Author Archives: Stephen Gordon
There are two key stories out regarding space travel today. In the first one, it appears that the free market is moving rapidly closer to the final frontier:
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said Monday that Virgin Galactic is on track to offer commercial space travel within 18 months, and that space hotels are next on the drawing board.
The project’s SpaceshipTwo, an aircraft built by aviation engineer Burt Rutan and designed to carry paying customers into suborbital space, had its maiden flight in the California desert in March.
“We just finished building SpaceShipTwo. We are 18 months away from taking people into space,” Branson told a business conference in Kuala Lumpur, adding that the fare will start at 200,000 dollars.
Virgin Galactic, which aims to become the world’s first commercial company to promote space tourism, has already collected 45 million dollars in deposits from more than 330 people who have reserved seats aboard the six-person craft.
Perhaps afraid to lose too much ground to their enemies in the free market, the United Nations has decided to name an ambassador to space aliens:
Just when you thought the United Nations could not possibly become any more inane, out comes a story in London’s Sunday Times that the UN is about to appoint a special envoy for alien life forms. The idea, apparently, is that if aliens contact or land on earth, demanding “Take me to your leader,” the UN will have a designated official ready to step in as chief mouthpiece for the human race.
My first guess is that this close encounter of a UN kind would end swiftly, and not well. Imagine, for a moment, that you are an alien arriving on earth, curious about the ways of homo sapiens — and your first real sitdown is with a member of the UN bureaucracy. Either you’d speed back into space, howling: “The horror! The horror!” Or, if you’re an alien of strong stomach and advanced weaponry, you’d listen just long enough to conclude that earthlings have arrived at some endpoint of blithering and irredeemable decay, and zap them wholesale off the planet. Either way, there’s really no need for a UN-alien interface. The question we ought to be asking is how many U.S. tax dollars the UN plans to lavish on this new arrangement.
Congrats to Rutan and Branson.
With regards to the United Nations, it seems presumptuous to me that space aliens would even be interested in speaking with the UN, or any government entity for that matter.
Are you one of those people who likes to keep the money you’ve worked so hard to earn? Tired of corporate bailouts and stimulus spending? Tired of folks telling you about what you need to “contribute” to “the greater good?”
If so, don’t read this article if you’ve been drinking whiskey, have a heart condition or a family history of strokes – as the story is certain to enrage you. For those of you in good enough condition to read this commie HuffPo piece, here’s a teaser from Ben Tripp’s manifesto:
We can call it libertarianism, patriotism, conservatism, or anything we want, but the truth is this: an ideology of selfishness has gripped the nation.
People who have spent their lives supporting politicians hell-bent on destroying the government now complain that “government doesn’t work.” Of course it doesn’t work. You wanted it that way, so you could keep your little handful of tax dollars from being spent on undesirables. This selfishness has gotten so far out of control that people are even willing to destroy themselves, rather than make any contribution to the greater good. They attack medical and social spending intended to keep them out of poverty and illness in their old age.
This me-me-me trait is dressed up as pragmatism by politicians, libertarianism by pundits, and self-reliance by citizens. Our corporate masters would call it capitalism and leave it at that. But we are in serious trouble as a nation unless we remember, and fast, how to start making concerted sacrifices for the common good.
One wonders how the author would feel if a sizable chunk of his paycheck was taken from him against his will and “donated” to the Cato Institute. After all, it would be selfish to refuse such a “contribution to the greater good.”
Here’s the sort of unemployment we could use in the United States: laying off 13,000,000 or so federal employees and telling them to go raise rabbits or something.
The big-government Republicans who controlled D.C. throughout the Bush years didn’t have the cajones to accomplish this. Obama and the Democrats certainly aren’t going to cut government. But guess who has more small-government cred than either major party in America?
Cuba announced Monday it will cast off at least half a million state workers by early next year and reduce restrictions on private enterprise to help them find new jobs — the most dramatic step yet in President Raul Castro’s push to radically remake employment on the communist-run island.
Castro suggested during a nationally televised address on Easter Sunday that as many as 1 million Cuban workers — about one in five — may be redundant. But the government had not previously laid out specific plans to slash its work force, and the speed and scope of the coming cutbacks were astounding.
Cuba’s official work force is 5.1 million — meaning nearly 10 percent of all employees could soon be out of a government job.
The general plan is to pink slip the least productive of Cuba’s roughly 5 million “public” workers by telling habitual no-shows and those who don’t do all that much work when they are on the job to go raise rabbits.
Since Obama is rapidly growing government while Castro is rapidly shrinking it, perhaps the Cubans should impose a trade embargo against the socialist Americans.
Imagine some government entity leaving a note on your automobile which reads: “Your car is a piece of junk. If you don’t demolish it in 45 days, we are going junk it and then send you the bill.”
While this would truly suck, it could be much worse: They could be threatening to demolish your house, instead. And if you live in some of the impoverished areas of Montgomery, Alabama, this is not some hypothetical nightmare, but a very real violation of civil rights in the same neighborhood Rosa Parks once called home. see more…
Because of Libertarian presidential campaigns I’ve worked and my current work at the LP office, it’s a rare day indeed that I don’t hear Stephen VanDyke’s “Libertarians need to…” or :
LP headquarters, are you awake? [snip]
Geez! I am getting soooo tired of LP inaction!
(It’s somewhat ironic that the person who left this comment did so on an LP blog posting bringing attention to this particular issue.)
Pundits are repeatedly suggesting that if the GOP maintains control of either the House or the Senate, it will be because of VoterVault, their database application which assists local Get-Out-The-Vote efforts for the Republican Party. Despite having considerably fewer financial resources than the Republicans and the Democrats, the LP is not being inactive. As a matter of fact, I just drove from Houston to D.C. so I can stay awake day and night for the next few days to help with our GOTV efforts around the country.
Libertarian National Committee chair Bill Redpath was just on C-Span (no video link available yet). One of the things he discussed was the Libertarian Party’soperation. It provides an easy way for people across the country to make telephone calls to help support Libertarian campaigns immediately before Election Day.
That’s right, if you have Internet access and a telephone (or cell or Vonage or Skype or whatever), you can help LP candidates greatly increase their vote totals. We’ve already proven that BallotBase helps in test cases. In our first test case in California CD-50,of Libertarian Paul King in the special election there. In the Vermont primaries, for which we used BallotBase won by one vote! BallotBase does work, but it can’t work without you.
Depending upon your time zone and the exact time you read this posting, we’ve got around 72 hours to place absolutely as many phone calls as we can in support of Libertarian candidates. You’ll get your choice of race (in some cases even specialized target lists) which you can assist. Here’s some of the races (different campaigns have different rules and start and stop at various times thoughout the day) which could use your help: see more…
One publication wrote it this way:
It was a dark, dank night in Washington D.C., when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was ferreted into law on the back of a Port Security Bill. The bill sponsored by House by Reps. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and backed in the Senate by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn, rejoiced with religious fervor, as it was touted the most important family values legislation EVER considered by lawmakers.
This video covers the topic so well, I don’t know what could reasonably be added. If you ever wanted to know who paid what to whom in order to represent which special interests in order to outlaw online gambling, here’s your answer.
Disclaimer: I’ve never gambled online, knitted sweaters or rooted for the NY Yankees. I do, however,the right of people to do what they want as long as it isn’t hurting someone else.
Aaron Russo’s documentary, America: Freedom to Fascism, is at Google Video. Here’s the description from the site:
This is the “Director’s Final Cut” authorized version of Aaron … Russo’s documentary, America: Freedom To Fascism (AFTF). It is being uploaded to Google Video for the first time during the evening of October 19-20th, 2006. Aaron has listened to everyone’s feedback – volunteers, students, lovers of freedom & liberty, young and old alike – and, true to his word, he is putting this up “for free” on Google Video knowing that the hour has come for Americans to either be awakened to restore the Republic or be swept aside by the dark global forces of fascism that seeks to enslave mankind.
Update: For some reason, the embedded version does not seem to be playing at the moment. However, the version on theis working well on my computer.
Update by Mike Nelson: A message from Aaron Russo:
The time has arrived we are now offering the DVD for sale at the website for 19.95 or you can watch it on pay per view for $5 with the highest quality resolution on the internet or you can watch it for free on google video in a lower resolution. All of this can be done by going to the Freedom to Fascism.com website and clicking on your choice of how you want to view the film. The objective is to see the movie and wake up America! Have house parties and spread the message of freedom to fascism across the world. You may also sign up to become an affiliate. The ball is now in your court!
Blessings to all,
Ketchikan may have a bridge to nowhere, but Juneau now has a bridge between the people and the government.
I usually don’t post entire articles, but this one comes from a registration required site and I’ve tried to register several times with different names, on different browsers, etc. and it just isn’t working. Since I do have an e-mail version of the article, I’ll cut and paste it until I’m able to log onto the JuneauEmpire site. Here it is:
After several days of uncertainty, District 2 candidate Sara Chambers won more absentee- and questioned-ballot votes from Tuesday’s city election than Jean Christian to earn a seat on the Juneau Assembly.
Chambers had a 67-vote lead before the counting of the 1,420 ballots on Friday afternoon by the Ballot Review Board at City Hall. As votes were tabulated, Chambers’ lead slowly grew for an unofficial victory of 3,587 to 3,356. The results become official after the Canvass Review Board certifies the election on Tuesday.
Chambers said it is a relief to have an answer to the race after waiting several days for the absentee and questioned ballots to be verified and counted. “I’m prepared to get going – to roll up my sleeves and do what I said I was going to do,” Chambers said.
For those of you not already aware, I’ve just hit the ground in Texas doing what my boss described this way earlier today in an e-mail:
“I’ve also recently deployed our communications director, Stephen Gordon, to help with the top campaign in our Candidate Tracker.”
I’ll try to keep ya’ll up-to-date on what’s happening on the ground here and I hope to spend time with quite a few Texas candidates while in the Lone Star State.
More people have offered to buy me beer than I can accept for the time I’ll be here, so please don’t be too offended if I miss out on a round from time to time; I’ve got some serious work to do and it’s getting close to Election Day. I’ll be blogging (hopefully starting tomorrow) about what I see and hear down here over at the LP blog. Please be sure to stop by often over the next ten days or so.
The short view of what happened today was that it was an incredibly productive day from a campaign viewpoint. My initial perception is that Bob Smither and Kevin Tunstall (his campaign manager) have a great idea of what they need to do at ground zero. What they don’t have are the resources the Dems and Repubs are plugging into this race from a national level. They also require some of the vendor, technical and other contacts required to make the difference in a race suddenly turned high profile.
We primarily focused on fundraising today. Fortunately, I’ve got contacts with national lists the campaign will be able to utilize. They fully closed one deal, verbally closed another and we are working on a third. For those of you who have worked national campaigns, you know the dance required with these negotations. To have done this in a matter of hours is incredible.
They’ve got a lot of good stuff going on the ground. They’ve got a very organized ground crew knocking on doors most days. They may be paying a bit too much for yard signs, but I know more competitive vendors they may be able to use. They’ve got good voter lists and have used them to place over 60,000 phone calls, so far. The candidate has a public event almost every day. Tomorrow, he’ll face Lampson and the key write-in Republicanat a local country club. They plan to continue these sorts of efforts until Election Day.
While we were busy on these sorts of details, the Republican WRITE-IN candidate with the difficult to spell name (I generally refer to her as the “Hyphen-Lady”, but am hoping one of you has a better suggestion) held a fundraiser. She brought in the ever-so-popular Dick Cheney, accompanied by the ever-so-ethical Tom DeLay, to raise what Kristen Mack reported to be around $200K.
Ms. Houston Smoking Ban might have done better and thrown some higher cards down on the table. Perhaps in addition to DeLay and Cheney, she should have played the Mark Foley, Tom Reynolds and Dennis Hastert cards. Unfortunately for her, there are but two jokers in a standard deck.
At this moment, all I can do is laugh. $200K is chump change compared to what ya’ll have provided campaigns with which I’ve been involved in the past. One can tell how badly the GOP is blowing up when Libertarians have the ability to outperform Republicans.
Disclaimer: While Stephen Gordon has not received any compensation from any current Texas political campaign, he is a paid employee of the Libertarian National Committee.
Stephen VanDyke had the right general idea when he posted the following about the Bruce Guthrie campaign in Washington:
I’m getting damned sick of these damned collusive rules that are aimed to keep Libertarians and other third parties off the public’s radar screen.
Mr. Guthrie, if KING-TV keeps you out of the debate, I strongly suggest you buy hundreds of chicken suits and pass them out to some paid supporters for them to just dance around in front of media stations and your opponents’s offices until election day.
If we can’t get fair media coverage running fair and issues-based campaigns, then maybe it’s really time to start acting like revolutionaries and take to the streets in mass protest of this nonsense.
He missed one key point. According to the article he quoted, KING-TV and The Seattle Times are the co-sponsors of the debate. It’s no wonder the Times did a slash-and-trash job on the Libertarian candidate; they are co-conspirators in the project.
As some commenters on VanDyke’s posting have suggested, a lawsuit is within the realm of possibility. They are trying a similar one in Texas right now.:
The Libertarian candidate for Texas governor plans to sue Belo Corp. for excluding him from its televised debate scheduled for Friday, he said on Tuesday.
James Werner said the exclusion amounts to an illegal campaign contribution under the Texas Election Code since Belo is donating free airtime to four of the five candidates on the ballot.
“If Belo goes ahead with this, it is essentially making a huge campaign contribution to my opponents,” he said.
Werner must wait until after the debate happens to file a lawsuit accusing Belo of breaking the law, he said.
Werner and Libertarian Party attorneys sent a letter on Friday to Belo threatening to sue for $4.6 million in damages. On Tuesday, he said the actual lawsuit may ask for more, depending on how much airtime each candidate gets during the debate.
I don’t know Texas election code, but if it is structured similar to federal code, this case could be interesting indeed.
In the meantime, Libertarians aren’t afraid of chicken suits, either. If I ran a competitive media outlet in Washington state (hint hint), I’d be dressing the Times and KING-TV in chicken suits in my headlines tomorrow.
H&R calls it “Just About the Greatest Attack Ad of All Time.” It might be and it certainly tops the famous Willie Horton ad. I may link to the YouTube in my campaign management course and call it “How to Unseat an Incumbent in 60 Seconds”
While I’ve not tracked this campaign (I don’t even know who is/was leading in the polls), I can’t imagine that anything will trump this ad as the most impactful thing the Vernon Robinson campaign does this election cycle.
I know a lot of people complain about negative campaigning, but voters clearly need to know about information such as what’s presented in the video. Good op research combined with clever presentation can unseat even an entrenched incumbent.
Ah, American politics at its best…
Some organizations to which I belong provide me with a cheap paper membership card which generally isn’t legible by the time it expires. For instance, I’ve almost been denied entrance to an American Legion event because the faded and tattered card was no longer readable. It was difficult for me to prove my membership and was a major nuisance. Other organizations provide cheaply laminated cards which tend to fall apart before their expiration dates.
The Libertarian Party now has a new membership card. Made of shiny 30mm PVC (a bit thicker than most of my credit cards), this handsome card is one I’m proud to carry in my wallet. To put it simply, as cards go, it’s a cool one.from the LP site:
Responding to the high demand for Libertarian Party membership cards, we’re pleased to now offer a great looking, personalized membership card to our new and renewing members.
If you are new to the LP and are considering becoming a member, please join today as a Sustaining Member while these cards are still available.
With your membership, you’ll get a New Member Pack which includes your member card along with a few other helpful items such as our signature brochure, New Vision for America, along with a few handy LP stickers.
Also with your Sustaining Membership, you’ll receive a one-year subscription to our monthly publication, LP News.
This offer is good for new Sustaining Members, as well as those who are renewing their membership.
If you are currently at least a Sustaining Member ($25 to $99), we can still rush your card to you with your renewal (along with the complimentary LP stickers).
If your membership is not due to expire for some time, we will extend your current membership by 12 months if you choose to renew early (note that this is a limited time offer and we can only do this while our new cards stay in stock).
Take the time to renew today as a Sustaining Member. To truly help the Party, upgrade your membership to become a Supporting Member, Sponsor, Patron, or Life Member. Also, as a new monthly feature, we’ll be sure to recognize your renewal in the next edition of LP News!
The new stickers are pretty cool, too. As a matter of fact, I’ve been seeing increasing amounts of the euro-style oval “LP” decal on vehicles being driven by people who I know aren’t active members of a local party affiliate.
Because I’m currently laying out the next edition of LP News, I can verify that there are indeed a lot of names to be recognized. My only question is whether I should use a smaller font or increase the size of the recognition section to more than two full pages. I’m wondering how many HoT readers will be included on the list of people we are honoring with our thanks.
UPDATE for Pledgers: New pledgers and those increasing their pledged amount will be receiving the new membership card. Because the new cards cost around a dollar a piece to assemble and mail (the card itself is 44 cents) combined with the fact that we budget pledge dollars (one of the great advantages of pledge gifts), we’re asking current pledgers who wish a card toto cover our cost. Simply write “Membership Card” in the comments section so we’ll know to send you one. It will cost us almost $2,000 to send cards to each of our curent pledgers unless we get enough contributions to defray the cost — and we simply don’t have that kind of cash just laying around the office. Of course, if someone wishes to throw in a couple grand for this cause, he or she would earn the respect of a a lot of pledgers.
Disclaimer: Stephen Gordon is a paid employee of the Libertarian National Committee.