Which Country Are Ron DeSantis and Opponents Running for President Of Again?

Source: Governor Ron DeSantis's X account (https://twitter.com/GovRonDeSantis/status/1711881358853783802)
Source: Governor Ron DeSantis’s X account (https://twitter.com/GovRonDeSantis/status/1711881358853783802)

“The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations,” George Washington wrote in his farewell address as first president of the United States, “is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.  … it is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

Four years later, in his inaugural address as the country’s third president, Thomas Jefferson announced “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none” as an “essential principle” of his administration.

That was all a long time ago, and many things have changed.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who wants very badly to appear in history books alongside Washington and Jefferson, can’t seem to get his head around their best ideas.

He seems to think that being president involves “standing with” Israel, a Middle East ethno-religious garrison state that’s been known to spy on the US (see, for example, the case of Jonathan Pollard), kill US Navy personnel (34 of them aboard the USS Liberty in 1967), assassinate American journalists (like Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, shot while covering an Israeli Defence Forces raid in the occupied West Bank ), murder American students (like Rachel Corrie, run over by an IDF bulldozer in Gaza while protesting the destruction of a Palestinian pharmacist’s home), and kill American civilian mariners (like Furkan Dogan, killed by IDF pirates on the high seas).

As a governor and as a presidential candidate, DeSantis can’t seem to make it for more than a few days at a time without pulling some kind of  silly “stand with Israel” stunt.

Sometimes it’s signing legislation requiring all state contractors to swear a loyalty oath. Not to Florida or to the United States — to Israel.

Other times it’s lighting the state’s capitol building up in blue and white to show “solidarity” with Israel.

And always, always, ALWAYS it’s pledging bigger welfare checks, more military support, and undying loyalty if elected president.

Not loyalty to the United States, mind you, nor loyalty to American voters or American taxpayers.  Loyalty to a foreign power — an overly demanding welfare queen of a foreign power, and arguably an openly hostile foreign power.

Nor is DeSantis alone in his weird obsession. These days, pretty much every major party presidential candidate makes at least one visit to Israel to promise unlimited American blood and treasure in support of its rulers’ interests, your interests be damned. And when those promises come back to bite us, they assure us that’s because Israel’s enemies “hate our freedom.”

Never mind all that Federal Election Commission business — where American presidential campaign are concerned, the Foreign Agents Registration Act seems more applicable.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Speaker Vacancy: Bug for Politicians, Feature for the Public

United States House of Representatives chamber

Three weeks after a small group of House Republican rebels led by Matt Gaetz (R-FL)  removed Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker (with the assistance of a unanimous Democratic caucus), the position remains vacant.

On October 20, Republicans gave up (after three ballots) on Jim Jordan (R-OH). “Moderate” Republicans seem disinclined to either jump ship and support the Democratic pick (New York’s Hakeem Jeffries) or to put forward a “moderate” who might pick up enough Democratic votes to break the Gaetz-led logjam.

All this drama naturally has the American political class in tears. “No legislative function can occur on the House floor until a new speaker is elected,” the Washington Examiner‘s Jack Birle explains. “No votes or any other basic functions can occur on the floor of the House until the election has been resolved.”

So … what’s the downside? I’m looking for a cloud around the silver lining, and failing to find one.

Hard as they may work to convince us otherwise, American politicians don’t do anything we couldn’t do for ourselves at lower cost and to a higher standard of quality — and what they do TO us massively outweighs anything they might happen to accidentally do FOR us.

As Mark Twain noted more than a century ago, “it could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

They steal our wealth and order us around, and that’s about it — except for the part where they pompously style themselves “public servants.”

Every day the Speaker’s chair remains empty is a day off, a day of victory, for America’s long-suffering, hen-pecked, pick-pocketed, neglected, and abused public. After all, if Congress can’t do anything, Congress can’t do anything stupid, or evil, or both.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.

Sooner or later, the honorable (snort) members of the House will start worrying.

It will dawn on them that the longer they mess around doing a whole lot of nothing, the more Americans will realize how much we LIKE it.

They’ll panic at the prospect that more of us will notice how useless they are at their best (that is, when they’re doing nothing) and how actively harmful to our peace and prosperity they are in normal times (that is, when they’re doing things).

At some point they’ll choose a Speaker and get back to “work.”

Until then, enjoy this refreshing break.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


“Return To The Office” As Corporate Welfare

Photo by European Commission (Christophe Licoppe).
Photo by European Commission (Christophe Licoppe).

“Fewer than 26% of US households still have someone working remotely at least one day a week,” Bloomberg reports, “a sharp decline from the early-2021 peak of 37%,” citing US Census Bureau statistics.  “Remote employees have been blamed for dwindling profits and costing cities billions, and fears of a recession have eroded their ability to demand the telework perks they won early in the pandemic …”

But if the work gets done, it’s “return to the office” that’s a “perk” — for employers, for office-area businesses which profit from having all those workers commuting daily, and for money-hungry city governments.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of American workers left their traditional office environments and worked from home. That wasn’t always easy on either workers or employers. It was not an unalloyed positive. But for the most part, the work did get done.

Doing that work isn’t a “perk.” It’s a “job.”

If the job gets done, why should employers care where it gets done from — and if they do care, why shouldn’t they, rather than employees and taxpayers, cover the costs of doing it from that place?

Time is money, and commuting takes time. Gas isn’t free. In many cases, parking must be paid for out of pocket. And it’s not just the employees covering those costs. Less work from home means more traffic jams, more smog, and more driving around looking for a parking place for everyone else, too.

For some workers, the difference between home and office is the difference between keeping one eye on their kids while they work, or paying someone else to do so, or the difference between making or not making payments on a car and auto insurance.

On the market level, I suspect the trend initiated by the pandemic will eventually become the norm. Per the Bloomberg story, “[i]n 157 of the largest metro areas in the US, more than half of job applications were for fully remote or hybrid roles in August.”  Those who CAN work from home increasingly WILL work from home, unless employers want to pony up extra for presence in the office. Businesses will learn to cater to those remote workers’ demands in ways other than just leasing locations near office complexes, or go under.

The government angle is a tougher nut to crack. One might think that fewer cars on government-maintained roads and lower ridership on government-operated mass transit would go down as a benefit insofar as it implies reduced infrastructure costs, but one would be wrong.  Instead of taking the win and reducing spending, governments complain about the loss of tax revenue. They’d rather have more pollution and more congestion than give up the money and power that comes from administering massive transportation subsidies for the benefit of Big Business.

But again, time doesn’t stand still. Working from home will become a norm for the same reasons that lighting our workplaces with kerosene or spending our days riding plows and staring at mules’ rear ends no longer are.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.