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National Politics

Leading From Behind – The Libertarian Party’s Kick of the Can

“If you want to lead them, you must place yourself behind them.” – Lao Tzu

The above quote is a thought provoking view of one of the original libertarians in world history concerning the idea of effective leadership.  It has been repurposed through history in different cultures using different wording and is still a revered insight into strong leadership by raising up followers to greater heights by getting out of their way and inspiring them instead of ordering people around and not letting their abilities shine.  It is also how in a political organization that isn’t in power can still use its position to effect change and direct the flow of politics from a less than advantageous position.

Unfortunately, that sentiment is not what this article is about.  Instead, it is about the failure of trying to convince the world to embrace your ideas while consistently showing them a side of your organization that is hopelessly lost in the past, with no forward thinking and foresight that people are looking for in these times.

Covid-19 has gripped the nation and regardless of your views on its severity or the political ramifications of society’s response, the fact remains that it has disrupted how the citizens and organizations of the country interact with one another.  Technology that isn’t exactly new is now being embraced by people to continue functioning and moving forward.  And while this should probably have happened sooner, a crisis like this has always been the catalyst for driving technology adoption throughout history.  One could go back to the 1918 influenza pandemic to track the changes in our technology at the time that it helped push forward, including vaccines and the discovery of DNA.

However, one of the aspects of the country’s re-examination of how it functions has left the Libertarian Party in a situation that its own reticence to embrace that technology before has placed it.  On May 2nd, 2020 the Libertarian National Committee voted to postpone the 2020 National Convention, originally scheduled for Austin, TX the weekend of Memorial Day.  It had become apparent that continuing on with the convention would be untenable and a change should be made to accommodate the uncertainty of the times.  The vote was nearly unanimous with only one person voting against the postponement.

Unfortunately, instead of having a new date or a plan in place to deal with the postponement, the LNC heard from Daniel Hayes of the Convention Committee who provided a report that did little to sway the LNC into action.  After some deliberations, the LNC voted to recess and give themselves 10 days to provide a gameplan for what will happen with the convention, scheduling to meet again on May 9, 2020.  Apparently in the next week they will be able to come to a conclusion for a problem that has been apparent for the past previous two months.  It is not exactly certain what the extra 10 days will provide that couldn’t be accomplished in the preceding 60, but that is where we are now.

There are many issues that come from this which include:

  • Thousands of people are now having to cancel reservations for travel and  housing without any information on when or where a rescheduled convention will take place.

  • How will the delegate allocation be affected without any clear plan in place.  Some delegates will likely not be able to change their plans to accommodate a different date or location so states are now waiting to hear on the new plans and then get in touch with existing delegates as well as alternates that were chosen to see if they can even fill their allotments for the new convention time and place, which has yet to be decided.

  • Some states are closing in on deadline dates in their ballot access requirements.  If the new date is too far into the year the LP may be missing out on getting a candidate on these ballots.  Without knowing what the date will be, it is anyone’s guess on whether this will be an issue or not.  Are contingency plans going to be put into motion?

  • What is the financial impact of the cancellation going to do to party finances. There are reports that there is not enough money currently in accounts to refund all convention packages. While many will be carried over to the rescheduled convention, a large number will not and may cause an impact to the party’s ability to fight ballot access issues in the upcoming election.

These and many other issues provide problems that leaves many to wonder if anyone is considering or working to mitigate them.  However, there is one issue that came out of the meeting today that has been a problem for years that has always been pushed to another time and is now making the Libertarian Party look like it is stuck in the 20th century.

The resolution that was adopted states that the postponement will be to a PHYSICAL location on a new date to be determine.  An online or hybrid convention will not be considered because it would most likely violate the bylaws of the party.  For years it has been apparent that the party is not willing to move forward with technology advances that could streamline the voting both at convention and in running the convention itself.  In 2018, the convention was plagued with delays caused by archaic voting techniques of writing names on a piece of paper and handing them in to be counted manually, rechecked, challenged, etc.  This caused so many delays that the convention came to a hard end with an altered LNC membership vote procedure and an even more altered vote for the Judicial Committee that many considered to be out of order.

The Libertarian Party bylaws prevent the use of electronic voting equipment or methods and as a result, in a time of current events, shows a lack of foresight into dealing with situations that could cause a convention to take place that will be considered by many to be, at best, less than representative.  At worst, it could lead to calls of the convention being illegitimate.  By not doing something about this situation in the past the party has no one to blame but itself.

Yes, there are similar problems in the US Senate and House of Representatives where electronic voting was considered after 9/11 but being government entities they showed their incompetence in delivering real solutions and they are now having to deal with this lack of forward thought with haphazard methods.  But they are the government.  The Libertarian Party is trying to convince the people of the United States to embrace them and when it came time to deliver a huge knock it out of the park moment, the party merely whiffed at the plate.  An opportunity to show that we have thought about how to best handle was completely missed.

To be clear, an online or hybrid convention could solve a lot of issues for the party if it were to be considered.  Those who would make good delegates that represented their state parties well but cannot attend the convention because of funds, work obligations, family obligations or personal health issues could attend electronically.  Electronic voting, either on site or through an online convention could speed up the process and allow for more time for debate of important issues instead of standing around for hours waiting for the results of manual voting procedures to take place. 

Many organizations are moving to online conventions this year.  Red Hat just had their annual showcase fully online, Microsoft will be doing the same for Build.  Stockholder meetings are held online and have been for years.  The Constitution Party this weekend held their convention online.  Some state libertarian parties have held theirs through zoom meetings.  There are companies and systems in place that can easily handle a thousand delegate convention with voting verification and attendance by non-delegates as well AND be cheaper than an in person convention.

Make no mistake, this will be the way of the future as companies have been showing for several years now.  To not even have considered this as a contingency after all this time is an embarrassment.  Instead of being the party of the future we appear to everyone looking from the outside in as a relic of the past and far less organized than the other political parties that exist. 

I doubt that much will change in the next week.  Some offer letters will be put together for alternate days and locations for some time in early July most likely and the LNC will vote on those limited options that will be presented and completely miss out on actually leading from behind in the political environment that we exist.  A footnote relegated to nothing new, nothing original, just philosophy that doesn’t prove that it is better by actually being better.

How do we expect to inspire others to achieve more and look to the future when we can’t get out of our own way long enough to even see the problems that need to be worked out?  We spend so much time and energy arguing about which brand of libertarianism is the best that there is nothing left when it comes to adequately preparing to perform the job of leading that we are trying to tell the country that we are ready to embrace.

The time for solving this was years ago.  How we respond now to these issues that will affect the party may not be able to correct those mistakes of the past.  But when we look back in a few years, will we see the stepping up of the best of us to achieve something better?  Or just more of the same that has left us scratching our heads for a solution that has evaded us.

The meeting is recorded and available to watch on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybEl3_DHETY

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National Politics

WAL 384: The Afghan Papers

Chris Spangle, Harry Price, and Rhinehold discuss the 18 years of lies told by the US Government and media about the war in Afghanistan.

https://wearelibertarians.com/wal-384-the-afghan-papers/

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National Politics

The Truths AOC Doesn’t Want You To Know

Recently Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview that libertarians ‘don’t believe in immigration’.  She doubled down on this assertion the next day in an Instagram message.  It appears that she is either uninformed and speaking from a place of ignorance or she is purposefully and willfully misrepresenting libertarian positions in an effort to keep control of Democrats who are becoming increasingly more distrustful of the direction the party is taking.

Let’s assume, to be fair, that it is the former instead of the latter.  The Democratic Party has a long history of ignoring the actual positions of libertarians and trying to make them out to be more radically conservative than the Republican Party.  This is a failing that, IMO, helped cause Hillary to lose in 2016.  Hillary spent millions on efforts to fight against Gary Johnson and libertarians, and in doing so insulted the very people who could have put her over the edge in several key states that would have swung the election her way.  AOC hasn’t seemed to have learned this lesson.  In every election in modern times there are around 35% who are going to vote Democrat, no matter what.  There are around 35% who are going to vote Republican, no matter what.  It’s that remaining 30% that decides who wins elections and libertarians make up a large percentage of that voting bloc. 

However, let’s look at the facts as they exist, the facts that AOC doesn’t seem to be aware of.

Immigration

From the very first day that the Libertarian Party was formed, it has been staunchly pro-immigration.  In fact, through the 80s and 90s the platform called for the abolition of the border patrol and called for free and open immigration.  An example from the 1988 platform:

We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality. We condemn massive roundups of Hispanic Americans and others by the federal government in its hunt for individuals not possessing required government documents. We strongly oppose all measures that would punish employers who hire undocumented workers. Such measures repress free enterprise, harass workers, and systematically discourage employers from hiring Hispanics.

Undocumented non-citizens should not be denied the fundamental freedom to labor and to move about unmolested Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of race, religion, political creed, age, or sexual preference.

We therefore call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol. and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally. We oppose government welfare payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons.

Because we support the right of workers to cross borders without harassment, we oppose all government-mandated “temporary worker” plans. Specifically, we condemn attempts to revive the Bracero Program as government imposition of second class status on Mexican-bom workers.

We welcome all refugees to our shores and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new “Berlin Wall” which would keep them captive. We condemn the U.S. government’s policy of barring those refugees from our shores and preventing Americans from assisting their passage to help them escape tyranny or improve their economic prospects.

https://lpedia.org/Document:National_Platform_1988#17._IMMIGRATION

Now I’m not sure how this squares with her assessment that libertarians are ‘anti-immigration’ at all.  While during the period immediately following 9/11 the platform did change to allow for some libertarians to accept a small amount of border control to prevent terrorism,  in a reactionary measure, that language was removed this past convention and returned to calling for free and open migration.  A position that cannot be said for the current Democratic Party.  Look at the policies put forward on immigration from the Democratic Party candidates for president, they are falling over themselves to not be for open borders.  The LP is, always has and will continue to do so, no matter what misinformation AOC has.

In fact, before she was in grade school, the LP was fighting against the then Democratic Party President, Bill Clinton, who reneged on a campaign promise to allow the Haitian refugees to enter the US.  After being inaugurated reports of boats being built and readied to make their way to the US caused him to keep the previous Bush era block against Haitian refugee status intact.  They did this by defining the Haitian boat people as economic rather than political refugees despite the fact they were fleeing the results of a violent coup, leading to the murders of fifteen hundred supporters of the democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted in the coup. 

Citing numerous murders of repatriated Haitians, violations of Haitians’ civil rights, and imprisonment and harassment upon repatriation, these groups tried to change the status of the Haitian boat people to political refugees. Human rights groups asserted that the United States was in violation of the 1951 Convention and subsequent 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and President Bush was found to be in violation of the Refugee Act of 1980. However, by defining Haitians as economic relief seekers and not refugees, the United States was allowed to maintain its repatriation policy.

Taking office in 1993, President Bill Clinton had opposed Bush’s repatriation/interdiction policy and promised that he would be generous toward Haitian refugees. Coast Guard personnel remarked that seven hundred new boats were built by Haitians awaiting Clinton’s presidency. However, in a reversal of opinion, Clinton reinstated Bush’s policy.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that only those refugees who actually make it to U.S. soil on their own could be considered for refugee status and that anyone interdicted would be repatriated. This controversial policy, along with continued interdiction at sea, remains in effect in the early twenty-first century.

http://immigrationtounitedstates.org/536-haitian-boat-people.html

If all of this sounds familiar, Clinton put in place the very same rules that AOC is now attacking Trump on and while she is correct now, the Democratic Party has never been for free and open immigration.

Marriage Equality

The Democratic Party adopted marriage equality in the 2012 Platform because then president and candidate Barack Obama was in favor of it.  However, before 2012, the party had been largely against Marriage Equality.  In fact, Bill Clinton was responsible for some of the legislation that prolonged homosexual couples from obtaining this equality. 

Libertarians, however, since the founding of the party in 1971, have called for marriage equality.  The position has always been that marriage should not be an area that the government is involved in.  However, if they are involved, that involvement must be applied equally.  So, it was nice when the Democratic Party finally came around to Marriage Equality in 2012, but libertarians were wondering what took them so long.

Anti-War

The Democratic Party has been a tepid opposer of wars of aggression throughout its history.  Most recently in 2002 they were very opposed to military action in Iraq (but not Afghanistan) but agreed to the action politically.  Protests existed while Bush was in office, but once Bush left and newly elected Barack Obama was inaugurated, all pretense of being against the war stopped.  The protests stopped, new unconstitutional military action was even employed, and the Democratic Party remained silent on any kind of opposition to these actions.  It seems that they are anti-war, when the war is started by the opposing party only.

Libertarians, on the other hand, believe in a non-aggression principle, something we have to agree to when joining the party, and only support the use of violence as a defensive measure.  For anyone who is against aggressive military action around the world, the Democratic Party is not the place to be, it is with the Libertarian Party.  The Democratic Party has lost all standing to claim being anti-war.

Summary

One would hope that a representative engaging in political discourse would actually learn what their opponents believe before calling them out on those positions.  Straw man fallacies are not helpful in any kind of meaningful political discussion, especially from an elected official who should know better.  ESPECIALLY from an elected official that has been the subject of such attacks against them recently, one would imagine they would be more understanding of how harmful to the ultimate goals they are trying to accomplish that ends up being.  It is my hope that AOC opens up a google search and looks at the Libertarian Party Platform and give it a glance to at least not sound so ignorant about something when she speaks as it does not help her cause, or the Democratic Party’s cause, in any way to make such declarations that are so easily refutable.  I’m including a link to the most recent Libertarian Party Platform (2018) in case there is a problem with AOC not being able to figure out how to use google.

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National Politics

WAL 352: What’s In The Mueller Report

Chris Spangle, Rhinehold, and Hodey Johns give details and analysis on the final report by Robert Mueller on the Russian Collusion investigation.

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National Politics

Obama, the Unconstitutional War President

Besides the modern precedence of President Obama’s defeats in the Supreme Court in regards to their 9-0 rulings against him, the President has repeatedly violated the wording and spirit of the Constitution, as well as his own words, several times in waging war, a power that was given to the Congress for a variety of good reasons.

Let’s take a look at the US Constitution’s text on the war powers.

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

The President’s powers are:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

It is very clear that the US Constitution defined that the power to determine when the military could be called forth against foreign entities.  Once called forth, the President directs the actions of those troops, but only after being authorized.

Of course, this President and many of his supporters will attempt to use either the War Powers Act and the AUMF as the authorization for the President to attack places like Syria, Libya and Iraq.  But there are some problems when we look at the actual text of those authorizations.

The text of the War Powers Resolution says:

SEC. 2. (c)  The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces. SEC. 3. The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.Sec. 4. (a) In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced–(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or(3) (A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;     (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and     (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.

Sec. 4. (b) The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad.

Sec. 4. (c) Whenever United States Armed Forces are introduced into hostilities or into any situation described in subsection (a) of this section, the President shall, so long as such armed forces continue to be engaged in such hostilities or situation, report to the Congress periodically on the status of such hostilities or situation as well as on the scope and duration of such hostilities or situation, but in no event shall he report to the Congress less often than once every six months.SEC. 5. (a) Each report submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1) shall be transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate on the same calendar day. Each report so transmitted shall be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate for appropriate action. If, when the report is transmitted, the Congress has adjourned sine die or has adjourned for any period in excess of three calendar days, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate, if they deem it advisable (or if petitioned by at least 30 percent of the membership of their respective Houses) shall jointly request the President to convene Congress in order that it may consider the report and take appropriate action pursuant to this section.

SEC. 5. (b) Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.

SEC. 5. (c) Notwithstanding subsection (b), at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.

And the AUMF:

Section 2 – Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

So, very clear.  The US President can only put forces in the field, including bombing foreign entities, without Congressional approval via a declaration of war or statutory law, unless there is “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces”.  Currently, the only authorization of the use of force in place that the US can use is the AUMF which limits the attacks to “nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons”.

Libya did not meet this requirement, neither does ISIS.  In fact, the only current military actions that could be included into that current authorization is the actions ongoing in Afghanistan, though there is some concern about the current state of affairs in that country.

From our own President just a year ago concerning the AUMF:

[T]he choices we make about war can impact — in sometimes unintended ways — the openness and freedom on which our way of life depends.  And that is why I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.

The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old.  The Afghan war is coming to an end.  Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self.  Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.  Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.

So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.  And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.  Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue.  But this war, like all wars, must end.  That’s what history advises.  That’s what our democracy demands.

And from our own President while he was running for office:

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

And from Joe Biden:

It is precisely because the consequences of war – intended or otherwise – can be so profound and complicated that our Founding Fathers vested in Congress, not the President, the power to initiate war, except to repel an imminent attack on the United States or its citizens. They reasoned that requiring the President to come to Congress first would slow things down… allow for more careful decision making before sending Americans to fight and die… and ensure broader public support.

The Founding Fathers were, as in most things, profoundly right.

ISIS is not an imminent danger to the US, Libya was not an imminent danger to the US.  This President talks the talk, but does not walk the walk.

A great quote from Jack Goldsmith in Time:

Future historians will ask why George W. Bush sought and received express congressional authorization for his wars (against al Qaeda and Iraq) and his successor did not. They will puzzle over how Barack Obama the prudent war-powers constitutionalist transformed into a matchless war-powers unilateralist. And they will wonder why he claimed to “welcome congressional support” for his new military initiative against the Islamic State but did not insist on it in order to ensure clear political and legal legitimacy for the tough battle that promised to consume his last two years in office and define his presidency.

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National Politics

RIP Theodora Nathan

Theodora “Tonie” Nathan passed away today at the age of 91.  If you are scratching your head not sure of who that is or why you should be aware of it, Tonie was the first woman in the United States that earned an electoral vote for Vice President of the United States.  This happened in 1972.

In 1972, running as a vice presidential candidate for the first Libertarian Party ticket for the presidential candidate John Hospers, Republican elector Roger MacBride of Virginia who was supposed to vote for Richard Nixon but in protest voted for the Hospers-Nathan ticket instead.  When reading the results of the vote, the man reading them read her name as ‘Theodore’ instead of Theodora.

At that moment, she became the first woman to receive an electoral vote for vice president, as well as the first Jewish person to receive an electoral vote for vice president.  John Hospers was the first gay man to receive an electoral vote (as far as we know).

In an era when both Democrats and Republicans work very hard to smear the ideals of libertarianism and the Libertarian Party for political purposes (they feel that those vote that they ‘steal’ are rightfully theirs despite not having earned them) the facts of the Libertarian Party in leading for civil rights for everyone have been lost.  To the point that when frustrated about a comment he made about a reporter, Alec Baldwin responded with the tweet

@ABFalecbaldwin: When did all this Breitbart libertarian trash become the defenders of gay rights?””

While most libertarians can’t speak to Breitbart’s group (as he isn’t a libertarian, nor is his group), libertarians have been defenders of gay rights since, well, always.  And defenders of women’s rights.  And everyone’s rights.  Progressive Democrats didn’t get around to supporting gay marriage until 2012.  Conservative Republicans will get there, kicking and screaming, within ten years.

Because, unlike Progressive and Conservative views, Libertarians are bound by a basic philosophy that puts others above them.  The rights of the individual, not the individual self but every single possible individual, are above politics.  The real measure of your defense of rights is not how vehemently you defend your own, it is how you defend the rights of those that you disagree with.  Our views don’t change for political expediency or getting votes, we don’t think that natural rights that each person has are up for political negotiations.  Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said of the two major parties who put your rights up for negotiation at every election.

Theodora earned her nomination on merit, not as a political stunt.  Nor did she campaign for it.  She was a TV producer from Oregon who showed up for the convention.  Because of some well-phrased comments from the floor during debates over the platform and statement of principles that impressed the rest of the delegation, she was nominated as the candidate for vice president of the United States.

She was also a founding member and former vice chair of the Libertarian Party, as well as a founding member and former president of the Association of Libertarian Feminists.

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National Politics

The So Called Scandal

In defense of the administration, many of the partisan left are trying to label the recent scandals as ‘so called’ and ‘imaginary’.  However, as new information makes its way to the media, and the lawsuits start to mount, even the most partisan protector of the administration must be asking themselves some very hard questions, even if they aren’t being asked out loud.  One recent story was the treatment of Catherine Englebrecht.

Catherine and her husband own a small manufacturing company.  Over time, she has become interested in political policy, specifically after witnessing what she considered voter fraud during the 2008 election.  She created two groups, True the Vote and King Street Patriots.  True the Vote’s function is to ensure the integrity of elections, including working to clear voting rolls of people who have died or no longer living in the district and educating poll workers on identifying potential election fraud.

In July 2010, she applied for tax-exempt status from the IRS, and apparently this action ‘poked the bear’.

Here is a timeline of what happened to her after that action, remembering that before applying she had never had a single issue with her groups or her business from the federal government.

  • December 2010 – FBI interviewed her about a person who attended a King Street Patriots function.
  • January 2011 – FBI returned and the IRS audited her business tax returns.
  • May 2011 – FBI returned again asking about the actions of the King Street Patriots.
  • June 2011 – FBI returned and the IRS audited her personal tax returns.
  • October 2011 – IRS questioned her about True the Vote.
  • November 2011 – FBI returned to question her about King Street Patriots.
  • December 2011 – FBI returned to question her about King Street Patriots.
  • February 2012 – IRS questions her about True the Vote and King Street Patriots, including asking for “all of your activity on Facebook and Twitter.”, BATF audited her business.
  • July 2012 – OSHA inspected her business.
  • November 2012 – IRS questions her about True the Vote.
  • March 2013 – IRS questions her about True the Vote.
  • April 2013 – BATF conducts a second audit.

To this day, she has not received the tax exempt status she requested.  This additional scrutiny was not just the IRS, but also the FBI and BATF, both groups that had no issue with Catherine and her group before.  In addition, her group True the Vote has been subject to a congressional investigation by Elijah E Cummings and Barbara Boxer.  Apparently wanting to ensure that the voting rolls are accurate is a hate crime to some.

After it was made public that True the Vote was one of the groups subjected to additional scrutiny by the IRS, Ms Englebrecht responded:

“Since that time the IRS has run us through a gauntlet of analysts and hundreds of questions over and over again. They’ve requested to see each and every tweet I’ve ever tweeted or Facebook post I’ve ever posted. They also asked to know every place I’ve ever spoken since our inception and to whom, and everywhere I intend to speak in the future. We’ve met all requirements, responded to everything, and provided case law in such areas where appropriate,” Engelbrecht stated. “The IRS treatment of us lends to the appearance of a politically motivated abuse of power and an assault on free speech.”

Unfortunately, while Catherine Englebrecht’s situation is shocking, it isn’t an isolated case.  Consider the following stories we have hear over the past few days.

The Leadership Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization that trains young conservative activists was audited and had to produce 23,000 pages of documents for the IRS as well as answer questions about where its interns came from and where they were employed, a request that came from the IRS’s Baltimore office, just a couple of weeks after the Hawaii Tea Party was asked by the Cincinnati office to provide details regarding their relationship with the Leadership Institute.

Z Street, a pro-Israel group filed for 501(c)(3) status in December 2009 intending to operate as an educational group.  When their tax counsel called in July 2010 to ask about the slow pace of mvement, the IRS auditor (Diane Gentry) said they were supposed to give special scrutiny with groups ‘connected to Israel’ and that requests that related to Israel are sent to ‘a special unit in DC to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies’.  I’ll let that sink in for a moment…

Coalition for Life of Iowa, who was approved for their tax-exempt status, provided that they sign a letter agreed that none of their board members would picket Planned Parenthood offices.  They agreed, since their group wasn’t interested in picketing or protesting, though they did pray in front of Planned Parenthood.  Apparently you need to sign away your 1st amendment rights to get tax-exempt status now.

Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, also asked about their protesting plans and asked to provide copies of grants and contracts.  An IRS agent from California sent them a letter asking “In your educational program, do you education on both sides of the issues in your program?”.  He also asked “do you try to block people to enter a building, e. medical clinic, or any other facility?”  (the grammatical issues are as originally written)

Ret. Lt. Col. Mark Drabik, once leaving the military he was free to express political beliefs openly.  He participated in marches in Washington and donated to the 912 movement.  Then he got an audit from the IRS, questioning his church donations, familty respite care and his daughter’s equine therapy.  Deductions he had clamed for almost a decade without question.

There are just a few of the stories we’ve heard so far.  Some of the left want to dismiss the issue because they are either trying to carry water for the administration or because they agree with limiting the rights of those they disagree with.  There are actually many on the left cheering on the administration for these IRS abuses, even though the president himself has called them wrong and despicable.

So the question comes down to how did this happen?  The initial suggestion that this was done by a rogue agent in the Cincinnati office doesn’t hold water for several reasons.  First, the Cincinnati office is not just a small office that covers just Ohio, it covers much of the United States.  Many seem to not know this.  Second, the targeting appears to have come from other offices too, as this listing suggests.  Finally, some of the documentation was signed by Lois Lerner herself.

The problem can actually be traced back to the rhetoric that Democrats, including the president himself, has used over the past several years.  As was so eloquently put by David Harsanyi:

To begin with, the Internal Revenue Service scandal isn’t just about the abuse of power; it’s a byproduct of an irrational fear of free speech, which seems to permeate much of the left these days. The unprecedented targeting of conservatives wasn’t incidental to this administration as much as it was an intuitive extension of the paranoia the left has about unfettered political expression.

Democrats, after all, hadn’t been merely accusing political opponents of being radical twits the past four years; they’d been accusing them of being corrupt, illegitimate radical twits. The president endlessly argued that these unregulated groups were wrecking the process at the behest of well-heeled enablers rather than engaging in genuine debate.

Heck, some of these funders may even be foreign nationals! Senators called for investigations. Obama called out the Supreme Court during a State of the Union speech for defending the First Amendment in the Citizens United case (which prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by groups). The New York Times editorial board (and others) advocated the cracking down by the IRS on conservative dissenters and getting to the bottom of the anarchy.

How can Americans function in a society in which anyone can speak out or fund a cause without registering with the government first?

Why wouldn’t the IRS — a part of the executive branch, lest we forget — aim its guns at conservative grass-roots groups during an election in which the president claimed that a corporate Star Chamber was “threatening democracy”? Come to think of it, I’m still not sure why the president believes that it was wrong of the IRS to single out limited-government groups for their tax-exempt status at all. He couldn’t stop talking about the topic for two years.

On the heels of this, the administration set out to delegitimize Fox News

You may also remember that back in 2009, the administration was so preoccupied with Fox News (the only news network one could reasonably call the opposition) that top-ranking administration officials — including Anita Dunn, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod — made a concerted effort to delegitimize its coverage. This was also unprecedented. Not long after that effort, Attorney General Eric Holder decided to spy on a Fox journalist who was reporting on leaks — shopping his case to three separate judges, until he found one who let him name reporter James Rosen as a co-conspirator in a crime of reporting the news.

On top of that, we now find that ProPublica was given the information of unapproved conservative groups from the IRS.

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.

The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.

In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

Note that ProPublica states that getting approval for these groups is NOT NECESSARY.

Social welfare nonprofits are not required to apply to the IRS to operate. Many politically active new conservative groups apply anyway. Getting IRS approval can help with donations and help insulate groups from further scrutiny. Many politically active new liberal nonprofits have not applied.

Applications become public only after the IRS approves a group’s tax-exempt status.

The progressives who fear free speech aren’t comprehending the problems with what they are doing in targeting those who disagree with them.  They see the opposition as inhuman, evil and repugnant, therefore not worth of free speech.  They see free speech as something that is given to those who are worthy and taken away from those who they feel shouldn’t be allowed to wield it.  They fail to grasp that in order for them to have their rights protected when they are not in power, they MUST ensure that they do not violate other’s rights when they are in power.  This is clearly evident, not only in the cases of the IRS abuses and myriad of other rights abuses on the press and enemies both at home and in the field.

It started with the attack on Fox News, the torture of Pvt Bradley Manning, the expansion of warrantless wiretap searches including protecting the government from lawsuits, the use of signature strikes, creating a ‘hit list’ of enemies, targeting US Citizens with assassination, spying on the press, on groups like antiwar.com, breaking into reporter’s laptops, spying on US Citizens nationwide, pushing legislation that would allow government agencies to spy on all Americans on the internet, seizing of domains that don’t fall under US control, attacking the Citizens United ruling, Democrat Senators calling for investigations into conservative groups, prosecuting people for whistleblowing, leaving people to rot in Guantanamo Bay in direct violation of the Constitution, and many more that space prevents me from listing…

This administration has been using its full force to push it’s power around.

Categories
National Politics

Nobel Peace Prize: Obama V Manning

The search, arrest and subsequent torture of Pvt Manning over the release of documents to Wikileaks has led Ron Paul to say that Manning is more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than President Obama.  There is a good bit of validity to the argument, including the fact that Manning has been nominated for the past several years.

“While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars,” the former Republican presidential contender told U.S. News. “It’s clear which individual has done more to promote peace.”

Manning was nominated for the award in 2011, 2012 and again earlier this year. Obama won the award in 2009.

The WikiLeaks documents Manning allegedly leaked “pointed to a long history of corruption [and] war crimes” and “helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements,” according to the Icelandic, Swedish and Tunisian politicians who nominated Manning.

Not only did Manning expose some pretty important things with those documents that the American people needed to know, but he did so knowing the danger that put him in.  And he has received more than he bargained for with the torture that he has endured at the hands of this administration.

But, he did break the law.  Of course, so did Rosa Parks, Daniel Ellsberg and Mark Felt.  We celebrate those people as heroes (rightfully so) but have condemned Manning to a tortuous existence.  Many are trying to end this conduct.

Manning’s imprisonment has attracted demonstrations by his anti-war supporters. Protesters routinely picket outside the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Va. An online petition to “save human rights whistleblower Bradley Manning” by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg has attracted almost 20,000 signatures.

Glen Greenwald said it best

“Bradley Manning epitomizes what the Nobel Peace Prize was supposed to reward, while Barack Obama is the antithesis of it,” Greenwald told U.S. News. “Everything Manning did was geared toward ending war by mobilizing public opinion against it. Most of what Obama has done with his power has been geared toward escalating and continuing U.S. aggression.”

Greenwald cited Obama’s use of drone attacks that reportedly kill civilians, the president’s so-called “kill list” and his continuation of the Afghanistan War. “By stark contrast, Manning risked his own liberty, really his life, to expose documents that he thought would expose the horrors of war and the serial deceit and corruption of the world’s most powerful factions,” said Greenwald.

Categories
National Politics

Law Enforcement, Gun Control, and How to Help Others

Listening to many proponents of more gun control often suggest that law enforcement officers would like to see stricter gun control laws in place to combat the violence in our country caused, as they think, by people owning guns.  Or that they support actions to limit magazine sizes.  Since proponents think that it will make law enforcement easier and promote less violence, they are sure that most law enforcement officers agree with their position.  However, as we now see, that is decidedly not the case.

Policeone.com took the question to law enforcement personnel in a recent survey and asked them several questions.  The results of this poll may surprise anyone who thinks that they are acting in the best interests of law enforcement by supporting increased gun control laws.

They surveyed “more than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals”.  Some of their results are:

1.) Virtually all respondents (95 percent) say that a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime.

2.) The majority of respondents — 71 percent — say a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatics would have no effect on reducing violent crime. However, more than 20 percent say any ban would actually have a negative effect on reducing violent crime. Just over 7 percent took the opposite stance, saying they believe a ban would have a moderate to significant effect.

3.) About 85 percent of officers say the passage of the White House’s currently proposed legislation would have a zero or negative effect on their safety, with just over 10 percent saying it would have a moderate or significantly positive effect.

4.) Seventy percent of respondents say they have a favorable or very favorable opinion of some law enforcement leaders’ public statements that they would not enforce more restrictive gun laws in their jurisdictions. Similarly, more than 61 percent said they would refuse to enforce such laws if they themselves were Chief or Sheriff.

5.) More than 28 percent of officers say having more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians would help most in preventing large scale shootings in public, followed by more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons (about 19 percent) and more armed guards/paid security personnel (about 15 percent).

6.) The overwhelming majority (almost 90 percent) of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an active-shooter incident.

7.) More than 80 percent of respondents support arming school teachers and administrators who willingly volunteer to train with firearms and carry one in the course of the job.

8.) More than four in five respondents (81 percent) say that gun-buyback programs are ineffective in reducing gun violence.

As Doug Wyllie, the editor of policeone.com, states:

Quite clearly, the majority of officers polled oppose the theories brought forth by gun-control advocates who claim that proposed restrictions on weapon capabilities and production would reduce crime.

In fact, many officers responding to this survey seem to feel that those controls will negatively affect their ability to fight violent criminals.

Contrary to what the mainstream media and certain politicians would have us believe, police overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, would like to see more guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership, or accessibility.

The officers patrolling America’s streets have a deeply-vested interest — and perhaps the most relevant interest — in making sure that decisions related to controlling, monitoring, restricting, as well as supporting and/or prohibiting an armed populace are wise and effective. With this survey, their voice has been heard.

The sad thing is that the efforts in place now are obviously attempts by people who have longed for more gun control and are trying to exploit the country’s revulsion of Sandy Hook as a means to an end.  This can be shown in the following ways:

1) The main effort is to limit magazine capacity to 10 shells.  This limitation would have played NO part at Sandy Hook.  The shooter had been training for such an event for several years and reloaded his weapon several times while going through the school.

2) Limiting cosmetic changes on weapons does not make them less lethal or a potential tool of someone intent on causing bodily harm to others.  For example, the gun used by the Sandy Hook shooter was legal under the old federal weapons ban and was legal under the Connecticut ban.  It has been called out specifically in the proposed federal gun ban, but others that are identical to the gun are in the approved category.

3) In order to push their agenda, they bring out emotionally distraught victims.  This is the most heinous of actions, IMO, to use these people to push your proposed changes.  If you can’t sell the law on logical or factual means, making people cry is the most manipulative method.  The parent’s sorrow is being used.

4) Purposefully trying to state that the gun that was used at Sandy Hook was a ‘fully automatic’ weapon, even when knowing better.  President Obama himself is guilty of this, stating the following in a speech:

I just came from Denver, where the issue of gun violence is something that has haunted families for way too long, and it is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country and hunters and sportsmen, but also make sure that we don’t have another 20 children in a classroom gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon—by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly.

You can tell by the speech that it was not a ‘slip of the tongue’, he originally called it a semiautomatic weapon, and then changed it to fully.  Not only was it NOT a fully automatic weapon since those are illegal to own, this purposeful use of the term is meant to evoke an emotional response.

5) There is then, of course, the obvious complete misunderstandings of how guns operate, why they are a necessary tool for self-defense by the weaker in our society to even the playing field, and the true feelings of our founding fathers on the issue.  For some examples:

a) Lawmakers who sponsor legislation on gun control now knowing how they work.

Dianna DeGette, Congresswoman from Colorado, made the stunningly ignorant statement that once the bullets are fired from a high-capacity magazine, the magazine becomes useless, and is discarded.  What’s really amazing is that DeGette is the primary sponsor of the House bill proposing outlawing high capacity magazines, so one would assume she would have an authoritative knowledge on the topic.  After all, if your job is to write legislation on a specific subject, legislation all…

b) Necessary tool of self defense

According to the National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the rate of Defensive Gun Uses can be projected nationwide to approximately 2.5 million per year — one Defensive Gun Use every 13 seconds.
Among 15.7% of gun defenders interviewed nationwide during The National Self Defense Survey, the defender believed that someone “almost certainly” would have died had the gun not been used for protection — a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. (In another 14.2% cases, the defender believed someone “probably” would have died if the gun hadn’t been used in defense.)
In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first — disproving the myth that having a gun available for defense wouldn’t make any difference.
In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn’t be called “newsworthy” by newspaper or TV news editors). In 64.2% of these gun-defense cases, the police learned of the defense, which means that the media could also find out and report on them if they chose to.
In 73.4% of these gun-defense incidents, the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim. (Defenses against a family member or intimate were rare — well under 10%.) This disproves the myth that a gun kept for defense will most likely be used against a family member or someone you love.
In over half of these gun defense incidents, the defender was facing two or more attackers — and three or more attackers in over a quarter of these cases. (No means of defense other than a firearm — martial arts, pepper spray, or stun guns — gives a potential victim a decent chance of getting away uninjured when facing multiple attackers.)
In 79.7% of these gun defenses, the defender used a concealable handgun. A quarter of the gun defenses occured in places away from the defender’s home.

c) Understanding the true feelings of the founding fathers

For years, we are told that ‘single shot weapons like the type our founding fathers had’ makes the 2nd amendment outdated or that the term ‘well regulated militia’ means something other than what the founders meant it to mean.  However, the facts show a different mindset.  First, the idea was that the weapons kept by the citizens would be those of military grade.  We were supposed to be able to be called upon to defend the country against outside forces AND be able to defend ourselves against aggression from evildoers and our own government when necessary.  Further, had they thought it was just small hand weapons that we were allowed to keep, why did they not ban the ownership of cannons?  These objects are designed to kill multiple people from range, yet private citizens were free to (and did) own these weapons.  Because the government trusted us to use our common sense and be responsible with the means in which we chose to defend ourselves.

Some quotes for reference:

“No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” (Thomas Jefferson, Proposal Virginia Constitution, 1 T. Jefferson Papers, 334,[C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950])

“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])

“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” (Richard Henry Lee, Additional Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788) at 169)

“What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty…. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.” (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [ I Annals of Congress at 750 {August 17, 1789}])

“…to disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380)

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)

“the ultimate authority … resides in the people alone,” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper #46.)

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States” (Noah Webster in ‘An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution’, 1787, a pamphlet aimed at swaying Pennsylvania toward ratification, in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, at 56(New York, 1888))

“…if raised, whether they could subdue a Nation of freemen, who know how to prize liberty, and who have arms in their hands?” (Delegate Sedgwick, during the Massachusetts Convention, rhetorically asking if an oppressive standing army could prevail, Johnathan Elliot, ed., Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Vol.2 at 97 (2d ed., 1888))

“…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…” (Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist 29.)

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation. . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in Federalist Paper No. 46.)

“As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.” (Tench Coxe in ‘Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution’ under the Pseudonym ‘A Pennsylvanian’ in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at 2 col. 1)

“Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people” (Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788)

“The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.” [William Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829)

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.” (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426)

“The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms” (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87)

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.” (Richard Henry Lee, 1788, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights, Walter Bennett, ed., Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, at 21,22,124 (Univ. of Alabama Press,1975)..)

“The great object is that every man be armed” and “everyone who is able may have a gun.” (Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution. Debates and other Proceedings of the Convention of Virginia,…taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, at 271, 275 2d ed. Richmond, 1805. Also 3 Elliot, Debates at 386)

“The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” (Zachariah Johnson, 3 Elliot, Debates at 646)

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” (Patrick Henry, 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836)

“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8)

“That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of The United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms…” (Samuel Adams, Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at 86-87 (Peirce & Hale, eds., Boston, 1850))

“The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside…Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them...” (Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 [1894])

“No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion.” (James Burgh, Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses [London, 1774-1775])

“Men that are above all Fear, soon grow above all Shame.” (John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato’s Letters: Or, Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and Other Important Subjects [London, 1755])

“To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.” [Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, at 560, 34 Am. Rep. 52, at 54 (1878)]

What gun control proponents don’t realize is that the problem is not that guns exist or are accessible, it is that there are people who feel, for some reason, that it is decidedly ok to use these weapons in an offensive manner.

If they really wanted to end violence, they would do what would actually make a difference.

1) End prohibition.  Prohibition laws, like those against marijuana, are directly responsible for creating a powerful incentive for gangs and organized crime to violate laws and have to defend themselves against the police, as well as establish ‘territories’ of power.  This was seen during the original prohibition era as gangs and organized crime violence increased to an alarming level during this time.  Once the experiment of prohibition was ended, the violence subsided as well.

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/nylawyer/iid.htm

2) Rebuild the expectation of responsible action in the citizenry.  Policies for the past several generations have caused society to try to blame other people, usually political opponents, when citizens are no longer acting responsibly.  Instead of holding them responsible for their actions, we try to find other reasons why they committed the actions that they did.  We give a sense of entitlement to many who should be held in less regard, not because we dislike them as human beings or because we see them as less than humans, but because only by expecting more of people do you see them rise to that occasion.  Be compassionate, but be vocal in your expectations.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/cosby.asp

3) Mentoring.  As a society, we are too free to throw other people’s money at situations that we see instead of getting personally involved ourselves.  If every person who was doing well would mentor one single person who was not, we would have at least one mentor for everyone who needed the help.  Giving people the tools that they need for them individually, instead of trying to fit everyone into a single one size fits all education.  Our education system should be just the bare basics of what people need.  It would be ideal for each parent to mentor their own children AND a child that is unfortunately without a similar mentor, but we should also be mentoring adults who have fallen through that educational crack and our floundering in our society today because they didn’t get that support when they were children.

http://www.helpusa.org/media_center/details/2012-09-mentoring-usa-helps-americas-youth-succeed-in-new-sch

http://www.rupertskids.org/

The answer is in our hands, we can do this without force or law or government.  We can take back our liberty and our society by expecting more and taking less.  Every single person who is helped by these efforts is one less potential frustrated, angry, desperate human being that could choose to take up arms in the future as a outlet for that rage.

Categories
National Politics

Sen Rand Paul Filibusters Brennan Nomination

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is filibustering the Brennan nomination live on C-Span.  Much more than the fact that he has decided to filibuster is what he saying and why he is filibustering.  I recommend everyone watch what he is saying today, he intends to speak for as long as he can.  Sen Paul did vote for other Obama nominations, this is not a ‘oppose Obama at all costs’ filibuster threat, this is a person who is sincerely concerned about liberty in the US, the accumulation of power by the President to be prosecutor, judge and jury on who should be killed and restraint on the abuses of power of the government.

From Sen Paul’s Facebook page:

Over the next few hours, I will be speaking on the Senate floor to discuss at length my opposition to John Brennan’s nomination to be director of the CIA, as well as my concern over the constitutionality of the use of drone attacks on Americans and on U.S. soil.

See Paul’s inquiries to Brennan about domestic drones here, here, and here.

A excerpt from a Paul press release:

Attorney General Holder stated in a letter to Sen. Paul dated March 4, 2013: “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” Sen. Paul said.

Sen. Paul also received a letter in response from Mr. Brennan, clarifying the CIA does not have the power to authorize such operations. Notably missing from Mr. Brennan’s response are answers to the myriad other questions Sen. Paul posed to him in previous correspondence.