America’s Apocalyptic Debt Crisis: 63 Of America’s Largest 75 Cities Are Completely Broke

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

The debt crisis in the United States of America has reached apocalyptic proportions.  A new and horrifying report out details the reason why 63 of America’s largest cities are completely broke: debt and overspending.

According to a recent analysis of the 75 most populous cities in the United States, 63 of them can’t pay their bills and the total amount of unfunded debt among them is nearly $330 billion. Most of the debt is due to unfunded retiree benefits such as pension and health care costs.  That means those depending on that money, likely won’t see a dime of it. 

“This year, pension debt accounts for $189.1 billion, and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) – mainly retiree health care liabilities – totaled $139.2 billion,” the third annual “Financial State of the Cities” report produced by the Chicago-based research organization, Truth in Accounting (TIA), states. TIA is a nonprofit, politically unaffiliated organization composed of business, community, and academic leaders interested in improving government financial reporting.

Many state and local governments are not in good shape, despite the economic and financial market recovery since 2009,” Bill Bergman, director of research at TIA, told Watchdog.org.

The top five cities in the worst financial shape are New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Honolulu, and San Francisco. These cities, in addition to Dallas, Oakland, and Portland, all received “F” grades. In New York City, for example, only $4.7 billion has been set aside to fund $100.6 billion of promised retiree health care benefits. In Philadelphia, every taxpayer would have to pay $27,900 to cover the city’s debt. In San Francisco, it would cost $22,600 per taxpayer.

By the end of Fiscal Year 2017, 63 cities did not have enough money to pay all of their bills, the report states, meaning debts outweigh revenue. In order to appear to balance budgets, TIA notes, elected officials “have not included the true costs of the government in their budget calculations and have pushed costs onto future taxpayers.”

Hartford City News Times

To say that more simply: your children have been sold into debt slavery and owned by the governments; both local and federal. The government is officially punishing the unborn for their inability to handle money.

What a time to be alive…

One major problem area TIA identifies is that city leaders are lying. (What a shock! A lying politician…) These political masters have acquired massive debts despite the balanced budget requirements imposed on them by scamming the public and enslaving them.

“Unfortunately, some elected officials have used portions of the money that is owed to pension funds to keep taxes low and pay for politically popular programs,” TIA states.

“This is like charging earned benefits to a credit card without having the money to pay off the debt. Instead of funding promised benefits now, they have been charged to future taxpayers. Shifting the payment of employee benefits to future taxpayers allows the budget to appear balanced, while municipal debt is increasing.”

It’s only a matter of time until this system built on debt and theft comes crashing to the ground.

How prepared are you?

via ZeroHedge News http://bit.ly/2HHtl1a Tyler Durden

Starbucks Coaches Employees On How To Handle Politically “Aggressive” Customers Raving About Howard Schultz

Starbucks has instructed its employees on how to handle political questions about CEO Emeritus Howard Schultz, who has all but announced his intent to run as an independent in the 2020 US election – a move immediately criticized by Democrats who fear he will split the left’s vote and hand Donald Trump the election.

The coffee chain known for its progressive corporate culture offered suggestions  in its “Barista Need-To-Know” weekly newsletter on how to “diffuse the situation” if anyone “shares aggressive political opinions” in the store. 

Employees may be asked questions by customers or hear media speculation about Howard’s potential political intentions,” reads the notice clearly written by lawyers. Employees should know that “we respect everyone’s opinion. Our goal is simply to create a warm and welcoming space where we can all gather, as a community, over great coffee.”

If asked specifically about Schultz, employees are advised to say: “Howard’s future plans are up to him.” 

A Starbucks employee told the Huffington Post on Thursday that her store’s management took things one step further in a way that bothered her. 

“We were told not to talk to customers about it,” said the employee, who added “if we are asked about his political goals or our opinions on it that we’re to say he was a great CEO to work for but that’s where our opinions end.”

The rephrased instructions irked the employee, who saw them as part of a pattern of stifling employees’ opinions. The shift supervisor felt similarly about the written instructions, finding it frustrating that Schultz was able to publicly discuss his politics when he worked at Starbucks while they were not.

“[I wish] we would be given the same opportunity to express our beliefs,” the supervisor said. –Huffington Post

Schultz has faced intense criticism from the left after he said he was weighing a 2020 run as an independent. His detractors include David Axelrod, HBO host Bill Maher, The View’s Joy Behar and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). 

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, called for a Starbucks boycott if Schultz enters the race, tweeting: “Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting. If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win.”

In fact, the criticism has been so vociferous, it has left some Democrats believing that Schultz, who is currently on a book tour, won’t end up running for the White House. 

“Democrats will not have to pressure Schultz to drop out of the race,” said Robert Zimmerman, a prominent Democratic donor. “When his books move to the $1 discount bin at bookstores, he will get the message.”

Erin McPike, a spokeswoman for Schultz, said all the blowback this week “shows he is resonating.” –The Hill

During an interview at a New York Barnes & Noble this week, a protester shouted at Schultz “Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole.”

He’s clearly resonating…  

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New Jersey Nuclear Reactor Shut Down By Polar Vortex

After the Arctic polar vortex brought temperatures in parts of Canada to record lows that, in some places, rivaled the temperatures on the surface of Mars (not to mention leaving nine people dead), the infamous Arctic air has notched another milestone: It has shut down a nuclear reactor due to an extremely rare phenomenon called ‘frazil ice’.

Never heard of frazil ice? Neither had we.

According to Bloomberg, Public Service Enterprise Group, shut a reactor early Thursday at unit at its Salem nuclear plant in southern New Jersey after screens on its intake froze over, restricting the flow of water needed to cool off the reactor, according to spokesman Joe Delmar.

A second unit at a station on the Delaware river was temporarily closed for the same reason.

Frozen

The 60-foot-tall intake screens help guard the reactor against debris like floating wood. But Under extreme conditions (like those witnesses this week), overnight low temperatures at the station can fall into the single digits (or lower), creating frazil ice – small crystals of frozen mist – which can collect on the screens, thicken, and form a cement-like coating that completely blocks the flow of water into the reactor, causing circulators to shut down.

The blockage prompted the Newark-based Public Service Enterprise Group to take the plant offline.

“We had the heaters running, we had folks out there, and we lost the four circulators within five minutes,” Delmar said. He wouldn’t say when Salem 2 is expected to go back into service.

The last time the Salem unit was shut for frazil ice was in 2010. Regular ice formations typically don’t completely block off the flow of water, but because of the frazil ice’s ability to make the reactor completely inaccessible, operations must be shut down.

“I would characterize this as a rare occurrence,” said Chris Earls, senior director of regulatory affairs at the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute. “Once it warms up a little bit, it takes care of itself.”

The plant is expected to come back on line as temperatures are expected to climb into the 40s on Saturday.

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US Suspends Nuclear Arms Treaty Compliance

In a sign that Russia might soon be deploying those new hypersonic missiles that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been showing off lately, Reuters reported that the US is preparing to suspend compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing four US officials, opening the door to the reintroduction of medium-range ground-based nuclear arms in the area around Russia.

The officials said the the suspension will kick off a six month countdown that could lead to the dissolution of the treaty. However, Washington could opt to remain a part of the pact if Moscow decides to become compliance with the 1987 Cold War-era treaty.

12

The decision comes after the US and Russia revealed on Thursday that they had failed to work out their differences on the treaty, something that analysts have warned could be the first step in a new Cold War-style arms race – or worse. Both sides have accused the other of violating the terms of the historic treaty, which called for a ban on all land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles, according to NBC News.

This latest step comes after the Trump Administration repeatedly warned Russia that it would leave the treaty if Moscow didn’t comply with the family by Feb. 2. Both sides have been meeting in Beijing, but Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that the talks had failed.

“Unfortunately, there is no progress,” he told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti according to a translation by Reuters. “As far as we understand, the next step is coming, the next phase begins, namely the phase of the United States stopping its obligations under the INF, which will evidently happen this coming weekend.”

Andrea Thompson, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, said Washington would most likely announce the suspension of the INF Treaty in the coming days.

“The Russians still aren’t in acknowledgment that they are in violation of the treaty,” she  said. However, Thompson did add that “diplomacy is never done.”

Of course, this doesn’t bode well for renegotiating the New START arms control treaty that calls for the mutual reduction of the US and Russia’s nuclear arsenals.

via ZeroHedge News http://bit.ly/2HR5b4K Tyler Durden

Houston Trounces L.A. and New York City in New Ranking of America’s Freest Metros

More often than not the government that matters most is the government closest to home. That’s the idea behind a new study from the Reason Foundation (the non-profit that publishes this website), which ranks U.S. metro areas by their level of economic freedom.

There already exist country and state-level indices for economic freedom. Useful as those are, they also obscure a lot of policy diversity says Dean Stansel, the author of the Reason Foundation report.

“Ultimately, the farther down we drill, the closer we get to locality, the more accurate it’s going to be,” says Stansel, telling Reason that these local policies can play a big impact on economic outcomes across cities.

Stansel’s report looks at Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) which usually include multiple cities and even counties, and which give a more complete picture of a local area’s economy.

The report divides these MSAs into two lists, those with a 2012 population of one million or more, and those with less than that. Each is then scored on their levels of government spending, taxation, and labor market regulation to produce an index score between zero and ten, with ten being maximum, Galt’s Gulch levels of economic freedom.

Of the 52 American metros with more than one million residents, the report finds that the booming Houston Metro Area is where freedom rings the loudest, with a score of 8. Jacksonville, Florida, comes in at a close second place, with an economic freedom score of 7.92.

Of the top ten most economically free MSAs, eight of them are either in Texas or Florida—with Nashville, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia, also finishing in the top 10.

The poor performers on the index are much less geographically concentrated. According to Stansel’s rankings, the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area in Southern California comes in as the least free metro area in the country, with a near Soviet-level score of 5.23. The country’s two largest metro areas of Los Angeles and New York City both landed in the bottom 10, as do Portland, Oregon, and a collection of metro areas in Ohio and New York State.

Naples, Florida, ranks as the most free metro area with a population less than one million residents, while El Centro, California, was the least free small market metro area.

Far from being an abstract measurement, Stansel’s report finds that higher economic freedom rankings across metro areas have higher levels of economic growth, population growth, and even better city credit rankings.

The top quartile of ‘most free’ metros had per capita incomes that were 5.7 percent higher than average, while the bottom quartile of ‘least free’ cities had per capita incomes that were 4.86 below the average.

“The biggest punchline is this stuff matters for real outcomes, for how well the local economy thrives, but also for how well off the people are,” says Stansel.

Whether economic dynamism is worth the heat and hurricanes that plague Texas and Florida is something individual readers of the report will have to decide for themselves.

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Stocks Have Been This Overbought Before…Once

Via Dana Lyons’ Tumblr,

U.S. stocks recently registered the 2nd most overbought condition in their 150-year history…

Temperatures wrought by the polar vortex here in Chicago have truly reached ludicrous levels. Today’s low is projected to be minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit — without the wind chill. That got me thinking — is that the coldest temperature ever recorded in the city? After 20 seconds of digging, I discovered that it was not the record. It has actually been colder here before — ONCE. 34 years ago, on January 20, 1985, temperatures reached a record cold reading of minus 27.

That near record had me thinking about the stock market — specifically, the degree to which stocks, on a long-term basis, are stretched, or “overbought”. Yes, the recent correction relieved much of the prevailing shorter-term overbought condition. But on a long-term basis, it has hardly made a dent. That’s because, coming into the correction the stock market may not have been at the most overbought condition of all-time — but it was at the 2nd most overbought of all-time.

How did we determine that? We are using the inflation-adjusted S&P Composite data available from Robert Shiller’s site. This composite is essentially the current S&P 500 with re-engineered pricing prior to its inception in the 1950’s with available stock prices from the time. We then used exponential regression smoothing to find the “best fit” trend line on the series since 1871 (h/t to Doug Short for the concept.)

After finding the best fit trend line for the composite, we can measure how far above or below prices are at a given time. As it turns out, this past September saw the composite reach 122% above the trend line, i.e., it was 122% “overbought”. In nearly 150 years, the only months that saw prices more overbought than that were those encompassing the 1999-2000 market top — the most excessive, bubbly top in U.S. market history.

So what does it mean? We aren’t going to go into a long essay on its implications. We posted an excerpt the other day from our 1st Quarter Client Letter about the longer-term risk embedded in the market. Suffice it to say, the stock market is extended. Can it stay extended? The past few years prove that it can.

However, we will emphasize that it is likely not the best time to commit a lot of long-term capital to the U.S. stock market. Sure, the market remained stretched to these levels for more than a year during the 2000 top. So it is possible that the market continues higher unimpeded. However, looking historically, that period was an anomaly. If you are willing to bet on it happening again, go for it. If not, you may consider adopting measures, or managers, to aid in managing risk.

*  *  *

If you are interested in an “all-access” pass to our research and investment moves, we invite you to further check out The Lyons Share. Given an treacherous emerging market climate, there has never been a better time to reap the benefits of our risk-managed approach. Thanks for reading!

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Portland Cop Told Subordinates To Shoot Random Black People. He’ll Likely Get a $100K Payout.

A Portland police sergeant was fired last year for suggesting to his fellow officers that they should shoot black people for no reason. More than a year later, he’s in line to receive a $100,000 settlement from the city.

Former Sgt. Gregg Lewis’ exact comments were only made public by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office yesterday, nearly two years after Lewis made them. That’s because the city council is currently debating how to deal with a grievance filed by the Portland Police Association following his termination.

During the council’s debate yesterday, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty (D–19) revealed what she claimed were the remarks that got Lewis in trouble. Hardesty later admitted in a statement that “the paraphrased remarks” she remembered were different “from the quotes used in the official report.” Still, Hardesty’s actions prompted Wheeler’s office to release Lewis’ termination notice, reported The Oregonian.

According to the notice, Lewis’ comments, which he admitted to making, came in front of more than a dozen officers and three sergeants as he conducted roll call in February 2017. A fellow officer reported that Lewis was discussing the detoxing of drunk individuals in parking garages. “If you come across a guy in a suit and tie that came downtown and had a little too much to drink,” the officer reported Lewis as saying, “he’s probably not the guy you want to detox straight out of the garage. He will most likely sue you. If it’s a homeless guy, you will probably be safe. I doubt he’s going to sue you.”

At that point in the discussion, one of the cops present brought up a critical reader comment on a newspaper article about the fatal Portland Police shooting several days prior of Quanice Hayes, an unarmed black 17-year-old. “PPB kills black people, but only injures white people,” the comment reportedly read. Lewis allegedly responded: “Well, let’s just go out and kill all the black people.” According to a different officer’s account of what happened, Lewis said: “If they are black, just shoot them.”

Lewis’ comments were investigated by internal affairs and human resources. According to his termination notice, he didn’t deny making them, but insisted he was trying to be humorous. Lewis told an investigator:

There had been these ridiculous statements in the media about the decisions we make when we shoot people. So these conversations had gone on right before roll call in the locker room, there had been conversations about that particular topic. So, as we were just getting finished, I remember saying, and I thought it was kind of humorous, in light of these stupid conversations in the media, so, you know, unless it’s a black guy, then we just shoot them.

Lewis also claimed he has “a habit of sometimes being sarcastic,” though he admitted his comment was “inappropriate.” Regardless, Lewis was fired on January 12, 2018. “Your remarks shocked and left a negative impression on the officers and sergeants who were present,” reads his termination letter, which was signed by Police Chief Danielle Outlaw and Wheeler, who as mayor also serves as police commissioner. “It does not appear you fully understand the impact of your statements and the implication that you were encouraging or condoning mistreatment of a group or class of individuals based on their race.”

But that wasn’t the end of it. The Portland Police Association filed a grievance regarding Lewis’ firing, which the city denied, thus prompting the police union to move toward arbitration, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Under a proposed settlement, Lewis’ firing would be revoked so he could retire, receiving back pay totaling $100,020.53 in the process. However, he would not be able to work for the police department or the city ever again. The city attorney sees this as the best course of action, believing that the city would lose an arbitration fight against the union. In such a scenario, Lewis would be eligible to be re-hired, and he’d probably receive the back pay as well.

It’s a no-win scenario, as several commissioners acknowledged in the council chambers yesterday. “I feel physically ill about supporting this settlement,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, according to KPTV. “The most important thing is to get rid of this person on the police force.”

“None of us are happy with this outcome,” added Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. Wheeler senior adviser Berg Nelson, meanwhile, explained that while “nobody’s happy with this decision,” it “is the only way we can ensure this individual never works for the city ever again.”

This case illustrates the immense power police unions hold in the public sector. When unions defend bad cops who do or say terrible things, which they often do, they have a good chance of winning. A bill proposed in the Oregon Senate would prevent arbitrators from overturning disciplinary actions against police officers as long as the facts of the case are not in question. However, this only applies if the discipline “was made pursuant to discipline guide incorporated into agency’s disciplinary policies,” according to the bill’s summary.

As Portland Cop Watch’s Dan Handelman pointed out in public testimony yesterday, the bill might not even apply to this case. According to the Portland Bureau of Police discipline guide, the maximum punishment an officer can receive for “offensive or discriminatory language” is a two-week suspension without pay.

The city council, meanwhile, will vote on the settlement next Wednesday.

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Howard Schultz Lobs Patriotic Microaggressions After Savage Attack By Liz Warren

Starbucks chairman emeritus and potential 2020 candidate for US president Howard Schultz has engaged in a heated spat with Sen. Elizabeth Warren over wealth. 

After telling NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Tuesday that Warren’s plan for a 2% annual tax on households with a net worth greater than $50 million was “ridiculous” and nothing more than a “good headline,” Warren hit back – tweeting “What’s “ridiculous” is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else.”

Schultz responded – slamming Warren on MSNBC for promoting programs that are too socialist, and then releasing a short video which PJ Media‘s Tyler O’Neil points out is rife with “microaggressions” – those non-inclusive comments which might inadvertently offend someone. 

“Senator Elizabeth Warren said some pretty sharp words about me. She referred to me as a billionaire out of touch with the American people,” Schultz begins, before explaining how he started off with nothing and worked his way up. 

“I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in Canarsie, in federally subsidized housing, the projects. When I was 7 years old my father, who was a laborer, came home and had a serious accident. He was dismissed from his job, we lost our health insurance. I witnessed the fracturing of the American dream.” 

“What we need right now in America is for the country to come together, and for the Democrats and Republicans who have been unwilling to work together, to finally realize that the American people deserve much more than political slogans and tweets,” Schultz added. “What we need is a government that can work for us, leadership that we can trust.”

Schultz ends by promising: “And if I run for president, what I am going to try to do is restore the faith and the promise of the country and the American dream.” 

Did you spot the microaggressions

Sorry Howard, you’re not allowed to mention the American dream anymore. According to a former UC Berkeley economics major and former candidate for California State Assembly, it’s now considered offensive. 

Further, says Chiara, constitutional issues are involved. “Professors essentially have been given a script, with words and phrases that are forbidden,” she says. “They’re not supposed to mention the ‘American Dream,’ or say ‘the most qualified person gets the job,’ because that supposedly ignores latent biases inherent in the American political process and in hiring procedures. –Cal Alumni Association

Whatever you do, don’t point out that Elizabeth Warren’s estimated $8 million net worth, three-story Victorian home in Cambridge, MA and $174,000 salary puts her in the 1% bracket in terms of wealth – a dream for most Americans. 

Schultz has come under heavy fire from the left, as his potential run in 2020 is seen as move which could ensure a 2nd term for Donald Trump. 

Critics from David Axelrod to The View’s Joy Behar to political figures such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have piled in, ripping Schultz for a sense of entitlement in announcing his intentions. 

Really? The coffee guy wants to be president?” HBO host Bill Maher tweeted. “Just because you had one profitable insight — people will overpay for coffee— doesn’t mean you can run the world. Government is a different animal, can we please get a pro in there?” –The Hill

Earlier this week, Schultz was heckled at a New York Barnes & Noble by a man who shouted: “Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire asshole.” 

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, called for a Starbucks boycott if Schultz enters the race, tweeting: “Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting. If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win.”

$3 gift cards?

Perhaps the most hilarious attack on Schultz is his alleged gifting of low-value Starbucks gift cards – some with as little as $3 on them according to reports. 


Others made light of the gift card anecdotes…

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Bill Weld May Run for President as a Republican, Boston Media Speculates

||| Matt WelchEleven days ago, 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Bill Weld told me that “It helps the Libertarian Party to have three or four strong candidates” running for president in 2020, and that “I am very interested….I am going to be involved in 2020.”

Weld, who has spent the past year or so laying the groundwork for a run at the L.P. nomination, has stated repeatedly since November 2016 that he plans to stay in America’s third party. “The Libertarians have a very clear path in Washington, and I intend to participate in that,” he told me on Election Day. “I’m going to stay L.P.” he reiterated one year later.

All of which makes the past week of Boston media coverage that much more eyebrow-raising. On January 23, Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld wrote that Weld “is heading to New Hampshire soon and don’t count him out of the 2020 mix—either as a Libertarian or a Republican.” While Weld didn’t comment, “sources close to him say he’d relish a chance to take on Donald Trump.”

The New York Times on January 26, citing “people who have spoken with him,” reported that Weld “is weighing a challenge to Mr. Trump as a small-government moderate,” and “has discussed either opposing Mr. Trump in the Republican primaries or seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination.”

Then last night WCVB, citing “sources,” reported that Weld “could make an announcement about a possible presidential run as soon as Thursday,” that “he has taken a leave of absence from his law firm,” and that “any possible run would be made as a Republican.”

I contacted Weld last night for comment about the WCVB report, and he emailed “Whatever this is, is not from me.” He also emailed Boston Globe reporter Michael Levenson to say that he’s not leaving his firm, and not announcing anything Thursday: “No, not correct, either item.”

Now Levenson’s out with his own article under the headline, “Weld ponders a presidential campaign, but will it be as a Libertarian or a Republican?” While the former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts “is declining to detail his thinking for now,” Levenson did get some on-the-record quotes from Weld’s Republican friends about why he might go GOP:

“If the goal is defeating Trump, the best option is for him to run as a Republican because primary challenges have historically weakened sitting presidents,” said Rob Gray, Weld’s former press secretary and a longtime Republican strategist. “Primary challenges get more media coverage and have more political juice so it puts an incumbent in the position of fighting a two-front war, against candidates of a different party and against someone in their own party.” […]

“Nobody is going to invite Trump to debate the Libertarian candidate in New Hampshire,” Gray said. “Whereas, it is likely someone is going to invite the Republican primary candidate to debate him in New Hampshire. Trump can avoid it, but there’s a political risk to that.”

Levenson also quoted Tom Rath, “a former New Hampshire attorney general and elder statesman in the party…who has spoken to Weld about a potential campaign”:

“He has to be taken seriously and this can’t just be a whimsical thing, and he knows that….He has to be more than a protest vehicle to gain traction because this vote, to New Hampshire people, is one of their most important political possessions. They don’t give it away in a trivial fashion.”

I emailed Weld today about whether he’d rule out a GOP bid, and will update in this space if/when he responds. Given that he has had eight days to correct the by-now widespread reporting on a possible return to Republican politics, it seems likely that the publicity suits him just fine.

Libertarian Party members on the other hand, not so much.

“I would absolutely be upset if he went back to the Republicans—most, if not all, Libertarians would be,” Massachusetts state Chair Jeff Lyons told the Globe. “He’s definitely made a lot of comments up to a week and a half ago, saying ‘I’m going to be involved with Libertarians in 2020.’ I’ve observed him give that talk many times over the past year and a half, two years now.”

If Weld indeed re-took the GOP plunge, that would likely be a three-strikes-and-you’re-out situation for many Libertarians. As I wrote in May 2016, just before he squeaked into the veep slot on the second ballot (much to the bafflement of the national press), Weld double-crossed the L.P. in 2006 over the New York gubernatorial race (you can watch his response to those charges here). Then in the final days of the 2016 campaign, he infuriated party members with a series of unusual actions—telling “all those in the electorate who remain torn between two so-called major party candidates whom they cannot enthusiastically support,” and particularly “those Republicans who feel that our President should exhibit commonly accepted standards of decency and discipline,” to vote against the “unhinged” Donald Trump; disputing his own party’s press release about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton; and then going on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show to say “I’m here vouching for Mrs. Clinton.”

Then again, the Boston media has gotten a bit too far over its skis about their homegrown Brahmin in the past. In early October 2016, for example, the Globe reported that Weld “said…that he plans to focus exclusively on blasting Donald Trump over the next five weeks, a strategic pivot aimed at denying Trump the White House and giving himself a key role in helping to rebuild the GOP,” and also quoted unnamed Weld aides as criticizing presidential nominee Gary Johnson’s “flubs on national television” and even investigating whether it would be possible to flip the ticket.

Weld disputed those characterizations in real time, saying that he never said “exclusively,” that he’d keep criticizing Clinton (he did, but also vouched for her character), that he wouldn’t be campaigning only in Republican states (true), and that he never looked into a ticket-flip, which was anyway not legally possible. And he has not taken anything like a key role in helping to rebuild the GOP.

For the moment, anyway.

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South Bend Mayor and Possible Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Decries “Endless War”

|||Screenshot via YouTube/CBS NewsPete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is no fan of perpetual war.

Buttigieg, who served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan, announced the formation of an exploratory committee for the upcoming presidential election just last week. Since that time, he has made a number of media appearances to explain his policy beliefs, including a Thursday appearance at CBS News. It was here that he shared his belief that “endless war cannot continue.”

“We’re on an authorization that was passed in 2001. There are people enlisting right now who weren’t alive for that,” he said, responding to a question about President Donald Trump’s desire to pull American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

Buttigieg listed some conditions for leaving Afghanistan, which included conversations with America’s enemies to devise a peace plan and obtain assurances to keep the country from turning into a failed state. Buttigieg finished his thoughts by saying, “Afghanistan’s not going to look like Switzerland and that’s okay.” For Buttigieg, the purpose of American intervention was not to establish a Western democracy, but to make sure events within the country did not harm American lives.

Speaking of both American intervention in the Middle East as well as rumors of an intervention in Venezuela, Buttigieg decried the misuse of military resources. “We don’t send troops somewhere because we don’t like the regime,” he said. “We send troops somewhere because it is the last resort to protect American lives.” Buttigieg opined that foreign policy mistakes made at the beginning of the century were the result of taking “eyes off that standard.”

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