Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’

George Phillies: Barr promoting Libertarian Socialism?

In Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Socialism on August 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

The following was written by George Phillies, and is reproduced with permission of the author.

Bob Barr Press Release writes about his opponents

So, please, tell us something we don’t know! The bigger fact is that NEITHER campaign is talking about the important issues that affect the lives of Americans. Neither has a real plan that would result in lower energy costs. Neither is going to do anything about $4 a gallon gasoline, the inflation that looms ahead as well as the overall weakening of our economy….

in other words

The President should do something about prices! The President should carry out economic planning!

As afar as I can see, this is a call for socialism.

I’m sorry, but when did Libertarian Socialism become a new wing of our party?

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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.

New third party political blog

In Green Party, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Socialism on May 20, 2008 at 6:47 pm

I ran across Independent Political Report via Google alerts, and was pleasantly surprised to see some familiar names there.

If you get a free minute, cruise over to see what you think.

Government Gone Wild: Extortion Edition

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Communism, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Drug War, Fraud, Law, Law Enforcement, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Police State, Politics, Socialism, Taxation on April 20, 2008 at 5:16 pm

By now we are all aware that the government can seize your car, your house, your money, etc if they believe the items were purchased with the proceeds of drug transactions. However, the practice of seizing property is actually far more common than that, and far, far more sinister.

Are you aware that the government can steal your house, even if you don’t owe a dime on it, and sell it for as little as one year of back taxes? On top of that they pile on additional extortion fees, and you’ll end up either paying the taxes and fees, or being homeless. They’ll sell it for a small percentage of what the property is worth, and there are predators who actually make a living by buying houses this way, only to resell them.

Are you aware that if you are caught driving a motor vehicle with an expired registration, the government can steal it and place it in an impound, where you will be forced to also pay a high towing fee plus a shocking amount for it to just sit there (usually between $25 and $50 per day) until you pay their extortion fee? Are you aware that if you don’t pay that extortion fee (which at that point includes the fee to the towing company for towing and storage, plus the registration, plus the taxes, plus whatever ticket you got for not having an up-to-date registration) within a short period of time, sometimes as little as 30 days, they will sell your vehicle and you will no longer have any rights to it?

There are predators who actually make a living buying cars that way for resell, too, not to mention the predatory towing companies in cahoots with the government, who make all that extra money for doing nothing (in some places, the government has its own impound lot, but in most, the impound is merely the towing company’s premises).

So, what gives the government the right to take something which doesn’t belong to them, and the right to sell it and give you back nothing no matter how much it was worth, even if you owned the property free and clear?

Only the laws the government has written for its own benefit give them that right, of course. Nothing else gives them that right. There certainly is no constitutional right for the government to steal your property, nor is there a natural right for the government to do such a heinous thing. Extortion, especially on that level, is illegal for everyone except the government.

You are actually far more likely to fall prey to this government extortion scheme if you don’t owe money on your property. Of course, the government knows whether you own it free and clear or not, since they have specifically written laws stating that any lien interest must be filed with them.

Those who fall prey to these schemes are not just those who protest taxes. Instead, most victims are simply good people who fell upon hard times, and many times those hard times are directly caused by government extortion which snowballs.

Let’s say you inherited a home from your parents, and you have a car which you worked and paid for yourself. The home is bought and paid for as well, so you own both your car and your house free and clear. Then let’s say that you work too far away to get there any way except by automobile. You didn’t get your registration paperwork in the mail (not at all unusual in my experience), so you simply forgot it was due. You get stopped by the police because your registration is expired, and they ticket you and impound your vehicle.

At that point, you don’t have the money to get the vehicle out – it will cost you the towing fee, plus daily storage fees, plus personal property taxes, plus registration – and you can’t even make that kind of money because you have lost your job for missing work. You also can’t pay the fine you were levied because you didn’t have an updated registration, so your license is suspended until you pay that, plus about $50 to the DMV to reinstate your license (which in reality requires only a mouse click on a computer).

The only job you can get to feed yourself and your family, and be able to get there and back since you no longer have a car or a license, pays minimum wage. There is no way you will be able to afford to get your vehicle back. So you tell yourself, “that’s okay, I’ve been in hard times before. I’ll eventually I’ll get back on my feet again, and pay the fine and get another car. We’ll scrape by.” In the meantime, the government sells your car right out from under you.

A friend has an old moped they no longer use, and they let you use it so you can get back and forth to a little bit better job. There is no license plate or anything on it, so you assume you don’t have to have that. It’s slower than a bicycle, after all. You are pulled over by the cops, and hit with multiple tickets. You are ticketed for not wearing a helmet, for not having a license plate on it, for not having insurance on it, for not registering it and paying taxes on it …. the list goes on. You are fined hundreds of dollars, even though the vehicle isn’t even yours, and they impound the moped, too. To make sure it gets back the maximum return, the towing company actually sends a tow truck to transport a moped. You also go to jail for driving on a suspended license, even though no one with more than one brain cell would assume you need a drivers’ license to drive a moped, given that they are not supposed to be ridden on main roads because they are so slow.

Once you pay your bail with the little bit of money you’ve saved up to try to get back on your feet, you’re back to zero again. Chances are you’ve lost your latest job because you missed a shift and didn’t call in (since you are in jail, after all).

You get a notice for property taxes, but you can’t pay it so you figure you’ll pay them when you pay everyone else. The government can’t take your house, you think, because it’s paid for and you own it free and clear.

You get another crappy job, and start riding a bicycle to and from work. You are stopped for not having a license on your bicycle, and for not wearing a helmet. More fines ensue, and they impound your bicycle.

You start walking back and forth to work, taking the only job you can find within walking distance, and everything seems okay until a cop shows up giving you legal documents saying your home has been sold for back taxes, and you have only a short period of time (usually 30 or 60 days) to “redeem” what is yours. What’s worse, it has been sold to a stranger for only the amount of the taxes.

Where do you get the money to buy your house back from the extortion agents? At that point your credit is destroyed, so you can’t borrow it.

In many cases, you don’t get the money. The government sells your house and you end up on the streets, with no choice but to depend upon the government to feed and shelter your children, since you lost the good job when your car was impounded, lost another job when the moped was seized and sold and you were arrested, lost your bicycle because it didn’t have tags on it, and eventually ended up having to take whatever crap job you can find where you can walk to and from work. By this time you owe the government thousands in fines, you’re working and supporting a family on minimum wage, and now – as if all that isn’t bad enough – you’re homeless.

The government wants it that way. The more people depend upon it for basic necessities, the more power it has over all of us. It is nothing but communism in action: the people own nothing, because the state has the power to take anything it wants without compensation.

There are many people, every single day, who have encountered these problems, thanks to the many government extortion programs. In fact, I know people who have had these specific problems, so I know for a fact that it can happen, and that it does happen all the time. The mainstream media doesn’t cover it, because to get many stories they must have the cooperation of the politicians who enacted and support these extortion programs. However, whether we see it on the news or not, it is so common that the only thing I find surprising about it, to be quite honest, is that to my knowledge no one has yet snapped and killed someone for stealing their home. You will notice that I said “yet”. It will eventually happen, of that I have no doubt. When it does, I certainly hope libertarians will stand up loud and clear in their defense. I know I will.

As libertarians, we spend a lot of time complaining about federal income taxes. That’s all well and good, but what we should be doing as well is working to stop this kind of rampant government extortion on the state, county, and local level, which destroys the lives of hardworking American families every single day.

If they want to charge taxes, fine; if the taxes get too high, eventually no one will live there, and they will have slit their own throats. However, we should never allow the government to steal property due to nonpayment of taxes, especially when those taxes are levied simply by virtue of owning the property in question. Extortion by force is always wrong, no matter who is doing it, and it must be stopped.

Another thing happens that has nothing to do with Ron Paul

In Economics, Social Security Administration, Socialism on May 20, 2007 at 2:32 am

We’ve got ten years left until Social Security implodes on itself.

Yep, we’re fucked. The Dems had best start finding their Jeffersonian spirit in a jiffy, because we can’t take any more socialism.

Israel realizes socialism doesn’t work

In Economics, Middle East, Socialism on April 30, 2007 at 6:35 pm

They put the kibosh on the kibbutzim.

When Israel’s oldest kibbutz, Degania, announced that it was giving up its socialist ideals and going private–members could own homes and earn salaries based on how hard they worked–few other than the kibbutzniks themselves were happy. For many Israelis, Degania was a symbol of rosier days, a Zionist idyll of honest work and camaraderie. But for those who called it home, the kibbutz had become an anachronism as rusty as the battered farm tools on display for tourists. Today, the younger generation of kibbutzniks pines for individualism. Tamara Gal-Sarai gazes out over the kibbutz lawn until her eyes settle on the blue-white shimmer of the Sea of Galilee. “The Israeli press blames us for killing their utopia,” she says. “It was as if we’d destroyed a national treasure.”

At the very least, this is an argument for volitarianism, for allowing any sort of thing so long as all actions are voluntary. When all actions are voluntary, transition is easier. They essentially switched their economy from a Soviet model to a capitalist one, but because everything was voluntary from the very beginning, it was far easier.

The Virtue of Trust

In Constitutional Rights, Economics, Nanny State, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Second Amendment, Socialism on April 19, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Here is some mental tobacco for you to chew on – “In order to flourish and survive, we must trust our fellow humans”. A trusting and open society is also a safer, healthier and flourishing society. Despite the fact that several of us may have jobs where we deal with people of poor quality, I believe that the population, as a whole is more worthy of trust than we are led to believe. You may be thinking that I am being too optimistic here, but please consider what I have to say.

When you drive, you are placing your trust in your fellow man. You expect people to follow the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in a safe manner. When you drive, not only are you are placing trust in your fellow humans; you are also placing trust in “the great unknown”. When traveling you are placing trust in your pilot, hotel staff, taxi driver, mechanics,concierge etc. Each time you dine at a restaurant or shop at a supermarket, you are placing trust in the providers of those goods and services. Think about all of the transactions you make on just a daily basis. Unless you are a hermit and are completely self-sufficient, you must rely on the goods and services of others. Read the rest of this entry »

Wake Up and Smell the Hysteria

In Environment, Global Warming, Science, Socialism on March 11, 2007 at 5:20 pm

I preface this by saying that I consider myself an environmentalist. I see crap in streams, smell what comes out the end of cars, and it annoys me. I also believe the free market to be the best solution to this. Then I see the crap spewing out of the faces of those who latch onto anything they can to justify their hate for development, growth, and freedom. This documentary is interesting and probably different from anything you’ve seen before on the subject, especially if you’re an anthropogenic global warming fence-sitter like me.

Because We’re The Government….And You’re Not

In Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Drug War, Economics, Humor, Libertarian, Media, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican, Socialism, Taxation, War on February 2, 2007 at 9:37 pm

by way of LP blog

Because We’re The Government….And You’re Not

In Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Democracy, Democrats, Drug War, Economics, Humor, Libertarian, Media, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican, Socialism, Taxation, War on February 2, 2007 at 9:37 pm

by way of LP blog

When Hillary Attacks

In Communism, Democracy, Democrats, Humor, Iran, Iraq War, Media, Middle East, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Socialism, Taxation, War on February 1, 2007 at 3:59 pm

posted by Justin Raimondo at AntiWar.com blog

This video (hat tip: Lew Rockwell) is revealing in a number of different ways. First of all, it shows up Hillary Clinton for what she truly is: an opportunist who is only tenuously acquainted with the truth. She now claims that if she had known then what she knows now, she would never have voted for the war: but in this video, in which she meets with members of Code Pink, the antiwar women’s group, she downplays the “weapons of mass destruction” rationale for war, and emphasizes, instead, the brutality of Saddam’s dictatorship.

Secondly, I would note the unctuousness of Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin, who shamelessly kisses up to Hillary in her introduction, and even declares that she “knows you secretly agree with us” about the war. The fun begins when Hillary sternly disabuses Ms. Benjamin of this illusion, lecturing her about the absolute evil represented by Saddam’s Iraq, and reminding her of the Clintonian war against the Serbs, which, as all good liberals know, was a righteous war. Poor Medea — talk about having the rug pulledout from under you!

The best part is when one of the Code Pink women approaches Hillary, at the end, and tries to hand her a “pink slip” — some pink underpants of a decidedly delicate character. This is when Hillary bares her fangs, and lashes out: “I am the Senator from New York,” she intones, wagging her finger at the woman like a schoolmarm, “and if you think I’m going to endanger the security of my constituents you are very much mistaken!”

Wow! How telling that, when cornered, Hillary resorts to the Bushian “we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” argument — and so readily, almost instinctively.

Now that the war is unpopular, however, Hillary is trying to distance herself from her previous incarnation as a hawk. It won’t work — thanks to Youtube!

372902522_697eca75ef_m.jpg 372902526_80685c0c0a_m.jpg

Photos by Jim Bovard

Coffee Talk with a Compliant Brother

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Corruption, Crime, Democracy, Drug War, Humor, Libertarian, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Republican, Socialism, War on January 26, 2007 at 4:10 pm

“Sometimes we should just accept things the way they have been and understand that we should sacrifice some of our personal liberties to benefit our nation and this war against terror”.

The paraphrased quote above came from my older brother earlier this new year as I sat down on his porch after a cozy cup of caffeinated coffee and taking hits from a social disease I suffer from called smoking. We were in a debate over the rantings of Keith Olberman directed at his attack on our current administration regarding the lifting of Habeas Corpus and the new founded state of dictatorship our current administration has enacted.

My brother was raised the same as I was, in a Reagan Republican household who thought the Republicans can do no wrong. Now the differences between us are found in our talents: He is a musician, and a damn good one at that. He can rip out lyrics and blur his hands on the neck of any guitar i have ever seen him on, all the while busting out cords that are more sonorous than I have to say the best of them. He would frequent clubs and studios throughout the greater Southern California and simply do what he does best, play. He took himself further than most who have no name and has played with names that went on to sell themselves out for a price, something he never did. I can play a stereo quite well.

Now my brothers argument regarding Habeas Corpus and the new dictatorial powers our current administration have is that their hands are tied to do anything necessary to stop some foreigner from blowing us up on our home soil. He believes that in order for us to continue down our path of freedom we should have to exercise our freedoms by giving some of them up, as did the Japanese Americans during WWII and the nation during the MacCarthy period. All of these we should take into consideration since 9/11.

Another point which he made was that we as a nation have not grown but declined in our way of thinking regarding searches and seizures, whether it be detained while the police search your valuables, your home or your person. His statement is one we have heard throughout the later half of the 20th century “if you’re not doing or hiding anything, whats the problem?”. He truly believes that our police should have the right to do as they please and pull over, walk into, browse and demand on site without a judge. He also feels that giving up these rights are justifiable and will not be abused. Yet he is a Reagan Republican through and through. Read the rest of this entry »

Well at least he’s honest.

In Democracy, Economics, Socialism, Taxation on January 22, 2007 at 10:19 am

Go to hell, gringos!

President Hugo Chavez returned to his weekly radio and TV broadcast Sunday, extolling the ideals of socialist thinker Karl Marx and telling U.S. officials to “Go to hell!” for what he called unacceptable meddling in Venezuela’s affairs.

Chavez defended his government’s effort to establish a socialist model and rejected U.S. concerns over a measure to grant him broad lawmaking powers, saying: “Go to hell, gringos! Go home!”

Score one for having balls big enough to be confused for flesh-colored beanbags. Scratch a couple for being a socialist douche. Wait, what’s that?

The National Assembly, controlled by the president’s political allies, is expected to give final approval this week to what it calls the “enabling law,” which would grant Chavez authority to pass a series of laws by decree during an 18-month period.

Oh, you’re passing an “enabling act”? Well gee golly willakers, where’ve I heard this before? And before someone cries about Godwin’s Law… the dude named it himself, and it follows basically the same lines as the original, so yeah.

So I’m not sure, but I think this pretty well means that you lose at politics, bucko. But look on the bright side-after the world undoes the damage you’ve done and your own country is embarrassed to have ever elected you to anything higher than dogcatcher, you’ll have a lot of lameass kids spraypainting your name all over the place and listening to really shitty metal that talks about you. Maybe some nutcase will talk about Venezuelan UFOs based in Antarctica, to boot.