Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

The bipartisan surveillance state

In Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Democrats, First Amendment, Fraud, George Bush, History, Human Rights Abuses, Iraq War, Law, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, Middle East, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Police State, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Terrorism, US Government, War on July 24, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Anthony Gregory in the San Diego Union Tribune:

The Democratic Congress passed and President Bush signed the “FISA Amendments Act of 2008,” legalizing the president’s illegal wiretapping program.

The law allows broad warrantless surveillance of Americans in the United States, so long as the call or e-mail is thought to be international.

Eavesdropping on domestic communications is legal for a week before court papers even have to be filed. The telecom companies that cooperated with Bush are immune from civil lawsuits. Most important, the administration’s illegal conduct has been retroactively approved and future administrations have wider powers than ever to spy on Americans.

The Democratic leadership and virtually all congressional Republicans approved the law. In a complete reversal of his campaign promise, so did Sen. Barack Obama. Last October, his campaign announced, “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.” Instead, he voted to prevent a filibuster and then he voted for the bill.

Democrats and Obama supporters defend the betrayal with hollow claims that the law actually protects civil liberties. Why then was Bush so eager to sign it? Missouri Republican Sen. Christopher Bond, a leader in this “compromise,” says “the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped.”

Two years ago, the Democrats seemed outraged after we learned Bush had ordered the National Security Agency, a military outfit, to spy on Americans without warrants, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Now they control Congress with good odds at the presidency. Power and the hope for more power corrupt.

Advertisements

Ohio Libertarian Party is Safely on the Ballot

In Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Republican on July 24, 2008 at 10:34 pm

posted at Ballot Access News

The Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, has decided not to appeal last week’s U.S. District Court order putting the Libertarian Party on the ballot. This will be the first time any party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, has appeared on the ballot in Ohio since 2000.

Why the MSM Irks Me

In Democrats, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on June 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Will Libertarian Bob Barr take conservative votes from McCain?

Jack Cafferty is the typical media elitist.  He thinks that only Democrats and Republicans are entitled to votes and that Bob Barr, Charles Jay, and other candidates are “taking” votes preordained for McCain and Obama.

If you go by Cafferty’s logic, one can assume that John McCain is stealing conservative votes from Bob Barr because many people feel that Barr is more conservative.

The only vote earned is the vote that is casted.

Becky Isais’ substantiation of Gravel compensation claims

In Courts and Justice System, Democrats, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 8, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Covered before on this blog, the Becky Isais claims for compensation from the Mike Gravel for President campaign appears to be more and more credible, though at first even I discounted them as possible dirty tricks from another campaign (after all, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone posted a negative comment on a blog about an opposing candidate, and as a result all hell broke loose).

After reading the many emails Becky sent to me, substantiating her claim, I can come to only one conclusion: she was indeed supposed to be paid for her work on the Gravel campaign, several people in the campaign knew it because it was discussed multiple times, and some of those emails were forwarded to Senator Gravel so there can be no doubt that he was aware of it as well. In fact, one of those emails states that the promise of “compensation” was made by Senator Gravel, in their presence.

The Gravel campaign, of course, previously released a statement saying that Becky was a volunteer, and therefore not entitled to any payment.

I leave it to each reader to reach their own conclusions about what happened, and why.

Don’t miss the special edition of LFV Live! at 6:00pm EST today. We will be talking live with Becky Isais, and she has some voicemails as well, proving her claim that she is supposed to be paid for her work on the campaign. Representatives of the Gravel campaign are, as I have previously informed the campaign by telephone earlier today, welcome to call in at (646) 478-4638, so they can give their side as well.

In the meantime, here are some of the emails she sent me, in chronological order. As you will see, these emails were exchanged with regard to this specific matter within the campaign; anything not directly related has either been redacted, or simply not included. I also have not included full email addresses, for the protection of the parties (from spam, if nothing else). However, it is important to note that these emails were being exchanged between official campaign email addresses.

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

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 20:50:59 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: URGENT!!
CC: beckynevada; senator.gravel

CHRIS,
Please see Becky’s email below and [redacted]

And, please get BEcky Paid-she is tireless committed and Mike made the promise face to face in front of me.

Thanks
Stacy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Becky Isais
Date: Dec 11, 2007 1:10 AM
Subject: ???
To: Stacy standley

Hey Stacy

[redacted]
Stacy I have to constantaly nag to get anything done with the camapaign.
Honestly I am done, I will do my best till you get back but after that it’s all you.
I haven’t even been paid for last month.
[redacted]
I am at my wits end Stacy for real.

*********************
From: Becky Isais
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2007 4:32 PM
To: April Shapley
Subject: RE: weekend of jan 12

I’m stepping down April.
[redacted]
I have to beg to be paid my tiny 500 a month & that isn’t cool.
I have been sacrificing with nothing in return except excuses.
[redacted] lives here in Vegas you should contact him to keep things going here.

*********************
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 23:28:05 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Re: Becky from Nevada
CC: whitney; beckynevada

Chris,
Can you update me on the status of BEcky getting paid?
I have asked Rob to try and come up with an effective appeal to raise funds.
Have you heard back from him yet?

On Dec 20, 2007 8:06 AM, Becky Isais wrote:

Dear Chris,

I still haven’t been paid nor have I received a response to my begging to be paid. If you aren’t going to pay me at least have the couth to tell me so. I have sacrificed allot for the campaign. Please be professional with me & let me know if you don’t plan on paying me. I REALLY feel that I’ve been taken advantage of. It’s very sad to see how this campaign has been run.

*********************
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 21:59:54 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Re: Becky from Nevada

Hi Becky,
You will get paid and you should cash the check-I am unpaid and that is my choice and my ability to contribute, but you, chris and several others came on board with a promise of compensation-so it will happen and you are entitled to it.

*********************
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 09:29:55 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick; senator.gravel
Subject: Becky [redacted] for Mike, and are we getting closer to paying her?

Chris,
Becky sent me the following. [redacted]

And, really importantly, Becky is still hanging out there with NO funds. Everyone is promising to get her paid, but nada.

Can we get this done-please?

Thanks
Stacy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Becky Isais
Date: Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 8:30 PM
Subject: RE: [redacted]
To: Stacy standley

Hey Stacy,
Am I going to get paid any time soon? We are really really in need of it.
Thanks, Becky

*********************
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 11:47:57 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Chris is going to get $500 for you ASAP

HI Becky,
Chris and I have discussed getting you some funds.
He says he can send you $500 ASAP, which I said will help a lot.
Does he have your address?

*********************
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 16:19:04 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Fwd: BEcky’s address

Chris,
Below is Becky Isais’ address to make it easy for you.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Becky Isais
Date: Feb 15, 2008 3:37 PM
Subject: RE: Chris is going to get $500 for you ASAP
To: Stacy standley

I’ve given it to him twice but just in case. [redacted].
Thanks Stacy.

Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 11:47:57 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Chris is going to get $500 for you ASAP

HI Becky,
Chris and I have discussed getting you some funds.
He says he can send you $500 ASAP, which I said will help a lot.
Does he have your address?

*********************
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 07:49:09 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Becky has not received the check?

Hi Chris,
Becky still has not received the check you told me would go out over a week ago. What’s up?

And, as I am sure you see from emails, she is still hard at work keeping our name in front of the NV delegation, in fact today-SAT. she is at the dem convention where we are airing Mike’s video at noon.

Please confirm that the check has gone out.

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

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 10:16:37 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Check and [redacted]

Hi Becky,
I confirmed that the check is in the mail-no fooling-wait til Thursday to see it I am told.

*********************
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 11:16:33 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Re: Check and [redacted]

HI Becky,

I did call Chris, and he swears that the order for your check has been given to [redacted], which is Mike’s personal bank-so just hang a bit longer-I really don’t think their is a deception going on, just slow banking.

On Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 6:31 PM, Becky Isais wrote:

Still no check Stacy.
If I’m not going to be paid just tell Chris to be straight up with me.
If I’m not going to be paid it would be better to just be honest instead of stringing me along…..for 3 months.

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 10:16:37 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Check and [redacted]

Hi Becky,
I confirmed that the check is in the mail-no fooling-wait til Thursday to see it I am told.

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

Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 11:48:38 -0800
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick
Subject: Still NO Check for Becky

Chris,
I am embarrassed now. Becky has not received her check, and now I am looking the guy who makes promises and doesn’t keep them;
What is going on?

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

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 09:22:48 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Re: [redacted] fundraising

Hi Becky,
My last email to Chris got Mike’s attention, he called me last night and explained the problem-simply there is no money in the bank.

When Chris said he authorized payment-he did, but the bank will only issue checks if there is sufficient funds-and there weren’t.

Mike, swears that you will be paid, he is doing paid speaking engagements and book signings to raise funds.

On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 7:41 PM, Becky Isais wrote:

I still don’t have the check.

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 09:07:20 -0800
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: [redacted] fundraising

PS. did you get your check?-

*********************
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 10:23:25 -0700
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick; mgrant
Subject: Becky has reached the breaking point

Mike/Chris,
Please see the attached.

And, Please communicate with Becky and cc; me.

Becky Isais wrote:

From: Becky Isais
To: Stacy Standley
Subject:
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 09:31:58 -0700

Hey Stacy,
I hate to bother you with this unpleasant news.
I need to be paid & I feel I have no other route to go but to file a small claims suit.
It’s nothing personal it’s just business.
My family is in a very bad situation & I have been more than patient.
The campaign should’ve NEVER asked me to work for them if they couldn’t pay me.
I don’t know what else to do, I’ve got to think of my family right now.
Very Sorry, Becky

*********************
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 10:25:19 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Fwd: see what you can do about this.

Becky,
I sent this last week to Mike after he called me.
I really am at a loss as are you as to what more I can do.
I have forwarded your email of today to Mike and Chris.
I know you are hurting.
Stacy

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Stacy standley
Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 10:35 AM
Subject: Good to catch up, and see what you can do about this.
To: mg

Mike,
I explained to Becky the funding situation and told her she was high on the list.

Here problem is, and I feel for her, Jose, her husband got laid off this week. So they are seriously in the dumps. If she can be a priority to get paid the $500 you will have really helped out someone who deserves it.

She is still on the front line with us here in Nevada.

*********************
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 08:31:43 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: Mike will call you today

BEcky,
I talked with Mike last night. I explained the situation you are in, and asked that he try and come up with a way of paying you. He understands, and is working on it. There is no money in the campaign, so that is not an option, but he is going to try another route and he said he would give you a call.

He does want to honor his commitment and to help you out.
So hang in there.

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

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:49:50 -0700
From: SStandley
To: cpetherick; senator.gravel
Subject: Becky has contacted me, and still has not been paid-any update?

Mike/Chris,

Becky got in touch with me today. She has not received anything, though the promises kept coming.
What is the status of her getting paid? She was promised, and did perform. I have no knowledge of the current status of the campaign, so I cannot enlighten her at all.

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

Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 11:29:23 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: getting paid

Becky,
Mike returned my call on Sat. He is still committed to paying you, but there is no money. The office is shut down, no paid staff, and the phones are shut off due to non-payment. So he isn’t BSing when he says there is no money.

But, he remains optimistic that he is going to get federal funds and then he will get people caught up. Just so you don’t think you are the only one hanging, Mindi paid her own way to WDC and her hotel room to give a speech for Mike-she is owed alot for that and she is out of pocket.

All I can say is be patient, which is not easy when you need money, I know. I will stay on top of the campaign to ensure you get paid when the funds come in.

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

Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 18:17:38 -0700
From: SStandley
To: beckynevada
Subject: follow up to try and get you paid

Becky,
I am trying to get you paid, Mike has his priorities, and obviously staying on the campaign trail is his. Though this is not necessarily what you think he should focus on with limited resources.

What is the amount that you figure you are owed? I will try another tact at getting you paid and see what I can do.

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.

LP/Green ballot access lawsuit in NC goes to trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lonely Libertarian on the Gravel Factor

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

From The Lonely Libertarian:

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

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.

“The Little Party That Could”

In Civil Liberties, Democrats, George Bush, Green Party, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican on April 20, 2008 at 5:47 pm

From TownHall.com:

I like alluding to the classics. When I’m not referencing the great poets and novelists, I try to sneak in books I’m certain actually to have read. Like “The Little Engine That Could.”

Great story. Inspiring. A lesson for all time. Can a day go by when one does not think of that engine chugging “I think I can I think I can I think I can”?



U.S. Presidential Democratic Party candidate Mike Gravel smiles during remarks to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute public policy conference in Washington October 3, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

I especially think of that story when the subject of the Libertarian Party comes up.

No political organization in America persists against all odds and all principalities and powers to . . . survive.

The party never quite gets up that hill, chugging as it does (note: allude to Sisyphus’s rock), but it never gives up.

You might think that a political party is there to elect people to office. And the Libertarian Party has elected a few people here and there. But, well, though in general LPers are not exactly the most “spiritual” of folk — they are not as apt as an incense salesman is to spout homilies like “it’s the journey that counts” — they do keep running candidates that, for the most part, get no more than 3 percent, 5 percent, or (occasionally) 10 percent of the vote.

The Democrats and Republicans, on the other hand, elect candidates every election day. Since the LP was formed in 1972, Republicans re-elected their glorious contender (Nixon) and elected three more: Reagan, Bush the Elder, and Bush the Younger. After LP candidate Prof. John Hospers (heavy-duty philosopher) and Mrs. Tonie Nathan (professional media person) received one renegade Electoral College vote for their first-time-out effort, the Democrats have elected two presidents: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The Libertarians, however, have never even garnered a million votes for one of their candidates.

I mention all this merely to say that I prefer to think of the persistence of the Libertarian Party as charming, not pathetic. Everything is stacked against them. The two parties in charge have made sure that it is very hard for “minor parties” to challenge them. Just getting on the ballot is no picnic. The Libertarians have spent millions and millions of dollars and massive quantities of man-hours maintaining ballot status in the forty-odd states they have maintained it, over the years.

And now that persistence has paid off. In a way. The party has become a magnet — a magnet for disgruntled major-party players.

You can read this article in its entirety here.

Online access to Heartland Libertarian Convention

In Christine Smith, Democrats, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Presidential Candidates, War, Wayne Allen Root on April 5, 2008 at 6:17 am

The Heartland Libertarian Conference has provided audio of a meet’n’greet with the candidates today.

They will also offer a live broadcast of today’s debates, starting at 11:00 am EST; since it is on blogtalk radio, interested parties will be able to listen to it afterward, if necessary or desirable.

Here is the notice (with thanks to Steve Gordon at Third Party Watch)

Friday and Saturday Night we will broadcasting live from the Heartland Libertarian Convention in Kansas City, MO.

Friday night show is from 6:30 Pm till 8:30 Pm. We will be interviewing Local, State,and National Libertarian Candidates. Saturday 10:00 AM till 12:00 PM we will be broadcasting live the Libertarian Presidential Debates. Concluding with speeches from Bill Redpath, National L.P. Chairman and Our Keynote Speech from Former U.S. Representative Bob Barr. Tune in from 1:30 till 3:30 PM [on Saturday] to see if Rep. Barr will enter the Presidential race.

Thank You,

Teddy Fleck
www.blogtalkradio.com/showmelibertarians

The Mike Gravel campaign will be videotaping the debates for public distribution, according to Skyler McKinley of the Gravel campaign. As soon as we have access to those videos, we will post them here.

The candidates participating in tomorrow’s debates are Mike Gravel, George Phillies, Wayne Allyn Root, Christine Smith, Mike Jingozian, and Mary Ruwart. This will be the first debate for Senator Gravel since he announced that he was leaving the Democrats behind to seek the Libertarian Party nomination; as well as the first debate for Dr. Mary Ruwart since she announced her candidacy.

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.

placeAd2(commercialNode,’bigbox’,false,”)

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.

Democrats Gone Wild: Stabbing words edition

In Barack Obama, Crazy Claims, Crime, Democrats, Health, Humor, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond on March 8, 2008 at 10:59 pm

According to The Smoking Gun, Jose Antonio Ortiz stabbed his brother-in-law, Sean Shurelds (who was flown to a hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition) due to a disagreement about Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama.Yes, you read that right.

Apparently Shurelds supports Obama, and Ortiz supports Clinton. While the two were in the kitchen of someone’s home (it is unclear whose home) Shurelds told Ortiz that Obama was “trashing” Clinton, and Ortiz responded that “Obama was not a realist.”

While for most people that would be pretty much the end of the conversation, not so with these two, for whom those were not just fighting words, they were stabbing words. Ortiz and Shurelds argued, began to choke and punch each other, and eventually Ortiz grabbed a knife and stabbed Shurelds in the abdomen.

Ortiz then went back to doing the dishes, including, of course, the knife he had used to stab his brother-in-law.

Not at all surprisingly, Ortiz has a case of selective memory (not unlike the typical politician), and conveniently denies any memory of the stabbing incident. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault, as well as two misdemeanor counts. Bail has been set at $20,000.

I’m sure Clinton and Obama are proud to have supporters who are willing to go that far for their chosen candidate. Or not.

_____________________________

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.

Project Vote Smart

In Barack Obama, Christine Smith, Congress, Democrats, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Republican on February 14, 2008 at 8:02 am

Project Vote SmartI just ran across a website called “Project Vote Smart“. This site gathers information from various candidates for office, so you can view it all in one place, and even very easily compare the candidates if you open them up in side-by-side tabs on your browser.

It is very interesting to see the “political courage test”, which pins the candidates down on the issues. Unfortunately, it appears that most mainstream candidates (including all of the presidential frontrunners from both major parties, and including Ron Paul) have refused to complete the quiz portion. However, Barack Obama did complete the questionnaire when he was running for the Senate, which gives a good insight into how he views the issues; while Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul both refused to complete it even when they were running for Congress. There is no older questionnaire information for any of the other frontrunners.

I think it’s obvious why candidates wouldn’t want to complete it, since it can later easily be used against them. Accordingly, I think any candidate which refuses to answer those questions should be viewed with suspicion.

Some third party presidential candidates did complete the “courage test” though, including libertarians. I was quite surprised to see that I disagree with some libertarian candidates on a few issues I thought we’d agree upon. For example, I was extremely surprised to see that neither Phillies nor Kubby have chosen to eliminate inheritance taxes (Phillies wants to slightly decrease them, while Kubby wants to greatly decrease them). Yet why should the government get any of it, since it’s a gift from one person to another? Christine Smith is the only libertarian candidate to propose eliminating that tax.

On the other hand, Kubby wants to greatly decrease gasoline taxes and certain “sin” taxes (alcohol, cigarettes, etc) while Phillies and Smith want to eliminate those taxes altogether. On those tax issues, I agree with Phillies. I would agree with Smith, but she wants to eliminate ALL federal taxes (including income taxes); and while that’s an idea I’d love to get behind, I don’t think it is realistic, at least not at this time.

I will have to study the candidates’ responses a lot more closely, and I strongly suggest others do the same. While it won’t help much with regard to mainstream candidates who have refused to answer the questionnaire (and personally, I hold that against them because it is to my mind proof that they plan to say one thing to get elected, and do another once they are in office), it does give quite a bit of insight into third party presidential candidates.

Originally posted on Adventures in Frickintardistan

UPDATE:  I received the following comment from Tom Knapp, Steve Kubby’s Communications Director:

I worked with Steve on filling out the Political Courage Test, and “eliminate” was not offered as an option on the document we got from VoteSmart. I sent them an email when I saw that it appeared on other candidates’ answers, but haven’t ever heard back from them.

Without going over the PCT line by line, I can’t say offhand that EVERY “greatly decrease” would actually have been “eliminate” had that option been visible, the inheritance tax would absolutely have been an “eliminate” item.

Thanks for that info, Tom!

Fucking awesome.

In Activism, Democrats on October 31, 2007 at 12:05 am

A Ron Paul – Mike Gravel ticket?

In Democrats, Republican on September 16, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Here are some interesting thoughts from Frank Gonzalez who speculates on the possibility of the two maverick candidates forming a Republican/Democrat fusion ticket for president in 2008. For those who don’t know him, Frank is a true libertarian who ran for Congress in 2006 as a Democrat against Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Vast Majority of Americans Think Bush and Congress Both Suck For Air

In Democrats, George Bush, Immigration, Iraq War, Middle East, Republican on June 13, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Bush monkeyFrom Reuters:

President George W. Bush’s approval rating has dropped to 29 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday, his lowest mark ever in that survey, which also found only 23 percent approved of the job Congress was doing.” President George W. Bush’s approval rating has dropped to 29 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday, his lowest mark ever in that survey, which also found only 23 percent approved of the job Congress was doing.

Bush’s approval rating slid 6 points from 35 percent in April, NBC said, citing a decline in support within his own Republican Party. Sixty-six percent said they disapproved of Bush’s job performance.

In the poll, 62 percent of Republicans approved of Bush’s job performance, down from 75 percent in April. Thirty-two percent of Republicans in the latest poll disapproved of Bush’s performance, up from 21 percent in April.

NBC tied the drop in Republican support to Bush’s efforts to promote an immigration reform measure that many conservative Republicans oppose. Polls have also shown a decline in Bush’s popularity due to the war in Iraq tied the drop in Republican support to Bush’s efforts to promote an immigration reform measure that many conservative Republicans oppose. Polls have also shown a decline in Bush’s popularity due to the war in Iraq.

The latest poll also found Americans growing more discontented with the Democratic-led Congress, with 64 percent disapproving of Congress’ job performance. Only 23 percent approved, down 8 points since April.

Sixty-eight percent believe the United States is on the wrong track. Only 19 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction — the lowest number in nearly 15 years, NBC said.

The poll of 1,008 adults conducted from Friday to Monday had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Democrats made of fail on the only question we voted them in for

In Democrats, Iraq War, War on June 7, 2007 at 1:51 pm

AntiWar knows the score:

FINAL: It’s too dispiriting to list and rebut every wrongheaded policy on sale tonight, so I won’t. Suffice to say that, despite the frequent references by CNN’s John King to the strength of the antiwar movement among Democratic voters, each of the candidates with a shot at becoming president or vice president is a committed imperialist. If this is how they play to their supposedly antiwar base, imagine what they’ll be saying when they turn right after the primaries.

This is their liveblogging of the Democratic debate. Jesus tits, it looks painful. We let the Democrats win for one reason and one reason only-to get us out of the war. We figured that’d be worth the domestic policy clusterfucks they’d inevitably foist on us. But no. Right now, the only good thing coming from the 2008 elections is that it smashed the GOP over the head with the cold hard brick of reality-or, at least, the GOP voters.

First Nancy Pelosi sells the fuck out on the war funding issue, and now all the Democratic candidates are sucking military-industrial schlong. The Democrats are, to put it like this article did, “whimpering welfare-warfare half-wits.” And I hope to God that the anti-war vote pulls them out of Congress if they can’t pull us out of Iraq.