Steve G.

Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

LEE WRIGHTS FOR PRESIDENT 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE

In Activism, Austrian Economics, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Drug War, Iran, Iraq War, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Middle East, Minorities, Music, Nanny State, Police Brutality, Presidential Candidates, War on December 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

For more information:
Brian Irving, press secretary
Phone: 919.538.4548
E-mail: press@libertypoint.org

Wrights pledges a ‘wise and frugal’ principled campaign
BURNET, Texas (Dec. 4) – In the four months since R. Lee Wrights began exploring the idea of seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination he has become even more convinced how critical it is for the Libertarian Party to be the anti-war party in 2012.

“The Democrats have not just completely failed to stop the ever expanding cycle of war, they continue to enlarge the cycle,” he said. “When the Republicans take control of the U.S. House, there will be no one left to speak for peace, no one but Libertarians,” Wrights said.

“When I announced formation of an exploratory committee on July 4, I said the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.” Wrights said. “Since then many Libertarians have told me they agree, and some have signed on to the campaign to help make it so.”

Thomas Hill, of Charlotte, N.C. has known Wrights for 10 years. He agreed to chair the exploratory committee because he said Wrights has proven to be a consistent and principled libertarian.

“He has never been afraid or ashamed of the axiom of non-aggression,” Hill said. “A true patriot through and through, Lee loves our great country and sincerely wishes to not only restore our once great Republic but to guarantee all men and women are truly free to live their lives and pursue their peaceful and honest dreams.”
“You cannot lead a nation into peace and prosperity while constantly initiating aggression against other nations,” said Norman Horn, who signed on as webmaster. “War is the ultimate evil and must be vigorously opposed by all true libertarians.”

Other members of the committee include: Brian Irving, press secretary; Robert Butler, treasurer; Julie Fox, assistant treasurer; Sean Haugh, events coordinator; Zachary Smith, campus coordinator, and; Katie Brewer, social media coordinator.

Wrights said he intends to run a campaign that will mirror the way a Libertarian president would govern. “I plan on running what Thomas Jefferson would probably call a ‘wise and frugal’ campaign,” he said. “It will be professional and well-run, a campaign all Libertarians can be proud of, but we won’t waste money on frills and we will rely heavily on grassroots activists.”

He said he is determined that whoever wins the 2012 nomination is totally committed to proclaiming the message to stop all war. To that end, Wrights has pledged to commit ten percent of all donations to his campaign to gain ballot access in all 50 states.

The committee also wants to ensure the 2012 nominee is equally committed to running on an unequivocal libertarian platform. “We need a candidate who is not ashamed nor afraid to proclaim the true libertarian message of individual liberty and personal responsibility, without compromise, without watering down and without pandering to those who are afraid of freedom,” said Irving.

Wrights, a Winston-Salem native, is a writer and political activist living in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.
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Boycott the Census

In First Amendment, Humor, Protest, US Government on March 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm

When the founders drafted the U.S. Constitution, they included the sentence, “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” Nevertheless, the actual census mailed out by the federal state (at the tax-payer expense) often includes more questions than simply, “How many people live in your household?”

I first began thinking about the census a few years ago while talking to the perennial Libertarian candidate Lorenzo Gaztañaga. I was helping the Libertarian Party of Maryland at a fair, and a man (whose name I do not recall) had been asking me about the Green candidate for U.S. Senate, Kevin Zeese. This man told me that he didn’t want to vote for the Republican candidate Michael Steel because Steele might then go on to become President. I looked at him with obvious confusion on my face, to which the man responded, “We must keep the White House white.” I turned away from the man with disgust and walked back under the tent we had set up. When Gaztañaga got back, I told him about the incident, and Mr. Gaztañaga said to me, “Good for you. Good for you.” Presently, he told me that when he and his wife (who is currently running for Governor here in Maryland) filled out their 2000 census, they refused to give a racial identity. Instead, they wrote in “HUMAN,” since they recognised themselves simply as members of the human race. I loved this idea, and vowed that I would do the same from there on out.

Well, the 2010 census has arrived! And, boy, am I excited! Why? Because this is the first of many census questionnaire that I shall be boycotting.

Interestingly, I have heard many people tell that they will not include any information about race, since it’s “none of the government’s damn business.” Naturally, I agree. But, honestly, I don’t see what business it is of the government as to how old I am, either, or with how many people I live.

So I would simply recommend, boycott the census. This is a very simple form of civil disobedience, since all it requires you to do is to go about your day normally. There’s no reason you should have to waste even a second on the census if you don’t actually want to. Despite government propaganda, the world will not come to a screeching hault if they don’t have your name, age, date of birth, gender, and place of residence. Remember, you are not their slave; the courts have repeatedly said that the government doesn’t owe you anything, so it stands to reason that you cannot possibly owe it anything, either.

Of course, the government threatens to steal $100 from you should you fail to fill out the census (and $500 should you present false information), however I have been informed that punishment for failure to respond is not usually enforced. Naturally, one must access the risks for herself.

And, naturally, since I believe one should live by what she or he preaches, I’m following my own advice. I actually did fill out the census, but only to inform the central state that I do not consider many statistical data to be any of its business. You can see my census answers here.

Finally, even though the return envelope had one of those pre-paid labels on it, I have opted to place a stamp on the envelope. It’s my general understanding that those who do not include their own stamps will have their mail paid for by the Census Bureau, which of course gets “its” money in turn from innocent tax-payers. Since I did not want to see tax-payers have to shell out forty-four cents on my behalf, I opted to spend my own forty-four cents in this act of civil disobedience.

—Alexander S. Peak

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Confused Man Crashes Plane

In Communism, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Media, People in the news, Protest, Taxation, US Government on February 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

A Confused Man

This morning, a confused man named Joseph Andrew Stack, crashed a plane into a building in Austin, Texas that housed IRS offices.

The man, before crashing his privately-owned plane, wrote a message on his website, which is now being called the Stack Manifesto.  In reading this manifesto, one can see just how absolutely confused this man was.

It seems that most blogs and message boards have been focusing on this man’s ideology, which is quite hard to pin-point.  He appears to oppose heavy taxation while also supporting government involvement in healthcare.  He displays a clear hatred for big government, big business, and big unions alike.  And the last two lines of his manifesto seem to imply that he considered communism a lesser evil than capitalism.

His mixture of libertarian, communist, populist, and socialist sympathies, thus, make it impossible to pinpoint the man.

With that said, he does nevertheless present some reasonable comments about problems faced in our society.  The problem, again, is that the man is clearly confused; thus, he conflates things that oughtn’t be conflated, and he often errs in the direction of his rhetorical attacks.

The man’s confusion was manifested this morning in his suicide-as-protest, when he crashed into a building with IRS offices.

People Matter

Unfortunately, the online news media fail to focus on the most important issue: was anyone killed?

I’ve searched through a variety of articles, and yet few present any information regarding whether anybody (other than Stack himself) died in the crash.  I finally found what I was looking for from Channel 8 News in Austin.

It appears that one person (other than Stack himself, presumably) died in the crash, and thirteen others were injured.  It also appears that Stack lit his house on fire this morning with his family still inside; luckily, they escaped.

Illiberalism

In my opinion, this is more than enough information to completely condemn Stack for his deed, just as the The Humble Libertarian blog does:

As the Editor-in-Chief of The Humble Libertarian, I unequivocally and without qualification, condemn this brutal, senseless, and stupid act of violence.  As a libertarian, I am incensed that Joe Stack took it upon himself to take innocent lives in the name of less government spending and lower taxes.

The writer makes it clear that Stack is not a libertarian, writing, “Libertarianism emphasizes non-coercion, non-aggression, and peaceful coexistence among people.”

Actions speak louder than words, and even if Stack’s rhetoric had been 100% in line with plumb-line libertarianism (which, obviously, it was not), his actions would necessarily belie his words.

This is not to say that we cannot or should not have sympathy for what Stack went through.  We most definitely should.  But his experiences do not justify the actions he took.

Had it been the case that Stack had crashed his privately-owned plane into an unoccupied government building, I would be whistling a very different tune right now.  I would actually be praising Stack for his brave act of defiance.  But, sadly, Stack cannot be cheered, for he is a murderer, and thus unworthy of praise.

A Libertarian Critique

A proper libertarian understanding of justice can illuminate just how problematic Stack’s actions ultimately were.  In order to evaluate Stack’s actions, let us consider the views promoted by the libertarian anarchist Murray N. Rothbard in his 1982 book, The Ethics of Liberty.

Although Rothbard defends the concept of using force defensively, i.e., using force to repel aggression (where aggression is defined as the initiation of force or fraud), he is very clear that responsive force is only ethical if it is in proportion to the force to which it is responding.  On page 85, Rothbard provides a very clear description of the limits of responsive force:

[U]nder libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder.  For a criminal would only lose his right to life if he had first deprived some victim of that same right.  It would not be permissible, then, for a merchant whose bubble gum had been stolen, to execute the convicted bubble gum thief.  If he did so, then he, the merchant, would be an unjustifiable murderer, who could be brought to the bar of justice by the heirs or assigns of the bubble gum thief.

The news report does not make it clear whether the persons who were killed or injured were all IRS agents or not, nor even whether they were all government employees.  Thus, while taxation is certainly and undeniably a form of theft, it would be impermissible to kill the IRS agents as retribution for their crime.  For, in so doing, Stack became an aggressor.

Perhaps we need not even go this deeply into analysis, however, for remember, Stack lit his house on fire with his family inside.  Unless it turns out that every member of his family that was inside of the house happened to be a murderer, Stack had clearly engaged in attempted murder of innocent people even before setting foot on his plane.  He was, thus, a criminal by libertarian standards, and one even more dastardly than those criminals we call IRS agents, who, by and large, at least aren’t murderers.

It is quite clear, therefore, that Stack did not care who he killed in his strive to retaliate, and even if people who have never worked a day in their lives for the state apparatus happened to be in the building at the time of the crash, Stack’s attitude was apparently, “So what?”

This brings us back to Rothbard, who wrote on pages 189 through 190,

[I]f Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, Jones has the right to repel him and try to catch him, but Jones has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd.  If he does this, he is as much (or more) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.

The same criteria hold if Smith and Jones each have men on his side, i.e. if “war” breaks out between Smith and his henchmen and Jones and his bodyguards.  If Smith and a group of henchmen aggress against Jones, and Jones and his bodyguards pursue the Smith gang to their lair, we may cheer Jones on in his endeavor; and we, and others in society interested in repelling aggression, may contribute financially or personally to Jones’s cause.  But Jones and his men have no right, any more than does Smith, to aggress against anyone else in the course of their “just war”: to steal others’ property in order to finance their pursuit, to conscript others into their posse by use of violence, or to kill others in the course of their struggle to capture the Smith forces.  If Jones and his men should do any of these things, they become criminals as fully as Smith, and they too become subject to whatever sanctions are meted out against criminality.  In fact if Smith’s crime was theft, and Jones should use conscription to catch him, or should kill innocent people in the pursuit, then Jones becomes more of a criminal than Smith, for such crimes against another person as enslavement and murder are surely far worse than theft.

Conclusion

Joseph Stack acted unethically.  While we can sympathise with his struggles, we cannot, if we are libertarians, condone his aggressive, anti-social acts.

Although I would like to see revolution, it cannot be achieved with the methods employed by the confused Stack.  If we want to see positive change, nonviolent civil disobedience is a far better method, both tactically and ethically.  If there is one thing I sincerely believe, it is that there is something in the nature of the universe that prevents aggression (i.e., the initiation of physical force or fraud) from ever yielding the desired results.  If we fight the state using aggression, the unintended consequence will not only be that we will become the very thing we hate, it will also be that we will drive away public support for our noble cause.  But in using nonviolent civil disobedience, we force the state to show the guns it is holding, we force it to stop hiding that the entire state apparatus is built on violence.

Murdering an IRS agent will never solve the problems we face.  It won’t bring an end to taxation, and it certainly won’t help to convince other IRS agents that their occupation is unethical.  But if we use nonviolent civil disobedience, we thereby force the IRS agents (and other government employees of the world) to recognise that they themselves are actually threatening innocent people with violence, and this realisation will go a long way to promote the expansion of liberty.

—Alexander S. Peak

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Why I Reject Mike Gravel’s National Initiative

In Activism, Democracy, Libertarian, Local Politics, Minorities, Personal Responsibility, Spending, US Government on February 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm

For some time now, Mike Gravel, a former Democratic Senator representing Alaska, has been advocating the National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D).  It was, in fact, the main focus of his 2008 campaign for the U.S. presidency.

The NI4D is a proposal, put forward by The Democracy Foundation, to create ballot initiatives at the U.S. federal level, that is, allow the American people the power to propose and vote on laws directly, bypassing the politician in Washington.  Along with Gravel, Ralph Nader and Tom Knapp have also endorsed this proposal.

Gravel makes this sound good, claiming that the people can, under his proposal, repeal the many egregious laws foisted upon us by the political class.  He provides a solidly libertarian defence, saying that this initiative will “stem[] government growth.”  Writes Gravel,

American citizens can gain control of their government by becoming lawmakers and turning its purpose to public benefit, and stemming government growth—the people are more conservative than their elected ofcials regardless of political party.

With all due respect to Mr. Gravel, whom I still consider to be a hero for his role in ending the draft and the Vietnam War, I reject the NI4D proposal.  While it’s not the worst proposal in the world, it fails to address the fundamental problem of governance vis-à-vis the natural, inalienable rights of the individual.  It does not promote true self-government, but rather erects an illusory self-governance.

We need to devolve all government power, not simply down to the state level, not simply down to the county level, not simply down to the level of the local community (although that would certainly be a step in the right direction), but all the way down to the individual level.  No person should be able to have power over another person’s life except insofar as the second person chooses to allow the person to have said power, and for a duration no longer than the second person allows. Unfortunately, democracy allows majority factions to rule over minorities, and as such, I have to reject democracy in favour of individualist anarchism.

Now, by anarchism I certainly do not mean that chaotic state of existence we call lawlessness or anomie.  By anarchy, I merely mean that state of existence in which no person is considered to legitimately rule over the person or justly-acquired property of anyone else.  My anarchism is clearly a libertarian anarchism, for I consider such actions as rape, murder, and the theft or unconsensual destruction of someone’s justly-acquired property as violations of natural law, what I call “natural crimes.”  Of course, one is justified in using defensive force, if one so wishes, against these “natural criminals,” so long as the defensive force used is proportional to the initiatory forced employed by the criminal.

Benjamin Tucker, the nineteenth century individualist anarchist most famous for his newspaper Liberty, defined anarchists as

simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats.  They believe that “the best government is that which governs least,” and that that which governs least is no government at all.  Even the simple police function of protecting person and property they deny to governments supported by compulsory taxation.  Protection they look upon as a thing to be secured, as long as it is necessary, by voluntary association and cooperation for self-defence, or as a commodity to be purchased, like any other commodity, of those who offer the best article at the lowest price.  In their view it is in itself an invasion of the individual to compel him to pay for or suffer a protection against invasion that he has not asked for and does not desire.

Gravel correctly notes, in his defence of the NI4D, that “[g]overnments throughout history have been tools of oppression,” but he then incorrectly adds: “they need not be.”  The state is an inherently oppressive, inherently aggressive institution, for all states, in order to be states, either must steal the products of someone’s labour, must dictate how people may live their lives and spend their money (even when said people are acting entirely nonviolently), or must use aggression to prevent private security agencies from having an equal footing under the law with itself.  If the state were to cease doing these three things, then it would cease to be a state, but would instead become simply a private charity or firm.

In an address delivered in 1877, the venerable liberal Lord Acton stated,

It is bad to be oppressed by a minority; but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.  For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist.  But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.  The humblest and most numerous class of the Athenians united the legislative, the judicial, and in part, the executive power.  The philosophy that was then in the ascendant taught them that there is no law superior to that of the state, and that, in the state, the law-giver is above the law.

If the NI4D is established, people will be no freer than they were prior to its establishment.  All that will have changed is that the individual will gain a single, minuscule vote on matters of dire importance, a vote that will be completely overwhelmed by the combined votes of the others.  In other words, the individual will still be under the tyrannical control of others, will still be a victim of oppression.

If people are reticent in telling George Bush and Barack Obama, “No, you don’t have a right to run my life,” how much less willing will they be to say that to the supposed vox populi?

In summation, the National Initiative for Democracy sounds nice, but it won’t give people the freedom to control their own lives, all it will give them is a vote in the control of the lives of their neighbours.  Worse yet, because it will create the illusion of self-rule, of self-government, it will discourage people from fighting for their own liberation, and as such, is a highly anti-libertarian and counter-revolutionary idea.

—Alexander S. Peak

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The Libertarian Party’s Quest for Ballot Access and The Sin of Onan

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Local Politics, Politics, Republican on February 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Onan… spilled his seed on the earth, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

Ballot access is a major goal of the Libertarian Party, so much so that we seem to be more concerned with keeping or gaining ballot access for whatever election is next rather than with any Libertarian actually winning in whatever election is before us today. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballot_access) Ballot access seems to have become that tail that wags the dog in third-party politics. Yes, it is important to have our candidates on ballots, but doing that should not come at the cost of using our resources, time and efforts to actually get Libertarians elected to higher offices than city councils, county commissioners and Justices of the Peace.

Without actually quoting any specific messages or e-mails to me by others, I will say that when I have asked my state Party Leadership for Party help with my own election, I have been told that, rather than focusing resources on any specific race, they don’t want to show “preference” for any candidates or any particular races because “it wouldn’t be fair”. I was told that “with 193 races, we can’t play favorites”. I say that it is because of attitudes like that which have resulted in NO major or significant election wins in almost 40 years. When election results are tallied, we crow about how significant we are because Libertarian candidates got 5% of the vote here and 7% of the vote there. Getting 5% of the votes in an election is still losing that election.

The reason I used the infamous line about Onan is that what we are doing as a Party is “spilling our seed on the earth” instead of creating any actual elected officials. I have a feeling, in fact, that Libertarians have been telling each other for so long that is it so important to view the percentages of our loses as victories that I think that there will be a lot of anger, resentment and even hatred showered on the first Libertarian to actually win a notable office. In Irving Janis’ ground breaking book on ‘Groupthink’, he tells us this story:

Twelve middle-class American men and women wanted to stop smoking, and attended weekly meetings at a clinic to discuss the problem. Early in the sessions, two people stood up and declared that cigarette smoking was an almost incurable addiction. The group agreed. The, one man stood up and said “I have stopped smoking and, with a little willpower, so can the rest of you.” Immediately, the other group members began to abuse him verbally, and the meeting ended in chaos. The following week, the dissident stood up again and said that he could not both attend all of the required meetings and stop smoking; so he had returned to smoking two packs of cigarettes as day. The other members welcomed him back into the fold with enthusiasm but no one mentioned that the original purpose of the group was to help each other stop [emphasis in original] smoking. Their new aim was maintaining the status quo at any cost.

I think that, deep down in their subconscious minds, the leadership and long term activists in the Party have become so inured to losing elections that they have accepted a cognitive dissonance in which they delude themselves that they are accomplishing great things by simply showing up to the ball, as it were. Ballot access in NOT what we need to be working for; getting Libertarians elected to significant offices IS what we need to be working on. We HAVE to “fertilize some eggs” and then nurture them maturity, so to speak. If we do not and cannot accomplish that, then what the Hell good are we to America, our states and our communities?

Maybe the Libertarian Party’s candidates NEED to be spending time standing in front of the local Wal-Mart and grocery stores collecting signature to get ourselves on ballots. Maybe we need to be holding open meetings to let people who aren’t Libertarians talk to us instead of holding rallies that are only open those who already think like the rally organizers do. Maybe we need to create “Election Coordinators” to be officers on, if not paid staff of, both our state and our national executive committees? Maybe we need to start from the ground up, do the necessary work, and use the necessary resources to get electable candidates INTO office. Maybe we need some humility instead of fancy offices in Washington. We do not need to attract the rich and powerful even though doing so makes us proud of ourselves; we need to make it where everyday people can walk in off of the street and ask us who we are and what we stand for.

Onan spilled his seed on the earth because he did not WANT to make his brother’s widow pregnant with his child because it would then be his brother’s child instead of his own. The Libertarian Party is spilling its seed on the earth and, whether or not we admit that don’t really want “progeny”, that is the reality that comes with distributing our resources far and wide without there being any chance of those resources paying off for us in the end. We throw our seeds on “rocky barren places where they can find no purchase”.

The current Libertarian Party Bylaws state that:

The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by:

(F)unctioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements;

(M)oving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office;

(C)hartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and promoting their growth and activities;

(N)ominating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, and supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and,

(E)ntering into public information activities.

Notice that the bylaws say that the method authorized by the Party to move public policy is BY getting Libertarians elected to public office. Without getting Libertarians elected we, by our own words, cannot try to move public policy simply by existing as a Party. In addition, the burden of “chartering affiliate parties” falls on the organization itself, NOT upon the people. It is a requirement of our bylaws that the Party itself create (a pre-requisite for chartering, I assume) the affiliate parties. Simply hoping that people will come to US and want to form local Party affiliates is neither effective nor in line with what our bylaws say. As with an elected candidate, the burden is on us, as a Party, to earn the votes / support of the people. It is not THEIR responsibility make things easy for us. By the way, note that maintaining ballot access is NOT one of our stated purposes.

In Texas, the charter for our state Party says that the State Executive Committee will be composed of the elected state Party officers and two representatives from each of our state’s 31 Senatorial districts. That means that there should be 62 district representative members sitting on our state Executive Committee. Instead of 62, there are (according to the available information on the LP of Texas website, http://lptexas.org/content/state-leadership) only 19, with only 6 of the 32 districts being fully represented by two members. This means that only 13 out of 31 districts have ANY representation on the Executive committee at this time and that ALL of the current representatives on the LPTEC are from high population areas of the state. Not a single representative member of the LPTEC speaks for rural area or even moderate population centers.

Like the government of the State of Texas, it seems as if both the National and, at least, the Texas Parties exist simply because they have existed and they function on nothing more than their own small inertia. As one of my political heroes, Pat Paulsen, said;

Vote or get off of the pot.

I have said before that, until we get serious about ACTUALLY being a contributing part of the American political scene, until we actually manage to win some real elections we have become and will remain nothing more than a lunatic fringe wandering in the wilderness telling ourselves that we matter. So, I ask every Libertarian and libertarian who reads this to ask themselves one simple question… “Will I be content to just “spill my seed on the earth” again this year?

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

© Copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225+ years of The American Experiment.

Constitutional Oaths and A Plea to President Obama

In Barack Obama, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Protest, Republican, US Government on January 30, 2010 at 1:25 am

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This simple thirty-five word Oath of Office is specified by The Constitution of The United States as the one, single oath which much be taken by every person who will serve this nation as our President. After this oath is taken every four years, however, no one seems to ever pay much attention to it, but it is important enough that it is the ONLY oath spelled out word for word in The Constitution. There are also only two specific obligations it places on a President; to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” to the best of their ability.

While no other oath is specified in The Constitution, it DOES state in Article VI, clause 3 that:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

For other federal officials, including members of Congress, it specifies that they “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution.” By federal statute, the oath which must be taken by all members of The House of Representatives and The Senate, as well as by The Vice President, members of the Cabinet, and all other civil and military officers and federal employees other than the President is:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The taking of oaths by all other federal officials in addition to the President dates back to the fourteen word oath created by the first Congress in 1789 (“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support The Constitution of the United States.”), but the current wording is based more on the oaths written during The War Between the States which were intended to allow treason charges to be leveled against those who supported the south or didn’t support the Union.

The first Congress also specified in The Judiciary Act of 1789 the oath which would be required of all federal judges in the United States:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the Constitution, and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

In fact, federal judges are currently required to take not just one, but TWO different oaths:

I, _____ _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _____ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

And:

I, _____ _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Federal statute specifically states that this second oath “does not affect other oaths required by law.”

Within the military forces of The United States, the oaths required of both officers and enlisted men are statutory and are prescribed in Section 3331, Title 5 of the United States Code. The oath which officers are required to take is:

I, _____ _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

While enlisted men are required to take this oath:

I, _____ _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

An important distinction between the oaths required of officers when compared with that required of the enlisted ranks is that the oath taken by officers does not include ANY provision to obey orders. While enlisted personnel are bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice to obey LAWFUL orders, officers in the service of the United States are bound by their oath to disobey ANY order that violates The Constitution of the United States.

As far as I can tell, these are all of the oaths required by our federal government for any person who is in any way obligated to serve The United States of America (I am obviously not aware of any secret oaths which might exist within the shadowy corridors of secrecy which our country tries to keep hidden from its citizens). I am also not including the oaths taken by the National Guard or officials of the various states, counties and communities as doing so could fill a small book, needless to say, all of those oaths must meet the same Constitutional requirements as these federal oaths do.

At this point you are probably wondering why I have spent almost a thousand words just to tell you want the different United States federal oaths are. It is very simple. OATHS MATTER! Whether we pay attention to them or not, our Constitution requires them and many people take them, which means MANY people are BOUND by them. Now, as you read through them, you might have noticed that there is only one thing which they ALL have in common (aside from all being very short). I’ll give you a minute to look back through them in case you haven’t noticed it yet.

Every single oath proscribed by or contained within The United States’ Constitution and/or federal statue, EVERY one, obligates the taker to preserve, protect, defend, uphold, support and/or administer justice agreeably to The Constitution of The United States, not the nation, not the people, not the business interests, not any person, concept, idea or entity other than THE CONSTITUTION itself. Furthermore, where any of the oaths mention enemies, it specifies enemies foreign AND domestic, ALL enemies of The Constitution, not enemies of the nation or the people but of THE CONSTITUTION. Thus, by my personal interpretation (and, I assume, that of everyone who demands a strict, literal interpretation of The Constitution), while the economy, national security, foreign, etc. are important concerns of our federal government, as provided for WITHIN The Constitution, the SINGLE most important duty of the President and every member of our federal government is to ensure the health of and obedience TO that constitution. ALL other considerations come after that one and NO duty or obligation is higher than it.

Every time I hear our President say that he “wants to look forward”, I want to cry. We cannot look forward or move forward by ignoring the past. What he is trying to do is build a wonderful new house upon a foundation that is very badly damaged. In such a case, it doesn’t matter how well you construct the house, it will not last because it must have a solid foundation. In fact, the bigger the house, the more important the integrity of the foundation is. Oaths matter, but so do the principles demonstrated by those who take those oaths. No matter what words we might choose, words are not actions and principles are demonstrated by our actions. A principle is only a principle if it is something you do even when it is difficult, inconvenient or could cause you, yourself, damage. If principles only required us to do things when they are easy or convenient, when there is no real cost associated with following them, then EVERYONE would be principled. Principles DO matter and what is shown to us by a person’s very real actions is what tells us what their principles truly are, not the words they tell us.

Therefore, I call upon Barack Obama, the 43rd President of the United States to uphold his constitutional oath of office and preserve, protect and defend The Constitution. I call upon him to repair the damage done to our constitutional government by past administrations and officials, elected and appointed. I call upon him to define what his powers are as President under The Constitution and to specifically repudiate those which are not consistent with the provisions of The Constitution, including the power to single handedly declare that he will not obey and uphold laws or treaties enacted by Congress simply because he doesn’t like them or to claim dictatorial powers to dispense with constitutional provisions (like habeas corpus, cruel and unusual punishment, right to speedy trials, legal advice and hearing all evidence presented against the accused.) upon his own whim. I call upon him to publicly repudiate the entire concept of The Unitary Executive and acknowledge the Constitutional invalidity of all exercises of such by ALL Presidents going back to the administration of Harry Truman. I call upon him to investigate and prosecute all officials and officers of The United States, in every branch and department of The United States who have ever done harm or damage to The Constitution, including by refusal to abide by legal and treaty obligations, up to and including war crimes committed within The United States and/or in the name of The United States by anyone in or working on behalf of The United States, up to and including former Presidents and Vice Presidents of The United States.

 To Mr. Barack Obama, 43rd President of the United States, I would like to personally say this:

Mr. Obama, I know that you were elected to be President of The United States for many reasons… our economy is bad and people thought you could fix it; our national reputation is tarnished and people thought you could improve it; we needed hope for the future rather than fear of it and people thought you could give that to us; and for so many other reasons both important and trivial. However, there were many people in this country, including me, who voted for you because our Constitution and our constitutional government have been horribly damaged over the course of the last eight years, if not over the last quarter of a century, and we believed that you could and would work quickly and aggressively to fix it, as well as to prosecute and punish those guilty of violating their own oaths to it and of doing harm to it.

No damage has EVER been done to our Constitution by any EXTERNAL enemies of our nation. Those who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001 might have hurt our nation and killed our citizens, but they did not hurt our Constitution. The same is true of Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. He attacked the people of the United States but he did not threaten or harm our Constitution. No external enemies of our nation ever did any damage to our Constitution in the 50s, 60s or 70s. All of that damage was done by domestic enemies who were attacking The Constitution from within… McCarthy, The House Un-American Activities Committee, J. Edgar Hoover, the Nixon Administration and many others. No damage was ever done to our Constitution by the Soviet Union or ‘international communism’ but rather by those Americans who thought that the Soviet Union was so dangerous that they had the right to violate our own laws as well as our Constitution. But in fear of communism, many threats to our Constitution result from the actions of our own Congress and administrations from Truman to Reagan. No foreign enemy has EVER harmed or even threatened our Constitution over the entire course of our history as a nation, but many domestic enemy have, and they have done so while wrapped tightly in the flag of and holding the symbols of The United States, going back to at least 1798 with The Alien and Seditions Acts. America may have been threatened many times in its history by enemies foreign and domestic, but no threats to our Constitution have ever come from external forces attacking us, they have ALWAYS come from our own internal rot.

I know it will be difficult to do. I know that it will cause political problems and turmoil. I know that it could precipitate a political civil war within this country. I know it would detract from other areas which you need to address, such as our economy. None of that matters however. The oath you took obligates you to do this. It isn’t a choice, it is a duty, and no one gets to pick which duties they will fulfill based on which ones are more difficult or unpleasant than others. Remember though, you are the person who is charged by the Constitution to execute the provisions of and laws according to it. In the end, your most important legacy will not be our economy, our wars, or our energy policies, or our healthcare system; those things are all transitory. In the end, your most important and lasting legacy will be what you demonstrate to the American people about what our Constitution and our constitutional government really mean. There is no one else, Mr. President, except you upon whose shoulders this duty falls. Please, do not let our nation, no, not our nation, please, Mr. President, do not let our CONSTITUTION down. I don’t think we can survive if you do.” 

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas 

Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

John Dough, Inc. — Legal Person and Citizen of The United States

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Democracy, First Amendment, Fraud, History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Protest, US Government on January 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

With its January 21, 2010 decision in the case of CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf), The Supreme Court of The United States issued a ruling as wrong as any it has made since the infamous “Dred Scott decision” and more activist than any judicial legislation that those on the far-right have ever cried out about. Overturning over 120 years of precedence and legislation, the five conservative justices alone have given body and breath to the “corporate person” which was created, not by legislation but rather by another decision of The Supreme Court, Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886). (see http://blavier.newsvine.com/_news/2009/05/07/2789966-the-corporate-person-re-edit for more information).

 

In response to this horrifying and unjustifiable ruling, I have sent to the office of the Texas Secretary of State, a check for $25 and a Certificate of Formation Nonprofit Corporation, signed and dated by me on January 21, 2010 to create “John Dough, Inc.”. Clearly stated on the application for certification, the corporation is created with the purposes of:

 

1.) To function as a legal corporate person in the United States of America, based on decisions by the SCOTUS, beginning with Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (1886) through Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (2010) which conferred the legal status of “personhood” on American Corporations.

 

2.) To seek to achieve legal and judicial recognition of all of its citizenship rights and privileges as a native-born “person” of The United States of American, including the right to vote, the right to run for office, the right of free speech, the right of gun ownership and every other right which belongs to any and every native-born American.

 

3.) To create challenges, through the judicial authorities and courts of The United States of American, to the legal concept and standing of a “corporate person” as having the same rights and powers of flesh and blood citizens of The United States.

 

It further states in the application that:

 

This corporattion shall not exist or function to profit any individuals, and its membership shall be open to any other persons who wants to support the efforts of this “corporate person” to challenge the standing and status of corporations as legal “persons” under The Constitution of The United States, as created and defined by decisions of The Supreme Court of The United States since 1886.

 

The Corporation shall exist be an instrument with which its members will register for any and all rights which, by nature, belong to a legal and native-born person in the United States, including its standing as a legal citizen of The United States, a registered voter of its home state and districts, to apply for licenses as a legal person, to run for political office as a legal person, to possess a passport of a citizen of The United States, and of any and all other tactics by which it can be used to challenge the legal “personhood” status of corporations within The United States.

 

I will be registering John Dough, Inc. to vote as a resident of precinct 15, Liberty County, Texas.

 

Once John Dough, Inc. is certified as a non-profit corporation, I will seek donations and membership within the corporation by any and everyone who supports this effort to challenge The Supreme Court of The United States. If The State of Texas refuses to certify John Dough, Inc. as a nonprofit corporation, then I plan to challenge that decision. Anyone with legal training who is a member of the Texas Bar Association and, thus, eligible to practice law within The State of Texas are also welcome to help with this cause.

 

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

 

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

 

© Copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

 

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

Wilhoit Declares for Alternate Regional Representative

In Activism, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics on January 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Wilhoit Declares for Alternate Regional Representative
By Scott M. Williamson

I, Charles Wilhoit, hereby announce my candidacy for the position of Fourth Region Alternate Representative of the Libertarian National Committee (LNC).

I am a Recruiter by nature as well as by reputation. I am proud to say that I recruited Scott Williamson as a candidate for LNC Regional Representative from Region Four. I promised Scott that I would do everything possible to help him achieve his goal, both in being elected in St. Louis and in doing what he promised in his candidate announcement.

I decided to become a candidate to be a more active supporter for Scott. I choose to be in the Arena, not just the Cheering Section.
I share Scott’s goal completely. I agree with everything he said in his candidacy announcement. We are independent of each other as candidates, yet we are a Team in spirit. If elected, we promise that one or both of us will attend every LNC meeting. I have no intention of being a mere “Stand By” Representative. I will be Scott Williamson’s working partner.

Charles Wilhoit is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy and is a Captain, U. S. Navy (Retired). During his 29 years of active duty he commanded three ships, a Destroyer Squadron and one shore activity. Charles is past Chair of his county Libertarian Party, a past Chair of the Libertarian Party of Tennessee (LPTN) and currently serves as Chair of the LPTN Membership Committee. He was once a candidate for the Tennessee State Senate and for Governor of Tennessee.
To repeat Scott’s own words: “I look forward to continually hearing your ideas and working with you to bring about a libertarian society. Together we can change the country. I ask for your support and look forward to meeting you in St. Louis, if not sooner.”

Why Redistricting is the Most Important Issue for Texas in the 2010 Elections

In Activism, Congress, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Fraud, Green Party, History, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Local Politics, Politics, Republican, US Government on January 20, 2010 at 9:31 am

What good does it do a man to have the vote if he has only one person that he can vote for?

All political power is inherent in the people and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Texas

In 2011, the next Texas legislative session will tackle the subject of redistricting for the first time since Tom Delay and his partners in political crime forced the people of Texas to live with our incredibly gerrymandered map. Its purpose was to benefit the Texas Republican Party, harm the Texas Democratic Party and, as much as possible, remove the niggling little possibility that Texas voters might actually have the power to affect or influence the results of major elections here. Even the Democratic districts that were left were pretty much safe seats. Delay, Dick Armey and the rest of their merry little band of Machiavellis stuck their grubby little fingers into the mix and, like gods manipulating their computer game minions, succeeded in putting every voter in Texas into “political reservations”. No longer would the simple voter be allowed to mess up control of our state by dominant political machines. In short, what we have in Texas is Party-controlled government. In practical terms, the state of Texas and the two major Parties (preferably the Republican Party) would be (and are) the same thing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that political machines haven’t always been in charge of Texas (anyone remember Archer or George Parr, “The Duke of Duval County”?). It is simply that before the 1990s, they weren’t as obvious, and they didn’t really care about national influence. It was corruption by Texans, of Texans, for Texans. Any influence that could shovel federal money to us courtesy of our Congressional leaders like John Nance Garner, Sam Rayburn, LBJ, Jim Wright and all of the rest was still corruption by, of and for Texans. There was no intention or desire to tear the rest of the nation down or rip it apart as it seems like is happening now. The thing is, for corruption to flourish, the politicians must be able to promise that they will continue to hold power and maintain the corrupt systems. That is what we have now; entrenched Party corruption. This is why I believe that, regardless of the economic crisis, the healthcare crisis, the ethical crisis, the war crisis, and every other of the many crises faced by Americans, as a whole, and Texans specifically, the single most important issue for Texas voters in 2010 is: “What the Hell will our political districts look like now?

I love Texas. I really do. It is the land of my birth and, no matter how many times I leave it, it’s the land I always return to. Unfortunately, Texas politics often embarrass me. I am not alone in this. There is an old saying here that goes: “Lock up your house and barn; watch your wife and children. The Texas Legislature is in session and nothing is safe.” There are too many things in Texas politics about which to be embarrassed (if not to laugh out loud about in their ridiculousness), too many to list, or even count. Our state constitution, itself, is probably the main one; a document so badly written that the only thing which keeps it from being the single worst one in The United States is the fact that Alabama’s state constitution might actually be the worst one on the entire planet. It is easily the worst one in The United States (http://blavier.newsvine.com/_news/2009/04/06/2646073-we-must-amend-the-constitution-now-), but having the 50th worst constitution out of 51 contenders is nothing to be proud of. A close second to the embarrassment which is the Texas Constitution is arguably our propensity to re-elect incumbents to pretty much any office that they run for.

Texas is a land whose people pride themselves for their fiercely independent spirit. Texas is also a state which avows its hatred of the very idea of a professional political class so much that the annual “salaries” for all legislative offices (including that of the Lt. Governor) is only $7,200 (http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/leg/features/0205_01/compensation.html, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/TT/mkt2.html). Keep in mind that it wasn’t until 1975 that Texas voters voted to raise those salaries from $4,800 up to $7,200… an increase of 50% (it was also at this time when members of our legislature were given a per diem AND could get mileage reimbursement at the same rate that state employees do). Texas government was designed to discourage the rise of a professional political class. Of course, in reality, it also keeps people without other sources of income (i.e. – the poor and the lower middle class) from being practically able to hold such offices. Thus, our fondness for keeping people in elected office is not only an embarrassment, it is rank hypocrisy on a statewide level. Now, I have so far basically said that we here in Texas have a “tendency” to re-elect the same people into government offices time and time again but, at this point, it is merely undocumented hyperbole. Fair enough. Go to the restroom, get yourself a nice beverage and make yourself comfortable because this is going to take awhile. Ready? Good.

(NOTE: If you are not interested in reading through the statistical information I have compiled, please feel free to skip the paragraphs between the two lines below and the two lines after the statistical paragraphs. The information in those paragraphs is included in this article (1) for those who, like me, find such information interesting, and (2) to cut off the need for comments such as “how do you know”, “what are you basing you opinions on”, and “prove it”. Thank you for your understanding on this.)

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To start with, here are some statistics about state level elections in Texas from the 2008 General Election:

The Executive and Judicial offices up for election that year were Railroad Commissioner, three places on the Texas Supreme Court (and yes, we actually elect our Supreme Count members which, of course, makes them political creatures who need to raise election funds instead of allowing them to neutral arbiters of the law) and two places on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (in fact, we elect ALL of our judges here). All seven of them were retained by the incumbents. For those of you who want to keep track, that is seven for seven, so far, or 100%.

For the Texas Congressional delegation, we had one U.S. Senatorial and thirty-two U.S. House seats up for grabs. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that for those seats, all thirty-three incumbents ran for re-election. Want to know how many of them won re-election? Thirty-two of them were sent back to Washington. One of the incumbent Representatives (a Democrat in his first term, if you want to know) was voted out. The score now is thirty-nine out of forty, which comes out to 97.5%.

In the Texas legislature, there were fifteen seats in the Texas Senate and all one hundred and fifty seats in the Texas House up for election. For the Senate seats, all fifteen incumbents ran. Five were re-elected and one was defeated. If you wonder about the other nine seats, don’t worry. For those seats, the incumbents were completely unopposed and, under Texas law, didn’t even need to show up to the actual elections because they are automatically declared the victors (Texas does not have a “none of the above” option for our ballots). Score, fifty-three out of fifty-five now, giving us an incumbent ratio of 96.4%.

For the Texas House seats, one hundred and forty-tw0 out of one hundred and fifty incumbents ran for re-election. After the primary results were in, nine incumbents had been defeated for nomination by their party. Five more were voted out of office in the General Election. One hundred and twenty-eight incumbents were then returned to the Texas House and, out of those one hundred and twenty-eight, seventy-four of those “won” their elections without facing any challenges by their major opposition party, which means that 49.3% of the total seats in the Texas House were filed by people who simply walked into the House unobstructed. This makes our incumbent win record one hundred and eighty-one out of a possible one hundred and ninety-seven (91.9%). With all of these Texas races, out of two-hundred and five elections, one hundred and eighty-one continued to be held by the person who held them before the election, which is a total ratio of 88.3%. (http://www.bipac.net/page.asp?content=texas_elections&g=TEXAS)

Now, let’s take a look at our candidate line-ups for the 2010 election cycle, shall we? Before we even start, I want to point out that, out of 219 races I have analyzed, only two, yes TWO, will have primary contests from all three parties (Democratic, Libertarian and Republican). Only 0.9% of the highest offices in Texas will have the nominees for each race selected from more than one contender in each party. Those two races are for the nominees of each party for Governor and for District 5 on the State Board of Education. Really! Take a moment to think about that. Out of all of the state’s Executive, Judicial and Legislative offices, only one will have three nominees who will actually be determined by the people. (NOTE: For the sake of accuracy, I want to point out that the Texas Libertarian Party selects its nominees by convention but, for simplicity’s sake, I will use the term primary through this article to indicate the need of any party to select its nominees from a slate of several contenders.)

The Texas Executive offices up for grabs this year are those of Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner and Railroad Commissioner. Now, not only is the race for Governor the only Executive office in which there will be three nominees chosen by primary elections, the incumbent in the office of Comptroller (the State’s only financial officer after our elimination of the office of State Treasurer) is only going to be challenged because a Libertarian (our own Mary Ruwart) has filed to challenge the incumbent. The Democratic Party is not running ANYONE for the office. This means that if it wasn’t for the Libertarian Party, the person who is responsible for all financial duties for the entire state of Texas would be the guy who turned in his notarized form; that would have been all it would have taken.

On the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, two of the incumbents are also only being challenged by Libertarians. For the eight seats on the Texas Board of Education, only three of the races have candidates from all three parties. Three of seats only have the incumbent party challenged by Libertarians, although the incumbents in all three of those seats do face primary challenges from within their own Party. The District 4 seat is only being sought by the incumbent… no challenges by either the Democratic or Libertarian Parties and no primary challenge, so he gets to simply walk in.

Neither of our two US Senate seats is up for election this year and, out of out thirty-two seats in the US House, all of the incumbents (20 Republicans and 12 Democrats) are seeking re-election. Of those thirty-two races, only the Republican and Libertarian Parties have candidates for all thirty-two. The Democratic Party only has candidates in twenty-four of those races (which means that one out of every four of these races, the Democratic Party isn’t even showing up for), and in one race, the Constitution Party also has one candidate running.

Of the thirty-two Congressional races, only twelve of the incumbents will face primary challenges from their own party (38%), nine Republicans out of twenty (45%) and three Democrats out of twelve (25%). Of the combined thirty-two races, the only challenges to seven of the Incumbents or the Incumbent’s Party are from Libertarians (22%), and one is from the Libertarians and the single Constitution Party candidate (03%), for a combined eight of the thirty-two seats… again, one out of every four. For all of the Parties, there are eleven Republican Party primaries (34%), five Democratic Party primaries (16%) and twenty Libertarian Party primaries (63%). Thus, out of a total of ninety-six possible primaries, there are thirty-six (38%) and, if you only count the sixty-four possible primaries for the Republican and Democratic Parties, there are only sixteen…which is, yet again, only one out of four. Out of THESE, there are only two races which will have primary challenges for all three parties (2.1%).

For the Texas State Senate, out of sixteen races, fifteen incumbents are seeking re-election (eleven Republicans and four Democrats). Of the sixteen races, the Republican Party has at least one candidate in all of the races, while the Democratic Party is only competing in eight of them, which (for those of us who can count) is only one out of two (50%). The Libertarian Party has candidates in nine of the races for a 56% presence. Of the incumbents running for re-election, only six out of fifteen (40%) face Primary challenges in their own party; four Republicans out of eleven (36%) and one Democrat out of four (25%… again).

In none of these races is there more than one candidate from any of three Parties facing a primary election… which is exactly 00%. In only one of the races (06%) are there two parties which will have primary contests. Out of a total of forty-eight possible primary contests there are only eleven (23%). This means that of sixteen possible primaries for each Party, the Republican Party has six (38%), the Democratic Party has two (13%) and the Libertarian Party has three (19%). For the General Election, only two of the races (13%) will have candidates from all three Parties, six (38%) will have only Republican and Democratic candidates, seven (42%) will have only one of the two major Parties (Republican or Democrat) running against a Libertarian candidate, and one (06%) will have a completely uncontested incumbent.

Finally we get to the Texas State House of Representatives with its one hundred and fifty seats at stake. 94% of the incumbents (one hundred and forty-one out of one hundred and fifty) are running for re-election. There are seventy Republicans and seventy-one Democratic incumbents running, which means that only nine of the seats are guaranteed to have a new person in them. The Republican Party is fielding candidates in one hundred and twelve of the races (75%), the Democratic Party is running in ninety-three of the races (62%) and Libertarians are contesting sixty-four of the races (43%).

Out of the one hundred and forty-one incumbents running, only twenty-three (16%) face primary races…sixteen Republicans (23% of seventy) and seven Democrats (10% out of seventy-one). Of the potential four hundred and fifty possible primary elections, there are only fifty-nine (13%), which is thirty-nine Republican primaries (26% of one hundred and fifty), ten Democratic primaries (07% of one hundred and fifty) and ten Libertarian primaries (again, 07% out of one hundred and fifty).

From all of the one hundred and fifty races, only twenty-seven (18%) have at least one candidate from all three parties. Twenty-nine of the races (19%) have only candidates from both the Republican and the Democratic Parties. Thirty-seven of the races (25%) only have one or more candidate from the Libertarian Party opposing one of the two major Parties. Of the one hundred and forty incumbents running, forty-six of them (33%) of them are completely unopposed (twenty-one Republicans out of seventy for a 30% ratio and twenty-five Democrats out of seventy-one for a 35% ratio). Out of the one hundred and forty-one incumbents running, eleven of the races have the incumbent’s party unopposed by candidates from either of the other two parties 08%). This includes six Republican contests out of seventy (09%) and five Democratic races out of seventy-one (07%).

Now, can you figure out what is the most horrifying statistic which can be made from the above paragraph? I’ll give you a couple of minutes to re-read it. {da da da da da dum} Have you figured it out yet? If it wasn’t for the Libertarian party, ninety-four out of the one hundred and fifty races for seats in the Texas House (63%) would have either the Incumbent or the Incumbent’s Party with no, let me repeat that, with NO opposition. Out of all of the two-hundred and nineteen total races in 2010 that I have broken down, that comes to one hundred and fifteen races (53%) in which there is only a challenge to an incumbent or an incumbent’s Party because of candidates from the Libertarian Party. Do you, like me, think that percentage is WAY too high?

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So, why have I written almost 2,000 words in eighteen paragraphs taking up most of three pages to numb you with statistics that barely a handful of people would even think about? Why have I spent most of my waking hours over two full days making myself blind(er) and giving myself a migraine to have these statistics to write about? It is very simple. Political districts in Texas are so frighteningly gerrymandered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering , http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gerrymander) that almost every seat for every state office in Texas (by which I mean, every elected office which has a specific political district that is smaller than the entire state… US House, Texas Senate and Texas House) is basically considered a safe seat for either a particular candidate or a particular political Party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_seat) . They are considered so safe that few of them are challenged for and MANY fewer of them still are lost. That should be unacceptable to any person who believes in a democratic form of government.

Both the Republican and the Democratic Parties (especially the Republican Party over the last decade) have worked and legislated to not only make it infinitely easier to stay in office than it would be in a system in which voters have the true power over our government, they make it almost impossible for any new parties to challenge their political hegemony. Even if the two major parties hate each other, it is still in the best interest of both of them to keep the playground closed to other kids, as it were.

The Texas state Constitution makes these requirements for legislative districts (Article III, sections 25 and 26):

(25) “The State shall be divided into senatorial districts of contiguous territory according to the number of qualified electors, as nearly as may be, and each district shall be entitled to elect one senator, and no single county shall be entitled to more than one senator.

(26) “The members of the House of Representatives shall be apportioned among the several counties, according to the number of population in each, as nearly as may be, on a ratio obtained by dividing the population of the State, as ascertained by the most recent United States census, by the number of members of which the house is composed; provided, that, whenever a single county has sufficient population to be entitled to a representative, such county shall be formed into a separate representative district, and when two or more counties are required to make up the ration of representation such counties shall be contiguous to each other; and when any one county has more than sufficient population to be entitled to one or more representatives, such representative or representatives shall be apportioned to such county, and for any surplus of population it may be joined in a representative district with any other contiguous county or counties.

Now, take a look at (1) the current c0ngressional districting map for Texas (http://congdistdata.tamu.edu/USCongressionalDistricts.pdf), (2) The current Texas Senate districting map (http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/leg/features/0400_04/plans01188.html), and (3) the current Texas House districting map (http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/leg/features/0400_02/planh01369.html). You tell me whether or not you think that these districts are gerrymandered or if they meet the requirements of the Texas Constitution.*

[*By the way, when I was doing my Google searches for the Texas state government district maps, two of the results that popped up were “Dante’s Inferno – Circle 8 – Subcircles 1-6 – Cantos 18-23” and “Dante’s Purgatorio – Terrace 5: Avarice And Prodigality”. Do any of my readers find that as unbelievably funny as I do? Just curious.]

To have a functioning democracy, it isn’t enough to have the right to vote. We must also have both a selection of candidates from which to chose AND the power to determine who WE want in office rather than who the Parties want. Right now, for all practical purposes to be a candidate for any of the offices which I have covered, you must have all of your paperwork in the hands of the Texas Secretary of State on the first business day of January. This allows candidates to be listed on the ballots in time for the state primary elections. Parties like the Libertarian Party have to use conventions to determine their nominees which use a slightly different schedule than the primary schedule, but the filing deadline is the same.

So, what is it about our elections, as described by me up to this point, which rob voters of power over our elections? First, there is no opportunity for citizens to see which races do not have any competition and then work to raise more candidates. This means that even the two major Parties are stuck with whoever met the filing deadline. Second, while minor Parties (Libertarian, Green, etc.) have to use a convention method to choose their candidates, those candidates STILL have to have their paperwork filed by the January filing deadline. This means that the convention delegates can ONLY “choose” candidates who met the filing deadline. They have no opportunity to control the process and, except in elections when they have more than one member of their party to choose from, are stuck with whoever had their paperwork in on time. There are processes to declare a write-in candidacy or to get on the ballot as an unaffiliated / Independent candidate, but are not practical means in the state of Texas to give the voters more choices or options besides those who handed in a notarized form by the first business day after New Year’s.

To truly be in control of who represents them in their governments, the process has to be designed to remove the power of the Parties over the process. We need districts which are completely non-partisan and politically neutral. We need to make it easier for more candidates to get on the ballots. We need enough candidates running for every office that all of the Parties will need to actively campaign to win their Party’s nomination in the primaries and conventions before they campaign for the actual office. We need to examine different methods of voting which put control of the outcomes in the hands of the electorate. (http://blavier.newsvine.com/_news/2009/04/21/2714028-the-laboratory-of-democracy-alternative-voting-methods-approval-voting-re-edited) We need to reduce the costs of filing for office by independents and others who do not have the backing of a Party which has ballot access, and of running a campaign for office. We also need to remove the bureaucratic barriers which make it difficult to even be on the ballot.

The thing is, if we were to solve all of the issues which I have raised, we will end up with better people in office. While many people complain about the lengths and costs of campaigns by candidates for the office of President, there is one good benefit of the process, which is that it hones a candidate’s skills and message, AND gives the press time to learn more about the candidates than the candidates might want us to know. Winning an election to become the President of The United States does not make a candidate a victor, it makes them a survivor. The other main benefit to the voters making changes to our election process is that we will end up with officeholders with a wide range of beliefs, skills, and knowledge. Diversity is not found in the color of someone’s skin, their gender or their sexual orientation; it is found when you have people with differing beliefs working together to create our laws and operate our governments. Homogeneity of ideas is the worst enemy of true diversity.

As much as people of any particular ideology might think that having people holding the same ideological beliefs as they do in every office would create a perfect government, they are wrong. Good decisions are not made when everyone agrees; they are made when people with differing beliefs can work together and challenge each other to make the best decisions. (http://blavier.newsvine.com/_news/2009/06/11/2918292-groupthink-as-a-political-mental-illness-part-i, http://blavier.newsvine.com/_news/2009/06/15/2933680-groupthink-as-a-political-mental-illness-part-ii) I recently ran across a blog, called ‘Divided We Stand, United We Fall’, which has apparently been around since 2007. It has some very good stuff in it but I want to point my readers to a particular article on that site (http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/2007/07/curing-libertarian-political-impotence.html).

This is why I say that the SINGLE most important issue for the Libertarians in the 2010 election is the redistricting which will be done by Texas (and the other states) in 2011. Unless we can literally change the political map next year, we will simply spend another decade as a fringe party which has no REAL impact on our laws or on the operation of our government. This is the case that the Libertarian Party needs to be making to the citizens of Texas, as well as to voters all across The United States. We need to make sure that the voters in every district know that, while they have no power to determine who gets elected by voters in other districts, they can still have an impact by choosing to send Libertarians, in those districts which have Libertarian candidates, or people of differing ideologies that the current prevailing ones as their representatives in Austin and in all of the other state capitals. NONE of many problems can be fixed if we don’t have the best people in office to work on them. If we cannot make them understand the importance of redistricting as a way for THEM to have more power over those in political office, then we will fail them. Voters may get the “government that they deserve” but, if we can’t give them real choices about who they can vote into office, they will never have to opportunity to deserve a better government.

For more information, please see http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/6_printable.html.

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor

© Copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

The Next Greatest Generation?

In Activism, Congress, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Economics, Fraud, Libertarian, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Pork, Republican, Spending, Taxation, US Government on January 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I know of very few people in America today who would disagree with the statement that America is heading for a mountain cliff heedless of the dangers which will await us once we plunge over it. While people of differing ideologies might not agree about the various factors which are pushing us farther and farther into danger, I think that one thing that can be agreed upon by all factions is that our national budgets / spending are out of control and is one of the contributing factors. There are two basic topics which I want to discuss with this article. One is about some factors which I think compound the problems and combine to make our nation fiscally unsustainable. The other is a call to action and sacrifice by my own generation.

Have you ever wondered how one politician can claim that government spending has been reduced while another politician can claim that government spending has been increased and, yet, they can both be telling us the “truth” while our financial problems continue to get worse and worse with each passing year? Well, we can thank the idea of “baseline budgeting” for making such political contortionism possible. Baseline budgeting is the concept that, for a new budget year, you will draw a line at specific totals of spending from the previous budget (the baseline) and you then incrementally increase spending above that baseline. Thus, one politician can say that spending has been cut if the amount of money that will be allocated above the baseline is less than what might otherwise be allocated while the other can say that spending has increased because the current budget is higher than the previous one. In neither case, however, has the issue of the already bloated budget mess been addressed.

On the opposite end of the possible budgeting methods is “zero-based budgeting”. Zero-based budgeting is the process of building a brand new budget from the ground up each and every year. As stated in the Small Business Accounting Guide, “(ZBB) is a method of budgeting which requires you to justify all planned expenditures for each of your new business period[s]. It defers [sic] from traditional incremental methods which may only require you to explain the amounts you need in excess of the previous period’s funding.” (http://www.small-business-accounting-guide.com/zero-based-budgeting.html)

Baseline budgeting is easier for politicians who either can’t be bothered to spend the time necessary to actually create an annual budget from the ground up or who don’t want to cut pet projects and excess pork that benefits their own constituents (and thus, their chances of getting re-elected). Baseline budgeting also increases the likelihood that expenditures will be made annually that no one is actually aware of. To make a baseline budget sustainable over a period of years or even generations, you must have an infinite and ever increasing source of money and resources. Without such an infinite or growing pool of resources, taxes must be continually raised and new sources of taxation must be found, otherwise you have a system which continually increasingly overextends itself. Eventually, the golden goose (the taxpayers and revenue sources) die, leave or rebel because they have no more to give.

If you want to see a demonstration of why continuous baseline budgeting without a sufficient resource pool to draw from creates an unsustainable economy try this, get some Legos® and attach one block to a Lego base. So far, so good, it is solidly grounded. Now, what you do from there is to continue adding new Legos to the stack (not the base, the stack) you have started EXCEPT that, instead of placing new Legos completely over the ones already there, you add each subsequent Lego one step off from the one below. This creates a stair-like effect. The problem is that, without addition support from its base, you eventually reach a point where the weight on the topmost and farthest point of the stack is too great to be supported by the base and the end topples over. When it does collapse though, the top block is not the only one that falls off. Because of the connectivity of the blocks to the ones above and below them, most of the stack will collapse. THAT is the end result of continuous baseline budgeting.

Another way to look at it is that our government is a drug addict and the drug which they need to get high is tax dollars. As with any long-term and strung out junkie, the amount of drugs needed to give them their fix increases. Junkies do not make wise choices. The will ignore food, hygiene, love, any and everything which does not contribute to their high. They will also beg, borrow and steal money from anywhere that they can in order to buy them their drugs because they can’t make rational decisions. Eventually, those who have willingly or unwillingly financed their habit want their money back. If you don’t see where this is going, try watching the movie Less Than Zero and imagine that the character played by Robert Downey, Jr. is our government.

Things would be bad enough if baseline budgeting was the ONLY budgeting problem that our government has. Unfortunately for us (the taxpayers) there are quite a few other flaws in the system. As a result, simply changing our budgeting method to a zero-base budgeting system (or to any one of several other possible ideas, such as program based budgeting) will not fix the problems with government expenditures.

Another of the problems (out of many) is that budgets are made based on PROJECTIONS of what Congress and the President THINK our national income will be for a given year. As a result, the actual amount of what is available is always wrong. If the projection is too high, then money will have to be “borrowed” to make a budget work. If the projection is too low then the excess money will STILL be used to fund SOMETHING. How this problem works is that taxes are due in April and usually by October, the government has a pretty good idea of what they actually have to spend. This is good because it coincides with America’s fiscal year. This is bad because what is being budgeted for is the fiscal year starting the NEXT October. While it would be painful to remedy this (and take several years), the time to present the next year’s budget can be moved back by two or three months each year until eventually budgets that are presented are based on what the real government income was (and which has been in “the bank”) since the PREVIOUS October. This, again, draws back to the analogy of the drug addict and trying to clean him up and wean him off of his drugs. Right now, we are theoretically spending money a year before we have it. We need to move things back until we are only allowed to spend what we have had in our hands since the previous October.

On another front, while in THEORY the budget is made up of a lot of individual budgets for all of the different budget areas, what is now the common practice is to make the process so continuous and time consuming that eventually Congress is forced by time limits to roll everything up into huge and monstrous constructs, so big that NO ONE can actually know what is contained within them, called omnibus budget bills. ( http://corporate.cq.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=232) As a way to delay the “need” of passing of omnibus budget bills, Congress can, and does, pass what is called a “continuing resolution” or a CR. (http://www.thisnation.com/question/003.html) What a CR does is authorize the government to continue spending what it is already spending based on the lowest possible amount… the amount proposed by the Senate, the amount proposed by the House, or the actual expenditure. While holding spending at the lowest level asked for might, on the surface, sound good, it is usually a political ploy to either hurt programs not liked by some members of Congress or to continue funding a pet project that might otherwise be cut. This game is played out until the “clock” runs out and, viola, the only option available is to pass yet another omnibus package.

There are many more problems which simply screw the taxpayer each year, such as earmarks, pet projects, hidden budgets, etc. Did you know that Congress gets an AUTOMATIC pay raise every year unless it votes to specifically NOT give itself a pay raise in any particular year? Because of a law passed in 1989, Congress doesn’t have to do anything or pass anything to get their automatic raise each year. If they do NOTHING they get the raise. (http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/agencies/a/raise4congress.htm) In addition, for a nation which was designed to have no permanent political class, elected office now comes with huge pensions and benefits. (http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/20/commentary/wastler/wastler/index.htm).

In addition, our legislatures operate under a sort of reverse-NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) philosophy when it comes to spending taxpayer’s money. I say reverse because (unlike politicians doing whatever they can to keep anything potentially negative from happening in the locations that they represent, no matter how necessary they might be or how they might be the best solutions for our nation, as a whole), politicians will say that we need to reduce spending EXCEPT for the spending that benefits their districts or states. Hey, we have too many military bases; no problem, we will close some, EXCEPT for the ones in my district. Wow, that project is a huge sinkhole for money but the money goes to my constituents so, by God, I will fight tooth and nail to keep it funded. Everyone agrees that spending needs to be cut but no one is willing to cut spending that benefits them or their businesses, no matter how much sense it might make to stop that spending. We have become a nation of whores who will justify any and every atrocity as long as we personally make money off of it. Such spending is nothing more that wholesale bribery by our legislatures to us, the people, to buy our votes to keep our Senators and Representatives in their jobs. “Every government is a parliament of whores; the thing is, in a democracy, the whores are us.”(Anyone who is interested in how our government works, or doesn’t work, but has not read P. J. O’Rourke’s brilliant Parliament of Whores needs to read it as soon as they can.)

So, what are some of the actual ways in which our government budgeting process and its resulting need for ever larger amounts of revenue harm the people of America. Well, for one thing, if we go back to the drug addict analogy, our government is not just addict, it is also a powerful “crime lord”. For a nation born from a tax revolt, America has become one of the most, if not the most, greedy and oppressive nations in the world when it comes to collecting taxes, even to the extent of its belief that collecting American taxes justifies its right to bully other nations into cooperating with the IRS. The United States is unique in the world in its obsession with collecting taxes from any and every American living outside of the US. (http://www.ivdgl.org/pages/c-lifeevents/expatriation.html) (http://wapedia.mobi/en/Tax_evasion) (http://www.richw.org/dualcit/faq.html#discover)

Unfortunately, this standard only seems to apply to individuals who the government can beat up on. Large American corporations can, for all intents and purposes, buy their way out of being taxed, even when they “base” themselves outside of The United States, by simply giving politicians “great heaping wads of cash” or, to use O’Rourke’s phrase, “more money than you can shake a stick at AND the stick”. If individual citizens were to do this, they would be considered “tax evaders” and prosecuted wherever they might relocate to. America wants “its” money and it is damn well going to get it, even if it means hounding geriatrics into their graves.

So, how can our national and state budgets be fixed before everything collapses? First, some generation is going to have to accept that it is going to be screwed, either by cutting or losing their own benefits or by being left holding the hot potato when it blows up. I realized this many years ago, when my own grandparents were still alive and I, in my twenties, listened to my grandfather get very angry about anything being done or even talked about by the government which might lessen his own benefits without any concern for what kind of mess would be left behind. Now, I loved my grandfather, he still is one of my heroes, but, at that moment, all I could think was “You selfish bastard; what about your own grandkids?

I realize that it is unconscionable to take away from people who have already entered their last years because they cannot rebuild their own lives. We cannot expect those generations to harm themselves like that. If sacrifices are going to be made, one of the younger generations will have to make them. Just as it is not reasonable to ask the dying generations to make such sacrifices, it is immoral to say to younger generations “I don’t care what happens to you or what you are left with. I’m going to get mine while I can and to Hell with anyone else.” (This, of course, is essentially the foundation of Ayn Rand’s objectivist “philosophy”.) This is where my call to action comes in. While this mess was created and worsened by the generations of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, if my own generation doesn’t simply suck it up and take the bullet, it will be the generations of our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will be hurt, and even worse than we would be by taking the hit now.

My grandfather’s generation has been called “the greatest generation” because it fought and died to save the world from the Axis powers in WWII. How can any of us expect to beat what they did? What we can do is harm ourselves in order to make things better for the generations which follow us and, maybe, give them something to live up to. We can become “the NEXT greatest generation”. This is my call to my own generation; this is my call for us to be heroes to the generations that follow us. Let us make the painful choices now. Let us absorb the harm, the lessening of benefits, the belt tightening, the need to rely on others to personally help us because we won’t be getting the help from the government that many of us will need.

I would also ask my readers to keep in mind that not only is my monthly government disability check my own source of income; I have no children to either rely upon or to worry about leaving our messes to. I have every reason to keep things the way that they are now and no reason to worry about how any future generations might be harmed. I have nothing to gain in this and everything to lose, but, if it would help future generations, I would willingly give up what I personally get and need. Would any others from my generation agree to make the necessary sacrifices themselves? Can we be the ones who clean up the mess that has been left to us? Do we have to courage to make ourselves “the next greatest generation”?

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

© copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

Williamson Declares for Regional Representative

In Activism, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, People in the news on January 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Williamson Declares for Regional Representative
By Scott M. Williamson

With tax revolts springing up through the grassroots, medical marijuana initiatives sweeping the country, and a renewed commitment to ending Real ID, the Libertarian Party has an exciting future ahead. As the liberty message catches on, our party has a unique opportunity to grow and elect candidates nationwide. To harness this political energy to advance the drive for liberty in our country, we need new energy on the Libertarian National Committee.
Scott
Last month, I contacted State Party leaders and grass roots activist. I said I was listening. What did you want to tell me? You told me ballot access, outreach, local campaigns, and activist training were at the top of your agenda. I’ve heard your message. I believe I can help set our party on the path that you asked for. I am excited to announce my candidacy for Regional Representative for the current region four.

Our National Committee’s first responsibility is a fiduciary one. Committee members have a moral obligation to insure the party’s money is spent wisely. It is not only how much money you spend, but what you are spending the money to do. As a Regional Representative I will seek to change where the LNC spends our money. More of our money should be spent on the work of politics. A key issue is transparency, donors need to know where their money is spent.

You can lose an election and win a campaign. In many states we gain ballot access if a candidate wins a percentage of the state wide vote. If we spent money in these states on statewide campaigns we could gain ballot access in that state. This could lead to spending less on ballot access in Presidential election years and free up more money for campaigns and for ballot access in those states where it is the hardest to gain ballot access.

As your regional representative I will continue listen to what you have to say. By keeping in regular contact with state and local leaders and sharing your good work with the party as a whole, I will facilitate communications between the states in our region, so you can adopt what is working from other states and avoid things that are not working.

The hard work of politics is done by those who volunteer their time and money. It is you the local activist who spreads the message of individual freedom and personal responsibility. It is you the local activist who digs deep into your own pockets to support candidates and issues. Our National committee should be helping you more. The National Committee should provide online, free, usable brochures, web page templates for our candidates, and training for people who want to run for office or campaign for an issue.

As we continue to reach out to those at tax revolts, antiwar rallies, gun festivals, and audit the Fed groups we will expand our party membership. We need to harness the talent and experience we already have in our party and offer training to those who wish to join us in our fight for freedom.

These are just a few ideas that will set us on the paths you advocated in your letters and phone calls last month. I am excited about the future of our party and have the energy to help lead the way. I look forward to continually hearing your ideas and working with you to bring about a libertarian society. Together we can change the country. I ask for your support and look forward to meeting you in Saint Louis, if not sooner.

The current Region 4 includes Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Scott Williamson is currently the S.T.A.R Representative of Outright Libertarians USA, Chair of Outright Libertarians Nashville and the Secretary for the Libertarian Party of Nashville and Davidson County. He is often a guest on Queer Talk Radio and Out and About TV political round table where he promotes the libertarian philosophy to the GLBT community. Scott holds a degree in Political Science and resides in Nashville, TN with his partner Brian Rhinehart. Scott Williamson can be contacted at scott.williamson01@comcast.net

The Cost of Doing Business

In Activism, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Spending on December 29, 2009 at 10:27 pm

When I moved my family from Michigan to Nashville three years ago one of the decisions we had to make was where we were going to live. We could have chosen to live in the heart of the action and moved to a loft in down town Nashville. We chose to spend half as much and move to a neighborhood. Sure, when we go to see a ball game or attend a play we have to fight traffic and drive downtown. In the long run, by living away from downtown we free up thousands of dollars a year to spend on other things.

If you run a business or run a household you know that we make economic decisions daily. Often the issue is not how much you spend; it is how you are spending it.  By spending money on one thing you now have less to spend on other things. This is a lesson Libertarians have been trying to teach government for years.

In order for the Libertarian Party to have moral authority to teach this lesson it is imperative that we make sure as a party we are wisely spending our own money. Federal Election Commission December report shows the LNC pay’s $10,928.89 a month for office space.  To put this into some perspective, a sustaining member pays $25.00 annually for their membership; it takes over 437 sustaining members a month to pay the rent on our Washington, D.C office. If you are a sustaining member, it took you and 5,245 others to pay the rent on our national office in 2009.

Just like that loft in Nashville, the Watergate office puts us right in the heart of the action. But, could this money have been spent more wisely? If the Ron Paul campaign taught us anything, it has taught us that donors care more about your web address then they do your office address.  The Milken Institute publishes a “cost of doing business” index every year. Recent findings by the institute showed the average cost of office rentals in all fifty states and ranked the state of Virginia in the exact middle. The average monthly office rent in the State of Virginia is $1.72 a square foot.  The monthly cost of our Washington, D.C. office is $4.00 per square foot.  If you were to move the D.C. office into Virginia (which is within driving distance to Washington D.C.) the party could conceivable free up close to $80,000 annually to spend on other things.

The FEC December report also shows the LNC spent a total of $0 on candidates in 2009. Several states grant automatic ballot access for the party if a candidate for a state wide office obtains a certain percentage of the vote. We can lose an election and win a campaign. When our state candidates gain a certain percentage, the national party is often rewarded with ballot access for our presidential candidate.  What if the party spends less on an office and more on our candidates, on ballot access and outreach? It is within the realm of believability that by financially supporting state wide candidates we could end up spending less on ballot access in some states. By having to spending less on ballot access in some states we could spend more on candidate’s campaigns and ballot access in other states. You can imagine how this ripple effect could turn out.

I am not advocating moving the national office into Virginia. In the electronic age we live in, the national office could conceivable be located anywhere. South Dakota ranked the cheapest place to have an office at a monthly rate of $1.15 a square foot. I am advocating a serious look into the expensive cost of running an office out of Washington, D.C. I am advocating that we as a party look at how we spend our money. Most importantly I am advocating we spend more on the real work of a political party, outreach and campaigns, and less on having an office in Washington D.C.

Scott Williamson is currently the S.T.A.R Representative of Outright Libertarians USA, Chair of Outright Libertarians Nashville and the Secretary for the Libertarian Party of Nashville and Davidson County. He is often a guest on Queer Talk Radio and Out and About TV political round table where he promotes the libertarian philosophy to the GLBT community. Scoot is currently considering running for LNC Regional Representative.  Scott holds a degree in Political Science and resides in Nashville, TN with his partner Brian Rhinehart. You can read more by Mr. Williamson at www.outrightnashville.com; and, you can contact Scott at scott.williamson01@comcast.net.

Loving Our Veterans

In Civil Liberties, Human Rights Abuses, Protest on November 25, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Loving our Veterans

By Don Meinshausen

freedonnow@yahoo.com

 

Despite the holidays of Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day there is little appreciation for veterans. Oh there may be a few generals and politicians pontificating and maybe a parade and a concert but that’s usually seen as patriotic blather for the media and for the declining numbers that remember the conflict or care.  Very few show up. Most go to the beach or stay home.

 

Of course there is not much for the guys who really paid a big price in a war that are still with us.  The amputee, the horribly disfigured, with scarred psyches to match and those who will be in and out of hospitals for the rest of their lives.  And then there are those who were so heavily traumatized that they cannot handle the crowds, the rhetoric and the fireworks will not be brought out or would come out for these events.  It would be too upsetting for all concerned.

 

Now I am not a veteran and I am fortunate enough not to have anyone close to me who was so damaged.  Regardless of what you think of war or a particular conflict you can’t help but sympathize with their situation.  I have thought it would be an interesting experiment to survey those who really suffered in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq.  I’m not talking about the desk jockeys, short timers or those who saw little action even though they might have been willing to be in harm’s way.  Just to go to the ones who have really suffered and spent some time there and ask  “Was it worth it?”  Maybe they are just as divided as all Americans are years after the conflict. It stands to reason that they would have more wisdom on such conflicts than the pundits, armchair generals and chicken hawks that decide where the next war should be. I think that our wounded vets would be happy to give advice after all that time lying in beds in VA hospitals thinking about their decisions. I think that all of us reading this, hawk and dove alike, would agree that the counsel of such men would be valuable about the worth of war.

 

Most of us men decided not go to war. Only a few avoided due to conscience. Some used the system of deferments to avoid something unpleasant. Others avoided because of fear. Some still agonize over that decision not to serve.  While such a survey would be fascinating, I would not force these veterans through another painful reappraisal.  But many of them who are psychologically fit though scarred, are just waiting to be asked.  Maybe even men in the same unit who fought side by side and suffered the same wounds might have radically different ideas about their service.

 

There was a book called “The Warriors” that showed studies of veterans of different nations and conflicts who were interviewed about why they fought.  The reasons for their participation were not bravery, patriotism, and hatred of the enemy, ideology or religious values.  The primary reason was the bonding of the men who fought side by side and the honor shared between them.

 

This holds especially true for the terribly scarred, whether physically and emotionally, returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Let us not make the same mistake we did with the Vietnam veterans who were ignored. They had such high addiction and homeless problems that laws were passed banning discrimination based on service in Vietnam.  The trauma veterans suffer is obvious even after decades have lapsed. It is so widespread that the military is considering asking the government to change the law to allow the use of psychedelics, like MDMA, to treat their veterans PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder.

 

In my middle class hometown of Nutley, New Jersey there was a man named Eddie who was a veteran of the First World War.  He would walk the streets and sometimes started screaming.  He was brought home from the war for being shell-shocked or PTSD.  He still heard the shells explode almost fifty years after the war ended.

 

 

Do you remember the movie “Born on the Fourth of July”?  A young marine shot and crippled in Vietnam returns home and travels with a friend to a town outside the US.  The town is known among veterans for its brothels and bars.  The women there are very sympathetic and very poor and not bad looking.  The movie shows the town as a continuous party with too much drinking. But remember what they have been through. It seems to help but its not officially noted by the veteran’s groups or the VA.

 

This makes sense.  The great sex destinations of the Pacific to this day are Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand and Angeles in the Philippines.  These sex tourist towns got their start courtesy of the US military during the 60’s and were regulated by them.  During the Vietnam War R&R (Rest and Recreation) was called I&I (Intercourse and Intoxication) to the soldiers who went to Bangkok and Pattaya.  Angeles served the Clark Air Force Base and a nearby naval base.  In fact Angeles American Legion Post has a high membership because retirees can find a wife or young girlfriend there who actually wants a relationship. Veterans are very respected here.

 

Back to our disabled veterans who in their minds and remaining body parts are still manly studs and needing affection.  Even with the sexual revolution of carefree contraception these guys find it next to impossible to get laid.  No medal is going to make up for the loss of appearance and self-esteem of missing eyes, hearing, limbs, bodily functions, looks and peace of mind.  Even if they can wheelchair out of a VA hospital, how can these guys go out to a local bar where they will be stared at?

 

There is also the movie “Coming Home” about a disabled Vietnam vet that does get an American woman to fall in love with him with no financial motive.  The American woman happens to be Jane Fonda, and for the life of me I can’t understand why a woman who would go to bat (so to speak) for disabled Vietnam vets is so scorned by veteran groups.

 

There is no movie from a conservative point of view that shows a disabled Vietnam or Iraq war vet who finds love.  Sexual or romantic fantasies via Hollywood would help a lot.  These men still need sex.  These men still need to be held and loved.  The women who provide it whether out of money, personal need or financial support can show love and care as well as any nurse or wife. Some hookers even marry these guys.

 

Many women do this to support parents and their children.  No woman should be forced to be a prostitute, but it can be an ennobling profession.  To be able to combine passion and compassion and give it to guys who may be so traumatized that they cannot respond emotionally is practically sainthood in my opinion. This is the reason that there was in ancient society a tradition of sacred prostitution. Such acts of love and the teaching of love were considered homage to the Goddess.

 

I think of women who respond to soldier’s needs as Valkyrie. They were the Rhine Maidens of German Wagnerian folklore who picked up the dead heroes off the battlefield and carried them to Valhalla or paradise.  Amazon Grace, how sweet the sound, to save a wretch like me.

 

The juxtaposition of sex and death is a powerful one and can be misused. The Valkyrie image was used to motivate women in Nazi Germany to drop Victorian mores and marriage requirements to help repopulate the Reich’s battle casualties in state sanctioned sexual celebration. This release from the strict sexual mores of Germany also was used to motivate potential soldiers as well. The progeny were to be raised by the state or state approved families

This was actually a way to destroy family structure as well as a way to enforce racism.

 

There is a different archetype of women in war that is emerging. There are now women soldiers dressed in khaki to help search and interrogate civilian women and some see actual combat. In Israel they do practically all the jobs that male soldiers do. The more safer, saner and more feminist version of the woman/warrior image is the fantasy/science fiction vixen in Heavy Metal or biker chick attired in studded black leather bikinis and a sword.  Totally hot.  Totally cool.  Sexy, but not my cup of tea and not the model of compassion that might be appropriate here for those traumatized by war.  Besides women are outnumbered by men in the military. Many of these guys can’t get this kind of action, so to poor countries they go.

 

 

In third world countries, twenty bucks for a sex act is more pay than a week’s work in a sweatshop of twelve-hour days.  And you can’t work on your back in a factory or pulling a plow.  Of course the guys are not always so bad and the girls are not always so good.  But with a legal system of brothels men are protected against disease and theft.  Women also have protection against violent and drunken men and predators.

 

According to a prostitution rights activist, based on the Green River killings and other reports there are several unknown serial killers who prey on prostitutes and hitchhikers in every American metropolitan area.  When their activities are illegal and scorned by society, prostitutes are so afraid of the system that many don’t even report rapes, robberies or missing co-workers. The police would rather ignore, exploit or arrest them. In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico many mutilated bodies have been found and hundreds of women are missing.

 

In sex tourist areas even with a quasi-legal format, the hookers are more relaxed and friendly because they are safe from prisons, police rapes and psychotic customers.  Word gets out about who is crazy, alcoholic, dishonest, etc., and these people don’t get hired or serviced as the case might be.  Nicer people become popular and relationships sometimes form and the traditional heart of gold hooker becomes a reality. Extortionist pimping is rare.

 

Here even the most wretched have a chance for passion or even a relationship.  The US military and the State Department is now under pressure by the so-called Christian Right to close this venue even in foreign countries for civilians, soldiers and veterans alike.  We’ve heard it all before for decades.  Prostitution denigrates marriage.  It exploits women.  It gives foreigners a bad image of America.  Sleazy shock journalists, control freaks and moralizers ignore the underlying racism and fascism of attacking poor foreign women who want jobs and relationships with American men.  Nobody asks the servicemen or veterans, who like the ladies’ attention, the ladies themselves or even their neighbors who value the tourist money it brings.

 

Do we care about our servicemen and veterans enough to listen to what they want?  Let me put it this way.  Why don’t all those nice church groups volunteer to give these poor disabled heroes charity sex or porn?  It would be part of the great tradition of pubic support for American servicemen that goes back to World War 2.

 

There were women in America back then called Victory Girls or V Girls like the Valkyrie.  They worked or hung out at USO canteens, dance halls and bars and offered something more sought for than a doughnut. They flouted the strict moral standards of the day by having sex without marriage with soldiers on their way to the front.  In those days any woman who did not hold onto her virginity until marriage was considered a whore. No respectable man would marry her and could have the marriage annulled if she did not bleed on her wedding night. Why should our heroes have to die a virgin or rush into marriage?  These men were risking their lives and honor and the women thought they had an obligation to do the same.  (Venereal disease was such a risk that sometimes they were called VD girls.) . Considering that many soldiers dying young in combat would never have a chance at passion and that many women would not have a chance at marriage due to so many soldiers dying the answer would seem obvious today. But then was a different morality.

 

Still they helped the men the best way they knew to help their morale.  Considering their reduced opportunities to find men during and after the war it was the logical marriage strategy since if the guy came back the relationship could re-ignite.

 

There are many statues of generals and rulers who start and run wars in our parks and military cemeteries. These types rarely see the blood and gore of war and they do profit by it. There are few statues of soldiers who suffer greatly and are poorly compensated for their pain. There are still fewer statues of nurses who had their hands full of traumatized, wounded and needy men.

 

Someday there will be a statue of those whose contribution has been ignored or covered in shame. They took care of our soldiers most deep, personal wants that no one in command would even acknowledge. There should be a statue or some recognition of the V-Girls and prostitutes. They have taken care of wounded, traumatized and lonely soldiers and veterans for ages uncounted.

 

 

But to get that statue a statute need to be repealed. Let’s legalize prostitution to help our soldiers and veterans.  At least send some porn to your local VA hospital.  You do care about veterans, don’t you?

 

Don Meinshausen is a founder of the libertarian movement in that he organized the draft card burning at the 1969 YAF convention, which is regarded in “Radicals for Capitalism” as the “founding of the modern libertarian movement.”  He is also known for his connections with Robert Anton Wilson, Karl Hess and Timothy Leary and being a former political prisoner. He is looking for work in any part of the country.

 

Where Was The Libertarian Party?

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Medical Marijuana, People in the news, Politics, Republican, US Government on November 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Election Day 2009 has come and gone. Relatively speaking, this election was as insignificant as any off-year election is, as opposed to a mid-term election, but it still could have been an important year for the Libertarian Party, if we had simply bothered to show up. There were six elections / ballot initiatives which could have possibly been affected by the Libertarian Party… if we actually had a long-term strategic plan. As it is, some things happened for which it is notable that the LP had no role in. In no particular order, let’s look at where we could have had real impacts this year.

Governor’s Race – New Jersey: New Jersey voters tossed out their incumbent Democratic Governor, Corizine, in favor of Republican Chris Christie. It may have happened because Corizine is very unpopular with the citizens of his government-corruption prone state .While Christie’s election is not necessarily a bad thing, what made this election notable was that it swung on independent voters. Christie won 49% of the vote, Corizine won 44% and independent candidate Chris Dagget walked away with 5% of the vote.

Governor’s Race – Virginia: Republican candidate, Bob McConnell, with 60% of the vote, easily won election over his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds. For over 35 years, Virginians have consistently voted into office Governors of the opposition party to that of a sitting President, so this win might have seemed inevitable. What made this race notable for the LP is that it was again the independent voters who made the difference. In 2008, Virginia bucked its own tradition of voting for Republican presidential candidates and, instead, voted for Democratic candidate Obama. In that case, Obama won because Virginia’s independent voters were pretty evenly split between Obama and McCain. This year, however, independent voters were 2 – 1 in favor of McConnell and we can see the results from that quite easily.

Mayor’s Race – New York: In this race, Independent candidate Michael Bloomberg won a very narrow victory against his Democratic opponent, the essentially unknown City Comptroller. The name of the Democratic candidate is not important. What is important is that even with spending approximately $100,000,000 (yes, 100 million) dollars of his own money, Bloomberg only won 51% of the total vote, only 5 points ahead of his Democratic opponent. This will be Bloomberg’s third term, which was only possible because he supported changes to New York City’s term limit law, which had limited mayors to only being able to be elected for two terms. A strong Libertarian presence could have raised the term-limit issue by speaking strongly for them.

House of Representatives Race – New York’s 23rd District: What can be said here that hasn’t already been said? In what was probably the most noteworthy race of 2009? For the first time in over 150 years, this district will not be represented by a Republican. The story is remarkable. The Republican Party chose Dede Scozzafava, an NRA-approved candidate who also was pro-choice and in favor of same-sex marriage. The Democratic Party chose an un-noteworthy sacrificial lamb, Bill Owens, because the New York state House has a one person majority and they didn’t want to risk losing that majority by running their state Representative in an “unwinnable” race. So what happened? The far-right stepped in and ran their own Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, against Scozzafava. Why? Because she wasn’t conservative enough to satisfy far-right extremists, like Sarah Palin and Dick Armey. I think that this race was probably the most important this year because for what it signifies. The extreme far-right conservatives are not interested in Republican Party loyalty, they put political ideology above all else. Hoffman had no knowledge of or concern for “his” district’s local issues, he didn’t even live in that district In a move reminiscent of the worst examples of the “rotten boroughs” in British politics before the 20th century, the national leaders in the far-right conservative movement found someone whose only “qualification” was the purity of his ideology. Don’t worry though, if Hoffman HAD won, he promised that he would move into the District he would then be representing. Scozzafava eventually pulled out of the race and put her support behind the Democratic candidate. The extreme conservatives didn’t simply put their own candidate in a roll to beat the Republican candidate; they chased a loyal Republican out of the Republican Party, itself. In the end, enough loyal Republicans still voted for her that Conservative Hoffman lost. The final tally? 49% to 45% to 6%. I told you, folks… they’re eating their own.

This race, more than any other, demonstrates the collectivist desires of the extreme far-right conservatives… Local issues are not important to them; they want nothing less than to fill Congress with extreme conservative political ideologues who will put the desires of the conservative movement above every other consideration. Ideological purity is their litmus test, and having elected officials who will do the bidding of political masters instead of serving the needs of their constituents is a model for a one-party state with a collectivist government. We have seen such systems before and, trust me; their loyalty is NOT to their constituents… it is to their party. The far-right conservative extremist movement is trying to lead America down a very dangerous road.

In addition to these for elections, there were two ballot initiates that need to also be included in our summary. The first of these was the vote to overturn the law which passed the Maine legislature that made same-sex marriage legal in Maine. Drawing an immense amount of support from OUTSIDE the state, the conservatives managed to overturn that law by garnering 53% of the public vote to repeal it. The other ballot initiative we need to make note of was the approval in Breckenridge, Colorado of a law which decriminalizes all personal possession of one-ounce or less of marijuana. State and federal laws are still in place but for the first time, a city has stood up and said “it isn’t worth the government fighting to enforce those laws”. And who was responsible for this victory? If you said the Libertarian Party, you would be completely wrong. The organization that was responsible for getting 71% of the voters to approve that law was the modestly named ‘Sensible Colorado’… 71 freaking percent of the voters approved this and the LP had no hand in (and, thus, get no credit for) this win. Both of these initiatives were about personal freedom, personal MORAL freedom. If we, as Libertarians, are not the ones who can stand up for the side of freedom, then who the hell needs us?

So, what lessons should the LP learn from these elections? A couple of things. One is that being an extreme far-right, conservative neo-Republican party will not win for us. Those people are not disaffected, they are simply scared. They have their own machine and we would simply get swallowed entirely by them… and good-bye to the Libertarian Party. Another lesson is that independents really do matter. They might not be enough to win an election on their own, but that can certainly swing an election. In these elections we can all see the importance of a liberal movement. If we can mobilize it, we can win. The moderates, independents and liberals who turned out in numbers sufficient to elect Obama last year are the unmotivated and disaffected pool of voters we can turn to. There is power there, strength that is simply waiting to be utilized.

The Republicans are feeling elated about winning the two governor’s races this year. They are patting themselves on the back by seeing importance on the wrong victories. While governors might be the Chief Executives in their state, they have no role in formulating national legislation. The two House elections this year, both of which were won by the Democratic candidates, are much more significant in the larger picture of current American politics. What this says about the 2010 election possibilities is fascinating.

Candidates in reliable Republican districts will now be facing primary challenges from the far-right if they are not seen as being ideologically pure enough. Why is that important? Remember center-left Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island? He had to spend most of what he had in his campaign war chest to beat a far-right Republican opponent for the Party’s nomination. After the primary fight, he didn’t have enough money left to effectively campaign for the Senate seat, itself, and he lost to the Democratic nominee. We can look for more of this in 2010 as big money from national figures fighting for their far-right agenda will flood into the coffers of Republican candidates who aren’t seen as being conservatively pure. Any primaries in which the far-right challenger looses will leave the winner with little or no money to campaign for the actual seat or office in question.

Since Obama’s election a year ago, he has turned this country’s very active liberal base into an unmotivated “lost generation” looking for someone to give them hope. THAT is where our future lies. WE need to be the ones who can break the American liberals out of their ennui, to rally and mobilized the untapped political power they represent. THEY are the people who can make or break elections. Those people are looking for leadership and hope. Now is the time to bring back Ed Clark’s Libertarian movement. Now is when we need his “low-tax liberals” to rise up again and take the Libertarian Party back from the neo-Republicans. In every one of the elections I have mentioned here, WE could have made a difference, we could have made ourselves known again to the general public, we could have been leaders… and, to be politically viable, our future rest with being able to harness the unfocused liberalism which Obama has let wither away. The conservative extremists are destroying the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is showing itself to be incapable of leadership. There are holes being torn in American politics and, as nature abhors a vacuum, those holes WILL be filled. What we have to ask ourselves is, can we the party that fills those holes?

Since 1984, the LP has driven itself to an extreme end of the American political spectrum, an end that is mostly allied with the extreme far-right. That is not what first attracted the general public to the idea of libertarianism. It was the combination of the ideas of fiscal responsibility AND liberal social policies that first put the LP on the lips of the American people. Both the Republicans and the Democrats parties are moving farther and deeper into their own ideological extremes. I believe that any two-party system is going to naturally gravitate between polar opposites. The reason that it is important for America to also have a centrist party is because there needs to be a party that can comfortably welcome people from the right, left and middle. What makes the Libertarian party important is not conservative or liberal politics; it is our view of the role and function of government. What we oppose is authoritarianism. Personally, I am pretty far to the left while the political figure I know and admire the most is pretty far to the right; I believe that some government is necessary and she is an anarchist. Where we find commonality is our shared belief that neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party are serving the American people. THAT is why we both share a belief in libertarian philosophy, and the day that we can get both my moderate right Republican father and my independent green (liberal AND vegetarian) sister to vote for our candidates is the day that we will know that we have arrived.

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

How War Does Speed

In Activism, Corruption, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Humor, Iraq War, Libertarian, Military, War on October 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm

War is not the health of the state. At least not in the long run. I respect Randolph Bourne and his cogent observation that  “War is the health of the state”. But he is far too lenient in diagnosing war and that psychopathic institution of monopolistic coercion, which is the state. Rather war is the amphetamine of the state and speeds it along to its destruction along with the attending population.

War is a collective addiction of those who are vetted for violence and recklessness. They charge into areas laden with known lethal dangers. Amphetamine (or Amvet-a-mine?) is a capsule description of this addictive drug. It comes in many forms, as does war. It has been described to me by an addict as giving initially a rush of power, a feeling of purpose that drives eventually to conflict. One goes into the most difficult of projects with gusto only to be distracted later into another one. As its use continues headlong into constant use it brings on paranoia, exhaustion, anger and lack of judgment. One forgets simply how to take care of oneself and family as nourishment, health and hygiene fall by the wayside. Initial goals are forgotten for while the drive becomes for more and more of the experience itself. It ends up in despair, delusions, discord, disease and death.

It has been prescribed and proscribed by people who are doctors. It is designed in laboratories and manufactured in factories. This was seen as a way to get more work out of a nation. They have also said it was a way to get out of a depression. It was also seen as a way to stop other drug use or just to generally wake people up.

These authorities also saw it as a way for people to become more aggressive and talkative. Every thought became concentration and power. It was hailed as a way to increase initiative, confidence and alertness. Some also used it to get in trim and decrease consumption. While it was given to adults to stimulate them it was also administered to children to keep them quiet. Many use it to keep an edge on themselves. They also want others under them to use it to validate their use.

The drug operates the same way as war. It is uniform in effects, which may be why so many of its users wear uniforms or think uniformly. So they are in an outfit, which is also a gang. The drug was widely used by many of those involved in fighting in World War II, whether they were up in the air while acting as pilots or in the tank shooting off. They became crack troops. Even those who were behind the lines with their nose close to their desk and just working the lines given them in factories were inhaling this rush to destruction. It seemed that you could get a lot more done while doing it. So nations became addicted and could not see imagine existence without it. Hitler was known to get a lot of shooting done and stealing to feed his all-consuming frenzy. It was injected through his works and became his daily life. So it became part of others as well. So there was a method of amphetamine in his madness.

Even now that methamphetamine is banned, there is a band of brothers involved in it. Motorcycle gangs, which are uniformly military in organization, appearance and predereliction for violence are the primary purveyors of speed. Some speed around the country in formations and formulate speed as well. The origin of the Hell’s Angels name comes from names of military units. These bikers wore black leather Air Force bomber jackets adorned with unit patches as well as old German military helmets when riding . . .

One of the ingredients of meth is ammonia. Ammonia is a fertilizer as well as a poison. It is released as a dead body decays and has an evil smell. It is available everywhere for everyone to use. It is also a harsh cleanser of the fabric of society.

A saying during war is “Keep your powder dry”. This is so as that this substance will not lose its explosiveness. This also applies to speed, which is powder as well as a shot. It can come in any color or packaging. It is often used as a source of amusement or display of patriotism and visual effects. However fireworks are just an amusing aspect of explosive powder. The explosive powder of power must be kept pure and packed into a tight shell and then is placed in the head that is prepared for launching. It is dangerous in its denseness and kept dry so it will ignite. It could be shot up or hurled into an opening.  There it breaks up into the energy of destruction, which ends in nothingness. The process usually repeats endlessly. It is an expensive habit to maintain. Keep alert, more than alert and the over-stimulation becomes a danger to the user. For this dry powder can kill friend and foe alike.

It is dangerous to make as well. One becomes connected to one’s product even without use. Stories abound of how manufacturers of this poison hurt and poison themselves or lose their lives and fortunes in explosions and fires. It’s been called by the godly an involvement in a satanic process. This dangerous edge may be a perverse incentive to some, like a shot of adrenalin.

It is said of dealers and manufacturers on the highest levels of this trade that they never get involved in this for personal use. It distorts good judgment and interferes with making a profit. And they do accumulate a lot of wealth and toys, more than they can ever use, in this trade of theirs.  This may be the mainline reason that they got involved in all of this dealing with death.

It is also used to obtain sex and other favors. There are issues of identity, status as well as social climbing. There is also the feeling of control as addicts put more money into your pockets. There is adventure, and the joy of conspiracy with other like-minded wealthy, people. Dealing meth, like diplomacy, which is dealing with politics, can be war with another name.

It is used by the actors who play our lives on stage and in film as well as the suites of power. It also runs as a suite of those who give a music to our souls. For the music of this experience reaches to all whether you are of the country or the urban or urbane cultures or styles. Some who use it use this to rise to the top and maintain their positions there. This helps them attract huge audiences. For all this drive does is make the heart beat faster but then irregular. This raises the blood pressure as well. So they speed the march to the attack!

But it does create culture even with its destruction.  As theater needs conflict war is a theater and conflict as well. While those in this field need initiative as well as discipline and power, inevitably through use there will arise unprovoked acts of violence. These are the first signs of misuse causing canceling of performances, productions as well as the conflict of the actor with civilized society.

Conflict is sometimes the result of irritability, which is also common with users. The tremors may arise from not being on firm ground. The effects might at first seem to give   a unity of purpose but later it gives schizophrenia as an end result of its paranoia. This is a result of over-indulgence and leads to even larger doses with even greater symptoms resulting. A constant state of tenseness leads to brittleness. It also leads to a dramatic increase in spousal and child abuse. Alcoholism and other addictions can create some of the same effects.

War is the cancer of the state and it affects those who live within its power even if they are not users. Overgrowth of the defensive cells of any organism is cancer. The body goes haywire in determining what is hostile and what is essential to it. Cancer leads to the takeover and the death of its host. So war can bring about good things as well like ending a state. But will it bring the end of the addiction in others it has infected? A different way to alter consciousness is needed.

Because after long use depression will return worse than ever. The body politic will wonder what is wrong. So paranoia and fear will ensue and then it closes up. The shit that inevitably accumulates within it will not be let out. It is more than a constipation that the body suffers, for the toxins will leach into the blood. And with that comes pain, lack of appetite and blurred vision. Communications that are very demanding will also become increasingly unclear and rambling at the same time. The old remedy for this was blood letting. This is what is happening now as the head in its fever turns to the solutions of what is considered general use of Mc CHRYSTAL METHods. We Af Ghan too far into the glass pipe-line of war.

There are scores of similar symptoms shared by both amphetamines and war in this article. In fact, every symptom of speed has a war analogy. When the similarities become so often between two different fields and so obvious that puns and wordplay abound between them then there is more than a smile of a simile at work. This phenomena I call meta-forensics.

So let us proceed in this what I describe as a meta-forensics to understand how to deal with these problems. Yes, war and amphetamines are addictive and dangerous in many ways. While I would not recommend or use either one neither would I want either one banned, as the consequence of banning would only increase the problem. We have all seen how the War on Poverty increased the poverty problem. A War on War would be just as insane like the War on Drugs.

A misunderstanding of terms, or the inability of the terms to describe, terminates understanding. A psychosis that cannot be understood in its terms becomes a metaphorosis, which is another term I have invented.  When much more of that happens it can cause such a dissonance that a metamorphosis can happen. .

We must acknowledge that the widespread use of amphetamines, especially meth, has been disastrous for poorer, rural America, like war always is.  In prison I met many of these people who used or sold “meth” (speed), which is so similar to crack or cocaine it is sometimes called “country crack”. And like crack it is defining the culture of the country people as well in music and story as well as those who write and perform it.

It also addicts the brilliant, creative and disciplined.  I’ve met in prison stockbrokers and fashion designers from New York City who used “meth” as well. I’ve never done it, sold it and always warned people against it and still do. Yet how can I completely condemn a drug that helped the great novelist and paragon of rationality, Ayn Rand, finish “The Fountainhead”? Or how can I condemn something used by Jack Kerouac, the novelist of the Beat generation, in writing On the Road”? Or how about all those college students who have used it for decades for the same reasons as Ayn or Jack, to cram knowledge and finish writings on a deadline?

The same goes for a fight. Fighting is natural for every tribe, even among boys. There is such a thing as just war. However if it becomes a continual policy among large amounts of combatants as it so often does it becomes just a war. This is one reason why we focus on individual stories in war fiction rather than the tramping of armies. Those involved in war or speed must be small in number and very aware of the dangers of what they do.  If the state gets involved in pushing it or even if it becomes a mindless fad (something that often comes together) there is incredible danger. For something banned that thing becomes an allure and quest all of its own (The Fight Club). So war in its righteous wrath must be separate from the state as the church is separate from the state.

I preach and practice non-violence. When I have a violent fantasy (which is fairly often) I try to imagine and think through what are the goal and the aftermath and then try to imagine other strategies. I also ask the same in what I am going to get out of any drug experience, in imagining creative alternatives. Only psychedelics allow those types of questions and quests. There is so much shortsightedness in this world. Especially with those who act either inside or outside the box, whether the box contains cartridges or capsules. Still there are so few who will go out of the box that I encourage people to do so.  But at the same time have an understanding or vision of what can come next.

War can have a horrible beauty and quest that has inspired much art at terrible cost. We can no longer afford it except as metaphor or as a final option. If we end up hurting others and ourselves, rather than helping then we must stop. When the process fails to work for someone the drug and war experience must end and not returned to.  It seems so true and obvious in a normal state to do so but in the intoxicated state that these bring it seems unreal and even frightening. Those involved in war and speed tend to associate and trust only those who have close ties to it. So it is imperative that those involved maintain a connection with those who are judiciously honest and understanding of the problems involved and who are outside of that experience.

I suppose that some will also make the analogy of some ideas such as religion and politics are also addictions. For the purposes of this discussion a practice that becomes such an obsession in that it becomes uniformly dangerous to practitioners that they become violent to others qualifies that as an addiction. One of the reasons that a person wants to spread a practice so that they become an intense advocate is to validate the experience for themselves and to learn more about it. It is possible that among the advocates of an idea you will have addicts and non-addicts in this definition.

There is also the possibility of a genetic predisposition and that we orient ourselves to those drives such as has been theorized as for religion. Or we may have receptor sites for speed (or is it adrenaline) or war because it increases adrenalin. These may be related to our need for war. If this is how we are wired then we should allow expression of these instincts in as safe a way as possible and even give them a sense of meaning. And when it gets out of hand and causes the user to be damaging then the fullest moral authority with the least use of violence must be used.

So let’s continue with the addiction analogy. Those involved in wars of aggression and hurting those who are not involved should be treated as an addict who commits violence and theft. Let us leave aside criminal penalties that are levied on these acts. How can you motivate the addict to stop the anti-social behavior and instill an awareness or guilt of what they are doing so that they will decide to stop?

The best accepted treatment of those in addictive behavior is a staged confrontation. Those who are friends, family and others who have been hurt and know the actor have a planned surprise meeting with the accused. They all give their individual testimony of the terrible things that the person has done. Afterward they give their verdict to the miscreant.  The sentence is: “Deal with their problem!” This is usually done through a program. The program is designed to understand their behavior and build support means so that they never indulge in the drug or behavior again. The twelve-step success begins with an admission of guilt and that they are addicts. It is as an act of recovery, which may result in a real change. The addict will use any rationale as an excuse to use the drug again. Yet long experience has concluded that a drug once abused can never be used again or the same destructive pattern re-emerges. So if they do go back to old habits they should suffer an exile, a shunning or boycott. This cycle can continue endlessly until the addict dies. Most never recover. The ones that do keep clean see themselves in a constant state of recovery, not as cured people.

The behavior of the state and its military is to ensnarl itself in everything that could be in opposition to it so as to engender self-censorship of possible critics. It also co-opts, censors, minimalizes, avoids, arrests or chases away any opposition to its self-perception as heroes. Still wars, attempts at empires and other horrid behavior have on occasion been shamed out of existence. This is how colonialism, Communism and the Vietnam War ended.

Police state functions can be dealt with the same way. In spite of propaganda from the official culture, high pay and other inducements police are often socially isolated. Who wants to party with someone who is obligated to bust you for breaking a stupid law? Partly because of this disconnect and the official requirements of violence, police and military people have high alcoholism and other drug problems, suicide rates and other abuse issues. Police and the military are war drug cultures.

Peace people are a small group of disguised therapists in a huge asylum that is run by the inmates. Some of us are in recovery ourselves. Even among the therapists we are in the minority. It is commonly accepted among the violent addicts that if something goes wrong it is OK and even a duty to relapse into the drug called war. This imprint has gone on for ages. So we must build through culture, tradition and moral code and imprint a loathing of war. The extreme efforts and accomplishments that made possible the imprint through this drug of war must be made through other means. This could be done through other drugs such as psychedelics, which help in reprinting. Other quests such as spiritual and cultural imprints help as well.

So we define the mass use of violence and amphetamines as the sign of massive evil and psychosis. We see this as the state or state of mind that accepts horror as normal or even ideal. We create communities of peace amid this structured chaos of war. We persevere and create this peace even if just to maintain our own sanity.

It is through our analysis, ideals and vision that we have a way of treatment. We must prove to our patients that they have a problem and that there are other more peaceful ways of dealing with their problems than what they are doing now. Whether they are consciously pursuing terror as a way of life or thinking that this is the only or best way out we must provide better options without the drug-like frenzy of violence. It has been described as one of the most difficult and rewarding of accomplishments for genius and commoner alike to give up an addictive drug. Giving up war will be a similar struggle. So let’s start looking at the problem this way.

Comments on Mr. Beck’s 9/12 Project

In Activism, Law, Libertarian, Politics, Protest on September 2, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I do not watch much television, and thus the few clips I’ve seen of Mr. Glenn Beck have been YouTube clips that people have posted on Facebook.  Those that have been following Mr. Beck, however, are aware that he has a project called the 9/12 Project, which is “designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001.”  I have liked the few Beck clips I have seen, but knowing nothing about his 9/12 Project, I decided to look into it.

I see from its website that the 9/12 Project has nine core principles.  In this blog post, I shall analyse each of the nine principles from a libertarian perspective.

1. America Is Good.

This principle is vague and unexplained.  The first question that pops into my head is, What is America?

The Americas are a set of two continents that were brought into “continuing economic or social relation with the Western world” in the early sixteenth century (Rothbard, Conceived in Liberty vol 1, p. 15).  They got their name from a Florentine map-maker named Amerigo Vespucci (p. 26).

If we are to assume that “America” refers to the land comprising North and South America, then I would have to wonder what it means to say the land is good.  Does that mean it is fertile?  Does it mean the land is useful for humans in some other way?  Does it mean the land is somehow “intrinsically” good?

It is just as possible that the statement refers to that land solely monopolised by the federal government that goes by the style of “United States of America,” since it is often referred to as “America” for short.  But, then, the same questions regarding the land remain.  What about the land is good?

Perhaps we are completely off base insofar as we assume that this principle refers to land.  Perhaps by “America” the principle is supposed to refer to the people who inhabit the land, rather than the land itself.  But if this is the case, why not simply say “Americans are good”?

Finally, perhaps the principle refers to neither the land nor the people, but rather to the gang calling itself the federal government of the United States.  But if this is the case, then the principle is quite wrong.  The federal state is, like all other states throughout the world, too powerful, too big, too inefficient, too costly, and in severe need of being limited as much as possible.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

Libertarians can take either side on this matter.  Personally, I am not wise enough to know whether or not there is a God or gods.  I hope there is a God, that this God is good, and that this God will deem my actions in life to merit receiving whatever rewards one may receive in whatever afterlife may exist, but I am not wise enough to know either way whether this is actually the case.

Libertarians run the full gamut on this one.  There are atheist libertarians (especially those who call themselves Objectivists), there are Christian libertarians, there are libertarian Buddhists, there are pagan libertarians…the list goes on.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

This is certainly not an invalid goal.  Methinks libertarians and non-libertarians alike can appreciate this.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

On this one, a libertarian is likely going to pause.  The libertarian certainly agrees that the government is not the “ultimate authority,” but she or he may disagree as to exactly what is the “ultimate authority.”

Those libertarians are are very religious may say that God is the ultimate authority.

There are many who, like myself, will say that the individual or natural law is the ultimate authority.  Personally, I see natural law as the law governing ethical human interaction which arises in each individual innately as a product of human nature.  Thus, I see no conflict in concurring with both the claim that it is the individual and that it is natural law, for they cannot exist independently of one another.

Natural law can be a secular or a religious concept.  Thus, a religious libertarian could also believe in natural law, and can also say that the individual is the ultimate authority in human society.

But what of the family?  Is the family sacred, and if so, what does that even mean?  In Atlas Shrugged, a mother tries to destroy her son.  Does the son owe any allegience to the mother?  Is the relationship somehow binding upon the son?  I have to think it is not, and that family, insofar as it is unchosen, holds no intrinsic value.

The husband and wife (or husband and husband, or wife and wife, or two husbands and a wife, or whatever other combination is deemed desirable by those entering into the union), for example, come together voluntarily.  Or, at least, they do so whenever the state or tribe or commune do not impose patriarchal or matriarchal regulations upon the couple (trio, et cætera).  But even these bonds are not necessarily “sacred,” and even if or where they are sacred, they are not eternally binding.  If the wife at some point wishes to no longer be wed to her husband, there is no legitimate reason to force her to remain within the union.  Secession is a natural right that must remain respected.

Finally, it seems problematic that this principle would say that “[m]y spouse and I are the ultimate authority,” for I am not married.  Do I only possess the ultimate authority when I have a spouse with which to share it, or do unmarried persons have just as much a right to the claim of “ultimate authority” as those who are wed?

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Insofar as “the law” refers to natural law and not to statutory law, I can agree with this statement.  Granted, not all libertarians claim to be proponents of natural law, but as all libertarians adhere to the non-aggression axiom (whether on utilitarian or on natural law grounds), we can, in effect, say that all libertarians believe that aggression (i.e. the initiation of force) is or should be prohibited.  Thus, even those libertarians who do not claim to believe in natural law, who instead claim to arrive at libertarianism through utilitarian or consequentialist rationales, still advocate a legal system based upon the prohibition of aggression.

Libertarians can be divided into many subcategories, but all libertarians fall into either one of these two groupings: minarchists, who advocate a very small state, and anarchists, who advocate no state at all.  (Not all who advocate the complete abolition of the state refer to themselves as anarchists; some call themselves autarchists, some sovereign individuals, et cætera, but for the purpose of this post, I shall simply refer to them as anarchists for simplicity.  Likewise, not all non-anarchist libertarians refer to themselves as minarchists, but I shall refer to them as such again for simplicity.)

Minarchists comprise the largest group of libertarians.  Around only one in ten of us call for the complete abolition of the state.  Thus, while all libertarians advocate the existence of law, minarchists (unlike anarchists) advocate the existence of statutory law.  Nevertheless, anarchists and minarchists typically advocate the same narrow set of laws, specifically those laws that adhere to the non-aggression axiom.  Some minarchists deviate here and there from the ideal of non-aggression, but all libertarians wish to see aggression limited as much as possible, and thus those libertarians who do advocate statutory law wish to see those statutory laws conform to the law of non-aggression.

As such, libertarians do not see laws against such things as drug use, prostitution, tax evasion, or gambling as necessarily binding.  (This is not to say that libertarians advocate these activities, only that they see those statutory laws that enforce these prohibitions as illegitimate, and the governments that enforce these prohibitions as criminal.)

When some random guy on the street places a gun against a person’s head, and tells the person that he will take violent action against the person should the person place Advil into her own body, the gun-man is clearly a criminal because he has violated the non-aggression axiom.  Whether a given libertarian arrives at libertarianism through natural law, utilitarian, or consequentialist reasoning, all libertarians agree that the actions of this gun-man are wholly illegitimate.  The libertarian continue to see such aggression as illegitimate and criminal even if it is a representative of the state holding the gun, and even if, instead of Advil, the gun-man is prohibiting the individual from placing marijuana in her body.  To the libertarian, there is no difference between these two acts of aggression.  In both scenarios, the aggressive act is criminal, and the gun-man should pay the penalty for breaking the law.  The libertarian, thus, more than anyone else, agrees that justice is blind and that nobody, not even the politicians, bureaucrats, and law enforcement, is above it.

Contrariwise, if this principle is meant to imply that one should accept whatever edicts the state issues simply because the state has issued it, then libertarians do not agree with this principle, for there is definitely such a thing as an unjust statutory law.  In fact, even most non-libertarians agree that such things as unjust laws exist.  Few people today, whether libertarian or not, would agree with the Socratic view of law.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

Libertarians have no problem with this view, so long as it is properly understood that the right to life (et cætera) is a negative right and not a positive right.  In other words, I have the right to not be murdered, to not have my life wrested from me through aggression; but I have no right to enslave or aggress against others in order to sustain my own life.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

This principle, likewise, is consistent with libertarianism.  Although the state certainly is capable of forcing people to surrender the fruits of their labour, it ought not do so, and for the same reason that I ought not force my neighbour to surrender the fruits of her or his labour.

In an article titled Why You Are a Libertarian, Harry Browne wrote that,

When a neighbor isn’t willing to contribute as much to a social project as you are, you’d never think of:

Using a gun to force him to contribute;

Hiring an armed gang to threaten to kidnap him or confiscate his money if he didn’t contribute;

Using the government in place of the armed gang if he didn’t contribute—because every government program, in the final analysis, involves violence against those who don’t comply.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

Libertarians absolutely agree with this.

But, here is where this entire 9/12 Project thing seems confusing to me.  Mr. Beck wants Americans to return to the way they felt on 12 September 2001, but on that date, it had become almost impossible to disagree with or question authority.

On 10 September 2001, questioning authority was happily accepted by many Americans.  But by the twelfth, questioning the government was considered by many, and especially by members of Republican Party, to be sacrilege.  If I recall correctly, Bill Maher even lost his ABC show because people were outraged when he pointed out that the terrorists were not cowards.  Mr. Bush, a man just as bad as Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama, was virtually worshipped.

So why doesn’t Mr. Beck instead start a 9/10 Project?  Why 9/12, a day on which nationalism clouded out reason, a day when people wanted to nuke an entire region of the globe simply because a minority of persons, who were uninterested in adherence to the non-aggression axiom, came from said region?

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

It is certainly a libertarian sentiment that the government, if it is to exist at all, should be the servant, rather than master, of the people.

But let’s be realistic: no state truly serves the people.  And this is why statism must be limited as much as possible.  Those in the cozy seat of power serve themselves, and even those politicians and bureaucrats who truly do believe that they can help and serve the people can only ultimately fail because coercion never achieves the desired goals.  The government is constantly promising us things.  It’s going to protect us from criminals and terrorists, it’s going to help us in our medical needs, it’s going to deliver our mail on time—yet it consistently fails to deliver on its promises because any system that runs on coercion will necessarily lack the signals necessary to indicate the best course of action.  Private firms use profit and loss signals to indicate whether to invest more in this or that, whether to increase or slow production; but the state has no profit or loss signals because it acquires virtually all of its revenues through confiscation.  Government cannot keep its promises even if all of the bureaucrats want it to.  It cannot keep our streets safe, it cannot properly teach our children, it cannot provide us with better healthcare—it cannot serve the people.

Conclusion

I really do not know what to make of Mr. Beck’s 9/12 Project.  It seems to have a mix of good ideals and confused positions.

I don’t know what “America Is Good” is even supposed to mean.

The question of belief in God, as addressed by the second principle, seems almost out-of-place.  My understanding is that the 9/12 Project wants to march on D.C., but what precisely is the objective of the march?  Is it to promote the nine principles listed above, and if so, in what way could the march in any way promote the second principle?  Politicians are free to believe in whatever God or gods they like, or to believe in none at all, as I’m sure Mr. Beck himself would agree.  What could possibly, then, be the rallying cry for this principle?  “We believe in God, but it’s okay if you believe in a different one, or even none at all”?  Surely, there would be no point in chanting such a sentence.

All in all, even the best principles listed above are vague, and do not constitute an actual objective for the project or the march.  Rather, it’s simply a list of general views, and most politicians are crafty enough (most are lawyers, after all) to spin these statements in a manner that allows them to pretend they adhere thereto.  Moreover, since no specific policies are promoted (e.g., tax cuts, separation of healthcare and state, devolution of power, gun rights), I still do not have a clue as to what the march actually explicitely wishes to achieve.

I obviously have my reservations, but I do wish to end on a positive note, for I feel I have been almost unfairly negative in this piece.  Insofar as Mr. Beck aims to get people to forget about the petty fighting that takes place between the red team and the blue team, he and his project are to be celebrated.  Far too often we let our parties speak for us, conforming our views to the expectations of one or the other side.  Yet we are individuals, and it is simply silly to think that anyone must agree with her or his party on every issue.  We all too often let the party shape our views and thus also our responses to those on the “other“ side, to the point where we actually convince ourselves of absolutely idiotic conclusions, such as “all Democrats want to see bin Laden win“ or “all Republicans hate the poor.”  Neither is true, and in fact both are untrue in the vast majority of cases.  But as long as we convince ourselves that such nonsense is true, we cut ourselves off from reality and cease having the ability to work to improve things.  It appears that Mr. Beck recognises this in a way that the likes of Ann Coulter and Janeane Garofalo do not.  And insofar as this is the case, Glenn Beck ought to be applauded.

—Alexander S. Peak

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Yesterday’s Townhall Meeting With Ben Cardin: Part III

In Activism, Health, Libertarian, Live-blogging, Media, Nanny State, Protest, US Government on August 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm

The event having ended, the crowd stands up and many file to exit.  Some stand around to talk with one another.  One gentleman comes to me to inquire about the meetings of the College Libertarians of Towson while many others, at least twenty, comment to me that I asked a great question.

As I exit the building, I see night has arrived.  I also see what I had not expected: hundreds of people outside with signs and flags.

One woman is holding a Gadsden flag, and I enquire as to where she got it, hoping to perhaps be able to purchase one of my own.  She informs me that she had gotten it at a Tea Party protest.

Although posters and signs had been banned inside the building, they were on full display outside.  There were also persons handing out flyers with information regarding a petition they wished for attendees to sign, a petition declaring their objection to the government’s new plan.

Walking from the building to the road, virtually every protestor there was against the government’s plan, many holding signs declaring government involvement in healthcare to be socialist.  I saw virtually no counter-protestors in favour of the statist plan until I reached the road itself, where the pro-statism counter-protestors stood on one side of the road and the anti-statism protestors on the other.  A quick glance at the two sides confirmed what one might suspect: the anti-statism side, which was chanting “No Obama care, no Obama care!” was larger than the pro-statism side.

One protestor, on the anti-statism side, yelled to me as I was crossing the street, “Did he answer your question?”  I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond.  After all, Cardin indeed had responded to my question, but not in any satisfactory way.

Still receiving compliments for my question, I made my way to my truck.  Traffic was slow, but I eventually escaped, driving past both groups of protestors.

All in all, it was a rather good event.  It was an absolute pleasure to see the masses verbally tearing down a member of the political class, instead of treating the politician like some holy cow not to be touched or demeaned.  There is nothing magical about politicians, after all—they are humans, just like us; they are flawed, just like us; and, in the state of nature, they are our equals, not our glorious, unquestionable superiors.

This is not to say that all of the sentiments of those who attended should be applauded.  Rather, it’s to say, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787 to Abigail Adams, that the “spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.  It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.  I like a little rebellion now and then.  It is like a storm in the Atmosphere.”

Those wishing to contact their representatives to encourage them to adopt a separation of healthcare and state are encouraged to visit DownsizeDC.org.

—Alexander S. Peak

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Yesterday’s Townhall Meeting With Ben Cardin: Part II

In Activism, Health, Libertarian, Live-blogging, Media, Nanny State on August 12, 2009 at 5:01 pm

The first four questions were selected from among the blue cards submitted earlier in the night, and were read by the administrator in the green tie.

The first question, read at 7:34, asked whether “illegal” immigrants would be included in the healthcare system, to which Mr. Cardin responded that they would not.

The second question, read at 7:35, concerned small business.  Cardin responded by claiming deep concern for small business, and noted that he was on a committee dealing with small business for this exact reason.

At 7:36, the question read asked how these new proposals did not constitute socialised healthcare.  Not surprisingly, Mr. Cardin tried to assure us that it was not; the audience, however, was not buying it.

Finally, at 7:37, the question read asked how these new proposals could possibly save us money.  More on money, later.

At 7:38, the floor was finally opened to direct questions from the audience, unfiltered by the man in the green tie.  A few minutes were taken up in setting up the microphones, which the administrators wanted to set up no closer to the stage than aisle eight.  Thus, the lines that had quickly formed had to keep stepping back.  I shan’t list all of the questions asked, nor Cardin’s response to each—I will, however, list the more interesting or popular ones.

At 7:43, a gentleman asked about tort reform, and why it has not been included in any of the proposals.  This question received huge applause from the audience.  When the applause dwindled, he added, “Is it because most members of Congress are lawyers?”

A gentleman at 7:45 asked whether Congress would be included in any plans that are adopted, to which Cardin said they would.

At 7:47, an audience member asked Mr. Cardin to cite the specific clause, section, and article of the Constitution that grants to the federal state the authority to get itself involved in matters of health.  This question, to the best of my memory, received a standing ovation.  A woman behind me yelled to Cardin, “I have a copy [of the U.S. Constitution] here if you want to see it!” but I am sure she was heard only by those in her general vicinity, given the loud nature of the applause.

Around 7:53, I had the opportunity to ask my question.  I had been working on it all day.  My original draft was three-and-a-half note-card pages long, and included discussion of anarchism.  And had the majority in the audience appeared in favour of the statist policy suggestions, I probably would have risked reading the whole thing.  But because 90% of the audience was already opposed to the “healthcare” schemes Congress is brewing, I figured it would be more reasonable to present a truncated question.

And thus I began by stating my affiliation with the College Libertarians of Towson, which I’m happy to say received some moderate applause.

Following my affiliation statement, I began:  “Harry Browne often said, ‘Government is good at one thing:  It knows how to break your legs, hand you crutches, and say, “See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk!”’”  This comment received both laughter and applause, so I waited until the applause ended before continuing.  “According to Dr. Mary Ruwart, best-selling author of Healing Our World in An Age of Aggression, we can cut the cost of healthcare by 80% by getting government out of healthcare.  Why is it—”  I had to stop speaking, for at this point I again received applause. I continued, “Why is it, then, that we are moving in the direction of bigger government rather than smaller government?”

After I finished my question, I headed to my seat and listened to Mr. Cardin’s reply.  He essentially said that he didn’t see the 80% figure as realistic.

Had I instead asked him my longer question, it would have listed ways in which healthcare really would become cheaper without government.  For one thing, if we have complete free trade with Canada (and all other countries), then we can freely purchase drugs from these other countries, and thus we can shop around for better deals than we might otherwise be able to get.  For another, without the government-created patent system which gives an unnatural monopoly to big business, then drug companies would have to compete on a truly free market, and they would not be able to charge customers exorbitant costs.  Without the evil FDA, which costs tens of thousand (if not hundreds of thousands) of lives every year, drug companies would not have to go through years and years of bureaucratic red tape, and could instead submit their drugs to private companies similiar to Underwriters Laboratories for testing.  But because drugs cannot be sold in the U.S. without FDA approval, and because it costs so much to get this government monopoly to approve any drug, the costs are passed along to the consumers who thus suffer.  We can also cut costs by alleviating doctors of their onerous government paperwork if we were to turn Medicare and Medicaid into private charities.  And if we were to eliminate government mandates on insurance companies, then insurance companies could tailor their plans to fit what customers want, instead of forcing us to conform to whatever it is that the politicians and bureaucrats think is best for us.

The elimination of government involvement in healthcare would have very liberating effects for consumers of healthcare.  But Cardin doesn’t see the savings as realistic.

At 7:59, I noticed that Mr. Cardin once again looked tiffed.  At no point did he cuss at his audience or stamp his foot, but he made it perfectly clear that he was in stark disagreement with the majority of his audience.

Someone, pointing out that Congress rarely reads the bills it signs, asked if Mr. Cardin would promise to read the bill prior to voting for it.  He promised he would, although I have to wonder how fully he aimed to keep this promise.  Would he read it verbatim himself, or would he get his aids to read it and then summarise it for him?

A person at 8:09 asked about interstate commerce in health insurance, asking why Congress hasn’t made it legal for consumers to shop around.

Another person, at 8:11, pointed out that there were ultimately not very many slides employed by Mr. Cardin, and then asked why it is therefore necessary to have 1,000-page bills.  This question definitely received applause, but the person was not done with questions.  “Can you name even one thing that the private sector was doing that the government took over and made more efficient?” this person asked, and received a standing ovation.  Mr. Cardin ignored the first half of the question and focused on the second half for his response.  I do not at this time recall his responses, but I do recall that he received laughs.

The gentleman who spoke at 8:26 said that if the Founders were there, they would be horrified, and would be looking for ways to get government out of healthcare, to which he received a standing ovation.  He continued by asking, “So why is it that instead, we’re handing over healthcare to a monopoly?: the government!”

The last person to speak pointed out that government rationing of healthcare seemed more similar to some sort of Hitlerian scheme than something we ought to champion as American.  Finally, the event ended at 8:30.

—Alexander S. Peak

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Yesterday’s Townhall Meeting With Ben Cardin: Part I

In Activism, Health, Immigration, Libertarian, Live-blogging, Media, Nanny State, Police State, Protest, US Government on August 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Yesterday, I attended Ben Cardin’s Townhall meeting at Towson University.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss healthcare in America.  Ben Cardin currently serves as one of Maryland’s U.S. senators.

I arrived at 4:11, even though the event was not sceduled to begin until 7:00 PM.  Nevertheless, there was already a line.

This line grew quickly, and by 5:30, the Towson University administration began turning people away.

When they finally let us into the auditorium, they inspected bags and purses to ensure an absence of weapons and food.  Walking through the auditorium door, we were each handed blue cards on which we would write down a question for Mr. Cardin along with our contact information.  Inside the auditorium, classical music played.

I sat toward the front.  At 6:57, a gentleman in the corner of the room holding a small camera was asked to be seated.  It was difficult to hear their conversation, but the man appeared to ask the administrator if it was okay for him to stand where he was for the simple purpose of recording the event and the audience, to which the administrator clearly told him it was not.  The man submitted to the administrator.

I commented to the woman sitting to the right of me, “That guy wasn’t harming anyone,” to which she responded, “Yeah, none of us [audience members] had a problem with him.”

About a minute later, Cardin and a few others walk out.  I had not been paying attention to the stage as I was reading my book, but the audience reaction told me all I needed to know, and so I closed the book.  An administrator in a green tie makes some brief opening remarks.  All three persons and on the stage in front of the audience, and two projection screens stand on either side of the three persons.  Behind the podium are three nice-looking chairs, and above the chairs is a banner—probably paid for with your tax dollars—that said, “Every American Deserves Healthcare.”

The administrator lists a bunch of people who were there that night, most of the names being unfamiliar to me.  I presume a number were state delegates.  Although our other senator, Ms. Barbara Mikulski, was not present, her name was mentioned for some reason—perhaps her aids were in the audience.  Although most of the names mentioned received applause, her name received boos from the audience.

I became immediately aware of how lively this audience was going to be.  Clapping and booing were both highly-valued means of communication throughout the night.

Following the administrator, a woman spoke. She explained the troubles her family is facing, and how difficult it’s been caring for her children, the youngest of whom has some serious ailments.  Needless to say, the entire audience—regardless of what its individual members thought about the healthcare crisis—felt sympathy for this woman, the husband of whom currently works two jobs to make ends meet in our turbulent economy.  She ended her brief presentation by saying that she did not know what the best solution to our nation’s problems is, but that she hoped that events such as this townhall meeting would help to flesh out some of the problems and their solutions.

I could not help, when listening to her presentation, but to think that many of the problems she faced were the fault of statist intervention into the healthcare system and into the economy as a whole.

The audience was, for the most part, respectful to this woman.  This audience did not hold the same respect for the man who spoke next—the politician.

Cardin began speaking at 7:09, and he faced many hecklers.  It was really a beautiful sight: people, refusing to place politicians on some godlike pedistal, but instead speaking their mind, challenging the establishmen man, and, in so doing, challenging the entire elitist system!

This isn’t to say I loved every utterance that this audience made.  I was extremely annoyed to hear some audience members whining, “What about the illegals!?”  Such narrow-minded rhetoric was, in my opinion, a detriment to the otherwise-glorious anti-government arguments and sentiments of the crowd.  I half-wanted to pull these anti-immigrationists off to the side and chastise them for their wrongheaded focus, but decided against it.

Cardin had various slides he wanted to show the audience, but the audience was getting wrestless.  “We want to ask you questions!”  “Let us ask questions!”  Still, Cardin continued.

One of his slides, unvailed at 7:18, showed the increasing cost of health insurance over the past ten years.  Looking at the slide, I couldn’t help but to suspect that it was not adjusted for inflation.  Rising costs of health insurance is certainly not a positive thing, of course, but no evidence was presented to indicate that the cause was anything other than the declining value of the dollar.  What is inflation?  Inflation is any increase in the money supply, and it causes the value of each unit of the money supply to drop.  Thus, when the government inflates the dollar by creating new money and credit out of thin air, the purchasing power of the average user of that currency falls.  The solution, therefore, to this problem is not new government mandates and higher taxes; the solution is to abolish the fraudulent institution responsible for inflation the money supply—in the case of America, that institution is the Federal Reserve.

Still facing heckles, Cardin becomes visibly became tiffed a couple minutes later.  He says to his audience at this time something to the effect of, “I know you don’t care about the facts, but…”  The audience responded, unsurprisingly, with further heckles.  Listening to the audience and our guest speaker, I couldn’t help but to feel like I was sitting in the British parliament.

At 7:22, cops walk from the back of the audience down to the front, and stand in the corners of the room.  I didn’t make precise count, but I estimate that about ten cops made this trek, presumably to intimidate speakers by showcasing the might of the state apparatus.  I do not believe anyone actually allowed themselves to be intimidated, but it was an interesting sight nevertheless.  Where has America gone?

At 7:25, in response to calls from the audience to begin the Q&A session, he pleads with the audience to just let him get through the last few slides.  The administrator in the green tie also kept insisting that the audience stay quiet while Cardin finishes his presentation—repeatedly, and to no avail.

Finally, Mr. Cardin finished his presentation at 3:33, and announces that he will now answer questions.  To this, the audience applauded.

—Alexander S. Peak

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A reply to Rabbi Dr. Pomerantz

In Barack Obama, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, George Bush, History, Human Rights Abuses, Iran, Libertarian, Middle East, Military, Minorities, Protest, War on June 18, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Greetings, Last Free Voice community:

Recently Newsmax.com distributed this essay from Rabbi Dr. Morton H. Pomerantz, which accused President Obama of “‘creating a climate of hate” with his “‘code” creating a “danger as great as that posed by the Nazis to the Jewish people”. The Rabbi even insinuated a connection between Obama’s Mid-east trip and Cairo speech with the murder at the Holocaust Museum. While I find many of the President’s actions immoral and unwise, these accusations (and the distortion of the relative threat posed by Israel and Iran to each other) prompted the following reply:

The Rabbi’s conspiracy theory regarding Obama, the Holocaust Museum murder, Israel and Iran is so twisted, off the mark and devoid of reality that it calls his good judgment, and yours, into question. One should be critical of Pres. Obama on many scores, but any suggestion that he is in some way culpable for yesterday’s (06/10/09) unprovoked assault by the loathsome criminal is insulting and absurd. The Statue of Liberty deserves better than to be attached to such an unconscionable screed.

How ironic that as the Likudniks continue their efforts to manipulate America for the benefit of another country and to our detriment, becoming vengeful and petulant at the first hint of the possibility of our country waking up you publish this vile disinformation, meant to gin up hatred and war fever against Iran. Unlike Israel Iran is a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty, has not invaded or occupied it’s neighbors and has allowed complete and open inspections of nuclear facilities by the IAEA which has declared it to be in full compliance.

How many WMD are they hiding in Israel? How many innocent Iranian – as well as Israeli – civilians and American service personnel would die as a result of an unprovoked Israeli and / or American attack on Iran?

America’s foundation is the recognition that all human beings are born with unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, as granted by our creator.   Theocratic states of all religious affiliations violate these rights and are, contrary to American values. Since “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion..”, according to the First Amendment, it is illegal for Congress or the US Government to support any theocracy anywhere of any faith – Jewish, Muslim or Christian. Private, non-governmental, voluntary support of a foreign cause that does not put the rest of the nation at risk is everyone’s right to pursue to the satisfaction of their own conscience.

Our Founders, including George Washington, urged us to not become entangled in permanent foreign alliances and to not go abroad ‘in search of monsters to destroy’. Considering the harm done to our nation by intervening in quarrels that did not impact our security until after official US Government. involvement, and in light of the outrageous hijacking of American military personnel, safety and tax dollars by advocates for various foreign countries (including, but obviously not limited to, Israel) we can see the wisdom of their admonitions. The American peoples’ blood, treasure and safety are not anyone’s to give on behalf of a foreign country or cause.

Suggesting that is anti-Semitic or hateful to recognize the need for a change in policy that would benefit America is ridiculous, though history suggests we have a long way to go before such a providential change actually takes place. If Rabbi Pomerantz is concerned about dangerous hate activities, he may want to cease slandering Muslims as a group and to challenge these practitioners:

1. Chabad rabbi: Jews should kill Arab men, women and children during war.
2. Prosecution drops indictment against settler filmed shooting Palestinians.
3. Netanyahu Promises Lieberman Pivotal Ministership.
4. Gaza war rabbinical edict draws protest in Israel.

I was part of a group that visited the Holocaust Museum on Memorial Day Weekend. Naturally, it was a very moving experience. All those innocent victims of Man’s Inhumanity to Man! We should never forget what has been done to so many (Turkish Genocide of the Armenians, communist destruction of the Kulaks, Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the holocaust of European Jews, all the victims of the Nazis, Soviets, Mao, etc..etc ) by statist and/or racist collectivists.

We should also never let the terrible crime committed yesterday (6/10//09) against the helpful and courteous Stephen Johns be used to smear innocent people or to promote collectivist political agendae. There are good and bad people of all religious faiths and also, those of no faith. Each human being must be judged on their own personal merits and not as part of a racial, ethnic or religious group.

This response is not an endorsement of the Obama regime, which is continuing which is continuing the bad policies of its predecessors overseas (including terrorist attacks AGAINST Iran by Sunni extremists allied with Al-Qaeda) and is intensifying the socialist, fascistic policies which are creating so many problems at home. God Bless America – and all His other children, too.

Hadji