Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’

The Laboratory of Democracy — Alternative Voting Methods

In Candidate Endorsement, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Local Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates, US Government on May 1, 2009 at 9:22 am

“It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Dissenting Opinion: New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932)

The above quote from Justice Brandeis’ famous dissent is the origin of the idea of ‘the laboratory of democracy’. This is an idea with much merit but which we have, unfortunately, not seen utilized within The United States to any kind of a significant degree. Whether through fear of losing power, fear of interference from the federal government, lack of imagination, lack of interest or fear of the unknown, ‘experiments’ with democracy in this country take the shape of trying to impose different sets of laws and rules upon the citizens rather than on the process by which those laws and rules are determined. The idea in this nation is that differences in democracy are measured solely by the end result of the legislative process rather than the process itself.

A large problem with mankind, in general, and Americans, in particular, is our hubris. We think that, because we are as far along as mankind has ever been, we are the end of the road and have to have everything right. What we should keep in mind is that we are just another middle age. As we express shock, disgust, and amusement at the attitudes, beliefs and lack of knowledge of the world of a thousand years ago, so will mankind view us a thousand years hence. We will not fail the future if we don’t have everything right; we will fail them if we don’t try new things to give those who come after us additional data which they can use to get closer to being right than we ever can.

I try to occasionally write articles under the Laboratory of Democracy umbrella to look at different ideas which might be worth experimenting with (if not at a federal level then perhaps at a state or local level) to see how our idea of constitutional government can be improved based on lessons learned from our own 225 years of history conducting the American Experiment. Today’s topic is about how we can change how we conduct voting to better represent the views, needs and desires of ‘we the people.’

The reasons to change the way we vote are numerous. A fundamental reason to change it is that Americans tend to vote AGAINST candidates rather than FOR them. We have shaped the idea of democracy into an expression of our personal fears. We seem to feel stronger about candidate’s who we DON’T want in an office than we do about those we support. Usually this is perfectly understandable, as the candidates we have to choose from are often not that good, so it is often easier to identify candidates who are LEAST in line with what we want than it is to identity ones whom we can wholeheartedly support.

One obvious problem with this method is that when people are primarily voting AGAINST a candidate, they are afraid to ‘waste’ their vote by casting it for someone who they might approve of but who has no actual chance of winning. This fear of ‘wasting my vote’ was intensified after the 1992 Presidential election saw a significant number of votes cast for Ross Perot (who supporters of losing candidate George H. W. Bush blamed for costing him his bid for re-election) and after Al Gore’s narrow loss (or win, whichever you consider it to have been) to George W. Bush in 2000, which was partially blamed on those in Florida who had voted for Ralph Nader. Aside from the fact that no candidate is ever OWED any citizen’s vote (a candidate bears the burden of needing to EARN someone’s vote), those who support a candidate (or, more accurately, who OPPOSE a particular candidate) are afraid to ‘waste’ their vote by casting it for third party candidates who have no chance of winning.

Bill Clinton’s first nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Lani Guinier, supported a change in how we cast votes for political candidates in this country. Termed ‘Cumulative Voting’, the method which she supported was that each voter would get one vote for each candidate for a particular office and that they could spread those votes among the candidates and give any candidates as many of their available votes as they wanted. For example, if there were four candidates running for President, then each voter would get four votes to cast for President, any one of those candidates getting any or all of those votes, and multiple candidates being able to be given votes by each voter. While she was on the right road, I believe, she was headed in the wrong direction.

Academic studies and theories on Alternative Voting Methods go back at least several hundred years. In 1770, Jean-Charles de Borda proposed the Borda Count as a method for selecting members of the French Academy of Science. The last 30 years has seen an increase in such studies and research, in large part through the various researches which have been done in Game Theory. There are also MANY historical examples of the effectiveness of quite a few different methods of conducting and totaling votes. The Republic of Venice, for example, thrived for over 1,000 and developed a VERY complex but very effective form of Approval Voting for selecting the Doge which survived almost unchanged for over 500 years, until the Republic was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797. Many articles with additional information about Alternative Voting Methods, including Approval Voting, are available on-line. Some of these include:

http://bcn.boulder.co.us/government/approvalvote/altvote.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-winner_voting_system

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_systems#Multiple-winner_methods

As with most of the alternative voting systems I have heard of (equal & even; weighted ballots; fractional ballots; instant run-off; etc.) none of them truly address the idea that most people, at least in America, seem to cast their votes, at least for higher offices, against candidates rather than for them. This means that they see ANY method of spreading their voting strength around as weakening their opposition to a candidate they oppose. For example, under cumulative voting, say you have four votes you can use to vote for a particular office and you do NOT want Candidate A to win. You know that everyone else who is voting for that office will also have four votes to allocate and you fear that those who support Candidate A (or who oppose Candidate B) will each cast ALL of their four votes for Candidate A. Will you then be willing to risk the election of Candidate B by only giving him three of your votes while you ‘waste’ your fourth vote on Candidate D?

So, when we explore the idea of alternative voting methods, we MUST consider realistic human nature (and human fears) when we think about the problem. To do otherwise, to pretend that man will make his choices based on the greater good rather than base self-interest, or that he will willingly and comfortably accept the idea of his candidate losing because it is ‘the will of the majority’ and put aside his personal animosities after an election is unrealistic, at best. Therefore, the question is, how can we change voting into a positive process where people vote FOR candidates because there is NO NEED to vote AGAINST any candidates.

One possible solution is simply to allow a voter to vote equally for EVERY candidate that they think would be worthwhile to support. This method of voting is termed ‘Approval Voting’. To use the Approval Voting method, as an example, say that there are five candidates (A, B, C, D, and E). You personally support candidate C; candidate A is a major party candidate who you do NOT want to see in office; candidate B is a major party candidate who you have no real objections to and see as a better alternative to candidate A; candidate D is an independent candidate who you think could be interesting but who has no realistic chance to win; and candidate E is the local homeless wino transvestite who somehow manages to get on the ballot for EVERY election.

Under this scenario, you can not only cast your vote for candidate B (to help oppose the candidate you don’t want to win) you can ALSO cast an equal vote for candidates C (your preferred candidate) and for candidate D (the one you think is interesting and have no objections to). In such a case, you have accomplished all of your positive voting goals, you have shown your opposition to the candidates you do NOT want to see in office (A and E) by not voting for them, you supported your preferred candidate (C) and you gave support to the other candidates that you had no objections to. In this scenario, none of the votes you cast weakened your personal voting power in any way while, at the same time, made it more likely that candidates other than those from the major parties could win because EVERYONE else who liked candidates C and D could also vote for them but, maybe instead of voting also for candidate B, they voted for candidate A. In a very real way, the candidate who had the most REAL support, who was APPROVED by the most voters, would win the election because all votes cast for any and all candidates would count equally to their totals. In this system you can vote for any one of the candidates, any possible combinations of the candidates, or all of the candidates for that office… you can vote FOR candidates rather than AGAINST them.

Now, are there potential problems with a system such as this? Of course there are. A primary one, obviously, is how to prevent ballots being stuffed because the total votes cast for an office can (and would) be greater than the voting population as a whole and not by a predictable percentage (as if every voter HAD to vote for three candidates, no more or less, which would result in a vote total that was three times the number of voters). Another obvious one is to ask if the winning candidate would have to get a majority of ALL votes cast, or just a higher total number of votes than any other candidate. The first of these two possibilities could lead to either a need for a run-off election or a ‘None of the Above’ result. THAT, however, is where the Laboratory of Democracy comes into play. Let’s encourage some cities and/or counties to experiment with it (or, in fact, with ANY of the other alternative voting methods) before any states try it, and then let some states experiment with it. The is the beauty of the Laboratory of Democracy idea, not every location has to use the same processes and, by allowing and encouraging them to experiment with different process, we can gather data about which process variations work well, work partially but need more tinkering with, and don’t work at all.

Too many people in this nation think that trying different ideas of government means having different laws (like using the Ten Commandments as the basis of their laws, for example). They miss the point that democracy is not the RESULTS of the democratic process but the PROCESS itself.

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

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

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

© copyright 2008 by Rhys M. Blavier

LP Presidential Candidate, Senator Mike Gravel, Interviewed By Newsweek

In Barack Obama, Censorship, Democracy, Democrats, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government, War on April 1, 2008 at 12:11 am

Senator Mike GravelSenator Mike GravelLP Presidential candidates normally don’t get this level of media exposure, ever. Senator Mike Gravel’s switch to the Libertarian Party is causing a great deal of positive mainstream media attention. Below is an excerpt from the Newsweek interview, posted today. I will note that Last Free voice beat Newsweek to the punch, interviewing Senator Gravel within 48 hours of his decision to run as an LP candidate.

After the crowded presidential primary shrunk from eight Democrats and 11 Republicans to only three viable candidates between the two parties, what’s a spurned presidential hopeful to do? Well, if you’re Ron Paul, you ignore John McCain‘s inevitability and keep running anyway. If you’re former U.S. senator Mike Gravel, you switch parties.

Last Monday, the former Democrat swung by the Libertarian Party‘s national headquarters and defected. “We handed him a [membership] card on the spot,” says Shane Cory, the party’s executive director. Two days later, Gravel formally announced he would run to be the Libertarian candidate for president, joining a field of 15 others. Cory wouldn’t comment on Gravel’s chances at the convention, which will take start in Denver on May 22, but he did say that Gravel’s party swap has garnered some much-appreciated exposure for the Libertarians.

Gravel spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Sarah Elkins about the 2008 race and why he’s still running. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: You’ve been a Democrat for your entire political career. Was it a tough decision to switch parties?
Mike Gravel:
It had been eating at me–believe me–ever since I was a senator [he served from 1969 to 1981]. When I was in the Senate, I was a maverick and, at the end of my term, I was not particularly happy with my progress in terms of partisanship with the Democrats and Republicans. So when I left office, I stayed away from partisan politics altogether. But when I decided to get back in the game and to get my message out to the American people about the National Initiative [a political movement that would allow ballot initiatives at the federal level], I had to pick a party that would allow me to get into the debates … But of all the parties I was probably closest to the Libertarians.

It sounds like you’ve been interested in leaving the Democratic Party for some time. Why didn’t you make the move sooner?
It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to enter the race as a Libertarian. [As a Democratic candidate], I got into the debates and got a fair amount of visibility up until General Electric [which owns NBC] along with the Democratic Party leadership, said they would get me out of the debates. And they did. GE said I did not meet their criteria for participating in the debates. I think it’s very interesting that a defense contractor said I had to meet their criteria in order to participate in the MSNBC debates. We’ve really come down in democracy when a defense contractor can decide what the American people hear from a candidate. It was a [Democratic National Committee] sanctioned debate, so we complained to the DNC and found out that Howard Dean had agreed to it and that not a single one of the other Democratic nominees raised a finger in protest, meaning that they were totally tone deaf to the censorship of the military-industrial complex.

So you didn’t consider running as a Libertarian from the get-go?
I would have preferred to run as an independent or Libertarian or Green Party, but I knew that none of those candidates would have gotten any traction. So I used my position as a legitimate Democratic candidate to get my name out there.

You still have to win the Libertarian primary in order to run as the party’s candidate.
I am probably the most well known and certainly the most experienced in terms of running for president and as a government official. I have 16 years of experience in elected office and have been a senator, and I have a great deal of foreign-policy experience.

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You can read the very interesting three-page interview excerpt with Newsweek here.

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.

Will Ron Paul presidential campaign cause him to lose his seat in Congress?

In Congress, Democracy, Libertarian, Local Politics, Media, Politics, Republican on February 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

From the Galveston County Daily News (letters to the Editor):

District Needs A Better Man To Represent Us

Are we really getting the most effective representation with Ron Paul as our congressman?

The presidential debates have exposed stubbornness and inability to compromise that is at odds with the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

Democracy requires negotiation and compromise to reach a consensus.

We negotiate and compromise in our daily life, at work and at home. Paul’s inability to reach consensus on vital issues makes him ineffective as our congressman.

He is a self-described Libertarian; if he is so enamored with Libertarian philosophy, why is he running in the Republican primary for Congress?

I welcome his participation in the political process and respect the views of his supporters as honest and sincere.

The question is, does he truly represent the values and priorities of the Republican voters in this district or is he using the Republican Party’s structure and established appeal just to get elected because he can’t get elected as a Libertarian?

If the latter is true, it is intellectually dishonest.

We need a Republican of conviction representing us in the U.S. Congress, not a Republican of convenience.

I urge readers to look at the sterling qualifications, impeccable character and genuine passion and sincerity of Chris Peden as our Republican candidate for Congress.

Peden is a pro-life, pro-family, conservative Christian who is a CPA and the mayor pro tem in Friendswood. He has a proven track record of not only fighting for our conservative principles, but of achieving conservative results. Paul is long on words, but a little short on results.

Just a few days ago, on the Michael Berry radio program, Paul said that being a congressman was his “plan B.” I don’t know about other readers but I don’t want to be anybody’s second choice.

The catchword for this year’s presidential election is “change.” It’s time for real change in congressional District 14 also. Paul is the past — Peden is the future. Let’s put someone in Congress who represents all of us, not just the Libertarians.

Letty Packard
La Marque

Liberty Decides

In Daniel Imperato, Democracy, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Wayne Allen Root on December 20, 2007 at 5:42 pm

The Libertarian National Party has a new program, Liberty Decides ’08 designed “to promote our pre-nomination presidential candidates as they engage in a competitive process. To participate in the program, candidates must cross three thresholds: meet the LP bylaws requirements; file with the FEC; and raise at least $5,000 for the LP or LP state parties for ballot access.

Once qualified, candidates will be ranked by the funds they have raised for the program and promoted through the Internet, mail and LP publications.”

40% of all donations to this program will be set aside in a special fund to be used for expenditures coordinated with the candidate who does eventually win the LP nomination in convention. The remainder of the funds will be used to help the LP move forward with core issues such as media, ballot access and member recruitment.

One candidate has declined to participate, noting that the money does not go to help the candidates now, when they need help the most, and only 40% will go to the eventual nominee – whoever that may be – not necessarily the candidate that the donors click on to contribute in the name of.

Further controversy ensued when, in an early version of Liberty Decides, this candidate was included without his consent, and a silhouette of Ron Paul was used as a “Future/Unannounced Candidate.” The silhouette was removed, as was the objecting candidate, but in a controversial and widely talked about move, the LNC voted unanimously to invite Ron Paul to seek the LP nomination for President if he does not get the Republican nomination.

Some candidates are more positive about Liberty Decides.

Some other Libertarian activists have criticized Liberty Decides, notably Susan Hogarth, who wrote:

It would be a much more useful tool for Libertarian activists and likely convention delegates (you know, the folks who actually select the LP nominee) with two simple additions, which I mentioned yesterday:

1) some indication of how many individual donors each candidate has (and, ideally, how many of them are Party members).

2) some indication (other than a link to their websites) of positions.

Susan shares her thoughts about Liberty Decides here, here,
here, and
here.

Despite the criticism, the LNC expressed support for Executive Director Shane Cory and Liberty Decides at its recent meeting in Charleston.

This is why the Middle East can’t have nice things.

In Democracy, Middle East on October 25, 2007 at 11:06 am

Looks like Turkey’s taking cues from us.

Under mounting public pressure, Turkey’s government is mulling a cross-border military operation into Iraq to pursue the Kurdish separatist rebels based there. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far withstood military pressure to authorize such a move, but with 26 people killed in two recent attacks, public calls for retaliation are growing. The top-selling daily Hurriyet ran a banner headline Monday saying, “This warrants going into [Iraq].” Opposition politicians on both left and right have accused the government of failing to respond to the increased violence.

When the world hegemon proves itself to be a bloody warmonger, naturally the rank and file will tend to follow suit. Turkey’s going to get itself involved in Iraq now, when diplomacy (which ironically we’re pulling for in this instance) could probably solve the problem. Not only that, but the democratically-elected though religiously-fundamentalist party ruling Turkey is looking to get itself overthrown by a military coup if they don’t do this right. So we’ll have not only completely failed at “spreading democracy” but we’ll have been indirectly responsible for ending a healthy democracy. Awesome.

Impeach Bush-Cheney; Cheney goes first!

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Crime, Democracy, Democrats, George Bush, Libertarian Party-US, Personal Responsibility, Police State on July 13, 2007 at 10:09 pm

So I recently got me a myspace page and forwarded an impeachment bulletin.

A myspace bulletin debate ensued….

A reply to my bulletin, with my comments….

Bulletin Message —————–
From: Shane
Date: Jul 8, 2007 2:27 PM

Where were these people back when all this was started? They were going along with it. The Democrats voted for the USA PATRIOT ACT without even reading it; now they’re all horrified about it.

paul) Why assume it’s all Democrats? Numerous people for impeachment from all parties, and independents, even some Republicans! And some people did back the “war on terror” in the beginning and have come to realize they were wrong. Glad to have them on board. Others, like me, strongly opposed the wars, the invasions of our civil liberties, the massive growth in government spending under Chimperror George II, the dictatorial powers he has claimed in violation of the constitution, and have called for impeachment for quite a few years now. I’m happy so many people are agreeing with me now – even Democrats!

As to why any Libertarians would oppose impeaching the Bush fascist regime is beyond me. The LP called for Clinton’s impeachment, but not for the same reasons the Republicans did. If anyone thinks Dubai-ya! has been more faithful to the constitution, can I please get an intro to your drug dealer? Why the double standard?? Impeach Bush-Cheney!

Shane:

The Democrats voted for the authorization for the Iraq war when there was plenty of evidence it was all a fraud; now they’re all horrified that they were “lied to.” The Democrats voted for the military tribunals, and now they’re all horrified about the treatment of prisoners. The Democrats voted for the Military Commissions Act and the suspension of habeas corpus, and now they’re all horrified at the loss of our rights.

paul:

Individualists ought not refer to people collectively. Democrats are tens of millions of people, the vast majority of whom don’t get to vote on these things.. and many opposed them, including some of the ones who did get to vote on them, they were not unanimous votes. Some voted wrongly in the past and have admitted so; others are still voting wrongly on these matters, and should be pressured to change their votes or be removed from office in the next election.


congressional democrats: not too old to be spanked

Shane:

Why now? Why did they wait all this time to turn against it all and call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney? Because now, their impeachment and removal from office would mean that a Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, would become President. That’s the only reason. They don’t care about your rights; they only care about power.

Stop being conned. Support Ron Paul and your local Libertarian candidates. That’s the only way out of this mess.

paul) I support
Steve Kubby

I like Ron Paul, and I wish he would introduce impeachment formally in Congress. It’s the right thing to do and would be great for getting him attention! The best thing he has done so far is stand up to
Ghouliani
.

Most of the people backing impeachment are not doing it because of Pelosi.
I know I’m not. I supported impeachment ever since Dubai-ya stole his FIRST election and have even circulated a petition for impeachment and got thousands of signatures, and that was in 2003.

To the ones who only now have realized that the Chimperror and puppetmaster Cheney are war criminals: welcome on board! To those who are still not on board, what are you waiting for?

Demand impeachment NOW…while we are still allowed to!

paul

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com

Last Free Voice

facebook

>—————– Bulletin Message —————–
From: paulie
Date: Jul 8, 2007 8:47 AM

—————– Bulletin Message —————–
From: Cops Say Legalize All Drugs
Date: Jul 7, 2007 4:38 P

XM Satellite Radio Launches New ‘08 Presidential Election Channel

In Democracy, Politics on June 18, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Below is an announcement from XM Satellite Radio. There’s no word on whether they will provide third party coverage, but it would certainly seem so since 24/7 commercial-free is an awful lot of airtime to fill (and it’s going to get very boring, very quickly, if it covers only the two major parties):

XM Radio logoXM Satellite Radio announced it will launch a new radio channel dedicated to the 2008 presidential election, marking the first time that a national radio channel has been devoted to a presidential campaign. The 24-hour, commercial-free channel, created in association with C-SPAN and other media outlets, will be called “POTUS ‘08.” The channel’s name (pronounced POH-tus) is the acronym used by government insiders for the President of the United States.

From their website, here’s a rundown of what to expect from POTUS when it goes live in September:

THE MISSION

  • Provide unbiased and commercial-free coverage of the 2008 presidential election.
  • Create a destination for voters to get politically neutral information about the election process and unprecedented access to the candidates.
  • Provide a pipeline to the candidates and their campaigns to communicate without filter to the American people.
  • Provide information from beyond the traditional media to include new media sources.
  • Provide perspective on the election process from a historical and current view.
  • Maintain the highest standards of professional integrity and neutrality.

FREE TO AIR
Created as a public service, POTUS ‘08 will be broadcast free to all XM radio receivers. Whether you are a paid subscriber or not, you can still listen to all the presidential coverage.

LTE: Jason Gatties For Pokagon Tribal Council

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Media, Politics on June 12, 2007 at 8:46 am

I wrote:

Dear Editor,

I am writing in support of Jason Gatties For Pokagon Tribal Council.

Jason stands for both individual and tribal sovereignty.

He believes that a truly free people can not take money and services from an occupying state and retain its independence and dignity at the same time.

He believes the flow of information, much like the people themselves, ought to be free.

He believes real qualifications, not titles, should matter most.

Virgil Vogel wrote in 1974 in a documentary history of the American Indian:
Montaigne, Rousseau, and Jefferson paid tribute to the Indian capacity to organize human affairs in a libertarian manner. The Iroquois developed a system of confederated government which, according to Benjamin Franklin, served as an example for his Albany Plan of Union, and eventually for the Articles of the Confederation.

Visit http//www.votegatties.org to learn more.

-paul

Could I get you guys to write a “LTE” on my behalf? We are coming up on 1 month until the election and the more LTE’s I can get published, the better. I’m in a unique situation in that our tribe members are basically spread out over a 10 county/ 2 state area, which makes your typical style of campaigning tough. Thats why I’m hoping LTE’s will reach those I’m unable to visit or those who are unable to check out my campaign site.

The LTE info can be found at http://www.mujaji.net/pokagon/involved.html

Pick any of the publications listed. It would be a great help to me and I would return the favor 10 fold in the future.

Jason Gatties

Vote or Die, Bitch!

In Big Brother, Celebrities, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Fraud, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Media, Music, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Terrorism on June 5, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Since I gave Michelle a hat tip earlier, might as well make it a pair. (It’s easier to get away with staring with my hat tipped low). Something is making me think of Michelle and pairs today. Not sure what that is. Wait, don’t tell me, I almost got it figured out….damn, I forgot again. What was it, I wonder? Anyway. A wolf, a sheep, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing went in the polling booth….did I mention voting was mandatory in the USSR?

Zimbabwe’s Catholic Archbishop kicks ass.

In Civil Liberties, Corruption, Democracy on May 9, 2007 at 9:56 pm

You tell ’em, man.

Yeah, TIME did an interview of this guy, who’s currently telling the dictatorial fuck Robert Mugabe to stop killing people. I don’t typically support the church getting involved in politics, but there comes a time when a voice-any voice-is welcome if it’s shouting down a despot. And I love Archbishop Pius Ncube’s quote at the end:

I don’t care. I will say what I want to say. I will not be quietened. I am not their slave. I do get afraid. But there comes a time when you have to overcome that. I take a stand because I am convinced I am speaking the truth.

Doug Stanhope will not seek LP nomination

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US on May 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Just received an email announcing that Stanhope will not seek the LP nomination for prez. From his My Space page:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stanhope in ’08 Has Quit in ’07!

May 1st, 2007

Stanhope in ’08 has Quit in ’07!

We’re done, at least so far as being a candidate.

For all of our false optimism, forced enthusiasm and the tireless effort of a small team of close friends, we couldn’t get past the wall of bureaucracy.

The Federal Election Commision proved insurmountable in their spiderweb of legal fingerfucking. The idea that I could run an effective campaign rested on the fact that I tour constantly for a living and have a built-in audience & media wherever I go. FEC rules would not allow for me to campaign at paid gigs while also retaining a personal income from those shows.

If I can’t recruit from my shows, I’m about as effective as standing on a milk crate in the city park.

Even our crafty attempts at creating our own loopholes in the laws – like jailhouse attorneys trying to invent and employ makeshift last-minute defenses – still came up short in the face of the Federal Election Commision.

The system is set up to keep the two-party monopoly as free from competition as possible. The penalties for fucking up with FEC rules make IRS penalties look like fetish spankings and I fuck up quite a bit.

The other problem was simply in making the whole thing fun. The more rules, paperwork and bullshit we’d run into the less creative and funny it was becoming. The process started to feel like when we had to “clean it up” for the Man Show – and we all know how well that worked out.

Our intention in this campaign was to try to get media attention for the Libertarian Party and we have no intention of giving up that campaign. It’s frustrating to see this country bordering on totalitarianism and having viable options like the Libertarians completely blacked out.

We’ll still put our efforts into getting the LP into the mainstream and\ eventually get behind a candidate. But it was better to bail now before announcing as opposed to plowing through with our pants half down only to fall apart later, looking like complete shitheads at the expense of the Party.

The amount of high-level people that went out of their way to support us was amazing. On the day that we have our shit together – more organized and better prepared to deal with the powers that be – we may just take another stab at it.

So jump on board, join the Libertarian Party (www.lp.org) and stay involved. We still plan on making some noise this year and turning the Libertarian National Convention in Denver next May into the Animal House of the Next Revolution.

Be sure to get on our mailing list so you can get involved in the trouble we’ll be causing.

***************************

For those of you with Stanhope in 08 t-shirts, I promise I will try to die in some horrible fashion that makes them vaulable some day.

The one I feel the most responsibility to is the chick who I don’t even know, who tattooed Stanhope in 08 on her shoulder.

We’ll fly you down to our tattoo guy in Tampa and pay to have it redone when we play there in November. Maybe we can make it say “Sanjaya in ’08”. Or maybe I’ll run for a local water commisioner post in ’08 and you’ll look like you’re extremely over-zealous about low-level local politics.

***********************

Many people have said that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, that the whole game is rigged. That’s why our next project will be to start our own Illuminati, Skull & Bones and New World Order that will secretly control the current New World Order without them even knowing.

Our secret society will be so secret that many of it’s member will not even know they are members. America has laws against monopolies and there is no reason that there cannot be free market competition when it comes to covert, world-ruling cabals and all-powerful, mystical fraternities.

******************************

My deepest thanks to all who went out of your way for this truncated attempt at giving the whole system the finger. We still intend to say “Fuck You” loudly and repeatedly. We’ll just have to find more unique, exciting and unregulated ways to do it.

No matter who is elected to what man-made office or put on whatever throne, you are still the leader of your own free world.

Stick around.

stanhope

Hat Tip/A. Keaton

Update: The Washington Times picked up the Stanhope story.

Stand-up comedian and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Doug Stanhope is dropping out of the presidential race. Most of you are probably asking yourself, “Who is Doug Stanhope and why should I care?”

Stanhope says he is withdrawing from the race because of Federal Elections Commission rules that prevent him from discussing his political views while simultaneously earning an income from his comedic performances.

In an e-mail to supporters, Stanhope writes: “For all of our false optimism, forced enthusiasm and the tireless effort of a small team of close friends, we couldn’t get past the wall of bureaucracy.”…

…I’d print more of the letter, but most of it isn’t fit for a family newspaper (or Web site, as the case may be).

Stanhope is scheduled to appear on the Howard Stern Show tomorrow to announce his withdrawal from the race.

Stanhope, whose MySpace page says he was running on a platform of, “Revolution, prison reform, conspiracy theories and beating incredible odds,” promises to back the eventual Libertarian Party nominee.

Jury Nullification: Should Juries Be Informed Of Their Right To Ignore The Law?

In Censorship, Constitutional Rights, Crime, Democracy, Drug War, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Personal Responsibility on May 1, 2007 at 4:48 pm

GavelJury nullification is a process by which a criminal jury determines that a law is unconscienable, either morally or as it applies to a specific case, and therefore is to be ignored despite the guilt of the defendant. The US Supreme Court has determined that juries do have the power to nullify, but they also determined that juries need not be informed of this power. As a result, very few jurors have any idea that they can ignore the law, if they feel the case before them warrants that action.

Historical examples of jury nullification are abundant. Early in our nation’s history, jurors were regularly informed of this power. Positive examples of jury nullification include cases involving the Fugitive Slave laws, and of course, Prohibition. Negative examples include the refusal of some juries in the south to find white supremacists guilty of murdering African-Americans or civil rights workers, despite substantial evidence of guilt.

Judges worry that informing juries of this power will result in juror anarchy, with jurors deciding cases based on their sympathies rather than on the facts of the case; some argue that this is what happened in the OJ Simpson trial of the early 90s. Another judicial concern is that jury nullification will result in an increase in the number of hung juries, or that jurors will be overwhelmed if they are expected to interpret not only the facts, but the fairness of the law as well. An ongoing concern is that, once found not guilty by a jury, a defendant is protected from ever being tried again on that charge under the Double Jeopardy Clause; so if jurors nullify, guilty defendants will go free. The current conventional wisdom is therefore to not only not inform jurors of their nullification powers, but to specifically instruct jurors that they are to determine the facts, not the law, and that they must follow the law exactly as it is presented to them by the court. Read the rest of this entry »

Texas wants to teach you about marriage

In Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Republican, Science on April 12, 2007 at 11:53 am

That, or you can pay them $100, an increase from the previous $30 marriage license fee. From the Dallas Morning News:

A bill by Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, raises the cost of marriage licenses from $30 to $100 and requires engaged couples to take an eight-hour class on marriage if they don’t want to pay the fee. Poor couples can apply for a scholarship to the class.

Now, I’m sure the State would prefer the $70, but if not, you can take this nice class, which also isn’t free.

While Googling Rep. Chisum to see if he had any connections with the proprietors of this class, I found this memo, which he sent out on February 9th. I wish I was making this up:

Indisputable evidence – long hidden but now available to everyone – demonstrates conclusively that so-called “secular evolution science” is the Big-Bang 15-billion-year alternative “creation scenario” of the Pharisee religion. This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic “holy book” Kabbala dating back at least two millennia. (emphasis his)

So since evolution is a Jewish conspiracy, it clearly violates the Establishment Clause to teach it in public schools. The evidence for this is contained in links to fixedearth.com In other words, CRAZYTIME.

I’ve already emailed the Gray County, Texas LP about this memo, so that they can use it against Chisum in 2008.

Let Freedom Grow! for 04/08/07

In Democracy, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Republican on April 9, 2007 at 7:38 am

In this week’s “radio address,” Steve Kubby explains why it’s a bad idea for Libertarians to support those other parties:

I’ve heard from a number of you that you’re not supporting the Libertarian Party or its presidential candidate in 2008. That, instead, you’re giving your money and support to a candidate for another party’s presidential nomination.

I’m referring, of course, to Congressman Ron Paul of Texas — a sitting member of the US House of Representatives, and the Libertarian Party’s 1988 presidential candidate.

Friends — you’re making a mistake.

I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul. He’s a fine man and a fine libertarian. But he’s affiliated himself with a party of big government … the party that brought us the war on Iraq. The party brought us “extraordinary rendition.” The party that can’t find habeas corpus in the Constitution. The party that, over the last six years, has grown government faster than at any time since the end of WWII.

If a candidate for the Nazi Party’s presidential nomination asked for your support, you’d laugh at him or turn away in disgust. You’d do so even if he said that he wasn’t one of “those Nazis” who wanted to herd all the Jews, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses into gas chambers. You wouldn’t just walk away from that candidate, you’d run away. And you’d be right — because even if that candidate isn’t one of “those Nazis,” his party itself stands for things that you can’t support.

When you support a candidate, you support that candidate’s party. And as fine a man as Ron Paul is, his party is simply not worthy of your support. He may be a libertarian, but his party is not libertarian and it’s not going to become libertarian, no matter how much money you throw at it.

Tune in for more:

An Interesting Speaker at City Council Meeting

In Democracy, Humor, Politics on April 7, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh, or to feel bad that this guy hasn’t received appropriate psychiatric care. Or both.

New ‘08 presidential election blog looks promising

In Democracy, Democrats, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Republican on March 28, 2007 at 5:11 pm

While meandering around google just a few minutes ago, I found what appears to be a brand-new blog for the 2008 presidential election. It’s surprisingly well thought out, and seems to be trying to maintain a neutral viewpoint. There’s not even a hint of what party affiliation or political persuasion this blogger may have, which is what peaked my interest.

Here’s their blog description:

The purpose of this blog is to provide voters with a comprehensive list of candidates and their positions, and also to provide voters and candidates alike with a forum in which to share their views. Commentary is not only welcome, but highly encouraged.

Unlike some other presidential election blogs, this one is extremely comprehensive so far, with a listing of (and links for) about 75 presidential candidates of every imaginable description. They even listed the candidate for the “Vampires, Witches and Pagans Party”, LOL.

They’ve definitely put some work into it, and given it a lot of thought. The candidate and party links list alone is impressive compared to most blogs of that nature.

Apparently they’re looking for input to make sure they’ve included all the candidates and parties which should be listed, and are also looking for input so they can compile biographical info on all the candidates. They are also looking for additional links to add. So far their link categories seem to be candidates (separated by party), political parties, discussion resources, and general resources.

If anybody’s interested in checking it out or saying howdy, the blog address is www.08presidentialelection.blogspot.com

Rock The Debates

In Censorship, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican on March 24, 2007 at 8:59 am

Several LNC members, including Chuck Moulton,
who gave me a ride down to Orlando, are involved with starting Rock The Debates:
http://rockthedebates.org/about

You can play a key role in this unprecedented, historical endeavor.

The idea is to get the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates to commit to debate third party candidates.

How? We’ll ask them to debate, get the clip on video, and place it on You-Tube. Folks in places like New Hampshire can play a key, historic, pivotal role in making this happen.


o When the candidate comes to town, hook up with another as a tag team. One person asks the question, the other videotapes.
o Here’s the question:

Mr. / Ms. Candy Date, at this point in America’s history with such vital issues that we face, do you agree to debate any presidential candidate who is on the ballot in enough states to have a mathematical chance, and if not, how do you reconcile this position with the principles of freedom and opportunity upon which America is based?

.

I can’t believe I’m reading this shit.

In Corruption, Democracy, Health, Nanny State, Police State, Politics, Science on March 16, 2007 at 1:45 pm

His Excellency Yahya Jammeh, President of the Gambia by right of tainted elections and really big guns, discovered a cure to AIDS in a dream and has begun administering it.

Why didn’t we think of that? All this time, President Bush could’ve just thrown some herbs together, guided by his ancestors, and cured AIDS forever. Dammit Bush, why didn’t you dream up a cure to AIDS? Why can’t you be as cool as His Excellency Yahya Jammeh, President of the Gambia by right of complete fucking stupidity?

Just think of all the money we’ve wasted on “science” and “medicine” when all it took to cure AIDS was some goddamn fucking herbs and testicles the size of minor asteroids. Well shucks, we sure are silly. Read the rest of this entry »

Posse Comitatus ftw!

In Civil Liberties, Democracy, Democrats, Police State, Politics on February 23, 2007 at 12:55 am

The New York Times had an interesting piece about a recent attempt to undo the worst excesses of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. Called posse comitatus, it was enshrined in law after the Civil War to preserve the line between civil government and the military. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which provides the major exemptions to posse comitatus. It essentially limits a president’s use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights.

There is a bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, and backed unanimously by the nation’s governors, that would repeal the stealthy revisions. Congress should pass it. If changes of this kind are proposed in the future, they must get a full and open debate.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Keep bringing us back our civil liberties, Democrats, and we might just let you keep your jobs.