Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trump takes on new adversary

By David Bloviator
Political Editor

BOSTON, Mass. – Donald Trump, apparently made giddy by the spectacle of 25 rich white men willing to contribute to his campaign, today left his Teleprompter behind and made a fresh attack on what he called “bad, bad, bad guys” who ship American jobs abroad and then export the products of their foreign factories back to the U.S.A.

The candidate blasted businessmen who rely on cheap
foreign labor

“I guarantee you on day one of the Trump Administration, I will call these guys up and tell them they are going to bring all these jobs home or they'll be sorry, ” he vowed, noting that the Trump White House would be “full of waterboards.”

The motley assemblage of car dealers, hacks, and miscellaneous wingnuts had already been whipped into a frenzy by local insult comic Howie Carr, who got big laughs with his Indian war whoops, Amos 'n Andy impressions, and his classic Guido-and-Paddy-walk-into-a-bar bit.

Trump promised his audience that anyone who attempts to defy him will face a 45% tariff on all goods exported to the U.S.  “And they know I'll do it because I am really rich and also have a very high I.Q. and a hot Slovenian wife.”

Reaction to the speech was swift and furious.  One target of the speech, who manufactures cheap men's suits, ties, and shirts in low-wage countries like China, Bangladesh, and Mexico, reacted with a blistering tweet: Loser Donald Trump, behind in the polls, now attacks top businessmen who made America great.  Sad! Pathetic!   The Tweet came from the account of one Donald Trump, CEO of Trump Garments International.

Businessman Trump called the GOP standard-bearer
a “loser”
Moments later, the alert putative Republican nominee tweeted back:  Crooked tycoon Donald Trump losing $, facing bankruptcy daily.  Who listens to him?

That tweet apparently sent the supposed billionaire into a frenzy.  Ten minutes after its posting, Trump phoned in his response to Schlox News' midday gabfest Schlox Around the Clock.  He said, “Look, we know what's going on here.  The Republican nominee has no money, no organization, and no chance of beating Hillary Clinton.  And I read in the National Enquirer that he went to an ISIS training camp to discuss how best to undermine the war against ISIS.  I'm just saying, who would vote for that guy?  No one!”

In an unusual bit of journalism essayed at the hands of a soon to be terminated Schlox News anchor, he was pressed to respond to accusations that he exploits low-wage workers overseas instead of employing Americans.  The failed casino, steak, water, vodka, and education entrepreneur was indignant: “These kids who sew my shirts in Bangly Dash love the chance to make real money.  These kids are winners and worth every penny of the thirteen cents an hour I pay them.”

Trump claims children enjoy making his ties.
We reached out to the Trump Campaign for their perspective on the latest dust-up between the candidate and Donald Trump.  Penny Loafer, the campaign's strikingly attractive spokesmodel, said, “Thank you so much for calling me.  My daddy says I don't have to talk to you.  Have a super day!”

Possibly in response to our inquiries, Campaign Director Paul Manafort put out a statement by email stating that “The United States has no stronger ally in the War on Terrorism than [insert name of dictator client here], who is beloved by his people except for a few disgruntled terrorists.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hot flashes on the campaign trail in N.H.

By David Bloviator
Political Editor

HANOVER, N.H. – Perpetual Green Party Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein hit the campaign hustings in New Hampshire looking for a repeat of the 2000 miracle that delivered the Presidency to George W. Bush.
Green Party Presidential nominee Jill Stein banged her
tambourine in New Hampshire this week

The elderly physician and Harvard grad spoke today before an excited throng numbering in the ones outside of the Birkenstock store in this bucolic New England college town.  She said that her years of experience as a Town Meeting Member in Lexington, Mass. gave her a unique perspective into the challenges facing stressed American workers [None whatsoever? – Ed.]

“I believe that American workers are ready for an Administration that stresses the importance of green things and greenitude generally,” said the magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College.  She attacked the Democratic nominee in waiting, Hillary Clinton, as being nothing more than a “tool of big business, big banks, big oil, and all other forms of bigosity.”

She received a warm reception from the crowd made up of what appeared to be her silver-haired contemporaries.  Moonflower Epstein said she drove all the way from her home in Northampton, Mass. in her '67 VW bus to hear what Dr. Stein had to say.  “Jill Stein is really getting me excited.  Is it hot out here or what?  I'm schvitzing my ass off!” she said as she peeled off her caftan.  Behind her the Valley National Bank sign advertised the temperature as 58º.

Buddha Ginsburg, a local carpenter and bong carver who said he was taking a 32-year break between semesters at Hampshire College, also said he was a strong Stein supporter.  “She's the only candidate who is willing to oppose the construction of power lines to bring hydro power from Quebec to New England.”

Asked what was un-green about hydro power from Canada, Ginsburg scowled and replied, “Power lines.  They bring bad vibes.”

Long-lost Stein supporters greeted their candidate and each other
Should her campaign catch on with enough like-minded voters, Dr. Stein could be in a position to replicate the feat of Ralph Nader in 2000, when his campaign pulled 22,000 votes away from Gore, who lost New Hampshire by 7,700.  Nader also won almost 100,000 votes in Florida, a state that Bush “won” by 537, in each case costing Gore the election.

Dr. Stein denied that she could serve as a spoiler in 2016, arguing that no one she knew was even considering voting for Donald Trump.  “And anyway, if Hillary Clinton is so smart, how come she went to Wellesley?  Am I right, people?” she asked.

Based on the results of her campaigning in Hanover, though, it appears that she has her work cut out for her as she seeks support from voters who don't remember Laugh-In.  One Dartmouth student carrying a 30-pack of Bud Lights back to his frat looked at the candidate and asked “Is that Ethan Kaplan's mom?  She was supposed to go home yesterday.  He'll be drinking early today,” the student said, shaking his man-bun and patting his beers.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Too bad they didn't teach this at Eton

“From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. . . .

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose.”

– Publius (James Madison), The Federalist, No. 10

Thursday, June 23, 2016

That Was Entertainment!

The woeful wordplay writes itself. “American Psycho” met a gruesome end. . . .

Broadway is a brutal business, in which real success is enjoyed by a handful of shows, while a vast majority crash and burn. . . . .

“And you don't think that's sexist?”
Four shows flopped this spring at a total loss to their investors. Here, based on interviews with a variety of Broadway figures, is an autopsy report of sorts for “American Psycho,” . . which closed in recent weeks, . . .

Why it failed It was always going to be a risk. The blood-drenched material (at one performance, a misfiring blood pack splattered an audience member) was unsuitable for families and unappealing to tourists, who make up a large constituency of Broadway ticket buyers. But the show proved divisive even for adventurous theatergoers. Some raved about its bold look and daring content, but others suggested it underplayed the satire; many found the explicit and misogynistic violence offensive. . . .

The New York Times, June 23, 2016.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Former local residents love Sunbelt living

Editors' Note:  As longtime Spy readers are aware, in addition to providing comprehensive state, national, and world news, the Spy provides in-depth local coverage of its hometown, Old Sludgebury, Mass. and the greater Sludge River Valley.  It's a typical old Massachusetts town, still recovering from the closure of the asbestos mill in 1935, but the folks there are as friendly as any in the Commonwealth, e.g. not at all.

By Magnolia Tangere
City Editor

As summer begins, we decided to check in with former Old Sludgeburians and find out how they like their new Sunbelt homes.  Not surprisingly, they love it!

As long as the gators eat the neighbor's dog
they're fine, says happy Florida resident

Mrs. Kathleen T. Burke, formerly of Sludge Heights, is now happily ensconced in a cozy trailer park just 30 miles inland from Fort Myers, Fla., famed as the Spring Training home of her beloved Red Sox.  And she's there for good: “ I could never return to Massachusetts, what with those terrible winters.  I haven't lifted a shovel in years, except to stun that gator that tried to eat my beloved Pekinese, Tony C.”

She said that the local wildlife keeps life interesting: “I used to hate the gators but one of them did eat Mrs. Floyd's horrible mutt, so that was all to the good.  And thank God I don't have to pay income taxes to support educating other people's children!”

“Anyway, they say we won't have to worry about the gators much longer because the pythons will eat them,” she chuckled.  As sirens wailed in the background, she said, “That's just another of those flood warnings.  We get them all the time, but I got a great pair of rubber boots at Wal-Mart for $4.99.  I heard on the TV that Florida will soon be under water due to climate change, but that nice Mr. Trump says he won't let that happen.”

No snow in this forecast!
Reached inside his home in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, James X. “Jimbo” Burke, long-time Old Sludgebury fire chief and brother of the city's mayor, James T. “Jimmy” Burke said, “It's another beautiful day in Paradise.  Of course it's 120 in the shade, and there's isn't any shade, so the only poor bastard outside is the illegal immigrant clipping my hedges for $4 an hour.  If he doesn't like it, I can just call up Sheriff Joe and deport his sorry ass.”

Burke said after fighting fires for three of his 25 years in the Fire Department, he was used to heat.  “Anyway, you stay inside until sunset.  By then it's only a hundred and change and you can open your car door without an oven mitt.  Sure beats scraping ice off my car, I can tell you that!  As soon as Jimmy maxes out his pension, he'll be here year-round, instead of only November through April.”

At least you don't need to plow fire, Mrs. Burke noted
Finally, we spoke to Mary E. Burke, formerly of Hollingsworth St. in Old Sludgebury.  Now she lives happily in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, where the thermometer topped out at 112º this afternoon.  “But it's a dry heat, and anyway you're driving around all day on the freeways so you barely notice it.”  She estimated that she spent four to five hours a day in traffic to run her daily errands.  Yesterday she said “I was going to Ralph's for some Metamucil and you wouldn't believe the 101.  But the A/C was on and it was a perfect opportunity to check my Facebook feed!”

She apologized for having to cut our conversation short: “The fire department says we have to leave because the wildfires are heading in our direction.  It happens all the time out here, but at least I don't need a snow blower!  No more New England winters for me!”

Saturday, June 18, 2016


The following public service announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is brought to you as a huge charitable contribution from The Massachusetts Spy

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Justice, 5% off

By Scott V. Sandford
Legal Correspondent

Among the usual junk credit-card and blind elk charity solicitations, the mail brought what looked like great news, along the lines of winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.  We were informed by a very impressive postcard that we had won a spot in a class that had settled a lawsuit against Whirlpool.

What's wrong with our washing machine?
Our prize?  Five percent off purchase of a new Whirlpool washer.  Five percent?  Truly our lucky day, although appliances are perennially on deal at retailers as obscure as Sears, Home Depot, or Best Buy.  To tell you the truth, the more we thought about it, the more we thought we were getting nothing at all.

Fortunately, the ambulance chasers who pursued the class action lawsuit against Whirlpool don't have to settle for worthless coupons.  They are asking for $7,450,000 in fees plus another $7,300,000 in expenses.  Even if the court cuts that award in half, that's still a lot of 5% coupons.

It sounded to us like a scam: plaintiffs lawyers throw a complaint out there, fool around with discovery, and then settle for a big wad of cash for themselves and nothing for their clients.  The defendants, sick of having to sit for depositions, are willing to pay off the lawyers to go away.  The court, eager to clear its calendar, will be happy to approve any settlement that makes the whole case disappear.

The suit claimed that certain washers developed odor problems, supposedly due to a design defect.  We definitely smell something, but it's not coming from our washing machine.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Trumpo's winning strategy: take advice from losers

By Davud Bloviator
Political Editor

According to today's Washington Post, Republican hacks and coat-holders are overjoyed because the tangerine-faced clown in a fright wig is finally taking sage advice that is sure to get him back to the winning side:

This experienced and effective communicator?

According to the New York Daily News, Governor Christie's communication skills have been so effective that a full 29% of his constituents approve of the job he is doing, now that he has deigned to return to Jersey.  Only 18% thought that Christie should be the Republican VP nominee.

With communication skills like that, Hillary Clinton can once again start measuring the Oval Office for drapes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

SPONSORED CONTENT - You won't believe you're on the Vineyard!

The Massachusetts Spy is made possible by a generous grant from the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribal Corporation-Las Vegas Sands Joint Venture L.P. (Cayman)

But classy!

Monday, June 6, 2016

"You don't know what you're talking about, thanks to me!"

This article has been updated to reflect fresh outrages.

By Larry Lowell
State House Bureau Chief

BOSTON, Mass. – Those who feed at the state trough are rarely known for a well-developed sense of shame, but even by their standards, you have to admire the great clanging set of brass balls on resigning MBTA Pension Fund President for Life Michael Mulhern.

Mulhern, the Globe will be happy to recall for you, has been fighting the efforts of the public to learn a few basic details about the crony-ridden and poor-performing pension fund that is supposed to pay for the lush pensions owed to T employees who can retire in their forties on full benefits.  In defiance of the Governor and indeed the MBTA's own CEO, Mulhern, quietly backed by legislative and union hacks, has claimed that the goings-on at the T pension are none of the public's business, except for the part about picking up the tab, which is the public's business.

Secretive T pension supremo Michael Mulhern: "Audit this!"
Today in his resignation statement he took the opportunity to condemn the nerve of those who challenged his absolute rule over billions of poorly-invested dollars.  He decried the pain suffered by his staff, who “patiently and professionally endured unprecedented internal scrutiny and ill-informed public criticism.”


The only reason any criticism was ill-informed was because Mulhern and his fellow wardheelers were covering up the financial statements and investment reports that would fully answer the public's key question about the T pension fund, which was what the f*** was going on.

Mulhern said he was resigning to “pursue other opportunities.”  Our guess is that he'll seize the opportunity to claim a tax-free disability pension on the grounds of all the mental anguish he endured as a result of that “ill-informed” criticism.

Update, June 7:  Today's Globe reports that in fact Mulhern is already collecting a $149,302 annual pension for his earlier, uh, service to the MBTA, in addition to the $282,000 he trousered for running the pension plan into the ground.  No word yet on how much bigger his pension check will be when he leaves his current sinecure. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Hot Air Force discovers war crimes

By Robert Jackson
International Law Correspondent

WHOOP-WHOOP-WHOOP!  Assuming you remembered to check the batteries for Shavuot, that siren you hear is your irony alarm shrieking over today's editorial in The Washington Post, where Editorial Page Editor, Hot Air Force Generalissimo Freddie Hiatt '76, today issued a stirring condemnation of – wait for it, war crimes!

Before we get to the war crimes he's inveighing against, let's remind new Spy readers of our long-time coverage of the 101.1st Hot Air Force, that steadfast Washington band of pundits, neocons, academics, and radio talk show hosts who bravely sent other people's children to fight the war in Iraq, whilst they stayed behind in their D.C. bunkers to provide the intellectual firepower so critical to the, um, victory they achieved.

No armchair warrior beat the tom-toms harder than Generalissimo Freddie, who, among others who supposedly knew better, was crucial to lending an air of intellectual legitimacy to what was nothing more than a ridiculous neocon wet dream.  Not only did we squander thousands of lives and trillions of dollars on a fantasy, but along the way, thanks to evil civilian and inept military leadership, we committed the various deeds that Freddie is so upset about when they are perpetrated by a black man in Chad.

What did evil war criminal Hissàne Habré do that so justified his conviction on war crimes charges, according to the Generalissimo?  Well, he's responsible for “unspeakable brutalities during his reign from 1982 to 1990, including torture, arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances of political opponents.”

Wow, that sounds pretty bad.  That's why we're sure Freddie is calling for the prosecution of among others George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeld for torture, arbitrary detentions, and indeed the deaths of detainees at Bagram and Abu Ghraib, right?

It won't be necessary here to exhume the entire record of vile acts committed by the Bush Administration, although tortures such as waterboarding and anal rape by turkey baster ought to get each of them 20 years in chokey in The Hague.  Then there was the arbitrary detention, usually accompanied by torture, of poor sods who had been sold to U.S. troops or agents by local kidnappers.  They tried to drop American citizens down the well of indefinite solitary confinement without trial too, but that was a bridge too far even for Bush's Supreme Court.  Those interested in the sordid details can consult Jane Mayer's conclusive work, The Dark Side.  Start on page 242 and keep going until you retch.

So turn off the alarm and wait for the stirring condemnation of war crimes committed by Gen. Hiatt's Iraq war buddies.  Let us know when you see it.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

When we were dicks

By Luke Reschuss
Obituary Editor

For all of the encomia heaped on the late Muhammad Ali today, you would think that his greatness had always been clear to the meanest intelligence.  As some of the death notices mentioned more or less in passing, Ali was not always regarded as the epitome of the human spirit.  In fact, when America was great, Ali was regarded by many as a fool, a traitor, a bigot, and just plain uppity. Many white people, that is.

The sportswriters, in those days 100% white men, couldn't stand, or understand, the man they preferred to call Cassius Clay long after he changed his name, as he had every right to do.  Dick Young of the New York Daily News, in the era of white greatness a press colossus that sold over 2,000,000 copies a day, constantly attacked Ali as a racist and a coward.

Even the genuinely talented Red Smith, by then a sports columnist for The New York Times, regarded Ali's principled opposition to serving in Vietnam thusly:
“Squealing over the possibility that the military may call him up, Cassius makes as sorry a spectacle as those unwashed punks who picket and demonstrate against the war. Yet in this country they are free to speak their alleged minds, and so is he.”
Sorry spectacle indeed.

And the obloquy did not stop at the sports page.  Tom Wicker, the Times columnist who today is remembered if at all as a liberal lion had a few choice thoughts on Ali's refusal to be drafted to fight in an immoral and unnecessary war:
 [H]e is taking the ultimate position of civil disobedience; he is refusing to obey the law of the majority on grounds of his personal beliefs. . . . What would happen of all young men of draft age took the same position?
What, indeed, would happen if only, say, 100,000 young men flatly refused to serve in the armed forces, regardless of their legal position . . . .[I]f the Johnson Administration had to prosecute 100,000 Americans in order to maintain its authority, its real power to pursue the Vietnamese war or any other policy would be crippled if not destroyed.  (May 2, 1967)
That was the idea.

By contrast, young men who were able to escape military service by virtue of their father's fortune in Queens real estate and painful bunions were not a threat to the Government of the United States.  For all of Wicker's hyperventilating, based as it was on the incorrect assumption that Ali's position was legally unsupportable, in fact when Ali's case reached the Supreme Court, he was found eligible for deferment as a Muslim minister.

But it was this kind of thinking, endlessly amplified by old angry white men, that led the State of New York to strip Ali of his right to earn a living in his chosen profession.  As Robert Lipsyte (who did not join in the general hysteria) reported in the Times on May 10, 1967:
Edwin B. Dooley, the chairman of the State Athletic Commission . . .justif[ied] his decision to suspend Clay's boxing license “because he wouldn't answer the call of his country.” . . .
The commissioner . . . held that a license was a “privilege” and could be suspended or revoked . . . when a licensee had been judged “guilty of an act detrimental to the interests of boxing  . . . or to the public interest, convenience or necessity.” . . .
Then [Dooley] acknowledged that “we probably will have to reverse ourselves if Clay is not convicted.”
Mighty white of him.

But why harp on the obstacles that Muhammad Ali had to overcome to reach the pinnacle of his profession and his place in the pantheon of American heroes?  Instead let's celebrate his life and thank whoever you believe is the source of blessings that we no longer live in a country in which angry ignorant white men desperately try to hold on to their unearned power and privilege by spewing insults, bigotry, and hatred.  And that's why America is great.  Not great again.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Don't worry, your state has been a national embarrassment for years

OPELIKA, Ala. — The excitement began outside the courtroom here on Wednesday morning when Gov. Robert Bentley arrived to testify at the trial of the speaker of the state House of Representatives. . . . .
During the governor’s testimony, lawyers asked him to recount meetings with Mr. Hubbard that focused on certain economic development projects, initiatives that were supported by a company that had hired the speaker as a consultant.

“Did you understand you were meeting with him in his capacity as speaker of the House?” a prosecutor, John Gibbs, asked.

“I did,” Mr. Bentley replied. “He is the speaker of the House.”

. . . .

Mr. Bentley’s appearance was part of a gripping day of testimony here in east Alabama, where jurors began to hear evidence last week in the case against Mr. Hubbard, a Republican who many people believe is the most powerful man in the state.

But in a sweltering courtroom, prosecutors called witnesses who portrayed Mr. Hubbard as a man whose public influence masked his increasing desperation about his personal finances.

In emails that were displayed in court, for instance, the speaker beseeched William Brooke, then a senior figure in the Business Council of Alabama, an interest group, to help him find work.

Mr. Hubbard’s pleas were not immediately successful, in part, Mr. Brooke testified, because companies were often unenthusiastic about hiring a sitting speaker of the House who could face complex questions about conflicts of interest.

“Can we find a solution that would leave him independent yet provide him some income?” Mr. Brooke said, explaining the mind-sets of some executives. “And there were no solutions that surfaced.”

Such reluctance, the emails showed, deepened the frustrations of Mr. Hubbard, who lamented that companies hesitated to hire him, even though he had helped strengthen Alabama’s reputation as a business-friendly state. Eventually, Mr. Brooke and others agreed to invest in Mr. Hubbard’s struggling printing company.
 . . . .

Mr. Hubbard faces 20 years in prison on each of the 23 counts against him. Testimony will continue Thursday.

But in many respects, the most sensational component of the trial may have passed by 9:25 a.m. on Wednesday, when Mr. Bentley’s sport utility vehicle began to pull away from a trial that has taken center stage among Alabama’s striking medley of political scandals, including one about the governor’s relationship with a top aide.

Many people here had wondered whether that relationship, which has spurred federal and state inquiries as well as calls for Mr. Bentley’s impeachment, would become a subject of testimony. It did not, but it was difficult to escape the matter: Spencer Collier, who first publicly accused the governor of misconduct, was sitting in the courtroom’s gallery. And for many people, it was difficult to ignore the spectacle of a sitting governor testifying at a sitting House speaker’s trial. “It’s amazing,” said Mr. Collier, whom the governor fired as Alabama’s law enforcement secretary, “and I’m embarrassed for the state.”

The New York Times, June 3, 2016

Update, June 11:  Of course, the crooked grifter was convicted.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Who'll Drink to That?

When we heard that former Massachusetts Governor William “Happy Hour” Weld had been defrosted and returned to political life as the Vice-Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, we had only one thought:


Yup, it was time to unscrew a new bottle of S.S. Pierce scotch and pour ourselves (and Bill) triples to celebrate the return of the crowd-pleasing Brahmin.  We hadn't heard much from him since he dumped his first wife and Cambridge mansion and ankled to Fun City.  His absence seemed to make many hearts grow fonder, including Charlie Pierce's.

The Libertarian Party ticket hits the bar [Surely,
 the campaign trail? – Ed.]

But we woke the following morning and after a nip of the hair of the dog that bit us, we started to wonder what Weldo was getting himself into.  Topping his ticket is one Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, who holds fairly strong libertarian views (as might be expected) on issues such as taxing the rich and aiding the poor.  As you might imagine, he takes a dim view of both.

In 2012, he proposed cutting all Federal spending by 43%, including Medicare and Medicaid.  He's retreated from that and now only proposes cutting health care for the elderly and poor by 20%.  What happens to the unfortunate who die because they didn't get the medical treatment they couldn't afford?  Who knows?  Who cares?  Have another Chivas rocks, and soon you'll forget what you were worried about.

At the same time Johnson is afflicting the afflicted, he's eager to comfort the comfortable by repealing the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax, or in other words, giving huge tax cuts to the rich and imposing on the poor and middle class a 30+% sales tax on everything consumed, including food.

As for trying to keep assault weapons and other deadly arms out of the hands of the deranged, the Libertarian Party and its standard bearer favor abolishing all controls on arms, including presumably the right to own and use machine guns, bazookas, portable ground-to-air missiles, and plutonium weapons.  Charlie Pierce's hero had to swallow hard and walk away from his previous position in favor of gun safety laws.  Above all, libertarians treasure freedom, including the freedom of kindergartners to be massacred beside their teachers by a deranged gunman with an assault rifle.

But don't say that Ten for the Tonsils Weld has lost his backbone.  When asked where he disagreed with the Libertarian Party platform, the Weldster replied that he preferred a flat tax (which also gives huge tax cuts to the plutocracy) to no income tax.  That might be because an across-the-board consumption tax would raise the price of Weld's favorite amber fluids by that same 30%.  At those prices, a Harvard man could die of thirst.  Unlike dying for lack of health care or in an elementary-school massacre, such a fate would be unthinkable.