Now that it’s September, we are finally ready to talk about the 2014 elections. (Yes, we know the media have been obsessed with it since — oh, November 7, 2012.) The DailyKos folks are looking at five key states for 2014: Alaska, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, & Michigan. We need to hold the Democratic majority in the Senate and gain in the House — which won’t be easy after 2010 gerrymandering.

We hear a lot about Libertarianism these days, and no wonder. The libertarian wing of Rand Paul and Paul Ryan have overtaken the traditional Republican party. This is not a good thing for the American people:

“It is one thing to oppose intrusive government surveillance or the overreach of federal programs. It is another to call for the evisceration of government itself.”

The history of Libertarianism is one full of shady corporate “think tanks” and “public interest groups” (think ALEC), whose forerunners began sprouting up in the years following the New Deal and World War II. They’ve spent the last 60 years convincing people into thinking allowing corporations to do what they want is in our best interest.

If there is one thing Libertarian/Tea Party members hate, it’s taxes — even for infrastructure and services that benefit the community. (Correction: especially for that!) This news story sounds like a Daily Show joke, but alas it’s not: The KY Tea Party has declared war on small ($1) tax increases to finance public libraries. Make up your own punchline.

So what happened to all the reasonable, non-Libertarian, non-extremist Republicans we used to know? Here’s an essay asserting that Republicanism is no longer a party, but a “faith-based cult” with political aspirations. According to this line of thinking, coming out as more liberal would be like being excommunicated from family and church.

Another thing we’re hearing a lot more about this week are new trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which has been described as “NAFTA on steroids.” If enacted in its current form, it would hold corporate profits above the rights of signatory states (i.e., us!) to enact laws protecting the environment or health of its citizens. Proceed with extreme caution.

Elizabeth Warren agrees. In a speech yesterday to the AFL-CIO, she said:

“For big corporations, trade agreement time is like Christmas morning. They can get special gifts they could never pass through Congress out in public. Because it’s a trade deal, the negotiations are secret and the big corporations can do their work behind closed doors. We’ve seen what happens here at home when our trading partners around the world are allowed to ignore workers rights, wages, and environmental rules. From what I hear, Wall Street, pharmaceuticals, telecom, big polluters, and outsourcers are all salivating at the chance to rig the upcoming trade deals in their favor.

Why are trade deals secret?  I’ve heard people actually say that they have to be secret because if the American people knew what was going on, they would be opposed.  Think about that.  I believe that if people would be opposed to a particular trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not happen.”

And finally – some good news! Teen pregnancies are down, and birth control use is up! Sex ed science and health-based information is your friend! While we’re talking about education, let’s put universal preschool on the list of things Speaker Pelosi will take care of in 2015. Right?