Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘election’

The Audacity of Hoping for Change: Barack Obama’s Broken Promises to America

In Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Corruption, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Republican, War on June 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm

This article was written almost a year ago. I have not added to it or expanded on my concerns. I think that anyone who reads this can themselves think of the President’s stance on issues, his lack of actual leadership, his failures over the year and a half to give us any hope that things will be better by November, 2012.

_____________________________________________________________________________

On March 26 [2009], only two months after Barack Obama had been sworn in as President, I wrote and posted an article on “Constitutional Oaths“. I also sent an email message to friends and family about the article with this message:

 “I proudly voted for Barack Obama for President of the United States. I never thought that I would so soon think that impeachment for violation of his Constitutional Oath of Office should be discussed. I feel sick and ashamed of my country.

https://lastfreevoice.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/constitutional-oaths-and-a-plea-to-president-obama-2/ 

“Right now I am feeling that there is no point in continuing giving a damn about any of it. I am about ready to unplug my TV, turn off my computer, crawl into my dark room and only come out to get a book, relieve myself and maybe eat. Our national evil has now passed to ANOTHER administration and I don’t know if I can take it.

“I do NOT want anyone to call me or pester me about talking about this. My own words in the past and the news are very clear and speak for themselves. I am tired and I literally want to vomit. I don’t think that this bridge can be unburned. Now, I just want the whole thing to collapse and get it over with. I am still waiting for that meteor to land on me and save me from all of it.

Yes, that was me back in March [2009], when I first believed it might be appropriate to investigate whether or not Obama should be impeached. Not for some far-right extremists cries for his head for any and everything he does… for even simply existing and holding the office of President; not for some lunatic conspiracy theories but rather for legitimate constitutional reasons. Was I the first Obama supporter to raise the issue of impeachment? I personally believe that when a candidate makes campaign promises they are creating an oral contractual agreement with their constituents… “You elect me and I will DO these things, and / or make my best EFFORT to accomlish these goals“. They don’t necessarily have to SUCCEED at what they promised but they DO have to at least fight for those things. I said in the 1990s that those Republicans who signed the ‘Contract With America‘ should have had class action lawsuits filed against them for BREACH of Contract. Until we hold our politicians accountable for what they say to us when they are running for office, what is their motivation to change their relationship with those that they ask for their votes?

I was watching The Daily Show tonight (because both Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show were supplanted with non-stop crap about the death of Michael Jackson… big deal… NOT news) and Jon Stewart was talking about how Obama, a former teacher of Constitutional Law, thinks that it is appropriate to block access to information about Dick Cheney because HE MIGHT BE MADE FUN OF. (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-june-25-2009/cheney-predacted) After that, Stephen Colbert did his Word of the Day segment about Obama’s failure to keep promises that he made on gay issues… and his latest is being done almost exactly 40 years after New York’s Stonewall riots.  (http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/232014/june-25-2009/the-word—stonewalling)

I was going to list categories of Obama’s broken promises (on government transparency, on the ‘war’, on Guantanamo, on torture, abortion rights, on pretty much everything) but it would already fill a book to try to do so. Instead, I copied links to legitimate news stories (mostly, if not all, from the left or neutral positions). These stories are NOT by Obama haters. They are by people who supported him and are feeling betrayed or by neutral news sources. Here are some of them so that you can read them for yourselves:

 http://www.alternet.org/story/140507/obama’s_broken_promises/

 http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/06/06/sirota/

 http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/

 http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hRdIJDxVpdhYoXnxKGfPOn8lZJKAD991TH9O0

http://promises.nationaljournal.com/

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/17/despite_campaign_promises_president_obama_adopts

http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/1548444,obama-100-days-promises-kept-broken-042909.article

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=91286

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/05/15/1933734.aspx

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/1129-obamas-broken-promises-openness-ending-military-commissions

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23915.html

Now, I want to take a slight shift here and lecture to those on the far right, the conservative extremists who hate Obama and would no matter what he does… especially Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You have already made yourselves irrelevant to any but those who already agree with you. You spent eight years with your nose shoved up George Bush’s ass and, no matter what he did, you defended him. The problem with news in America is NOT bias. Bias itself is not bad… as long as it comes with honesty. I do not watch Kieth Olbermann because I agree with what he says. I watch Keith Olbermann because when he makes an attack on someone he backs it up with verifiable documentation as to when something happened, and what the context is. I would watch a conservative Olbermann as well, if there were one, but there isn’t. The far right media long ago abandoned honesty and integrity when they were on the side of those in power. Because of HOW they tried to defend Bush and attack his critics, they cannot be accepted as legitimate voices of opposition now. Opposition is NOT about blindy attacking who or what you hate, it is about journalistically showing why your opposition is valid. It is also about supporting what someone you are in opposition to does that is acceptable and ONLY attacking them when they are legitimately in the wrong. The far right has no concept of how to fulfill the necessary role of ‘loyal opposition’ so they simply attack blindly and maliciously in the simple hope of hurting… someone. What they don’t see is that they don’t have to make up ANYTHING because there are so many legitimate and supportable reasons to attack that all they are doing is showing how devoid of integrity or intelligence THEY are. All they have to do is investigate and tell the stories that they can back up and let the rest go.

I know that it is a mantra of the far right to hate Olbermann and the “liberal media“, but he backs his attacks up with who, what, where, when, why, and how… he gives names, dates and places to allow us, his viewers to verify what he is reporting to us.. The other thing that the far right misses is that most journalist on the left will not cover up for the side that they support when it is in the wrong. When Obama screws us all, the legitimate media which supported him will also openly and publicly denounce him when he is wrong. IT ISN’T ABOUT BIAS, IT IS ABOUT HONESTY!

I voted for Barack Obama as President. I did what I don’t do… I trusted a politician… and I trusted the Democratic Party to actually change things and push hard to the left in order to shift American back to the middle. I was not wrong to vote as I did. I voted for who I believed would be best as President. I voted for who I was willing to take a chance on but, unlike most people I know on the far right, I am intellectually honest enough that I will say when the emperor has no clothes… even the emperor I supported. The are many things that make politics in America the shame it is. One of them is when people put their own personal egos above honesty about those they support. What is important now is NOT how those who were in opposition to Obama criticize him, it is how those of us who supported him criticize him.

I could probably go forever about this but if my point hasn’t already been made and understood, more words won’t change that. To anyone who wants to comment on this article, this is NOT a forum for hit-and-run drive-by comments from the left OR the right. I don’t want to hear from anyone on the right making blanket attacks or smears saying that “lefties” or “libs / liberals” or “Democrats” are ALL like something and neither do I want to hear anyone from the left making blanket attacks saying that “right wingers” or “conservative nuts jobs” or “Republicans / Repubs” are all like something. I don’t want to hear anyone from either side making some ‘clever’ play on words, like “Repukes” to describe the other side. America needs both liberals AND conservative, Republicans AND Democrats. It isn’t whole sides who are to blame, it is specific, usually extremist ends of different ideologies that are what most people REALLY hate. And don’t attack those you disagree with JUST BECAUSE you disagree with them, attack or mock someone for being a moron, for writing something stupid that they can’t document or support. It is much more effective to challenge someone to prove what they make claims about that it is to just hate them. So, talk about specific promises he has broken or WHY you think it is good or bad that he broke a specific one; talk about the law and The Constitution; talk about… God, just talk like you have a God-damned brain in that head of yours.

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

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

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The current Libertarian Party Bylaws state that:

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

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

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

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

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

(E)ntering into public information activities.

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

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

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

Vote or get off of the pot.

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

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

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

© Copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

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

© Copyright 2010 by Rhys M. Blavier

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

Where Was The Libertarian Party?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

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

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

How I Think The Constitution Can Be Fixed (Part III [a]: Article I – The Legislative Branch)

In Congress, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Republican, US Government on June 1, 2009 at 1:35 am

Congress, The Legislative Branch of The United States of America was, as ‘the people’s house‘, intended to be the most powerful of the three branches of government created by The Constitution… a ‘first among equals‘, as it were.  Of the 4,543 words of The Constitution, the 2,312 words of Article I constitute just over half of the total (50.89%).  Unlike Article II (The Executive Branch) and Article III (The Judicial Brach), Article I deals very much with the actual workings, duties, powers and authorities of Congress.  A primary reason for this, I assume, is that the founders had a long history of experience with operating a working, functioning Congress or Legislature.  They also had more trust of a strong legislative branch than they did of a strong executive branch.

The first representative legislative body established in the American Colonies, in fact, in ANY of the British Colonies, was Virginia’s House of Burgesses, which was created in 1619… 170 years before the creation of Congress under The Constitution.  Before and during the Revolutionary Period, ALL of the American Colonies had functioning state legislatures and, at the national-level, the first Continental Congress had been called in 1765.  Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress ran the nation with a VERY weak Executive, who was appointed by Congress itself to preside over ‘A Committee of The States‘.  The delegates to the Constitutional Convention well understood what a legislative branch could do, although, prior to The Constitution, members of Congress for any state were appointed by the legislatures of that state.  As such, apportionment by census and direct elections of the members of The House of Representatives was their great experiment with a representative legislature.  Members of The Senate, of course, continued to be appointed by each state’s own legislature until the passage of Amendment XVII, which was ratified in 1913 (although some states had been providing for the direct election of their Senators by the people of those states as early as 1907).

It was never the intention of the founders to create a permanently ruling political class.  They envisioned men, who would, for a short period of time, leave their private lives, take up the burden of public service for the good of the nation and then go back to their private lives.  This idea was only one of many visions of theirs that did not survive our national transition from our ‘first generation‘ to our ‘second generation‘ [see ‘Part I‘ of this article for an explanation of my theory of the first and second generational effects].  Many Americans have the mistaken belief that the founders created a two-party system.  This is patently false, but still many of our children are taught it.  The founders tried to create a NO-party system, with the idea that individual members of Congress would band together is short-lived coalitions for each separate issue that came before them.  This is another idea which not only did not survive our nation’s first generation; it did not survive the Washington administration.  This is probably the biggest reason that party politics dominates our government, because The Constitution did not provide any guidelines for or controls / limitations upon them.

Several of my suggested changes will be attempts show how I think that we can restore the founders’ original concept of public service to our government, and show a way to end or, at least, make it more difficult for the continuation of our professional and permanently ruling political class.  These suggestions will be made to try to minimize the amount of time elected officials have to spend in their continuous cycle of staying elected, to maximize their learning curve and effectiveness in office, and to reduce their susceptibility to the corrupting effects of long-term office holding.  They will also have a goal of wanting to breaking the stranglehold which the two major parties have on our government, at all levels, as well as minimizing the power and effect which those at the extreme ends of any political spectrum have on our government.  This is crucial if we are to return our government to a rational level of moderation.

As a general change for ALL elected offices, no one would be allowed to campaign for one office while they are holding another.  If people think that such an allowance is necessary, they could be allowed to run for as MANY offices at one time as they want, but they have to be campaigning on their own time (they, of course, could only accept election to one office if they should win more than one election at the same time… if they do win more than one, though, maybe they should have to pay for any special elections which they necessitate by winning an office they have intention of serving in).  Since all elected officials are elected to serve their constituents by doing a specific job, and not to spend their time on that job trying to keep their current job or trying to get a new one at our expense, once a public office holder is officially a candidate for any national office (the point at which they start raising funds or operating a campaign), they will be REQUIRED to immediately resign any elected office, at ANY level, that they might hold at that time.  This would also help keep the lengths of campaigns down to more reasonable amounts of time as elected officials would be less likely to give up an office in their hand too long before they run for the office in the bush that they want to seek.

Section 2 of Article I lays the groundwork for the composition of The House of Representatives.  Paragraph 1 of Section 2 sets the term of office for members of the House of Representatives at 2 years.  I would change this to 6 year terms, with one third of The House being elected every three years and a one term limit.  This would allow an on-going House with regular turnover and without the turmoil of having to elect ever member of The House and recreating itself every election cycle.  Former Representatives could be elected to additional terms by the people of any particular state that they have served when they have been out of The House for the length of a full term between each term.

Paragraph 2 sets the minimum age for eligibility for election as a Representative at 25.  I would lower this to 20, although with the requirement that being a Representative is a full time job (i.e.  – if someone is a student and is elected, they would have to leave their studies for the duration of their term of office).  We allow citizens to vote at age 18, we let them serve in our military, we require them to pay taxes (which they have to do at ANY age when they earn any money), etc., there is no reason that citizens of that age should not be allowed to elect Representatives of their own age range if they are able to.

Paragraph 3 of Section 2 deals with apportionment of Representatives among the various states.  As we have seen all too frequently, the abilities of modern computing to pinpoint every voter has given the supposedly forbidden practice of gerrymandering an even more frightening and insidious power than it has had in a long time.  That same computing power can allow us to create congressional districts that are of the most compact size and even shape as possible without ANY regard to the politics, or any other discriminating factor, of the citizens of any particular district.  Every state has corners and edges.  All that would have to be done is to program the same computers to start at each corner and create evenly shaped and compact districts as they work in towards the middle of each state.  Alternatively, the first district could start in the middle of a state and work outward.  This would still allow for differing proposals, depending on starting points and merging points, but the test would still be which proposal presents the most precise and evenly shaped districts possible.  Basically, if districts can be created within a smaller or more compact area of a state, you go for the most compact districts possible.  This would not only prevent the parties from manipulating districts in the way that is most advantageous to them, it will prevent them from creating both ‘safe‘ districts (which protect members of either party), and ‘reservation‘ districts (which isolate and limit ethnic voting power overall to specific limited areas).

Paragraph 3 also provides for the total number of Representatives the House.  Its original provision of “The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;” has been modified by legislation passed in 1911, which capped the total number of Representatives in The House at 435.  One man, one vote‘ was NEVER an intention of the founders (as seen by their plan of equal apportionment of Senators, the guarantee of at least one Representative from each state, and the fact that Congressional districts must be fully contained within their home state) because it was never their desire to allow high population areas to dominate the government at the expense of the rural areas by the simple fact of having more people.  However, it was also not their intention to let rural areas have excessive power by limiting the numbers of Representatives to be divided among the more populous states.  As was seen when Alaska and Hawaii entered the union (the total number of members in Congress was temporarily increased by one for each state UNTIL the next apportionment, at which time it was returned to the 435 Representatives level), the current total is seen as a hard and fast one which is not increased by the admission of additional states.  As a result, with each shift in population and a theoretical continuous expansion of the numbers of states in the Union, the single Representative for the states with the smallest population increase in their own proportional power within Congress.  To counter this, I would propose that the total number of Representatives be equal to ten times the total number of states.  This would mean that every time a new state is admitted, ten Representatives will be added to the total number of Representatives in The House.  Right now, that would result in a total of 500 Representatives, with 50 being taken by guaranteed representation for each state and the other 450 apportioned according to state population sizes.

Paragraph 4 deals with vacancies within The House while Paragraph 5 creates the office of Speaker and allows for The House to create and choose its other officers.  The only change I would make here is that ANY officer of The House (or The Senate) has a responsibility to the nation, as a whole, as well as to their own district’s constituency.  As such, ALL officers of The House or The Senate, from any party, must equally accept feedback, requests, petitions, etc.  from anyone within the nation as they do from anyone within their district.

Section 3 of Article I deals with The Senate.  Paragraph 1 sets the length of term for a Senator at six years.  As with the House, I would increase the lengths of their terms of office to twelve years, with a limit of one term and the passage of a length of time equal to one full term before they can be eligible to run again within their state.  For those of my readers who have caught some of my specific wordings, by the way, these limits would only apply to a candidate in a single particular state if they want to run again in that state.  If someone thinks that they can just pack up and move to another state to get elected again, they would be welcome to try it.  I would love to see the spectacle of hordes of former Congressmen moving constantly between states while trying to convince the voters of their ‘new‘ home states that they are not carpetbaggers who are only looking out for themselves rather than for the citizens that they purport to serve.

Paragraph I also sets the numbers of Senators from each state at two.  I would increase this to three for each state so that every state will have an election turnover of one Senator for every equal third of a term (i.e.  – every four years), which is what is dealt with in Paragraph 2.  Paragraph 3 sets the minimum age of a Senator at 35.  As with The House, I would lower this age by five years to 25 in order to increase the chances for better representation of the younger population of the nation.

Paragraph 4 of Section 3 deals with the role of The Vice President as the President of The Senate.  While I will deal with the larger issue of the office of Vice President when I discuss The Executive Branch, the primary constitutional duty of a Vice President is to be President of The Senate.  This office needs to be a functional part of our government.  [Please see my article on ‘The American Vice Presidency…  Graveyard of the Constitution’.]  While I would still give The Vice President no vote in The Senate except in cases of ties, I would give the office political power in The Senate equal to that of The Speaker in The House.  I would also give The Vice President the freedom to address The Senate under the same rules as any Senator, but with the provision that they must temporarily give up the Presidency of The Senate while speaking on the floor, and maybe with the additional restriction that they must ask the permission of The Senate to be allowed to speak to it from the floor.

Paragraph 5 of Section 3 provides for the creation and selection of other officers for The Senate, including The President pro tempore.  My biggest issue with how Section 5 is fulfilled is that The President pro tempore, the third person in line to the office of President of The United States, has become a meaningless ego job which is simply given to the oldest, most senile member of the majority party.  This Constitutional office needs to be held by the person elected by the whole Senate to be its Floor Leader.  Tell me, honestly, would you have wanted to see a 99 year-old Strom Thurmond succeeding to The Presidency?  What about an 84 year-old Ted Stevens?  Or a 92 year-old Robert Byrd?  The President pro tempore should be the Senator who is leading the legislative agenda on the floor of The Senate, not the one singing ‘I’m a Little Teapot‘ with the Spectre of Death.

 

(This article will be continued in Part III (b), which will continue discussing Article I of The Constitution.)

Rhys M.  Blavier
Romayor, Texas

 

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

 

© copyright 2009 by Rhys M.  Blavier
_________________________________________________________________

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

“Vortex” is Back”

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates on November 11, 2008 at 9:49 am

I would like to apologize for going on hiatus when my work was needed the most.  I have had a number of personal issues that required my time.  I also had the misfortune of having my computer break down at the most inopportune time.

The “Vortex of Freedom” Radio Show will be returning this Saturday at its new temporary time – 10:00PM Eastern.  I had an impromptu show last night on BlogTalk radio.

 

The 2008 Elections – Pardon Me While I Puke

I will give my insight to the 2008 elections and offer hard evidence into why America was duped once again by both parties and the corporate media.

Saturday 10PM Eastern  Call-in number: 347-215-7969

Scotty Boman, Michigan Libertarian for U.S. Senate puts out new video

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics on October 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm

H/T IPR

Are you ready to be the voice of liberty for the Libertarian Party?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics on October 1, 2008 at 1:10 pm

From an LPHQ email:

Are you ready to be the voice of liberty for the Libertarian Party?

If so, you just may have your chance.

The election is 36 days around the corner, and the LP is gearing up for our first radio ads of the season, and we’re looking for you, the loyal supporter, for ideas.

Please submit your best script, or your own commercial, to contest@lp.org. Entries are to be 25 seconds long, and we’ll put the “Approved By” in it.

For ideas, listen to the Barr campaign’s radio advertisement here.

The deadline for submission is Oct. 3, and the winner will be notified within a week of the contest’s close. The top advertisement will be used in radio ads across the country.

So, put on your “creative caps,” and let us truly hear the “message of liberty!”

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.

Tucker Carlson to announce last-minute LP presidential candidacy?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 23, 2008 at 1:58 am

A number of sites, including Reason Hit and Run, are reporting that delegates have received calls from a polling firm today, and the LP options they were offered included Tucker Carlson as a presidential candidate.

Is Tucker going to throw his hat in the ring for the LP presidential nomination?  If so, why did he wait until the convention to do so?

I have criticized Bob Barr for announcing a last-minute candidacy, and I cannot help but also wonder why Tucker would also wait until the last minute to announce, if in fact that is what he is doing.

Can he walk away with the LP presidential nomination?  Given the fighting between factions and Tucker’s name recognition, I think he could.

What do you think?

Bob Barr bringing in ringers to manipulate the convention vote

In Corruption, Fraud, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

An allegation was made recently, that Bob Barr was bringing in “ringers” to vote for him at the convention. It is true, as the below message proves.

Is it even legal in the LP, to bring in ringers like this? If so, it shouldn’t be, and it is a very good example of why the major parties choose delegates well in advance of the convention.

Either way, it shows just exactly how “principled” Bob Barr really is, that he would engage in such distasteful and fraudulent practices in a blatant attempt to manipulate the Libertarian Party, its delegates, and its convention.

While normally I would redact personal information before posting, in this case – given that fraud against the convention is involved – I have decided to leave it all intact.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the media buzz surrounding Bob Barr and his recent announcement to run for the Libertarian nomination. Everyone, including the media, has been talking about Barr and the Libertarian Party. According to Tobin Harshaw at the New York Times, “While Paul has been a thorn in McCain’s side ever since he became the presumptive nominee, Barr seems to be the threat the G.O.P. is taking more seriously for now.”

If you’re like me, you’re getting excited about the spotlight this has brought to our party, and you’re excited about what a Bob Barr nomination would mean for the Libertarian Party. But Bob Barr has one more hurdle to overcome first…the Libertarian Party’s nominating convention this coming weekend in Denver. Remember, at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention, the top three candidates polled within 12 votes of each other on the first ballot (Russo 258, Badnarik 256, Nolan 246).

Don’t let this happen to Bob Barr! Join the campaign and be a delegate for Bob Barr. For those of us without the means to get to Denver on our own, we’re organizing a charter bus trip that will take 55 Bob Barr supporters out to Denver for the vote, and then drive straight back after the vote. No hotel fees or convention “extras” needed!

Cost per person for the bus trip: $182

Tentative Bus schedule:

Leaving Columbus, OH 11am EDT on Saturday, stopping for pickups in Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City, arriving in Denver Sunday morning for the general session (and presidential vote).
after the voting is complete (probably around 5pm), eat dinner and load the bus for the trip home, returning to Columbus, OH late Monday evening.

If you’re interested in joining the Bob Barr team out in Denver, and you live within driving distance of Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis or Kansas City, please email me TODAY at maguire_tj@hotmail.com. Remember, the vote is this coming Sunday, so your response is needed immediately.


Timothy J. Maguire
9166 Cinnebar Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46268
317-372-6436

George Phillies: An Open Letter to Libertarian Activists

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

Fellow Libertarians!

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

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

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

Staying together is the problem, and

Libertarian centrism is the answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please make me our nominee.

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

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

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

Candidate Endorsement: Susan Hogarth for LNC

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

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

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

Her goals, from her website, are as follows:

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

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

Help form coalitions among various freedom-oriented individuals and groups

Constantly reduce the size and scope of government when elected

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

Better develop myself as a critical thinker and clear speaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susan Hogarth: An Open Letter To Bob Barr

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

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

An Open Letter to Bob Barr: Some Questions

By Susan Hogarth

Mr. Barr,

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

I’ve separated my questions into categories.

Support for the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message:

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

Questions about some of your antilibertarian votes in congress:

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

Explanation for some of your current seemingly antilibertarian positions:

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

___________________________

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

Bob Barr proves he’s a Republican. Again.

In Congress, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on May 17, 2008 at 4:37 pm

On the Keith Larson Show on WBT in Charlotte, NC (Tuesday, May 13, 2008), Bob Barr explained why Republicans should vote for him.

… so in a sense, the Republicans ought to embrace my effort, because we’re going to be pulling people out to vote who otherwise wouldn’t be voting and some of them might vote for Republican candidates on the down-ballot.

The entire interview can be found on iTunes in Keith Larson’s collection. It is in the 10 am segment, and the interview (about ten minutes long) is right after the 10 am news break.

Here is the audio link, for those who wish to hear the statement for themselves.

Barr does not mention supporting Libertarian candidates, and of course that is because he actively supports pro-war, pro-torture, pro-wiretapping Republican candidates, even while sitting on the Libertarian National Committee.

Barr clearly has no interest in promoting the Libertarian Party; it is just a vehicle for him. His true interest lies solely in repairing his own damaged reputation as a “conservative values” Republican, after he was thoroughly humiliated when seamy details of his personal life were revealed following the Clinton impeachment.

You can read more about Bob Barr’s strange Libertarian candidacy at the following LFV links.

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

Bob Barr’s “emotional distress”

Jim Casarjian-Perry: Bob Barr hits home

Bob Barr: An Enemy of Libertarians

How will Bob Barr spend your money?

What positions does Bob Barr support?

________________________________

Source: Susan Hogarth blog

Outright Libertarians statement on Barr candidacy

In Candidate Endorsement, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 14, 2008 at 9:21 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Outright Libertarians Executive Committee Comments on Bob Barr’s Declaration of Candidacy for the Libertarian Nomination

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, SEATTLE, KNOXVILLE, PHILADELPHIA and ATLANTAThis Monday, former Congressman (and recent LNC committee member) Bob Barr announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Nomination for President of the United States.

Many of you are wondering where Outright Libertarians stands on this recent development, and the short answer is this: our position has not changed.

We continue to strongly support Dr. George Phillies as our endorsed candidate. Dr. Phillies has shown the courage, character and commitment that Outright’s membership seeks in a presidential nominee. A longtime Libertarian activist and longtime supporter of equality under the law for all people (including LGBT Americans), Dr. Phillies has established an enviable record of achievement in the fight for liberty.

His platform includes uncompromising support for the rights of LGBT Americans in military service, marriage, immigration, adoption, and tax treatment. He has been an implacable foe of the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s anti-gay recruitment policy since their inception. Most importantly, he has led important initiatives to fight for us everyday, while bringing the message of the Libertarian Party to LGBT people. We can think of no finer candidate, and are proud to reinforce our support for Dr. Phillies’ candidacy.

Regarding Mr. Barr, we find that though he has shown some welcome evolution on the issues, he has a record that remains notably different from the other Libertarians in the race. Mr. Barr has not completed Outright’s Candidate Survey, but is “on the record” regarding two issues key within the LGBT Libertarian community and the broader LGBT electoral base.

First, while we applaud the former Congressman’s repudiation of the anti-gay military policy that he drafted for the Wall Street Journal, and the evolution that this represents for Mr. Barr, his opinion on this issue simply moved into the Libertarian mainstream — rather than pushing the debate forward. Every Libertarian candidate who has answered our survey — plus Dr. Mary Ruwart (who has not yet answered our survey but is “on the record” on this issue) — shares that view.

On the Defense of Marriage Act — an odious law that Bob Barr co-sponsored as a Congressman — his evolution has been far slower. We have discussed the law with him a number of times, and recently he has telegraphed support for repealing the half of the law that creates a federal definition of marriage. However, he has not consistently campaigned on this point, and seems reluctant to speak of it. (An example of this reluctance may be heard at approximately 16:30 in this linked Atlanta radio interview with Mr. Barr:  http://media.podcastingmanager.com/81570-71406/Media/CFL-20080420-S3-S4.mp3 )

In contrast, Democratic nomination candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has adopted a similar position, yet appears more willing to campaign upon it. Barack Obama has declared that he would repeal the law altogether.

Every Libertarian candidate who has completed our survey, as well as Dr. Ruwart, goes a major step further by calling for repeal of the law.

We believe that the difference between the Democratic and the Libertarian commitments on this issue is that while the two Democrats talk about doing something (despite a multi-year do-nothing record as Senators), Libertarians will fight from day one for us. We are not yet convinced that Mr. Barr would fight vigorously to promote his reluctantly-expressed position, a problem given that his position is the most statist of the serious Libertarian candidates in this race.

We welcome Bob Barr’s engagement with the Libertarian Party, and are always delighted to welcome new Libertarians into the movement. We look forward to continuing to work with him as an LNC member or in any other role he takes within our Party. However, we must hold our presidential candidates to the highest possible standards, for the benefit of both our Party and LGBT Americans. In this regard, we believe that Bob Barr has quite a bit of work to do in order to enter the mainstream on LGBT issues in comparison to the other declared Libertarian candidates in this race. Just as many of us did when we first joined the LP, he needs to “steep in the brine of Liberty” for a while longer before running for nomination as our Party’s standard-bearer.

Further, we note that regardless of who is nominated, the Libertarian Party will perform an invaluable service to the queer community in this election cycle — even if the delegates ignore Outright’s endorsement of George Phillies and instead choose Bob Barr as the Libertarian Party’s nominee, the silver lining for the LGBT community will be that a Barr candidacy will almost certainly spoil any possible victory by John McCain.

In summary, recent news has only reinforced our commitment to Dr. George Phillies, and we encourage Outright members and supporters — as well as all Libertarian Party convention delegates — to support his candidacy in Denver with their votes, their ideas, and every other resource at their disposal.

About Outright: Outright Libertarians is the largest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Libertarian Party supporters. With hundreds of members across the United States, it is the intellectual and policy hub of the LGBT libertarian movement, serving as the voice for LGBT Americans within the Libertarian Party as well as a voice for Libertarian candidates in the LGBT community. Its web site is http://www.outrightusa.org.

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.

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.

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