Major Reversal: Guthrie Invited to Debates

Jacqueline Passey (congrats on joining Bruce Guthrie’s team) passes along this good news:

He just called me and told me that King 5 TV called his campaign today and told them that he *WILL* be in the televised debate with Maria Cantwell and Mike McGavick, to be taped on the 17th at 2 PM and aired that evening at 9 PM.

She also had a great roundup of blogosphere reactions prior to the inclusion.

On a somewhat-related note, it seems Texas gubernatorial candidate James Werner is poised to file an election lawsuit against the broadcasting company Belo after the debates exclude him, claiming the free airtime to four of the five candidates constitutes in-kind contributions that tally upwards of $4.6 million to the other four candidates.

Let me be very clear on this as an ethical discussion: the libertarian view here is to curb campaign finance limitations that hamstring non-major parties (unlimited campaign contributions without strings or favors in return should be legally protected as free speech). But so long as these laws exist, what’s good for the goose is mighty damn good for the televised gander.

Update: Guthrie has a press release out that succintly addresses the issue of him being allowed but not the other candidates. I would implore him to repeat this line of “diversity of ideas in the political arena” in his opening arguments and make it clear that democracy flourishes when we have real debates on issues instead of multi-million dollar advertising blitzes and smear campaigns (expensive packaging on boxes full of shit IMO).

54 Comments
  1. This is excellent news. It will be great to see Bruce Guthrie up there with the other candidates. Credit is due to King 5 TV for making the right decision.

    the libertarian view here is to curb campaign finance limitations that hamstring non-major parties (unlimited campaign contributions without strings or favors in return should be legally protected as free speech).

    What about campaign contributions from corporations? Do most libertarians think unlimited contributions from them is ok? And if so, what is the response to corporations corrupting politicians and voting for corporate welfare and other special favors? Yes, the obvious answer is to replace these politicians, but that’s not so easy when they are blanketed with cash, creating a self-sustaining corrupt system.

  2. What about campaign contributions from corporations? Do most libertarians think unlimited contributions from them is ok?

    Unfortunately, I think most self-styled libertarians may well think that, because there has not been enough internal education about the differences between corporations and truly private businesses, starting with corporate “personhood” and limited liability.

  3. First, congrats to Mr. Guthrie – another one of the very rare candidates who I think actually represents libertarianism as it should be represented.

    Secondly, I completely agree that Libertarians should NOT abdicate their rights under the law, just because they disagree with those laws. I would go further to say that a Libertarian who disagreed with public campaign money would be justified in taking it and then using it to campaign against it. If you’re going to play within the system, PLAY WITHIN THE SYSTEM. If you don’t want to play within the system, then move into the mountains.

    Third, I would like to state my very unconventional (in libertarian circles) opinion on campaign financing: I oppose restrictions, but support the creation of a public fund for candidates to opt into. I believe this is one of the few legitimate functions of government. $5 per year could more than finance all elections in the nation. $1 per year, per person would finance an opt-in system.

  4. “legitimate functions of government”??? Which part of protecting life, liberty, and property does that one fall under?

  5. You don’t think that administering elections is a role of government? Who do you want to do it? Corporations?

  6. Congratulations to Bruce Guthrie. His contribution and efforts have paid off. My best wishes for his debate participation.

  7. Not to throw the cat amongst the pidgeons, but when one of us makes it into the debates, are we obligated to refuse to participate unless all the other candidates are included?

  8. Sandra: I say no. I say that Guthrie should mention the exclusion of others, not once but twice (at least), but he should participate in the debates to call attention to the very EXISTENCE of the Libertarian and other parties.

  9. …there has not been enough internal education about the differences between corporations and truly private businesses, starting with corporate “personhood” and limited liability.

    Bingo. If the libertarian view is that corporations should enjoy no interference from the government, but no affirmative support from the government, then the corporation as we know it in modern society is unlibertarian.

    Now, there’s the view outside of libertarian circles that corps. are stewards of the public trust and in return for their special legal privileges should be expected to meet certain standards of responsibility. Actually there’s a lot to be said for the view that this outcome is preferable to both granting corporations special privileges and leaving them to run amok, but it’s still not libertarian.

    Frankly I don’t trust government to determine whose behavior is good enough to deserve “personhood” or limited liability, so rescind it for all of them.

  10. This will be interesting and, even though I’m voting for Cantwell, I’m glad Guthrie will be included. Guthrie is a sharp guy, but Washington state is very cynical about people who only talk about lowering taxes. For those not in Washington state, we’ve had an anti-tax activist by the name of Tim Eyman serve up anti-tax initiatives that have decimated state transportation budgets. He turned out to be nothing more than a conman getting rich from his crusades and we’re in a world of hurt when it comes to basic services and transportation. Fair or not, an economic libertarian candidate will turn off voters and never get more than 2% of the vote.

  11. “What about campaign contributions from corporations? Do most libertarians think unlimited contributions from them is ok?”

    Share holders in corporations should be able to opt out of donating to political campaigns. Same goes with union members.

  12. The only way a shareholder can opt out of doing anything that a corporation wants to do is by selling their stock.

    The very existence of a corporation is “affirmative support.”

    But let’s be realistic: Corporations aren’t going anywhere. We’re not going back to the gold standard (nor should we). Libertarians need to grow up and recognize that corporations are creatures of government, and therefore deserve absolutely no freedom from regulation whatsoever. Burdensome regulation may be a bad idea, but it isn’t violating anyone’s liberty.

  13. You are foolish in your insistence that we not return to a gold standard. Actually, you’re right, we shouldn’t! We should move to a free market, gold backed currency. Getting the government out of our money is the most important issue we face. I’d like to know Guthrie’s position on that.

  14. Gold is deflationary. That is, unless we find a massive horde of it somewhere. Then it’s inflationary. White people’s love of gold is stupid, illogical, and the cause of wars, slavery and oppression throughout history. Gold has little more intrinsic value than fiat money. It only has worth because we all agree that it has worth. It is a fucking mind trick.

    Imagine a currency based on a commodity that actually had value, say, oh, I don’t know, CRUDE OIL. I can do something with crude oil – more than make a homoerotic ornament or expensive dildo. I can fuel my car, heat my home, make plastic, and about 10,000 other things. The problem: Oil is volatile (as is gold – check the charts). Fiat currency is comparatively stable. If facilitates economic growth.

    If you want to live like the Amish, then by all means, return to gold currency. If you want to live in the real world and go outside of your house each day without your tinfoil hat, then drop the non-issue and concentrate on liberty.

  15. “Not to throw the cat amongst the pidgeons, but when one of us makes it into the debates, are we obligated to refuse to participate unless all the other candidates are included?”

    I believe we’re planning to ask our volunteers to join the Green Party’s protest of the exclusion of the Green and Independent candidates.

  16. Unlike naturally born persons, corporations are legal fictions created by government. As such they do not deserve “life, liberty, and property” in the same manner that natural persons do. Corporations cannot be put in jail, or killed for their crimes. As such, while I do believe in a minimum of regulation for corporations, I also believe that there is no conflict of interest in being Libertarian and believing it is acceptable to regulate corporate behavior.

  17. Corporations, Unions, etc. should not be able to give any money to a campaign. Only individuals should be able to give money and it should not be limited. The campaigns should have to list donors and the amount they have given to the campaign so that people know who is backing them.

    This would be simple, keep out influence from businesses and unions, and give some transparency to who is financing each candidate. It should be up to the candidate to defend any large campaign contributions by certain individuals and how that will not give them undue influence on their decision making.

  18. A horde of gold is not necessary. Nor it is deflationary.

    For someone who likes to talk about economics and markets, you are horrifically ignorant. But that is the problem. You know “a lot”. Too damned much to make any sense. Every post you make on these matters shows this as fact.

    The measure of gold in fiat is unimportant. In other words, if gold is monetized, it might go to say $2000.00 an ounce. That’s neither inflationary or deflationary. Inflation is an increase in the money supply. Deflation is a decrease. It’s not hard to understand that monetization would do nothing with respect to the supply. It wouldn’t matter that gold was $2k an ounce. You make the assumption that an ounce of gold would have to be $35 an ounce, but that is not a realistic expectation, give that since 1913, the “stable” dollar has lost over 96% of it’s purchasing power and now both parents in a family have to work like dogs to live like that did in 1950.

  19. thehim writes; “Washington state is very cynical about people who only talk about lowering taxes.”

    I made a point of getting to the forum in Olympia, Wa this past Sat. where Guthrie spoke along with the Green candidate and an independent. Bruce spoke very little about lowering taxes. He did bring up the fact that the U.S. has 250,000 plus troops stationed in 130 countries around the world, that the misnamed Patriot Act is a problem and that we need to still allow others to enter the country along with other issues.

    It was great to hear Bruce talk about the overseas deployment of U.S. troops. Most Libertarians candidates don’t mention it. Few, if any Americans pay much attention to the issue, nor do they know how much we have spent over the years. Of course, the press is blind to it as well.
    Unfortunately the DoD website where the info was posted is now down.

    With some 25 years in the party I think I’m a good judge of LP candidates and Bruce was on target.

    M.H.W.

  20. Gold has an infinite amount more intrinsic value than fiat money. Fiat money isn’t worth the paper that it’s printed on and there are more of them every day.

    An oil backed currency is a possibility, but it’s store of wealth and fungibility aren’t as good as that of gold. Oil is a product of consumption. That said, you could have an oil backed currency. Gold and Silver have proven to be superior.

    We will all be living like the Amish eventually… thanks to fiat currency. Of course, we could live in a world of peace, liberty and continuous prosperity but the money masters have to own us instead. It’s better that way.

    Nothing of any substance will happen until the fed is abolished.

  21. DD — UA actually is right about the fiat value standard of gold. The only trick it has that fiat currency itself doesn’t is that its fiat is from popular consensus.

    However, he is also correct about the deflationary properties of gold as a currency, as are you.

    Gold in and of itself cannot ‘deflate’. The amount of gold available remains constant and only increases over time (leading, of course, to its own inflationary rate.) *HOWEVER* — and here’s the real catch — inflation/deflation forces on the marketplace are determined by the amount of currency IN FLOW/MOTION.

    As individuals have a natural tendancy to conserve ‘good’ money and throw away the ‘bad’, over time a gold standard (governmental or private) *WILL* lead to deflation.

    Deflation is the reduction in the overall size of the economy; it is the reduction in *money available*.

    Gold as currency = deflation over time. Simple enough, man.

  22. I tend to agree with UA about the gold standard, but this statement about gold in general is incorrect: “It only has worth because we all agree that it has worth. It is a fucking mind trick … I can do something with crude oil – more than make a homoerotic ornament or expensive dildo.”

    Gold nano-particles are probably one of the most studied materials in my field right now because of their properties and possible applications. Because of their unique electronic, optical and catalytic properties, it is believed that gold nano-structures can have important applications in catalysis, molecular electronics, sensors, bioconjugate probes, gene mapping, and in the treatment of cancer and tumours.

    You can do quite a bit more with gold than “make a homoerotic ornament or expensive dildo.”

  23. “internal education about the differences between corporations and truly private businesses,”

    Huh? Many corporations are 1 ( or 2-3)person private businesses. I suppose you meant “public/publicly traded corporations”

  24. Michael H. Wilson,
    I’m glad to hear that. I hope to work with Guthrie sometime down the road, but I think he picked the wrong battle to engage in this year. It sounds like he could be a strong libertarian voice in the future.

  25. Okay, here’s the deal: I’m a farmer and I borrow $100,000 from the bank at 10% APR. Over the next ten years, the population grows, the economy grows, but the money supply does not grow (at least not even remotely at the rate of the population and productivity). Say I produce wheat. In ten years it is entirely possible that the amount of wheat it would take to equal $100,000 has now doubled. In other words, I’m screwed. I end up losing my farm to the bank and living as a slave/sharecropper.

    Make believe? No, it happened all across the country in the late 1800’s.

    Think it’s a coincidence that the country experienced economic booms each time it went off gold, and depressions when it returned to it?

    Gold is a shiny metal that looks pretty to young girls and retards. That’s it. White people kill one another and slave darker people to get it. That’s it’s history.

    It’s conveniant that we all trust in the US Dollar. It works. Go ahead and use your liberty dollars. I’ll use the real stuff.

  26. Mr. Moore: I exagerate the relative uselessness with gold, because that’s what I tend to do on blogs. Okay, fine. Gold has some uses. Still, its predominant use is that of a supposed “hedge” by right-wing nutjobs and as jewlery and pretty objects. Am I wrong?

    Take copper. Its acutal uses have been the catalyst for the bull market in copper. Aluminum, oil, etc. But gold? The bull market in gold is a fiction based in no more reality than the fiat currency. You think gold is a hedge? You should have bought some in the 80’s. It still hasn’t returned to its inflation adjusted value in fiat currency.

    And you can all say what you want about how gold’s value is contant and the fiat money is what fluctuates. Fine. All I know is that it took a helluva lot more ounces of gold to buy a house in 1990 then it did in 1983. And even if gold’s value were constant, that’s still DEFLATIONARY in a growing economy with a growing population.

  27. And I hope that we all agree that deflation is very bad. It discouarges investment. No one wants to borrow in a deflationary environment. No one wants to lend since interest rates have to be low, possibly negative. That doesn’t make any sense to borrow or lend.

    If you think deflation is good, look at Japan’s economy. They finally have some inflationary pressures that are helping.

    Another myth: Savings is good. Again, look to Japan. The US savings rate is far too low (-2%, I heard), but for every dollar saved, that’s one less dollar flowing in the economy. Call me crazy, but I believe that economic activity = good; stagnation = bad. We don’t want people to horde their money. Of course, going into debt is probably just about as bad, but that’s another subject.

  28. FOURTH AND FINAL POST: Subjects like these are what Libertarian candidates NEED TO AVOID in debates, etc. Debating the return to the gold standard… You might as well debate a return to slavery, to senators being elected by state legislatures, to reunification with the British Empire, etc. We’re not going back there, and not a single voter in the world (outside of the kooks who are already voting Libertarian or Constitution) are interested in these subjects.

    Keep it relavent.

    Pro-immigration, anti-war. Pro choice on evertying, etc.

  29. Huh? Many corporations are 1 ( or 2-3)person private businesses. I suppose you meant “public/publicly traded corporations”

    Limited liability and corporate personhood are enough to make them something different from a real private business.

  30. Holy shit, UA, now you’re even trying to portray those who believe in gold-backed currency as racists! FYI, gold has a LONG history throughout many civilizations (not just white people!) as a currency. While it’s certainly a fair topic of debate to compare gold’s merits versus a fiat currency (a free market of choices in currency is fine with me), give the racism crap a rest already.

  31. No. I’m not saying people who want a gold-backed currency are racists. Don’t be so sensitive.

    I’m saying that white people have carved up the world in the name of gold. American Indians, north and south, had little use for gold. It was used to make trinkits, that’s it. When Pizarro came to Peru, the Incas tried to give him other gifts that they thought were valuable. He wanted gold. WHY? What use did it have then? Did he want to study the particles and potential applications? No. He wanted to make a fruit necklace or ear rings or something.

    How many people have been murdered and enslaved in the name of gold? All for nothing. Fighting for gold is just as bad as fighting for a made-up religion. Gold is the ultimate false idol.

    When Indians were forced into the Black Hills, they didn’t give a fuck that it was teeming with gold. The white man did. So he slaughtered them.

    Sorry if facts hurt. I haven’t even touched on South Africa, another lovely instance of gold leading to oppression.

  32. Facts don’t hurt me and I’m not going to deny that throughout history people (including non-whites) have killed and pillaged over things that they considered of value. What about people who kill for paper money? Jewelry? You can go on and on with these kinds of examples, but none of them are a rational argument against gold as a currency.

  33. The European exploration of the Americas was fueled in no small part by reports of the gold ornaments displayed in great profusion by Native American peoples, especially in Central America, Peru, and Colombia.

    Wikipedia

  34. UA I think you have your economics upside down. During the period from 1820 thru 1940 prices moved up and down, but over the long term they remained stable. A basket of goods that cost $500 in 1820 cost $452.28 in 1940.
    During the last 60 years the situation has been quite different. $500 worth of goods from 1940 would cost $5991.28 in the year 2000.
    Money is a unit of measure and it makes no more sense for it to fluctuate wildly than for any other unit of measure to do the same. Should an inch be different every year?
    Under the present system those holding stocks are benefiting while the working stiffs are taking it in the shorts. The Federal Reserve bank of NY is the one responsible for the creation of the supply of money and it flows into the NY markets first and then the rest of the country. Graph the rate of inflation over the last 100 years and then place a graph of the stock market increases on top of it and see what you get.
    M.H.W.

  35. During the period from 1820 thru 1940 prices moved up and down, but over the long term they remained stable. A basket of goods that cost $500 in 1820 cost $452.28 in 1940.
    During the last 60 years the situation has been quite different. $500 worth of goods from 1940 would cost $5991.28 in the year 2000.

    Out of curiosity – how do you come up with this measure? Obviously not in nominal dollars, which changed a lot more drastically.

    Also, is the quality of the goods comparable over this whole span of time? Many goods that exist now weren’t even dreamt of in 1940, much less 1820.

  36. Paulie if you take any inflation calculator on the web and run the numbers I think that is what you will get. Somewhere in storage I have a number of books on the issue that pretty much give me the same data, but I have not run it in awhile. And no it does not take into account the quality of goods, nor new inventions.
    BTW I am not an advocate of a gold backed currency, but I do think we need a good discussion on the issue. What we have now is welfare for the well to do.

    And you comment: “Out of curiosity – how do you come up with this measure? Obviously not in nominal dollars, which changed a lot more drastically.” And where do you think a more drastic change occurred? With the dollar being less than 1/10th of what it was in 1940 that is pretty drastic
    in my opinion.
    M.H.W.

  37. UA, you have fillibustered me and it’s late. You are helplessly cluesless on this matter, but then again you are on most things and your hyperbole doesn’t help your case in the least.

    The reason economic booms are experienced when the gold standard is left behind is because (duh) cheap money and credit flood the economy. This creates the business cycle, which has as it’s nature booms and busts. That’s because fiat money leads to a missallocation of resources and mass malinvestment. And lowered savings (but you beleive people can spend and indebt themselves to wealth). Moving towards a gold backed currency may indeed induce a needed bust because the excesses brought about by fiat currency/fractional reserves must be purged from the economy. Busts are a regular feature of the current global economy and it’s wholly due to fiat currency/fractional reserve banking. Remember the Asian crisis, Great Depression, etc? Given sound banking and honest measures, gold is immune to this.

  38. Michael, you have your economics upside down. Inflation benefits labor. Deflation benefits capital. In more absolute terms, inflation benefits debtors, deflation benefits lenders. You act as if inflation is good for the stock market. No. If anything, deflation would be better for stockholders.

    DD: You are anti-growth. I suggest you consider joining the Green Party or perhaps the Shakers or Amish. :)

  39. Gee UA, I go to work on Jan 1, 2006 for $100 a day and on Dec. 31,2006 I’m still making $100 a day, but thanks to 4% inflation my buying power that $100 is now worth $96.
    That’s good?
    The object should be price stability, not inflation, or deflation.
    M.H.W.

  40. Join a union and collectively bargain to increase your wages. Or not. Inflation generally comes with wage increases. Are people still making $5 a day, like Henry Ford paid? No. Why? Inflation. Wages should stay constant in “real” terms, or increase with the expansion of the economy. Their failure to do so is the failure of union labor, which long ago sold out.

    Meanwhile, the $100,000 you borrowed in 1998 is less difficult to pay off in 2006. Why? Inflation.

  41. here you go u_a. I’ll take Milton Friedman’s comments and think about them. ” A government debasing the currency would not have fooled anyone a century ago. Now, through deception, a government can try to blame inflation on anything but its own irresponsible actions.”

    In the meantime I have to try to do something productive.
    M.H.W.

  42. West: You’re right. That’s what I’m arguing. That advocating a return to the gold standard or abolition of the Federal Reserve is a losing platform plank. Of course, because this is a libertarian blog and not a campaign web site, I can also try to make my case that not only are these losing issues, but they’re also bad policy.

    And voters do care about inflation. Even though they understand it even less than these goldbugs.

    Michael: Decpetive? Yes. But our financial system facilitates economic growth, so as long as everyone has been fooled into believing fed notes are worth something, we might as well continue going along with it.

    And actually, fed notes do have value. They have the value of the US military using its guns and tortue to uphold their value.

  43. Those that don’t are oblivious to how government is robbing them.

    Yes, exactly. not one voter in 10000 gives a shit as defined by libertarians As long as they can buy beer, they are free. A libertarian views liberty in a concrete manner. A non libertarian views liberty in a far more abstract manner. Only when the 2 come together is any real progress ever made.

  44. You’re being a bit hyperbolic. A good chunk of voters care about more than buying beer. A good chunk care about inflation. There’s an entire TV network that constantly monitors inflation, and I guarantee you that everyone who watches it is a voter. You’re a bit older than I am (I think) so you probably remember the Carter years. Did the voters of that time not care about inflation?

  45. U_A writes: “Decpetive? Yes. But our financial system facilitates economic growth, so as long as everyone has been fooled into believing fed notes are worth something, we might as well continue going along with it.”

    Isn’t that called theft, or fraud? And you’re the undercover_anarchist what kind of anarchist suggest what the Federal Reserve has done is okay?
    And what if in an anarchist society some wanted to use French francs, or British pounds, or Visa notes? Or maybe we had a society were all circulated at the same time as happened in early American society, except for the Visa notes of course?

    Later. I have to put together some stuff for a booth this weekend. Gotta get the word out about Bruce.
    M.H.W.

  46. Not okay. But it works pretty well. There’s a difference.

    Cutting off the hands of theives works well as a deterrant to theft.

  47. Just a reminder the US Senate debate will be televised on Tuesday 10/17, at 9pm on King-5 TV (Seattle). Libertarian Bruce Guthrie will be in the debate!

    For those of you who live near Seattle, there’s going to be a protest because Aaron Dixon, the Green candidate, is being excluded. Dixon is a great candidate who has been outspoken against the drug war and the war in Iraq. Here’s some details about the protest:

    *WHERE*
    Denny Park in Seattle, right across the street from KING-5 Studios
    100 Dexter Ave N
    Seattle, WA 98109

    *WHEN*
    Tuesday, October 17 at 1:30 PM

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