Archive for the ‘Liberty’ Category

Voting Your Hopes And Not Your Fears In 2016

November 4, 2016

The 2016 Presidential election is upon us, and once again the establishment parties are telling us that a vote for a third party candidate amounts to a vote for the “other candidate” who is supposedly much worse the their candidate.  If you’re excited about the prospect of a Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump Presidency, read no further; I’m not writing anything here that is likely to change your mind… Now for the rest of you…

If the thought of both a Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump Presidency turns your stomach, you may be thinking of voting for one of these two in order to stop the worst candidate from winning.  But don’t take the bait; this very thinking is the reason you are faced with such an abominable choice to begin with.

If you are leaning toward a third party candidate like Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Darrel Castle or somebody else, you have probably been approached by Hilary Clinton supporters who insist that a vote for your favorite candidate is a vote for Trump, and Donald Trump supporters who insist that voting your conscience is a vote for Hilary.  This is a logical fallacy. There are two possibilities, either your vote determines the outcome of the election, or it doesn’t.

If your vote (and the votes of others for the same candidate) is less than the margin of victory for either establishment party candidate, then at least you and your comrades sent a message that you want change in a direction that is consistent with the platform of your candidate and his or her party. A minor victory.  If you vote with either establishment party candidate, you would be giving a nod of approval to that candidate.  In the case of an over-whelming victory by the “lesser evil” you chose, you would be giving a “mandate” to enact that candidates policies. A lose-lose for you.

If your vote (and the votes of others for the same candidate) is more than the margin of victory for either establishment party candidate, then your vote is more powerful than ever!  Now you and your comrades have done much more than send a message that you want change in a direction that is consistent with the platform of your candidate and his or her party. You have become a voting block that the winning party must prevent the opposition from recruiting in the next cycle.  The winner must appease you by incorporating some of your policies.  At the same time the loser will actively seek out those who are of like mind to secure future victories, and this can only be accomplished by adopting some of the policy positions that your favorite candidate and party advocate.  A win-win for you.

The reason that the choices keep getting worse is because the establishment parties and their accomplices in the mass media have found a strategy that works.  Ironically, It only works with the acquiescence of those who are most disgusted by it.  As long as there is the illusion of only two choices a candidate only needs to show his or her opponent is so horrifying, that anyone is better… and there is only one other choice.  The media keeps emphasizing the bi-partisan horse race with rigged polls that leave demographics out of the sample who would vote for a third-party alternative, or the polls will only ask about two candidates at first.  So this way, frustrated third-party supporters will feel increasingly marginalized, and begin to think they are “throwing their vote away” by voting their hopes and not their fears.

Here’s where things get really ugly.  If the establishment parties candidates were simply lame, but not scary, then many voters might still be willing to “throw their vote away” to send a message, but not if they were horrified by one of the establishment candidates, then all that matters is stopping that candidate.  This goes both ways.  SO THE WORSE THE TWO ESTABLISHMENT PARTY NOMINEES ARE, THE MORE THEY CAN COUNT ON YOU VOTING FOR ONE OF THEM!!! Taking the bait and voting for a lesser evil out of fear of the greater evil reinforces this atrocious bi-partisan political machine, and drives a race to the bottom whereby we can keep expecting worse and worse candidates.

Now the above seems to imply some level of collusion which smells of tin-foil hats and conspiracy theories right?  Well sort of.  Wherever two people and greed are gathered there is a conspiracy, and yes, there is genuine collusion.  The most visible and obvious example of this collusion is the Commission on Presidential debates.  It was created by the establishment parties to keep out other candidates. Before then, the League of Women voters hosted the debates, but they were no longer willing to limit the forum to two candidates.  Since the time of Ross Perot they have raised the bar to prevent any future three-way debates.  However, even without planned collusion, this mindset is bound to be encouraged by each of the major campaigns, and the outcomes are likely to be just as abysmal as long as voters take the bait.

But isn’t this election different?  Are the stakes much higher than a few policy issues?  Absolutely!  Especially for libertarians.  If you are a libertarian it is absolutely essential that you cast a vote for the Libertarian nominee in this election.

For the first time since the election of Abraham Lincoln, we have a chance to break the two party system for the foreseeable future!  Some might argue that Ross Perot’s Reform Party presented such a possibility and withered away quickly, but this is different. The Reform Party was really a ballot access vehicle for one independent candidate, whereas the Libertarian Party has been a nationally balloted party since 1972.  It has been on the vast majority of state ballots in every election since then and has been on the ballot in all fifty states on previous occasions.  Since the party’s founding about 600 Libertarians held elected or appointed offices . Since the party’s creation, 10 Libertarians have been elected to state legislatures. The Libertarian Party has a platform based on a specific ideology, libertarianism.

In Michigan, a political party whose top of ticket candidate earns over 5% of the vote caste for Secretary of State in the previous election is treated the same as a major party.  The only difference being that that Michigan election law reserves the phrase, “major party” for the top two vote getters, but other than that, there would be no difference.  So if Gary Johnson’s electors receive 154,040 votes in Michigan, the Libertarian Party of Michigan will effectively become a major party!  Most other states have similar laws.

In addition, Federal election laws will kick in that will make large sums of money available to the Libertarian Party thereby enabling it to overcome ballot obstacles in states where these problems still exist.  This last benefit is controversial among Libertarians, but I think Michael Emerling made the same points I would make.  Even being in the enviable position of being able to reject these funds would be a game changer. Being a federally recognized “minor party” is just a stones throw away from being a “major party.”

Having three major parties instead of two, would improve the candidates of the Republican and Democrat parties too; they would need to appeal to our hopes and not our fears.

Then there is the Holy Grail of Presidential elections… The Oval.  This is the first time in the Libertarian Party’s history when there is a reasonable probability of winning the election.  At first this claim may seem outrageous since even the most favorable polling doesn’t bring us to within a margin of error of earning a majority of electoral votes.  Here’s where the contingencies of the Twelfth Amendment of the US Constitution come into play.  If no candidate gets a majority of the electoral vote, then the election is up to the US House of Representatives, which must pick from the top three electoral vote getters. Given the fact that they are mostly Republicans who can’t stand Trump or Clinton, their would be a reasonable chance they would nominate a two-term Republican Governor turned Libertarian.  For the first time a number of Republican leaning major dallies, including the Detroit News, have chosen to endorse Gary Johnson because of their disgust with Trump.  Even former Republican nominee Mitt Romney who won’t vote for Trump, won’t rule out voting for Johnson.  So the idea of the House picking Johnson may not be that far-fetched.

How could Johnson get electors?  The untold story on the evening news is that there is enough support for Johnson in some states, that a plurality is not out of reach for the former New Mexico Governor.  Given the mass defections by Republicans who can’t stomach Donald Trump, a few disloyal electors can’t be ruled out either.

Another reason Republicans might settle on Johnson is that they would still be able to get their Vice Presidential nominee elected.  Under the Twelfth Amendment, only the top two electoral vote getters for Vice President could be considered.  This would probably be Mike Pence and Tim Kaine. The Republican Senate would probably choose Pence.  This leaves Bill Weld without a probable path to victory.

It is time to break the two party system and you have a chance to do it.  Furthermore, you would be voting for the most qualified candidate.  By himself, Governor Johnson has more executive experience than all of this years opposing Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates combined.  Unlike his opponents he is not likely to corner Russia and flirt with Nuclear war in Syria, nor is he a loose cannon who is likely to push the proverbial button in the midst of a temper tantrum.  Rather he supports a strong defense and a non-interventionist foreign policy. He is not under criminal investigation for endangering the national security or sexual assault. He has a positive message based on reducing the scope of government and affirming individual liberty.  He is a successful businessman who did not use repeated bankruptcies to avoid paying contractors.  He won’t be putting people in Prison for non-violent drug offenses.

He is a moderate, but here’s the biggest benefit to us more radical libertarians.  With the rise of the Libertarian Party, the new paradigm will no longer be left-versus right; rather it will be liberty versus authoritarianism, paving the way for a more clear cut ideological dichotomy moving forward.  Eventually this may devolve into another entrenched bi-partisan paradigm, but that tragedy is a way off.

Thomas Jefferson suggested that 20 years was too long to go without a revolution, the revolution we can win this Tuesday is way overdue.  Don’t blow this once in a lifetime opportunity by falling for the same old scare tactics.

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Transracial People Define Themselves

June 17, 2015

Define yourself, or be defined
-Cass Corridor sidewalk graffiti-

I am deeply disturbed by lack of sensitivity people have shown toward Rachel Dolezal. For those unfamiliar with her plight, Rachel Dolezal was a Spokane Washington NAACP President who considered herself to be “African-American” or “black.” Recently, it became apparent that her biological parents considered themselves to be “White,” and using reasoning derived from Public Enemy’sFear of a Black Planet” lyrics, “White man, white woman, white baby” journalists concluded that if she was born “white” she must still be “white.” Next came accusations that she was lying about her race, and that her “True race” was “white.”

The implication here is that a person can’t change his, her, or its demographic. Put another way, the paradigm at work here dictates that you’re personality must adapt to the body you were born with, and any attempt to modify your body to externalize one’s inner sense of identity is somehow phony or dishonest. Most people are comfortable in their own skin and don’t wish to change it, but that isn’t any reason to be so harsh on people who are not so fortunate.

To some extent, changing the way one looks, in ways that bypass heredity, is common and accepted. Genetics determines hair color, but people who feel they are more blond, brunet, or red head can chose to be that. Even then there is a bit of snobbishness. Ever see a blond rolling her eyes as another one passes and remark “She’s not a natural blond.” When I was first asked to fill out an application for my drivers permit I was confused, because it asked for eye color. Knowing that my eyes changed color (normally based on what I was wearing), I asked nearby people what color my eyes were. After receiving multiple answers I was tempted to write “rainbow” in on the form, but was later urged to call them “hazel” Since then I have seen people with purple and yellow eyes. There are contact lenses for that.

Switching other traits is much more controversial. This may be because they are groups that politicians like to pander to; the divide and conquer strategy of the establishment depends on a lack of mobility between demographic groups. In these united states of America collectivist politicians love the categories of “race” and sex.

Mobility between sexes has achieved an unprecedented level of acceptance. Lately there has been a lot of buzz about Decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner having sex reassignment surgery and changing her name to “Kaitlyn,” but Jenner walks a path that has been blazed and cleared by a variety of other individuals. One of those people was, the tennis player Richard Raskind. While he was successful as a man, he chose to become a woman. She went on to be the Tennis player Rene’e Richards. When Richards was first outed as being born a male, she faced criticism that was very similar in content to the rhetoric used against Rachel Dolezal now. Richards was accused of pretending to be a woman in order to get an advantage by playing against male rather than female athletes. They would say she lied about her sex. Athletic organizations banned Richards from playing her favorite game because the United States Tennis Association, established an unprecedented women-born-women policy.

Of course Richards laughed off the notion that men would be lining up for the emasculating surgery so they could play professional tennis against men. Of course transsexual and transgender people face different challenges then transracial people. [Side note: Gender is not the same thing as sex. “Masculine” and “feminine” are genders, “male” and “female” are sexes.]

One distinction is that there are structural, functional and chromosomal differences that delineate sexes (though many people are born as hermaphrodites with intermediate or combined sexual traits). Race, on the other hand is a social construct, or a look. The belief in distinct races is a myth largely promoted by the likes of eugenicists and slavery apologists, to serve their particular agendas. Modern humans don’t exist as distinct subspecies, like say wolves and coyotes. So it would seem that changing races is even easier than changing sexes. From a medical perspective this is certainly the case, but social acceptance has ironically proven more difficult.

While Richards scoffed at the idea that someone would have a sex-change simply to gain some advantage, it is possible that someone would, but so what? As a libertarian I believe in peoples right to do as they wish with their property, and the most valuable piece of physical property individuals can own is their own bodies. As a matter of enlightened self-interest, I would hope that anyone choosing to change ones physical identity to such a degree, would be doing so to be true to one’s self. However, that’s not up to me. There are other cases where people have “passed as” members of another race in order to gain an advantage. Examples include Carol Channing, and reputedly Dinah Shore. By “passing” they were able to perform in venues that were off limits to those who held onto the look that was then called “negro” or “colored.” While this is less ideal then people taking on a look that matches their sense of self, such pragmatic “passing” is still morally defensible. If it is to ones advantage to change one’s sex or race, then it seems to me the fault is in the society that makes these changes advantageous, not in the character of the person who is trying to better one’s self.

I don’t know Ms. Dolezal personally, but it is my distinct impression that she is transracial. That is to say, that she has chosen a racial identity that differs from the one that she was supposedly born with. If this is the case, then she can’t be said to have lied about her race. She simply changed her public identity to harmonize with her inner self. I have often been confused when looking at Federal forms that ask people to categorize themselves into narrow racial categories. This is probably more confusing to an educated person who knows that race is mythical then it is to a person who has been duped by racialist politicians. There it defines black as follows, “A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.” These forms also ask what one considers oneself, rather than what one is. By the aforementioned definition, any human could honestly answer “yes,” based on current paleontological and mitochondrial evidence, which shows modern humans to have a common ancestry in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dolezal’s parents showed an attitude similar to the attitudes people used to have toward members of the LGBT community.  They said, “We hope she gets the help she needs.”  The implication was that she was sick, and needed professional “help.”

There is one thing I have put on the back burner: She lied about her father. Lying is wrong and I don’t wish to defend it, but it is understandable. In an age of discrimination against transracial people, as is evidenced by the harsh rhetoric she has faced, she may have felt compelled to lie about her past. I suspect many transsexuals may hesitate to tell people they used to be a different sex, often as a matter of self-preservation. Perhaps unintentionally, Ms. Dolezal has opened the way for another wave of diversity acceptance. People who have been labeled “Oreos,” “wanabees,” and “wiggers” for instance, may soon be recognized as transracial. At least, that is, until we move past this categorical mentality altogether, and see people as individuals, and not members of politically defined categories.

My Choice for President (The Sequel)

June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012

In February, I endorsed libertarian-Republican Ron Paul.  My confidence that, if elected, he would be the best president in generations is unshaken.  Naturally, I voted for him in Michigan’s presidential primary.  Unfortunately, by Dr. Paul’s own admission, his nomination at the Republican Convention in Tampa is extremely unlikely.  In fact nothing short of Romney’s exit from the contest would make it possible.

I don’t wish to discourage Ron Paul delegates.  They have an unprecedented opportunity to give the Republican Party a more libertarian national platform, and they have the numbers to do it; delegates are committed to a candidate on the first ballot, but no such restraints apply to matters of policy.

So where do we go from here? There will be a number of choices on the ballot.  The typical approach for supporters of a Republican candidate is for those people to rally around their party’s nominee, but Ron Paul supporters are not motivated by a love of politics as usual.  Rather, they are motivated by a message of maximum liberty in the context of a constitutionally limited republic, and a desire to elect a president who feels as they do.

Gary Johnson and Scotty Boman

Gary Johnson and Scotty Boman at Libby Fest.

The good news is that they still have an opportunity to elect such a president! The Libertarian Party has nominated New Mexico’s former two-term Governor Gary Johnson as their presidential candidate.  Governor Johnson has been the most libertarian governor in United States history:

  • He vetoed 750  of the bills that were passed by the New Mexico legislature; more than all other governors combined.
  • He cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone.
  • He got government out of the way thereby allowing for the private creation of 20,000 more jobs.
  • He left New Mexico with a budget surplus.
  • He cut taxes 14 times while never raising them.

…the list goes on.  Throughout the early Republican campaign for the nomination he repeatedly advocated libertarian solutions for national problems, and as a two-term governor he enters the race with stronger political credentials then any other Libertarian nominee, and he has more executive experience then Barack Obama and Mitt Romney combined.

Furthermore, a vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for the party of principal.  The Libertarian Party has been the choice for advocates of individual liberty and limited government for 40 years.  Many of it’s founders were Goldwater Republicans who were disgusted with Nixonian statism.  In 1988 Ron Paul was the Party’s nominee President.  At the 2012 convention, delegates nominated Judge Jim Gray as Gary Johnson’s running mate.  Judge Gray is an outspoken critic of the war on drugs.

For these reasons, I wholeheartedly endorse the Libertarian candidate, Governor Gary Johnson, as my choice for President of these United States.

Tea Party Welcomes Boman. Hoekstra Snubs Tea Party.

May 23, 2012

5/22/2012

Shelby Township, MI – United States Senate candidate, Pete Hoekstra backed out of a candidate forum after

Boman Speaks as Hoekstra looks on in Grandville on May 14th.

Boman Speaks as Hoekstra looks on in Grandville on May 14th, at the Eternal Word Church.

learning he would have to face Libertarian hopeful Scotty Boman.  The forum was held by the Romeo Area Tea Party at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township and was moderated by WJR Radio Personality Frank Beckmann.

During introductory statements, Beckmann explained the absence of former Congressman Pete Hoekstra by saying that Hoekstra was uncomfortable with the format, and objected to the inclusion of Scotty Boman in the forum.  Boman commented that he expected Hoekstra to have a “…thicker skin than that.”  The following morning (May 22nd) Beckmann addressed the snub again during the first segment of his 9:00 AM to Noon radio program on WJR AM.  He specifically cited comments made by Boman at a forum held on May 14th as making Hoekstra uncomfortable.

At the May 14th forum in Grandville, Boman speculated on who he would vote for in the Republican Primary if he didn’t qualify to be in it saying, “We’re still a little short and if these are the only candidates I have to choose from, I’m going with Clark Durant…He’s a person that really sticks to principle. He’s a man who has professional talent to get things done.” This forum, at Eternal Word Church, was only attended by Pete Hoekstra, Gary Glenn, Randy Hekman, Clark Durant, and Scotty Boman. Peter Konetchy (who qualified for the Republican primary) did not attend.

On his May 22nd radio broadcast, Beckmann said Hoekstra viewed Boman and Durant as “a slate,” due to Boman’s favorable remarks about Durant.  When asked, Boman has clarified this as a comment about his Republican Primary preference and that he would be voting Libertarian in November.

In September of 2011 libertarian activist, Scotty Boman announced his effort to seek the Republican Party nomination for United States Senate, but fell short of the 15,000 signatures needed to file for the Republican Primary.  As a result, Boman’s name cannot appear on the Republican Party’s Primary ballot.

In 2008 Boman was on the general election ballot as a Libertarian.  He placed third in the election.  Libertarians nominate their State-wide candidates by a self-funded convention rather than a tax-payer funded primary. As a result, Libertarians can select their candidates at conventions, while also voting in major party primaries.

The Libertarian Party will hold it’s convention on June 2nd at:  Embassy Suites Livonia/Novi. 19525 Victor Parkway. Livonia, MI 48152

Another candidate, Erwin Haas, is also seeking that nomination.

My Choice for President

February 27, 2012

I am a Republican candidate for United States Senate as well as a Precinct Delegate.  I have been a delegate at the last two Republican State conventions.  Prior to being a Republican candidate, I ran for a variety of public offices as a Libertarian. I first met Ron Paul in 1988 when he ran for President as a Libertarian.  I worked on his Republican campaign in 2008, and have been knocking on doors and phoning from home to get him elected in 2012.

 

Many people campaign on a platform of liberty, and many others get elected to public office.  Ron Paul not only speaks about liberty, he has manifested it through his service as a veteran, and his voting record in Congress; always standing on the side of right even when he must stand alone.  He is the only viable candidate who stands consistently for free markets, honest money, and a non-interventionist foreign policy in a constitutionally limited Republic.

 

I proudly accept responsibility for any of my political opinions, and am not acting as the spokesperson for any employer or organization I am involved with.

De Facto Martial Law is Imminent in the USA

December 29, 2011

As of this posting the Bill has not been signed by President Barack Obama.  There is an online petition on the White House website.  It may seem hopeless to petition the president on his own webpage, but this is the most popular petition there.

http://wh.gov/jeY

One last try.

On the night of Tuesday November 29th I participated in a Senatorial Debate hosted by the Brighton TEA Party, Rattle With Us, RetakeOurGov, Lakes Area TEA Party and the West Oakland County TEA Party Patriots.  Thank you to all of them for hosting a fair and balanced forum.  On the way home I found myself dwelling on differences I had with some of the other candidates.  I was starting to think that even Debbie Stabenow might be better than one or two of them.

Then I got home and went online.

To my disbelief and horror I learned that Michigan’s own Carl Levin, and former Presidential nominee John McCain had introduced an amendment to a bill (S. 1867) that would give the President the authority to order troops to  arrest and indefinite detention of people in the United States without any due process.  A casual reader of this Bill (it’s long so search for “Subtitle D—Detainee Matters”) might point out that this bill only applies to people who are supporters of al-Qaeda or related groups, but this language begs the question.  Since there is no due process, this qualification need only be claimed, not proven.

So the bottom line is that this bill would give the president the authority to send troops into US streets, round up innocent civilians, load them into box cars, and store them in detention camps for the remainder of their lives.  President Obama originally said he didn’t want that power and would veto this bill.  Later he retracted the veto offer and is now threatening to sign it.

So what does all of this have to do with Stabenow and the Senatorial debates?  Senator Debbie Stabenow is among the Senators who voted “Yea” on this bill

(Motion to Invoke Cloture on S.1867).  Well, none of the disagreements I have with any of my Republican opponents is this bad.  As much as I have opposed Pete Hoekstra’s bailout vote, or Gary Glenn’s anti-LGBT policies, I can’t compare their folly on these issues to the outright fascism that Debbie Stabenow approves of.

The people who voted in favor of this bill have attempted to do more harm to America than any act of terror.  Rather than a specific tragedy on a specific day, we face the prospect of continuous terror in a prison nation where  any one of us could disappear on any given day.

This was an act of treason, and the 88 traitors who have taken this action deserve no more respect or mercy than any one who is correctly called a terrorist.  A later vote was even more disturbing: 93 in favor and only seven against.

The mainstream media has completely ignored this travesty.  Only a few Television personalities such as Judge Judge Andrew P. Napolitano on the Fox Business Network dared touch it.  Since this time, the Bill has moved through the House of Representatives and up to the President’s desk.  On December 14th  H.R. 1540 was made compatible with S. 1867.   283 Representatives supported the final version and 136 opposed it.  My representative, Hansen Clarke, did the right thing and voted “Nay.”

Finally, it went back through the Senate with the offending clauses still intact.

Some have argued that this is a false alarm, but  a careful reading of the Bill shows all concerns to be justified.  In response to emails and phone calls, Senator Stabenow defended her actions claiming, “The National Defense Authorization Act only codifies into law what is currently U.S. policy.” The implication being that unconstitutional policies are somehow better if made law.  The opposite it true.  It is much easier to contest a wrongful government action in court if there is not a law legitimizing it.

Stabenow further claims,

“I voted to ensure that only terrorists who are members of al-Qaeda and who commit an act of war against the United States can be detained. For the first time, detainees now have the right to a hearing before a judge with a defense lawyer present. The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 93-7, also protects the right of habeas corpus. In addition, I voted for an amendment, which passed, explicitly stating that nothing in the bill shall be construed to affect existing law related to U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any other persons who are captured in the U.S.”

The relevant portions (Subtitle D—Counterterrorism) can be found in the final version, and do not support the Senator’s claim:

Section 1031a. Reads, “IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.”  Part 2 of that subsection identifies possible “covered persons” to include, “A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” Note the use of wedge phrases like “associated forces,” “belligerent act,” and “substantially supported.”  It is also noteworthy that this makes people who oppose governments of coalition partners into “covered persons” even if they are not part of al-Qaeda (which is more of a movement than an organization).

Another critical phrase here is “Disposition under law of war.” This is spelled out in Subsection b:

“1 (c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:

(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111–10 84)).

(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.

(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.”

So it may include, “Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”  This is the smoking gun that shoots down the Senator’s claim.  Yes it may also include trials, but not necessarily.  This allows for detention WITHOUT TRIAL.  This can be a life sentence, since the “…end of the hostilities…” is an arbitrary moment when the enemy is a loosely knit movement like al-Qaeda (or “associated forces”), and the “hostilities” take the form of sporadic acts of homicide against a variety of people at a variety of locations.

But all of this knit-picking misses on major point which is that without a trial ANYONE becomes a covered person since a person is innocent until proven guilty and the trial is the means by which guilt is determined.  In other-words, the Senator’s claim that the law would, “…ensure that only terrorists who are members of al-Qaeda and who commit an act of war against the United States can be detained.” Completely begs the question.

As for other claims.  The phrases “habeas corpus” and “defense lawyer” are nowhere to be found in the document.  There are unrelated references to “attorneys who provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the Armed Forces.”  The only thing resembling such due process is a clause referring to MILITARY judges and MILITARY council under “PROCEDURES FOR STATUS DETERMINATIONS.”  This is not the due process civilians are entitled to under the Bill of Rights, and remember this is not required since the law provides for, “Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

Finally there is the claim that, she, “… voted for an amendment, which passed, explicitly stating that nothing in the bill shall be construed to affect existing law related to U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any other persons who are captured in the U.S.”  OK.  It does say that, but then why have the other parts of the law there to begin with?  Any new law pertaining to “U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any other persons who are captured in the U.S.” must affect existing law by adding to it.  All this really does is say that existing laws remain on the books and are not amended by this one.  It does not negate the fact that this additional law is also on the books and may be used on the aforementioned persons.  Furthermore, courts have routinely ruled in favor of laws that conflicted with the United States Constitution or “existing laws.”  So this doesn’t hold much weight, and if one is being held without trial, the opportunity to invoke existing law may not arise.

The bottom line is that Congress has passed a law that that puts dictatorial powers in the hands of the President.  It has been brazenly ignored by the establishment media. This, at a time when there is apparently no urgency or extraordinary circumstances.  This is not an accident. We are destined to live in interesting times.

NEWSPEAK BULLIES LIBERTY

January 16, 2011
[Authors note:  This column was originally published in the Michigan Libertarian.  Several readers have commented that I needed to share these thoughts with a larger readership.  Recent inappropriate reactions to the events in Arizona (which attempt to link a killers tragic behavior to non-violent expression) highlight the need for more people to read this.]
 

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell –

 

There is a stealth attack on our liberties and most people don’t even recognize it.  Before people are conquered by coercion and force, they must be disarmed philosophically.  Once people accept a false premise, exalted opinion makers can use that premise to promote their agenda. 

A consistent philosophy is like a sophisticated piece of architecture or a machine; without structural integrity it will collapse or fail.  Sometimes there are specific elements of a structure that are needed to support the rest.  In a building it may be a cornerstone, keystone or column.  In a machine it may be a simple pin, filter, or chip.

The distinction between violence and communication is critical to liberty and civil society.  Without it there can be no principled defense of free speech, nor can there be principled objection to violence being used in response to speech.  The statist agenda has been well served by the recent MSM fixation on so-called “cyber-bullying.”  The phrase is such a clear example of Orwellian newspeak that I would expect this to be nothing more than hyperbolae or a metaphor.  “Bullying” is a phrase that has been associated with violence.  The use of “Cyber” as a prefix is consistent with the use of certain technology.  If the terminator starts making threats and beating people up, that’s cyber-bullying, but that is not how the phrase is being used.

People are being called cyber-bullies for making unwelcome remarks about peers and colleagues on the Internet.  This wouldn’t be a matter of concern, if the word-use were understood to be metaphorical.  For example, politicians will refer to “attack ads,” with full understanding that they need not draw a gun to defend themselves.  But talk show hosts, law enforcement officials, and politicians actually believe that verbal and electronic taunting is an act of violence.

The lack of publicized dissension to this doublethink is mind numbing.  Most pre-schoolers of the prior generation had superior intellectual integrity to the opinion leaders of today.  They had a simple, though accurate phrase, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  The degree to which a person believed the phrase was the degree to which the outcome would support it; the words may be harmless, but the response one has to them may not be.

It has now become politically correct to disarm those who are most vulnerable, and convince them that they are emotionally defenseless, against criticism.  As a teacher, I have seen the so-called “anti-bullying” hype that gives the impression that the way to address criticism is to silence the critic.  Rather than learning that ideas are to be fought with better ideas, youth are learning that unwelcome criticism must be fought by silencing the critic.  Civil liberty considerations not withstanding, this is a terrible disservice to young people.  So long as someone takes ownership of his or her responses, he or she has a way to preserve his or her self-esteem amidst a surge of insults.  Without these coping tools, the object of the taunts is helplessly waiting for help from others.

This leads me to the next critical piece of the philosophy that is in danger.  The distinction between one person’s actions and those of another.  Once again, the intellectual integrity of most pre-millennial preschoolers towers above the philosophical cesspit of contemporary pundits.  The childhood wisdom would be encapsulated in a rhetorical question: “If someone dared you to jump off the bridge would you do that too?”  Back in the day this would prompt a person to reflect on the stupidity of blaming his or her actions on the fact that someone else dared him or her to do it.  These days it could be cause for prosecution. 

Nowadays, pundits will say that unwelcome words or online postings “cause” a suicide.  Remarkably, this double-think goes unchallenged.  This is one of those cases where the truth is so self-evident that explaining it becomes difficult.  The word “suicide” is reserved for killing one’s self.  By definition the killer and the victim are the same person.  To say someone else caused a suicide is to say that the act is not what it is.  This is not just a matter of minutia.  People are often put in prison or executed for killing other people.  By definition the victim causes the suicide.

The reader may choose to respond with anger and disbelief, but the fact of the matter is that suicide victims cause their own deaths.  Putting the truth plainly is not the most sensitive thing to do, but often it is the kindest thing to do.  Tragically, statists exploit the grief of suicide victims families.  Rather than guiding them to acceptance and helping them move on, suicide victims are used as poster children for laws that squelch discourse, and empower bureaucrats.  Personal tragedies, childhood crushes, and teachable moments become part of a media circus, with children playing the Orwellian character, “Boxer” in the center ring.

The immediate outcomes are personal, but the paradigm shift this facilitates is even more abominable.  If a writer is responsible for the way readers respond, then all writers are potential unwitting murderers.  This not only has the effect of incriminating the innocent, but also absolving the guilty; if the author of an email or posting can “cause” a person to kill him or her self, the author could also “cause” a person to kill someone else.  Thus a killer could use the “somebody dared me to do it” defense!

Some readers may think I am being alarmist, and that these semantic sins won’t have legal consequences.  Unfortunately, the tree of irrationality is already bearing tyrannical fruits:

  • I attended a school assembly where an FBI agent told children that he has had to arrest kids for sending unwelcome emails, and they have been taken from their parents and put in juvenile detention. Missouri has made “cyber-harassment” a Class D felony.
  • State Representative Lisa Brown supports similar legislation in the Michigan Legislature.  She supports fines for adults who make unwelcome remarks about other adults in blogs.

I have made a distinction here between words and violence, but I don’t wish to say words are of no consequence…. Just the opposite.  Words communicate ideas.  Belief in certain ideas can be lethal.  The philosophy we have, guides our response to the words we hear.

When one’s philosophy equates words with violence, one is inclined to respond with violence.  Not only does this bring greater tragedy, but it does nothing to defeat the depraved ideas.  Brute force is impotent against flawed beliefs.  The best way to defeat false beliefs is with the truth.  This is much easier said than done, but that doesn’t make it less true.  The ultimate alternative is the draconian approach of criminalizing ideas and executing heretics.  In the battle of ideas there is no substitute for philosophy.

[Republication of the unabridged article with credit to Scotty Boman is welcome]

Forced Health-Care Crusaders take Aim at First Amendment

September 21, 2009

Medical Symbol

Religious freedom and alternative medicine have been placed in the cross hairs of the Federal government, and weapon of choice is so-called health-care reform.  This most recent plot to criminalize people who mind their own business floated to the surface earlier this month with a bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus which would include a fine for those who refused to purchase health insurance. 

 

My first thought was that Bacchus had a bit too much wine and the plan would sink.  For one thing, Obama had opposed such fines.  Without presidential support or enough support in Congress such a bill would be dead in the water.  But no!  In a true-to-form flip-flop our President has decided that fining people who have previously been law-abiding citizens is OK.

 

This is wrong on so many levels, that it is hard to know where to begin.  Fines are customarily imposed to punish people for actions, not inactions.  Even the “inaction” of not stopping at a stop sign is a type of action.  I am actively driving a deadly machine.  By choosing a course of action that has intrinsic hazards, I am accepting the responsibility to do it in a manner that does not endanger others.  One can call “failure to stop” an inaction, but driving through an intersection and endangering my neighbors is an action.  This stands in stark contrast to the action of existing.  Simply being alive without buying health insurance is to be an infraction.

 

The precedence of this abomination is profound.  The only equivalent, in my memory, was when involuntary servitude was sanctioned by the Federal Government in the form of the draft.  Now we slip down the slippery slope into a realm where civilians can be penalized for not obeying specific orders from their commander-in-chief.  At least the advocates of the draft could claim an exception on the basis that the President had the right to raise an army (an argument that I find insufficient), but no Constitutional sanction is sought after here.  After ignoring the Tenth and Ninth Amendments for decades, the politicians arrogantly think the public will comply when they say BOHICA, and I fear they may be right.

 

In addition to fining people who would rather mind their own business than follow orders, this law would force people to become customers of an industry, rather than have that industry reach out to them in the free market.  Soon every industry will have it’s lobbyists on Capital Hill asking that people be required to purchase their over-priced products, or face penalties.  Never before has our government forced people to buy an expensive product as a requirement for existing.  In a sense we are to be fined for the crime of being born.  Our sentence is to buy an insurance policy or pay a fine.  I have not yet read about the penalty for rejecting both options.  If the fine is taken by force, it will violate the Constitutional prohibition on confiscating personal property without reasonable compensation.

 

Obama has made a fallacious comparison of coerced health insurance purchases to the requirement that drivers buy auto insurance.  First of all, auto insurance is imposed by the states, not by the Federal government so there are no ninth or tenth amendment issues so long as the feds stay out of it.  Second of all, states have consistently enforced a number of controls on drivers (including the requirement that one carries a license) under the claim that driving is a privilege rather than a right.  There are reasonable objections to this claim, but so long as it stands, one cannot use it as precedence for coerced health insurance purchases.  So far, existence has been regarded as a right rather than a privilege; perhaps the plan will change that distinction as well.  Finally, I could discontinue my auto insurance immediately, and I would never get a fine for being without it, that is until I got caught driving without it (which would be an action not an inaction).

 

This idea is also offensive on the level of common decency.  Many people want to be insured but can’t afford it, or are simply rejected by the insurance companies regardless of ability to pay.  I suspect this is where the “public option” comes in. The idea of prodding people into it, with the threat of a fine, smacks of blaming and punishing the victim.

 

Others may be able to afford the health care that works for them, but not be able to afford buying insurance that doesn’t cover what they need.  A poor person who has been helped by chiropractory, homeopathic-medicine, herbology or acupuncture may be forced to chose between becoming sick and buying insurance he or she doesn’t use, or becoming a fugitive.

 

Of all the reasons this is a bad idea, one lights the fire in my belly more than any other.  What about people who reject health insurance for religious reasons?  I know it may seem rather cute to bring up that desecrated piece of parchment again, but there is supposedly such a thing as freedom of religion in this country.  While I have no religious objection to modern medicine, I respect the rights of those who do.  The key word being “rights.”  This is right up there with other rights like freedom of the speech and freedom of the press.  Members of many religious denominations and sects reject the type of medical treatments that this law would require them to purchase.  Forcing them to purchase a product, that is against their religion to use, is a violation of their religious freedom.  It would be like forcing traditional Muslims and Jews to purchase thousands of dollars worth of pork.  This outrageous idea would never see the light of day, yet statist politicians have no problem forcing members of The Body, Bible Readers Fellowship, Bible Believers’ Fellowship, Christ Assembly, Christ Church, Christ Miracle Healing Center, Christian Science, Church of God Chapel, Church of God of the Union Assembly, Church of the First Born, End Time Ministries, Faith Assembly, Faith Tabernacle Congregation, Followers of Christ, Full Gospel Deliverance Church, General Assembly, Holiness Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses (only objection today is to blood transfusions), Jesus through Jon and Judy, “No Name” fellowship, Northeast Kingdom Community Church, and The Source to purchase insurance.  Perhaps it is because many of them are not involved in the political process: Another right I respect.

 

Some may argue that these people will benefit from forced health-care.  That misses the point.  Consenting adults have a right to make decisions about their own bodies because it is THEIR bodies, not somebody else’s.  Perhaps this simple self-evident point now falls on deaf ears because so many people have tolerated the plethora of laws that have told people what they can eat, drink, eat, smoke, or inject.  They have tolerated laws that have told them what times they can do these things.  They have tolerated laws that tell consenting adults who they can have sex with, what positions are allowed and whom they can marry.  Ironically, many people have used religion to justify such laws.  A few people who thought religious freedom only applied to their particular belief, set the stage for many innocents who will see religious freedom disappear completely.

 

What will happen when people reject forced health-care for religious reasons?  What will the czars in DC decide must be done when they refuse to pay the fines?  I know they will wish those people would just go away.  Will they try to make their wish come true?

 

How far must this go?  When average citizens are fined for rejecting random rectal exams, will they finally say, “Enough is enough! Get your laws off my body!”

?

Tenth Amendment: Key to Drug Policy Reform

April 28, 2009

The Libertarian Party supported Proposal 1 in the last election.
The Democrats and Republicans would not touch it.

The Libertarian Party is the ONLY political party that has consistently called for the re-legalization of Drugs as a matter of principal.

Democrats & Republicans have been equally antagonistic to your right to control your own body chemistry.

  • Presidents can pardon all federal prisoners. 
  • Governors can pardon all state prisoners.
  • They have not used this power as they should…
    This so-called “Land of the Free” has a larger portion of it’s citizens in prison, than any other country on Earth.  With a half million people being in jail for violating drug laws.

Nonetheless I applaud those who have worked to reform the major parties.  Regardless of partisan affiliation, we must make the right to control ones own bodies a hot-button issue.  We must make it clear to the politicians that we will not vote for any candidate who supports the continuation of prohibition.

Politicians who have been enacting federal drug laws (that do not address border crossings, or trade across state lines) are themselves criminals.

The Constitution only permits the federal government to regulate trade between states, not trade within states.  The Federal Government has no authority to trump state medical marijuana laws. 

As long as you don’t take drugs across state lines, sell drugs on Federal property, or use federal services to deliver drugs, they have no authority over this trade.

What about our current leaders?

  • Candidate Barack Obama said he would not enforce federal Marijuana prohibition in states where it was legal.  Yet President Obama has failed to stop raids on dispensaries, and has not pardoned federal prisoners who were openly providing Marijuana in compliance with state laws.
  • Secretary of state Clinton has blamed the second amendment for drug related violence at the Mexican border, when we all know drug prohibition is the root problem.
  • Our Senators fall back on a Supreme Court ruling that medical marijuana violates federal law.  Yet they completely ignore the tenth amendment that states,

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

But even if the Federal government begins to respect its Constitution, action at the state level is essential.

In Lansing, State Senator Patterson, submitted SCR004.  The goal of the resolution is to “affirm Michigan’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not enumerated and granted to the federal government.” 

Everyone here needs to call and write their State rep and urge him or her to support HCR0004.  Also contact your state Senators and urge them to support SCR004.

Finally, the initiative process is under fire.  Many of the politicians in Lansing are unhappy with the way we the people have changed state law without their permission.  They want a Constitutional convention in 2010 so they can take that right away from you. 

Please vote NO on the Constitutional Convention in 2010.

I will be sharing this message with people at Detroit Liberation Day 2009.  I hope to see you there. 

Come to Detroit Liberation Day 2009

Come to Detroit Liberation Day 2009

Meanwhile, enjoy this video from the 2009 Ann Arbor Hash Bash.

Left & Right Torch Liberty

April 18, 2009

This week President Obama met with Mexican President Filipe Calderon.  Last month Secretary of State Clinton also met with Mexican officials.  In both cases, Mexican officials blamed our gun rights for drug cartel related violence near our shared border.

 

The Mexican government considers our liberties a threat, and our own administration seems inclined to concur (Though Obama has backed off, thanks to the political vigilance of patriots).  So, for now, his solution is to expand the enforcement of substance prohibition.

 

Conservatives are sure to complain that Obama has not been standing up for gun rights and improved boarder security, but they will also applaud his efforts to escalate the drug war.  In this way conservatives are as wrong-headed as Calderon, Obama, and Clinton; conservatives will trade in their right to keep and bare arms just to stop their neighbors from getting high.  Put another way, they are willing to let the liberals burn the second amendment, before they will allow their neighbor to burn a fatty.

 

Libertarians have no desire to control the personal behavior of others, so long as it does not threaten the rights of others.  Put another way, we believe in locking people up because we fear them, not because we are mad at them.

Drug prohibition is the cause of drug violence.  The profits made by the cartels, and the thousands of bodies left in their wake, are the result of US laws, but not the second amendment.  This is just one example of how the two sides of the statist coin fuel tyranny.

 

Unfortunately, the mainstream media likes it that way, so as the conservatives cry about us losing our second amendment rights, the gun grabbers will point out the growing death toll in Mexico.  As conservatives say, “build a fence,” the drug smugglers and criminal gangs will find more innovative ways to bypass it, or even exploit it.

 

But for the few who care to look a little deeper…
I say freedom is the answer.  Don’t let a foreign leader talk us into surrendering our rights.  End the unconstitutional and intrusive drug laws that caused this crisis.  Then we will have a border that is much more manageable, and lives will be saved.

 

This isn’t the first time a foreign leader objected to American guns.   Many people will be celebrating Patriots Day.  This would be an excellent time to remind our neighbors what led up to the “shot heard around the world” and what those before us had to give up, to manifest the vision of liberty that so many Americans have taken for granted or forgotten.