Exciting news from the Hess campaign

I guess they’ve got their first radio ad up and they’ve pulled in about $1800 in 36 hours? Pretty sweet. For about $100, you can have Hess ads running all day on some Arizona stations, so rock the donations if you can.

The Hess campaign’s particularly interesting to me because of their unique strategy: instead of going after their political opponents, they’re going after the biased media. The Arizona Republic does sound pretty biased by all accounts, and the Hess campaign does a good job of postulating why:

The AZ Republic wrote, “Don’t blame yourself if you haven’t heard of Hess or much about his politics.” Somehow, it’s supposed to be our fault when they refuse to give fair and equal coverage to all candidates on the ballot. You see, since Libertarians all over the state are standing on our principles and refusing to take so-called “clean” election funding out of the pockets of taxpayers, we are not being considered “legitimate” candidates running “real” campaigns.

It makes sense. Taxpayer-funded elections are, essentially, corporate welfare for advertising outlets. Hess refuses to buy into their corrupt system, so he gets hellashunned.

Will this strategy work? In Arizona, where there’s a lot of people who think like Hess, and getting out the fact of his campaign is probably more important than attacking his opponents, it might just. It also has one of two outcomes, regardless of whether Hess does well in the elections or not-either it’ll overthrow media bias in Arizona for a while, or Big Media will win and the AZLP will have burned a major bridge. We’ll find out for sure on November 8 but I’d say it’d be an experiment worth testing out.

50 Comments
  1. Disclaimer: I’m one of the people responsible for the radio ad, and the webmaster for the campaign.

    As for burning bridges, we’re already seeing that the opposite is true: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1015political-insider1015.html
    This is the best coverage so far of _any_ press release the campaign has sent out yet.

    We’ve got a few other ads in the works… but we need more funding to make it happen. Most of the first $2K will be spent on airtime for ad #1… If you want to hear our sequel(s) (hint: Who loves to count?), we need people to fund them…

  2. Isn’t Hess part of the “the 16th amendment was never ratified” camp? If so, that automatically qualifies him as a kook in the eyes of most non-libertarians. He has no chance of breaking into double digits with a stance like that.

  3. Derrick, I wouldn’t say he’s “part of” the “never ratified” camp, based on his comments and/or positions. He, like lots of others out there, does want the federal government to “show me the law”, which they refuse do (hmm, why?) to so far. He’s very clear and open that he wants to eliminate the Arizona state income tax. But he’s not alone on that. The Republican running for Governor does also and said so in the debate right alongside Barry, just he wants to take 10 years to phase it out, while Barry wants to do it right away.

  4. Barry is great! I love it when Libertarians correctly realize that playing pattycake with the media and Republicans is a lose-lose-lose and then lose again proposition and act accordingly. This is the kind of thing most Libertarians need to be engaged in.

  5. Derrick, I wouldn’t say he’s “part of” the “never ratified” camp, based on his comments and/or positions. He, like lots of others out there, does want the federal government to “show me the law”, which they refuse do (hmm, why?) to so far. He’s very clear and open that he wants to eliminate the Arizona state income tax. But he’s not alone on that. The Republican running for Governor does also and said so in the debate right alongside Barry, just he wants to take 10 years to phase it out, while Barry wants to do it right away.

    YMMV, but saying “show me the law” has been a spectacularly ineffective strategy in the past. I don’t know of anyone who has won in court with this argument. There are those who have not been pursued and those who have drawn the process out, but I don’t know of anyone who has avoided income tax liability by saying “show me the law”.

    See this page for a list of losing arguments.

  6. Nicholas: he’s not running on a ‘show me the law’ position…
    I just wanted to clarify for Derrick, who asked what Barry position was.

    Barry’s running for Governor, and his main focus is on the state income tax (which he could do something about), so let’s keep it in perspective here.

  7. I don’t know of anyone who has won in court with this argument.

    You haven’t watched Russo’s film yet, have you? At least one jury has acquited a defendant using this very argument.

  8. You haven’t watched Russo’s film yet, have you? At least one jury has been acquited a defendant using this very argument.

    This is why you need to read my comment closely. I said, “but I don’t know of anyone who has avoided income tax liability…” There are cases where people have been acquitted of criminal charges by putting forth a “good faith belief” defense to the element of criminal intent.

    In all of those cases, as far as I know, the defendant has been held civilly liable for the back taxes and penalties.

    Shorter version: You might not go to jail, but you will have to pay the taxes.

  9. On August 8, 2003, in Memphis, despite all this, the jury acquitted Miss Kuglin of all charges. They said IRS had not proved the lady was required to pay the tax. After the verdict, frustrated prosecutor Joe Murphy asked the judge to order Miss Kuglin to pay it. The judge replied, “Sir, I don’t work for IRS.” By then Murphy may have been too mentally taxed to remember that, after the verdict, there was no legal basis for the judge to issue such an order, even if he does work for IRS.

    http://forum.ebaumsworld.com/showthread.php?t=162142

    I suppose she could keep going to court hoping for acquittals… but yes, is sounds like the IRS will still attempt to collect – no matter how illegal.

  10. This is the kind of thing most Libertarians need to be engaged in.

    I would disagree there. This is the kind of thing that Libertarians need to be engaged in where it will work better than any other option.

    Arizona has a very libertarian-friendly political climate so we can get away with a lot more than we would elsewhere. What works for Barry Hess might not work for everyone else.

  11. “Fair and equal”??? Why is equal fair? Why does a candidate who sits a 2% deserve the same coverage as a sitting governor with almost 60% support? This idea that we deserve “equal” coverage sounds vaguely socialistic. If we want coverage we ought to earn it.

  12. Getreal: You walk into a voting booth.

    2 of the candidates have taken public monies to run large ad campaigns, and gotten extensive coverage from all of the papers/tv (who just happen to also sell ad space which that public money is paying for).

    The 3rd candidate you can vote for was given short shrift, barely mentioned in any coverage, labeled as ‘other’ in the poll questions, and generally ignored.

    Is that a fair ‘clean’ election? We think not.

    Polling at 2%, or 4%, or some other low number in this case, is much more a function of how the polling is done (don’t mention his name, no public coverage) than a true support (or lack of it) for the candidate. That’s not fair. It’s not equal, and it’s just not right.

    In the voting booth, Hess has a 33% chance for any given vote – he’s one of 3 listed.

    Anything else is biased reporting – What if the choices are chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but the waitress only mentions the first two, cause She doesn’t like strawberry?

  13. My opinion on tax-funded elections:

    If your tax money goes into it as a taxpayer, it’s only -just- that you get your tax money out of it as a candidate. Nothing unethical, immoral or in violation of principle about it.

    Of course, we want to see that tax funding eliminated, and we should bang the drum on how it helps incumbents stay in power at taxpayer expense… but while it’s in force, there’s no good reason to refuse the dough.

    (And by taking the money, you’re depriving the Dems and Repubs of its use…)

  14. Get real.

    They don’t take the public money because they can’t get the requesite $5 contirbutions to claim their tax money.

    There’s nothing wrong with taxpayer funded elections. It costs virtually nothing. There IS somethign wrong with campaign contribution limits. There IS a huge difference between the two.

    It’s like the “pious” Greens refusing PAC money when no PAC in the history of mankind would ever donate to an idiotic Green campaign.

  15. What kind of “libertarian” refuses to take taxpayer money but at the same time opposes equal rights for gays and is anti-free market, anti-immigration? I’ll tell you: A “libertarian” who couldn’t muster the requesite $5 contributions to qualify for public money who is actually a racist Republican.

  16. Who is eligible for public funding?

    To be eligible for public funds, a Presidential candidate or a party convention committee must first submit a letter of agreement and a written certification in which the candidate or committee agrees to:

    * Spend public funds only for campaign-related expenses or, in the case of a party convention, for convention-related expenses;
    * Limit spending to amounts specified by the campaign finance law;
    * Keep records and, if requested, supply evidence of qualified expenses;
    * Cooperate with an audit of campaign or convention expenses;
    * Repay public funds, if necessary; and
    * Pay any civil penalties imposed by the FEC.

    Primary candidates must additionally certify that they have met the “threshold requirement” for eligibility by raising more than $5,000 in each of 20 states.

  17. Does Checking “Yes” Increase My Tax?

    Checking the “yes” box does not increase the amount of tax you owe, nor does it decrease any refund to which you are entitled.

    The Taxpayer’s Choice

    White HouseIn establishing the checkoff program, Congress left the single most important decision to you, the taxpayer. You decide whether you want three dollars of your tax to be used for the Presidential funding program described in this brochure. The choice is yours to voluntarily check yes or no.

    posoted just for info purposes.

  18. Tim – Your explanation of public funds is the federal policy; not the Arizona Clean Elections policy. Then again, I guess that applies to federal candidates, huh?

    How about his compromise?

    Eliminate all contribution limits and restrictions.

    Have a public funding opt-in for ballot qualified candidates with an appropriate number of signatures (maybe 3000 for a congressional candidate).

    It would cost less than $5 per year per person to pay for every election in this country. An optional system would cost less than $1 per person. It isn’t a “big government” program. The government’s duty is to provide fair, clean elections. Isn’t that worth $1 per year of “coercion?”

  19. UA: In Barry’s words… theft is theft is theft.

    So the answer to that question is “no.”

    As to Barry being part of the 16th Amendment crowd… yup, he sure is, and nope, he’s not discussing that with the public-at-large.

  20. Nick: You might not go to jail, but you will have to pay the taxes.

    Mike: I suppose she could keep going to court hoping for acquittals”¦ but yes, is sounds like the IRS will still attempt to collect – no matter how illegal.

    Paul: At that point, it’s just a matter of how well you can hide your assets from them. They can attempt to collect but that does not automatically mean they will succeed.

  21. Paul: At that point, it’s just a matter of how well you can hide your assets from them. They can attempt to collect but that does not automatically mean they will succeed.

    And at that point, we are a far, far cry from the initial claims that one does not have to pay the income tax unless someone “shows you the law.” What you’re talking about is making oneself judgment-proof (can’t get blood from a stone). It can be done, but it’s basically a self-inflicted vow of poverty, and depending on how one does it, may open one up to new criminal liability.

    I’ve seen people try to do it, with varying degrees of succcess, and it doesn’t seem like anything I want to try.

  22. And at that point, we are a far, far cry from the initial claims that one does not have to pay the income tax unless someone “shows you the law.”

    Legally, that may well be true. However, the IRS is about enforcement, regardless of what the law is or isn’t – as far as they are concerned, they are the law.

    I do know people who claim to have been left alone by the IRS for many years (one says 25) after they have started “asking the questions” – but I’m not privy to their finances, so I don’t know.

    What you’re talking about is making oneself judgment-proof (can’t get blood from a stone). It can be done, but it’s basically a self-inflicted vow of poverty

    Not necessarily. Some wealthy people get away with it by playing shell games with personal corporations, trusts, offshore banking – the strategies are numerous.

    None of them are can be absolutely guaranteed, but the odds aren’t that bad: every year there are millions who don’t file and don’t pay.

  23. Not necessarily. Some wealthy people get away with it by playing shell games with personal corporations, trusts, offshore banking – the strategies are numerous.

    I know people who have done that too. The problem there is that the defense that hypothetically (because it doesn’t work often) got you acquitted of criminal tax evasion in the first place (“I had a good faith belief that I didn’t have to pay”) immediately breaks down when you’re actively structuring assets to evade taxation.

    While not paying in the first place will likely get you criminally convicted, getting caught playing a shell game to avoid paying tax judgments will definitely get you a criminal conviction, since you can only convince a jury of that good faith defense once.

  24. “There’s nothing wrong with taxpayer funded elections.”

    Unless one considers the fact that they are funded with stolen money.

  25. For the nutcases who think a society in which there are no taxes whatsoever is reasonable or desirable, I’m not talking to you. To all others – $1 of “theft” is not “theft” when said “theft” confers OWNERSHIP of one’s government.

  26. UA — those words surprise me coming from you, somewhat.

    Here’s the AZ “Clean Elections” source of funds:
    http://www.ccec.state.az.us/ccecweb/ccecays/docs/CCECRevenueSources.pdf

    Please note that the Clean Elections ‘fund’ is almost entirely voluntary in nature. The only compulsory sources of funding are surcharges added to civil and/or criminal fines (10% on all such fines), and the sum total of fines collected from violators of the Clean Elections Act.

    All donations to the AZ Clean Elections fund are tax-deductions to a limit of $550.00 or 20% of tax liability, whichever is greater.

    To-whit; in terms of law-abiding citizens, the AZ Clean Elections funds are solely, wholly, and absolutely voluntary in nature.

    But this is irrelevant to Barry & Friends; it is still ‘theft’ because it is controlled by the government.

  27. Corrollary to previous statement: The way laws are these days, it is nigh-unto impossible to avoid being other than law-abiding.

    So — I can call it both ways based on that. But in terms of the *letter* and *spirit* of libertarianism, the Clean Elections Fund is anything but ‘theft.’

  28. The only compulsory sources of funding are surcharges added to civil and/or criminal fines (10% on all such fines)

    To-whit; in terms of law-abiding citizens, the AZ Clean Elections funds are solely, wholly, and absolutely voluntary in nature.

    By law abiding, you must mean those who are not caught violating any of the state’s edicts, many of which are anti-liberty.

  29. “For the nutcases who think a society in which there are no taxes whatsoever is reasonable or desirable, I’m not talking to you. To all others – $1 of “theft” is not “theft” when said “theft” confers OWNERSHIP of one’s government.”

    We are SUPPOSED to own our government right now. We are SUPPOSED to be the bosses. However, this does not stop the government from violating our rights.

    Taking libertarianism to it’s logical conclusion there ultimately should not be any taxes. You call yourself undercover_anarchist but you don’t sound like much of an anarchist to me.

  30. “You call yourself undercover_anarchist but you don’t sound like much of an anarchist to me.”

    There is a difference between guiding philosophy and political reality. Maybe when the LP figures this out, they might win their first real election.

  31. IanC: Glad I could surpirse you. However, I only support “clean elections” when they are coupled by THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL REPEAL OF ALL LIMITS ON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS for those who don’t opt in to the “clean” system.

  32. I would also like to add that from a constitutional perspective, state (as opposed to federal) “clean” election laws are entirely legitimate – so long as they abolish limitations on contributions. As I understand them, AZ and ME don’t do this. I think that they should.

  33. UA — I’m not too sure about that standard. So long as you exclude corporate entities from your moratorium on campaign contributions, I’m wholly with you on this one.

    Paulie; please reference the post immediately before your own. I freely acknowledge that it’s nigh-unto impossible to be ‘law-abiding.’ Furthermore; the anti-liberty nature of other laws has little impact on the status of THIS item. It’s a strawman to bring it up.

  34. People pay civil and criminal fines for numerous anti-liberty laws as well as laws which are legitimate, yet enforced against people who are innocent because they don’t have the means to fight the system.

  35. “There is a difference between guiding philosophy and political reality. There is a difference between guiding philosophy and political reality.”

    That’s the point that I was trying to make not too long ago about immigration, but you label anyone who talks about any kind of immigration reform as a “racist” and dismiss anything they say.

    If we had a REAL libertarian society all land would be in the hands of individuals and everyone could come up with their own immigration policies. Some people would have “open borders” while others would have various restrictions.

    I think that it’s a pretty destructive situation where anybody can waltz in – including people with criminal backgrounds and people with communicable diseases – and take advantage of the socialist welfare system (and this includes any offspring they have who get counted as American citizens since they are born here). You’ll probably say, “Well just get rid of the welfare state.” but this is easier said than

  36. What did the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and the Maginot Line have in common?

    Bush’s wall will be another expensive boondoggle and furthermore, will not work.

  37. done. The welfare state is not going to just disappear without a huge fight.

    I don’t trust the government to do anything right and that’s why I’m skeptical of government border patrol. About the only things we can do are cut off all benifits for illegal aliens (like Prop 87 tried to do in California back in the ’90s) and patrol the area around the borders with independent citizen militias. Of course you will call this “racist.”

    How about this for a compromise, those of us who do not want our tax money going to immigrants get a tax rebate for any costs of tax subsidized benfits going to immigrants (including their offspring) and only people like yourself have to pay taxes to support immigrants?

  38. “What did the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and the Maginot Line have in common?

    Bush’s wall will be another expensive boondoggle and furthermore, will not work.”

    “Bush’s wall” as you call it is a HOAX. Bush is pro-illegal immigration and pro-North Ameircan Union (merging with Mexico and Canada). Bush is merely grandstanding to appease pissed off conservatives.

  39. This “hoax” passed the House 260-159.

    Support for the wall was even stronger than for the bill it was attached to — a larger plan to curb terrorism and illegal immigration sponsored by Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner that passed 239 to 182.

    The estimate is 2.2 billion, but as we all know, government projects are usually much more expensive than the initial estimate. For example, see Iraq.

    Two versions of immigration reform have been introduced in the Senate, but a third, released Friday by Sen. Arlen Specter, was the first to mention a fence, calling for a study of building a “physical barrier system” along the U.S. borders with both Mexico and Canada.

  40. “This “hoax” passed the House 260-159.”

    Loop Holes Suggest Fence May Never Be Built
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15149231/

    What is happening here is that they are PRETENDING to “get tough” on illegal immigration, however, the REAL agenda to move into the North American Union is still pressing forward. This is like how on one hand the government “cracks down on illegal drugs” but then on the other hand the CIA ships in drugs.

    I don’t have any delusions that the government is going to do anything about illegal immigration. Like you’ve said, if they build a wall they could turn it against American citizens (like the Berlin Wall), and even if a wall did get built if it was run by the government illegal aliens would probably still find a way to sneak inside.

    The best thing that can be done is to pass Proposition 87 type of initiatives in every state. Cut off the access to the welfare system and most of the problems will be eliminated.

  41. The best thing that can be done is to pass Proposition 87 type of initiatives in every state. Cut off the access to the welfare system and most of the problems will be eliminated.

    I would prefer to do so in an even-handed manner.

    BTW if anyone is curious about the history of this sort of thing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_wall

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maginot_line

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_wall

    Anyway, it’s getting late.

    How long are we going to be sitting here?

  42. RE: #40. Paulie; all you did was reiterate your previous statement. That’s classic straw-man-ism.

    It is irrelevant that the penalties and fines themselves are unjust. The simple fact of the matter is that *this law* (re: Clean elections) does not qualify as “theft” under the taxation principle. The abuse of fines and penalties is a wholly separate matter; should the latter be rectified, the Clean Elections law would be unchanged in text, absolutely.

    So it cannot be included in “the problem.” The penalties and fines don’t even amount to a majority of contributions to the fund.

  43. Nevertheless it remains true that many people who have not really done anything wrong are forced to contribute to the election fund, whether they like it or not, so it can not be said to be truly voluntary.

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