Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘libertarianism’

A Modest Libertarian Proposal: For Secessionists, Separatists, Radical Anarchists, Anti-Government Absolutists, Conservative Neo-Republicans, Randian Objectivists, Tea-Baggers, “Me, First & Last” Social Darwinists, and Conspiracy Theorists

In Corruption, Democracy, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, literature, Personal Responsibility, Politics on November 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I did a LOT of driving this last week-end, a LOT. This gave me a great deal of time to think and process recent experiences. One conclusion that I did arrive at is that if a group of people gather together for a common cause (other than masturbation) and then spend their day in a mutual masturbation circle jerk, they will have accomplished nothing.

On Saturday, I went to a libertarian gathering which seemed to be more about libertarians telling themselves how successful they have been at furthering their cause even if they haven’t been able to actually get anyone elected to a significant office. There were no strategies or concrete ideas for getting anyone elected or for spreading the libertarian idea to a wider audience. While I met some good people, I found that the main value for me to have made the trip was in observing and listening to the others there. What I did not hear were any words which spoke of libertarianism as being about anything except “me”. One speaker even lived up to the cliché view of what current libertarians are when she spoke about reading Ayn Rand and realizing that caring about others or helping to make the world a better place has no value.

On Sunday, I drove to my old home town to help some friends do some work on a house. This house has been a special place for a long time. In 1972, a group of college friends found a place to live in off-campus. During the 70s, it was pretty much a commune for the local science fiction group. For probably 15 years it was home to a rotating group but the house was always there for us. For most of the last 20 years, it has been the permanent home to a few of the gang but the house has remained a constant in the lives of many. I moved away and moved on with my life but 17 years later I came back and the group still gathered at the house on regular annual times. I have never lived there or even spent a night there but, when the message went out that there would be a work day on the house, I was there. I gained nothing, at least in objectivist terms, by helping out but it was a small gesture of thanks for what the house and the people who have lived there have meant to me.

The stark contrast between how the two days were spent was startling. A second conclusion I arrived at is that I think that there is more to be gained by working together to build a better world around us than there is from seeing the world as a place where it is ok for the strong to prey on the weak. The week-end reinforced what libertarianism meant to me when I was first attracted to the movement.

Thirty years ago, I had the profound honor of hearing a man named Ed Clark speak at Texas A&M University, courtesy of the Memorial Student Center’s Political Forum committee. Rudder Theater was full that night. There were many there who were, like me at age 20, preparing to vote in our first Presidential election (and for me, my first government election as I briefly lived in the United Kingdom in 1978 – 79). This man was the candidate for a new political party, and was that Party’s first candidate to be on the ballot in all 50 states. The Libertarian movement and idea was getting some national attention because of how “radical” and fresh it was. They had a vision of a limited government which would combine the best facets of conservative fiscal policies with progressive social policies. In a radio interview, Clark described libertarianism as “low-tax liberalism”. Hearing him speak in person was a remarkable experience for me. Not only were his ideas progressive and forward-thinking, they were inclusive and logical.

To this day, I still call myself an Ed Clark libertarian. Unfortunately, the Party pushed Ed Clark and his liberal / moderate wing out during their 1984 convention. If you ask people today what a libertarian is, most of what you will hear are descriptions of a radical, conservative, neo-Republican lunatic fringe group. In 1980, it looked like the Libertarian Party might, one day, have a legitimate influence on American government. Coming up on 2010, it looks like we have crawled beyond the fringe to create our own unique brand of American political lunacy, on a par with the Anti-Masonic “Know Nothing” Party of the 1800s. With this in mind, I want to make a modest proposal to all of those who hate government, despise paying any taxes, want to “be off of the grid” and want to be left completely alone by every government.

We will GIVE you a 5,000 square-mile plot of land in Alaska. Not enough? How about 10,000 square miles? We will set aside that land and will legally declare it to be independent of the United States of America or of any other nation of the world. It will be free land on which you can settle and create your own society with a complete absence of government. You will not be subject to any law or be a part of America in any way… no taxes, no military service, and no government interference of any kind. We will also shoulder the costs to relocate anyone who wants to leave the United States to participate in this experiment. This will be a one-way, one-time ticket. We will take all of you to the border of your new homeland and let you enter it freely and of you own volition. Further, we will assume all of your debts, (up to, say, $25,000). If your debts are greater than that, so what? You will be moving to a place where you will be free from debt collectors. What will your credit score matter up there? We will arrange for the sale of your American property, both to free you from the burden and to help pay for the costs which The United States will incur on your behalf so that you will not be beholden to any other person or nation. In short, we will do everything necessary to help you sever all ties between you and the United States. We will give you what you are asking for in its entirety. You can be completely free from any and all government control or responsibility. By doing this for you, however, there would be a lot of changes that you would need to be aware of.

Remember, infrastructure is created by governments. There will no roads, electricity, water, sanitation, waste removal, hospitals, medical care, medicines, schools, postal service, police or fire departments, judiciary, defense, phones, internet or any other public “improvements” other than what you will be able to create for yourselves. In your new haven, there will be no government, no law, no order, and no society which you do not create for yourself.

We understand that you don’t like anything that is “tainted” by being provided to the general public, and / or bought or created through the use of “Federal Reserve Notes” (and yes, this week-end I heard someone talking about their new business and saying that they would not accept “Federal Reserve Notes”). So you will not be allowed to take any United States currency with you because you will not, of course, need it. You will not be allowed to incur any additional debt through credit so, in preparation for your move, you will be limited to dealing on a cash only basis. If you want to convert it all to gold or silver or gumdrops, you can, but remember, you will have to carry everything you will take in with you. I assume your economy would be based on the barter system. I will be curious, though, about what you will be able to barter with to get AT&T to provide you with communications capabilities, as one example.

Your American citizenship will be permanently revoked, as will those of any of your families, dependents, and friends who join you. As such, you can never again vote in any American election. You can never again enter the United States without proper documentation and / or visas. If you try, you will be subject to being arrested and deported back to your homeland, the same as any other illegal alien, you know, like Mexicans. You will never again receive any government payments, benefits, healthcare (federal or military) or assistance which would “force” you to possess any documentation, utilize our immoral currency or rely in any way on the government which you hate so much. This means that you will never receive any social security payments, Medicare, retirement funds, insurance payments, not even the annual payout made to citizens of Alaska because, of course, you will be citizens of your own non-nation. Oh, and about that land, you will each be able to possess as much of it as you can take and hold onto. You will have the absolute freedom to make your land your own BUT you will not, of course, be given any actual legal title to the land because to give you such title would require a legal and judicial system… and you wouldn’t want that either, would you, because they are also creations of government.

While I suppose that we could allow you to take in a suitcase of your own clothes (whatever you can carry), to fully honor your John Galt desires, we would not allow you to take any tools or other products created by our industrial mass production system. You see, we would want to respect your wishes to not allowing you to be burdened with anything so ignoble as having been purchased with “Federal Reserve Notes”. Maybe we could provide some of you with forges but how you would carry them into your new nation without tools or carts made by tools that you have made for yourself, I don’t know. Even if I had the answer to that, though, you wouldn’t want to know it because you want be pure, untainted and left entirely to your own devices. Each of you, after all, is John Galt.

Of course, you would be completely landlocked by the United States but that, again, would only be out of respect for your demands for complete independence and your wishes to have no “foreign entanglements”. We would thus ensure that you would be free of the temptation and taint of dealing with other nations or, even worse, with the United Nations. No, you will be completely and entirely free. You will be given your own country and cut off from any influence, hindrance, or assistance from anyone outside of your own borders. Imagine if “Escape from New York” was about turning Manhattan into a self-contained country instead of a prison… but without all of the inconvenient reminders of civilization and development like buildings and roads.

We will give you all of it. All you would have to do is give up everything else… oh, and allow those of us who do not believe as you do, those of us who do not share your vision of an anarchist “Heaven on Earth”, free to carry on our ridiculous desire to actually improve the society that we are part of. You will all agree to leave us alone in this immoral world which we believe can be improved. We leave you alone and you leave us alone… for ever (or until you all die off). Do we have a deal?

Now, for those of us who are left when the dust of the mass migration settles, let’s work together to figure out how to make the government we do have better. Let us create a fair and equitable tax system. Let us work on the problem of creating a society which benefits all of the people. Remember, political and philosophical extremes create unworkable absolutes. Some of us believe that the only way to make the system better is by working within it. We can have less government, lower taxes, and a beneficial society. All we have to do is be willing to work for it.

I, for one, will not abandon my fellow Man. My desire for a limited government does not mean that I reject the idea and value of government altogether. I believe in government and I believe that it can be improved, that it can be designed to function effectively. Remember, we get the government that we deserve. In a free society government is the creation and responsibility of a free people. If our government does not work properly, it is our fault for not caring enough to figure out how to make it better. It is also our responsibility to make government work for the people it serves, not be served by the people who work under its system. I am willing to stay here and do what I am capable of doing to make it better for EVERYONE… even those who don’t believe as I do. How many of you out there will help me? Can we work together to create a practical, rational and realistic idea of libertarianism and, from there, a practical, rational and realistic idea of libertarian anarchy which can be “sold” to those outside of our movements? I think that we can and I, for one, am ready to start trying.

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

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

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

HOW SERIOUS IS THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY ABOUT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY?

In Congress, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Local Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on November 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

When I was 20 years old and preparing to vote in my first Presidential election, a man came to speak on the campus of Texas A&M University about his new party and his campaign for the Presidency. That man was Ed Clark, the first Libertarian candidate on the ballots of all 50 states. He spoke of a vision of government which combined fiscal responsibility with social humanism. Ed Clark made such an impact on my personal view of politics that now, 30 years later, I still call myself an Ed Clark Libertarian. Unfortunately, since then I have watched the Libertarian Party move to the far-right with no coherent message to the point where, instead of creating a viable third party in American politics, it has become seen a ‘lunatic fringe’ of the extreme far-right, religious conservative wing of the Republican Party, a neo-Republican Party, if you will. After 30 years, it has still never made a serious impact on American politics at either the national or even the state level. The fault is our own but, I personally believe that could be realistically changed… starting with the 2010 elections.

Right now, politics in America might be more volatile than it has been at any point in its history since 1860. The Republican Party faces the real possibility of splintering into two or more parties; divided by their extreme far-right Christian conservatives who view politics as a religious struggle with them battling for the glory of heaven by exerting “his will’ on Earth. Because this faction is fighting what they see as a battle for the next world, they see those who “oppose” them as inherently evil. They cannot compromise in what they see as a very real battle between “good” and “evil”. As such, they can be counted on to focus their efforts on stopping the “advance” of “ungodly” issues in America. They will even turn on their own, on other Republicans, who they see as weak in the face of their enemy… and make no mistake, they see those who do not agree with them as true enemies.

This internal conflict within the Republican Party, however, offers the Libertarian Party a very real chance to become a viable alternative party for the American voters. To do that, however, requires us to change ourselves into a viable party. Over the course of the last 30 years, the Libertarian party has moved backwards instead of forward. What was once seen as party with an interesting view of what government could be has become a perceived lunatic fringe of right-wing tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists. We, ourselves, have marginalized our Party in American politics. We have no one to blame for our lack of achievement other than ourselves. As such, only we can change the perceptions of us by the American voters. To do that, we need to develop a strategic plan for 2010 and the following decade. We cannot possible devise winning tactics if we do not have an overall strategy for ourselves. We also need to give the American voters confidence that if they do elect any of us that we can participate and function in a real world government.

So, what are some things that the Libertarians need to do or change to become a viable third party in America? One is that we need to move beyond having a general philosophy about what government should be and become a political movement with an actual vision of what government can be AND an actual plan for how that can be accomplished. The question isn’t why SHOULD voters support us, it is what keeps them FROM supporting us. Remember, no voter owes a candidate or a party their vote; it is up to a candidate or party to earn their votes.

Another is that we need to stop running candidates for Executive offices until we can support those candidates by holding enough Legislative seats to help them. Politics, like life, is a gamble. Not only should you never make a bet you are unable or unwilling to lose, you should never make a bet you are unwilling or unable to win. Realistically, if ANY third party or independent candidate were to win the Presidency or a Governorship without having any Legislative support, their administration would be a complete failure. In addition, that failure would become generalized as an argument against ever again voting for candidates who are not party of one of the governing parties. It would actually damage us rather than help us.

Yet another is that we have to stop spreading our very limited resources so thin that we accomplish nothing. Imagine that we are farmers trying to grow a crop, like roses. Roses require a LOT of water in order to grow and become something that can be sold. What we have is a very limited amount of water. It would be better to focus on a few plants instead of trying to raise all of the plants by spreading our water so thinly that NO plants have enough to grow. Now, let’s ask ourselves “What is the quality of the roses that we raise?” In order to increase the resources we can use to raise more roses in future years, we need to be able to sell a few today. We need to develop a “long game” strategy for the future.

On the national level, we need to be focusing on a realistic few races for Legislative office, and we need to start doing so immediately. It would also be better to win seats in state legislatures this year than it would be to win Congressional seats in 2012. Why? In one word, the answer is ‘redistricting’. Most states with more than one member of the US House of Representatives seem to have mostly gerrymandered safe districts, which makes it almost impossible for candidates who are not from the two main parties to win. We need to have legislators at the state level that can fight for non-partisan maps with NO safe districts. This is a very real way to tell the voters that their legislators work for THEM. I advocate a map which starts in each corner of a state and only looks at numbers of voters to create compact, regularly shaped districts without regard to race, creed, color or party. This would create districts that cannot be seen or used to promote ANY specific person or party. The reasons for this should be obvious. Not only will it help us in the future by giving third-party candidates a fair chance to win, it will also allow us to demonstrate that our primary interest is in giving power back to the voters.

We also need to understand that it is not necessary to win a majority, or even a plurality of seats to make a difference. Let’s look at Texas, as an example. Texas is in political turmoil right now. It functions on inertia… there is a government because there has been a government and it operates because it has operated. It is too big of a juggernaut to stop and it is simply rolling over everything in its path. The Texas Republican Party is eating itself right now. Our sitting Governor, Rick Perry, will have to fight against one of our two Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison, just to win his own party’s nomination. This is not only internally destructive, when you understand how Texas operates; it is absurd because, constitutionally, Texas has a weak Governor system. The two most powerful offices in Texas government are the Lt. Governor, who presides over the Texas Senate, and the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. So, Texas has a strong legislature to really run the state, but that legislature only meets every other year and for a very limited number of days. In addition, the 2009 legislature threw out the sitting Speaker and chose a new one in a tough internal battle. At the state Senate level, our Lt. Governor is likely to try to get Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in the US Senate. Texas is in political crises and, as the White House Chief of Staff so famously said, never let a crisis go to waste.

Right now, the 150-member House is almost evenly divided between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Texas Democratic Party right now is going to make a serious effort in the 2010 elections. They are actively recruiting candidates and have already held week-end long ‘mini-camps’ to educate potential candidates AND campaign staffs on how to campaign, how to fundraise, what the legal requirements are, fill out the forms, etc. These camps also allow potential candidates and the state party staff to get to know each other. They only need a few seats to wrest back control of the state House and they are determined to accomplish that. In a situation like what is facing Texas in the 2010 elections, if we could elect just 5 members of the state House, neither party would be likely have a majority. If we could elect just 2 members to the state Senate out of the 31 seats (half of which are up for election in 2010), we would have almost 7% in that body. If we could accomplish those two challenges, we would have a say in what happens in Texas AND the chance to work for a politically neutral district map.

The LP needs to be PRO-active about the 2010 election. If we wait until the state conventions in July 2010 we shouldn’t even bother. We need to get out AHEAD of the political season and start the discussions ourselves so that they will take place on our terms. We need to lead the discussions rather than respond to them. We need to have state and national party leader who are actively speaking around the state and promoting what our party offers that is different than what the other parties offer. All of our focus needs to be on the state legislatures this election. To make a difference, we have to be able to say WHAT we will do, and then DO what we say. It isn’t enough to be against what the other parties do, we have to offer a vision of what we CAN do. We need to find 5 – 10 House candidates and 1 – 5 state Senate candidates in 3 – 5 states to put our national efforts behind. It isn’t enough for these people to become known in their own districts… all of them must become known statewide. The people need to have speaking engagements across the state now, and they need to be speaking to full houses, not nearly empty rooms. They need to be where people are. This will not only help recruit new members and other potential candidates, it will get these people in the news where they can be seen by the voters in their districts as BEING recognized throughout the state.

We need to formulate strong, serious and realistic plans and timelines for what will be done between now and the election. We cannot keep operating on the serendipitous hope that voters will choose us because, gosh, we aren’t the other guys. We need to find a few key issues that the state candidates will uniformly speak to. Beyond that, we need to find candidates who cover different interest areas, different experiences and bring different skill sets to the table. We need to offer our disparate candidates as a real slate, working together. Even if we do this, however, we still must operate with the recognition that we can NOT win more than a handful of seats, at best. That is ok, though, because it GIVES us a message and a strategy.

Our candidates must offer very real differences between our party and the status quo. Remember, we are fighting inertia here. Without an extreme effort to shift that inertia, voters will continue to do as they always have. We need to also remember, we that cannot beat the Republicans by being Republicans. Right now, we have more in common with the Democratic Party than we do with the Republicans. We need to find common areas upon which to build cooperation. We have to make the voters see benefits to bringing us to the table. I think that in districts that are represented by good men and women of the Democratic Party, we should consider not running candidates against them and, instead, do what we can to help them. For the bulk of the legislatures, we just want to be allowed in… which will NOT happen with Republican wins and/or majorities. WE need to be seen as a unified and MAINSTREAM team that is working to make a better government than what we currently have. We need to also be seen as the team that can bring the other loose members of the political community (greens, independents, etc.) to the table where, through us, they can be part of the process. If we do that, for example, then we can garner statewide support (particularly financial support), and possibly nation support for simple district elections.

Libertarianism must end its stunted childhood. To become meaningful, we must move it beyond a simply philosophy into a practical vision for realistic government. As we move forward, we must ask AND ANSWER some difficult questions, including:

  • There WILL be government, so how can we improve it?
  • There WILL be taxes, so how can we make them beneficial rather than draconian?
  • A movement can NOT succeed simply by being against things, so what are we FOR?
  • What IS the role of government?
  • What IS the purpose of laws?
  • FOR whom do we speak?
  • TO whom do we speak?
  • How do we become perceived as BEING inclusive and NOT exclusive?

Ronald Reagan famously stated that “Government is not the solution to our problems; it IS the problem.” When he said that, he identified government as something that CANNOT be seen in any kind of a positive way. The idea that we need to promote is: “Government is not the solution to our problems; it is the problem, WHICH WE MUST LEARN TO SOLVE.” That change turns it from being a negative declarative statement into a positive challenge which we can all be unified behind as we work to build something better for the future. Our challenge, as a party, is to figure out how to make the government change so that we will have one that serves the people rather than one which terrifies them.

Sincerely,

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

P.S. – I asked my step-father, a center-right Republican, to look over my first draft of this. He gave me this comment from his perspective:

As an outsider to the Libertarian party, I would be more likely to vote Libertarian if the candidates did not look like mass murderers. The male candidates that I remember had long necks with Adam’s apples that looked like basketballs. The women were over 300 pounds with greasy, stringy hair. They had jobs like gooseberry farmers or manger of a gecko rescue center. What I’m trying to say is that they looked like some kind of fringe people and had no background for the positions for which they were running. Granted, there are some in Congress that makes me wonder what the people who elected them look like.

P.P.S. — Since I originally wrote this, on a recent Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert demonstrated his mastery of satire as a way to point out how ridiculous things in this world or or my seem to be. In one of his stories this week, he was talking about candidates and the third one he named (the spot of shame in comedy) was “… and the Libertarian Party’s last Presidential nominee… Drinky Bird” while behind him flashed a picture of a classic Drinky Bird in a top hat toy and the caption “Drinky Bird ’08”

My Keynote Address Speech to the BTP Convention Attendees

In Libertarian, Politics on October 25, 2008 at 12:21 am

This is my keynote address speech (in text form) to the attendees at the Boston Tea National Convention online tonight. This speech, which was updated periodically just to correct any grammatical and spelling errors and missing words, was posted eight minutes prior to the start of the convention.

I hope everyone enjoys what I wrote. Here it is:

I have a few thoughts on tonight’s convention as well as my endorsements that I’d like to share with everyone, and I think this is the best time to do it.

I hope everyone has fun at this convention, because it’s going to be an exciting event online. But, more importantly, it’s going to shape the future of the Party as we all know it, and we must do what is best for the BTP with caution.

Why caution? Because I think, after the recent events that unfolded in the Party, we are now more vulnerable than ever. But, in the days after the unfortunate sequence of events that transpired on this site and on the BTP Yahoo groups, I feel that the Party is going to turn around, and I feel the unity by the membership is stronger than it has ever been.

As the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!” I know it’s cliched to say this, but it speaks truth to power. And stronger we shall be in the days, weeks, and months to come!!

As the former Boston Tea Party vice chairman and the former Bylaws Committee chairman, I think our goals are well developed and the bylaws proposals we have presented are great. Even if any one of them doesn’t pass (and I hope they all do), still it shows that we have strong membership at our finger tips.

Imagine where the BTP was months ago soon after the calamitous Denver convention: membership was over 30, we didn’t have any state affiliates, our presidential ticket wasn’t on ballot in one state, and we have several states where he’s now on the ballot. In states where he’s not on the ballot, there are only a few write-in registrations, but look how far we’ve come.

The reason that we are gathering tonight is because we are so passionate about liberty, the spirit of liberty is stronger than ever. I certainly believe this. I hope you do too.

But, more importantly, I hope everyone treats each other better tonight, tomorrow, and beyond. As the late Joseph P. Abell, whom I used to call “Papa Joe” and who, as my drama and English instructor and yearbook advisor as well as my drama club director and old friend, used to say, “If you can’t boost, don’t knock. If you can’t support, why are you here?” I’ve lived by them then, I live by them now, and I’ll live by them for the rest of my life. He presented those words to me and to my graduating class in our senior year in spring of ’93. How proud he would be of me today if he were to know how far I’ve come.

I’m proud of you guys today because of how far we’ve come. And you should be proud. You’ve worked for it. You’ve worked really hard for it. Be the best that you can be, in this Party and for liberty. Make the most of it for the rest of your life. It’s worth it. Make every moment count, because you’ll never have it again.

Tonight’s convention will be exciting. Why? Because we get to choose the direction of the Party. When Tom, with me at his side in 2006, decided to create and build this wonderful party, I couldn’t turn him away. I HAD to help him. The LP betrayed me. But I know, for many of you, it betrayed you. It has betrayed its values, its beliefs, and its ideas. It is now living a lie.

We’ve accomplished far more than the LP has ever had in its 30-plus year history. And we should be proud of it. And yet there’s more to do. We must do more for liberty. The battle for the heart and soul of human liberty in this country is not over. As another old saying goes, “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”

And that fat lady won’t be singing anytime soon. We must fight for liberty. We must fight it ideologically, politically, intellectually, morally, ethically, financially, and consistently. We cannot turn to the Dark Side that the LP has. We must be more vigilant, now more than ever.

My endorsements for the candidates tonight are:

Chair: Jason Gatties

Vice Chair: Doug Gaking

Secretary: Michelle Luetge

At Large: Steve Newton, Neil Kiernan Stephenson, Steve Trinward, and Tom Knapp

Those are good, brave souls with passionate ideas. We must unite behind them now. Please, I beg you to do this. This is our last chance for survival.

Do it for our children. Do it for our country. But, more importantly, do it for our liberty.

Thank you, God and Goddess Bless Us, and God and Goddess Bless America and the world. Our survival depends upon it.

Yours in Liberty,

Todd Andrew Barnett
Former Vice Chair, Boston Tea National Committee
Proud BTP Member and Wiccan

I hope everyone likes it. It made me smile the entire time I re-read it.

New anti-Fed rap song

In Libertarian on August 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Unsigned rap artist Tahir Jahi recently added an anti-Fed song, “Man Make Da Money,” to his MySpace page.

Verse 1
If you don’t know where this nation is headed
our nation is controlled by a system of credit
Woodrow Wilson is the one you can thank
birthed the federal reserve a privately owned bank
took cash and signed that like he never knew
gave control of the states to a chosen few
each dollar bill includes interest from lender
got rid of gold, paper is legal tender

Verse 3
The Fed produces currency for the nation
they control the money, interest rates, and inflation
What I can give in this song is just a fraction
banks owed the gov since the days of Andrew Jackson
make it rain on that stage, claiming you are paid
but you owe interest on those dollars that was made
no Constution, will use our little clause
control the nation’s money who cares about its laws

Tahir Jahi is the fiance of Donyell Jones, a 2006 finalist on So You Think You Can Dance, the most pro-individualist show on network TV.

Although Tahir is clearly more influenced by the Aaron Russo “conspiracy” wing of the anti-Fed movement, his stance reveals the under-the-surface anti-statism, pro-individualism, and pro-capitalist entrepreneurialism of hip hop that is often obfuscated as far Left figures co-opt the “movement” and libertarians do nothing to reach out.

Below is interview footage of Prodigy of the legendary Mobb Deep, in which the interviewer tries to steer him into saying something positive about Obama, but Prodigy insists that Ron Paul is his candidate.

One of Mobb Deep’s album covers prominently featured the dollar bill’s “Illuminati pyramid.”

Also: Prodigy is currently confined in a government animal cage for the “crime” of “unlawful gun possession.” Since it was his “third strike,” he faced 15 years, but plea-bargained to serve 3.5. Conveniently, this has silenced him and his questions about 9/11.

LPKY repudiates Landham again

In Activism, Celebrities, Crazy Claims, Iran, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Middle East, Minorities, People in the news, Police State, Politics, Protest, Terrorism, War on August 5, 2008 at 2:36 am

PolitickerKY reports that Sonny Landham, the controversial Kentucky candidate who advocates economic nationalization, culture wars, and the use of a tax-funded military to conduct a war of genocide so that the US can appropriate other people’s oil, has been repudiated by the LP a second time. It appears that Sonny Landham will not be on the ballot at all this year.

For anyone who is not familiar with this story, Independent Political Report previously covered it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Many of the same Landham stories, and a few others, received additional comments at Last Free Voice:

Worst candidate actually on the ballot this year?

Todd Andrew Barnett condemns LP Senate candidate Sonny Landham for anti-Arab remarks

Letters from LFV mailbag: Gene Trosper on Sonny Landham

Lance Brown launches petition re Sonny Landham’s racist remarks

LPKY: Landham “not on the ballot yet, and we control ballot access”

Press Release: Todd Andrew Barnett condemns Sonny Landham for genocide statements, praises Libertarians Against Landham petition

Libertarians drop Sonny Landham

Sonny Landham: the floater that just won’t stay flushed

LPKY withdraws support from Landham

Landham: back on the LP ballot line?

The PolitickerKY story:

An effort to re-nominate former actor Sonny Landham as the Libertarian Party of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidate was rejected by a vote of the party’s executive committee, chairman Ken Moellman told PolitickerKY.com today.

“The motion to put Sonny back on failed,” said Moellman. “At this point, it appears he will not be our candidate.”

After a month as the prospective Libertarian candidate, Landham was stripped of the party’s support after he made a string of anti-Arab comments topped by what could be interpretted as advocacy for a potential Arab genocide.

The Party’s executive committee initially voted unanimously to withdraw Landham’s nomination on July 28, after earlier launching a petitioning campaign to gain ballot access for both Landham and Libertarian presidential nominee and former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, of Georgia. That campaign gained 7,700 signatures, according to Moellman, which is more than required for ballot access.

After losing the nomination, Landham said he would continue as an independent candidate, but it became clear he would have to collect 5,000 “original” petition signatures for ballot access – a task deemed “impossible” by Moellman, given the limited time window.

The vote to re-nominate Landham as a Libertarian came about because Moellman said it was not the party’s goal to kick Landham off the ballot entirely when removing their nomination.

“There are other factors involved here. It’s more for the third party and independent movement in general,” said Moellman during an appearance last week on the Weekly Filibuster radio program. “While that is not directly related to the LP, we have some concerns in that regard.”

Still, the Party’s executive committee ultimately did not embrace those factors, rejecting the efforts to renew Landham’s ballot slot.

Moellman said the second vote came after the party received comments about Landham’s candidacy from across the country after his controversial remarks about Arabs. A “majority” of the feedback was received from outside of the state, and Moellman said “100 percent” of that communication was opposed to Landham.

From within the state, Moellman indicated responses were “pretty minimal,” noting 60 percent of them were against Landham’s continued candidacy as a Libertarian, with 40 percent supporting Landham. Moellman noted that those Kentuckians contacting the party were largely not Libertarian Party members.

With petitions for ballot access due in to the Secretary of State’s office by August 12, the Libertarians are armed with signatures but no Senate candidate.

Moellman said the party was investigating their legal options and the possibility of replacing Landham, though early indications from the Secretary of State’s office were that the signatures could not be applied to another candidate.

Landham did not return requests for comment.

Bob Barr recants position on Wiccans in the military

In Big Brother, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Military, Minorities, Nanny State, Politics on July 30, 2008 at 1:41 am

From Nate Uncensored (excerpt):

Apparently someone did get around to asking Bob Barr some substantive questions when he made an appearance at Netroots Nation. Ed Brayton (Dispatches from the Culture Wars) asked Barr if he would now, as Libertarian candidate, repudiate his 1999 attempt to prohibit the practice of Wicca, a neo-Pagan religion, on military bases. Barr said that he has changed his mind, citing “reports” that the practice of Wicca was causing problems that are apparently not an issue now. Brayton writes:

I did ask him for any specific problems that were reported to him back in 1999 by these military leaders, but he said he didn’t want to get into specifics. I’m sure that’s because there are no specific incidents and those military leaders who complained to him did so out of bigotry, or because the problems it caused were really caused by bigotry against Wiccans. He likened it to his stance on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for gays, which he previously supported but now that it’s clear that allowing gays to serve doesn’t really cause any problems with unit cohesion and good order, he thinks it should be repealed and they should be allowed to serve openly.

The S-Word

In Libertarian, Socialism on July 21, 2008 at 7:16 am

In Kansas City last week, John McCain said Barack Obama had the “most extreme” Senate voting record, I guess referring to National Journal’s annual rating of voting records during the previous year, which found Obama the most liberal senator based on 99 key votes. (Of course, since someone — Sen. Jim DeMint — was also ranked most conservative, it could be argued both Obama and DeMint registered as equally “extreme”.) After the event, McCain was asked if he thought Obama was an extremist. He replied, “His voting record…is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont.” Pressed on whether he thinks Obama is a socialist, McCain replied, “I don’t know. All I know is his voting record, and that’s what people usually judge their elected representatives by.” The Obama camp took this as an insult, issuing a statement saying in part that McCain was issuing “the same old tired political attacks that the American people are sick of.”

But what’s wrong with calling someone a socialist? It is not — or at least should not be — a dirty word. The “same old tired” politics is really the castigation of entire groups because of reasonable but minority philosophical stances. Liberals were so cowed by attacks on their proud tradition that they rebranded themselves “progressives”. Before 1978 or so, “conservative” was deemed a slander.

During an appearance on The Colbert Report earlier this year, George Will summed up the philosophical divide in American politics quite elegantly: “Conservatives tend to favor freedom and are willing to accept inequalities of outcome from the free market, liberals are for equality of outcome and are willing to sacrifice and circumscribe freedom in order to get it.” While Will defended his stance as a proponent of the conservative view, he did not trash-talk the liberal view. His simple summary makes great sense. If one believes freedom to be paramount, inequality is a necessary side-effect, as the government will not be intervening to boost some and hold others back. If one believes equality to be most important, restrictions on personal activity are required to keep those with certain advantages in check.

I heard Kurt Vonnegut speak years ago, when I was still in college, and at one point he thundered, “‘Socialist’ is not a dirty word!” While Vonnegut’s democratic socialism was hardly a secret, I’ve always thought it odd, coming from the author of “Harrison Bergeron“, probably the best cautionary tale of regulation with the goal of absolute equality ever written. I, of course, am not a socialist, though I once was, and I agree that “socialist” is not a dirty word. We need to get beyond such simplistic attacks in order to have an honest debate about the merits of freedom versus forced equality.

With Liberty & Justice For All… with Exceptions.

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on June 17, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I’ve always been rather concerned about the direction the Libertarian Party has been heading over the last several years. I was attracted to the party because of the strong stand it took in favor of the sovereignty of the individual – every individual – not just Americans. With the nomination of Bob Barr, the LP seems to have become the party of liberty for some people – only if it will “get us elected.”

Suddenly we hear fascist terms like “illegal immigrants” and “state’s rights” coming from so-called ‘Libertarian’ Party candidates. Whatever happened to supporting the rights of all individuals? What happened to our principles?

Libertarianism is the belief that each individual has total and complete sovereignty over her/his own life. As sovereign individuals we have the right to do whatever we want to do in our pursuit of happiness so long as we never infringe on the rights of others. Why, then, the rhetoric about deporting “illegals?” Is there even such a thing as an “illegal” human? And what about “state’s rights?” When is it moral for the state to do something that is it not moral for an individual to do?

I guess I’m just confused. I thought I was a member of a pro-liberty party. When I woke up from the dream and realized it was a nightmare, I decided it was time to do something about it.

Enter, the Liberty Party. Right now we’re just a Massachusetts group. Perhaps we’ll become the latest chapter of the Boston Tea Party. All I know is that I could no longer be a member of a political party that believes in supporting a candidate that supports the rights of “states” over the rights of individuals.

Perhaps one day the real libertarian message will win the day once again and will be the official party platform of the LP. Maybe I’ll rejoin at that time. But until then, here is a little competition to help the market make a better product.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legal or not, medical marijuana patients can still be fired

In Congress, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Health, Law, Medical Marijuana on January 26, 2008 at 4:41 am

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Workers who are legally prescribed marijuana to treat illness can still be fired from their jobs, following a ruling Thursday from the California Supreme Court.

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Medical marijuana user Angel Raich, 41, had her pot confiscated while her case was appealed.

The 5-2 decision upheld the job termination of Gary Ross, who flunked a company drug test shortly after being hired at a telecommunications firm.

A state referendum that allows people to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation are immune from some state criminal drug possession charges. But the state high court said such legal protection only goes so far.

“Nothing in the text or history of the Compassionate Use Act suggests the voters intended the measure to address the respective rights and duties of employers and employees,” wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar. “Under California law, an employer may require pre-employment drug tests, and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions.”

The court agreed with RagingWire Telecommunications’ contention it had a right to fire Ross because any marijuana use is illegal under separate U.S. law. The company said its work across state borders could put it in legal jeopardy from federal labor standards involving the conduct and production of its work force.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said the Bush administration can prohibit the backyard cultivation of pot for personal use, because such use has broader social and financial implications.

A federal appeals court last March said medical marijuana users can be subject to arrest and confiscation of the material, under federal anti-drug laws.

The issue is being closely watched because of the obvious conflict between state and federal laws over the use of medical marijuana. Various courts have said the federal Controlled Substances Act does not violate state autonomy.

The latest case involves Ross’ back problems stemming from injuries sustained when he served in the U.S. Air Force. He received a physician’s recommendation to use pot in 1999 and presented a card certifying his use of the narcotic when he took the employment drug test in 2001.

Ross said his condition does “not affect his ability to do the essential functions of the job” his former employer hired him to do, according to his original complaint.

The Sacramento-based company said its no-tolerance policy applies to all workers, since potential “abuse of drugs and alcohol” could lead to “increased absenteeism, diminished productivity, greater health costs, increased safety problems, and potential liability to third parties,” according to the company’s lawyers.

Ross’ job performance was not at issue in the case.

The state supreme court said the law allowing use of marijuana for some patients is “modest” in scope, limiting the rights of some patients.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2005 for the Bush administration giving it broad authority to crack down on illegal drug use was criticized by patient rights groups and the movement to legalize marijuana.

“Congress’ power to regulate purely activities that are part of an economic ‘class of activities’ that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce is firmly established,” wrote Justice John Paul Stevens.

Under federal law, the Controlled Substances Act prevents the cultivation and possession of marijuana, even by people who claim personal “medicinal” use. The federal government has argued its overall anti-drug campaign would be undermined even by limited patient exceptions.

That high court case involved a separate lawsuit from a pot patient from Oakland, California, who has a variety of medical conditions, including a brain tumor. Angel Raich had her pot confiscated and was not allowed to use it while her case was appealed.

The Drug Enforcement Administration began raids in 2001 against patients using the drug and their caregivers in California.

Along with California, 11 other states have passed laws permitting marijuana use by patients with a doctor’s approval: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Arizona also has a similar law, but no formal program in place to administer prescription marijuana.

California’s Compassionate Use Act permits patients with a doctor’s approval to grow, smoke or acquire the drug for “medical needs.”

Users include television host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis.

Posted in Courts & Justice System, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Law, STFU, War On Drugs, doctors, health, illness and disease, injured veterans, libertarianism, medical marijuana | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,