Dave Brat Part Deux

In three days, the seventh district in Virginia will elect one of the most disturbing candidates in recent history.  The self-styled economist Dave Brat  has an elect web site that paints a portrait of an individual only loosely linked to reality.

As most Republicans, Dave is a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms.  His rationale is that this right derives from God.  Really! Does Dave speak to God?  A religiously connected group in the 21st century that links firearms to God is ISIS.  It is unbelievable that a far-right GOP member and a terror group would find a fundamental belief in common.

Brat is a big supporter of the Keystone Pipeline to energy independence.  This is a straw man.  The pipeline transports oil produced by Canadian tar sands to be exported to China.  This means of manufacture will make the most pollution of any known method, leading to a significant rise in pollution.  I guess Dave forgot to read the chapter on negative externalities in his Economics 101 text.

Dave wants energy independence.  I guess in the past few weeks he has been too busy talking to God to look at the Chicago Board of Trade market in crude oil. At a time of 3 1/2% growth in GDP,  political unrest in two large oil-producing regions, Russia and the Middle East, the price of crude has dropped by nearly 20% in the past several months.  America’s energy Renaissance in here.  In the face of all that so-called “excessive regulation,” that Brat always screams about,  the United States will be almost energy-independent in the next several years.  If Brat would do a little fundamental analysis, he would support this progress by lifting the ban on energy exports, and supporting a tariff on crude imports from a nation like Saudi Arabia to make sure that American production remains competitive.  The proceeds for this tariff could be used to reduce the deficit and the national debt, build infrastructure, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit.

There are few issues that the Chamber of Commerce and Paul Krugman  do agree on, but immigration reform has broad support across the political spectrum.  As an economist, Dave should know that one of the reasons often given for the stagnation of the Japanese economy is an aging population and a government policy that forbids all immigration.

Like the Japanese, Dave is against immigration.  His position resembles some of the lowest points in American history that brought forth the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 19th century, subjected Irish immigrants to intense discrimination, and formed the “American Firsters” movement in the 1930’s and 1940’s, who pressed the U.S. Government not to admit the Jews on the S.S. Saint Louis.

Les Schreiber

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23 responses to “Dave Brat Part Deux”

  1. I think the word “libertarian” has been bastardized in large part by folks from the conservative realm.

    For instance, most real libertarians do not believe the govt should be forcing people to sell their land yet that’s exactly what the Keystone Pipeline is really all about… Any company in the US – including companies from foreign countries is free to make willing-seller/willing-buyer arrangements with property owners but what the Keystone folks want is the US govt to force people to sell to that company .. and the whole idea of the pipeline is bogus to the bone because there are dozens if not hundred of pipelines already in existence and hundreds of existing right-of-ways that additional or bigger pipes could be put on but Keystone wants their own pipeline so they don’t have to pay another company to transport it – they want the US to force property owners to sell so they can build their own pipeline.

    so – we’re into hypocrite territory here.. and I predict you’ll see more of it because Brat is not a real libertarian – he ‘s a conservative ideologue masquerading as a libertarian.

    but let me put in a good word for a conservative/libertarian who actually has some principles…

    here’s the verbatim transcript with Candy Crowley:

    ” PAUL: And when I went to Ferguson,I sensed that there’s an undercurrent of unease in Ferguson, but also in a lot of our big…

    CROWLEY: Mistrust of police and the judicial system.

    PAUL: Yes, yes, and really throughout the United States. This isn’t just Ferguson.

    The war on drugs has had a disproportionate impact on African- Americans and Hispanics. White kids are using drugs also, but they’re not going to jail. Black kids, brown kids are populating our jails. It’s destroying our families. They sense it. And that’s why there’s this unease between police and the African-American community.

    It’s also not a very integrated police force. I don’t have all the answers or know exactly why not, but I did want to hear from them. And I’m a big proponent of saying that the war on drugs needs to be changed dramatically and we need to quit saying that the answer is to put people in jail for a decade or two and throw away the key, and that’s the end of their life.

    CROWLEY: Right.

    But the Ferguson case was about the killing of a young black man at the hands of a white cop. The details differ between the two sides. You have seen the rage that is in Ferguson as a result of what they say was bad treatment by police, a justice system that doesn’t work.

    In this specific case, what would a no bill — what if the grand jury doesn’t indict this police officer? What does that mean for Ferguson?

    PAUL: I have tried not to weigh in on the specifics of the case, because I don’t know the police officer, and it’s all secret and it’s grand jury. And I don’t want to be the federal guy that comes in and says, oh, I know what’s always right for a community.

    But I do want to be the one who says that, let’s channel this into — the anger or the upset or the unease, let’s channel it into something positive. And so what I suggested when I was in Ferguson was, I suggested I want more people to vote. You want more people to vote.

    I will help you get more people to vote. And the biggest thing impeding voting in our country — we have talked about voter I.D. and all that — that’s not the problem in our country. The problem is people who have had felony convictions are prevented from voting.

    CROWLEY: Right.

    PAUL: And I have several pieces of legislation to try to allow people to vote. And I think if they channel their energy into registering to vote, Ferguson is over 60 percent African-American.

    If they would register people to vote, they can have a bigger voice in their community and a constructive voice in the community.

    CROWLEY: Absolutely. And people have told them that, but we’re — we’re talking about a community that feels that a young man was “murdered” — and I put that in quotes, but that’s the feeling there — that he was murdered by a white police officer, and if a — if there’s no bill, if there’s no indictment of this police officer, does it not undermine what is seen by the minority community as justice, and would you be able to sell that as justice?

    PAUL: Right.

    I think that is a very difficult question and hard for someone outside — I’m not in the grand jury room. I don’t hear all the evidence. It’s hard for me. And I don’t want to malign the police or say that the police were OK. I want to be able to say that I want to try fix the overall unease in our country.

    CROWLEY: Long-term.

    PAUL: Yes, and overall criminal justice.

    I have six different bills to try to give people back the right to vote, to try to let you expunge your record, to try to treat this more as a health problem and less as an incarceration problem. This is an indirect way of addressing the unease in Ferguson. But I don’t have a specific answer where I can make everything right in Ferguson. ”

    Mr. Paul shows he knows something about how blacks feel in this country – and he knows that they have been treated disproportionately by our criminal justice system and that it leads to broken families and poverty…

    it’ll be interesting to see if Mr. Brat associates himself with Mr. Paul on these kinds of issues – or not.

    we’ll see but my sense is he’s your basic clueless guy who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. He has such opportunity give the blank slate – so we’ll see the measure of the man…

  2. Under his mild-mannered exterior, Les is a raging, Incredible Hulk of liberal-progressive id. This post shows it. For example:

    “The [Keystone] pipeline transports oil produced by Canadian tar sands to be exported to China. This means of manufacture will make the most pollution of any known method, leading to a significant rise in pollution. I guess Dave forgot to read the chapter on negative externalities in his Economics 101 text.”

    China’s going to buy oil one place or another, if not Canada than someone else. By building the Keystone pipeline, we make sure that the oil is extracted from Canada and refined in the United States, thus boosting the North American economy, as opposed to Russia, Iraq, Africa or some other location where the oil will support some dictator’s economy — with no net gain to the environment.

    I guess Les forgot to read the chapter on fungibility in his Economics 101 text.

    “Like the Japanese, Dave is against immigration. His position resembles some of the lowest points in American history…”

    No, Les, Dave is not against immigration. He’s against illegal immigration. That is a distinction that liberals and progs routinely obscure, which really makes me wonder, do liberals and progs really have any respect at all for the rule of law, or whether it’s all about raw power.

    1. libertarian econ 101 says you negotiate with property owners instead of using the govt to force them to sell.

      in terms of “illegal” immigration – a lot depends on your definition.

      Do you think that anyone in this country no matter how long, even if they were born here should be deported – like many of Brat’s fellow conservatives believe?

      the “rule of law” seeks to provide a LEGAL path for people already here to stay here, especially those born here.

      So you are opposed to the rule of law changing to deal with realities? I suppose you’d also be opposed to changing other laws on that same basis?

      The problem with Conservatives is they don’t want to change some laws but they want to change others but they pretend that “rule of law” is what they believe it should be in their minds…

      Conservatives have no answers for the realities. They’re stuck with ideology and cannot even agree among themselves how to actually deal with immigration.

      their “solution” is to gridlock what they themselves cannot even agree on.. that’s their answer…

      when you take their side – that’s essentially what you are defining “rule of law” to be –

      What exactly is Brat’s specific stand? this is the problem with Conservatives these days. They don’t have one… but they oppose others.

      we have a big problem with Conservatives these days – they themselves are split into hard-edged factions that refuse to compromise even among themselves.

      I call that – unfit to govern. At some point – you have to make choices but the current crop of Conservatives for the most part – like Brat – play this fan dance game with their positions… They run on what they oppose – not what they themselves stand for.

      you cannot govern that way and we already see the results of it.

      1. “Do you think that anyone in this country no matter how long, even if they were born here should be deported – like many of Brat’s fellow conservatives believe?”

        Gee, Larry, who’s running for office? Dave Brat or “Brat’s fellow conservatives”?

        You’re going to pillory Brat on the basis of what you say other conservatives say?

        What if I blasted Sen. Warner because “fellow liberals” advocate open borders? Would that be a reasonable thing to do?

        1. re: immigration and Conservatives and Libertarians… Warner and open borders.

          No “liberal” that I know advocates “open borders”.

          “open borders” are what Conservatives characterize as anything less than deporting everyone.

          Tell me, for instance, what is the Conservative proposal for immigration that they’ll vote for… what is it?

          Then tell me what a principled Libertarian would advocate and what Mr. Brat advocates relative to that or to “conservatives”.

          I think I could say that Warner as well as many others like him could accept a compromise… and actually want to find a compromise. What do the Conservatives want?

  3. One more thing. Les, I’m so glad to see you boasting about America’s approaching energy independence. I presume, then, that you’re a big fan of fracking — in contrast to many of your ideological peers. Are you prepared to admit that that the fracking revolution represents a triumph of the free marketplace? Or would you join those, like New York, who would shut it down for its alleged environmental sins?

  4. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    Am I a big fan of fracking.Not really, but its better than keeping the economy at risk from the Whack Jobs in Saudi and Iran.
    Les Schreiber

    1. re: refinery jobs…

      once again the conservative narrative gets wrapped around their own narrative axle.

      If we do not have excess refinery capacity – then guess what is going to happen?

      more than that – why does Canada not refine that oil itself and get those jobs and export gasoline via pipeline – like we do from Houston to Virginia?

      the justification for using eminent domain for a pipeline is that it will serve the public – provide more product for a lower price.

      what’s the justification for using eminent domain to build a pipeline that won’t serve the public but instead a private company making money selling it overseas?

      it’s the same argument with natural gas pipelines for fracking… is the justification for the pipeline to better serve Americans with competitively-priced gas or to export it to the highest world bidder – and how does that justify forcing property owners to sell – if it is not serving Americans but instead a company?

      What is the principled Libertarian view of this vs a pro-business GOP view?

  5. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    I forgot to add that the chemical composition of fuels obtained from tracking and tar sands is not the same as West Texas Intermediate and the light sweet crude that comes from the middle east. This is one reason there have been several explosions on train lines carrying oil from the tracking areas. So in reality fungibility doesn’t really apply.

    1. Which is worse? Trains carrying oil and blowing up… or building the Keystone Pipeline, which will pose about 1/100th the safety risk?

  6. but PLEASE – do tell me what the philosophy of conservatives and libertarians are with respect to the use of eminent domain for – private pipelines.

    How do you justify the use of the Govt in taking property for the benefit of private companies?

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      Pipelines have generally had the right of eminent domain as they tend to serve a public utility purpose by transporting commodities. There are cases that hold a cemetery has the right of eminent domain in some states. Usually, private entities with access to condemnation authority are subject to some regulation by the state. Railroads, power lines, pipelines are good examples. Larry, this stems from English common law and is not connected with any political party or philosophy. Businesses charged with the public interest have always had access to eminent domain to one extent or another.

      The Virginia constitutional amendment restricted the use of eminent domain for non-public purposes such as for redevelopment or tax generation. Government has always had the right to condemn for roads, schools, parks, etc., as well as decrepit or dangerous structures.

      1. re: ” serve a public utility purpose by transporting commodities”

        TMT – sometimes I’m not too sure about you guy.

        transporting commodities for WHO?

        who benefits from the transport of commodities if those commodities are not going to benefit Americans – American property owners?

        1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          Larry, the public purchases commodities, either directly or as a part of other products. Let’s go back to the 19th Century. Railroads transported crops (commodities) and were given the right to eminent domain. They likely delivered the goods, not to individuals, but to food processing companies – e.g., General Mills or Pillsbury. Some of the grains went to brewers. Eventually, the railroads were regulated by the ICC and some state railroad or utility commissions. Just because an individual consumer did not buy the commodities directly from the producer/shipper, railroads were not prohibited from using eminent domain.

          Grain elevators were regulated by states. And I’ll bet you that there were condemnations to get RoW to build a spur line between the railroad and the grain elevators. The Virginia Supreme Court stated back in 1913 “In the past these works [public works], designated as ‘works of internal improvement,’ were sometimes constructed and operated by the state, but generally by corporations composed of private individuals, which, because of the public character of their works, always enjoyed the power of eminent domain, owed duties to the public and were subject to state regulation.” Shenandoah Lime Co v. Governor, 80 S.E. 753, 755 (Va. 1913).

          1. TMT -the issue is govt using eminent domain to benefit the people who are subject to eminent domain.

            the rails were not given eminent domain to transport goods.

            they were given the land outright to build rail. There was no eminent domain as the US owned the land outright after having taken it from the native americans.

            grain elevators were built beside the rails, no the other way around.

            read up on the history TMT – virtually all of the railroad rights-of-way were given to them – in exchange for building rail.


            but today – if you are going to build a pipeline – what gives you the right – as a builder of a pipeline to use eminent domain?

            what is the justification?

            is it because you’re going to transport gas or oil no matter where you sell it even if overseas?

            you would grant a private company that plans to sell it’s product overseas the right to take land from Americans to do that? How does that benefit Americans?

          2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

            Larry, here is an 1888 Virginia Supreme Court case involving the condemnation of land for railroad RoW. Norfolk & W. R. Co v. Stephens, 7 S.E. 251 (Va. 1888). If the RR had all the land given to it, why would it have filed a lawsuit in court to condemn land for RoW upon which it would run its transportation business?

            Doing a quick and dirty search, the earliest case I found was Raleigh Gaston R.R. Co. v. Davis, 19 N.C. 451 (N.C. 1837). The court reporter summarized one of the holdings of the case as “A railroad company is a private corporation, its outlays and emoluments being private property; but the road constructed by them will be a public highway, and consequently they may, upon paying a fair compensation therefor, take private property, under the sanction of the legislature, for the use of the company, as being for a public use.”

            Some states, e.g., Texas, prohibit the use of eminent domain for a private pipeline, i.e., one that carries only the owner’s commodities, but permits eminent domain for common carrier pipelines. I found a South Dakota case that permitted a water company to carry water it “owned” to sell to water companies and municipal water authorities. This year, the 3rd Circuit (federal) reversed a trial judge that held a private gas company did not have the right to condemn land outside its existing RoW to rebuild the line. I found a 1977 Oklahoma case upholding a pipeline company’s right to condemn land to build a pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico where gas could be imported or exported.

            It appear that both Congress and various state legislatures have decided pipelines, sometimes limited to common carriers, but not always, have the right to eminent domain. What does this have to do with the 2014 election?

          3. TMT – did you read the Pacific Rail wiki entry? Yes.. back in the east trains – and canals – could use eminent domain – because they’re serving the public in the US… not a foreign country.

            Are you familiar with what Common Carrier means?

            it basically means the public is served – but the American public not foreign public.

            ” A common carrier offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body. The regulatory body has usually been granted “ministerial authority” by the legislation that created it. The regulatory body may create, interpret, and enforce its regulations upon the common carrier (subject to judicial review) with independence and finality, as long as it acts within the bounds of the enabling legislation.

            A common carrier is distinguished from a contract carrier (also called a public carrier in UK English),[2] which is a carrier that transports goods for only a certain number of clients and that can refuse to transport goods for anyone else, and from a private carrier.”

          4. TMT – here’s how it works it Texas:

            ” To get eminent domain to route a pipeline across private land in Texas, all a company has to do is check a box on a two-page form to the Railroad Commission of Texas (which regulates drilling and pipelines in the state).

            By checking that box, the pipeline company says it is a “common carrier,” i.e. a pipeline that will be available at market rates for other companies to use, and therefore in the public interest.”

            The use of eminent domain is tied to common carrier and common carrier means that a pipeline cannot be private for private purposes.

            Like a bus or a train – a common carrier must offer service at market prices to the public. A common carrier pipeline cannot refuse to serve others who want to transport commodity.

            but my initial question was to ask – how a true Libertarian would feel about using eminent domain for a private purpose – something a real Libertarian would, in theory, oppose the use of it for private gain.

          5. TooManyTaxes Avatar

            Larry, railroads in the west still exercise the power of eminent domain. How about Steele v. Missouri Pacific R. Co., 659 P.2d 217 (Kan. 1983)? Or BURLINGTON NORTHERN & SANTA FE v. Chaulk, 631 N.W.2d 131 (Neb. 2001)?

            Eminent domain is as old as England. The particulars are governed in statutes, both federal and state. Some laws limit the ability of a carrier or utility to exercise eminent domain by requiring it to serve the public; others don’t. Washington has no income tax, but has a sales tax. Oregon has an income tax, but no general sales tax. States get to do some things their own way.

            I would tend to agree with you that it makes more sense to limit eminent domain to common carrier pipelines, but some legislatures apparently disagree. I might feel differently if someone tried to condemn a section of my back yard for a pipeline.

  7. Mr. Bacon: Please watch the Trammell-Brat debate before you vote tomorrow. Mr. Brat answered virtually every question, even questions about foreign policy and the late-breaking Ebola concern, with “repeal ObamaCare.” I personally don’t think ObamaCare is the answer for American health BUT I’m sure that it’s not the answer for every question, as Mr. Brat sounded like a broken record. He wants us to send “an economist to congress” but I submit we need someone who has the ability to think, whether or not, he’s an economist. Mr. Brat, as the original author noted, is unwilling to think that anyone else has a legitimate idea and is absolutely sure that only Mr. Brat is right. Since that’s the prime issue with our governance today, I submit we should send Mr. Trammell, who recognizes nuance and complexity, to congress. All we don’t need is another non-thinking ideologue.

  8. billsblots Avatar

    wow, this is one of the craziest and unsupported rants I’ve ever read on BR, hurtling this very site over the cliff of the guarded facade of journalism into the stinking miasma of mindless blogging below. Way, way below.

  9. This year Mr. Brat will be elected because he is a Republican and not Eric Cantor. Good riddance to Cantor. Brat had to say all sorts of things to get the Republican nod but he will probably be just another vapid Republican when he gets there hoping to stay in his safe Republican seat.

  10. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Is Bacon’s Rebellion sinking to new depths? You notice that I did not comment on this (although I agree with Les).

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