Badnarik Wasting Libertarian Money?

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Austin Cassidy over at Third Party Watch did a little investigative reporting on the Badnarik campaign. First, he took notice of something rather encouraging for a libertarian campaign: he raised buckets of money. $125,000. Going on that alone, there is absolutely no reason that Badnarik’s campaign isn’t a winnable one.

However, it looks like the majority of that has been spent on dinners out, cruise tickets, and other crap. Almost none of it’s going towards actual advertising or outreach. I’ll just blockquote Cassidy here:

The campaign spends about $2,400 a month on renting an office and quite a bit on consulting and staff. Those seem to be the main expenses; lots and lots of consulting.

There were several hundred dollars worth of car rental charges, several hundred dollars worth of meals at local restaurants, and some other office-related expenses like phone phone and internet access.

They also appear to have ordered 100 T-shirts and purchased an ad in at least one local newspaper. Also an ad in LP News.

Quite a bit of travel for Badnarik and his staff, most of it to and from locations outside his district: Las Vegas, Phoenix, and California. About $1,100 or so went to Royal Caribbean International, presumably for Badnarik to attend the California State LP Convention which was held on a cruise ship.

Amusingly, the candidate himself seems to have paid $4.95 on February 25th for the cost of 2 ginger ales from Royal Caribbean. The item is recorded as “Campaign Event: 2 Ginger Ale: “Michael”.

The folks working on this campaign seem to be expensing quite a few meals out at restaurants. Outback Steakhouse, Luby’s, Marie Callendar’s, and on and on. There must be a couple dozen meals on here. Since last July they’ve spent more eating out at restaurants than most any other Libertarian Congressional campaign will raise or spend at all this year.

Other items include a little less than $1,000 for an Acer notebook computer and $415 for a fridge for the office.

All in all, it looks like pretty normal spending for a major party candidate in a race he’s expected to win. However, I’m not really sure if this campaign qualifies as being in that situation.

Our Presidential candidate is a celebrity of sorts in Libertarian circles, and if there’s ever a real reason to run a candidate for that, this seems to be that reason: we have a good shot at plunking him in the Senate or the House afterwards, since his fundraising capabilities are on par with the majors. But we need people that will use our money responsibly, not squander it.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Ok everyone, take a deep breath and lay off the hyperbole for a minute lest we end up with petty name-calling and shooting Badnarik’s campaign down in a hail of friendly fire. I know our mantra here at Hammer of Truth is to take our own party to task from time to time so I’ve followed up via an open letter to campaign manager Allen Hacker to get his side of the story on why $130K+ has been spent so quickly. I know some of you might have a personal axe to grind here but it’s only fair that we hear Hacker out.

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Hot Commenter Trashed in the Dallas Morning News

Frequent HoT commenter (and high school student) Nigel Watt recently had an LTE published (registration required) in the Dallas Morning News about the drug war:

If drugs were just legal

There’s an easy solution to the violence on both sides of the river caused by the Zetas and other drug cartels, a solution that would also save hundreds of millions, if not billions, of taxpayer dollars: legalize drugs.

A little thought and common sense is all it takes to realize that drugs only lead to violence because of their illegality: There are no Colombian coffee cartels or Chilean copper cartels, because cartels are not a viable business model for trading a legal product.

Nigel Watt, president, Highland Park High School Libertarians, Dallas

The response:

Legal drugs? Nonsense

Re: “If drugs were just legal,” by Nigel Watt, Saturday Letters.

This laughable letter makes the simplistic argument that since drug violence is caused by drugs’ illegality, if we would use a little thought and common sense, we would legalize all of them and therefore rid ourselves of the violence and millions of tax dollars spent curtailing drug-related crime and its related issues.

What about the health care burdens of rampant drug use? What about the effects on families and teens who are already more susceptible to trying new things? Overdoses? Car wrecks, shootings and assaults caused by people who were high?

It’s not too difficult to foresee the potentially disastrous effects of legalizing drugs. It just takes a little thought and common sense.

Jared Ambra, Cedar Hill

Mr. Ambra, I’ve got a few questions for you. Why not outlaw alcohol, as the healthcare costs associated with that substance are considerably higher than that of other controlled substances? While we’re at it, we should outlaw prescription pain medications, as they “cause” the same problems. Let’s see, overuse of antibiotics leads to new strains of micro-organisms with resistance to the medications — let’s outlaw antibiotics, too. Perhaps we should also look at Big Macs and pizza, as America’s eating habits certainly contribute to our overall healthcare costs.

If you are concerned about the susceptibility to “trying new things”, we should clearly outlaw teen-aged drivers. We should also outlaw dating, by your standards. Better outlaw all sex, if this line of reasoning is to be applied. This would have to include a complete masturbation prohibition, as it is the obvious “gateway drug” to more dangerous sexual relationships.

Wanna stop car wrecks? Outlaw cars. People will still break legs falling off horses, so we better outlaw them, too. Let’s outlaw guns — that will stop the shootings. Just look at the crime rate in DC for evidence. Let’s outlaw assaults, too. I forgot, with the exception of certain police departments, assault is already illegal.

Bad things happen, no matter how the law reads. There have always been, and always will be, addicts. The same applies to those who commit assault and murder. The solution is obvious: End the prohibition and re-establish a society where people are responsible for their own actions.

Alternately, we could return to the relative safety of the dark ages, where life was hard and cruel and the average life span was in the low 30s. The ultimate irony is if we lived as they did during the dark ages, there’d likely be no prohibition of drugs.

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Non-Partisan Anti-War Voting Group to Form

A new non-partisan group of voters who are opposed to the war in Iraq is scheduled to form tomorrow in DC. From their press release:

— Anti-War Movement to Offer Voters a Pledge

— New group to launch Friday for 3rd anniversary of Iraq War, seeking five million voters to sign pledge not to support pro-war candidates

— Well-funded effort aims to make Iraq War “an issue candidates can’t ignore”

WHAT: Voters for Peace, a new non-partisan group, will be launched this Friday, March 17 — the eve of the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq War — to highlight growing public opposition to the war in Iraq and other wars of aggression among disaffected Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike.

Speakers representing the ideological spectrum will appear at the National Press Club at 10 a.m. this Friday, March 17, to formally launch the new organization. They will unveil results of a new public opinion poll showing large numbers of voters would sign a pledge not to vote for any candidate who does not make a “speedy end” to the war in Iraq, and opposition to future wars of aggression, a campaign position.

Voters for Peace will unveil such a voter pledge on Friday, and announce it aims to gather two million signatures on it this year, and five million by the 2008 presidential election.

If someone from the DC area attends the event, please let us know if it is (yet another) lefty group espousing liberal/progressive sentimentalities or if there is a real opportunity for libertarian participation.

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President Bush: Iraq Mess Doesn’t Make Preemptive War a Bad Idea

The Washington Post is reporting that the President has restated the “Bush Doctrine” in a new national security strategy document.

“If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack,” the document continues. “When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize.”

Last I check, long-standing principles of self-defense required that you be defending against an attack or credible threat, not shooting first and looking for evidence to justify it later.

The document also lays out our new and improved foreign policy, based on spreading democracy worldwide, at the barrel of a gun. Except when the democracy that we spread doesn’t elect people we like; then democracy is bad.

At the same time, it acknowledges that “elections alone are not enough” and sometimes lead to undesirable results. “These principles are tested by the victory of Hamas candidates in the recent elections in the Palestinian territories,” the strategy says, referring to the radical group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of “despotic systems” — North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive particular attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases “to take all necessary measures” to protect the United States against them.

Goodbye “Axis of Evil,” hello “Seven Bad Dwarves.” Well, at least Cuba’s close by, but I don’t think they’re first on the list. I predict that we’ll bring military action against Iran within the year. Anyone want to bet against it?

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Woefully mediocre for all

We’ve been saying for some time that one of the costs of the socialization (I’ll argue the same for the fascist components of our current system) of medicine will be a decreased level of services. There has been a lot of debate in the U.S. about the results of Canada’s single payer system. Now, there’s a study in the U.S. which indicates that we are only getting mediocre healthcare services.

Startling research from the biggest study ever of U.S. health care quality suggests that Americans – rich, poor, black, white – get roughly equal treatment, but it’s woefully mediocre for all.

“This study shows that health care has equal-opportunity defects,” said Dr. Donald Berwick, who runs the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass.

The article was written to suggest there is no economic or racial disparity with respect to the level of healthcare provided in the United States. They also mentioned another significant point — that the level of care is now “woefully mediocre” for all.

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Cell Phone Jammers at the Theater?

Here’s a new example of how we lose our freedom at the hands government by the demands of corporate America. Like always, the reason sounds nice on the surface. In this case, movie theater owners are trying to silence cell phones in their seats.

Many hospitals have signs informing people to turn their phones off. Some strip clubs inspect phones to ensure they don’t have cameras on them. Airlines make reminder announcements to turn phones off. This isn’t good enough for theaters, who want federal authority to jam cellular frequencies:

Fithian said owners were considering other steps if that does not work.

“We will actually petition the Federal Communications (Commission) to remove the block” on jamming cell phones, he said.

That may be difficult, since federal law and FCC rules prohibit the use of cell phone jammers.

The industry is broadly trying to increase interest in the movies.

I guess they’re not too interested in doctors (or others constantly on call) being in their audiences.

UPDATE: OK, OK. Poor posting. I was trying to make two points. One is that it appears they will try to use corporate influence to obtain special licensing others aren’t afforded (I can’t legally run a cell phone jammer at my business). The other had nothing to do with libertarianism, just stupidity. What they propose will eliminate their best repeat customers (doctors, military and emergency personnel and others who are frequently on call). With rules like that, neither my wife nor me (nor my stock broker friend, military nephew, etc.) could go to the movies any more. All they have to do is request that people turn their ringers off. Vibrate works just fine in situations like this.

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GOP Suddenly Concerned about Ethics (LOL)

The headline reads “House Leaders Propose New Ethics Rules”. It might as well read “Foxes to Guard Hen House”. From ABC News:

Stung by scandal, House Republican leaders announced plans Wednesday to impose at least a temporary ban on privately funded travel by lawmakers, along with a requirement for lobbyists to disclose the gifts they bestow on House members.

The recommendations will “sustain the integrity of the Congress as we move forward,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert said at a news [conference].

“We need to bring about bold, strong reform,” added Rep. David Dreier, the California Republican involved in assembling a set of proposals generally designed to limit the influence of lobbyists.

Not that the Democrats do any better when they’re in charge. This one’s so oxymoronic I’m at a loss for words.

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First Russo Movie Reviews

The first reviews of Aaron Russo’s new documentary, America: From Freedom to Fascism, are in. With two good ones, and one bad one, I think I’ll create a review sandwich with a sampling from each of them.

Michael C. Ruppert:

A Jewish guy from Brooklyn who made good in the movie business winds up at the end of this movie getting told by another Jewish guy who used to head the Internal Revenue Service, “Gornished von hellfin.” Translated, the Yiddish expression means, “Nothing can help you.” As former IRS Commissioner Sheldon Cohen says it to Russo at the end of America: From Freedom to Fascism, one thing is crystal clear, Cohen is speaking to everybody. Every American of every religion, gender, color, stripe and cholesterol count is directly, personally, and tangibly affected by the things that Russo so compellingly shows us in this movie. What happens in between the beginning and the end has nailed sneak-preview audiences in more than a dozen cities to their seats in (according to Russo and others) larger numbers than those for (gag) Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. […]

In the end Aaron Russo does fall short because, not surprisingly, he fails to come up with a quick, easy, silver-bullet solution that Americans have been trained to expect. Is that his fault or ours? Filmmakers like Aaron Russo have been wrongly perceived by many Americans as silver bullets in their own right. Perhaps unintentionally, the film documents Russo’s (continuing) discovery that the appearance of American democracy and economic liberty is a cynical façade.

Scott Moore:

Look out, Michael Moore: the libertarians are straight-up jacking your style. In his former life, Aaron Russo produced Hollywood films that entertained, like Trading Places. Now, he’s set his sights on pimping the idea that the American government has become a fascist state. How? Through taxes and spy chips, of course! This film wasn’t screened for critics, but if the trailer is any indication, the movie largely consists of anti-tax activists demanding to know what the constitutional basis is for income taxes. Not surprisingly, that isn’t followed by questions of how we’d fund healthcare for the poor and elderly, or keep people from starving to death, without taxes. Then again, topics like “compassion” and “other people” have never overly concerned libertarians.

Lindsay A. Gerken:

Throughout the documentary, the Ashland crowd laughed and whistled at the points Russo made, while swimming through a range of emotions brought on by Russo’s logically sequenced argument. The music accompanying the film was accurately in step with the topic, including songs like The Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth (Stop, hey what’s that sound),” the Beatles’ “Taxman,” and Pink Floyd’s “Money.” In addition to Russo’s mosaic of interviews with experts, interspersed intelligently between film clips were significant quotes made by famous people about the state of a government run by its people. […]

A flurry of networking occurred after the film ended, bringing numerous representatives of ecologically-aware groups and tax-reform advocates together to chat and exchange names and ideas.

The film makes several powerful suggestions for action that Ashland viewers cheered for, including not to accept a national ID chip or card, and to vote for representatives that will sign an affidavit to question and possibly extinguish the Federal Reserve System. The film leaves our bi-partisan viewers with the suggestion to stop being good democrats and good republicans, and join together.

As Aaron Russo’s documentary, America: From Freedom to Fascism, circulates throughout the country, overflowing auditoriums and receiving standing ovations, our fingers and many others’ are crossed in the hope that Russo’s film will actually screen in a theatre near you.

There’s more at the IMDB (registration required).

UPDATE: Russo’s been on the phone today. Apparently he called Michael Ruppert, who made this correction to his review. He wanted me to insure that everyone knows that the middle review (the socialist one) was of the trailer, and not the complete documentary. I think y’all already figgered that out.

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Kubby Going Back to Jail

It’s starting to get confusing, now. Out of jail, in jail, released from jail, going directly to jail. Steve Kubby was just sentenced back to prison. This time it’s not directly for drug charges, but for moving to Canada in order to stay alive. From ABC News 10:

Medical marijuana activist Steven Wynn Kubby is heading back to jail after a Placer County judge sentenced the former gubernatorial candidate to 60 days behind bars Tuesday.

Kubby, 59, received the 60-day sentence for violating his probation by moving to Canada in 2001 rather than serve a 120-day term following a conviction for possession of psilocyn and mescaline in Placer County. Kubby said he went to Canada because he would have died in jail without marijuana to treat adrenal cancer.

The picture’s becoming clear on this one: Law enforcement officials involved are considerably more compassionate than those sitting on the bench.

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Act of Fingering Goes to Court

The old axiom (one often used by libertarians) is that your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. Apparently, one fifth of this axiom will be tested in federal court. From the AP:

A motorist believes the constitutional right to free speech includes obscene hand gestures.

Thomas Burns, of New Castle, contends he was denied his First Amendment free speech rights when he was cited for giving an obscene hand gesture to a construction worker in April, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Pittsburgh.

Burns had become frustrated with a traffic delay and showed the gesture at a construction worker. The worker reported it to a police officer, who cited Burns for disorderly conduct, according to the lawsuit.

The citation was dropped, but Burns filed a lawsuit because he believes he was maliciously prosecuted.

The obvious question is what sort of construction worker tattle tales to the police for getting flipped off? Where I live, at least, contruction workers are more manly than in Pennsylvania — including most of the females.

According to the article, there were no other potential crimes associated with this case:

The “finger gesture was not accompanied by any verbal threats, taunting or communication and was never visible to anyone other than the workers,” the lawsuit states. “The gesture, albeit insulting, had no sexual meaning, did not appeal to anyone’s prurient interest, and did not create a public disturbance or breach of peace.”

While the Pennsylvania Constitution doesn’t mention fingers, the intent is made very clear:

The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

I’m not sure why this is going to federal court, but the First Amendment is equally clear. Perhaps the axiom needs to be rewritten: So long as your finger doesn’t end up inside of my nose, your right to flip the bird must be protected.

Thanks to Mike G. for the tip.

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Funny Video of the Day

Co-blogger Michelle knows I’m trying to kick the cigarette habit, which must be what prompted her to send this hilarious video my way. Apparently Dave Chapelle is significantly brighter than the DEA with it’s $2.1 billion annual budget. Just think what would happen if the DEA spent half their budget marketing O’Dweeds and used the other half for deficit reduction.

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News briefs for 3/13

Robert Murphy of Hillsdale College just posted a fantastic piece about free trade on Mises.org. He basically kills, skins, boils and devours any possible case to be made against globalization. It’s glorious-but then, what else could you expect from a professor at a college that accepts no federal funding whatsoever?

Meanwhile, it appears that the Libertarians in Greene County, Missouri had to deal with a white supremacist trying to run for US Congress under their label. Army veteran, truck driver and racist asshole Glenn Miller first tried to get on the ballot as a Democrat, but they rejected him. So did the Republicans. The Libertarians took their cue from the majors and did the same. Kevin Craig, the LP’s erstwhile candidate for the 7th Congressional District, seems to be a better, non-embarrassing candidate for the region.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Russ Feingold stands alone again. This time he’s trying to censure Bush, an action Congress hasn’t taken since the days of Andrew Johnson Jackson. Predictably, he got little support for the move from the Congressional Invertebrate Sheeple Caucus… but you can’t blame the man for trying. Hell… other than his staunch support for Soviet healthcare, the dude could probably be considered libertarian.

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The State writ small

“…the State is nothing more nor less than a bandit gang writ large” -Murray Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty

If Murray was right, then the reverse would also be true-namely, the mafia is merely the State writ small. Certainly, they both do watch out for each other.

Take a look at the latest mafia news. Apparently, John Gotti just got a mistrial. Fancy that! And, as always, it was on a technicality-namely, that his last act of racketeering was more than five years before the trial date. A jury was hung on the question-undoubtedly because some of them had either been bought or threatened. You would think that the government’s prosecutor would have more jurisprudential savvy than to bring a case to trial in such a manner that would give the mafia plenty of room to maneuver… but then again, let’s not forget that the government has a lot of money to be made by working with organized crime. In fact, two cops in New York seem to have done just that, by moonlighting as hitmen and providing tips to the Luchese crime family.

The two institutions are really one and the same. They both demand “protection money” if you live on their turf. They both will ruin countless lives with their “turf wars” and quietly demand monopolies on drugs and prostitution in their “turf.” Hell, for that matter they’re both into providing welfare-yes, even the likes of Al Capone were bleeding heart New Dealers. And now, by the looks of it, these two crime syndicates are allies in the War on People.

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Drug War Funnies

Joseph Frederick, an Alaska high school student, was suspended for unfurling a banner which read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” across the street from his school. According to Reuters, the principal took Frederick’s banner and suspended him for 10 days for opposing the school’s position on the drug war. Fortunately, the judge remembered the First Amendment:

The appeals court said the banner was protected speech because it did not disrupt school activity and was displayed off school grounds during a non-curricular activity.

“Public schools are instrumentalities of government, and government is not entitled to suppress speech that undermines whatever missions it defines for itself,” Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote in the court’s opinion.

The court also cleared the way for Frederick to seek damages, saying Morse was aware of relevant case law and should have known her actions violated his rights.

Hopefully Frederick will sue Morse’s ass off — which might send a chill down the backs of principals across the country who likewise disregard the First Amendment.

Perhaps politicans are lightening up on the drug war, too. Muckraked reports the following:

The interim head of the Department of the Interior, Patricia “Lynn” Scarlett, once endorsed the legalization of drugs. Back in 1989, she wrote an op-ed column for USA Today titled “Give Up the Drug War: Legalize Drugs Instead.” It’s not known if Scarlett still believes in legalization.

According the the article, Scarlett once served as the president of the Reason Foundation. It might seem doubtful that Bush would keep her on in her interim position, except for the fact that Condi is now in possession of cocaine — at least according to this source:

Condoleezza Rice knew coca would top the agenda in her meeting with Bolivia’s new president, but she likely wasn’t expecting to get the real thing.

At the end of their 25-minute meeting, President Evo Morales presented the U.S. secretary of state with an Andean guitar that bore a coca-leaf inlay.

“The gift was well received. We will just have to check with our customs to see what rules apply. We certainly hope we can bring it back (to Washington),” said a senior State Department official who attended the meeting.

The way I see it, Rice is currently in possession of something outlawed in the United States. The US no longer recognizes international borders with respect to its War on Drug Users. Whether she takes the guitar into the U.S. or not, I’d like to see her treated the same way people like Marc Emery or Cory Maye have been.

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Yankee go home!

The people gathered one day, made their voices heard and in an 8-to-1 ratio they expressed their political will: Get the Americans out of here!

I’m not talking about Iraq-rather, about Japan. 61 years after American forces landed on the Japanese home islands, we’re still there. 50,000 of us-about 2/5ths the size of our force currently in Iraq. Unlike Iraq, we actually gave liberty, democracy and stability to Japan-but even so, nobody outside of their top government and what’s left of the Japanese hawk movement wants us there.

In fact, the town of Iwakuni, 600 miles west of Tokyo,voted against a plan to expand the U.S. Marine base there by an 8-to-1 margin. The town referendum is non-binding, but it shows well what the average Japanese subject is thinking. In fact, Japan’s main proponent of the deal, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, conceded that it was highly unpopular.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tokyo would aim to meet the end-March deadline, but acknowledged the plan faces stiff opposition from local communities.

“If a referendum were held, the result would be a ‘No’ vote anywhere. That is the difficulty with issues related to national security,” he told reporters.

If, 61 years after we occupied Japan, we’re still providing defense for a successfully democratized, liberalized nation… then what hope do we have for getting out of Iraq safely? We’ve only been in Iraq for 4 years, and the nation is hardly liberal and its democracy is infantile. It’s already becoming more and more obvious that the American legacy to Iraq is civil war, not liberty and stability. Maybe this is why even conservatives are vocally itching to get out of Iraq these days.

I highly doubt anyone’s expecting Iraq to become the next Japan, after all-but regardless of a nation’s status, this just goes to show that every nation likes sovereignty and that America does its best bringing its troops home from abroad.

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Hope Remains for Bush?

Time to break out all of those old jokes about bush in the White House, except this one is shaven (according to the pics I found at Google images). From MonstersAndCritics:

PRWire, a very reliable source of mainstream and sometimes alternative news is reporting that adult starlet Mary Carey is scheduled to attend the United to Victory dinner with President George W. Bush in Washington D.C on March 15th – 16th.

Carey, who was also a Republican candidate for governor of California, is going to Washington at the invitation of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). She will meet and interact with key Congressional leaders and Administration officials to discuss advancing powerful pro-business, pro-family agendas and meeting positive legislative goals.

She will join Karl Rove, senior advisor to the President, for lunch on Wednesday the 15th, and President Bush for dinner on Thursday the 16th.

Maybe this visit will lighten the tyrant up a bit and he’ll quit taking out his aggression on America and the world.

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Republicans Plan to Resurrect Reagan for 2008 Presidential Race

Ronald Reagan certainly had his flaws — but he was certainly classier, a better speaker, more libertarian and even more economically conservative than the current occupant of the White House. When asked, almost half of Georgia Republicans find Dubya the spitting image of the the Gipper:

Do you view President Bush as a conservative in the mode of Ronald Reagan? (Republicans only)
Yes 43%
No 38%
Undecided 19%

This isn’t just isolated to Georgians. Let’s head north, to Wisconsin:

Do you consider President Bush to be a conservative in the mode of Ronald Reagan? (Republicans only)
Yes 40%
No 44%
Undecided 16%

From MacPaper:

The Republican conference that ended here Sunday featured three 2008 White House contenders trying to capture Ronald Reagan’s sunny optimism, despite the travails that could pose a problem in November. […]

Huckabee said Reagan became president because his “Morning in America” theme resonated with Americans. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas introduced himself as “a Reagan Republican” and spent several minutes praising the late president as bold, optimistic, inspiring and courageous.

Sen. George Allen of Virginia was first to mention Reagan’s vision of America as “a shining city on a hill” (Brownback was second). Allen also said he has on his desk a plaque that Reagan once gave to his father, the former Washington Redskins coach. On it is written Reagan’s famous exhortation, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Asked later why Reagan was getting so much attention, Allen said Reagan cut taxes and changed the dynamics of the Cold War. Delegates sensed a yearning to recapture a golden age that historians have already judged a success.

“Now that he’s gone, he’s become a symbolic figure,” said Phil Zimmerly, 23, a law student from Tuscaloosa, Ala., adding that might happen to President Bush in 20 or 30 years.

Are these guys delusional or has some form of mass psychosis infected the GOP?

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Senate Democrats more libertarian than their GOP counterparts…


…according to the lastest work by FreedomDemocrats.

To obtain his data, Logan Ferree took 15 Senate votes on social and defense issues and 15 Senate votes on fiscal and trade issues and placed them on this Nolan Chart. Ferree recently provided similar data about House votes. The spreadsheet is here. Ferree’s commentary mirrors mine, so I’ll blockquote him:

The major trend is the same as last time. A major divide between the parties on the social issues and a general parity in terms of just how bad they are economically. Russ Feingold is again classified as ‘libertarian’ and Ron Wyden of Oregon narrowly makes the cut as well. Interestingly Jim Jeffords of Vermont, the only Independent, receives the same exact score in both social and economic issues as Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the only Independent of the House. Go figure.

As I’ve said before, I’m not too surprised at the outcome. The Democrats are out of power right now, and in order to regain political control, they have to appeal to libertarian and moderate minded people.

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Cavuto Interview of Dixon and Verney

As we reported, Libertarian Party Chair Michael Dixon and former Perot advisor Russell Verney were interviewed by Fox’s Neil Cavuto the other day. Mike Nelson found the video online — watch it here. It didn’t come off as bad as some of the libertarian reviewers made it seem, and I thought Dixon did well in one of his few recent mainstream media appearances.

Cavuto did make one pertinent crack: Bill O’Reilly isn’t interested in being a presidential candidate. I already knew that, as O’Reilly obviously prefers having his nose stuck up the president’s ass, and he isn’t limber enough to do that for himself.

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Around the Web

From around the web:

  • Religious extremist and Bush regime top domestic policy advisor has been charged with felony theft. Evidently the Bush regime knew about this for over a month and attempted to cover it up by lying. Surprised? This is the same guy that Bush attempted to make a federal judge for life.
  • The movie “Valley of the Wolves” looks interesting:

    Created from well-known accounts of real events, the principal scene in “Valley of the Wolves” shows ruthless U.S. soldiers shooting up a wedding party in Iraq, butchering women and children, and then reveling in it, like they were slaughtering beings whom they regarded as less than human. Wonder where that idea came from?

  • This is why democracy is bad. (update: satire alert)
  • US media: No One Knows How Many Iraqis Have Died via More Liberty. Foreign media: Over 250,000 Slaughtered.
  • Ron Paul warns of International Taxes imposd by the U.N.
  • Patriot Act now used for futile war on drugs.
  • Almost like they were following step-by-step instructions in a procedure manual, the Bush regime is touting war with Iran.
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Practical Political Anarchism

It’s an old debate within libertarian circles, but it keeps getting rehashed because it has never been truly resolved. This topic recently resurfaced as an offshoot about the controversy over the Libertarian Party Iraq Exit Strategy. Hopefully, the responses to this posting can be kept to the general issues, as opposed to the specific policy questions debated about the IES or immigration. Some of the related questions in the crossfire are:

Which subsets of the libertarian movement actually move the party (or the movement) forward and which ones hurt us? Are we to be a political organization or an educational one? Should the Libertarian Party be more engaged in political or educational issues? Is the Libertarian Party detrimental to libertarian election results which might be better obtained by Republicans or Democrats?

Last night, I made the following comment:

Some of the best political consultants (for Rs and Ds) that I know are closet anarcho-capitalists. I’m a consultant and an anarcho-capitalist. The two are not mutually exclusive.

B-psycho responded with a good question at Psychopolitik — and opened the door for much needed conversation on the topic. I’ll try to respond.

B-psycho initially responded to my comment:

..Que? This would be news to me.

To Steve: how do these “closet anarcho-capitalists*” explain their job as seemingly working against their long-term interests? Are they just spying on their opposition, or do they think that the more that each “side” undermines the country the sooner a stateless society* will be accepted?

For the purpose of this debate (as the term is used several times by B-psycho and me), I’ll use the general Wiki definition of anarcho-capitalist. I prefer the term Free Market Anarchist. I should also make it clear that while this is my personal belief system, I don’t believe our society is immediately ready for such a utopian solution. It is clear to me that too many people are intellectually and financially dependent upon the nanny state for such a political system to be established without initially starting with some considerable educational efforts and incremental political changes — those preferring serious bloodbaths notwithstanding.

I’ll begin by stating there may be more anarcho-capitalist political consultants out there than people realize. Unlike me, most are “in the closet” — for obvious reasons. One name I think I can provide (as he is getting out of the political consulting business and shifting toward libertarian video production) is David McElroy. McElroy has worked behind the scenes on a variety of Alabama GOP races, yet is about as anarchistic as one can be. We had lunch together a few weeks ago and discussed this very topic (the primary topic was documentary video production and distribution) a bit. He asked for my opinion about distribution of his new documentary, “We’re the Government — and You’re Not” — a film which I thoroughly enjoyed viewing.

Both McElroy and I would agree that we are not working against our long-term interests if we are incrementally moving politics in a direction of less government. If America ever approaches the point that are politically inline with the signers of the Dallas Accord, we can rehash the issue. Until such time, we are all fellow travelers.

To me, the issue is simple. Which brings us closer to a libertarian solution — not being engaged in the political process or promotion of small government candidates who are opposed to the initiation of force?

It’s my view that B-Psycho covered some good ground and raised important questions with this statement: see more…

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NY Times Really Botched this One

When covering media coverage of drug issues, I recently suggested that the media often does a somewhat fair job at it. After such statements, sometimes I hit Google to do some more fact checking. This time I ran into one where a major paper botched it in a very big way.

As a result of the Cory Maye case, Radley Balko stumbled upon this article by Fox Butterfield in The New York Times.

Butterfield could have at least checked his facts (he reported the warrant in the Maye case was about crack cocaine), talked with people on both sides of the issue (he interviewed lot of drug warriors, but not their victims), or indicated that prohibition was the primary source of the problems he mentioned in his article. This sloppy reporting may have given the police and prosecuters the confidence they needed to feel they could successfully “rearrange” facts and potentially doctor warrants in order to put an innocent man on death row.

I doubt even Karen Tandy could have written such a one-sided article. I also doubt she could have got the facts wrong as often in a single piece. Then again, even Tandy has been known to surprise me with the level she’ll take things. If Butterfield was still writing, I’d suggest that he be fired for such irresponsibilty. As he isn’t, hopefully any semblence of conscience he has remaining will gnaw at him everytime he hears of a victim of the drug war dying or suffering needlessly. Not that I’ll hold my breath on it, though.

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Screw the LRC

Stuart Richards just posted an interesting article about public acceptance of the idea of a third party. He then spun it into a puff piece for the Libertarian Reform Caucus, linking us to their stance on immigration.

Let’s see how libertarian the LRC’s stand on immigration is. Here’s a quick excerpt:

  • Requiring migrants to pass background checks…
  • Requiring migrants to be self-sufficient…
  • Requiring migrants to seek…

“Require” doesn’t sound very libertarian to me. Who are these LRC guys again? Aren’t they the guys that want to remove the principle that people have to sign to become a LP member? So if the LP removes the priniciple, they’ll just be “The Party of ________ “!

The LRC says:

However, the legitimate role of government is to protect the rights and property of it’s citizenry.

This may be the “legitimate” role as described in the constitution, but no libertarian could agree that government is good at protecting anything! Remember, these are the same people who can’t keep drugs out of their own prisons! What libertarian could have the hubris to believe that they can make government work? If you catch yourself feeling this way, I suggest you review Harry Browne’s “Seven Never-to-be-Forgotten Principles of Government”

What I want to know is, who wants to be a citizen of a government anyway? Considering that the “supreme court” has ruled time and time again that the government has no obligation to protect citizens, why would anyone consent to be protected by these people?

FTL_Ian

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