Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Scotty Boman: 20 Years of libertarian activism

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on October 3, 2008 at 8:16 pm

via IPR

Michigan Libertarian for U.S. Senate Scotty Boman has produced a YouTube video touting his two decades worth of libertarian activism. Included in the video are clips of Mr. Boman from TV shows stretching back to the 80’s, old letters to the editor and editorials, and more recent campaign activity.

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Technically legal signs for libraries

In Activism, Big Brother, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, Human Rights Abuses, Law Enforcement, Police State, Protest, Terrorism on July 27, 2008 at 1:57 am

From librarian.net

Starchild instrumental in putting prostitution decriminalization on the ballot

In Activism, Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Economics, Entertainment, First Amendment, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Nanny State, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics on July 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Press release posted on the LP Radicals yahoo group. Starchild has had various offices in the San Francisco and California LP, and is one of the spokespeople for this initiative.

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced today that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task Force were implemented,” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. “Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

Starchild – (415) 621-7932 / (415) 368-8657 / RealReform@…
Maxine Doogan – (415) 265-3302 / MistressMax@…

A note to all those dedicated paid LP petitioners

In Activism, First Amendment, Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Protest on June 29, 2008 at 8:23 pm

To Andy, Paulie, Mark, Gary and all those libertarian activist/paid petitioners:

You are getting screwed by LPHQ! They do not appreciate the hard work you have done for the party as a paid petitioner/activist. They marginalize your abilities to produce signatures. They pay mercenary/renegade petitioners more money and don’t give a fuck about the Libertarian Party and just do it for the quick dollar.

We just finished up a petition drive here in Illinois to put our presidential and US Senate candidates on the ballot and depended on many of you to help us our candidates on the ballot. I did validity rates on many petitioners, paid and volunteer. We had a crew from Chicago that “round-tabled” petitions to make that quick buck. Luckily, I (not National) caught their devious shenanigans after the second signature pickup and were promptly fired. Unfortunately, we spent about 10K for those signatures and most were not used in the final turn-in last Monday. We are very fortunate that we were able to stop that debacle and collect better signature to ensure we will not have to endure a challenge but it came at a cost. I appreciate you and had I run our petition drives across the country it would have been done differently.

Our top gunners should get paid more than these mercenaries only because the party has a history with them and knows what quality signatures you’re able to produce. Obviously, LPHQ is not very efficient with petition drives.

Here’s a few suggestions I would like to make for those paid/activist, Libertarian petitioners currently working in various states.

-If you are currently collecting signatures, do not stop until the drive is done. If the LPHQ ever gets its head out of their asses and start doing things better, they will need you in the future.

-After that drive is done, don’t work on LP ballot access drives in other states. Look to work for other parties and/or pro-freedom initiatives in other states. If LPHQ hires these mercenary petitioners and produce lower validity rates that cause the National ticket to be on less state ballots than their goal, LPHQ will realize that they should have never screwed you guys over.

-Continue to work on LP ballot access drives across the country but realize that you may or may not get paid. Angela Keaton has warned us that the LP will go broke by the end of the election. The LP has opportunists within the party who do fundraising and collect a 40 percent commission, which is ludicrous; the party gets what the party deserves but it may take months before you get paid for your services. Besides do you want to work for a party who devalues your time, effort and pride by paying YOU less for producing better results? The choice is yours; I’m merely making suggestions.

Barr/Root Have My Support

In Activism, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Wayne Allen Root on May 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm

In private over the past two days, I’ve been interacting with other Libertarians who are upset about our ticket. Not all “radicals” either (and for the record, I hate labels). Anyways, I have no clue what they are going to do, but I do know what I plan to do.

In November, I will cast my vote for Bob Barr.

Will I help raise money for the campaign? No

Will I send donations? No

Will I put a graphic up on my campaign site & stand on a corner and hold a rally sign on election day? Maybe, if they send me a sign.

Will I go to any meet-ups? Sure, why not. I enjoy talking to folks.

In other words, my “involvement” with this campaign will be pretty limited. Bottom line is, I’m a Libertarian Party member and I will cast my vote for the Libertarian Party ticket in November.

George Phillies: An Open Letter to Libertarian Activists

In Activism, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 18, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Fellow Libertarians!

A week from today, our Libertarian Party reaches a fork in the road. We’ll choose a Presidential candidate.

On the plumb-line/libertarian/radical side are Jim Burns, Steve Kubby, Mary Ruwart, and Christine Smith, with Mike Gravel giving very different yet very radical positions. On what Reason magazine called the right-leaning/pragmatic/celebrity side are Wayne Root and Bob Barr.

We have huge opportunities this year. John McCain champions the statist war philosophy that is conservatism, and Barack Obama‘s Party voted to go along. To seize our chance make our party stronger, we need to stay together. If we choose either a radical or a right-leaning Libertarian, staying together will be a challenge.

Staying together is the problem, and

Libertarian centrism is the answer.

I’m George Phillies, Libertarian centrist. I’m not a radical and equally I’m not right-leaning. Like our party, I’m in the middle. That’s not the faint-voiced, compromising middle. Our Libertarian Party is the party of the outspoken, principled middle, and I am an outspoken, principled centrist candidate.

I’m your best choice to become our Presidential nominee, because I’m the candidate that most radicals and most pragmatists can come together to support. I happily work with people more radical than me, and happily work with people who make me look radical.

Then there’s the second-best reason I should be our candidate. I have a campaign up and running. If nominated, I have over $100,000 in the bank ready to go to launch my campaign. I was Badnarik’s national volunteer coordinator, so I’ve seen the practical limits of Libertarian resources.

For more on me, please go to http:/ChooseGeorge.Org

Being a centrist doesn’t mean that I don’t take radical stands. I do. That’s why Outright Libertarians endorses me. That’s why I call for an army of special prosecutors to send to prison the Bush administration people who illegally wiretapped every telephone in America.

Being a centrist doesn’t mean I don’t take right-leaning stands. I do. That’s why I denounce the national debt as the grandchild tax. We spend. They’ll pay for life. That’s evil.

Being a centrist does mean I take issues that concern real Americans, issues like medical care costs, education, energy, and the environment. I give sensible libertarian answers that Americans will support.

I support fellow Libertarian Party candidates, because when you support a candidate, your support counts twice. Your support counts once for him, and once for his party. I don’t support Democrats or Republicans, because when you help one of them you help their party avoid extinction.

A closing thought. The Nolan chart has four corners. The two party system means two corners govern, and two corners are ineffective. I want to change the world, so the “Republican conservative” corner is an ineffective joke, and “libertarian” is the governing corner.

Please make me our nominee.

George Phillies
http://ChooseGeorge.org
phillies@4liberty.net
508 736 7333

P.S. To read my strategic plan to start changing the political world, go to http://phillies2008.org/files/qwerty.pdf

P.P.S. I am hearing rumblings about ballot access. I’ve pledged 20% of my donations, up to $300,000, to pay for ballot access, and have already spent thousands. If I am the nominee, I have a hundred thousand dollars in place not already committed for office rent, high-paid consultants, or television production; that money could go to ballot access right away if need be.

Candidate Endorsement: Susan Hogarth for LNC

In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics on May 17, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Susan Hogarth, a longtime liberarian activist and founding member of the revived LP Radical Caucus, is seeking an At-Large position on the Libertarian National Committee. I hereby endorse her candidacy for the following reasons.

Susan’s libertarian (and Libertarian) bona fides are beyond question. She has worked on ballot access, outreach, and forming issue coalitions. She is currently the Outreach Director for the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, and the Chair of the Wake County LP. She has run for public office twice; once for state legislature, and once for county commission. She plans to run for Congress as a Libertarian as well.

Her goals, from her website, are as follows:

Offer voters a chance to vote for their hopes rather than their fears

Shift the political discussion in the direction of freedom and non-aggression

Help form coalitions among various freedom-oriented individuals and groups

Constantly reduce the size and scope of government when elected

Grow the Libertarian party and the freedom movement by stirring an interest in the message of freedom and limited government

Better develop myself as a critical thinker and clear speaker

While Susan and I have not always seen eye to eye, and in fact got off on the wrong foot altogether, she is nothing if not passionate about libertarianism, and the Libertarian Party. Despite our disagreement on some issues, we do agree that “there is never a time when the rights of one person, properly understood, conflict with the rights of another person”. We also agree that the Libertarian Party can best establish itself by maintaining its basic ideology, and by remaining separate and distinct from either of the two major parties.

She and I see eye to eye on many important “insider” issues as well, despite the fact that we come from different sides of the libertarian coin. For that reason, I believe that Susan is capable of bringing together the libertarian factions, through the important common ground issues.

Susan’s immediate goals as a freshman LNC member are as follows (from her website):

Changes to region formation and representation: Regional composition and representation must be stabilized so that regions and their representation aren’t something scrambled together in the heat of a busy convention. Regions should not be constantly shifting, and representatives should be chosen well in advance of the national convention.

Streamlining LNC meetings and strengthening Party management: The LNC should be required to meet more frequently using conferencing, and less frequently using travel. The current travel requirements take large expenses of staff time and Party funds, and discourage the participation of younger, older, and less established activists. Having a rough meeting schedule as part of the bylaws will allow those interested in serving on the LNC to evaluate the requirements of the commitment realistically before campaigning. The LNC should explicitly have – and should use – the power to make resolutions concerning events of the day, rather than allowing the LP’s public policy face to be created by default by staff-prepared press releases.

Advertising and Publications Review Committee: The APRC should be made a standing committee of the LNC, and I would like to see it actively involved in the creation, review, and dissemination of literature and other materials, including the LP News and a detailed legislative agenda to complement the platform. Development and expression of the Party’s message is of paramount importance, and has been handled in a haphazard fashion resulting in outdated and often conflicting materials and releases.

Life Membership – not for sale: The current purchasable ‘life membership’ category should be done away with. I believe that membership in a political party should be an ongoing commitment to activism, not a one-time purchase to be used for party newcomers for campaigning purposes. We should acknowledge committed supporters who have shown sustained and significant support via activism and/or financial contributions for the Party in ways that distinguish them from folks who simply have some extra cash to spread around.

While some may view Susan as somewhat brash, and occasionally I share that viewpoint, the truth is that she has proven her value to the Libertarian Party, she can get things done, and she refuses to set aside her principles regardless of the personal consequences. For those reasons, above all else I respect her even when I disagree with her.

For the above reasons, I hereby respectfully offer my endorsement of Susan Hogarth for LNC At-Large.

Susan Hogarth: An Open Letter To Bob Barr

In Activism, Congress, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Medical Marijuana, Politics, Presidential Candidates, War on May 17, 2008 at 7:30 pm

The following is reprinted with permission from the author.Susan Hogarth

An Open Letter to Bob Barr: Some Questions

By Susan Hogarth

Mr. Barr,

Thank you for joining the Libertarian Party in our efforts to bring greater freedom to Americans. In light of the very short time between your campaign announcement and the national convention, your antilibertarian congressional record and disinclination to fully repudiate it, and your refusal to answer a single email from me while you were serving as my regional representative on the Libertarian National Committee over the past year, I thought that I would circulate my questions to you publicly, in the hopes that someone, somewhere, will get some straightforward answers from you. To others reading this open letter — I hope that you will take whatever opportunity is afforded you to ask at least one or two of these questions of Mr. Barr. No candidate should garner our nomination without having satisfied the majority of delegates that he will steadfastly champion both the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message.

I’ve separated my questions into categories.

Support for the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message:

  1. Why has the leadership PAC bearing your name continued to raise and distribute funds to support Republican congressional candidates in districts where a Libertarian either is or could be running even after you joined the LP’s governing board? Do you not consider recruiting and supporting Libertarian candidates to be an essential part of the LP leadership’s mission? Will your leadership PAC continue to support Republicans if you are selected as the LP’s presidential nominee?
  2. In a radio interview in Charlotte, NC this week, you indicated that Republicans should support you because your candidacy will bring out voters who are dejected by McCain, and will now vote for Republican candidates down-ballot. What will you do to promote Libertarian Party candidates down-ballot?
  3. You have said that there are parts of the LP’s platform that you disagree with. Can you be specific? What parts of the LP’s platform do you agree with?
  4. Why have you consistently sold yourself in interviews as ‘conservative’ rather than ‘libertarian’? Do you think that ‘libertarian’ and ‘conservative’ are the same thing?

Questions about some of your antilibertarian votes in congress:

  1. PATRIOT Act – you voted ‘for’ the Act. Would you vote the same way again? Do you think it was a mistake to trust the sunset provisions?
  2. Do you still support an anti-flag-desecration amendment to the constitution? How does this tie in with your ideas of federalism? How does it support individual liberty?
  3. DOMA – you have indicated that DOMA was an exercise in federalism (devolving power to the states), but this does not explain the part of DOMA that defines marriage federally as man-woman only. Do you stand by this definition? In your state, would you support a government definition of marriage as man-woman only?
  4. You voted for the Medicare Part D prescription drug boondoggle while in congress. Do you stand by this vote, or repudiate it?

Explanation for some of your current seemingly antilibertarian positions:

  1. You talk about reducing U.S. military bases overseas, but not necessarily closing them. How many foreign countries do you think the U.S. needs to have military personnel in?
  2. Would you support an immediate end to the Afghanistan occupation? How long, as President, would you tolerate U.S. troops continuing to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan?
  3. You have made some welcome movement toward the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in a few cases, and have pointed to the Drug War as an issue where there should be greater state control. Aside from the federalism issue, do you support prohibition of marijuana (for any use) at the state level? Would you stand with Libertarian state-level candidates as a champion of ending prohibition?
  4. You have indicated that you support the idea of federal government resources being routed to South America to support governments that are allies of the U.S. government’s Drug War. Why would you support this sort of interventionism in the name of prohibition abroad? How does this tie in with your idea of federalism?
  5. You have indicated that you support the idea of economic sanctions against Iran as a sort of diplomacy. Sanctions strengthen dictatorships and punish citizens of both nations. Why would you support this sort of interventionism abroad and at home?
  6. Why do you support instituting an entirely new FEDERAL tax on Americans (national sales tax)? Is this the type of ‘federalism’ (or devolution of government power to the states) we can expect from you (i.e. a federalism of convenience)?
  7. You wrote ” Until all governments are willing to take a unified front to confront this problem, it is the duty of the federal government to secure our borders from criminals, terrorists and those seeking to take advantage of the American taxpayer.” Most terrorists, criminals, and freeloaders do not declare themselves as such at the border. How do you propose to separate the vast majority of people who want to come to the U.S. to labor honestly from these undesirables? Do you favor open immigration for all people who wish to come to the U.S. and who are not terrorists, criminals, or freeloaders?

___________________________

Susan Hogarth is a longtime libertarian activist, and a current candidate for the Libertarian National Committee. Her blog is at http://colliething.com

Jim Casarjian-Perry: Restore ’04!

In Activism, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on May 15, 2008 at 3:32 pm
The following is posted with the permission of the author, Jim Casarjian-Perry. The original article can be viewed here.

In 2004, the Libertarian Party platform was principled, thorough, and explained our position on any topic one could ask us about. It defined the issue at hand, applied the Libertarian Principle to said issue, and then offered a solution and transitional action. Our platform defined our position on each issue with the logical Libertarian answer. (2004 Platform can be viewed here.)

2006 came along and several right-wing members of the party decided it was time to scrap principle so we could play politics. They removed all but 15 planks of the platform and rewrote them, in my opinion, to be more suitable to reaching out to conservatives on the right. We’re not a right-wing party, nor are-left wing! We’re ABOVE left vs. right politics! (2006 Platform can be viewed here.)

Some say the idea was to modernize the platform to apply to current issues facing the government. I agree, the platform should reflect our views on current issues! But to scrap the whole thing was just plain mean spirited and was done in such a way as to purposely alienate those of us who believe the party should stick to our principles.

For now, we MUST restore the 2004 platform. Once this is done, I say we should begin looking at how to modernize the platform by changing the Transitional Action on each plank to address current issues. This is a simple solution to this platform problem and I hope others will consider this idea.

Until then, please sign the petition to restore the platform of principle for the party of principle. The petition can be found here. Please sign it TODAY as they will be closing the petition tomorrow so they may have copies of it available to National Delegates in Denver later this month.

____________________________

Jim Casarjian-Perry is a Town Meeting Representative serving Precinct 9 of Billerica, Massachusetts. He is a Libertarian Party member and a delegate to the Libertarian National Convention for Massachusetts. He enjoys cooking, reading, bicycling, backpacking, and good conversation. He and his partner live in Billerica, Massachusetts.

Many thanks to Jim for allowing us to reproduce his original work on Last Free Voice.  I am very pleased to announce that Jim is joining LFV as a Contributor – welcome, Jim!  🙂

“Why George?”

In Activism, Congress, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 6, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Why George?

Why should we Libertarians choose George Phillies to be our 2008 Presidential candidate?

Fellow delegates to our National convention!

Why should we nominate George Phillies for President?

George is a Libertarian Centrist. He isn’t Republican Lite. He isn’t a radical. He’s square in the middle of our party. He isn’t the darling of any one faction, so he’s acceptable to all of us. George will keep our party united.

George has the realistic campaign objective: Use the campaign to build the party. He does that by doing what winning campaigns do. Organize. Advertise. Mobilize. He’s telling his volunteers to stay with us after November.

George is a long-time activist. He’s not a newcomer with evolving stands on the issues. His Libertarian Congressional run was in 1998. He was national volunteer coordinator for Michael Badnarik. Now he’s Chair of his state party.

George’s campaign is up and running. He has $100,000 in the bank, ready to go when he wins. He’s already advertising on the radio and the internet. His press releases reach 17,000 media outlets. His campaign
staff is hard at work.

George put his money where his mouth is. He put $100,000 of his own money into his nominating campaign. He’ll give a second $100,000 if nominated.

George gave Libertarian activists the respect we earned. We all need time to study candidates before going to Denver. George declared two years ago, not two months or two weeks before our Denver convention.

Paid for by Phillies 2008.

LP/Green ballot access lawsuit in NC goes to trial

In Activism, Big Brother, Courts and Justice System, Democrats, Green Party, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Media, Politics, Republican on May 6, 2008 at 3:25 am
By JOEDY McCREARY
Associated Press Writer
Monday, May. 5, 2008 6:44 pm

RALEIGH (AP)- A Libertarian candidate for governor testified Monday that state law makes it “effectively impossible” to conduct a grassroots campaign in North Carolina.

Mike Munger, a Duke University professor, testified during a civil trial that could determine whether state laws are too stringent and unfairly limit the ability of third parties to get on the ballot.

The Libertarian and Green parties filed a lawsuit that claims state laws that define a political party are onerous and violate party members’ rights to free speech and association. The law also affects how party candidates can be included on ballots.

State attorneys defend the law, saying legislators approved rules that maintain the integrity of elections by requiring a political party to demonstrate it has adequate support from voters.

Under the law, a party must collect nearly 70,000 voter signatures to receive official party status. Party leaders said that’s one of the highest thresholds in the country. If the party’s candidate doesn’t get 2 percent of the vote for president or governor, the party must start over. The requirement had been 10 percent until the rules were changed in 2006.

The Libertarian Party has surpassed the signature requirement for all but one presidential election since 1976, state attorneys argued in court filings. The Green Party has never met the petition standard.

Special Deputy Attorney General Karen Long cross-examined Munger, who acknowledged only four Libertarian candidates have been chosen for the state House, which has 120 seats, and three Libertarians ran for Senate, which has 50 seats, for this year’s election. The party would be able to offer more candidates if it qualifies for the ballot by this year’s petition deadline.

Munger also admitted that since 1992, Libertarian candidates had enough signatures to get on the ballot but did not win any state elections. A party spokesman said later Monday the party has won nonpartisan elections.

But the lawsuit, filed in September 2005, said the Libertarian Party has paid more than $100,000 to hire solicitors to collect signatures along with volunteers for a successful petition. The process and money drain favors the state Republican and Democratic parties.

The signature deadline for this year’s general election is June 2.

The Lonely Libertarian on the Gravel Factor

In Activism, Barack Obama, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Protest, Republican, Terrorism, War on April 25, 2008 at 7:34 pm

From The Lonely Libertarian:

Mike GravelOne more X-factor in the general election- the possibility that the Libertarian party could actually be a factor. Particularly interesting is the candidacy of former Democrat Senator Mike Gravel, who, along with former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, is contending for the Libertarian nomination. In an election where even the Democrats seem basically unwilling to talk about the war, I think the libertarians could siphon off anti-war votes from both the left and the right and I think John McCain’s candidacy could open the door for Republican voters who care more about limited government than the war on terror.

Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez faces retrial on both acquitted counts

In Activism, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation, US Government on April 22, 2008 at 11:57 pm

From Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons:

Earlier this month, the jury in New Hampshire found Reno guilty on two counts, but could not reach an agreement on two other counts, resulting in a mistrial on those two undecided charges.

The government will retry those two unresolved counts on June 23, 2008, according to a recent filing in the Bob Wollfe’s docket.  The prosecutors have asked the judge to delay Wolffe’s sentencing until Reno’s trial is over, because Wolffe is expected to testify against Reno as a condition of his plea agreement.

In case anyone has forgotten, Reno provided security for Ed and Elaine Brown during their standoff against the US Marshals.  He was found guilty of two counts, and his two co-defendants were found guilty on all counts.  To catch up on the case, merely search for “Reno” on this blog.

Another viewpoint on FLDS case

In Activism, Big Brother, Children, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, First Amendment, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Law Enforcement, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Nanny State, People in the news, Police State on April 22, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Polygamists outside courtThe judge hearing the case of 400+ children removed from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), Judge Barbara Walther, has ordered DNA tests of the children from the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) compound. The tests began yesterday via cheek swab, and it is taking an extraordinarily long time to do each one (about 30 minutes) due to the convoluted relationships between the adherents, which brings with it fear of contamination of the samples. Many polygamist children living in a sect of this type have no idea which woman is their biological mother, or which man is their biological father. Prosecutors have also requested psychiatric examinations of the children, while the attorneys for the children objected vehemently to both.

In polygamist relationships, the women assigned to a particular man refer to one another as “sister wives”, and they are all viewed as mothers to all of their husband’s children. There is a pecking order among the wives, though, with each subsequent wife bearing less power within the overall relationship. Furthermore, women and children can be taken from the fathers, and “reassigned” to another man. For this reason, it is not at all unusual for a child to not know the identity of their biological parents.

However, there is reason to fear that the DNA tests will be used for other purposes. For example, if it is proven that a child was born to an underage mother, or that the mother and father are closely related, criminal charges could ensue, and the state will already have proof of the illegal relationship. More chillingly, under the guise of scientific knowledge, the test results could be used for other purposes, since in established polygamist sects everyone is related by blood to everyone else, and incest is common. Frankly, I fear that these children will become guinea pigs.

The judge stated the reason for the testing is that the mothers have regularly changed their names, possibly lied about their ages, and have difficulty naming their relatives.

In the meantime, the children are being held as a group, inside a coliseum.

In an interview with CBS’s “The Early Show” one of the men from the polygamist sect, known only as “Rulan”, stated that the men would cooperate with DNA testing if it will help them get their children back. He also stated that the sect would reconsider allowing sex with girls under 18.

Many of us perhaps were not even aware of such a law. And we do reconsider, yes. We teach our children to abide the law.

Prosecutors claim that simply living in the compound exposes the girls to sexual abuse, or the imminent risk of abuse, due to the practice of forcing girls as young as 13 to marry men sometimes old enough to be their grandfathers or great-grandfathers. There is a pecking order among the men, just as there is among the women, and even elderly men can request that a young girl be “assigned” to them as an additional wife. The purpose of this, insofar as their religious belief, is so that the man can produce as many “superior souls” as possible. Once that man dies – or if he no longer wants the wife, or if a man higher in the patriarchy decides he wants that man’s wife – his wives and children are assigned to other men; the women have no say with regard to which man they are assigned as a wife.

Once the DNA sampling is completed, which is expected to take several days, the children will be placed in foster care, and the children younger than four – who up to this point have stayed with their mothers – will be taken away as well.

Psychologists, however, warn that placing the children in conventional foster homes can cause severe psychological damage due to overexposure; these children have lived in such a strict community that even being allowed to play with mainstream children could cause serious problems. State workers have said that they will try to keep siblings together, and keep the children in groups. For the sake of the children, they will also need to create an environment with little to no contact with the outside world, which means no television, computers, or other media. It is unclear how the children will be educated, given that sending them to public school could prove to cause lifelong emotional and psychological scars.

Furthermore, another barrier stands in the way, which is that FLDS children have been taught from the earliest age that even mere disobedience to one’s parents leads to eternal damnation, and that the world outside the compound is evil. Obviously, these children are suffering both emotionally and psychologically, not just from being separated from their parents and community, but because they fear damnation for merely being taken by the state into the outside world.

I know some foster families, but I cannot imagine changing their entire household to accommodate restrictions that severe. I fear most foster parents will not even try, thinking it is best for the children to be exposed to the outside world. I therefore fear for those children, because I honestly think the psychologists’ warnings are to be taken seriously. We’re living in the 21st Century, while those children for all intents and purposes have never known anything beyond the 19th Century, since most have never even been off the compound before now. Experiencing a typical home today would be something akin to a time machine for them, and could even alter the religious beliefs they have been taught. The state, however, has absolutely no right whatsoever to expose those children to anything which might alter the beliefs their parents hold as truth; and to do otherwise is a violation of the First Amendment.

This is a very serious problem in this situation, and personally, I think this is such an extreme case – since the state has essentially denied their religious rights as well as the right to be secure in their homes – that the Supreme Court needs to step in and make sure the constitutional rights of the children and their parents are protected, before irreparable damage is done. It may already be too late.

Rozita SwinsonIn the meantime, police have identified a 33-year-old Colorado Springs woman, Rozita Swinton, as a “person of interest” and the possible source of the phone calls which caused this situation. Swinton is currently in police custody, charged with false reporting to authorities in another, unrelated case. There has been no explanation regarding why she would make phone calls of that nature regarding this particular religious sect, as it appears that she has no ties to the group.

We should all watch this case very, very closely. What the state is doing in the YFZ case could happen to any of us, based upon a hoax call. Child Protective Services nationwide is renowned for removing children from homes on the flimsiest of evidence, while leaving children actually at risk (and sometimes obviously being abused) in the home with their abusers. The truth of the matter is that religions such as the Primitive Baptists are equally strict with their children, and the women are completely subservient to their husbands (in fact, Primitive Baptist women look very much like the FLDS women), both of which could also be misinterpreted as abuse by overzealous social workers. One attorney stated that none of the parents had ever even received a copy of the original petition for removal of the children, yet were expected to appear in court 14 days later in order to present their case to have their children returned; one mother said that removing the children from their home and community was the worst abuse the children had ever experienced, and she may very well be correct.

On the other hand, you have the question of indoctrination into a patriarchal society, where young girls are taught from a very early age to be completely subservient to men. They are then married off as young as 13 years old, with no choice in who they marry and possibly even without warning. Many boys are driven off the compound at a very young age, to eliminate competition for the young girls’ affection. It is a strange society by our standards, to be sure, and we as a society do have a responsibility to help those children.

The question is, how do we help them, while ensuring the protection of their constitutional rights, as well as the constitutional rights of the parents? Is government intervention the best decision? I’m not altogether sure that it is, unless abuse can be proven. However, abuse is defined based upon the norms of society – for example, spanking is legally defined as abuse in some countries, but here parents can spank their children and a spanking in and of itself is not considered abusive – and it is indisputable that such sects have their own society, quite apart from our own; what is defined as abuse in our society is obviously not viewed as abuse in theirs, and is instead the norm. We are also not on a moral high ground with regard to pregnant teenagers, since we see that all the time in our own society, and many teen mothers in our society were impregnated at an even younger age.

This is an extremely complex question, with no easy answers to be found. However, one thing is clear, and that is that the FLDS sects have the same constitutional rights as you or I, and those rights must be protected above anything else. At this point, I do not believe the state had any cause whatsoever to remove the young children, and I fear that doing so has violated their constitutional rights, as well as the constitutional rights of the parents. If the state’s concern is sexual abuse of teen girls as stated, they may have probable cause to remove the teens for their own protection, but not to remove the younger children. I have seen and heard nothing which would suggest that children under the age of ten are in imminent danger of abuse, except the state’s assertion that, according to their religion, they may be “spiritually married” at any age. I therefore suspect the state is trying to enforce its own standards and morality upon a religion which has existed and been practiced the same way for hundreds of years.

My biggest concern is that this is nothing more or less than religious persecution. Religious persecution absolutely cannot be tolerated in our country, so there needs to be oversight at the federal level, to ensure the rights of all the sect members are protected.

Government Gone Wild: Extortion Edition

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Drug War, Fraud, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Police State, Politics, Socialism, Taxation on April 20, 2008 at 5:16 pm

By now we are all aware that the government can seize your car, your house, your money, etc if they believe the items were purchased with the proceeds of drug transactions. However, the practice of seizing property is actually far more common than that, and far, far more sinister.

Are you aware that the government can steal your house, even if you don’t owe a dime on it, and sell it for as little as one year of back taxes? On top of that they pile on additional extortion fees, and you’ll end up either paying the taxes and fees, or being homeless. They’ll sell it for a small percentage of what the property is worth, and there are predators who actually make a living by buying houses this way, only to resell them.

Are you aware that if you are caught driving a motor vehicle with an expired registration, the government can steal it and place it in an impound, where you will be forced to also pay a high towing fee plus a shocking amount for it to just sit there (usually between $25 and $50 per day) until you pay their extortion fee? Are you aware that if you don’t pay that extortion fee (which at that point includes the fee to the towing company for towing and storage, plus the registration, plus the taxes, plus whatever ticket you got for not having an up-to-date registration) within a short period of time, sometimes as little as 30 days, they will sell your vehicle and you will no longer have any rights to it?

There are predators who actually make a living buying cars that way for resell, too, not to mention the predatory towing companies in cahoots with the government, who make all that extra money for doing nothing (in some places, the government has its own impound lot, but in most, the impound is merely the towing company’s premises).

So, what gives the government the right to take something which doesn’t belong to them, and the right to sell it and give you back nothing no matter how much it was worth, even if you owned the property free and clear?

Only the laws the government has written for its own benefit give them that right, of course. Nothing else gives them that right. There certainly is no constitutional right for the government to steal your property, nor is there a natural right for the government to do such a heinous thing. Extortion, especially on that level, is illegal for everyone except the government.

You are actually far more likely to fall prey to this government extortion scheme if you don’t owe money on your property. Of course, the government knows whether you own it free and clear or not, since they have specifically written laws stating that any lien interest must be filed with them.

Those who fall prey to these schemes are not just those who protest taxes. Instead, most victims are simply good people who fell upon hard times, and many times those hard times are directly caused by government extortion which snowballs.

Let’s say you inherited a home from your parents, and you have a car which you worked and paid for yourself. The home is bought and paid for as well, so you own both your car and your house free and clear. Then let’s say that you work too far away to get there any way except by automobile. You didn’t get your registration paperwork in the mail (not at all unusual in my experience), so you simply forgot it was due. You get stopped by the police because your registration is expired, and they ticket you and impound your vehicle.

At that point, you don’t have the money to get the vehicle out – it will cost you the towing fee, plus daily storage fees, plus personal property taxes, plus registration – and you can’t even make that kind of money because you have lost your job for missing work. You also can’t pay the fine you were levied because you didn’t have an updated registration, so your license is suspended until you pay that, plus about $50 to the DMV to reinstate your license (which in reality requires only a mouse click on a computer).

The only job you can get to feed yourself and your family, and be able to get there and back since you no longer have a car or a license, pays minimum wage. There is no way you will be able to afford to get your vehicle back. So you tell yourself, “that’s okay, I’ve been in hard times before. I’ll eventually I’ll get back on my feet again, and pay the fine and get another car. We’ll scrape by.” In the meantime, the government sells your car right out from under you.

A friend has an old moped they no longer use, and they let you use it so you can get back and forth to a little bit better job. There is no license plate or anything on it, so you assume you don’t have to have that. It’s slower than a bicycle, after all. You are pulled over by the cops, and hit with multiple tickets. You are ticketed for not wearing a helmet, for not having a license plate on it, for not having insurance on it, for not registering it and paying taxes on it …. the list goes on. You are fined hundreds of dollars, even though the vehicle isn’t even yours, and they impound the moped, too. To make sure it gets back the maximum return, the towing company actually sends a tow truck to transport a moped. You also go to jail for driving on a suspended license, even though no one with more than one brain cell would assume you need a drivers’ license to drive a moped, given that they are not supposed to be ridden on main roads because they are so slow.

Once you pay your bail with the little bit of money you’ve saved up to try to get back on your feet, you’re back to zero again. Chances are you’ve lost your latest job because you missed a shift and didn’t call in (since you are in jail, after all).

You get a notice for property taxes, but you can’t pay it so you figure you’ll pay them when you pay everyone else. The government can’t take your house, you think, because it’s paid for and you own it free and clear.

You get another crappy job, and start riding a bicycle to and from work. You are stopped for not having a license on your bicycle, and for not wearing a helmet. More fines ensue, and they impound your bicycle.

You start walking back and forth to work, taking the only job you can find within walking distance, and everything seems okay until a cop shows up giving you legal documents saying your home has been sold for back taxes, and you have only a short period of time (usually 30 or 60 days) to “redeem” what is yours. What’s worse, it has been sold to a stranger for only the amount of the taxes.

Where do you get the money to buy your house back from the extortion agents? At that point your credit is destroyed, so you can’t borrow it.

In many cases, you don’t get the money. The government sells your house and you end up on the streets, with no choice but to depend upon the government to feed and shelter your children, since you lost the good job when your car was impounded, lost another job when the moped was seized and sold and you were arrested, lost your bicycle because it didn’t have tags on it, and eventually ended up having to take whatever crap job you can find where you can walk to and from work. By this time you owe the government thousands in fines, you’re working and supporting a family on minimum wage, and now – as if all that isn’t bad enough – you’re homeless.

The government wants it that way. The more people depend upon it for basic necessities, the more power it has over all of us. It is nothing but communism in action: the people own nothing, because the state has the power to take anything it wants without compensation.

There are many people, every single day, who have encountered these problems, thanks to the many government extortion programs. In fact, I know people who have had these specific problems, so I know for a fact that it can happen, and that it does happen all the time. The mainstream media doesn’t cover it, because to get many stories they must have the cooperation of the politicians who enacted and support these extortion programs. However, whether we see it on the news or not, it is so common that the only thing I find surprising about it, to be quite honest, is that to my knowledge no one has yet snapped and killed someone for stealing their home. You will notice that I said “yet”. It will eventually happen, of that I have no doubt. When it does, I certainly hope libertarians will stand up loud and clear in their defense. I know I will.

As libertarians, we spend a lot of time complaining about federal income taxes. That’s all well and good, but what we should be doing as well is working to stop this kind of rampant government extortion on the state, county, and local level, which destroys the lives of hardworking American families every single day.

If they want to charge taxes, fine; if the taxes get too high, eventually no one will live there, and they will have slit their own throats. However, we should never allow the government to steal property due to nonpayment of taxes, especially when those taxes are levied simply by virtue of owning the property in question. Extortion by force is always wrong, no matter who is doing it, and it must be stopped.

Latest from Jeff Bouffard, LP candidate for Congress

In Activism, Communism, Congress, Human Rights Abuses, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Protest, US Government on April 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Jeff BouffardI’m writing to let you know that on Monday, 14 April 2008, I’ll have an opinion piece in the Florida Today regarding the Olympics.  The piece is set to appear in the print and online editions of the newspaper.  Also, there are a few new things on the web site – I hope you’ll take a few minutes to see some of them.  And please spread the good word.

Finally, I’d really like to meet each of you in person.  Anyone who would care to invite his or her friends and family to meet me by hosting a coffee at his home, a local restaurant or social club would be greatly appreciated.  I am available nearly every evening for the next three weeks.  Please email me so that we can arrange it.

In Liberty,
Jeff Bouffard
Libertarian Candidate for Congress
www.electbouf.com

Here is his op-ed in Florida Today; normally I would just post an excerpt and link the rest, but that particular paper has a screwy website, so I’m not sure everyone would be able to easily access it.

Boycott the Beijing Games

Don’t reward China for human rights abuses.

When I was invited to write an op-ed piece for FLORIDA TODAY, many issues flew through my head.

From war to immigration to my tax plan as a Libertarian candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon in Congress, dozens of topics could have been a focus.

But after 15 Congressmen and women made the not even half-hearted effort of asking President Bush to skip the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics this summer, I knew I needed to explain my moral position concerning the games.

All U.S. athletes should boycott the Beijing Olympics this summer. I know this decision will be difficult for any athletes to make because they have trained for years. But when you consider whether many former Olympians proudly displayed their medals from the 1936 games in Nazi Germany, I doubt it.

There are myriad reasons to boycott:

  • TibetAfter years of oppression, Chinese authorities arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks and other protesting Tibetans over the last month.
  • XinjiangA mostly Muslim province north of Tibet, the people of this sparsely populated region also do not consider themselves Chinese but forced integration into Chinese society and arrests are the norm there as well.
  • Sudan/Darfur.Film director Stephen Spielberg resigned as a consultant for the game’s opening ceremonies because of Chinese support for the government of Sudan. China is Sudan’s largest trading partner and many activists are upset the Chinese government does nothing to pressure the Sudanese to end the genocide in Darfur.
  • Taiwan.Chinese hostility toward Taiwan constitutes the single greatest danger to world peace. China insists the re-unification of Taiwan is an “internal affair.” The Taiwanese do not agree.
  • The Chinese Gulag.China’s prison system is the largest in the world. Dozens of human rights activists have been jailed for speaking out against the “Harmonious Society.”

    Ironically, the same day the Olympic Torch was lit a Chinese court sentenced Yang Chunlin to five years in prison. His crime: Collecting 10,000 signatures on a petition that began “We want human rights, not the Olympics.”

    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband doesn’t think a boycott would help human rights issues in China. He also said “engagement, not isolation” of the Chinese is the correct road.

    But more than a few people in Britain compare him to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who thought the best way to deal with Adolf Hitler was to let him have Czechoslovakia in 1939.

    President Bush and Congress have no moral clarity on this vital issue. They have broken moral thermometers themselves by allowing Abu Ghraib and the torturing of prisoners held by the U.S. military.

    The rest of us know torture, oppression of free speech and the denial of legal representation are wrong.

    That’s why U.S. athletes should boycott the Beijing Games. Anything less will glorify and justify the deeply corrupt communist government of China.

  • Bouffard is a Libertarian candidate for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, which includes the southern half of Brevard County. A former Army lieutenant, he lives in Satellite Beach.

    Bush sings “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

    In Activism, Big Brother, Courts and Justice System, Crime, George Bush, Law, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Protest, War on April 5, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Transgender male meets discrimination due to pregnancy

    In Activism, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Health on April 2, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I was always under the impression that the transgendered had to undergo sex-reassignment surgery before they could be legally recognized as the opposite sex. However, The Advocate reports that a transgender man has become pregnant though he is legally recognized as a male, looks to the rest of the world to be male, and has legally married a female. It is reported that he changed everything else to effectuate the female-to-male change, but kept his female reproductive organs intact.  Obviously, I was misinformed.

    I looked around at some followups to this story, which just broke a few days ago (March 26th), to get an idea of the reaction. Even many in the transgender community are opposed to the pregnancy, on the basis that they don’t think he can claim to be male under those circumstances; others believe he should not continue to be a man if he has chosen pregnancy, because it causes negative attention toward other transgender males. The general public …. well, I don’t think I need to tell you what the public is saying, but suffice it to say that many if not most people are completely against it. Many are refusing to recognize him as male, since he has made this decision. Many are invoking God into this situation. I expect the public outcry to grow larger and louder, as the story makes it more and more into the mainstream.

    Below is an excerpt of the original story from the viewpoint of the man himself, and the problems he has encountered as a result of his decision to bear a child.

    While this is admittedly unusual, reproduction is undeniably a basic human right. That being the case, libertarians must fully support this man’s decision to bear a child. Our support is important, because what I suspect will happen is that the government will take ten steps backward, and start enacting discriminatory laws against the transgendered as a result of the hysteria which will undoubtedly occur, and which has already begun.

    Libertarians must be the voice of reason in this situation because – since most libertarians are heterosexual and in conventional relationships, and because we have always advocated the right of everyone to live as they choose without government interference – we cannot be logically accused of bias for or against the LGBT community.

    Labor of Love

    To our neighbors, my wife, Nancy, and I don’t appear in the least unusual. To those in the quiet Oregon community where we live, we are viewed just as we are — a happy couple deeply in love. Our desire to work hard, buy our first home, and start a family was nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until we decided that I would carry our child.

    I am transgender, legally male, and legally married to Nancy. Unlike those in same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions, Nancy and I are afforded the more than 1,100 federal rights of marriage. Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.

    Ten years ago, when Nancy and I became a couple, the idea of us having a child was more dream than plan. I always wanted to have children. However, due to severe endometriosis 20 years ago, Nancy had to undergo a hysterectomy and is unable to carry a child. But after the success of our custom screen-printing business and a move from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest two years ago, the timing finally seemed right. I stopped taking my bimonthly testosterone injections. It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle, so this wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. My body regulated itself after about four months, and I didn’t have to take any exogenous estrogen, progesterone, or fertility drugs to aid my pregnancy.

    Our situation sparks legal, political, and social unknowns. We have only begun experiencing opposition from people who are upset by our situation. Doctors have discriminated against us, turning us away due to their religious beliefs. Health care professionals have refused to call me by a male pronoun or recognize Nancy as my wife. Receptionists have laughed at us. Friends and family have been unsupportive; most of Nancy’s family doesn’t even know I’m transgender.

    You can read the rest of this incredible article on The Advocate.

    EW’s List of Memorable Antiwar Films

    In Activism, Celebrities, Entertainment, History, Media, Terrorism, War on April 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Entertainment Weekly has come up with a list of memorable antiwar films, listed below.

    Would you add other films to this list? Do you believe that any don’t belong on the list? Have antiwar films helped form your present views? What is the greatest and/or most memorable antiwar film of all time, in your opinion?

    ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
    The Hollywood adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel is one of the earliest anti-war films, and still stands among the most haunting. As naive young German troops fight and die in World War I, their devotion to their homeland comes to seem cruelly meaningless.

    LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1937)
    French auteur Jean Renoir looks at WWI from the other side of the trenches and arrives at much the same conclusion. Three captured officers (Pierre Fresnay, Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio) bond in a German POW camp and learn that nationalism and class divisions are less important than the things all humanity has in common. Such a damning statement that the Nazis seized its negatives when they invaded France three years later.

    THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
    Call it the Stop-Loss of its day: Midwestern war heroes (Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Frederic March) struggle to ease back into their small-town lives after World War II. A rare look at the long-term challenges faced by ”the Greatest Generation” once they defeated the Axis.

    PATHS OF GLORY (1957)
    Director Stanley Kubrick’s first big box-office success was also his first foray into the anti-war territory he would return to again and again. Kirk Douglas stars as a compassionate French colonel defending troops who have been accused of cowardice by their brutal superiors during WWI.

    DR. STRANGELOVE: OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)
    Kubrick’s approach is considerably lighter in this mordant Cold War satire. As the U.S. and U.S.S.R. hurtle toward nuclear apocalypse for no particular reason, Peter Sellers pulls off a hat trick, playing the psychotic rocket scientist of the title, the ineffectual American president, and the lone sane military man. A masterpiece of weapons-grade gallows humor.

    THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966)
    Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo delivers a still-searing portrait of Algeria’s mid-20th-century war of independence against its French colonial government. As both sides trade escalating acts of terrorism and brutality, the Western occupation is revealed as an exercise in gory futility.

    CATCH-22 (1970)
    Yossarian lives! Mike Nichols directs an all-star ensemble (Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, Orson Welles, Anthony Perkins, Bob Newhart…Art Garfunkel?!) in an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s tragicomic WWII novel. The characters may have been Allied bombers stationed in the Mediterranean, but the theme of senseless violence amid a bureaucratic tangle could hardly have been more relevant to the ever-deepening Vietnam disaster.

    M*A*S*H (1970)
    Before Hawkeye and Trapper John were primetime-TV staples, they featured in Robert Altman’s dark Korean War comedy. Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, and Tom Skerritt star as wisecracking Army doctors in a chaotic base camp south of the DMZ in the 1950s — another thinly veiled stand-in for the situation in Vietnam.

    COMING HOME (1978)
    Three years after the U.S. withdrew from Southeast Asia, American audiences finally got a great film that explicitly addressed Vietnam. Jane Fonda and Jon Voight both took home Oscars for their roles in a love triangle involving a paraplegic veteran and his nurse…

    THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
    …and that same year, the Academy voted this intense Vietnam movie Best Picture. Robert De Niro, and Christopher Walken star as Pennsylvania steelworkers turned soldiers; we watch the war’s inhuman violence tear them apart as they proceed from a pre-war hunting trip through the battlefield and back home. You’ll never forget those Russian roulette scenes.

    APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
    In a loose re-telling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) journeys up a Cambodian river to find and kill the unhinged Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). It’s since become one of the most iconic Vietnam War films — quotes don’t get more quotable than Robert Duvall bellowing, ”I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

    DAS BOOT (1981)
    Back to World War II: Director Wolfgang Petersen takes us inside a claustrophobic German submarine, revealing the grueling realities of undersea battle for a young crew whose members are beginning to question Nazi ideology.

    PLATOON (1986)
    The first and most affecting of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam films. Charlie Sheen, standing in for Stone’s own wartime experiences, drops out of college and ships off to the Army. Caught up in the violent rivalry between two superior officers — a brutal authoritarian played by Tom Berenger and a warmer sergeant played by Willem Dafoe — Sheen’s ideals are shattered.

    FULL METAL JACKET (1987)
    Another insanity-of-war polemic from Kubrick, this one focusing on a troop of Vietnam-bound Marines. First we see Vincent D’Onofrio as a young recruit driven insane by the brutal dehumanization of basic training. The film’s second segment follows the rest of the troops through a similarly hellish march into the city of Hue.

    THREE KINGS (1999)
    In director David O. Russell’s quirky examination of the (first) Gulf War’s aftermath, soldiers played by George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze happen upon a treasure trove of Saddam Hussein’s gold bullion in 1991 — and then things really get started. As they traverse the desert, gradually coming to realize the war’s effect on Iraq’s civilians, wry humor gives way to touching drama.

    MUNICH (2005)
    Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated epic takes place more than 30 years ago, but it’s still the only feature film that’s truly done justice to the profound ethical complexity of today’s ”War on Terror.” Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciarán Hinds, and others are undercover Israeli spies, assigned to secretly track and assassinate the Palestinian terrorists who planned the vicious murder of Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Their mission seems entirely righteous at first — but as they travel through Europe, picking off the men on their hit list, anything resembling moral clarity soon vanishes.

    FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS/LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006)
    Clint Eastwood directed not one but two dramas about the punishing Allied campaign to take Iwo Jima at the end of WWII. In Flags, the U.S. government forces the soldiers who hoisted the stars and stripes above the island in the iconic photograph into uncomfortable propaganda roles when they return home. And in the Japanese-language Letters, we see the same bloody battle from the other perspective, as Ken Watanabe’s Gen. Kuribayashi struggles to maintain dignity amid rising casualties.

    I was surprised that they didn’t include “The War At Home“, a film which takes place after a soldier returns home from Vietnam, as he struggles to deal with the horrors he experienced; the film stars Emilio Estevez, Kathy Bates, and Martin Sheen.

    Another antiwar film which I would highly recommend is “Jacob’s Ladder“. It stars Tim Robbins and Danny Aielo, and is kind of hard to explain. IMDB describes it as, “A traumatized Vietnam war veteran finds out that his post-war life isn’t what he believes it to be when he’s attacked by horned creatures in the subway and his dead son comes to visit him.” It seems like a horror film in many ways, but has a very interesting plot twist at the end, which still gives me goosebumps when I think about it. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Here is the trailer for “Jacob’s Ladder”:

    Which antiwar films have you seen and would recommend to others?

    From the comments section …

    In Activism, Immigration, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Music, Politics, Protest on March 31, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I have no earthly idea why anyone would think this is a song that libertarians would enjoy – and perhaps the person who posted it doesn’t realize how libertarians view immigration, and just looked for blogs where “immigration” was a tag – but we received a comment on the “A Conversation With Mike Gravel” article, asking us to post this video.

    Senator Gravel is for completely open borders, of course, so either this gentleman read the entry and disagreed with that stance, or didn’t read the entry and made the assumption that Senator Gravel is against immigration. It’s really unclear at this point why he posted it here; perhaps he will stop back by and fill us in on his motivations.

    That being said, I am a big proponent of the arts, and like to support struggling musicians and songwriters whenever I can. So I thought I’d be a nice gal and post it as he requested; and perhaps in exchange, some of our readers may wish to educate this gentleman on libertarian views of immigration.

    Here is the comment, as received:

    Hi,

    Can you please place a link on your website / or blog; to this Take Back Our Country Song it’s a patriotic song that is very inspiring, and truthful. I wrote this song after being fed up with what I see happening in my neighborhood and to our country daily on the news.

    I am just an ordinary citizen that went away to serve at age 19. And I am sick and tired of the lies and chaos our ELECTED SELLOUT OFFICIALS has put this country into. So I wanted to do my part, as a soldier of the USANG, I wrote this song and put it on this video.

    My state Louisiana was hit hard by hurricane Katrina and hundreds of illegal aliens moved into our community took away jobs that we Americans were ready to do, and now crime has gone thru the roof. I am sick and tired of these people in my neighborhood and hanging out on our street corners. WE MUST DO SOMETHING TO PUT A STOP TO THIS!

    Please check out my video Take Back Our Country Song on YouTube.com here’s the link. And FORWARD it to everyone on your email list. This is my way of fighting back and giving back to my country.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yl6Ol64aGMY

    Please, I served my country in the US Army National Guards, and I hate what’s happening to our country. We must do all we can to Take Her Back!

    Thank you,
    Richie Collins
    http://FalseArguments.net

    Take Back Our Country

    The YouTube description of the song is as follows:

    Get your copy of the Take Back Our Country song burn it to a CD and get ready to PLAY IT LOUD on May 2008 this is the next planned march of the SPAM (Spanish People Advocacy Movement)! WANTED: Established Male Artist, Establish Male Bands wanted to sing this song! Let’s negotiate you putting this song on your next album release! I am not a singer; I need someone to sing this song for me with a band….etc…. Send me your videos at, mrcfunds@bellsouth.net but you got to get the song first.

    This is my way of doing my part to fight this illegal invasion of our country. This video is a National Boycott against illegal immigration and everything it stands for. All Legal People of this land know there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. And “The American Axis of Evil” know they have done this wrong! (The American Axis of Evil 1. The President 2. The Congress 3. Anyone who thinks illegal immigration is ok, this is done all for GREED. You don’t sell out the country that I served in proudly USANG FOR MONEY! HOW MANY BILLIONS DO DICK CHENEY need? This is harming this nation. Most of our United States Representatives have allowed these illegal aliens to linger in our country. WE THE LEGAL PEOPLE of the United States demand that you DEPORT everyone that has entered illegally! They must come in this country the right way! Please join me at my Blog and to get your copy of Take Back Our Country go to http://www.falsearguments.net

    Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms?