseases due to sharing of dirty needles, and criminal gangs fighting for drug territory. Let me quickly touch on 3 main reasons I think the drug war is a failure that should be stopped as soon as possible.

The first reason is from a policy outcome perspective. Which Richard Nixon started the war on drugs and when it got ramped up in the 80’s under the Reagan administration the stated purpose of the drug war was to get drugs off the street. To cut off access. I live in Willimantic, CT which has been given the dubious title The Heroin Capital of CT. On the very street that I live there have been multiple major drug raids in the past few years. Only a few blocks away, this year has been another major drug raid on Pearl St. The drugs are still here. They are not going away.

The 2nd reason the drug war is a failure is from a moral perspective. What right does anyone have to say what I or anyone elses puts in their own body? We live in a country founded on concepts of freedom. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If someone is smoking a joint in their own home and bothering no one else why are we wasting time and money to go after them? The idea of getting involved in peaceful activities is absurd.

Lastly I will speak from a harm reduction standpoint. You may not like drugs, you may think drug use in itself is immoral. But the outlawing of drugs just causes more harm, both to those that use drugs and to those that don’t.

During prohibition armed gangs vied for territory and the right to sell black market alcohol. People would get sick on “bathtub gin” and other poorly made alcohol products. The same applies to drug use now. We have gangs fighting over drug territory where innocent people get hurt in the crossfire. People using drugs die of overdoes because of unknown contaminants in what they are taking.

Just say no does not work. It’s akin to abstinence only education. In the real world people have sex and sometimes people want to alter their brain state. Ending the drug war would make drug use safer for users, reduce crime in many neighborhoods and save the country a lot of money. A regulated legal market like in Colorado for Cannabis would be much preferable to what we have now.

-Shane Goodrich, Video Editor and Cohost of Local Liberty

Local Liberty College Chat Segment link for this question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKLImHOD7Sk&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

A New Series: Homesteading , and A Local Seed Starting Schedule for CT

By Brian Saucier
It has been such a nice fall this year that we could probably keep gardening right up until Christmas if so inclined,  or just playing catch up.  I planted my garlic yesterday, a month and a half late, but the garlic shouldn’t mind too much.    The garden soil felt like it does in May, warm and dry.  Also this past week,  the seed catalogs started showing up in the mail,  re-sparking the garden fever that afflicts so many of us!

I learned a great deal over the last 10+ years from the gardening/homesteading community, both online and locally in person.  I am happy to return some of that value back to the community and especially to new gardeners.   I view each individual’s step towards independence (not isolation) as a benefit to both of us.   One area of increased independence that continues to capture my interest and attention is growing food.

If you share my interest in growing some of your own food,  check out Local Liberty’s newest series on YouTube: Homesteading

Homesteading means many things to different people,  and I plan to cover the various ways my family seeks greater independence.    The first 5 episodes in this series offer an intro to the motivations behind homesteading,  and three episodes (parts 3-5) cover the  first basics of vegetable gardening.

Anyone with experience growing vegetables may want to skip right to the chart linked here:Local Seed Starting Schedule- Eastern CT 

This spreadsheet is what I use to plan my garden for the year, developed through 10 years of experimenting with different varieties and different starting times.  I change varieties in and out each year,  this is what I planted in 2015.  I will replant 90% of these because these are what I have found to work well here.

I hope you find this information valuable,  ask away with any questions,  and please do share with me if you have local varieties that work well in CT.

Some tomatoes to look forward to next summer!
Tomato harvest

Should social problems be solved through government activity?

 Should social problems be solved through private actions and interests or through government activity?

by Shane Goodrich

 

Social norms guide our actions. Our view of the world shapes what we think is right and wrong. When it comes to current social issues, for example my personal views regarding things ranging from discrimination of transgender folks to drug addiction I tend to get along quite well with hard leftists, hippies and Bernie Sander supporters. I think everyone should be accorded respect, people should have no problem serving or dealing with the transgendered community and so forth. I want many social ills from racism to drug addiction to go away.

Where I tend to differ with these folks is how I want to get there. I want private action to be the motivating force. It’s difficult to force a belief system on someone. Forcing someone to treat people better often does not work. After the North won the civil war and Slavery was abolished across the nation the personal views of former southern slave owners did not magically change. They did not wake up one day in May of 1865 and think to themselves you know slaves really are people. Blacks and Whites are equal. No we got Jim Crow and the systematic mistreatment of blacks for another 100 plus years.

This leads me to another point, many social ills are caused by government laws in the first place. Slavery was legally sanctioned in the south, afterwards Jim Crow laws abounded in the region. Top-down solutions to social problems only tend to work when government activity is being curtailed. When it was bad laws perpetuating the problems in the first place. The protests of people like Dr. Martin Luther King brought light to the harsh realities of being a black person in the south (or really anywhere in the U.S) at that time. It was this bottom-up approach that helped change hearts and minds.  The government might put its stamp of approval on something and seem to help bring about social change but that tends to be after popular opinion has changed.  Marriage equality is a recent example of this. Until very recently even democrats on the national level were against gay marriage.  But once it become political viable as a position the pols jumped aboard the band wagon. Another similar issue in this regard is drug prohibition.

I think the drug war is a terrible immoral mess and that marijuana prohibition is especially absurd. Until very recently (when the popular opinion on legalization of recreational pot changed in this country) few politicians would advocate for legal weed. But now people are starting to “evolve” on the issue. Politicians are pandering to the masses, but most of them will have been behind the issue, not ahead of it. Social changes happens from the bottom-up not the top-down.

So Before we think about using the government to solve social problems can we at least stop the government from causing social problems in the first place?

Shane Goodrich Co-Host and Video Editor for Local Liberty

 

How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?

How Restrictive should Voting Laws be?

by Shane Goodrich

            In general I have a very grim view of most people’s ability to vote in an informed and capable manner. I never support generalized get out the vote drives. I encourage most people to not vote. On a small scale I don’t think people should have any say in matters they don’t understand.

For example, I am on the board of Directors for The Windham Textile and History Museum. I am new to the board and often abstain from voting on certain topics as I don’t feel qualified to make an informed decision. I also vote in elections and when I go into the voting booth It has been a common occurrence (in some years at least) for me to skip certain races as I just don’t know enough to make an proper decision.

People in general I find are prone to voting regardless of their knowledge of the issues or of those they are voting for if given the chance. In meetings of all kinds’ people less often abstain from voting and more often just go along with the popular view. I recall handing out flyers for Doug Lary running for 3rd Registrar of Voters in Windham in 2014. I had an interesting conversation with one man where I gave my spiel (imagine in your head a really awesome and persuasive tone of voice):

 

….The Democrats and Republicans are guaranteed a registrar. They can’t lose. If Doug “wins” he will just be added as a 3rd registrar. Doug actually needs votes to win, the other people don’t. Voting for Doug will not affect the Democrats or Republicans registrar at all, their seat is secure. Voting for Doug will be a vote for a diversity of voices in politics. For fairness.

 

The man throughout the conversation was on board, “that is not fair” or “that makes senses” he would say in response to my points. I thought I had him, then at the end. “Sir Can I count on your vote?” The answer: “sorry I vote straight line Democrat”

Arrggh! After talking to dozens of people my view of the general voter became even lower than it already was.

So with all this said how restrictive should voting laws be? As least restrictive as possible. Felons should be able to vote, we should be able to vote online, same day registrations should be the norm. You should be able to vote ahead of time. And why should this be the case when I have shown the lack of understanding I think the general populace has regarding politics? Because some of those same people that don’t get politics and make decisions about things they don’t understand will also be the ones to make decisions regarding who is or is not a qualified voter.

We also know from things like Gerrymandering that people in power will manipulate things to stay in power. Look at the Jim Crow south, keeping the black vote out kept many politicians in. We can’t risk that situation arising. As much as it pains me, let the people have their voice, let them vote.

-Shane Goodrich, Co-host and Video Editor of Local Liberty

 

Does it matter where Americans get there news?

Does it matter where Americans get there news?

by Shane Goodrich

Yes it matters, but what matters even more is how one takes the news they are given. Allow me to explain. During the course of the day we are bombarded by a lot of information, people talk about things that are happing in the world, people are telling us what they think is the truth (let’s put aside lying for this short essay), websites, magazines and newspapers are also giving us their view of the what the truth is. We know not all of these sources can be true. How? Because they often contradict each other, the “facts” presented in one place are different than those presented in another. So what matters when it comes to processing the news is making sure we reflect on what we are reading or listening too. What format is the show I am watching? Is it presented as so called “hard news” or is it editorializing? In other words is it an opinion based show like The O’Reilly Factor or is the channel 3 news? Understand what you are watching.

Is it better to have a diversity of sources? Of course it is but practically it may not be possible to always get a good set of sources for any given issue. For example, I try to get my information from a variety of sources. Over the summer I was attempting to get a grasp of the basics of economics. I read four different books on the subject in pursuit of this goal. The books ranged from a more libertarian viewpoint in the case of Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell to hard left in the case of What’s the Economy for Anyway by David K. Batker & John de Graaf. I did this because I wanted to get a balanced view. To get all perspective’s. But realistically this is much too time consuming and tedious for most people. Most people just want to read or watch people they like and tend to agree with. It’s often as much about entertainment as it is education.

So in the end it matters a lot where Americans or anyone else gets their news, it also matters in what context they take that news (watching Bill O’Reilly just for the fun of it is different than basing your political positions on his show) and it matters how many sources people are getting a given idea from. Just remember to think about what you are told, don’t blindly accept the facts.

Shane Goodrich, Co-host and video editor of Local Liberty

Link to Local Liberty video on the same topic here:

How to raise electricity rates while pretending to protect consumers

How to raise electricity rates while pretending to protect consumers

by Ken Mosher

I just received an email from my state representative, Gayle Mulligan, detailing several new laws that took effect on October 1st.  The email highlighted just seven of the new laws, likely out of dozens or hundreds, so one can assume that these are the ones she approves of most.  Some of the seven were fine, either promoting freedom or being neutral, but a few were nothing more than intrusions into our lives via burdensome or nanny-like regulations.

The most shocking (pun intended) of them regarded the available choices for electricity generation rates, by removing choice, of course.  Connecticut has had some of the most expensive electricity in the country for many years.  We currently rank #3; only Hawaii and Alaska have higher rates (http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/204.htm) and we pay 62% more than the national average.  The next higher, Alaska, pays only a tiny bit more than we do.

An article in Forbes magazine claims that since deregulation “wholesale power prices have fallen dramatically…” lowering electricity generation prices over the last ten years (http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/10/13/after-decades-of-doubt-deregulation-delivers-lower-electricity-prices/).  The overall cost of electricity has fallen by a smaller amount because the cost of transmission has skyrocketed.

One sentence in that article stuck out, “To the extent it [the cost of power declining] hasn’t, regulation (not deregulation) is to blame.”  [Ed: even though I quoted that sentence I actually corrected two typos. Inserting [sic] multiple times seemed rude.]

That is, deregulation successfully lowered prices during the last 10 years, but in cases where the price was not lowered as much as the others, regulation was the cause.  The article’s author did not offer any data to back up his statement.

Then along cometh the gift from our state legislatures, a new round of regulation to “protect” us from the evil power companies and the ravages of capitalism.  The problem is that you can’t change economics or human behavior by passing laws any more than you can affect gravity by the same means.

VARIABLE RATE BAN

“After receiving thousands of complaints by electric customers who saw their bill skyrocket through variable rates, Connecticut is now the first in the nation to ban variable rate electric contracts.”

There’s been a tremendous amount of agita among the buyers of electricity since Connecticut deregulated it in 1998, with consumers first able to choose an electricity generation supplier starting in 2000.  CL&P and UI retained ownership of the lines and became known as your delivery supplier.

Note that people are: forgetful, lazy, and stupid, pretty much in that order.  Even though choosing a new generation supplier was incredibly easy, the masses were confused.  It took a very long time for people to switch away from CL&P or UI even though their regulated price was much higher, but eventually the public accepted it.  [Ed: A search for the percentage of customers who have selected an alternate generation supplier turned up only one reference, from 2010, “More than half a million families have switched“.]  But choosing an alternate supplier usually involves a rate that’s valid for a specific period of time; you have to keep track because when the rate period expires your rate might increase.

Now back to the email from my state rep, “After receiving thousands of complaints by electric customers who saw their bill skyrocket through variable rates…”

In theory those thousands of customers made an informed decision to sign up for the variable rate, which was cheaper than the fixed rate, knowing full well that it could be adjusted monthly.  They traded the safety of a higher fixed rate for the uncertainty of a cheaper variable rate.  Then they cried and screamed when their variable rate lived up to its name, it varied!  They were caught by surprise, having been used to paying a low variable rate that had rarely varied. They went from feeling superior for getting the better rate to feeling like they were being cheated when their gamble went against them. That is not the behavior of a well-adjusted adult who is used to both the benefits and repercussions of his actions. That is the behavior of a spoiled, entitled brat who suddenly isn’t getting his way! 

For the vast majority of the time the variable rate customers got the best deal, but then a period of extreme price increases in the cost of wholesale power caused rates to explode higher. Fixed rate customers were protected somewhat, until their agreements expired and they found themselves paying 50% more for power.  The variable rate customers, however, saw a huge price increase immediately, with a doubling of their cost not uncommon.

The result was predictable, they screamed bloody murder because the evil electricity providers were gouging them. It never occurred to them that the supplier was also paying double the rate from the wholesalers.  Every politician immediately rushed to the nearest microphone to make one of the standard, uninformed comments.  Power company CEOs were hauled before committees where legislators lectured them on electricity rates.  Can you, cherished reader, imagine being lectured at by Senator Edith Prague, a woman of dubious intelligence who never had an original thought or spoke a sentence with meaning in her entire career as an elected official?

The spike in prices was short lived.  Lucky fixed rate customers were spared a few months at the beginning but then had to choose between new fixed rates between $0.12 and $0.15 per kilowatthour. Then, after a few months, prices began to fall rapidly, to the point where I’m now paying barely over $0.06 on my fixed rate plan.

In response to the outrage of high electricity prices, an outrage that lasted only a few months and that was entirely beyond the control of any of the generation suppliers. Our Connecticut legislators have cooked up a new regulation that will increase the cost of power in our state. Maybe we can even surpass Alaska to retake the number two spot!  (Wait, that would be a bad thing.) The Hartford Courant even agreed with my assessment in an article on October 5.

For the vast majority of the time, choosing a variable rate resulted in lower prices.  Unfortunately the whining of a small but vocal crowd can catch the attention of our nanny-state legislators, and just like nannies they want the whining to stop. So now they have protected the hardworking citizens of Connecticut from selecting the lowest electricity generation rate possible, the variable rate.

The electricity suppliers are not going to suffer. They will protect their bottom line by offering shorter fixed rate terms to guard against sudden price spikes, or their longer terms will be significantly more expensive.  Look forward to it because soon you’ll have to remember to choose a new supplier every 3 or 4 months.  It already happened to me; i was unable to get a fixed rate term longer than 4 months.

The next time you hear someone complaining about government gridlock and a do-nothing congress, gently remind them how lucky they are to have it.  The converse is a well-oiled machine that turns out thousands and thousands of pages of new laws like the USA PATRIOT act and the TSA.

Ken Mosher, former board of education member from Andover, CT

Is “Pork-Barrel” Politics good for democracy?

Is “Pork-Barrel” Politics good for democracy?

by Shane Goodrich

            I am going to answer this question in the context of modern American politics this will avoid any messy definitional issues with the word democracy. If you want to get elected today in America you more or less have to promise stuff. What that stuff is will vary from town to town and state to state but you have to bring the goods. On a small scale this seems logical, we elect politicians to represent us, to take care of our interests. If the local economy is focused on mining we want to make things better for miners, in our case (congressional district 2 in CT) much of the local economy is tied up in military manufacture (in this case submarines) well let’s hope Joe Courtney can up those orders for the subs, we need the jobs!

This sounds all fine and dandy in theory… except when you think about the country as a whole, where are these orders for submarines coming from? Who is paying for this stuff (helpful hint: American taxpayers)? The law that might help miners in one district may cause harm to other occupations in other districts. The country as a whole may not need more submarines (please let’s stop making so many machines of war and destruction) but here in the 2nd district the EB is important. And that is the fundamental tension at play. A senator or congressman has to appease his voter bloc, notice I say voter bloc here as someone like Joe Courtney does not have to pay much attention to the people who did not vote for him, he has to bring the stuff just for those that got him into office. Great democratic representation right there.

As a whole congress has terrible approval ratings, people laugh at things like the bridge to nowhere, but those laughing at these things tend to be outside the purview of the congressman or senator that got the bridge deal done in the first place. If they live outside your district oh well who cares about them. If they did not vote for you, oh well don’t worry about those folks. So is pork barrel politics good for democracy? I think certainly on the whole if you look at America pork barrel spending is not helping us. Those pork projects that are paid for with federal dollars hurt us all. For the moment it’s difficult to see an end to these kind of shenanigans. Perhaps with more education and understanding of the system things might change in the future or perhaps the underlying system needs changing. But for now the pork will keep on coming.

-Shane Goodrich, Co-host & Video Editor of Local Liberty