Monthly Archives: October 2008

Don’t Forget to Study Before the Final!

I just received my mail-in ballot a week or so ago. The ballot, with multiple choices with arrows to be filled out next to each choice, reminds me of taking standardized tests back in the day. Some tests were easier than others but I knew that if I did not study, one of two things could happen: (1) I could get lucky and answer enough of the questions correctly to pass or (2) I could possibly fail.

In a way, the general election is a final exam. Whether one “passes” the exam or not depends on whether s/he votes according to his or her principles. In order to increase your chances of voting according to your principles, you must study.

I am disgusted with the Republican and Democrat parties. When going over my ballot, my first instinct was to vote Libertarian in every race with a Libertarian candidate. I had studied all of the ballot measures and was satisfied that I could make intelligent choices there, but I hadn’t researched the candidates below the presidential level*. In the U.S. House race, I found three choices: the incumbent Diana DeGette (D), George Lilly (R), and Martin Buchanan (L). I knew that DeGette supported the bailout so she was never an option. Buchanan is a Libertarian and his positions he posted on his website are indeed Libertarian.

So why not just support the Libertarian you ask?

Regardless of how much I despise the Republican and Democrat parties, I make an effort to learn about the individual candidates and their positions before making a choice. Much to my delight and surprise, I found the Republican, George Lilly to be a “Ron Paul Republican.” I knew that there were such individuals running in this election but I never thought I would have had an opportunity to vote for one!

Now, I know that an endorsement from Ron Paul is not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be but take a look at Lilly’s positions posted on his website:

Please join me in RESTORING the Constitution, and together, let’s:

1. RESTORE the economy — free up business from onerous outdated regulations.

2. RESTORE proper use of the military (136 nations have U.S. military presence.)

3. RESTORE integrity to the treaty process to protect America’s interests first.

4. RESTORE individual privacy and say “no” to the Real I.D. Act.

5. RESTORE high quality medical care at affordable prices.

6. RESTORE checks & balances — the executive branch has gotten too powerful.

7. RESTORE integrity in the campaign financing process.

8. RESTORE integrity to the dollar — re-institute the gold standard. Watch this YouTube video!

9. RESTORE integrity to the tax system — rein in the I.R.S.

10. RESTORE and retain rights to unregulated health supplements & the Internet.

The following will be my top priorities in Congress:

1. Create a level playing field for Americans who receive the benefit of Workmen’s Compensation, mandatory health insurance, retirement benefits, taxes, OSHA, EPA etc. and calculate that into the cost of the products manufactured so that any foreign country not providing the same benefits to their employees would have to pay a tariff on their imported products to equal that amount.

2. Support a bill that calls for a single subject on all spending bills.

3. Oppose unconstitutional spending in the form of corporate subsidies.

4. Oppose unconstitutional spending in the area of education so that “No (every) Child Left Behind” is abolished.

5. Hold the Federal Reserve to account for their corruption of the dollar which has driven up the price of everything way beyond what any normal person can even consider affording!

While I have some concern about his #1 priority being a little on the protectionist side, I certainly applaud his willingness to stand up for the Constitution and against big government**. He’s not purely libertarian but in my estimation, he’s at least as libertarian as Ron Paul.

Having learned about George Lilly’s positions, most of which I agree with, I am very glad I had taken the time to make an informed choice. Now my choice was between the Ron Paul Republican and the Libertarian. Who should I choose?

Most things being equal, I decided to support Lilly. As a practical matter, the Republican Lilly would have a much better chance of unseating DeGette than the Libertarian Buchanan. I have not seen any polls regarding the District 1 race, but I suspect that in a district which seems to worship the ground Barack Obama walks on, DeGette will be difficult if not impossible to beat. If most of the libertarian vote goes to Buchanan, we’ll almost certainly re-elect a tax and spend Democrat to another term.

This is why I urge everyone to study each race before casting a vote***. Put emotions aside and “think the vote.” Though the electorate as a whole may fail the exam, we should each make the effort to pass individually.
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Gunblogger conference call with Missouri Governor Matt Blunt

Earlier today, I participated in a conference call with Missouri governor Matt Blunt, on the subject of gun rights, John McCain, and Barack Obama.

You may recall that recently, the Obama campaign worked directly with democratic party elected officials in the state of Missouri; engaging prosecutors and county sheriffs, to intimidate local media outlets, and prevent them from taking advertising criticizing Barack Obama.

Governor Blunt delivered a scathing rebuke of this blatant ethical misconduct (and violation of at least federal election regulations, if not federal law):

Gov. Blunt Statement on Obama Campaign’s
Abusive Use of Missouri Law Enforcement

JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement on news reports that have exposed plans by U.S. Senator Barack Obama to use Missouri law enforcement to threaten and intimidate his critics.

“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts – not a free society.”

Governor Blunt, who has decided not to seek re-election; has been campaigning in Missouri, and across the country, for gun rights, and for John McCain.

On the call with me were the organizers, Bryan Pick and John Henke from, Jonathan Blank of the Cato Institute, Nicky Fellenzer from The Liberty Zone, Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute and, David Codrea of The War On Guns, JR of A Keyboard and a .45, Sebastian of Snowflakes in Hell, Cam Edwards of NRA News and the Cam and Company radio show, Bitter of The Bitchgirls, Dustin of Dustins Gun Blog, John Donovan of The Donovan, and Caleb of Call me Ahab.

It has been agreed that we can release the full audio of our conference call with the governor. I’ve put it up here:

Sorry, I cant get the embeddable streaming widget to work. Here’s a link to the full file, and an embedded player that works, at

Gunblogger conference call with Missouri Governor Matt Blunt

I have edited nothing from Governor Blunts comments; only the introductions and some chat between my fellow bloggers at the beginning and end of the call.

If time permits, I will post a transcript later.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

A slight profundity

A question was asked of me recently: “Why don’t libertarians and real conservatives win elections”.

Simple really.

True libertarians and conservatives share the same electoral disadvantage:

True libertarians and real conservatives, CANNOT win electorally, in a climate where everyone is allowed to vote; and that “everyone” includes the huge politically created classes (both underclass, and “elite”) that exists because of governments meddling, and live at government sufferance.

True libertarians and conservatives only have answers that make those folks, and those who “support” or worship them, feel bad about themselves; and solutions that are against their short term interests.

Until these permanent classes of government dependents are eliminated (or at the least, politically neutered); government will continue, with the active support of these people (and those who “support” and worship them); to vote in the GOVERNMENTS interest:

That is, to increase the size, scope, reach, and power of the government, and to use that power to redistribute ever more wealth; making the class of government dependents ever larger, and reinforcing that dependency ever more.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” — Alexis de Tocqueville

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Extremism In The Defense Of Liberty Is No Vice

Steve Chapman, writing for Reason, pontificates on California’s Proposition 8, the question of whether gays in California should be officially allowed the right to marry. California already grants legal recognition to same-sex civil unions, but a recent court decision expanded that to open the name “marriage” to those agreements. Chapman suggests that such a decision should be made by the people, not the courts.

I personally believe that the state should get out of the “marriage” business for everyone, and only sanction civil unions. Leave the marriage business to the churches, where it rightfully belongs:

The idea, which I fully agree with, is that marriage is a religious concept, that happens to bear the same name as a legal concept. Most of the uproar over the gay marriage issue is based upon the contention that it will somehow damage the “sanctity of marriage”. This claim underscores the fact that church and state have become much more intertwined on the issue of marriage than is needed. We would be much better off if the government never broached the subject of marriage, and instead gave any consenting adults who wanted one a “civil union”.

But the situation being what it is, I would rather that we offer fully equal rights to everyone. Left unanswered, then, is whether there are acceptable and unacceptable methods for achieving such liberties. Chapman argues that doing so by judicial fiat is less acceptable than by the ballot box.

To say that gays should have access to civil unions rather than marriage could mean society regards them as unworthy of true matrimony. Or it could mean society sees same-sex unions not as worse or better than marriage but simply different, and thus properly designated by another name.

But the question before California voters is not whether the court correctly interpreted the equal protection clause of the state constitution. It is whether gay couples should be deprived of the right to marry that they gained a few months ago. And the best course would be the one spurned by the Supreme Court: to let the new policy remain in effect long enough to judge its value.

Barry Goldwater once said that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” I agree in this case. While it would be wonderful to wait for public opinion to be sure to offer equality to all, sometimes that is not possible. I’d rather take victories for liberty where we can get them, whether officially sanctioned by public vote or not.

Here in California, thankfully, the voters may actually reach the pro-liberty conclusion. If so, it will be a watershed moment. As a large state, California tends to lead the rest of the nation in many ways (some better than others), and for this to pass would be a major victory for civil liberties. But if it loses, it will be a sad day as the public stands athwart the tide of history in in favor of bigotry.

Unfortunately, as of midnight last night I have officially missed the window to register to vote in California. So my disgust with McCain, Obama, Boxer, and Feinstein will preclude me from exercising a vote against Prop 8. I only hope that it won’t matter on Nov 5.

Security Theater

This one has been making the libertarian rounds for a day or two now, and with good reason. A story about Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer who has taken security expert Bruce Schneier’s proclamations about ineffectiveness of security measures at airports and gone and proven them.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to devote to this, as I’m currently sitting in an airport bar on a layover. But given my current location and my position as the contributor to The Liberty Papers with the heaviest travel schedule* (I’ll be flying 6 of the next 9 days), I thought it apropos that I pass this along.

As the below excerpt so perfectly points out, the constant hassle I have to get through security has not led to me feeling much safer:

On another occasion, at LaGuardia, in New York, the transportation-security officer in charge of my secondary screening emptied my carry-on bag of nearly everything it contained, including a yellow, three-foot-by-four-foot Hezbollah flag, purchased at a Hezbollah gift shop in south Lebanon. The flag features, as its charming main image, an upraised fist clutching an AK-47 automatic rifle. Atop the rifle is a line of Arabic writing that reads Then surely the party of God are they who will be triumphant. The officer took the flag and spread it out on the inspection table. She finished her inspection, gave me back my flag, and told me I could go. I said, “That’s a Hezbollah flag.” She said, “Uh-huh.” Not “Uh-huh, I’ve been trained to recognize the symbols of anti-American terror groups, but after careful inspection of your physical person, your behavior, and your last name, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are not a Bekaa Valley–trained threat to the United States commercial aviation system,” but “Uh-huh, I’m going on break, why are you talking to me?”

On 9/12/2001, I said that there will never be another 9/11 in this country, and Flight 93 proved why. Further in the article Schneier is quoted as saying the two biggest reasons to believe security is improved is the reinforced cockpit doors and the fact that a plane full of people no longer believes they should not resist a hijacker. All the rest, from the TSA “you can’t professionalize unless you federalize” restrictions on liquids to the requirement that 80-year-old grandmothers remove their shoes, are just theater.

As they say, read the whole thing. You won’t feel safer afterwards, but I’d argue that if you feel safe now, you need a reality check.

Hat Tip: Billy Beck

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