Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Jim Casarjian-Perry: Bob Barr hits home

In Congress, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Social Security Administration, US Government on May 9, 2008 at 10:36 am

The following is posted with the permission of the author, Jim Casarjian-Perry. The original article can be viewed here.

Bob Barr hits home. Why would you do that to me Bob?

Before long, people are going to think I have a vendetta against Bob Barr. I don’t really have one against him, just his past votes. Like his support (and authorship!) of the Defense of Marriage Act. This lovely piece of federal law prevents the federal government and it’s related bureaucratic agencies from recognizing same-sex marriages. There is a problem here… it’s effects are being felt in MY MARRIAGE. One such instance occurred today.

I’ve dragged my feet about getting my driver’s license switched from NH to MA. I went to get this done today. You need to have four documents with you in order to transfer your license. 1) Birth Certificate, 2) Social Security card, 3) Proof of Massachusetts residency (like a lease), and 4) your old license of course. I have all these things with my pre-marital name on them except for my lease. Here is where the fun starts.

I took all these required documents AND my official state marriage certificate (which verifies my name change due to marriage) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. They looked them over and said they couldn’t process my application. The reason? My Social Security Card does not reflect my name change. Okay, so off to the SS (heh) office.

The SS office requires your birth certificate, proof of name change and ID to change your name on your card. I had all of these documents. The clerk and I chatted for a few minutes, she congratulated me on getting married, she showed my pictures of her kids, etc as we waited for the system to process my request. No dice. The Social Security Administration informed me that due to the DOMA (which Bob Barr authored) I could not use my Massachusetts Marriage Certificate as proof of name change. Next steps still need to be determined as to how I am going to get my identification documents changed. But until then I ask, why would you do that to me Bob?

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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. 🙂

Bob Barr’s “emotional distress”

In Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Democrats, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on May 7, 2008 at 1:43 am

In 2002, Salon published an article detailing how Bob Barr filed a $30 million lawsuit against Bill Clinton,Bob Barr Larry Flynt, and James Carville, claiming “emotional distress”, on the same day he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for pain and suffering (for everybody else, naturally) at $250,000.

As I’m sure you’ve already figured out, he didn’t win; the lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; he appealed the dismissal, and lost again. The dismissal on appeal was even more embarrassing, since the court determined that he never even claimed the disparaging information to be false, or stated with reckless disregard for the truth, or with knowing disregard for its falsity.

Think about this for a minute. He was suing a man he had impeached and two alleged (but extremely unlikely) conspirators, unsuccessfully mind you, for causing him emotional distress; yet he still never once claimed that the dirt they dug up on him (and which Flynt eventually published) was even false.

I don’t know about you, but I find even the idea of that lawsuit incredibly amusing. Can you say “frivolous”? Or maybe the word I’m looking for is “paranoid”. Either way, the word “disturbing” also comes to mind, given that an appellate court ruled that he had sued three people for $30 million, when all they had really done was exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.

By the way ….. it’s only 17 days until the convention, and Bob Barr still has not announced his intentions, and still is hiding behind his Exploratory Committee rather than subjecting himself to voter questions and scrutiny like the other candidates have already done. Gee, I wonder why. LOL

Here’s an excerpt from the Salon article:

Jun 14, 2002 | When the news finally broke — because porn magnate Larry Flynt sent out his own press release — that Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., had filed a lawsuit in March against Bill Clinton, pundit James Carville and Flynt for $30 million, claiming “loss of reputation and emotional distress,” the timing couldn’t have been much more awkward for Barr. That very day, he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for “pain and suffering” at $250,000.

This week, at a hearing of the House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, which he chairs, Barr heaped praise on a bill that would limit so-called non-economic medical damages to $250,000, saying “a national liability insurance crisis is ravaging the nation’s healthcare system.”

So how can someone who wants to limit awards for pain and suffering sue the former president and others for a whopping $30 million in emotional distress?

The depths of the former House impeachment manager’s disdain for the former president should not be underestimated. Of all the House managers, Barr was perhaps the most gung-ho in his desire to get Clinton. Back in November 1997, before the world had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky, Barr tried to bring impeachment charges against Clinton, alleging violations of campaign finance laws.

Now, Barr has quietly filed a suit against Clinton, Carville and Flynt for “participating in a common scheme and unlawful on-going conspiracy to attempt to intimidate, impede and/or retaliate against [Barr]” for his role as an impeachment manager in 1999.

Behold: Bob Barr’s vast left-wing conspiracy.

The suit comes, however, as Barr has other things to worry about. Redistricting has placed him in a tough primary fight against Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. When asked on Thursday about Barr’s suit, Linder spokesman Bo Harmon offered a jab veiled in a no-comment. “A sitting congressman suing a former president for $30 million raises all sorts of serious questions,” Harmon said. “Until we know more about Congressman Barr’s state of mind on this, we’re going to refrain from commenting.”

Barr’s case is yet another bizarre coda to the impeachment saga. Among the documents submitted in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was a section of The Flynt Report, the 1999 document by the Hustler publisher that shone a spotlight on the private lives of the House impeachment managers and other moralizing Republicans. The report calls Barr “a twice-divorced family values cheerleader … who condoned an abortion, committed adultery and failed to tell the truth under oath” in a 1986 deposition.

Flynt’s report was one of the blows struck in a tit-for-tat mud-wrestling match between investigators in the Office of the Independent Counsel and their congressional allies and Democratic attack dogs during the halcyon days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Democrats pointed to stories like the ones contained in the report and to Henry Hyde’s extramarital affair to label Republican impeachment managers as hypocrites.

Barr has long talked of a conspiracy behind the attacks on him. At the time the Flynt Report was published, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Barr if the White House was behind the smear campaign. “Most people can’t even deny that with a straight face,” Barr told Blitzer.

The suit is not the first time Barr has tried to sue Clinton outside the confines of Congress. The new civil suit is a reprise of a criminal case Barr brought in 1999 against the Executive Office of the President and the Justice Department, claiming the White House was keeping a dossier on Barr and that the congressman “was subject to attacks and threats of attack by persons in the media, including Larry Flynt, James Carville, [investigative journalist] Dan Moldea and others.”

The new complaint charges that the White House kept “files on [Barr] and routinely disseminated the contents of those files to defendants Carville and Flynt and others, including members of the media, in an effort to intimidate and impede” Barr’s investigation of Clinton. The suit also alleges that the White House kept an enemies list that included all 13 House impeachment managers; Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark.; Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff; and Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman, who is serving as Barr’s attorney in the case.

The suit, however, includes no evidence of such collusion.

Read the rest of this article here.

“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.

Barr still “exploring”, with convention just 18 days away. Why?

In Congress, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on May 5, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Bob BarrThe LP Convention is in 18 days.  Will Bob Barr announce that he is running for President, and if so, when does he plan to do that?

I’m beginning to believe that his real intention is to wait until the last possible minute to announce – possibly even at the convention itself – so libertarians don’t have time to subject him to the same level of scrutiny which the other LP presidential candidates have endured.  After all, Barr does have a long history of doing things which are very, very unlibertarian.

Recently – while sitting on the LNC – he sent out a letter asking people to help him defeat Hillary Clinton by buying his “Barr Report” for $50, and nowhere in that letter did he even once use the word “libertarian” when describing himself (though he did call himself “conservative”, and the envelope called him “Republican”).  He has continued to use his Republican PAC, and he has continued to support Republican candidates even when there is a Libertarian opponent.

Clearly, he would face a lot of very serious questions about his activities while sitting on the LNC – not to mention all the questions about his actions while a Republican in Congress, from wasting $80 million on the failed Clinton impeachment, to his authorship of the Defense of Marriage Act, to his support of the Patriot Act, among other things – were he to announce anytime before the last possible minute.

Personally, I suspect that fear of scrutiny is why he is still hiding behind his “exploratory committee”, and for that reason I have completely discounted him as a serious LP presidential candidate.  Any candidate who has not announced their candidacy at this point, with the convention only a little over two weeks away, is not worthy of the level of trust one must put into a Presidential nominee.

George Phillies answers Marc Montoni’s questions

In Congress, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Terrorism, US Government, War on April 23, 2008 at 10:09 pm

This past week, our very own PaulieCannoli posted “Marc Montoni has questions for Bob Barr. How about you?” on Third Party Watch.

George PhilliesWhile to my knowledge Barr has not answered those questions, his opponent Dr. George Phillies has answered them. Below is Dr. Phillies’ response.

12 Questions by Marc Montoni

Marc offers a baker’s dozen of questions. Of course, I’m not Bob Barr, so my answers are not the same.

1. Mr. Barr, while a congressman, you supported a lot of pork, including federal cash for Gwinnett, Bartow, and Cherokee airports and transportation projects. You also steered business to Lockheed-Martin’s Marietta, GA plant for the C-130 cargo plane and the gold-plated F-22 Raptor fighter. How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I’ve called for huge reductions in every part of the Federal budget. Those pork barrel contracts and corporate welfare schemes will face vetos in a Phillies administration.

2. Mr. Barr, you supported Bush’s military tribunals for Iraqis captured during the war (“Barr Stands Behind President on Tribunal Procedures” 3/21/2002). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? And given that the Constitution doesn’t say its protections are only for citizens, how does your support of depriving individuals of their rights encourage government to properly respect the rights of people who are citizens?

George Bush claimed that as President he had the right to try terrorists before military tribunals. Of course, this is complete nonsense, because our Constitution guarantees the right of trial by jury. (Prisoners of War are not tried; they are detained.) George Bush made this claim this because he’s not loyal to the Constitution. As President, I will replace Federal officers who try to ignore the Constitution with loyal, patriotic civil servants who love our country, love our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and are willing to make sacrifices to defend them.

3. Mr. Barr, you supported federal interference in assisted suicide (“Barr Praises Administration Stance Against Suicide Doctors”, 11/8/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? And have you ever sat at a patient’s bedside while he was writhing in agonizing pain for weeks on end, waiting to die, and explained to him why he couldn’t choose a dignified manner of death as the sole owner of his own body?

Two years ago, my mother died in bed, in her own living room, with my brother and I by her side. Fortunately, she was in no pain. Others are much less lucky as death approaches. I strongly support laws protecting compassionate care and laws that permit mentally competent persons facing imminent and painful death to choose the moment of their demise. Government should have no role in this matter of decisions made by mentally competent adults.

4. Mr. Barr, you supported federal meddling in contracts between HMO’s and their customers (“Barr Hails Passage of HMO Reform Legislation”, 8/2/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? What does abrogating the terms of contracts have to do with freedom?

I support the validity of non-fraudulent contracts freely entered into by knowing and consenting adults. I have called for interstate competition in the provision of health insurance, so that people have a wider range of choices in their medical care arrangements. I also call for putting all medical care costs on the same tax basis, to eliminate the Federal corporate welfare subsidy of some health insurance arrangements.

5. Mr. Barr, you supported giving money to religious organizations for charitable programs (“Barr Hails Passage of President’s Faith-Based Initiative”, 7/19/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller
government?

Phillies: I am entirely opposed to giving government money to religious organizations, when the charitable organization’s religious and charitable activities are irretrievably commingled. There should be an iron wall of separation ensuring that our tax money is not spent for the benefit of particular religious organizations.

6. Mr. Barr, you supported a wholesale expansion of the fed into schools with your cosponsorship of H.R. 1 in 2001—“The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” (“Barr Cosponsors Bush Education Bill”, 3/22/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I call for the immediate repeal of No Child Left Behind.

7. Mr. Barr, you supported a discriminatory ban on Wiccan expression in the military (“Barr Demands End To Taxpayer-funded Witchcraft On American Military Bases, May 18, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I have condemned Republican efforts to organize army persecution of Wiccans. Should soldiers should be allowed, on their own time and using their own resources, to conduct religious services at the base where they were stationed? Of course they should. The people in question did not even ask the army to construct a religious building for them, only to use an otherwise vacant field for worship.

And, while I am at it, I also condemn Republican efforts to revive school prayer. That was an issue in the 2007 Kentucky republican gubernatorial primary. One of the autodial tapes attacking Republican Anne Northrop, for having voted for school prayer only thirteen times out of fourteen, was according to recorded by… Bob Barr. While he was a sitting member of the LNC.

8. Mr. Barr, you supported summarily evicting students from school for bringing a gun onto school property — seemingly forgetting that millions of young Americans did this right into the seventies — regardless of whether they were simply going hunting after school or not. You apparently wanted to forget that the Constitution doesn’t just protect the rights of adults, but children too (“Testimony of U.S. Representative Bob Barr on The Child Safety and Protection Act of 1999, Before The House Committee on Rules”, June 14, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

I condemn this Federal intervention into the conduct of local schools. The only way to avoid this question is to work, as I do, for separation of school and state. When children are private or home schooled, the Federal question vanished, because it is purely a matter of parental and contractual discretion.

9. Mr. Barr, you voted with the majority to further socialize medicine by voting for H.R. 4680, the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2000 (June 28, 2000). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

America is flat-out broke. We don’t have the money for this program. We simply can’t afford it. It mostly has to go. Unsurprisingly, the Republican Congress failed to investigate effectively the cost of the program before voting for it.

10. Mr. Barr, you supported flag-waving nationalistic fervor by voting several times in favor of a constitutional amendment to prohibit the physical desecration of the United States Flag; in 2000 it was HJ Resolution 33 (June 24, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? What does the flag-worship cult have to do with liberty?

I am 100% in support of freedom of speech. Nonetheless, the flag-burning amendment is a farce. If passed and put into effect, which I certainly hope will not take place, it invites opponents of the current Republican War Party leadership to burn objects that are look more and more like flags, without being flags.

11. Will you or have you openly, publicly, and clearly repudiated all of these previous nanny-state actions of yours?

See above.

12. Why did you wait until you’re no longer in congress to repudiate them? Shouldn’t you have thought about all of that Leviathan-state-building you were doing while you were in congress and it actually mattered?

I haven’t had to flip flop on issues. I have had people suggest to me ways of making my message more effective, generally by stressing the positive, good-news part of the discussion. The hope of the shining libertarian city on the sunlit hill of liberty is sometimes a more effective lure than other alternatives.

13. Oh, yes, that last question: “How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?”

I organized a Federal PAC and a Massachusetts State PAC. They’ve had to be inactive during my campaign, for legal reasons, but they will be back. I helped organize a libertarian 527 organization, Freedom Ballot Access, that raised more than $18,000 for Mike Badnarik’s ballot access. My organizations fund Libertarian candidates, not Republican candidates running against Libertarians.

I’ve written two books on our party’s tactics and history. My newsletters Libertarian Strategy Gazette and Let Freedom Ring! have brought Libertarian Party news across America. I’ve distributed the Libertarian Candidate Campaign Support disk, assembled by Bonnie Scott and I, for free to hundreds of fellow libertarian candidates. And I’m currently state chair of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts.

That’s how I’ve worked for smaller government.

Submit Your Questions!

In Congress, Democrats, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, US Government on April 23, 2008 at 12:50 am

On May 3rd, I will be conducting an interview with J.Skyler McKinley for my Blog Talk Radio Show, “Live From Court Street”. Skyler is the National Press Secretary for the Mike Gravel for President Campaign. Elfninosmom conducted a great interview with Mike Gravel himself a few weeks ago here at Last Free Voice, where we learned a lot about the latest libertarian convert.

Now that a few weeks have passed, I wanted to find out what direction the campaign is heading as we inch closer to Denver. Will Bob Barr’s eventual “official” announcement cause any concern for the Gravel team? Has Mike faced any hostility from libertarians who have spent years pouring their hearts and souls into the cause of freedom, while on the campaign trail? Does the Senator have plans to remain active with the party should he fail to gain the nomination? I know these are questions I would like to see answered. How about you, the readers? Is there a question you would like the National Press Secretary to answer?

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I’ll select a few. Since this is a live show, you can also call in and ask your question directly. The show begins at 7:30pm Eastern on May 3rd and the interview with Skyler will be at 8pm. If you would like to interact during the segment, you may do so at 646-200-0234.

To listen live on the 3rd (or any Saturday), visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/livefromcourtstreet.

Root’s “brain trust” has a brain fart

In Congress, Economics, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Taxation, US Government, Wayne Allen Root on April 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Third Party Watch posted Wayne Allyn Root’s plan to end federal taxation.

It is tax day, April 15, 2008. What a perfect day to announce our proposal to dramatically reform the American tax system. During this campaign for our party’s nomination, several of my esteemed opponents have spoken in favor of imposing a 30% national sales tax on all goods and services- combined with a check paid to everyone in the country (in the form of an automatic annual tax rebate – whether you’ve earned income or paid taxes, or not). Our campaign has received hundreds of requests to comment on the “Fair Tax,” many of them proponents. But after studying the proposal, we conclude that the “Fair Tax” is a bad idea.

The so-called “Fair Tax” is not an advance for freedom; it is a prescription for tyranny and will relegate our descendents to being little more than welfare-dependent wards of the government.

Advocating a “Fair Tax” is bad for our party and bad for America, and we believe that having our party’s nominee advocate this would tarnish the Libertarian Party’s brand.

Our campaign offers a competing vision.

Imagine instead a country where businesses and individuals would no longer need to account to the government for their income. Imagine a country where we can be free from the Internal Revenue Service. Imagine in one instant eliminating individual federal income taxes, corporate federal income taxes, payroll taxes, death taxes, the marriage penalty, excise taxes, and even the dreaded AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) – all of it at once, gone forever.

No, this is not a dream. It can be a reality in a Root Administration.

Our campaign team’s economic brain trust has crafted an alternative approach that we believe will be attractive to America, consistent with our constitution and right in line with our libertarian ideals. Our plan completely rids America of federal income taxes and the I.R.S., while at the same time restoring power to the American people at the state and local level – just as our founding Fathers intended.

We propose eliminating the income tax and all other sources of federal tax revenues, including payroll taxes, excise taxes and import duties, and replacing it with only one tax: a tax on each state in proportion to its population, with each state deciding for itself how to raise its share of the money.

Not only would this eliminate taxes on income by the United States federal government, it would likely end taxation on income in virtually all states in this country. Most states calculate their own income taxes starting with the taxpayer’s calculation of Federal taxable income. It would be too costly for most states to enact their own income tax systems without being able to leverage the current system of W2s and 1099 filings.

To further reduce the likelihood of even some states imposing income taxes on their residents, if elected I will ask Congress to introduce legislation to update Public Law 86-272 to prohibit states from taxing the business activity of any person or enterprise engaging in interstate commerce, and define this broadly enough to include even the solicitation of customers in more than one state.

Our Founding Fathers understood the power of the purse as an instrument of tyranny. Today, because the U.S. Government taxes its citizens and then kicks back a portion of the money to the states (as it sees fit), the federal government exercises enormous unconstitutional power against the states through various federal mandates, ranging from No Child Left Behind to Real ID. Today’s regime of personal income taxation facilitates this mockery of our system of Federalism.

Our vision for dramatic change in U.S. tax policy is as simple as it is revolutionary in scope. With our plan there will be only 50 taxpayers in our country writing checks to the U.S. Treasury each year. With no other source of revenue to the U.S. Government, the balance of power would be forever dramatically reversed back to the states (just as our Founding Fathers envisioned).

Moreover, because these 50 states (and their taxpayers) will have a bias toward keeping tax dollars at home instead of sending them to Washington, they will have great incentive to mount enormous political pressure against Congress to reduce the size of government- thereby reducing both spending and taxes.

Some of the unnecessary and wasteful federal spending that would be first on the chopping block for this President (a perfect description for the son of a butcher) would be welfare, entitlements of all kinds including corporate welfare, dramatic cuts in foreign aid, a dramatic reduction in military bases across the globe, and dramatic cuts in wasteful pentagon spending. It’s high time to stop spending billions of our tax dollars to defend wealthy allies such as Japan, South Korea and Western Europe.

It’s time to de-fund and eliminate entire government departments and bureaucracies – starting with the Dept of Education (which is not authorized or mentioned in our constitution). The first step toward improving our education system (and saving our tax dollars) is to keep the money at the state and local level, giving less power to the federal government and teachers unions, and more power, freedom and choice to parents.

Under this plan, if Congress chose not to reign in out-of-control federal spending, it runs the risk that states could respond by withholding taxes from the federal government, which is the ultimate “check and balance.”

Power would be restored to the states, just as Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he authored the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, arguably the most libertarian President in United States history, declared the primary responsibility of the American President was “to render ineffective and invisible the very government he is elected to lead.”

Jefferson and the Founding Fathers intended for taxes to be minimal and up to each state to decide. Jefferson said of taxes, “Government shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” Jefferson believed taxes were completely up to the discretion of individual states when he said, “The true theory of our constitution is that states are independent as to everything within themselves…” and even went so far as to recognize the right of states to nullify federal laws within their own borders, describing federal intrusion into state matters as “interference by a foreign government.”

Our founding father Thomas Jefferson would certainly approve of this plan to switch the power of taxation and spending decisions from the federal to the state level.

With this one sweeping change, devolving power from Washington to the states, tax and regulatory policy at the state level takes on greater importance. In this environment, competition amongst the states for business and residents would likely become fierce. States that impose high taxes or forms of taxation unpopular with their residents will be punished with losses in population. States that create an environment of low taxation and fair forms of taxation will be rewarded with population gains. Taxpayers will be better able to monitor how their money is spent up close and personal at the state and local level. A major shift of all taxation (and most spending) from the distant and draconian federal level to the state level can only be positive for the American taxpayer.

We believe this arrangement is exactly what our Founding Fathers intended – more power at the state and local level, less power at the federal level, and taxation determined by each individual state. This plan respects our Constitution, expands your personal freedom, restores power to the American people (and taxpayers), and increases the money you keep in your wallet. Please join us in this campaign to restore Federalism, returning power from Washington back to the states and to the people.

Root seems to be merely saying what he thinks libertarians want to hear, and not really thinking this through. He also uses a lot of words to say very little. Most of what he wrote seems intended to talk us into agreeing with him, as if we’re not smart enough to see right through his plan for what it really is.

Many of those posting comments on Third Party Watch pointed out that Root is still learning, and I think that’s wonderful. We should always encourage those who are interested in libertarianism to learn more about it. However, do we want someone who is still learning about libertarianism to represent the Libertarian Party as its presidential candidate? I should think not, especially when their background tells us that they are not a libertarian by nature.

Will his tax plan work? Of course not, especially since many states already tax income and he wants to take that ability away from them, while also placing a huge financial burden upon them. Congress represents the interests of the states, after all. No way will Congress ever go for that idea … unless of course they realize that they can make much, much more money by grossly overtaxing the citizens, and blaming it on the federal government.

The states will not be put off by the necessity of enacting a financial reporting plan similar to that of the W-2, as Root believes. They would just make laws requiring their own forms, and copy the federal forms. They could even just copy the federal laws, and change the specifics, and set up the computer program necessary to keep track of the information. If Root thinks they won’t do that, he has no business running for President, because it is proof that he has no clue how the real world works. Government does only one thing very, very efficiently, and that’s picking the pockets of its citizens.

His plan is setting up the American people for taxation at a rate which could only be described as financial rape. He may be getting rid of the IRS, but he is not really getting rid of income tax, because what states lack in income tax, they more than make up for in other taxes. Taxpayers are going to get hit for a predetermined amount, and it doesn’t matter what the government calls it, it’s still picking our pockets. In reality, his plan will make overall tax rates far worse than they already are.

His plan is not only poorly thought out, it’s dangerous to the American people. In states with a high number of financially disadvantaged citizens, it could prove catastrophic. If the states are required to pay the federal government based upon population, the taxpaying members of society will end up paying far more to the states than they pay now to the federal government, in order to make up for the indigent population. As a result, many working-class families will be taxed into poverty by the states.

I could go on and on, but in short, his “brain trust” had a brain fart. This is not the first time that’s happened. The last time Root put out an issue release, he wanted to bring the entire federal government to an abrupt halt by refusing to fund any federal agencies. He obviously has not thought that through, either. While some libertarians will applaud ideas such as Root’s, the more pragmatic among us will recognize that Root’s ideas are unrealistic. It took over two hundred years for the government to get the way it is today, and that cannot be undone overnight, by Root or anyone else.

Libertarians need to look beyond the facade which is Wayne Allyn Root. This is all part of a much bigger plan for him, which does not involve the Libertarian Party. He is doing exactly what Ron Paul did: getting a name for himself and some support by running for President as a Libertarian, then jumping back to the Republican Party so he can get a seat in Congress, and possibly run at a later date for President as a Republican. Libertarians are nothing but a stepping stone for this man.

Why he thinks no one will see through that is beyond me, except that he apparently believes libertarians are stupid.

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.

    Price Gouging Hypocrites In Congress Debate Oil

    In Congress, Economics, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Pumping gasThe war continues, the government may or may not be tapping your phone and Congress wants to learn economics.

    Each year we see Congress trying to find out why the price of oil increases. It is as if they cannot pick up an economics book and read. They blame the oil companies for price gouging while at the same time they never question how much money they are gouging by their gasoline taxes.

    For example, the federal government currently takes 18.4 cents a gallon in taxes. Additionally, the State of Iowa takes 22 cents a gallon in their taxes. This adds up to being a tax of 40.4 cents that you are paying on every gallon of gasoline you purchase in the state of Iowa.

    This is very similar to other states. When the oil companies make a profit they are able to reinvest their profits back into their businesses to do things such as find new oil. Similarly, the government uses their “profits” to reinvest back into roads.

    Why Prices Increase:

    The falling dollar makes our imports more expensive and our exports cheaper for other nations to buy.

    Supply and Demand. Not just in the United States, but look at the increased demand in China and India.

    Inflation. The price of everything increases, but you don’t see people protesting milk prices.

    And Congress should also consider the following quote in The Wall Street Journal:

    The oil industry also says it’s not reaping greater profits than other industries. American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy this week pointed to fourth-quarter 2007 profit — net income divided by revenue — for the Dow Jones Industrial companies, which averaged 7.1 cents on the dollar compared with 7.4 cents on the dollar for the oil and gas industry.

    Click here to read full article

    For more information about oil prices I encourage every member of Congress to watch the following John Stossel video.

    I bet the drug warriors are proud of themselves ….

    In Big Brother, Children, Congress, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Health, Law, Media, People in the news, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Girl dies of cancer after dying wish of seeing incarcerated fatherA man serving his final year of a five-year sentence for drugs fought for months to see his dying 10-year-old daughter. Yet it took public outcry and overwhelming media attention – plus contact from his Congressman – before he was allowed to see her, and even then for only for 20 minutes.

    People are given early release from prison all the time, long before they have served 80% of their sentence. Yes, he was in the federal system where there is no parole, but there is still no reason why this man could not have been given compassionate early release.  Failing that, he could have been released until his daughter died, then returned to finish his sentence. His little girl was dying of brain cancer, for cripe’s sake, and all she wanted was her daddy. Her father was not in prison for a violent crime, and he poses no threat to society if released. He is in a minimum-security facility, after all.

    Anyone who thinks this situation did not call for compassionate early release is truly an evil person. I’m not advocating that he should have been released for his own reasons; I’m advocating that he should have been released early for his daughter’s sake. Now this completely innocent little girl is yet another victim of the war on drugs, because she suffered and died without her beloved daddy by her side.

    A 10-year-old girl died of brain cancer early this morning, shortly after receiving what her family said was her dying wish — a visit from her incarcerated father.

    “She was holding on to see her father,” Ed Yaeger said of his niece Jayci Yaeger.

    Jayci’s father, Jason Charles Yaeger, is serving the final year of a five-year sentence for a drug conviction in a minimum security prison camp in South Dakota, a 3½-hour drive from his daughter who was in hospice care in Lincoln, Neb.

    Officials, however, had denied Jason Charles Yaeger’s repeated requests for a furlough so he could spend more time with his daughter, who suffered from terminal brain cancer.

    Under the supervision of prison officials, Jason Yaeger visited Jayci Wednesday for about 20 minutes — just days before she died.

    “It’s just unfortunate that the visit was cut so short,” Ed Yaeger told ABC News.

    The Yaegers are upset with prison officials because Jason Yaeger was not able to be with his daughter when she died.

    “He was denied the proper good-bye,” Lori Yaeger, Jayci’s aunt, wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

    Jason Charles Yaeger had pleaded repeatedly with prison officials to honor the bureau’s apparent policy of allowing furloughs and transfers under “extraordinary” circumstances, but was rebuffed time and again, he told ABC News in a telephone interview from prison last week.

    In a letter to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska — dated Feb. 20 and obtained by ABC News — a regional director from the Department of Justice wrote that “although Mr. Yaeger believes his daughter’s severe medical condition constitutes ‘extraordinary justification,’ a review of his case reveals this specific request was … reviewed … and denied … because his circumstances were not deemed to rise to the level of extraordinary.”

    adsonar_placementId=1280488;adsonar_pid=43749;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=165;adsonar_zh=220;adsonar_jv=’ads.adsonar.com’;

    The congressman had requested information about the denials of the furlough or transfer.

    Last week, after ABCNEWS.com published a story on Jayci, the Bureau of Prisons released a statement saying that officials there “have reviewed inmate Yaeger’s request for a compassionate release and have determined his situation does not meet the criteria.”

    Jayci, named for her father’s initials, had been fighting for her life since she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3, seven years ago. But in the last six months, she had taken a severe turn downward.

    Doctors declared her condition terminal in October. Last month, they found they couldn’t transfer her to a children’s hospital closer to her Lincoln, Neb., home because they said she wouldn’t survive the trip, Lori Yaeger said.

    You can read the rest of this infuriating article here.

    Candidate Endorsement: Thomas Knapp for Congress

    In Activism, Candidate Endorsement, Congress, Drug War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Medical Marijuana, Politics, US Government on March 30, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Thomas KnappThomas Knapp (to some better known as Kn@ppster) a longtime participant at Last Free Voice, has announced that he is running for the US House of Representatives in Missouri. Below is his “About” statement from his website; I would strongly suggest that others visit and read his issues sections (and bookmark it, since it’s still under construction).

    Instead of one of those dry third-person candidate biographies, I’m just going to ramble a bit about who I am, where I’m from and why I deserve your support this November.

    I was born on 10 November, 1966 (the 191st birthday of the United States Marine Corps) in Memphis, Tennessee. I spent most of my formative years in southwest Missouri, graduating from Lebanon High School in 1985 and living in the Lebanon and Springfield areas until 2000, when I moved to the St. Louis area.

    I joined the US Marine Corps Reserve immediately out of high school and served as an infantry NCO in Southwest Asia in the 1991 Gulf War with my unit, Weapons Co., 3rd Bn, 24th Marines (the battalion is headquartered here in St. Louis). I left the Marine Corps as a Sergeant with an honorable discharge in 1995.

    In civilian life, I worked at various factory and construction jobs until 2000, when I became a full-time writer, editor and political activist. I live in Greendale with my wife, Tamara, and our sons Daniel (9) and Liam (6). I also have a daughter, Caitlin (17), who lives with her mother in the Kansas City area.

    I serve as the St. Louis County Libertarian Party’s Normandy Township committeeman, and as a federal appointee to my local Selective Service System board.

    Why am I running for Congress in a district I don’t even live in?

    The easy answer is that I stepped in to offer the 2nd District’s voters a Libertarian alternative when another candidate was unable to file his candidate paperwork due to a family emergency.

    But I’d like to offer you a better answer than that.

    I believe in America.

    I believe in the values of individual freedom and unlimited opportunity that made this country great.

    I believe that the Republican and Democratic parties have betrayed those values, and that in so doing they have failed in their duty to the American people and to the American Dream.

    I believe that those values, and that dream, can be restored.

    And I believe, as did Thomas Paine — author of the pamphlet which launched the American Revolution — that “those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

    My candidacy is an attempt to make good on that obligation — and in November, I ask that you cast your vote with that same obligation in mind.

    Yours in Liberty,
    Tom Knapp
    Libertarian for US House of Representatives

    Though it is no secret that Tom and I have butted heads more than once, I have a great deal of respect for him, and I believe him to be a principled libertarian who understands how the political system works. Furthermore, Tom is very well known in the libertarian community as an activist and campaign organizer, and he is passionate about the issues. Last but certainly not least, he is an extraordinarily good writer and an excellent communicator, who is able to clearly explain libertarian principles even to the uninitiated.

    I honestly believe that Tom Knapp will never act in contradiction to what he believes to be right, regardless of the consequences. I therefore believe that he will represent his constituents – and the Libertarian Party – with honor.

    For those reasons, I offer my full endorsement of Thomas Knapp for US House of Representatives, Missouri Second District.

    Tom Knapp Attacks The Fair Tax

    In Congress, Economics, Republican, Taxation on March 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Tom Knapp (L) is running for United States House in Missouri’s 2nd district and he has already started to go after his Republican opponent, Todd Akin, for co-sponsoring Fair Tax legislation.

    The following are concerns Tom Knapp has mentioned about the Fair Tax:

    First and foremost, understand this: The “Fair Tax” is not a tax cut. Its proponents claim that it is “revenue neutral,” i.e. that Americans would pay just as much in taxes through the “Fair Tax” as they did through the taxes it replaced.

    Secondly, the “Fair Tax” would put America on the dole. Every man, woman and child in the United States would receive a monthly check from the government. In theory, that check would represent an advance rebate (proponents call it a “prebate”) of part of the tax. In fact, eligibility for the check would be completely unconnected to actual payment of the tax.

    Thirdly, while proponents claim that the “Fair Tax” would “eliminate the IRS,” exactly the opposite is true. A federal tax bureaucracy would still be required to administer the “prebate” program, and to police interstate tax fraud and “prebate” fraud … and fifty more bureaucracies would have to be created to assess and collect the tax at the state level.

    Fourthly, proponents of the “Fair Tax” are deceptive in describing how large it would be. They characterize it as a 23% sales tax, when in fact it is a 30% tax.

    He then goes on to give this opinion of what the Fair Tax could do to the American economy:

    Finally, there’s a good chance that the “Fair Tax” would wreck the American economy in transition. The tax is assessed on new, but not used, goods. Care to guess what will happen to our nation’s automotive and homebuilding industries when the price of new cars and homes jumps by 30% and the price of used cars and homes doesn’t? Time and supply/demand will eventually bring the prices of used goods back into proportion with those of new goods … but until we get there, whole sectors of the economy will be, at best, on life support.

    Click here to read Tom Knapp’s full post on the Fair Tax

    Like Tom, I have many concerns about the Fair Tax. One concern is that those who have saved and invested their money are going to be taxed twice under a consumption tax. For example, if I have a Roth IRA I have already paid taxes on that money. When I spend the money I would once again have to pay taxes on that same money. In my opinion, we would greatly punish people who are being financially responsible.

    While I would love to eliminate the IRS, I don’t think it is possible in the short term. I would prefer to cut spending, slowly cut taxes while at the same time paying down the national debt. The reason we cannot quickly cut taxes is that we have to cut spending first which is something the Bush administration failed to understand. The Bush administration and the Republican controlled Congress cut taxes, but refused to simultaneously cut spending and because of that we now have a huge deficit. Of course, many think a large surplus would be good, but that would result in less money going back into the economy which would not be good. When there is less money for the American people to spend there is less money to be invested in things such as new businesses which create employment. Instead, I prefer a small surplus each year to pay down the national debt. Until we cut spending and significantly lower taxes and the national debt I see no reason to give politicians any additional methods of collecting money.

    A Conversation With Mike Gravel

    In Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Democracy, Democrats, Drug War, Global Warming, History, Iraq War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Medical Marijuana, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Second Amendment, Taxation, US Government on March 28, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Mike GravelEarlier today, I had an opportunity to speak by telephone with Senator Mike Gravel, a presidential candidate who has switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party. Senator Gravel welcomed my questions, and I had a very positive impression of him. He is extremely well spoken, and quite passionate about many of the issues near and dear to the Libertarian Party.

    My purpose, of course, was to ascertain why he decided to switch parties, and whether he truly holds Libertarian views as opposed to only conveniently holding libertarian views in order to get the LP nomination. I quickly discovered that his most basic belief, which he has provably held for over 30 years, is thoroughly libertarian: the right of the American people to bypass and even overturn Congress and the President, when those elected officials act in contradiction to the will of the people.

    Senator Gravel believes that “the American people are not empowered to do anything, and this is wrong.” He therefore believes Americans should have the ability to directly make laws through federal ballot initiatives. At present, many states allow citizens to present laws directly through initiatives which, if supported widely enough, will be placed on the ballot to potentially become law; an example of this is Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California. Senator Gravel believes citizens should be able to do the same thing on the federal level, under his National Initiative For Democracy.

    The government is a tool, the people can use it. But if the people have the direct power to use it, then you’re going to see the government as a real tool, not the tool you have when the special interests determine how the tool of government is handled, by the lobbyists, who pay for the campaigns, who manipulate you to vote for them. That’s the process that has to change.

    When he says that the government has the duty to release information to the public, so they can make sound decisions, he is not blowing smoke, nor is he promoting something he hasn’t already done himself. During the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel released the Pentagon Papers, reading thousands of pages into the Congressional Record, so that Americans would finally know the truth behind that war; and his defiance, by informing Americans of information which was previously viewed as classified, was a pivotal moment in American history.

    Under his National Initiative For Democracy we, as citizens, could end the war, end the federal income tax, or pass a federal law allowing Americans to carry guns openly; we could make any law we want, as long as there is sufficient citizen support for it. Senator Gravel says that “the real power in this country does not lie with the leadership, with Congress or with the President; it lies with you, the American citizen”. This program would in fact become an important part of the checks and balances system, which Senator Gravel believes should have been in force from the beginning, so citizens could more easily keep Congress and the President in check.

    Of course, when he was running for President in the Democratic Party, the Democrats weren’t very happy with that idea. I asked the Senator whether they oppose it because it threatens their power, or if they oppose it because they believe the average American is unable to make sound legislative decisions. He immediately replied, “Both.” He went on to explain that “the average person in Congress believes they are more intelligent than the average American, and there are a few in Congress who are very intelligent; but at the same time the average American is smarter than the average Congressman, and perfectly capable of making sound decisions.”

    His suspicion of the leading presidential candidates was made clear when he said, “Don’t trust anyone who says they have all the answers. Nobody has all the answers; I don’t have all the answers. But the American public knows what is best for them, and I trust them to make those decisions.”

    Talking war with Senator Gravel, for someone my age who lived during Vietnam, is like getting into a time machine, and going back to the last destructive war this country faced, when he forced a filibuster to end the draft, and thus end the Vietnam war. Senator Gravel was a maverick, and he defied Congress again and again.

    As you may recall, even before we sent troops to Iraq, he warned the American public that there were no WMDs in Iraq. I asked him why, in his opinion, President Bush lied about the presence of WMDs. “Oil. He wanted to get control of the oil, and it’s all just more American imperialism and the military-industrial complex.” He went a step further, and agreed that Bush and Cheney should not only be impeached, but that they should face trial for war crimes. “Americans must stop thinking we’re above the law,” he stated. He believes that the United States should stop getting involved in foreign conflicts altogether, and “stop being the world’s policeman”.

    Senator Gravel is completely against the War on Drugs, which he categorizes as a failure. “We spend 50 to 85 billion dollars a year on a drug war that does no good to anybody other than criminalizing people who shouldn’t be criminals. We have 2.3 million people in jail right now, and half of them shouldn’t even be in jail …. if you want marijuana, why not go to a package store? A fifth of gin will do more damage to you, to your health, than will a pack of marijuana. As for the rest of the drugs, why not legalize them and regulate them? We put addicts in jail when they aren’t criminals, but there they learn to be better criminals, to steal and commit crime to feed their habit. It’s a public health problem, and we need to solve it as a public health problem, and save all this money we’re spending to keep people in jail for drugs, $30,000 a year for each of them.”

    He is therefore in support of decriminalizing and regulating all drugs. “If you need to get some coke, go to a doctor and get a prescription. If you’re an addict, you’ll have to register so we can help you. But the way we do it now, we catch you with drugs, we throw you in jail, and you don’t get any help.”

    With regard to whether legalizing all drugs would increase addiction, he states, “That’s what they told us about alcohol, during Prohibition. Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. Should you go to jail for having marijuana, when you don’t go to jail for having whiskey and alcohol? It’s a stupid policy, it’s gutless, and it’s damaging our inner cities. Seventy percent of the people in jail are African-Americans, and most of it is for drugs. It’s gutless on the part of our leaders to not solve this, to not treat it as a public health problem rather than a criminal problem ….. For those who say we have a drug problem, yeah, we have a problem, and it’s with stupidity at the highest levels of our government.”

    As for those in prison for drug offenses, he would educate nonviolent drug offenders – whether it’s a college degree or technical training – then grant them a full pardon so they can not only be released from prison, but also have the tools they need to immediately become fully productive members of society.

    He is for Second Amendment rights, saying “I have a weapon, and I’ll fight to keep it.” Insofar as how openly Americans should be able to carry weapons, he referred me back to the federal ballot initiative, saying that the American people should decide that issue.

    When I asked him about reducing the size of government as well as its spending, he agreed that it has gotten completely out of hand, and that severe cutbacks should be made. The first steps would be dismantling the IRS (which would no longer be needed with his national sales tax program), and the “War On Drugs” arm of the DEA (since all drugs would be legalized). He also believes that “if we empower the people to make laws, they will shrink the government.”

    I could actually hear the thrill in his voice when one question pointed out that libertarians are, by and large, for open borders. He believes that we have so many illegal immigrants here because our own laws caused them to not have work available in their own country; he states that 1.3 million farming jobs were lost in Mexico when NAFTA was passed. For that reason, he believes repealing NAFTA would cure most of the illegal immigration, as more jobs are created in their home countries. As for those who are already here and don’t want to leave, he wants to simply “put them on the path to citizenship.” He believes that we should create completely open borders, similar to what is in place in Europe, whereby citizens could cross into or from Canada or Mexico, with no questions asked.

    It is undeniable that the federal government is deeply in debt, and must raise revenue. Senator Gravel, however, is opposed to the income tax, since it over-taxes the poor and middle-class, and grossly undertaxes the wealthy. He therefore proposes dismantling the IRS altogether. He would replace the income tax with a 23% sales tax, and give a rebate each month to every American family to pay for necessities. Senator Gravel believes that this would allow the poor and middle class, who spend mostly on necessities such as food and housing, to have far more disposable income. He believes this program will create the same amount of federal revenue, but in a manner which is far more fair to the poor and working class.

    “I don’t know whether it’s a step to end taxation, but at this point it is a good way to fund needed revenue. Right now we tax income and investments, and investment income is taxed at a lower rate than income. We don’t tax the wealthy, and that’s what’s wrong with our system.” He again reiterated that the American people could make the final decision regarding whether federal taxation should eventually end, through his ballot initiative program.

    Senator Gravel believes that Social Security funds should be left alone, rather than used by the government for other purposes as is now the norm. At this point, most Americans have already paid into Social Security. He wants everyone’s Social Security funds invested in the free market, and he wants everyone to get an accounting of their money and interest earned, just as if they had invested it with a bank; and if they die before spending what they have invested and earned, he believes that the surplus in their Social Security account should go to their heirs.

    As for private investments, he believes his sales tax program with refunds for necessities will give the average American the additional funds needed to save in an IRA or other investment vehicle, as additional retirement savings to supplement what they have already put into Social Security.

    He is aware that many libertarians are against Universal Health Care, but believes his plan will meet libertarian standards. He came up with the idea of a Healthcare Security System 30 years ago. Senator Gravel pointed out that he knows the healthcare system “up front and personal”. One year, he ended up with over $150,000 in healthcare costs, and went bankrupt as a result.

    He believes the Democratic health care plan, wherein businesses are forced to provide health insurance for their employees, is “the wrong way to go, because it is not the responsibility of businesses to provide healthcare; their job is to be competitive in the global marketplace.” So instead, he wants to enact a Universal Single Payor Voucher plan, similar to the plan which the Veterans Administration has in place. Every American would be given a health care voucher. The vouchers would have a very modest co-pay, and a very modest deductible. Americans would have their choice of hospitals, their choice of doctors, and a choice of five or six plans. There would be no exclusions for preexisting conditions.

    He doesn’t think we need to raise taxes in order to provide health care for all Americans; we just need to make our healthcare system considerably more efficient than it is at present. He believes that if we computerize healthcare records, it will streamline the system, because he says 30% of healthcare cost is in paperwork. He intends to provide every American with basic healthcare services, and if they want more or different coverage, they can choose to buy additional or supplemental plans in the free market.

    He is aware of Ron Paul’s belief that the Federal Reserve is responsible for the inflationary effects which are harmful to poor and middle-class Americans. Senator Gravel wants to reexamine the Federal Reserve, and study the gold standard with an eye toward a global monetary system, which will better protect the value of our money in a global marketplace.

    Senator Gravel was pivotal in shepherding the Alaska Pipeline though Congress, but at this point he would oppose any effort to drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve. He states that instead, he wants us to end our dependence upon oil within five years. His goal would be to replace oil with alternative energy sources.

    I asked Senator Gravel if there was any one moment – a light bulb moment, if you will – in which he realized that he was a libertarian. He stated, “Not really. It’s an awareness that goes back 30, 40 years, that the best way to to change things was from inside, within the power structure. Now, it’s time for a change. I am joining the Libertarian Party to become its presidential nominee. I can take the Libertarian Party to a level they’ve never been before. I am against war, I am against taxing income, I am against the war on drugs. I am for smaller government, open borders, and the ability of the American people to self-govern. I am a libertarian. I scored seven out of seven on Reason’s “Seven Ways To Win Votes” – I am for internet gambling, for medical marijuana (but I go much further than that, by decriminalizing all drugs) …. so I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul, because he scored lower. And I will work very hard as the Libertarian Party’s candidate, I will get the libertarians the national playing field they need to grow. And not just libertarians, either. I will raise the playing field for all third parties.”

    All in all, Senator Gravel impressed me as sincere, intelligent, and passionate about libertarian issues. I did not at all get the impression that he is a pseudo-libertarian; I think he’s the real deal, because his actions even decades ago indicated that he is a libertarian. He left the Democratic Party because he realized that they are not receptive to his ballot initiative plan, and are not in agreement with his healthcare plan, his opposition to the War on Drugs, and many other issues. He has the presence, he has the speaking ability and dynamic personality, and he has the name recognition and contacts to place us on a more even playing field.

    The Democrats’ loss may very well be our gain.

    Senator Gravel suggested that those interested in more information about his views read his book “Citizen Power: A Mandate For Change”, which can be ordered online here. It is also available on Amazon.com, but their new book price is actually several dollars higher than the price on his website. Amazon’s description of the book is as follows.

    As author of Citizen Power in 1971, Senator Mike Gravel determined that much of what he wrote then is apropos in America today; hence, the release of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change that reflects the accuracy of his evaluation of problems then, his current position on a number of issues facing America now, and the process that Americans can undertake to become empowered as lawmakers in partnership with their elected officials. Most chapters of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change present material from the original book, as well as new information and revised positions. The exceptions are Chapter 2: The National Initiative, and Chapter 7: The War on Drugs. All other chapters cover similar topics in both books, but with the senator’s fresh insights for today’s world. Each chapter ends with how the National Initiative, once enacted, could help solve the problems presented in that chapter. The Table of Contents is as follows: Chapter 1 – Now It’s the Citizen’s Turn Chapter 2 – The National Initiative Chapter 3 – America’s Failure in Education Chapter 4 – Tax Reform – The Fair Tax Chapter 5 – The Health Security System Chapter 6 – National Environmental & Energy Policy Chapter 7 – The War on Drugs Chapter 8 – Crime & Punishment Chapter 9 – The Shroud of Secrecy Chapter 10 – American Imperialism Chapter 11 – Global Governance Chapter 12 – Who Stole the American Dream?

    All three customer reviews give the book five stars. There is a “look inside the book” feature, and based on that material and given that it was originally written in 1971, then updated recently, I don’t think there is any real question whether Senator Gravel is a libertarian. Based upon his statements in that book, it appears that he was a libertarian even before there was a Libertarian Party.

    Here are the reviews:

    It’s all about lawmaking!,

    February 25, 2008
    By Goodrich (Dearborn, MI USA) – See all my reviews

    Those who still want Mike Gravel’s original Citizen Power, but can’t afford to pay over $200 for the few rare copies that are available, will be pleased with the new Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change. In some chapters, Senator Gravel has incorporated substantial excerpts from his original book and then updated his thoughts on each issue, often admitting that his position on a certain issue in the 1970s was naive and that he now views that issue with a mature mind. This is a refreshingly candid look at a presidential candidate’s positions on key issues facing the American people today. Most importantly, however, is Chapter 2 and supplemental appendices about the National Initiative, which Senator Gravel and some of the nation’s top constitutional scholars crafted to empower citizens as lawmakers; after all, lawmaking is the cornerstone of democracy. All subsequent chapters address how the National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D)would work to alleviate problems, such as healthcare and education.

    From ending the war on drugs to restructuring the UN,

    March 8, 2008

    Senator Gravel has produced an engaging book! He presents complex and difficult issues facing the US and the world in understandable prose and proposes solutions that call for transformational change. In response to a legislative process controlled by corporations and special interests Gravel proposes the National Initiative on Democracy that would empower the people to legislate through direct democracy in national referendums on issues. In response to ineffective global governance Gravel calls for a restructuring of the UN including an end to veto powers for the permanent members of the Security Council. I was delighted to see his position on American exceptionalism. Granted that we are #1 in the world in the numbers of people in our prisons, on many key measures such as education, healthcare we are far from being the best in the world. I was most pleased by the optimism of Mike Gravel’s vision for the future of America in the world. He sees solutions to problems such as global warming, energy, and national security through greater cooperation with other countries. The beginning of his space policy statement on page 59 is particularly encouraging: “SPACE REPRESENTS A LIMITLESS FRONTIER for humankind. Laws modeled on the Law of the Sea need to be agreed upon to make energy, natural resources, and knowledge available in a manner that fosters greater cooperation, rather than greater competition, among all nations. In keeping with this spirit, space must not be militarized.”

    Gravel’s Populist Manifesto,

    March 19, 2008
    By D. Douglas (California) – See all my reviews
    (REAL NAME)

    An eloquent and lucid political manifesto by an increasingly refreshing, honest and prudent politician.
    Citizen Power showcases a myriad of power-to-the-people proposals, and sways from your politics as usual demagoguery, while Gravel’s prose is filled with solemnity and earnestness, contrary to his political opponents.
    The book’s motif is the National Initiative for Democracy, a populist program that will enable ordinary citizens to become legislatures, moreover eliminating large bureaucracies and big government lapdogs.
    An emphasis is brought upon the military-industrial complex and its draconian, unproductive results. Suggesting the ultimate disintegration of the latter, if not grave consequences will ensue
    Gravel’s proposals on education is most interesting, and offer an ingenious subsidiary, if utilized in orthodoxy, to our failing educational system.
    The War on Drugs chapter was dismaying at least, and produced a sharp contempt for the activities our government continues to perpetuate.

    I have probably forgotten important topics of this book, and my review is ultimately asymmetrical and lackluster. I can only recommend this fine book, so you can make your own judgments and discoveries.

    Senator Gravel was kind enough to state that, if any of our readers have additional questions, I can phone him again to get those answers. Therefore, if you have any questions which aren’t answered here, post them and in about a week I will give him another call to get your answers for you.

    Gravel announces Libertarian presidential run

    In Congress, Global Warming, Guantanamo, Health, Iran, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science, Taxation, Torture, US Government, Veterans, War on March 26, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Mike Gravel

    A Personal Message from Mike

    I wanted to update you on my latest plans before news gets out. Today, I am announcing my plan to join the Libertarian Party, because the Democratic Party no longer represents my vision for our great country. I wanted my supporters to get this news first, because you have been the ones who have kept my campaign alive since I first declared my candidacy on April 17, 2006.

    The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism — all of which I find anathema to my views.

    By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership, which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control what we read and hear in the media.

    I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views.

    Please take a moment to make your most generous donation to my presidential campaign today. $10, $20, $50 — whatever you feel you can afford.

    I want to thank you all for your continued support.

    _______________________________

    So, what are Gravel’s views on the issues? Here are some issue statements from his website:

    The War in Iraq Senator Gravel’s position on Iraq remains clear and consistent: to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 120 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq.

    One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America’s national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the United States and the Iraqi people.

    Today, more than four years into the invasion, the death toll of U.S. troops has climbed over 3,300 with over 50,000 more permanently maimed, some having lost limbs, others their sight. Tens of thousands more are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and urgently need psychological care. The Iraqi civilian death toll nears three-quarters of a million, and still there remains no end in sight to the bloodshed.

    As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.

    The National Initiative for Democracy Mike fully supports the National Initiative for Democracy. The NI4D is a way to bring legislative power back to the people. In many states, citizens can put measures on the ballot and Mike believes as citizens of the United States we should all have that power.

    Iran and Syria Senator Gravel opposes a military confrontation with Iran and Syria and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation.

    Global Warming/Climate Change Senator Gravel believes that global climate change is a matter of national security and survivability of the plant. As President, he will act swiftly to reduce America’s carbon footprint in the world by initiating legislation to tax carbon at the source and cap carbon emissions. he is also committed to leading the fight against global deforestation, which today is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouse gases. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. China, India, and under-developed nations all work together fighting climate change can only be effective if it is a collective global effort. As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort, integrating the world’s scientific and engineering community, to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world scientific community in this task.

    Progressive Taxes – A fair Tax Senator Gravel’s Progressive Fair Tax proposal calls for eliminating the IRS and the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax on new products and services. To compensate for the tax on necessities, such as food, lodging, transportation and clothing, there would be a “rebate” to reimburse taxpayers. This would be paid in a monthly check from the government to all citizens. The focus on taxing new goods would also help tackle the global climate change problem.

    Healthcare Senator Gravel advocates a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax). Citizens would pay nothing for health benefits.

    Reproductive Rights Senator Mike Gravel supports a woman’s right to decide if and when to have children. He also supports a woman’s right to make the difficult decision about abortion without interference by government authorities. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, including accurate information about contraception, can always be provided in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions. Parity in health insurance and access to specialized family health care services, including family planning education, would also benefit the health and welfare of infants and children, who need and deserve to be wanted and loved.

    Immigration Senator Gravel favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of immigrants into our country. He also favors a guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring immigrants into legal status. America must address the root cause of illegal immigration. Any discussion of immigration must include NAFTA and the concept of “free trade.” The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the U.S. and Mexico and a boon to the international corporate interests. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that over 1 million U.S. jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA, a third of them manufacturing jobs. In Mexico, 1.3 million farm workers lost their jobs in the same period. This has led to a wave of immigrants looking for work in the U.S. Reforming unfair trade policies spawned by measures like NAFTA will stimulate job growth on both sides of the border.

    LGBT Rights Senator Gravel supports same-sex marriage and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports expanding hate-crime legislation and opposes laws that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or one’s gender identity or expression. Senator Gravel strongly opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay Americans. He opposes any state or national constitutional amendment that restricts the rights of the gay community.

    Social Security Senator Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed money, in the Social Security Trust Fund. He advocates investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can know what their retirement fund is and leave surplus funds to heirs.

    Education Access to public education is a bedrock American value. Why is it then that the United States ranks 49th in literacy and that an estimated 30% of our students don’t graduate from high school? Investing in education provides a pathway to a thriving national economy, to individual and family economic opportunity, and to the reduction of poverty. A successful education system requires the commitment of families, the community, and government. It’s time to re-order our national budget priorities in order to improve the American education system. Parent education and access to preschool programs such as Head Start need to be expanded so that children from low income families are equally ready to benefit from elementary school. Universal pre-kindergarten would also enhance readiness. Encouraging our students to be the best they can be will require flexibility from the federal and state governments, within school systems, and from groups with a stake in educational success. Flexibility may mean extended school days and summer learning opportunities or extended school years. It may mean online and broadcast courses to provide access to highly qualified teachers. It may mean charter schools to address the needs of local communities, smaller classes, enrichment programs for students at risk, and vocational options. One thing we know for sure: No Child Left Behind has left too many children behind. It needs to be reformed and adequately funded. It needs to acknowledge the need for a fuller curriculum that encourages critical thinking-not just math and science test-taking. A high school diploma should be the minimum goal for all students; without it, our children will be condemned to a substandard economic existence.

    Veteran’s Affairs As President, Senator Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full funding for their most important needs, including healthcare that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would make sure that all soldiers receive a full medical diagnosis to assess what their individual needs would be. He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the Senator says, “We can do no less and we will do much more.” Mike Gravel is the only military veteran in the democratic race.

    The War on Drugs The War on Drugs has been a failure. It is time to end prohibition and start treating addiction as a public health problem. This has ravaged our inner cities, and we are losing an entire generation of men and women to prisons. We must regulate hard drugs for the purpose of treating addicts, which would emphasize rehabilitation and prevention over incarceration. We must decriminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other industrialized nation in the world. Some 2.3 million Americans are now behind bars. This tragedy must end.

    Net Neutrality Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies, which are trying to limit the number of web sites their customers can view and the speed at which they can view them. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with unlimited access to all sites. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage and promotes free speech.

    Human Rights Senator Gravel is adamantly opposed to torture, indefinite detention, and the deprivation of lawyers/speedy trials. He opposes the Military Commissions Act, flagrant ignorance of the Geneva convention, and Guantanamo.

    American death toll in Iraq reaches 4000

    In Activism, Children, Congress, Corruption, George Bush, History, Human Rights Abuses, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Middle East, Military, Music, Obituaries, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Protest, Republican, US Government, War on March 24, 2008 at 6:17 am

    Today, the official death toll for American soldiers in Iraq hit 4000. The actual number is undoubtedly higher.

    4000+ Americans are dead, because Bush lied about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.

    4000+ Americans are dead, because Bush claimed that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Iraq.

    4000+ Americans are dead, because Congress blindly accepted Bush’s lies.

    4000+ American are dead, because Americans reelected Bush for a second term

    4000+ Americans are dead, because the American people elected a Democratic Congress to put an end to the killing, and they failed us miserably.

    There are far more Iraqis dead, though. Just today, soldiers killed a 10-year-old Iraqi girl. They claim they didn’t do it on purpose, but who knows the truth of that situation. When you put soldiers in a country where their lives are constantly at risk, and you arm them with automatic weapons, it is inevitable that many innocents will be killed. Some will be killed accidentally. Some will be killed due to mistaken identity. And some will be killed because the armed soldiers snap under the pressure, and just start killing people.

    Unlike many in the antiwar movement, I don’t blame the soldiers. After all, they are doing what they were trained to do, under circumstances that no human was ever intended to experience; and the vast majority of soldiers became soldiers to protect us, and not to kill innocent civilians. So no, I don’t blame our soldiers when the inevitable happens. I blame Bush and Congress for putting our soldiers in that situation.

    Of course, our tax dollars will be spent for the foreseeable future treating the injuries, physical and mental, those soldiers received while fighting in the war that should never have been fought. Some of them will recover from their wounds, but many won’t. I don’t complain about spending our tax dollars on the soldiers in need of medical and psychiatric care; we owe them that. I do complain that they should never have been sent to Iraq and injured in the first place.

    Let us all look forward to the day when the killing stops, and our soldiers are brought home from the Middle East once and for all. When will that happen? It’s up to the American voters. If Americans put another warmonger in the White House, the blood will be on their hands. It is already on the hands of those who voted Bush for a second term, knowing full well he was a warmonger.

    When considering candidates for the Libertarian presidential nomination, especially given that there are so many candidates brand-new to libertarianism, ask them whether they voted for Bush. If they did, they have blood on their hands, and therefore can never truly represent the Libertarian Party.

    My hands, I’m happy to say, are clean in this situation (though I am not running for any political office). I didn’t vote for Bush the first time, and I actively worked against his candidacy the second time. Many may think my efforts were for naught, but I disagree. The message of true freedom is spread one person at a time.

    I’ve asked this before, and I’ll ask it again. Where is Osama bin Laden? We can see a dime on the sidewalk from outer space, but we can’t seem to find a strange-looking human giant hiding in the desert. I find that extremely hard to believe. I also won’t be the least bit surprised if we suddenly “find” him just in time for the presidential election. Younger readers may not be cynical enough to believe our country would play us for fools like that. To them I would simply say, history has been my lesson; let it be yours as well.

    To that end, I offer the song “End of the Innocence”, which was a hit song when many of our readers were but infants. It applies more today than ever.

    TIME: Do Americans care about Big Brother?

    In Big Brother, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Law, Libertarian, Media, Police State, Politics, US Government on March 23, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Big BrotherTIME Magazine has published an article regarding the erosion of civil liberties, and the reaction of Americans to the news that the government is warehousing vast amounts of information on innocent citizens. Here is an excerpt:

    A quick tally of the record of civil liberties erosion in the United States since 9/11 suggests that the majority of Americans are ready to trade diminished privacy, and protection from search and seizure, in exchange for the promise of increased protection of their physical security. Polling consistently supports that conclusion, and Congress has largely behaved accordingly, granting increased leeway to law enforcement and the intelligence community to spy and collect data on Americans. Even when the White House, the FBI or the intelligence agencies have acted outside of laws protecting those rights — such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — the public has by and large shrugged and, through their elected representatives, suggested changing the laws to accommodate activities that may be in breach of them.

    Civil libertarians are in a state of despair. “People don’t realize how damaging it is to a democratic society to allow the government to warehouse information about innocent Americans,” says Mike German, national security counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

    You can read the entire TIME Magazine article here.

    Candidates Gone Wild: Presidential Wackjob Edition

    In Barack Obama, Children, Congress, Crazy Claims, Daniel Imperato, George Bush, Humor, Immigration, Iraq War, Libertarian, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Shine on you crazy diamond, US Government, War on March 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    We’re all familiar with John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. However, have you ever wondered what other presidential candidates are out there? Are you longing for a presidential candidate who is really and truly different? If so, one of these guys just might be your man.

    Michael Jesus ArchangelUnlike most mainstream presidential candidates, God The Great Holy Spirit Saint Michael Jesus The Archangel doesn’t think he is God. He knows he is. This also ends the debate about the true name of God, since he quite clearly denotes his name as “Mike”. That’s a much easier name to spell and remember than “Yahweh”, for sure.

    Apparently God/Mike runs a “modeling agency”, and if his website claims are to be believed, it’s quite successful as models literally flock to him. I’m not sure how lucrative that endeavor has become for him, but that’s okay because he also makes his own money. By that, I don’t mean that he works and makes money. No, I mean that he quite literally makes money, which he calls “Heavenly Banknotes”. Are you against the Federal Reserve? He’ll take care of that problem too, and replace it with his own “Cosmic Reserve Bank”.

    Apparently God/Mike is an Old Testament kind of Creator, because he wants to arrest abortion doctors, judges who ruled abortions legal, and women who have had abortions, and execute them all within a year. He also thinks that smokers are both suicidal and homicidal, and he plans to arrest and execute, without representation or trial, all of the “tobacco lords”. He also has a problem with gay marriage, because the Bible (which he refers to as “My Holy Word”) speaks against it; for that reason, he plans to execute all gays and lesbians. On the other hand Mike/God is not quite so completely violent as it would appear, since he also thinks that nations should settle conflicts with a paintball war.

    If you’re interested in contacting God/Mike, you can do so by telephone or email, since both are listed on his website. However, you can’t send him a fax, since his fax is listed as “CIA Top Secret Ultra-Grade.”

    Like any other non-mainstream candidate, God/Mike has run into some difficulties during his campaign. Most notably, he was charged with attempted murder, undoubtedly while “at war with the homosexual Satan and his leftist queer devils and demons”. That’s okay, though, because since he’s God, he has the power of prophesy. To that end he says, “I prophesy that I will win by a crushing landslide.”

    Jonathan The Impaler SharkeyOn the other end of the spectrum Jonathan “The Impaler” Sharkey may not be a Papal Knight, a Knight of Malta, or a Knight of the Orden Bonaria like Daniel Imperato; or God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost like Mike, but he is an ordained Satanic Priest. Not only is he a Satanic Priest, but a quiz on his MySpace profile declared that he is Satan, so it must be true. He also promises to murder (by impalement, of course) certain people with his own hands as soon as he takes office; that list includes Osama bin Laden, George Bush, O.J. Simpson, and even Mike Tyson.

    Jonathan is also a “Satanic Vampyre” as well as a “Hecate Witch”, and has some very serious military experience as a “Commanding General” of a vampire regiment known as the “Death Dealers”. He also has a great deal of previous political experience, having run for Congress in multiple states, for President during the last election as well as the present one, and he once also ran for Governor (of Minnesota). His campaigns have been unsuccessful, undoubtedly due to the media’s bias against third party candidates.

    On the downside, he must be one of those shapeshifters David Icke warns us about because, while in Florida, he assumed the name “Kathleen Sharkey” and claimed that he is is his own half-sister, and also his own pagan wife. He sent a notice to the FEC under the Kathleen persona, implying that Jonathan is dead.

    Not surprisingly, The Impaler does have an arrest record, including a record for stalking a former girlfriend, but for those who wish to support The Impaler, that could be easily spun into his being far more loyal than most people will ever be. He was also ordered to undergo psychiatric care since he believes himself to be a vampire, and of course that could be spun as his having had his right to practice his religion denied by the government. Despite The impaler’s shortcomings, there is always a way for a politician to spin anything into something positive.

    John Taylor BowlesThen again, if God and Satan aren’t quite down-to-earth enough for you, there is also John Taylor Bowles. Bowles claims to be “the White People’s Candidate”. Dressed like a Neo-Nazi storm trooper, Bowles claims that it is “time for the white people to put a real white man in the White House”; apparently he believes that previous presidents weren’t really white.

    Bowles wants to give us lower taxes, lower food prices, free health care, zero unemployment, no outsourcing of jobs, forgiveness of all credit card debt so all white people start with a fresh slate, a 5% flat tax on income with all other taxes abolished, no more foreclosures, and interest-free mortgages (though together those last two items are equivalent to free housing on a first-come first-serve basis) ….. but only after he has deported all non-whites in a “humanitarian” manner. He plans to give all non-whites a one-time stipend of $30,000 to make their involuntary move more palatable.

    Bowles also wants to bring the white soldiers home, at which time he will position them at the southern border to help “stop the invasion”. He also believes that birth control is an invention of those who wish to destroy the white race, and to that end he suggests that whites take over the country by having as many children as possible (though if he deports all non-whites, we would have no need to out-breed anyone to maintain control). White families who produce four or more children will have their mortgage debt forgiven, though again, it doesn’t matter if the debt is forgiven, if there are no more foreclosures.

    I’ve heard this particular line of thinking before. Former wacky Libertarian candidate Gene Chapman suggested that libertarians out-breed the non-libertarians, and even offered to store his sperm for any women interested in bearing his children. He also mentioned that both he and his webmaster Doug Kenline were single. Big surprise there.

    So who gets to stay in the United States, and who will be forced to leave? According to Bowles, a white person (which he refers to as “Aryan”) is defined as “wholly of non-Jewish, non-Asiatic European ancestry, descendants of the autochthonous Peoples of the contemporary states of Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Many persons of Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Portugese, Romanian, Serbian, and Spanish heritage also qualify as Aryan, their ancestors being pioneers of Aryan communities in those lands.”

    Now that we’ve reviewed the candidates, here is the interesting question. Given that the mainstream parties limit our choices to only three candidates at this point, soon to be only two candidates; and given that many Americans do not agree with any of the mainstream candidates on the issues …. if these were the only candidates from which you could choose, who would you choose, and why?

    Angry voters recall Mayor for fitness photos

    In Censorship, Congress, Crazy Claims, Entertainment, First Amendment, Humor, Local Politics, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond on March 8, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Carmen Kontur-GronquistVoters in Arlington, Oregon, are very, very angry. That’s not unusual, since there are very angry voters everywhere these days.What is unusual is the reason why they are angry.

    Apparently their Mayor, Carmen Kontur-Gronquist, had some photos taken to send in for a fitness magazine, and in them she was dressed in her bra and panties. This all happened before she became Mayor, incidentally. A relative posted the photos on MySpace, hoping to find the single mother a date.

    I didn’t see a thing in the world wrong with the photos; the most controversial of them is posted at top left. Basically, she’s showing off her rock-hard abs, and if I had abs like hers, I’d be showing mine off too. So what. Those photos are no different from any other photos for a woman’s fitness magazine, because I used to read some of those periodicals myself, back when I was into bodybuilding and fitness. In fact, her photos actually showed a lot less than they usually show in those magazines. Those types of photos are not at all sexual in nature, though, because they are intended only for other women to see, as inspiration in their fitness routines.

    The people of Arlington, however, are absolutely outraged over those photos, and they actually threw her out of office for it.

    When I first heard this story back when it first broke I thought, no way would a town actually recall their Mayor for posing for a fitness magazine. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his living as a bodybuilder, and even posed fully nude multiple times, and he’s the Governor of California.

    I was wrong, because they did recall her. The vote was 142-139 in favor of throwing her out of office.

    If we are still so backward in this country that we’d throw a woman out of elected office merely for posing for a fitness magazine, covering more than the average bathing suit covers, are we really ready for a female president? Or would Congress impeach her the first time they see a picture of her in a bathing suit?

    What do you think? Is it just that one town, or is most of American that narrow-minded? Given this, are we ready for a female president?

    ________________________

    Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

    From The Moderate Voice: None of the Above, Part I

    In Congress, Democrats, Libertarian, Politics, Republican, US Government on March 8, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    The Moderate Voice, “None of the Above”March 5, 2008 by Pete Abel

    —————————————————————————————————–

    “As I grow older, I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me.” – H. Rider Haggard

    “A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.” – William James

    —————————————————————————————————–

    So which is it? Am I an aging addict of the detestable habit of thinking, or am I merely rearranging my prejudices? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I do know this much: The libertarian impulses of my youth and the stoic conservatism of my early adult years are gradually giving way to the doubts of middle-age – doubts that are centered on two questions:

    (1) Do I really believe smaller government and lower taxes are the cures to what ails us?

    (2) When people are hurting and in need, is it appropriate for their government to turn away, claiming, “That’s not our issue; it should be resolved by individuals and the free market”?

    Libertarian conservatives don’t doubt the answers to these questions. They respond “yes,” to both, without hesitation, without equivocation.

    Twenty years ago, I would have been similarly clear-headed. I’m no longer so sure and, apparently, neither is 13-year Republican Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio. According to a Feb. 19 article at Politico:

    … Chabot has earned a 97.5 percent lifetime rating from The American Conservative Union and has largely stuck to the Republican ranks, except to oppose some pork-laden spending bills.

    But when foreclosures in his hometown of Cincinnati skyrocketed, Chabot found himself aligned with Democrats — and against his party’s leaders, his conservative colleagues and the White House.

    Chabot’s bipartisan dalliance illustrates how tough economic times could erode the Republican conference that House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is counting on to blunt Democratic victories running up to the November elections.

    So, let me get this straight: When rock-solid conservatives learn that their constituents are suffering, they suddenly decide government should do something about it?

    Read the rest of this thought-provoking post by Pete Abel on The Moderate Voice.

    Make Congress read the laws it passes

    In Activism, Congress, Corruption, Law, Politics on February 26, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Logo from DownsizeDC.org

    I ran across this proposed law at DownsizeDC. I absolutely agree that no member of Congress should ever vote to pass any bill they haven’t actually read in its entirety, yet it happens all the time. Worse, far too often special interest items are inserted at the last minute. The truth is that Congress passes laws on a regular ongoing basis, which the majority of Congressmen have never even read.

    The failure of our elected representatives to read bills before passage causes multiple problems, the most obvious of which is an out of control bureaucracy with laws either so complicated, or so poorly written, that even the courts can’t agree upon what they mean.

    Since Congress has proven that they won’t do their elected jobs properly on a voluntary basis – by knowing exactly what laws they are passing, and what the effect and cost of that law will be – it should come as no surprise that some citizens are suggesting that laws be passed, effectively forcing them to do their jobs properly.

    What follows is the draft of a proposed bill along those very lines.

    A BILL

    To require before final passage of any Bill the printing and full verbatim reading of the text of such Bill, and each and every amendment attached thereto, to each house of Congress called to order with a quorum physically assembled throughout, the entry of such a printing and reading in the journal of each house of Congress, and the verbatim publication of every such Bill, and each and every amendment thereto, on the official Internet web site of the Senate and the House of Representatives at least seven days before floor consideration and final passage of any Bill, and each and every amendment thereto by each house of Congress; and to provide for enforcement of the printing, reading, entry, publication, recording and affidavit requirements herein.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States Congress assembled,

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

    This Act may be cited as the “Read the Bills Act.”

    SECTION 2. FINDINGS

    (a) The United States Constitution vests all legislative powers granted therein to the United States Congress, members of both the Senate and House of which are elected by the people to whom each member is accountable to represent the people of the State and of the House District in the exercise of each member’s legislative powers.

    (b) To the end that Congress be politically and legally accountable to the people, Article I, Section 4 of the United States Constitution requires each House of Congress to keep a journal of its proceedings and from time to time publish the same.

    (c) To the end that no legislation be passed without effective representation of the people’s interest by the elected members of the Congress, Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution states that only those Bills “which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate,” and not vetoed by the President, “shall become” Laws.

    (d) According to Section I of Thomas Jefferson’s 1812 Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States (“Jefferson’s Manual”), “nothing tended more to throw power into the hands of administration and those who acted with the majority … than a neglect of, or departure from, the rules of proceeding [which] operated as a check and control of the actions of the majority [and] a shelter and protection to the minority.”

    (e) According to Sections XXII and XL of Jefferson’s Manual, it was the rule of the Senate that every bill receive three readings, two full readings by the Clerk of the Senate, and a third reading of the title of the bill only in that “every member of the Senate had a printed copy [of said bill] in his hand.”

    (f) According to Sections XXIV, XXV, and XL of Jefferson’s Manual, it was the rule of the House of Representatives, following the parliamentary procedure of the English House of Commons, that every bill received two full readings by the Clerk of the House, and a reading of the whole contents of the bill verbatim by the Speaker of the House before the House voted on each bill.

    (g) Under current Senate rules, the Senate has departed from its original practice of a full first and second reading of each bill, and of ensuring that each Senator has a printed or other verbatim copy of each bill before passage thereof, having by Rule XIV limited each reading of a bill to the reading of the bill’s title only, unless the Senate in any case shall otherwise order.

    (h) Under current House rules, the House of Representatives has by Rule XVI (8) and Rule XVIII (5) embraced its original practice of full first and second readings of each bill, but has regularly departed from this practice by unanimous consent of the House, and has dispensed altogether its original practice of a verbatim third reading of each bill before passage, limiting such third reading to the reading of the title only, including the reading of the title only even when members of the House have no printed or other verbatim copy of a bill before passage.

    (i) Although Section 106, Title 1, United States Code, requires a bill to be made available in written form to each member of Congress before final passage Congress has by statute conferred upon itself the power, during the last six days of a session of Congress, by concurrent resolution, to vote for passage of a bill that is not in form at the time of final passage.

    (j) As a direct consequence of the Senate and the House of Representatives departure from the salutary practice of full, verbatim readings of each bill before final passage, and further, as a direct consequence of Congress, by concurrent resolution, having permitted certain appropriation and budget bills to be enacted into law without such bills being printed and presented to Congress in written form prior to final passage, Congress has: (a) imposed upon the American people excessively long bills, largely written by an unelected bureaucracy, resulting in generally incomprehensible, cumbersome, oppressive and burdensome laws, containing hidden provisions for special interests; (b) deprived the American people and their elected Senators and Representatives of a full and fair opportunity to examine the text of said bills, and all amendments thereto, prior to passage; (c) undermined the confidence of the American people by its failure to give adequate notice to the people before a vote is taken on said bills and their amendments in the bills; and (d) has called into question the integrity and reliability of the legislative processes in both houses of Congress by its failure to ensure that each member of the Senate and each member of the House has, prior to passage, either listened attentively to the reading of the full text of each bill, and its amendments, or has personally read the text thereof.

    SECTION 3. READ THE BILLS BEFORE PASSAGE

    (a) Chapter 2 of Title 1, United States Code, shall be amended by inserting at the end of the first sentence of Section 106, the following: “provided however, that no bill — including, but not limited to, any bill produced by conference between the two houses of Congress and any bill or resolution extending, modifying, or otherwise affecting the expiration date of a bill previously passed and enacted into law by Congress — shall pass either house of Congress: (a) without the full text of said bill, and the full text of each and every amendment thereto and — if the bill or resolution extends, modifies, or in any way affects the expiration date of a bill previously passed and enacted into law — without the full text of such bill or resolution and the full text of the bill previously passed and enacted into law having first been individually read verbatim by the Clerk of each house to the body of each house called to order and physically assembled with a quorum present throughout the time of the full textual reading of said bill, and of the full text of any bill previously passed and enacted into law, if any, that is the subject of a bill or resolution extending, modifying or in any way affecting the expiration date of such previously passed bill enacted into law; and (b) without the full text of said bill, and the full text of each and every amendment thereto, and the full text of the previously passed bill and enacted into law, if any, having been published verbatim on the official Internet web site of each house at least seven days prior to a final vote thereon in each house, together with an official notice of the date and time on which the vote on the final version of said bill and its amendments will take place.”

    (b) Chapter 2, Title 1, United States Code, shall be further amended by striking the last sentence of Section 106, and substituting therefor: “With respect to each bill and each and every amendment thereto, and each bill previously passed and enacted into law, the expiration date having been extended, modified or in any way changed by a bill or resolution, each house of Congress shall cause to be recorded in its journal of proceedings: (a) that the reading, printing, and publishing requirements of this section have been met; and (b) the names of those members of the Senate and of the House present during the reading of each bill and each and every amendment thereto. Each member of the Senate and each member of the House shall execute a sworn affidavit, such affidavit being executed under penalty of perjury as provided in Section 1621, Title 18, United States Code, that the member either was present throughout the entire reading of each bill, each and every amendment thereto, and listened attentively to such reading, or, prior to any vote on passage of the bill, and each and every amendment thereto, personally read attentively each bill, and each and every amendment thereto, in their entirety. Neither house of Congress, nor Congress jointly — by concurrent resolution, or by unanimous consent, or by any other order, resolution, vote, or other means — may dispense with, or otherwise waive or modify, the printing, reading, entry, publishing, recording, or affidavit requirements set forth herein.”

    (c) Chapter 2, Title 1, United States Code, shall be further amended by renumbering Sections 106a and 106b to 106b and 106c respectively and adding a new Section 106a as follows: “Enforcement Clause. No bill shall become law, nor enforced or applied as law, without Congress having complied fully with the printing, reading, entry, publishing, recording, and affidavit requirements of Section 106, Title 2, United States Code and any person against whom such a bill is enforced or applied may invoke such noncompliance as a complete defense to any action, criminal or civil, brought against him. Any person aggrieved by the enforcement of, or attempt or threat of enforcement of, a bill passed without having complied with the printing, reading, entry, publishing, recording, and affidavit requirements of Section 106, Title 2, United States Code, and any member of Congress aggrieved by the failure of the house of which he or she is a member to comply with the requirements of Section 106, and any person individually aggrieved by the failure of the elected Senator of the State in which the aggrieved person resides, or elected member of the House of the District in which the aggrieved person resides, to fulfill that Senator’s or House member’s obligations under Section 106, shall, regardless of the amount in controversy, have a cause of action under Sections 2201 and 2202, Title 28, United States Code and Rules 57 and 65, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, against the United States to seek appropriate relief, including an injunction against enforcement of any law, the passage of which did not conform to the requirements of Section 106.”

    SECTION 4. SEVERABILITY CLAUSE

    If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid for any reason in any court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or any other application of this Act which can be given effect without the invalid provison or application, and for this purpose the provisions of this Act are declared severable.

    If you agree with the above, and want your Congressmen to become involved, you can locate and contact your Congressmen through the US House of Representatives website and the United States Senate website

    Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan