Author Archives: Darryl W. Perry

About Darryl W. Perry

Darryl W. Perry is an activist, author, poet & statesman. Darryl is a regular contributor to The Bulverde Standard, The Canyon Lake Week and The Comal Beacon and writes a monthly article for The Sovereign. He hosts the weekly news podcasts Freedom Minute and Police Accountability Report and hosts the weekly radio show Peace, Love, Liberty Radio on the Liberty Radio Network. Darryl is a co-founder and co-chair of the NH Liberty Party. Darryl is the Owner/Managing Editor of Free Press Publications.

Ethanol to blame for higher grocery bills

The supposed leaders of the United States have claimed to seek “energy independence” for the past 40 years, yet the nation is no closer to energy independence now that it was in the 1970′s.

In recent years many supporters of energy independence, and corporate welfare, have championed ethanol as the product that will lower energy costs and finally give the nation energy independence. see more…

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Cops sued after raping a man for running a stop sign

On January 2, David W. Eckert was stopped by police in Deming, NM for running a stop sign.

What happened next is extremely difficult to comprehend.

Deming Police Officer Robert Chavez had Eckert exit his vehicle, and patted him down. A lawsuit filed by Eckert says this was “without reasonable suspicion.” According to court documents, the officers who stopped Eckert thought he was “clenching his buttocks.”

They brought in a dog to sniff for drugs, and the dog “alerted” to the driver’s seat. see more…

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Can your privacy be violated if you don’t know it happens?

There is an age-old, unanswerable question that asks: “if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?” Now, there is a new question: “can your privacy be violated if you don’t know it happens?” That is a paraphrase of a statement turned question uttered by Rep. Mike Rogers during a House Intelligence Committee hearing concerning NSA surveillance in late October.

Let’s rewind for a minute to March 12, 2013. On that date the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, the plaintiffs’ argument that they have the standing to challenge the program was based on a “highly speculative fear.” He also wrote they “have no actual knowledge of the Government’s … targeting practices,” and “can only speculate as to how the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.” see more…

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Tom Watson Hates Libertarians More than He Hates the NSA

On October 26, 2001 George W. Bush signed into law the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, also called the Patriot Act. The legislation (H.R. 3162) was introduced by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner on Oct. 23, passed the House the next day, and passed the Senate on Oct. 25. There is no way any member of Congress could have read and understood the 132 page bill in the amount of time they were given from introduction to passage, but I digress. see more…

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High Court to Decide the Future of Civil Asset Forfeiture

On Wednesday October 16, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Kaley v. United States. This case will undoubtedly be a landmark decision on the legality of civil asset forfeiture, a “government seizure of property and cash, even when the owner isn’t charged [with] a crime.” see more…

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Imitation: Sincerest Form of Flattery or Theft?

Can you own an idea? This may seem to be a simple question, however the question requires a complex answer. And unlike most issues, not all people who fall into the libertarian quadrant of the Nolan Chart agree on the answer.

While many people believe “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” some libertarians believe that an idea belongs to the creator even after the idea is shared and that imitation is theft. Recently, a three-year old dispute between Davi Barker and L. Neil Smith was reignited when Smith sent an email to one of Barker’s employers. see more…

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Should Not the Punishment Fit the Crime?

We often hear the phrase “the punishment should fit the crime,” and I’m quite certain that many people believe that to be a cornerstone of common law. It is certainly the primary concept of retributive justice, and is contrasted by the legal theory of utilitarianism; “the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.” While I’m no expert on the concept of utilitarianism, I would suspect that the theory has been used more often than not by the supporters of the drug war.

On September 4, 2013, 27 year-old Corey Ladd was sentenced “to 20 years hard labor at the [Louisiana] Department of Corrections.” Ladd’s dastardly offense that landed him in the clink for 2 decades was possession of 15 grams of cannabis.

Bill Quigley of AlterNet.com reports, “In Louisiana, a person can get up to six months in jail for first marijuana conviction, up to five years in prison for the second conviction and up to twenty years in prison for the third. In fact, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently overturned a sentence of five years as too lenient for a fourth possession of marijuana and ordered the person sentenced to at least 13 years.”

The punishment of 20 years in prison for possessing 15 grams of plant substance is in no way proportionate to the supposed offense, and I can’t even fathom how such a punishment is seen as benefiting the whole of society. The tax-payers of Louisiana are ultimately worse off, as they are being forced to pay for the incarceration of Corey Ladd for the next 20 years. Those same tax-payers are also being forced to pay for the incarceration of nearly 14,000 other people in Louisiana for drug offenses.

Karen O’Keefe, Director of State Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, said “A sentence of 20 years in prison for possessing a substance that is safer that alcohol is out of step with Louisiana voters, national trends, and basic fairness and justice. Limited prison space and prosecutors’ time should be spent on violent and serious crime, not on prosecuting and incarcerating people who use a substance that nearly half of all adults have used.”

Whether a punishment of 20 years in prison for possessing 15 grams of cannabis is considered retributive justice or utilitarianism should not matter. No one should be incarcerated for an offense with no identifiable victim. Further, those individuals who do create a victim should make their victims whole, and incarceration should only be a last resort if the perpetrator refuses to give the needed reparations.

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White House Offers $300 Million to Detroit, Claims It’s Not a Bailout

With the federal government once again nearing the debt ceiling limit, the AFP reports, “The White House offered more than $300 million in aid and support to bankrupt Detroit.”

A statement released by the White House said, “The Obama administration is dedicated to ensuring that the federal government remains an active partner in bringing jobs back into the City, and turning the people of Detroit’s vision of the future into a reality.”

Obama claims the money being given to Detroit is not a bailout, and is committing to $150 Million for the Effective, Coordinated Demolition of Blighted Properties, Neighborhood Revitalization and Redevelopment in Detroit; $30 Million to Improve Public Safety, Reduce Crime, and Decrease Emergency Response Time; and $140 Million in Federal Funds for Improving Transportation Systems for City and Regional Residents.

Interestingly this announcement by the White House came less than a week after former-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said “there’s no more cuts to make… The cupboard is bare.”

One would imagine the $300 million being given to Detroit would be a place to begin cutting federal spending. Instead of attempting to be fiscally responsible with the money stolen from taxpayers, the Congress and White House are claiming they can’t cut the budget, despite the fact that the budget continues to increase, and despite the fact that the federal government continues to go deeper into debt. If anyone in the Congress were serious about cutting the budget, they would immediately offer legislation to withdraw troops from the nearly 1,000 bases around the world, and end foreign aid. After all, the foreign policy of the United States government costs taxpayers nearly $1 trillion per year. This sum includes the nearly $1.5 trillion spent on the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan since 2001. The federal government could also stop “giving” militarized vehicles to city and state governments at a cost of almost $300,000 each. There are many other areas where the federal government could cut spending, however it seems the majority of Congress agrees with Nancy Pelosi’s statement that “there’s no more cuts to make… The cupboard is bare.”

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Don’t Believe the Hype About a Government Shutdown

The mainstream media would have you believe the Republicans and Democrats are preparing for a high-noon stand-off in front of the O.K. Corral. Both parties do seem to be playing into the narrative. The Republican-controlled House voted for the 42nd time to defund implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare,” this time the vote was part of a bill to keep the federal government operating. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Democrat-controlled “Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare.” Cue the tumbleweed and western-themed suspense music. see more…

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Harry Reid is Wrong about Anarchists

During a Senate debate on an energy efficiency bill, Harry Reid claimed “the anarchists have taken over” Congress. This claim was part of a longer statement in which Reid was frustrated over the fact that several amendments had been proposed for the bill. One amendment would, if passed, delay implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called ObamaCare. Another amendment would require some congressional and executive branch staff to enroll in the ObamaCare health exchanges.

Those are the amendments that have Harry Reid upset. He didn’t want there to be any amendments that weren’t approved by the bills sponsors. During his speech on the Senate floor Reid said, “We’re diverted totally from what this bill is about. Why? Because the anarchists have taken over. They’ve taken over the House and now they’ve taken over the Senate. [pause] The Speaker couldn’t pass a simple CR, today… We’re in a position here where people who don’t believe in government — and that’s what the Tea Party is all about — are winning, and that’s a shame.”

Calling Tea Party members “anarchists” plays nicely into the narrative for both Reid, and the members of the Tea Party that want people to believe they don’t like (big) government. The problem is that it simply is not true.

Some Republicans will will do whatever they can to make sure certain bills they may not like get delayed. In an article titled, The Rise of the Myth of the Republican Anarchist, Trevor Hultner says, “This obstructionism is being called anarchism, repeatedly, despite having nearly nothing in common with any aspect of the anarchist tradition. Yes, it is true that if an actual anarchist somehow managed to get themselves elected to Congress, they would do all they could to make sure that nothing got passed. But this doesn’t just stem from a hatred of Democrats. Actual anarchists loathe both parties, and would make sure that their obstructionist platform was bipartisan in its monkeywrenching.” Hultner adds, “despite their flirtation with (often the most basic or vulgar) libertarianism, Republicans love the State. Specifically, they love the aspects of the State that anarchists loathe most.”

If there were any anarchists in Congress, among the first things they would do is introduce legislation to de-fund the entire federal government. This has not happened, nor will any of the members of the Tea Party Caucus ever introduce such legislation. An anarchist member of Congress would also introduce legislation to abolish all forms of taxation, and withdraw the US military from the nearly 1000 military bases around the world. Again, that has not happened.

To Harry Reid and many Democrats, an anarchist is anyone who wants government to grow slower than they do; to the Republicans, being viewed as wanting less (or no) government fits within the myth that Republicans support limited government, despite the real-world evidence to the contrary!

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Government Agencies are Hacking Encryption

We are still learning the secrets discovered by Edward Snowden. Among the most recent revelations is that “US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails.”

The Guardian reports the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees of internet privacy. The agencies “have adopted a battery of methods in their systematic and ongoing assault on… ‘the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet.’
Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with ‘brute force,’ and – the most closely guarded secret of all – collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.”

The agencies insist they need to quarter-billion dollar program to defeat encryption because it “is vital to their core missions of counter-terrorism and foreign intelligence gathering.”

But the anti-encryption program puts all users at risk, not just suspected terrorists. The Guardian reports, the NSA & GCHQ have worked with software companies to insert vulnerable points or “backdoors” into commercial encryption software. Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Backdoors are fundamentally in conflict with good security. Backdoors expose all users of a backdoored system, not just intelligence agency targets, to heightened risk of data compromise. This is because the insertion of backdoors in a software product, particularly those that can be used to obtain unencrypted user communications or data, significantly increases the difficulty of designing a secure product.”

For those who value their privacy, security is almost synonymous with encryption. The executives at Google are extremely concerned with this program. The Washington Post reports, “Google’s encryption initiative… was accelerated in June as the tech giant struggled to guard its reputation as a reliable steward of user information.” Google began encrypting its Gmail service in 2010, and also encrypts search results for most users. Eric Grosse, vice president for security engineering at Google says Google resists government surveillance and has never weakened its encryption systems to make snooping easier.

Soghoian added, “If the NSA wants to get into your system, they are going to get in… Most of the people in my community are realistic about that. This is all about making dragnet surveillance impossible.”

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Feds Support Nullification of Cannabis Laws

Voters in Colorado and Washington approved measures last November that would tax and regulate cannabis. On August 29, the Department of Justice announced, “Based on assurances that those states will impose an appropriately strict regulatory system, the Department has informed the governors of both states that it is deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time.” Further, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole sent a memo to all United States Attorneys explaining the DOJ’s stance.

Not only have two States essentially nullified federal cannabis laws, the federal government is supporting the nullification. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy praised the new guidelines, “All the more in a time when federal resources are especially scarce, the Justice Department should focus on countering and prosecuting violent crime, while respecting the will of the states whose people have voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal and medical use.”

Last year, President Obama said, “We’ve got bigger fish to fry. It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper weighed in, “We recognize how difficult this issue has been for the Department of Justice and we appreciate the thoughtful approach it has taken. Amendment 64 put Colorado in conflict with federal law. Today’s announcement shows the federal government is respecting the will of Colorado voters.”

While the Governors of Colorado and Washington may be pleased with the DOJ’s announcement, a coalition of Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police and narcotics officers sent a letter to Eric Holder. The letter begins, “On behalf of the undersigned national law enforcement organizations, we write to express our extreme disappointment that the U.S. Department of Justice does not intend to challenge [cannabis] policies in Colorado or Washington …” The letter goes on to regurgitate propaganda about the supposed dangers of cannabis and reasons why prohibition should remain intact. “Furthermore,” the letter continues, “it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice did not consult our organizations – whose members will be directly impacted – for meaningful input ahead of this important decision. ” The coalition also unintentionally encourages other states to nullify federal cannabis laws, “The failure of the Federal government to act in this matter is an open invitation to other states to legalize marijuana in defiance of federal law. ”

It should come as no surprise that this coalition would oppose the DOJ policy. Law enforcement has the most to lose when prohibition is finally repealed. They claim the laws are “for the good of the community” but they actually mean the laws bring in a lot of revenue for their departments. With civil asset forfeiture laws in place, a law enforcement officer can have almost any piece of property seized on the mere allegation that it is connected to the commission of a crime (usually a drug crime), even if the owner is never charged with a crime.

This coalition, as law enforcement is wont to do, ignores the fact that when prohibition of substances is lifted, the number of users decreases. In Portugal, after a decade of drug decriminalization, the number of addicts has declined by nearly half, and drug related diseases and overdoses have been reduced even more. Sadly, law enforcement would rather support their own interests than do what’s best for the society they claim to serve and protect.

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Is Syria the Next Front in the Never-Ending “War on Terror”?

In early August, CIA Deputy Leader Michael Morrell declared Syria to be the “top current threat to US national security,” a spot usually reserved for someplace the US is directly militarily involved in. Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com wrote, “The declaration is even more significant the deeper you get into Morrell’s comments, as he makes clear exactly what about Syria the CIA sees as a threat, saying the risk is that the Assad government ‘collapses and the country becomes al-Qaeda’s new haven.’”

After a chemical weapons attack on August 21, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reportedly treated 3600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours, 355 patients reportedly died. MSF general director Christopher Stokes said, “MSF hopes that independent investigators will be given immediate access to shed light on what happened.”

There are conflicting reports on who was responsible for the attack. The Syrian state media accused the rebels of the attack, while other reports put the blame on the Syrian military.

The Russian government has urged the Syrian government to cooperate with UN investigations into the attack. That chemical weapons attack is now being used as justification for a possible attack by the US military.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel suggested the Pentagon is moving naval forces closer to Syria in preparation for a possible decision by President Barack Obama to order military strikes. Hagel said “the Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for contingencies, and that requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets, to be able to carry out different options — whatever options the president might choose.”

The Associated Press reports that defense officials said the Navy had sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.

Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com writes, “any military intervention that seriously changes the situation on the ground will run into the same problem that has repeatedly been pointed to, that of the rebels’ dominance by al-Qaeda allies. This means that any attack that harms the Assad government too much risks bringing a jihadist faction into power that will be even more hostile toward the US.”

Which means that Syria, much like Iraq & Afghanistan, would be another endless battle in the never ending War on Terror.

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The Internet, Secrecy and Spying

Speaking to a group of staff and families at the US Embassy in Brasilia on August 14, John Kerry said, “this little thing called the internet and the ability of people everywhere to communicate instantaneously and to have more information coming at them in one day than most people can process in months or a year… makes it much harder to govern, makes it much harder to organize people.”

Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com wrote, “it is hard to hear this from US officials and not immediately think about the Internet’s role in facilitating whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.”

On August 15, Barton Gellman of the Washington Post released information provided to the Post by Edward Snowden. Gellman says that according to an internal audit the NSA “counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications.”

What I find to be quite disturbing is not that the NSA violated it’s own privacy rules, but that the information was only revealed after it was released by a whistleblower. The people in charge of the NSA wanted to keep their “mistakes” a secret, and actually lied to Congress about the severity of the violations.

Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith, referring to sworn congressional testimony about the domestic programs from senior intelligence, FBI and Justice Department officials, told the Washington Times, “We were being told there were ‘some’ errors, like a few. They gave everyone the impression these [errors] were very rare. If [my colleagues] had realized how many [violations of privacy protection or legal rules] there were, I think more than seven of them would have switched.”

The “seven” mentioned by Griffith is a reference to a House vote in July on the Amash amendment that would have cut funds for domestic data gathering by the NSA except where based on individualized suspicion. That vote failed 217-205, with 12 not voting. Had seven people who voted against the amendment voted for it, the amendment would have passed. Before that vote, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools.
This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.”

It seems to me that withholding such valuable information related to the numerous violations of privacy by the National Security Agency is “not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.” It seems to me that Jay Carney, John Kerry and the many supporters of the NSA want an uninformed populace blindly following the words and whims of whomever may be President.

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The Green Badge of Courage

It takes a lot of courage to admit when you were wrong. It takes even more courage if you were very outspoken when you were wrong.

On August 8, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, wrote an article for CNN.com which states, “Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called ‘Weed.’ The title… may sound cavalier, but the content is not.”

“I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.” Gupta added, “Well, I am here to apologize.”

“I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

Gupta said he “lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high” and mistakenly believed the DEA had sound scientific proof that cannabis has “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.” see more…

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Chris Christie and Rand Paul Are Both Wrong!

There has recently been a war-of-words in the Republican Party between NJ Governor Chris Christie and people he considers to be “libertarian.” During a recent panel discussion at the Aspen Institute, Christie said the strain of liberarianism is a “very dangerous thought.” Someone asked Gov. Christie if he was referring to Rand Paul; he responded, “You can name any number of people and he’s one of them.” Adding that he wanted the people having “esoteric, intellectual debates… to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans” of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Christie added “[t]he next attack that comes, that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are going to be looking back on the people having this intellectual debate and wondering –”

Rand Paul responded by telling Sean Hannity, “The Fourth Amendment says it has to be a specific person, a place, and you have to name the items and you have to go to a judge and you have to say there’s probable cause. And here’s the thing, I’m all for getting terrorists. I’m all for — if I were the judge, absolutely, say yes. Get the records. But I’m for spying on terrorists; I’m not for spying on every American.” see more…

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Bradley Manning: Enemy of “The State”

The faux trial of Bradley Manning is almost over. Closing arguments ended on Friday July 26, nearly two full months after the trial began on June 3.

Defense lawyer David E. Coombs said in his closing arguments that Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who acted out of conscience and is “willing to accept the price” for it. This was in stark contrast to lead prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein’s portrayal of Manning as a “gleeful, grinning traitor” who for some reason also hates the American flag.

Fein quotes Manning as having typed, “Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack,” during an online chat with convicted computer hacker Adrian Lamo, to try to show that Manning knew he would harm diplomats by releasing the material.

Before hearing the closing arguments, Judge Col. Lind refused to dismiss theft charges against Manning after the defense said prosecutors hadn’t proven the allegations. She instead revised some of the theft charges to more accurately describe what was allegedly stolen. The defense asked for a mistrial, Lind refused to grant it.

Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com reports, “The extent to which Fein’s rhetoric has gone off the rails is bound to harm the case in the eyes of the average American, though with Judge Col. Lind giving the prosecution literally anything and everything it wants, it is unlikely to change the foregone conclusion of a guilty verdict in the shaky military court system.”

Pentagon Papers leaker, Daniel Ellsberg and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange held a conference call on July 26, with Assange saying Manning is a patriot responsible for “the most influential leak in history.”

Ellsberg said, “If the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge is permitted to stand, this case will forever change the ability of journalists to reveal the most important crimes of the state.” He also pointed out that President Obama has charged twice as many people (8) under the Espionage Act as all previous presidents. Daniel Politi reports, “Prior to Obama’s administration only three people who leaked information had been charged under the 1917 statute that was never really intended for leakers.”

I can’t claim to know President Obama’s intentions, but I can speculate. He wants to make an example out of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden in an attempt to intimidate anyone else from committing the greatest crime of all… disobedience to The State!

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Funding Government Without Taxation

I recently received a message from Dave Hollist on my facebook page which reads, “Darryl, thanks for running for office. On your page and website, I could not find your plan to finance government without violating our Libertarian pledge to never force anyone to do anything. Please steer me to that info, or have you considered contract insurance?” He then asked, “How can a government operate without taxation?” and provided his answer, which can be found on his website.

Before offering my opinion on how government would be funded absent taxation, I feel compelled to say that I have only seen a handful of people mention “contract insurance” and based on what I’ve read, I would not oppose such a proposal, nor would I support it.

Now, to answer the question: How can a government operate without taxation? I believe that governments (if they are to continue existing) can operate without taxation in a similar way that your neighborhood grocer operates without taxation. Any proposed government project should be able to be funded through voluntary means. Just as your local grocer doesn’t point (or threaten to point) a gun to your head to force you to purchase his groceries; governments should not use the same tactics to force you to fund its schools, roads, post offices, bureaucrats, regulatory agencies, military conquests, and/or any other government function.

This does not mean that I oppose schools, roads, and post offices. In fact, I like all three of those things, and regularly use two of them. I’m opposed to the use of force to fund them. I’ve been a regular contributor to the arts and libraries, however I’m opposed to the use of force to fund them!

For a quick comparison between the private sector and government monopoly, lets look at the delivery of mail and packages. During the fiscal year ending in September 2012, the United State Post Office had a deficit of $15.9 billion, and a deficit of $1.9 billion in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, while UPS “is projecting to haul in $4.6 to $4.8 billion in after-tax profits” in 2013.

With regards to education, some statistics show that government-funded schools spend one and a half times more per student than their privately run counterparts. Private schools also hire more teachers and spend much less on administration than government-funded schools. Many museums operate almost entirely on private-funding, yet claim they will cease to exist absent the government funds they receive. There are also free-market solutions to policing and roads that currently exist, and operate better than the one-size-fits-all government-controlled solutions.

I admit that I do not have all of the answers, though I do offer solutions. My solution to operating a government without taxation is to have said government (if such would even exist in a libertarian society) rely on voluntary contributions, just as privately run businesses and charities do!

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Edward Snowden Accepts “All Offers of Support”

On Friday July 12, Edward Snowden made a statement to human rights groups from inside Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Wikileaks reports, “The meeting lasted 45 minutes. The human rights organizations included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and were given the opportunity afterwards to ask Mr. Snowden questions. The Human Rights Watch representative used this opportunity to tell Mr. Snowden that on her way to the airport she had received a call from the US Ambassador to Russia, who asked her to relay to Mr. Snowden that the US Government does not categorise Mr. Snowden as a whistleblower and that he has broken United States law.”

Snowden began his statement by saying, “Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.
It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance.”

Snowden then cited the Nuremberg Principles which state, “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring,” adding that he did what he believed was right “and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing.”

Despite the financial impact, and attempts by the US government to “make an example” of him, Snowden says he has no regrets.

Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have offered asylum to the whistleblower who said, “I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum.”

Gawker reports the World Service Authority issued a passport to Edward Snowden “in an effort to affirm the right to the freedom of travel and the right to seek refuge from persecution.” But, Gawker says the WSA Passport may not be needed, “Traveling to his permanent place of asylum won’t require a passport under the United Nation’s 1951 Refugee Convention.”

I applaud the WSA for issuing a passport to Edward Snowden, and support the idea of a nation-less world in which individuals have the right to travel freely. I support the idea so much that I founded Individuals Without Borders which recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

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Democracy: The Enemy of Freedom

In late June, large scale protests erupted in Egypt, as protesters demanded Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi restructure his cabinet and call early elections. On July 1, CNN reported one supporter said, “the president is staying. We believe in democracy. If people don’t like him, they can vote him out in three years.”

That sentiment was echoed by Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a representative for the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the opposition “failed in the previous five elections we had in Egypt since the revolution, and they don’t want to fail a sixth time. That’s why they’re going to street politics. Street politics is not an end in itself. It is a means to achieve democracy.”

On July 3, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad, told CNN that Mohamed Morsi and members of his Presidential team had been arrested by presidential guards. The head of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party and the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood also were arrested.

Before the arrests, Dardery claims that Morsi has reached out to opposition leaders many times, but the opposition is “afraid of democracy.” That is an interesting choice of words. Especially when one considers that most Americans believe that “freedom” and “democracy” go hand-in-hand with one another. In the minds of many, “afraid of democracy” is akin to “afraid of freedom,” however the two statements are almost contradictory.

In practical application, democracy is a system in which a plurality of people who show up on voting day attempt to impose their will on everyone else. Allow me to pause for a second to say that I’m not opposed to voting, as I believe one can vote in self-defense; I am however opposed to the system that uses threats of force to make everyone in a geographic area comply with the wishes of a few. If the joint opinion of the plurality changes in the middle of the term, in most cases there is no option for recourse.

Why then should people not have a manner in which they can let it be known that they do not consent to the ideas expressed by the local (or national) government? Why must everyone be obligated to live under the policies chosen by a plurality of people as expressed on a given day?

The idea seems foreign to most people, and they would likely claim “it would never work,” or “it’s never been done before.” Both claims are, in fact, false! Polycentric societies have existed in several places at various times throughout history; in Medina during the time of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, in Gaelic areas during the middle ages, and to a lesser extent in the United States before the New Deal when most people received social services from fraternal organizations or mutual aid societies.

I long for the day when democracy, much like slavery, is viewed, not only, as a thing of the past but also a system that should have never existed. No government or society should be able to claim a monopoly over any geographic area, and every individual should be able to give his consent to and/or withdraw his consent from any “government” at any time. In fact, I recall being taught that governments exist with the consent of the governed. Can someone then choose to not consent? If not, how is “forced consent” different than a contract signed under duress?

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SCOTUS Ruling Doesn’t Go Far Enough

On June 26, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decision in the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. In Hollingsworth the court was asked “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” And in Windsor the court was to decide “Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.”

In the Hollingsworth decision, the court held that the “[p]etitioners did not have standing to appeal the District Court’s order” and “vacated and remanded” the District Court ruling. In other words, since officials in California decided not to defend the case themselves, no one else is able to defend the case.

The decision in Windsor is where the court actually overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Justice Kennedy writes in the majority opinion, “By history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage… has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.” Kennedy continues, “Yet it is further established that Congress… can make determinations that bear on marital rights and privileges… Congress decided that although state law would determine in general who qualifies as an applicant’s spouse [for Social Security benefits], common-law marriages also should be recognized, regardless of any particular State’s view on these relationships.”

Kennedy then goes off-track citing court cases upholding the supposed sovereign authority of states to regulate marriage. Kennedy seems to ignore the fact that marriage license laws were first implemented to prevent interracial marriages. I seriously doubt the court would uphold those state regulations as a valid “regulation of domestic relations.” If such regulation of marriage is invalid; why then did the court not rule that any regulation of marriage violates the rights of the couple? Further, should any government should be dictating the domestic arrangements of consenting adults? It seems the court is not willing to answer those questions!

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The Free Market in Action

Many people have never experienced an environment in which a free-market can truly exist. I, however, was lucky enough to be part of a week-long event where such an environment did exist. From June 16th – 23rd, I was in Lancaster, New Hampshire at the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, shortened as PorcFest. During PorcFest hundreds of people (this year saw well over 1,000 attendees) join together to meet and mingle as well as live out a freedom lovers paradise. As attendance has risen, the number of vendors at PorcFest has grown as well, thanks in part to the wider range of attendees and most importantly, the lack of government interference.

Most of the vendors in the Agora Valley section of the campground were not “legitimate” businesses in the eyes of any government and many have no store outside the PorcFest event. To the best of my knowledge, no one contracted any food-borne illnesses, even with the lack of any regulation on the food vendors. All of the transactions were voluntarily agreed upon by all parties involved.

Many transactions were barter transactions involving silver, copper, bitcoin and/or other goods for services. During the week, I had a goal of conducting as many transactions as possible using alternative currencies, and was able to conduct all but a handful of my transactions without the need for Federal Reserve Notes. From my conversations with vendors, alternative currencies were not only more widely used this year, but bitcoin was by far the most popular alternative currency of the ones being used.

The free market worked so well that anyone looking for work found a “job” at a rate normally above what would be considered “minimum wage”. Even some children looking to make a few extra dollars were successfully contracted to work, granted at lower rates that would not be allowed in the “real world.” Such voluntary and mutually beneficial contracts would be prohibited outside of PorcFest due to the regulations against such activity. This week-long festival is just one example of the free market in action!

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Iranians Have No Free Press, No Fair Elections

On June 14, many Iranians voted in the election to choose the successor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad. Voters were given eight choices, and two of those candidates eventually withdrew leaving voters with 6 candidates on their ballot. I say “voters were given… choices” because the candidates in Iranian Presidential elections are chosen by the Guardian Council, a group selected by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The Associated Press reports that more than 680 people sought a spot on the ballot, and those approved are mostly pro-establishment figures. Reporters Without Borders wrote an open letter to the original eight candidates and prefaced the letter by stating, there is “little hope that the 14 June election will be conducted in a clear and transparent manner…
The Iranian regime openly flouts freedom of information, a fundamental freedom that is essential for free and fair elections. During President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two terms, respect for human rights conditions has declined dramatically in the Islamic Republic.

Over the past eight years, more than 200 newspapers have been shut down and more than 300 journalists and netizens have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.”

Reporters Without Borders challenged the candidates to “pledge openly and unconditionally to respect freedom of information” and asked the candidates to commit themselves to the following four actions:

  • Demand the unconditional release of the 52 journalists and netizens who are today imprisoned in Iran.
  • Begin a fundamental reform of media law, aimed in particular at decriminalizing press law violations and guaranteeing freedom of information without discrimination based on language, religion or political opinion.
  • Ensure that Iranian citizens have free, uncensored and unmonitored Internet access.
  • End arbitrary actions and impunity. The murders of dissident journalists must not go unpunished.

Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire wrote, “As long as these demands go unmet, Iranians will not be able to think of themselves as a free people.” I tend to agree with Deloire, however I will add that as long as people are being forced to comply with any arbitrary power, they can not think of themselves as free!

Regarding the actual election, many Iranians were considering a boycott of the election. Some who called for the boycott said that anyone voting was betraying Neda Agha-Soltan and others killed during protests over the 2009 Presidential election. The Ayatollah Khamenei said, even if “they don’t want to support the Islamic ruling establishment… Everyone must turn out.”

It seems the words spoken by the Ayatollah Khamenei may come back to bite him. An unnamed journalist in Tehran reported to The Guardian, “Even those who were undecided or completely set against voting are saying they want to cast a ballot to make sure that anyone like Jalili doesn’t win.” Saeed Jalili is regarded as the preferred choice of the regime’s ultra-conservative leadership. The preferred choice of reformers appears to be Hasan Rowhani, former chief nuclear negotiator. Rowhani was also secretary of Iran’s supreme national security council for 16 years. Despite the claims that “Rowhani won’t be allowed to win…” it appears that the supposed moderate was elected with nearly 51% of the vote. Regardless, the people of Iran will not be any freer, and the government of the United States of America will continue to push for an unjust war against the people of Iran based on lies.

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