Monthly Archives: October 2008

Tarran Votes 2008

In less than a week it will be over; a year and a half of maneuvering, jockeying, speechifying, electioneering and speculating will thankfully draw to a close, and the U.S., which once was a sort of free republic, will crown a new king, who promises to reward the innocent and punish the guilty.

In less than a week the polling places will open, and nice old ladies will ask you your name and your street address, put a line through your name, and hand you a ballot. When you hand it in they will give you a nice sticker that says “I voted”, which like the “You’re a Star!” stickers every student — regardless of his or her performance — gets on quizzes in first grade, makes a big deal out of a meaningless accomplishment.

So why should we bother?  Wouldn’t our time be spent more productively and usefully if we drank a beer while playing pool with our friends, or curled up with a decent book, or gave the loves of our lives a nice back rub?

Why should we show up at a place filled with groups of people carrying signs, glaring at rival groups?  Why should we stand in line, carry our paperwork to a curtained booth, and much like some man furtively watching a peep show at an “adult movie” theatre, call upon some man to be given the power to loot and pillage our neighbors at will, to hand out favors to his friends, and to risk our lives in war?

If we don’t show up, the only people marching into those booths will be people who love the pillagers, who want to egg them on to loot and pillage more thoroughly.  The politicians will look at the totals and conclude that the only way they will acquire power is by promising more taxes, more spending, more jails, more police, more beatings, more prison rape, more death.

If we ignore the polling booths, then the politicians will look at the few thousand votes that were cast, all calling for higher taxes, and conclude that raising taxes isn’t so risky after all.

The system is rotten, intentionally designed to encourage tyranny and to limit the tendency toward freedom.  It is biased against us.  And when we withhold consent by ignoring it, our would-be masters congratulate themselves on their mandates and ability to continue with business as usual.

So I vote.  My vote is statistically insignificant.  Other than the few times I have voted against a  tax increase, my votes generally go into the losing column.  This is not so bad…  the politicians are fractionally less brave because my vote makes them look fractionally less strong.

But who to vote for?

Next week, my ballot will contain the following names for the office of President:
1)Charles Baldwin – Christian Dominionist
2)John McCain – Warmonger
3)Cynthia McKinney – Insane Person
4)Bob Barr – Former Freedom Hater Claiming Road to Damascus Conversion – possibly a Karl Rove Plant
5)Barrack Obama – Economy Wrecker

It is tempting to leave the ballot blank, to quitely vote to decriminalize marijuana posession, do away with the income tax and to vote to permit dog racing to continue, and leave every office blank.

But that would result in a “spoiled” ballot.  In order to accommodate people who might make a mistake in their first attempt to fill out a ballot, in polling places, a person can turn in a “spoiled” ballot and request a new, clean one.  In order to prevent the fraus of having workers stuff the ballot box with those spoiled ballots, the machines that count votes are usually set to ignore ballots that are not completley filled out. Update: This is incorrect. I withdraw this claim.

Luckily, in most places, a voter is given the option of writing in someone who is not listed on the ballot.  Thus, I usually write in None of the Above on my ballot.  The write in votes are considered “unspoiled”, my pro-freedom votes are tallied in the system and occasionally, my votes for freedom are part of a dominant majority on some issue.   Yay!

Of course, if you are stuck in some place with barbaric laws and a government that hates the citizenry (cough cough Oklohoma cough cough) you may not have the option of writing in a name; you must pick people from the list of candidates approved by the state government.  Of course, there you can always vote for the most obscure candidate, and thus express your displeasure.

So how am I going to vote?

I am going to vote as follows:

1) U.S. President:  Bob Barr.

I have long suspected that Bob Barr’s Road to Damascus conversion is not genuine.  However, he is world famous in the United States, and will attract more than a few votes.  As president, while he would be awful, but he has no chance of winning, meaning that he is safe as a protest vote – and for once people will pay attention to the votes he garners as an indication of dissatisfaction to the big government agenda of the dominant parties.  I want to signal to the political classes that I – and several thousand like me – support freedom.

Of course, in doing so, I am committing fraud.  I don’t want to vote for the winning candidate: then all the crimes he commits, the robberies, the destruction of property, the murders are all beign done in my name.  Hopefully, no politician figures that out. ;)

2) U.S. Senate: Robert F Underwood

Mr Underwood is a member of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.  I like the JFPO – they have  a healthy understanding of the what the relationship between the state and the individual should properly be.  That is, they recognize that the government is an attractive tool for homicidal maniacs to fulfill their sick fantasies, and that the citizenry should be in a position to put those maniacs 6 feet underground should it be necessary.  I actually want this guy to win.

3) U.S. House: John Cunningham

Mr Cunningham is a Ron Paul  Republican who wants to repeal the Patriot Act
.  This is, of course, shocking because here in Massachusetts, Republicans tend to be warmongers who love socialism but hate abortion.  While I am not a fan of Ron Paul’s leadership style and have serious reservations about his judgment concerning other people, I love many of his policies.  Even though I hate the Republicans, and swore never to vote for them again, I will be voting for this man;  chalk it up to the erosion of moral standards inherent to politics, or a wise reconsideration of hasty, intemperate remarks.  Whatever floats your boat.  Again, I wouldn’t mind if he won.  The outrage from coworkers over his victory would be reward enough.

Wow!  That takes care of the Federal Races, and no NOTA’s yet!  Luckily, all the state races, with one unopposed Massachusetts Liberal appearing on the ballot will allow me to keep my anarchist street cred.

4) Governor’s Councillor (Approves the governor’s judicial nominees): NOTA

The only candidate approved by the government is a Democrat.  I will be voting None of the Above.

5) State Senator: NOTA


6) State Representative: NOTA


7) Register of Probate: (Administers family court (adoption, paternity, divorce, death etc.)): NOTA


And there we are.  Sorry Democrats.  Perhaps when you start fielding candidates who believe in civil rights, you might get my endorsement.  This year you fielded people who love to tax the little guy and give the money to big business.  Oh, and you support union laws that originally were intended to keep black people from moving into white enclaves in the North.  Plus, I have seen what hyperinflation did to Turkey, and I have no desire to see it happen here.

Ballot Questions:

Question 1:  Should we repeal the Massachusetts Income Tax? Hell Yes!

Question 2:  Should we partially decriminalize marijuana? Well, we should make it completely legal, but hey, I’ll take a small step in the right direction; Yes!

Question 3:  Should we allow Dog Racing in Massachusetts? Dog Racing is a vile, disgusting sport, and I am boycotting it.  But, it’s none of the state’s business what people do to dogs.  Hell No!

And that’s it!

Happy voting come election day!

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

The Great Libertarian Purge Of 2008

Over at Reason, Ryan Sager tries to figure out where the libertarians who used to vote for Republicans have gone, and why:

[The] coalition between social conservatives and economic libertarians (who tend to be socially moderate to liberal), served the GOP well from 1964 to 2006. It gave the party eight years of Ronald Reagan and 12 years of a Republican Congress. But the Bush years have proven to be one long pulling apart. And, in a matter of days, we may just see the final snap.

The Cato Institute has done excellent work over the last few years tracking the shift in the libertarian vote—the roughly 10 percent to 15 percent of the American public that can be categorized as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

Based on an analysis of the American National Election Studies, Cato found that between 2000 and 2004, there was a substantial flight of libertarians away from the Republican Party and toward the Democrats. While libertarians preferred Bush by a margin of 52 points over Al Gore in 2000, that margin shrank to 21 points in 2004, when many libertarians—disaffected by the Iraq war, massive GOP spending increases, and the campaign against gay marriage—switched to John Kerry.

Polling on libertarian voters is somewhat sparse during elections, but there are a couple of data points and some broad trends that can give us an idea of where things stand now. An early October Zogby Interactive poll found that self-identified libertarians (about 6 percent of the poll’s sample) give McCain only 36 percent of their vote, lower than the 45 percent and 42 percent Zogby found them giving Bush in the last two elections. The libertarian voters claim to be defecting mainly to Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr and other third-party candidates, not to Obama. A Gallup poll conducted in September, which identified libertarian-minded voters with a series of ideological questions about the role of government in the economy and society (pegging them at around 23 percent of the electorate), found that only 43 percent of these voters plan pull the lever for McCain, slightly fewer than did for Bush in 2004. The Gallup poll also finds a significant uptick in libertarians planning to vote third-party, with 3.5 percent supporting Barr.

The GOP has lost these libertarian Republicans, Sager asserts, because it has become a one-note party:

Why would libertarians abandon McCain? After all, they believe in low taxes—and McCain is the one promising those. And if they’re concerned about social issues, well, McCain’s never shown much of a stomach for cultural warfare.

That is, of course, until now.

The real McCain, whoever that is or was, may still believe that major swathes of the Religious Right represent “agents of intolerance” in our politics. But he has decided to stake both his election and the Republican Party’s future upon them—from the barely coded racial refrain of “Who is Barack Obama?,” to the rallies with shouts of “terrorist” and “kill him,” to the corrosive choice of pipeline-prayer Sarah Palin as his running mate and heir apparent.

Tax cuts or no tax cuts, a party that can be roused in time of deep crisis only by fear and tribalism—a party that a supposed moderate is now deeding to its most extreme elements—can scarcely serve as a safe home to liberty or the voters who cherish it.

None of this is surprising, of course, because Republicans have been taking the libertarian, fiscally conservative oriented wing of their party for granted for quite some time now. While they pander to the religious right and social conservatives on a regular basis, they have spent the past eight years governing more like Democrats and Republicans and are leaving the nation with the legacy of a $ 10 trillion debt. And then, in what may end up being a grand act of political suicide, they nominate for President a man who clearly doesn’t give a crap about limited government in practice and let him pick a running mate who quite obviously doesn’t know what her job would be if she did manage to become Vice-President.

As Stephen Green notes, one wonders how long the abandonment can continue:

A party can ignore an important segment of swing voters for only so long — four-to-eight-years in the case of most right-leaning libertarians — before they finally become disaffected. Can the Republicans win us back?

Well, I don’t know about other libertarians, but I set the terms of my return back in June:

Time after time, those of us who do believe in limited government, individual liberty, and fiscal responsibility are told that we have to accept the crappy nominees that we’re faced with “for the good of the party.”

Well, you know what ? I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of accepting the idea that politicians who have demonstrated time after time that they aren’t going to fulfill the promises they make should be re-elected to office. I’m sick of having Presidential candidates like Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain shoved down my throat. And, I’m sick of being told to vote for the lesser of two evils.

That’s why, when November comes along, I’m voting for Bob Barr for President, or I won’t be voting for President at all. When it comes to lesser offices, I’ll vote for candidates who actually believe in limited government and free markets regardless of which party they belong to.

The Republican Party can have my vote back when, and if, they earn it.

And they can start earning it by nominating candidates who will actually follow some of those great-sounding provisions in their platform.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

One Congressman Stands Up For Sanity

Ed Schafer, US Secretary of Agriculture, seems to think we need to bail out the ethanol industry:

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer’s statement on Oct. 17 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture could provide ethanol companies that got into trouble by speculating on corn with up to $25 million per company in refinancing has caused a firestorm of criticism among ethanol critics who say he is favoring one segment of agriculture and might waste taxpayer money.

According to a report on, Schafer said at the World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, “There’s going to have to be some credit applied to companies to buy some lower-priced corn to blend with their higher-priced corn. This is important public policy for the country because corn-based ethanol is a stepping stone to energy independence through cellulosic ethanol. We’re going to continue to support it as much as we can. We have the responsibility to make sure we cement in the infrastructure of rural America and ethanol production has increased the economic opportunities, the jobs and the building of rural America.”

One can’t claim that these companies are “too big to fail” or that their failure will endanger our entire economy. One can’t claim, with any sense of honesty, that the ethanol experiment has really done much positive for America. In reality, one can’t say a good word about this mess.

Which just proves, once again, that government is more than willing to engage in theft of tax dollars and redistribution to industry in order to satisfy the politically-correct goal of the day. And nobody will stand up to them… Scratch that– nearly nobody:

Ethanol plants may be the next beneficiary of a federal bailout and Mesa congressman Jeff Flake is among those opposed to that idea.

Flake, a fiscal conservative, panned the plan Wednesday saying federal promotion of ethanol production is the problem. “The federal government’s ethanol policies have driven up the price of corn,” said Flake. “But rather than reforming the policies that have caused a spike in corn prices, the federal government wants to bail out ethanol producers who speculated on the price of corn. Only the U.S. Department of Agriculture could dream up a policy like this.”

Flake said tax breaks and credits for ethanol producers should be repealed. “The high price of corn has had a ripple effect over our entire economy. Instead of trying to bail out every industry hurt by it, the federal government needs to take a serious look at reforming our ethanol policies,” said the East Valley Republican.

I’m never one to look to Congress to solve my problems; nor do I think that elections are likely to improve our collective lot. But it’s good to see someone who wishes to stand athwart the tide, and I can’t say I’d mind seeing a few more like him.

Barack Obama Says The Constitution Is Flawed, And He’s Right

In what seems to be a follow-up to yesterday’s kerfuffle about Barack Obama’s comments about the Warren Court and redistribution of wealth, there’s now an audio clip of him from the same radio program discussing what he called a “fundamental flaw” in the Constitution:

I think it’s a remarkable document…

The original Constitution as well as the Civil War Amendments…but I think it is an imperfect document, and I think it is a document that reflects some deep flaws in American culture, the Colonial culture nascent at that time.

African-Americans were not — first of all they weren’t African-Americans — the Africans at the time were not considered as part of the polity that was of concern to the Framers. I think that as Richard said it was a ‘nagging problem’ in the same way that these days we might think of environmental issues, or some other problem where you have to balance cost-benefits, as opposed to seeing it as a moral problem involving persons of moral worth.

And in that sense, I think we can say that the Constitution reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day, and that the Framers had that same blind spot. I don’t think the two views are contradictory, to say that it was a remarkable political document that paved the way for where we are now, and to say that it also reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.

Obama was referring, quite obviously, to those provisions of the Constitution that not only protected slavery, but enshrined it. First, there’s the infamous 3/5th’s clause in Article I, Section 2:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

The provision in Article I, Section 9 that prohibited Congress from banning the slave trade before 1808:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

And, the provision in Article IV that required the return of fugitive slaves who managed to escape into non-slave states:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Each of these provisions enshrined and perpetuated an institution that constituted a gross violation of individual and violated the very principles upon which this nation was founded. It was a stain that ate at the very soul of the country and didn’t get erased until the blood of 600,000 men had been shed.

So, in that sense, <strong>Barack Obama is absolutely right when he says that the Constitution was “fundamentally flawed.”

And, you know what ? It still is.

For example, the Interstate Commerce Clause has been used to do far more than regulate commerce between the states. The Necessary and Proper Clause has been used to find powers for Congress and the President that exist nowhere in the Constitution. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are, thanks largely to the vagueness of their language, largely unenforceable. Congress’s monetary powers have been ceded to an unelected Federal Reserve Board. And don’t even get me started about the flaws in some of the Amendments.

Stevens Convicted

40 years of corruption down the drain. Might as well have joined the f’in Peace Corps:

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted of seven corruption charges Monday in a trial that threatened to end the 40-year career of Alaska’s political patriarch in disgrace.

The verdict, coming barely a week before Election Day, increased Stevens’ difficulty in winning what already was a difficult race against Democratic challenger Mark Begich. Democrats hope to seize the once reliably Republican seat as part of their bid for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Stevens, 84, was convicted of all the felony charges he faced of lying about free home renovations and other gifts from a wealthy oil contractor. Jurors began deliberating last week.

The senator showed no emotion as the jury foreman said “guilty” seven times. After the verdicts, Stevens sat in his chair and stared at the ceiling as attorney Brendan Sullivan put his arm around him.

Stevens faces up to five years in prison on each count when he is sentenced, but under federal guidelines he is likely to receive much less prison time, if any. The judge originally scheduled sentencing for Jan. 26 but then changed his mind and did not immediately set a date.

What federal guidelines allow him to be convicted of multiple felonies and not face prison time? Is that the “you get billions in earmarks for my state, I’ll scratch your back” sort of guideline?

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