Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘US Government’

Bear with us: another proposed petition about the bailout

In Libertarian on September 25, 2008 at 12:08 pm

This is a proposed petition. You can suggest draft changes at Brad Spangler’s blog.

To President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin of the Russian Federation,

Thank you for the opportunity to address you in this petition.

The Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti) recently published an opinion article written by British historian and political analyst John Laughland. Laughland suggested that the Russian government consider making the rouble convertible into gold. The article can be found here:

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080924/117072937.html

We ask that you please consider Laughland’s proposal.

All factions of the political leadership of the United States government appear determined to wreck the value of the U.S. dollar. We are not optimistic that U.S. political leaders will adopt a wise monetary policy. Not only is this bad for the people of the United States, but because the U.S. dollar is so widely used it is bad for the people of the world.

We believe the Russian government has an opportunity to provide stability for the world economy during this time of crisis created by the U.S. government. We believe potential Russian adoption of a gold standard supports such efforts.

We ask this also on behalf of our own selves and all Americans who truly wish to prosper. You will recall, gentlemen, that the U.S. dollar once served as a stable currency for the informal economy in the Soviet Union. You may recall that this so-called “black market” did perhaps more to make life bearable for the ordinary Russian than the official economy did. We ask that the Russian government now return the favor by adopting a gold standard, creating a currency that can undisputably be trusted within the U.S. informal economy that must grow as the emerging U.S. police state grows in power.

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Tell Congress: Just Say No to Donkey Punch Bailout Plan!

In Activism, Congress, Corruption, Economics, Fraud, George Phillies, Libertarian, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

Petition from the desk of George Phillies, but don’t blame him for the headline

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nobailouts/

petition urging Congress to reject the bailout

Let’s send Congress and the press the message. The text of the petition:

Respecting that many people have worked very hard to get a Congressional majority for their party, ‘we will vote against you’ covers the 2010 primaries as well as the general election.

Congress: Reject Paulson’s Bailout!

We call upon Congress to reject bank bailouts. We urge every Senator and Representative to vote against the plan. We urge every Senator to filibuster any bank bailout bill.

Congressmen: We mean it! If you vote for the bailout, we will vote against you, this Fall or in your next primary.

To pay for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’ plans, Uncle Sam will borrow trillions of dollars. That’s trillions of dollars out of our pockets and into the pockets of Paulson’s cronies. Congress should reject the Paulson plan and leave our money in our pockets.

Paulson’s plan will bankrupt the American taxpayer so Paulson’s banker friends can avoid suffering. Paulson wants to save his banker buddies by throwing our money at them. Instead of throwing money at bankers, Congress should throw the Paulson plan–and Paulson himself–into the wastebasket of history.

Americans believe in personal responsibility. If your neighbor borrows more money than he can repay, the penalty should fall on him, not on prudent working men and women like us who chose to live within their means. That goes for our neighbors, and it goes double for bankers and financiers, who are supposed to know how to invest money.

Congressional regulations make sure: When you sign a mortgage, the numbers you will pay were right in front of you. The Paulson plan to buy up mortgages rewards irresponsible people at the expense of the people who believed in the American way of thrift and frugality.

The Federal government should not stop banks from failing. That’s selective Federal intervention to aid the incompetent. That is just plain backwards. Congress should insist: If a bank wants to turn its assets over to Uncle Sam and go out of business, it should turn over absolutely all its assets, not just its bad assets. That includes funds reserved for executive buy-outs.

Congress should make sure: Foreign banks should get nothing from Uncle Sam. If foreign banks are unhappy with their investments, they should ask foreign taxpayers to pay them off. American working men and women should not pay through the nose because foreign bankers are too lazy to check out their investments and too incompetent to tell their investments cannot possibly be good.

Paulson proposes that his decisions should not be subject to review by the courts. Who does he think he is, King George III against whom George Washington revolted? Paulson would give himself powers that the King of England lacked. Americans would have no protections from Paulson’s bad judgement, no matter how grievous their injuries. That’s unconstitutional and immoral.

Congress should ask itself: Should we trust Paulson’s judgement? The record is clear: Paulson and Fed Reserve Bank Chair Bernanke got us into our mess. Paulson was completely wrong then, and there’s no reason to suspect he’s gotten smarter since. Congress has trusted Paulson for far too long. It should stop doing so.

Having said that, in these economically disorderly times some Americans through no fault of their own are momentarily unable to keep current on their mortgages. A program of modest loans with paybacks that could be re-scheduled, covering part of mortgage expenses for a limited time, would be far cheaper than the Paulson plan. To protect the taxpayer, such loans should not be voided by bankruptcy.

Most urgent private message

In Children, Corruption, Crazy Claims, Economics, Fraud, Human Rights Abuses, Humor, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Taxation, Terrorism, US Government on September 25, 2008 at 1:00 am

H/T Delaware Libertarian

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for a large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Franklin Raines, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. You may know him as the Chief Economic Advisor for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign, and the former head of Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2006.

Let me assure you that this transaction is 100% safe. Mr. Raines is completely trustworthy with your money. His record speaks for itself.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of friend so the funds can be transferred. Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully

Henry “Hank” Paulson

Minister of Treasury

Court says FRNs discriminate against blind people

In Courts and Justice System, Economics, Law, Media, US Government on May 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

From Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. discriminates against blind people by printing paper money that makes it impossible for them to distinguish among the bills’ varying values, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds a decision by a lower court in 2006. It could force the Treasury Department to redesign its money. Suggested changes have ranged from making bills different sizes to printing them with raised markings.

The American Council for the Blind sued for such changes but the Treasury Department has been fighting the case for about six years.

“I don’t think we should have to rely on people to tell us what our money is,” said Mitch Pomerantz, the council’s president.

The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

“Even the most searching tactile examination will reveal no difference between a $100 bill and a $1 bill. The Secretary has identified no reason that requires paper currency to be uniform to the touch,” Judge Judith W. Rogers wrote for the majority.

Courts can’t decide how to design the currency, since that’s up to the Treasury Department. But the ruling forces the department to address what the court called a discriminatory problem.

You can read the rest of this article here.

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

Jim Casarjian-Perry: Bob Barr hits home

In Congress, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Social Security Administration, US Government on May 9, 2008 at 10:36 am

The following is posted with the permission of the author, Jim Casarjian-Perry. The original article can be viewed here.

Bob Barr hits home. Why would you do that to me Bob?

Before long, people are going to think I have a vendetta against Bob Barr. I don’t really have one against him, just his past votes. Like his support (and authorship!) of the Defense of Marriage Act. This lovely piece of federal law prevents the federal government and it’s related bureaucratic agencies from recognizing same-sex marriages. There is a problem here… it’s effects are being felt in MY MARRIAGE. One such instance occurred today.

I’ve dragged my feet about getting my driver’s license switched from NH to MA. I went to get this done today. You need to have four documents with you in order to transfer your license. 1) Birth Certificate, 2) Social Security card, 3) Proof of Massachusetts residency (like a lease), and 4) your old license of course. I have all these things with my pre-marital name on them except for my lease. Here is where the fun starts.

I took all these required documents AND my official state marriage certificate (which verifies my name change due to marriage) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. They looked them over and said they couldn’t process my application. The reason? My Social Security Card does not reflect my name change. Okay, so off to the SS (heh) office.

The SS office requires your birth certificate, proof of name change and ID to change your name on your card. I had all of these documents. The clerk and I chatted for a few minutes, she congratulated me on getting married, she showed my pictures of her kids, etc as we waited for the system to process my request. No dice. The Social Security Administration informed me that due to the DOMA (which Bob Barr authored) I could not use my Massachusetts Marriage Certificate as proof of name change. Next steps still need to be determined as to how I am going to get my identification documents changed. But until then I ask, why would you do that to me Bob?

________________________

Jim Casarjian-Perry is a Town Meeting Representative serving Precinct 9 of Billerica, Massachusetts. He is a Libertarian Party member and a delegate to the Libertarian National Convention for Massachusetts. He enjoys cooking, reading, bicycling, backpacking, and good conversation. He and his partner live in Billerica, Massachusetts.

Many thanks to Jim for allowing us to reproduce his original work on Last Free Voice. 🙂

Bob Barr’s “emotional distress”

In Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crazy Claims, Democrats, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Media, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on May 7, 2008 at 1:43 am

In 2002, Salon published an article detailing how Bob Barr filed a $30 million lawsuit against Bill Clinton,Bob Barr Larry Flynt, and James Carville, claiming “emotional distress”, on the same day he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for pain and suffering (for everybody else, naturally) at $250,000.

As I’m sure you’ve already figured out, he didn’t win; the lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; he appealed the dismissal, and lost again. The dismissal on appeal was even more embarrassing, since the court determined that he never even claimed the disparaging information to be false, or stated with reckless disregard for the truth, or with knowing disregard for its falsity.

Think about this for a minute. He was suing a man he had impeached and two alleged (but extremely unlikely) conspirators, unsuccessfully mind you, for causing him emotional distress; yet he still never once claimed that the dirt they dug up on him (and which Flynt eventually published) was even false.

I don’t know about you, but I find even the idea of that lawsuit incredibly amusing. Can you say “frivolous”? Or maybe the word I’m looking for is “paranoid”. Either way, the word “disturbing” also comes to mind, given that an appellate court ruled that he had sued three people for $30 million, when all they had really done was exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.

By the way ….. it’s only 17 days until the convention, and Bob Barr still has not announced his intentions, and still is hiding behind his Exploratory Committee rather than subjecting himself to voter questions and scrutiny like the other candidates have already done. Gee, I wonder why. LOL

Here’s an excerpt from the Salon article:

Jun 14, 2002 | When the news finally broke — because porn magnate Larry Flynt sent out his own press release — that Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., had filed a lawsuit in March against Bill Clinton, pundit James Carville and Flynt for $30 million, claiming “loss of reputation and emotional distress,” the timing couldn’t have been much more awkward for Barr. That very day, he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for “pain and suffering” at $250,000.

This week, at a hearing of the House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, which he chairs, Barr heaped praise on a bill that would limit so-called non-economic medical damages to $250,000, saying “a national liability insurance crisis is ravaging the nation’s healthcare system.”

So how can someone who wants to limit awards for pain and suffering sue the former president and others for a whopping $30 million in emotional distress?

The depths of the former House impeachment manager’s disdain for the former president should not be underestimated. Of all the House managers, Barr was perhaps the most gung-ho in his desire to get Clinton. Back in November 1997, before the world had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky, Barr tried to bring impeachment charges against Clinton, alleging violations of campaign finance laws.

Now, Barr has quietly filed a suit against Clinton, Carville and Flynt for “participating in a common scheme and unlawful on-going conspiracy to attempt to intimidate, impede and/or retaliate against [Barr]” for his role as an impeachment manager in 1999.

Behold: Bob Barr’s vast left-wing conspiracy.

The suit comes, however, as Barr has other things to worry about. Redistricting has placed him in a tough primary fight against Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. When asked on Thursday about Barr’s suit, Linder spokesman Bo Harmon offered a jab veiled in a no-comment. “A sitting congressman suing a former president for $30 million raises all sorts of serious questions,” Harmon said. “Until we know more about Congressman Barr’s state of mind on this, we’re going to refrain from commenting.”

Barr’s case is yet another bizarre coda to the impeachment saga. Among the documents submitted in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was a section of The Flynt Report, the 1999 document by the Hustler publisher that shone a spotlight on the private lives of the House impeachment managers and other moralizing Republicans. The report calls Barr “a twice-divorced family values cheerleader … who condoned an abortion, committed adultery and failed to tell the truth under oath” in a 1986 deposition.

Flynt’s report was one of the blows struck in a tit-for-tat mud-wrestling match between investigators in the Office of the Independent Counsel and their congressional allies and Democratic attack dogs during the halcyon days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Democrats pointed to stories like the ones contained in the report and to Henry Hyde’s extramarital affair to label Republican impeachment managers as hypocrites.

Barr has long talked of a conspiracy behind the attacks on him. At the time the Flynt Report was published, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Barr if the White House was behind the smear campaign. “Most people can’t even deny that with a straight face,” Barr told Blitzer.

The suit is not the first time Barr has tried to sue Clinton outside the confines of Congress. The new civil suit is a reprise of a criminal case Barr brought in 1999 against the Executive Office of the President and the Justice Department, claiming the White House was keeping a dossier on Barr and that the congressman “was subject to attacks and threats of attack by persons in the media, including Larry Flynt, James Carville, [investigative journalist] Dan Moldea and others.”

The new complaint charges that the White House kept “files on [Barr] and routinely disseminated the contents of those files to defendants Carville and Flynt and others, including members of the media, in an effort to intimidate and impede” Barr’s investigation of Clinton. The suit also alleges that the White House kept an enemies list that included all 13 House impeachment managers; Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark.; Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff; and Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman, who is serving as Barr’s attorney in the case.

The suit, however, includes no evidence of such collusion.

Read the rest of this article here.

George Phillies answers Marc Montoni’s questions

In Congress, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, People in the news, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Terrorism, US Government, War on April 23, 2008 at 10:09 pm

This past week, our very own PaulieCannoli posted “Marc Montoni has questions for Bob Barr. How about you?” on Third Party Watch.

George PhilliesWhile to my knowledge Barr has not answered those questions, his opponent Dr. George Phillies has answered them. Below is Dr. Phillies’ response.

12 Questions by Marc Montoni

Marc offers a baker’s dozen of questions. Of course, I’m not Bob Barr, so my answers are not the same.

1. Mr. Barr, while a congressman, you supported a lot of pork, including federal cash for Gwinnett, Bartow, and Cherokee airports and transportation projects. You also steered business to Lockheed-Martin’s Marietta, GA plant for the C-130 cargo plane and the gold-plated F-22 Raptor fighter. How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I’ve called for huge reductions in every part of the Federal budget. Those pork barrel contracts and corporate welfare schemes will face vetos in a Phillies administration.

2. Mr. Barr, you supported Bush’s military tribunals for Iraqis captured during the war (“Barr Stands Behind President on Tribunal Procedures” 3/21/2002). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? And given that the Constitution doesn’t say its protections are only for citizens, how does your support of depriving individuals of their rights encourage government to properly respect the rights of people who are citizens?

George Bush claimed that as President he had the right to try terrorists before military tribunals. Of course, this is complete nonsense, because our Constitution guarantees the right of trial by jury. (Prisoners of War are not tried; they are detained.) George Bush made this claim this because he’s not loyal to the Constitution. As President, I will replace Federal officers who try to ignore the Constitution with loyal, patriotic civil servants who love our country, love our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and are willing to make sacrifices to defend them.

3. Mr. Barr, you supported federal interference in assisted suicide (“Barr Praises Administration Stance Against Suicide Doctors”, 11/8/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? And have you ever sat at a patient’s bedside while he was writhing in agonizing pain for weeks on end, waiting to die, and explained to him why he couldn’t choose a dignified manner of death as the sole owner of his own body?

Two years ago, my mother died in bed, in her own living room, with my brother and I by her side. Fortunately, she was in no pain. Others are much less lucky as death approaches. I strongly support laws protecting compassionate care and laws that permit mentally competent persons facing imminent and painful death to choose the moment of their demise. Government should have no role in this matter of decisions made by mentally competent adults.

4. Mr. Barr, you supported federal meddling in contracts between HMO’s and their customers (“Barr Hails Passage of HMO Reform Legislation”, 8/2/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? What does abrogating the terms of contracts have to do with freedom?

I support the validity of non-fraudulent contracts freely entered into by knowing and consenting adults. I have called for interstate competition in the provision of health insurance, so that people have a wider range of choices in their medical care arrangements. I also call for putting all medical care costs on the same tax basis, to eliminate the Federal corporate welfare subsidy of some health insurance arrangements.

5. Mr. Barr, you supported giving money to religious organizations for charitable programs (“Barr Hails Passage of President’s Faith-Based Initiative”, 7/19/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller
government?

Phillies: I am entirely opposed to giving government money to religious organizations, when the charitable organization’s religious and charitable activities are irretrievably commingled. There should be an iron wall of separation ensuring that our tax money is not spent for the benefit of particular religious organizations.

6. Mr. Barr, you supported a wholesale expansion of the fed into schools with your cosponsorship of H.R. 1 in 2001—“The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” (“Barr Cosponsors Bush Education Bill”, 3/22/2001). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I call for the immediate repeal of No Child Left Behind.

7. Mr. Barr, you supported a discriminatory ban on Wiccan expression in the military (“Barr Demands End To Taxpayer-funded Witchcraft On American Military Bases, May 18, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

Phillies: I have condemned Republican efforts to organize army persecution of Wiccans. Should soldiers should be allowed, on their own time and using their own resources, to conduct religious services at the base where they were stationed? Of course they should. The people in question did not even ask the army to construct a religious building for them, only to use an otherwise vacant field for worship.

And, while I am at it, I also condemn Republican efforts to revive school prayer. That was an issue in the 2007 Kentucky republican gubernatorial primary. One of the autodial tapes attacking Republican Anne Northrop, for having voted for school prayer only thirteen times out of fourteen, was according to recorded by… Bob Barr. While he was a sitting member of the LNC.

8. Mr. Barr, you supported summarily evicting students from school for bringing a gun onto school property — seemingly forgetting that millions of young Americans did this right into the seventies — regardless of whether they were simply going hunting after school or not. You apparently wanted to forget that the Constitution doesn’t just protect the rights of adults, but children too (“Testimony of U.S. Representative Bob Barr on The Child Safety and Protection Act of 1999, Before The House Committee on Rules”, June 14, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

I condemn this Federal intervention into the conduct of local schools. The only way to avoid this question is to work, as I do, for separation of school and state. When children are private or home schooled, the Federal question vanished, because it is purely a matter of parental and contractual discretion.

9. Mr. Barr, you voted with the majority to further socialize medicine by voting for H.R. 4680, the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2000 (June 28, 2000). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?

America is flat-out broke. We don’t have the money for this program. We simply can’t afford it. It mostly has to go. Unsurprisingly, the Republican Congress failed to investigate effectively the cost of the program before voting for it.

10. Mr. Barr, you supported flag-waving nationalistic fervor by voting several times in favor of a constitutional amendment to prohibit the physical desecration of the United States Flag; in 2000 it was HJ Resolution 33 (June 24, 1999). How does this relate to fighting for smaller government? What does the flag-worship cult have to do with liberty?

I am 100% in support of freedom of speech. Nonetheless, the flag-burning amendment is a farce. If passed and put into effect, which I certainly hope will not take place, it invites opponents of the current Republican War Party leadership to burn objects that are look more and more like flags, without being flags.

11. Will you or have you openly, publicly, and clearly repudiated all of these previous nanny-state actions of yours?

See above.

12. Why did you wait until you’re no longer in congress to repudiate them? Shouldn’t you have thought about all of that Leviathan-state-building you were doing while you were in congress and it actually mattered?

I haven’t had to flip flop on issues. I have had people suggest to me ways of making my message more effective, generally by stressing the positive, good-news part of the discussion. The hope of the shining libertarian city on the sunlit hill of liberty is sometimes a more effective lure than other alternatives.

13. Oh, yes, that last question: “How does this relate to fighting for smaller government?”

I organized a Federal PAC and a Massachusetts State PAC. They’ve had to be inactive during my campaign, for legal reasons, but they will be back. I helped organize a libertarian 527 organization, Freedom Ballot Access, that raised more than $18,000 for Mike Badnarik’s ballot access. My organizations fund Libertarian candidates, not Republican candidates running against Libertarians.

I’ve written two books on our party’s tactics and history. My newsletters Libertarian Strategy Gazette and Let Freedom Ring! have brought Libertarian Party news across America. I’ve distributed the Libertarian Candidate Campaign Support disk, assembled by Bonnie Scott and I, for free to hundreds of fellow libertarian candidates. And I’m currently state chair of the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts.

That’s how I’ve worked for smaller government.

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.

Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez faces retrial on both acquitted counts

In Activism, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Politics, Shine on you crazy diamond, Taxation, US Government on April 22, 2008 at 11:57 pm

From Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons:

Earlier this month, the jury in New Hampshire found Reno guilty on two counts, but could not reach an agreement on two other counts, resulting in a mistrial on those two undecided charges.

The government will retry those two unresolved counts on June 23, 2008, according to a recent filing in the Bob Wollfe’s docket.  The prosecutors have asked the judge to delay Wolffe’s sentencing until Reno’s trial is over, because Wolffe is expected to testify against Reno as a condition of his plea agreement.

In case anyone has forgotten, Reno provided security for Ed and Elaine Brown during their standoff against the US Marshals.  He was found guilty of two counts, and his two co-defendants were found guilty on all counts.  To catch up on the case, merely search for “Reno” on this blog.

Antiwar songs: “Rooster” by Alice In Chains

In Celebrities, Communism, Entertainment, History, Military, Music, Obituaries, Protest, US Government, Veterans, War on April 22, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Alice In ChainsThis video is especially interesting because it includes snippets of an interview with guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s father, who served two tours in Vietnam. In the father’s interview, he states that he hopes no one else will ever have to go through what he went through.

Jerry Cantrell never even met his father, Jerry Sr. (nicknamed “Rooster”), until he was three years old. Up until then, his father had been a soldier. About his father, Jerry once said:

My dad was trained to be a fucking killer. After that, you can’t just come back home and say, “OK, everything’s cool. I’m going to work 9 to 5 now.” That shit scars you forever.

“Rooster” is Jerry’s tribute to his father’s suffering. I will warn you, though, that the video contains explicit images of war.

For those of you who would prefer to not view images of that nature, this second video is the unplugged version of the same song, which shows nothing but the band performing:

Here are the lyrics, in case any of you can’t make them all out:

Ain’t found no way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere

Wife and kids, household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere

Here they come to snuff the Rooster
Yeah here come the Rooster, yeah
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, ya know he ain’t gonna die

Walkin’ tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my homeland
Gloria sent me pictures of my boy

Got my pills ‘gainst mosquito death
My buddy’s breathin his dyin’ breath
Oh God please, won’t you help me make it through

Here they come to snuff the Rooster
Yeah here come the Rooster, yeah
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no ya know he ain’t gonna die

Alice In Chains is Layne Staley, lead singer/songwriter; Jerry Cantrell, guitarist/vocals/songwriter; Mike Inez, bassist; and Sean Kinney, drummer. AiC was one of the most popular and successful heavy metal bands to come out of the early 90s Seattle music scene, along with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

AiC was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Heavy Metal Group”, and nominated for an American Music Award for “Favorite Heavy Metal Artist”.  AiC reached platinum album status with both “Dirt” (which contained “Rooster”) and “Facelift”, and was awarded an MTV Music Award for best video from a film, with “Would” (from the film “Singles”).

Singer Layne Staley, ranked #27 in Hit Parader’s “Heavy Metal’s All Time Top 100 Vocalists” and widely considered one of the most influential singers in rock, struggled with a severe heroin addiction for over a decade, and finally succumbed to the ravages of that addiction in 2002.

RIP, Layne.

Root’s “brain trust” has a brain fart

In Congress, Economics, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Taxation, US Government, Wayne Allen Root on April 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Third Party Watch posted Wayne Allyn Root’s plan to end federal taxation.

It is tax day, April 15, 2008. What a perfect day to announce our proposal to dramatically reform the American tax system. During this campaign for our party’s nomination, several of my esteemed opponents have spoken in favor of imposing a 30% national sales tax on all goods and services- combined with a check paid to everyone in the country (in the form of an automatic annual tax rebate – whether you’ve earned income or paid taxes, or not). Our campaign has received hundreds of requests to comment on the “Fair Tax,” many of them proponents. But after studying the proposal, we conclude that the “Fair Tax” is a bad idea.

The so-called “Fair Tax” is not an advance for freedom; it is a prescription for tyranny and will relegate our descendents to being little more than welfare-dependent wards of the government.

Advocating a “Fair Tax” is bad for our party and bad for America, and we believe that having our party’s nominee advocate this would tarnish the Libertarian Party’s brand.

Our campaign offers a competing vision.

Imagine instead a country where businesses and individuals would no longer need to account to the government for their income. Imagine a country where we can be free from the Internal Revenue Service. Imagine in one instant eliminating individual federal income taxes, corporate federal income taxes, payroll taxes, death taxes, the marriage penalty, excise taxes, and even the dreaded AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) – all of it at once, gone forever.

No, this is not a dream. It can be a reality in a Root Administration.

Our campaign team’s economic brain trust has crafted an alternative approach that we believe will be attractive to America, consistent with our constitution and right in line with our libertarian ideals. Our plan completely rids America of federal income taxes and the I.R.S., while at the same time restoring power to the American people at the state and local level – just as our founding Fathers intended.

We propose eliminating the income tax and all other sources of federal tax revenues, including payroll taxes, excise taxes and import duties, and replacing it with only one tax: a tax on each state in proportion to its population, with each state deciding for itself how to raise its share of the money.

Not only would this eliminate taxes on income by the United States federal government, it would likely end taxation on income in virtually all states in this country. Most states calculate their own income taxes starting with the taxpayer’s calculation of Federal taxable income. It would be too costly for most states to enact their own income tax systems without being able to leverage the current system of W2s and 1099 filings.

To further reduce the likelihood of even some states imposing income taxes on their residents, if elected I will ask Congress to introduce legislation to update Public Law 86-272 to prohibit states from taxing the business activity of any person or enterprise engaging in interstate commerce, and define this broadly enough to include even the solicitation of customers in more than one state.

Our Founding Fathers understood the power of the purse as an instrument of tyranny. Today, because the U.S. Government taxes its citizens and then kicks back a portion of the money to the states (as it sees fit), the federal government exercises enormous unconstitutional power against the states through various federal mandates, ranging from No Child Left Behind to Real ID. Today’s regime of personal income taxation facilitates this mockery of our system of Federalism.

Our vision for dramatic change in U.S. tax policy is as simple as it is revolutionary in scope. With our plan there will be only 50 taxpayers in our country writing checks to the U.S. Treasury each year. With no other source of revenue to the U.S. Government, the balance of power would be forever dramatically reversed back to the states (just as our Founding Fathers envisioned).

Moreover, because these 50 states (and their taxpayers) will have a bias toward keeping tax dollars at home instead of sending them to Washington, they will have great incentive to mount enormous political pressure against Congress to reduce the size of government- thereby reducing both spending and taxes.

Some of the unnecessary and wasteful federal spending that would be first on the chopping block for this President (a perfect description for the son of a butcher) would be welfare, entitlements of all kinds including corporate welfare, dramatic cuts in foreign aid, a dramatic reduction in military bases across the globe, and dramatic cuts in wasteful pentagon spending. It’s high time to stop spending billions of our tax dollars to defend wealthy allies such as Japan, South Korea and Western Europe.

It’s time to de-fund and eliminate entire government departments and bureaucracies – starting with the Dept of Education (which is not authorized or mentioned in our constitution). The first step toward improving our education system (and saving our tax dollars) is to keep the money at the state and local level, giving less power to the federal government and teachers unions, and more power, freedom and choice to parents.

Under this plan, if Congress chose not to reign in out-of-control federal spending, it runs the risk that states could respond by withholding taxes from the federal government, which is the ultimate “check and balance.”

Power would be restored to the states, just as Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he authored the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, arguably the most libertarian President in United States history, declared the primary responsibility of the American President was “to render ineffective and invisible the very government he is elected to lead.”

Jefferson and the Founding Fathers intended for taxes to be minimal and up to each state to decide. Jefferson said of taxes, “Government shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” Jefferson believed taxes were completely up to the discretion of individual states when he said, “The true theory of our constitution is that states are independent as to everything within themselves…” and even went so far as to recognize the right of states to nullify federal laws within their own borders, describing federal intrusion into state matters as “interference by a foreign government.”

Our founding father Thomas Jefferson would certainly approve of this plan to switch the power of taxation and spending decisions from the federal to the state level.

With this one sweeping change, devolving power from Washington to the states, tax and regulatory policy at the state level takes on greater importance. In this environment, competition amongst the states for business and residents would likely become fierce. States that impose high taxes or forms of taxation unpopular with their residents will be punished with losses in population. States that create an environment of low taxation and fair forms of taxation will be rewarded with population gains. Taxpayers will be better able to monitor how their money is spent up close and personal at the state and local level. A major shift of all taxation (and most spending) from the distant and draconian federal level to the state level can only be positive for the American taxpayer.

We believe this arrangement is exactly what our Founding Fathers intended – more power at the state and local level, less power at the federal level, and taxation determined by each individual state. This plan respects our Constitution, expands your personal freedom, restores power to the American people (and taxpayers), and increases the money you keep in your wallet. Please join us in this campaign to restore Federalism, returning power from Washington back to the states and to the people.

Root seems to be merely saying what he thinks libertarians want to hear, and not really thinking this through. He also uses a lot of words to say very little. Most of what he wrote seems intended to talk us into agreeing with him, as if we’re not smart enough to see right through his plan for what it really is.

Many of those posting comments on Third Party Watch pointed out that Root is still learning, and I think that’s wonderful. We should always encourage those who are interested in libertarianism to learn more about it. However, do we want someone who is still learning about libertarianism to represent the Libertarian Party as its presidential candidate? I should think not, especially when their background tells us that they are not a libertarian by nature.

Will his tax plan work? Of course not, especially since many states already tax income and he wants to take that ability away from them, while also placing a huge financial burden upon them. Congress represents the interests of the states, after all. No way will Congress ever go for that idea … unless of course they realize that they can make much, much more money by grossly overtaxing the citizens, and blaming it on the federal government.

The states will not be put off by the necessity of enacting a financial reporting plan similar to that of the W-2, as Root believes. They would just make laws requiring their own forms, and copy the federal forms. They could even just copy the federal laws, and change the specifics, and set up the computer program necessary to keep track of the information. If Root thinks they won’t do that, he has no business running for President, because it is proof that he has no clue how the real world works. Government does only one thing very, very efficiently, and that’s picking the pockets of its citizens.

His plan is setting up the American people for taxation at a rate which could only be described as financial rape. He may be getting rid of the IRS, but he is not really getting rid of income tax, because what states lack in income tax, they more than make up for in other taxes. Taxpayers are going to get hit for a predetermined amount, and it doesn’t matter what the government calls it, it’s still picking our pockets. In reality, his plan will make overall tax rates far worse than they already are.

His plan is not only poorly thought out, it’s dangerous to the American people. In states with a high number of financially disadvantaged citizens, it could prove catastrophic. If the states are required to pay the federal government based upon population, the taxpaying members of society will end up paying far more to the states than they pay now to the federal government, in order to make up for the indigent population. As a result, many working-class families will be taxed into poverty by the states.

I could go on and on, but in short, his “brain trust” had a brain fart. This is not the first time that’s happened. The last time Root put out an issue release, he wanted to bring the entire federal government to an abrupt halt by refusing to fund any federal agencies. He obviously has not thought that through, either. While some libertarians will applaud ideas such as Root’s, the more pragmatic among us will recognize that Root’s ideas are unrealistic. It took over two hundred years for the government to get the way it is today, and that cannot be undone overnight, by Root or anyone else.

Libertarians need to look beyond the facade which is Wayne Allyn Root. This is all part of a much bigger plan for him, which does not involve the Libertarian Party. He is doing exactly what Ron Paul did: getting a name for himself and some support by running for President as a Libertarian, then jumping back to the Republican Party so he can get a seat in Congress, and possibly run at a later date for President as a Republican. Libertarians are nothing but a stepping stone for this man.

Why he thinks no one will see through that is beyond me, except that he apparently believes libertarians are stupid.

Latest from Jeff Bouffard, LP candidate for Congress

In Activism, Communism, Congress, Human Rights Abuses, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Politics, Protest, US Government on April 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Jeff BouffardI’m writing to let you know that on Monday, 14 April 2008, I’ll have an opinion piece in the Florida Today regarding the Olympics.  The piece is set to appear in the print and online editions of the newspaper.  Also, there are a few new things on the web site – I hope you’ll take a few minutes to see some of them.  And please spread the good word.

Finally, I’d really like to meet each of you in person.  Anyone who would care to invite his or her friends and family to meet me by hosting a coffee at his home, a local restaurant or social club would be greatly appreciated.  I am available nearly every evening for the next three weeks.  Please email me so that we can arrange it.

In Liberty,
Jeff Bouffard
Libertarian Candidate for Congress
www.electbouf.com

Here is his op-ed in Florida Today; normally I would just post an excerpt and link the rest, but that particular paper has a screwy website, so I’m not sure everyone would be able to easily access it.

Boycott the Beijing Games

Don’t reward China for human rights abuses.

When I was invited to write an op-ed piece for FLORIDA TODAY, many issues flew through my head.

From war to immigration to my tax plan as a Libertarian candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon in Congress, dozens of topics could have been a focus.

But after 15 Congressmen and women made the not even half-hearted effort of asking President Bush to skip the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics this summer, I knew I needed to explain my moral position concerning the games.

All U.S. athletes should boycott the Beijing Olympics this summer. I know this decision will be difficult for any athletes to make because they have trained for years. But when you consider whether many former Olympians proudly displayed their medals from the 1936 games in Nazi Germany, I doubt it.

There are myriad reasons to boycott:

  • TibetAfter years of oppression, Chinese authorities arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks and other protesting Tibetans over the last month.
  • XinjiangA mostly Muslim province north of Tibet, the people of this sparsely populated region also do not consider themselves Chinese but forced integration into Chinese society and arrests are the norm there as well.
  • Sudan/Darfur.Film director Stephen Spielberg resigned as a consultant for the game’s opening ceremonies because of Chinese support for the government of Sudan. China is Sudan’s largest trading partner and many activists are upset the Chinese government does nothing to pressure the Sudanese to end the genocide in Darfur.
  • Taiwan.Chinese hostility toward Taiwan constitutes the single greatest danger to world peace. China insists the re-unification of Taiwan is an “internal affair.” The Taiwanese do not agree.
  • The Chinese Gulag.China’s prison system is the largest in the world. Dozens of human rights activists have been jailed for speaking out against the “Harmonious Society.”

    Ironically, the same day the Olympic Torch was lit a Chinese court sentenced Yang Chunlin to five years in prison. His crime: Collecting 10,000 signatures on a petition that began “We want human rights, not the Olympics.”

    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband doesn’t think a boycott would help human rights issues in China. He also said “engagement, not isolation” of the Chinese is the correct road.

    But more than a few people in Britain compare him to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who thought the best way to deal with Adolf Hitler was to let him have Czechoslovakia in 1939.

    President Bush and Congress have no moral clarity on this vital issue. They have broken moral thermometers themselves by allowing Abu Ghraib and the torturing of prisoners held by the U.S. military.

    The rest of us know torture, oppression of free speech and the denial of legal representation are wrong.

    That’s why U.S. athletes should boycott the Beijing Games. Anything less will glorify and justify the deeply corrupt communist government of China.

  • Bouffard is a Libertarian candidate for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, which includes the southern half of Brevard County. A former Army lieutenant, he lives in Satellite Beach.

    Brown supporters’ trial ended today

    In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, People in the news, Second Amendment, Taxation, US Government on April 5, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Bombs, Taxes and Red Crayons has covered today’s cross-examination of Reno Gonzalez, as well as the closing statements in the trial of the Brown supporters.

    Here are some excerpts:

    When Reno first heard about the Ed Brown standoff, he says he didn’t know it was about tax issues.  All he knew is that Ed had holed himself up his home.  Reno had been “researching” the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco at the time.

    Reno:  I didn’t think [the standoff] would last too long.  They would just go in and kill them.

    Reno (later): The US Marshals don’t ask questions … I thought this would be another Ruby Ridge.

    According to Reno, all three defendants were there to take advantage of Ed’s press.  Jason went to the Browns “because there was a cruise missile that hit the Pentagon” and “he was there to defend the Browns … the only thing else he did was drink beer.”  Riley was there “because he took a military oath” to defend the Constitution and his research had told him that the income tax laws were unlawful.

    Prosecutor:  Don’t you care about Ed and Elaine Brown?

    Reno:  Ed Brown is kind of a jerk… I’m a realist, not a hero.

    Prosecutor:  Did you tell Jason to arm himself?

    Reno:  No, I wouldn’t tell a pacifist to buy a gun.

    Prosecutor:  Jason Gerhard is a pacifist?

    Reno: Jason Gerhard is a good man.

    When Ed brought him a sample zip gun and asked if he could make more, Reno said that he was “for firearms, but against mines.  The spring gun had the capability of being used as a mine.”

    The most amusing part of today’s blog:

    He [the prosecutor] described Jason as someone who was spoiling for a fight and who was very … interested … in his gun.

    From an email Jason sent:

    I choose to enjoy porn while fondling my gun at Ed Brown’s house.  Try it one day.  It’s the best of all possible worlds.

    Is “my gun” what he calls Little Jason, or is he literally fondling a gun while watching porn?  Forget I asked that, I really don’t want to know.  LOL

    Jason Gerhard and Danny Riley are not going to testify in their own defense.  Except for the jury’s instructions and deliberations, which will start Monday morning, the trial is over.

    What I find sad is that the Brown supporters, and even Ed and Elaine themselves, have abandoned these men when they most need the support.  Their defense witnesses either took the Fifth or else failed to materialize.  Even Elaine took the Fifth, rather than testify on behalf of the men who gave up their own lives to protect hers.  None of the Brown supporters even attended the trial as a spectator, according to JJ; the only spectators were Jason’s mother and (usually) Danny’s brother.

    I can’t help but wonder …. had these three men realized that Ed and Elaine would leave them hanging like this,  would they have still made the decision to become involved?

    Old Buck feared Ed Brown would murder Elaine

    In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, People in the news, Personal Responsibility, Taxation, US Government on April 3, 2008 at 1:10 am

    As previously stated on this blog, the trial of the Ed and Elaine Brown supporters – Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez, Robert Wolffe, and Jason Gerhard – is being covered by a friend of mine, JJ MacNab, who is actually at the trial. I’ve been watching the comments on her trial blog, Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons, and it’s quite Illuminati illuminating.

    What follows is the conversation in question. Jim Hobbs is “Old Buck”, who stayed at the Brown home in his RV for months. Bob “woffle” (Wolffe) is one of the men currently on trial. “Admin” is JJ.

    ADMIN: You ever hear Ed’s plan to kill Elaine and blame the evil feds, Old Buck?

    BUCK: Not quite like that but yes I feared he may do such a thing as kill elaine and I told the marshals that the night I left.

    BUCK: I also told Bob woffle in an email I had that concern.

    ADMIN: Can you describe what you heard of Ed’s plan in an email, if you don’t mind. I have four different versions now and there are odd discrepancies with what we’re seeing in trial (the bunker set up, for example.)

    BUCK: No I will not as there is nothing to that whole story as it was all smoke and mirrors. while I did not agree with alot of what ed said and did, I believe the tax laws are being misapplied and ed and elaine were railroad. These men are being charged because the marshals were made to look like fool for 9mts. Its shameful how our stystem works.

    ADMIN: If there’s nothing to the story, why did you call the Marshals and warn Wolffe?

    BUCK: I called and left a message with the marshals telling them of my concern also warned woffle about ed and my concerns for elaines saftey. ed and I had been going round and round for a few days and I was very concerned . The bunker and tunnels wer the made up part. the hit list is ed bullshit.

    BUCK: I came to believe ed got himself in so deep the only out he saw was sucide by cop. I sincerly believed that and Bob wolfe agreed 100%. The problem was what the hell could I do about it. so I got out.

    So, according to someone who was undeniably very close to Ed Brown and Elaine Brown, and actually lived on the Browns’ property for a prolonged period of time during the standoff, Ed was possibly planning to murder Elaine; and this supporter was concerned enough for Elaine’s life at Ed’s hands that he actually broke away, and alerted the US Marshals that she was in danger.

    WOW.

    I wonder if Elaine, or her children, realized that she was in far more danger from Ed, than from the government?

    Would Ed have murdered Elaine? I have to take Buck’s words and actions for that, and say yes. I honestly do not believe that this man, who stood by Ed and Elaine’s side for so long, staying on the property to protect them, would ever have gone out of his way to call the Marshals and give them that information, unless he absolutely believed that Elaine was in serious danger of being murdered by Ed. It’s a good thing the Marshals came in when they did. They may actually have saved Elaine’s life. Old Buck may have saved Elaine’s life, by alerting the Marshals.

    In another update, Ed and Elaine have taken the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify on behalf of the men who are on trial for trying to protect them. They’ve hung these men out to dry.

    While this may come as a surprise to some, it’s not a surprise to me. As previously stated on LFV, I have never trusted Ed Brown. Too bad his supporters didn’t listen to me. If they had, they’d be at home with their families right now, instead of on trial and looking at spending decades in prison.

    The moral of the story: It does no good to protect someone based upon principle, when you are protecting someone who is completely unprincipled.

    Angry ex-boyfriend, or casualty of war?

    In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Military, Obituaries, Personal Responsibility, US Government, War on April 2, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Acevedo After returning from his third tour of duty in Iraq in three years, Lance Cpl. Eric Acevedo just wasn’t the same, his relatives said.The previously athletic teen, who had enlisted in the Marines just after graduating from high school a few months after the war began in 2003, suffered from nightmares, fought with his girlfriend and gained weight. The 22-year-old, whose breaks between deployments were less than a year, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, said his father, Andres Acevedo.

    Early Saturday morning, 13 months after returning from his last tour, he went to his ex-girlfriend’s townhouse, broke through a ground-floor window and stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife, police said. A blood-covered Acevedo then paced in the parking lot as officers rushed to the tan wood-and-brick townhouse complex and arrested him, neighbors said.

    Eric Acevedo, 22, is charged with capital murder, which carries the death penalty, and remained jailed Wednesday on $1 million bond. Acevedo’s court-appointed attorney, Lex Johnston, said he had not spent much time talking to his client.

    “I gave him to the government nice and healthy, and the government returned somebody who is capable of doing something like that,” Andres Acevedo told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    ______________________

    Read the rest of this article here. 

    Price Gouging Hypocrites In Congress Debate Oil

    In Congress, Economics, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Pumping gasThe war continues, the government may or may not be tapping your phone and Congress wants to learn economics.

    Each year we see Congress trying to find out why the price of oil increases. It is as if they cannot pick up an economics book and read. They blame the oil companies for price gouging while at the same time they never question how much money they are gouging by their gasoline taxes.

    For example, the federal government currently takes 18.4 cents a gallon in taxes. Additionally, the State of Iowa takes 22 cents a gallon in their taxes. This adds up to being a tax of 40.4 cents that you are paying on every gallon of gasoline you purchase in the state of Iowa.

    This is very similar to other states. When the oil companies make a profit they are able to reinvest their profits back into their businesses to do things such as find new oil. Similarly, the government uses their “profits” to reinvest back into roads.

    Why Prices Increase:

    The falling dollar makes our imports more expensive and our exports cheaper for other nations to buy.

    Supply and Demand. Not just in the United States, but look at the increased demand in China and India.

    Inflation. The price of everything increases, but you don’t see people protesting milk prices.

    And Congress should also consider the following quote in The Wall Street Journal:

    The oil industry also says it’s not reaping greater profits than other industries. American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy this week pointed to fourth-quarter 2007 profit — net income divided by revenue — for the Dow Jones Industrial companies, which averaged 7.1 cents on the dollar compared with 7.4 cents on the dollar for the oil and gas industry.

    Click here to read full article

    For more information about oil prices I encourage every member of Congress to watch the following John Stossel video.

    I bet the drug warriors are proud of themselves ….

    In Big Brother, Children, Congress, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug War, Health, Law, Media, People in the news, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Girl dies of cancer after dying wish of seeing incarcerated fatherA man serving his final year of a five-year sentence for drugs fought for months to see his dying 10-year-old daughter. Yet it took public outcry and overwhelming media attention – plus contact from his Congressman – before he was allowed to see her, and even then for only for 20 minutes.

    People are given early release from prison all the time, long before they have served 80% of their sentence. Yes, he was in the federal system where there is no parole, but there is still no reason why this man could not have been given compassionate early release.  Failing that, he could have been released until his daughter died, then returned to finish his sentence. His little girl was dying of brain cancer, for cripe’s sake, and all she wanted was her daddy. Her father was not in prison for a violent crime, and he poses no threat to society if released. He is in a minimum-security facility, after all.

    Anyone who thinks this situation did not call for compassionate early release is truly an evil person. I’m not advocating that he should have been released for his own reasons; I’m advocating that he should have been released early for his daughter’s sake. Now this completely innocent little girl is yet another victim of the war on drugs, because she suffered and died without her beloved daddy by her side.

    A 10-year-old girl died of brain cancer early this morning, shortly after receiving what her family said was her dying wish — a visit from her incarcerated father.

    “She was holding on to see her father,” Ed Yaeger said of his niece Jayci Yaeger.

    Jayci’s father, Jason Charles Yaeger, is serving the final year of a five-year sentence for a drug conviction in a minimum security prison camp in South Dakota, a 3½-hour drive from his daughter who was in hospice care in Lincoln, Neb.

    Officials, however, had denied Jason Charles Yaeger’s repeated requests for a furlough so he could spend more time with his daughter, who suffered from terminal brain cancer.

    Under the supervision of prison officials, Jason Yaeger visited Jayci Wednesday for about 20 minutes — just days before she died.

    “It’s just unfortunate that the visit was cut so short,” Ed Yaeger told ABC News.

    The Yaegers are upset with prison officials because Jason Yaeger was not able to be with his daughter when she died.

    “He was denied the proper good-bye,” Lori Yaeger, Jayci’s aunt, wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

    Jason Charles Yaeger had pleaded repeatedly with prison officials to honor the bureau’s apparent policy of allowing furloughs and transfers under “extraordinary” circumstances, but was rebuffed time and again, he told ABC News in a telephone interview from prison last week.

    In a letter to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska — dated Feb. 20 and obtained by ABC News — a regional director from the Department of Justice wrote that “although Mr. Yaeger believes his daughter’s severe medical condition constitutes ‘extraordinary justification,’ a review of his case reveals this specific request was … reviewed … and denied … because his circumstances were not deemed to rise to the level of extraordinary.”

    adsonar_placementId=1280488;adsonar_pid=43749;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=165;adsonar_zh=220;adsonar_jv=’ads.adsonar.com’;

    The congressman had requested information about the denials of the furlough or transfer.

    Last week, after ABCNEWS.com published a story on Jayci, the Bureau of Prisons released a statement saying that officials there “have reviewed inmate Yaeger’s request for a compassionate release and have determined his situation does not meet the criteria.”

    Jayci, named for her father’s initials, had been fighting for her life since she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3, seven years ago. But in the last six months, she had taken a severe turn downward.

    Doctors declared her condition terminal in October. Last month, they found they couldn’t transfer her to a children’s hospital closer to her Lincoln, Neb., home because they said she wouldn’t survive the trip, Lori Yaeger said.

    You can read the rest of this infuriating article here.

    Ed & Elaine Brown supporters on trial

    In Courts and Justice System, Crime, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Taxation, US Government on April 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Cirino The trial of the Ed and Elaine Brown supporters is being covered by my friend JJ MacNab, who is attending the trial; her daily blogs on the trial can be seen at Bombs, Taxes, and Red Crayons.

    For those unfamiliar with the case, on trial are Cirino “Reno” Gonzalez, Daniel Riley, and Jason Gerhard; each of the men potentially faces decades in prison if convicted. The men are accused of providing material support to Ed and Elaine Brown, providing them with, among other things, weapons and explosives. The Browns had been convicted of multiple counts including tax evasion and structuring transactions, and were fugitives when the alleged crimes occurred.

    Here’s an excerpt from the latest entry, wherein former co-defendant Robert Wolffe rats them all out pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement:

    Witness Robert Wolffe

    Bob Wolffe was the fourth defendant in this case. He signed a proffer letter just a few days after the September 12, 2007 indictment and arrest, and signed a plea agreement in January, 2008. Wolffe was wearing an orange prison t-shirt, jacket, and pants, but otherwise looked tidy, composed, and very serious about his situation and testimony.

    Wolffe lives in Randolph, VT and first heard of Ed Brown when the Browns were on trial in January 2007 for tax evasion and structuring financial transactions. Over the next eight months, he visited the Brown house roughly 25 to 30 times. He said that he understood that they had been convicted on multiple felony counts and that they were evading arrest.

    Wolffe conducted counter-surveillance by following US Marshals when they were following Jim Hobbs (the man who posts comments on this blog), and provided armed security for the Browns by wearing weapons at their home. He also did some target shooting on Ed Brown’s range next to the home. He identified a number of weapons he’d seen others carrying at the home.

    Wolffe has been charged with three felony counts in this case, and no counts were dropped as part of his plea agreement. He not only wasn’t promised any leniency by the prosecutors, but he was warned repeatedly that if he lied on the stand, he would be prosecuted for perjury.

    Wolffe testified on a number of important issues:

    1) He saw Reno and Ed carrying rifles while patrolling the property

    2) On another occasion, he saw Ed, Jason, and Danny with rifles again patrolling the property

    3) He saw Reno wearing a semi-automatic pistol in a holster and said that Reno told him that he was a security specialist in the military who was there to provide the Browns with security

    4) Reno had brought a .50 caliber rifles to the Browns’ home

    5) He first met Danny in late April, and Danny was involved in internet dealing with Shaun Kranish of www.makethestand.com

    6) He saw Danny and Ed trying to detonate Tannerite using different caliber ammunition and later Ed showed Wolffe the Tannerite baggies in the trees

    7) He saw the zip guns in Ed’s garage and Ed and Danny told him about their plan to place blanks in them and set them up as booby traps around the property to act as an early warning system

    8 ) Wolffe met Jason in mid-June and said that Jason took care of things around the Brown house

    9) Jason had been purchasing weapons for Ed Brown, but the local dealer had decided not to sell him any more

    10) Jason told Wolffe that he was joining the military to learn more about military tactics and explosives

    11) Wolffe is still a tax denier, but said that Ed and Elaine were convicted felons, so protecting them was a crime

    12) Wolffe lied to Keith Champagne in various letters by not telling him about his proffer in September 2007

    13) Wolffe was not a Constitution Ranger until the Brown standoff and didn’t know the Browns

    14) One of the main reasons Wolffe pled guilty was to protect his wife from weapons charges

    15) Wolffe acted as a mail center for various Brown supplies

    16) Wolffe provided roughly 6 to 8 pieces of pipe that were later turned into zip guns

    17) Wolffe had been in Ed Brown’s bedroom but not his closet (sometimes you have to wonder about the defense attorneys’ questions…)

    18) He saw Lauren Canario at the home three or four times, but was unfamiliar with several other names

    19) He said that Jim Hobbs lived at the Brown house for several weeks after Reno left

    20) Wolffe said that Ed Brown had a “secret hit list” but Wolffe thought that that was between Ed and his God

    21) Wolffe said that Ed had asked him to purchase a gun for Elaine, but that he’d refused. “I didn’t want to get involved in the standoff in that way.”

    Wolffe didn’t spend that long on the stand but his information was quite forthright and direct. Unlike the other defendants in this case, it would appear that he has a much better grasp of the reality of the situation.

    There is much, much more there, so if you are interested in this trial or the subject matter in general, you might want to check out the blog, which is updated daily.

    LP Presidential Candidate, Senator Mike Gravel, Interviewed By Newsweek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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