Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

About Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

Rove off the Hook

Karl Rove is off the hook with respect to the investigation over the Valerie Plame leak. From CBC News:

Top White House aide Karl Rove will not be charged in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity, his lawyer said Tuesday.

“On June 12, 2006, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove,” said Robert Luskin in a statement.

Luskin said Fitzgerald’s decision should “put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove’s conduct.”

For 22 months, Fitzgerald and a grand jury have been trying to determine who told journalists that Valerie Plame was a covert operative for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Here’s Alex Knapp’s take on the situation:

This will no doubt come as a surprise to some pundits out there, who were expecting Fitzgerald to indict Rove. I’d also be willing to bet that there’s quite a few people in the Republican Party who aren’t happy about this turn of events, either. No charges against Rove means that he’s still going to be around, and it’s pretty clear that following the Rove playbook isn’t likely to equal any gains for Republicans in the upcoming elections.

As he was sidelined for a bit, I’m wondering what Rove’s role will now be in the 2006 elections.

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More Harassment of Petitioners

If you’re petitioning for small goverment issues, just expect to be harassed. Not only did the police try to intimidate petition gatherers for Loretta Nall in Alabama, the lovers of big government are trying a variety of different tactics against Americans for Limited Government petitioners across the country. Here’s the scoop from National Review:

Across the country, lawsuits “” frivolous, time-sucking, and money-wasting “” are all the rage among the democracy-blocking set. In Maine, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Missouri, our partner groups have gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures “” and they’ve also been slapped with legal challenges based on little more than language technicalities.

Lawsuits, however, are just the beginning. A showdown is brewing in Nevada, where the AFL-CIO and state teachers unions have put some muscle behind an intimidation campaign against the Tax and Spending Control campaign. Reportedly paid by the hour, these “blockers” physically surrounded petitioners while shouting, screaming, and chasing away potential signers. The situation escalated last week, with petitioners reduced to pleading for a restraining order from a Nevada judge, who promptly ordered preschool-style rules “” “no touching, no yelling” “” to return order to the streets.

“Say you’re an elderly woman and you want to sign a petition “” you don’t have a chance,” says Bob Adney, who is leading the spending-cap campaign. “And if you’re a guy who’s 6’4” and 300 pounds, quite frankly, you might not have a chance either. These guys are surrounding petitioners eight to one at times, and they’re not pulling punches.”

What happens in Vegas, alas, doesn’t always stay there. Our partners in Missouri, Montana, Michigan, and Oklahoma have faced similar intimidation tactics, often at the hands of local unions and, in particular, public-education unions. The goal is often to get petitioners kicked out of malls and other high-traffic areas, or even arrested “” which is an interesting civics lesson indeed.

I guess it’s okay to petition for redress of grievances only if powerful special interest groups, which includes the government, agree with your message.

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First Day on the New Job

Today was/is my official first day on the new job at LPHQ. We managed to get out a web release on stolen identification data and a blog entry on a review of the new Ed Thompson documentary. I’m sure Shane Cory and I will be bantering back and forth about this forever, but I still prefer WordPress to Moveable Type.

I also started work on obtaining and coordinating media for the LP Convention and was interviewed by two publications — in addition to the routine administrative tasks which needed to be done. I’m going to try to clean out my electronic inbox and finally get some laundry started. Overall, it was an enjoyable first day — and the people working in the office have been great.

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Libertarians Beating Republicans at MySpace

During an interview, a reporter just brought something to my attention. The Libertarian Party group over at MySpace.com has twice as many members as the Republican Party group. The Democrats hold a significant lead at the moment, but you can sign up here to change that.

Here’s how the current numbers break down:

Republican: 3895 members
Libertarian: 7769 members
Democrat: 49450 members

I’m not very surprised at leading the GOP, though. The top-down approach used by many Republicans can’t work very well within the social networking framework of sites like MySpace.

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Free Market Solution for Aging Homosexuals

What’s the best retirement solution for all of the people who came out of the closet in the 60s and 70s? As many retirement homes won’t allow gay partners to cohabitate in their facilities and a lot of gay people prefer living in some sort of gay community, the solution some might suggest is for the government to build large retirement facilities for homosexuals. There’s no need for government intervention, as the free market has already solved the problem. From the AP:

An elderly lesbian couple is housed on separate floors of a nursing home and kept from seeing each other. A gay retired college professor feels compelled to keep his sexual orientation a secret after his roommate at an assisted living facility asks to be transferred.

“I thought, ‘We are not going to be in that situation,'” the 67-year-old Norris says crisply. “This is not going to happen to us in our final days.”

That’s how the two New Yorkers, partners for 14 years, landed at Rainbow Vision, a just-completed senior community in Santa Fe, N.M. From the private dining room named after Truman Capote to the cabaret where ’60s teen icon Lesley “It’s My Party” Gore was scheduled to appear this weekend, everything about the 146-unit retirement village was designed with the comfort of graying gays and lesbians in mind.

In such senior-heavy locales as California, Arizona and Florida, as well as less traditionally gay-friendly places like North Carolina and Texas, builders have found a market in a segment of the gay population that worries getting old will mean going back in the closet. […]

“In a retirement community, you want to be with people of like minds and like interests, whether it’s a golf community or a religious community,” said Bonnie McGowan, who is spearheading Birds of a Feather, a second gay senior complex in New Mexico. “Until I feel safe walking down the street holding a woman’s hand … and not feel like I’m going to offend even one person, there is a need for this.”

At HoT, we frequently bitch about government sticking its fingers where they don’t belong, but we don’t cover enough good news about the free market solving problems before people start considering government involvement. Perhaps we should ^5 marketplace solutions more often.

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Robber Sues His Victims

Guy tries to hold up an AutoZone at gunpoint. Employees beat would be robber with a metal pipe and take his gun. Robber sues employees for the beating. From the AP:

Dana Buckman, 46, walked into an auto shop brandishing a semiautomatic pistol last summer, only to have it turned on him by two AutoZone employees, police said. The men beat Buckman with a metal pipe and held him with his own gun.

Buckman escaped and was arrested a week later.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 years in prison as a repeat violent felon.

Buckman claims the men chased him out of the store and continued to beat him. He is suing the auto shop and the men for the injuries he suffered and for emotional distress.

“In some respects, you wonder if a case like this even needs a defense. It speaks for itself,” said lawyer Patrick B. Naylon, who represents AutoZone and the employees.

I’d sure love to be selected as a juror in this trial.

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Info Source for Polibloggers

If you’re a writer and having trouble finding political material to cover, there’s a site out there overflowing with blog fodder. The Hill Blog has quite a few congresscritters placing blog entries on their site. I’ll provide a few recent examples from the site.

Legislation can stop hurricanes:

La. Dem. Sen. Mary Landrieu: “After several long days and nights of bipartisan negotiations and waiting, I was proud to sign the conference report that will bring so many Louisianians one step closer to hope for their rebuilding and protection.”

Google and MySpace are small players in the Internet market:

Calif. Dem. Rep. Lois Capps: “This is a bad idea for two reasons. First, it means that small players on the Internet will find it harder to use the world wide reach of the Internet to bring their new ideas to market. This could prevent the next Google or MySpace from emerging due to the inability to pay phone and cable company fees for the “fast lane” of internet access.”

Strengthening the bond between major corporations and the government:

Ill. GOP Rep. John Shimkus: “This legislation simply helps establish some certainty for companies making a huge financial commitment and long time commitment to building a new refinery. A federal coordinator would be established who would work with the federal agencies involved in the permitting process. The agencies would have to stick to their time lines without endless delays in making decisions.”


Common Americans are terrorists and enemies of the government
:

Kan. GOP Rep. Todd Tiahrt: “First and foremost, we are a nation at war. One of our most important weapons in this war against terror is information. The Terrorist Surveillance Program is crucial to gathering intelligence on terrorist activities.”

I’m certainly bookmarking this site for slow news days.

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A Tale of Two Boo-Boos

The prostitute on down on 14th Street says she’s practicing abstinence, the used car salesman says every car he sells is in perfect condition, and “The candidate for congressional District 10 says he is not using media.”

The latter statement is from the subtitle of an article about Texas Libertarian Party congressional candidate Michael Badnarik.

Wiki defines media this way:

Media (the plural of medium) is a truncation of the term media of communication, referring to those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, entertainment, and other information, such as newspapers, magazines, cinema films, radio, television, the World Wide Web, billboards, books, CDs, DVDs, videocassettes, computer games and other forms of publishing.

I’d suggest that the Houston Chronicle is not merely media, but would also be considered mainstream media. The mistake is probably the fault of a copy editor, as the writer covered the following:

However, Badnarik plans to bypass broadcast media and take his message directly to voters in the 10th Congressional District, which stretches from Harris County to Travis County, by handing out video discs explaining his positions. He faces incumbent Michael McCaul, a Republican, and Ted Ankrum, a Democrat.

I know some of my friends will criticize Allen Hacker for not using commercial advertising, but it clearly makes sense in this case. Take a look at the major media markets in the congressional district and you’ll see that most of them cover significant areas outside the district. Thin gerrymandered districts that only encompass the outside regions of the two major metropolitan areas in the congressional district make broadcast advertising pretty expensive for any candidate, much less a Libertarian running on a low budget.

Targeting district voters with a CD-ROM makes perfect sense. Direct mail campaigns make sense. Billboards make sense. Dumping half a million into advertising in other congressional districts does not.

I did talk with Allen Hacker and it does seem that Badnarik stepped on it with one small issue. Hacker confirmed Badnarik’s quote about being the only “true Libertarian” in Congress if he’s elected. In the libertarian world, we are used to the differentiation between Libertarian and libertarian, but this isn’t so apparent to the rest of the world. I’m told there was no intent to slight Representative Ron Paul, and my understanding is that there is an apology being e-mailed to Dr. Paul at this moment.

UPDATE: Here’s the apology I mentioned: see more…

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My final view of the Alabama political scene

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

vulcanbutt.jpgAlabama Primary Election

I’ve been very critical of Republicans for the last few years, but Alabama Democrats have to take the booby prize for being the most whacked out people in the state. To be fair to Republicans, they had but two choices in the June 6 primary: To vote for tax loving Governor Bob Riley or to vote for graven image worshipping Judge Roy Moore. It’s almost ironic that Riley won by the same margin his billion dollar tax plan lost by in 2003.

Democrats had a lot more choice in their primary. In the governor’s race, Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley’s “duck the issues” strategy won, probably because she was facing former Governor Don Seigelman, who is still on trial for serious ethics violations. They also chose Nancy “Eddie Bauer” Worley over “Ethical Ed” Packard. However, the Attorney General race is what exposed what Alabama Democrats think about racial issues.

Larry Darby has been thoroughly exposed in the state and national media as being a racist. This clip from The Birmingham News should provide a clear enough picture: see more…

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The Libertarian Party and the Internet

Unlike 2004, the 2006 Libertarian Party National Convention now considers bloggers journalists. Look at what was written just two years ago:

But for all the media attention libertarians clamor for, there’s been little progress in growing it’s base through bloggers and the blogosphere. While every candidate has established their own blog, with varying degrees of feedback to entries, it seems that only the Democrats have fully embraced the blogosphere as a tool for propagating the campaign message and creating virtual echo chambers. All three libertarian candidates had blogs on their site and considered them to be useful for keeping their supporters informed.

The Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts has even gone so far as to invite bloggers to their convention and give them press credentials; Nearly fifty made the deadline. While the bloggers at the DNC will not enjoy full press credentials like those working for newspapers and magazines, it marks a shift in the definition of press.

In contrast to the DNC, the Libertarian Convention declined to give out credentials. George Getz, the Communications Director, said that the issue had been raised during a committee meeting and the result was that blogging did not constitute “legitimate media,” but that exceptions could be made for large Internet-only publications. The criteria was based on popularity by Alexa scoring, and when asked to give an example of a legitimate site, Drudge Report was given. The press credential requirements seemed overly restrictive for a party which is in such need of coverage.

When informed of the requirements, Nolan and Russo were critical of such a policy. “You take whatever coverage that you can get,” Nolan said, adding that the view was “myopic.” For Russo the reason the LPC didn’t invite bloggers was that “there are a lot of people in the party who are more concerned about image than they are about being genuine. That needs to change.” Badnarik’s response was glib, that he was “sure it was not an intentional slighting,” but that blogs “have not come of age yet.”

It’s interesting that Stephen VanDyke wrote that article for WatchBlog in 2004. I ran the Russo campaign (and his blog). I eventually became the Communications Director for the Badnarik campaign, blogged there and eventually was able to bring VanDyke on board to run the website. Now I’m to be the new Communications Director for the LP while co-blogging here with the very same Stephen VanDyke who wrote that initial article.

It’s a new game with a new dealer and a fresh deck of cards. If you’d like to cover the LP Convention on your blog, here’s the application form for media credentials.

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Felony Tax Prosecution Dismissed in Federal Court

taxforms.jpgI’m not recommending that you try this one at home, but it appears to have worked for Robert Lawrence in federal District Court in Illinois. Here’s the scoop from We the People:

On Wednesday, May 10, Stilley mailed a set of documents to the DOJ in response to DOJ’s discovery demands. The documents revealed to DOJ for the first time that Lawrence was basing his entire defense on an act of Congress, 44 U.S.C. 3500 ““ 3520, also known as the “Paperwork Reduction Act” (PRA).

In Section 3512 of the Act, titled “Public Protection,” it says that no person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with an agency’s collection of information request (such as a 1040 form), if the request does not display a valid control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in accordance with the requirements of the Act, or if the agency fails to inform the person who is to respond to the collection of information that he is not required to respond to the collection of information request unless it displays a valid control number.

In Section 3512 Congress went on to authorize that the protection provided by Section 3512 may be raised in the form of a complete defense at any time during an agency’s administrative process (such as an IRS Tax Court or Collection and Due Process Hearing) or during a judicial proceeding (such as Lawrence’s criminal trial).

In sum, the PRA requires that all government agencies display valid OMB control numbers and certain disclosures directly on all information collection forms that the public is requested to file. Lawrence’s sole defense was he was not required to file an IRS Form 1040 because it displays an invalid OMB control number.

I’m not going to engage in the debate over the fraudulent nature of the IRS or the ratification of the 16th Amendment, but I do find it really cool that the IRS got zinged on a paperwork reduction procedure. If any agency deserves to be targeted for bureaucratic paperwork requirements, it’s the IRS.

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Florida: Frank Gonzalez Endorsed by DFC

FrankCSPAN.jpgBecause of my recent move (I still don’t have reliable Internet access; “they” tell me to wait until Wednesday) to D.C., I’ve fallen behind on a few postings. One of them was about the Democratic Freedom Caucus endorsement of Frank Gonzalez in Florida’s 21st congressional district. Gonzalez ran for the same seat as a Libertarian in 2004, earning 27.2% of the vote. Gonzalez is running as a Democrat this time and will face the Republican incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart in the November election.

From the DFC endorsement:

The Democratic Freedom Caucus (DFC) endorses Frank Gonzalez for congress, running in District 21 in Florida.

Frank has freedom-oriented stands on civil liberties and economic liberty, in which he includes stopping corporate welfare and other favoritism to special interests — those stands are reflected in his statements on the DFA Link page, and on his campaign site:

DFA link: http://www.dfalink.com/campaign.php?id=1137
Campaign website: http://www.electfrank.org

Frank has been participating in the DFC’s email list, dfc_talk, where among other things, he indicated that he also agrees with the DFC Platform’s views regarding tax reform and using the most appropriate, least harmful taxes.

H/T to Logan.

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A Little Too Ironic (And Yeah I Really Do Think…)

Here’s a new video on the Patriot Act. H/T to Tim West.

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Wisconsin Senate Race: GOP Defection to the Libertarian Party

Here’s the release I’ve been getting in my e-mail all day long

U.S. Senate Candidate Redick, Disgusted With GOP, Joins Libertarians

MADISON, WI: Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave Redick announced today that he has joined the Libertarian Party, and has re-filed to run for U.S. Senate this fall as a Libertarian.

Dave says; “The Republican Party nationwide is off course compared to it’s traditional values, and Republican leaders at the State, and County level seem to like it that way (or at least will settle to be submissive and abused “loyalists” to DC). The far-right religious groups, corrupt Congressmen, and warmonger “neocons” have taken over in DC, and it seems no one is willing or able to push them back. It is now the war, big-spending, and homeland spy party. My campaign efforts to gain support for reform have been fruitless, but revealed the depth of trouble the Republicans are in. While they engage in self-serving denial to hide problems, the cliff of the November 7 election is fast approaching. Pollsters predict many losses.

Hence I have left the Republicans to their well-earned fate, and joined the Libertarian “Party of Principle.” It embraces my philosophy of limited government, fiscal conservatism, and peace, along with social liberalism consistent with the Bill of Rights. These values and principles have been mine since becoming politically active in 1978, and on my web site since my announcement for Senate in January, 2006.

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Barry Hess Launches Campaign Website

One of the websites I’d been working on before taking the new job at LP headquarters was for Barry Hess, who is running for governor of Arizona. As I won’t be able to run that site with my new job, Seth Cohn has taken it over. Seth did a great job of finishing my work, and the site was launched today.

They are still tweaking and adding content, but it looks (and seems to act) pretty good. Stephen VanDyke did most of the graphics, I did most of the CivicSpace work, and Seth stepped in and fixed all my errors (and did a CivicSpace upgrade). The database on the back end rocks, and PayPal now integrates into the database. The API was a chore, but it works great now.

Barry Hess is the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Arizona.

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