Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

Liberty + Libations = ???

tuntavern

The Tun Tavern hosted George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress

What do you get when you mix alcohol with the politics of freedom? An argument can be made that we owe our Republic not only to a lot of bright and brave people, but also to a lot of booze.

In order to bring out freedom fighter in all of us, as well as to provide some networking opportunities and just plain fun, Liberty on the Rocks provides an opportunity for libertarians to plan alcohol-related events in their own communities.  I’ve just placed the first Birmingham event on the calendar, so we’ll see how it works.

We’ll have a special treat at our first event, as Jason Talley, Pete Eyre and Adam Mueller of the Motorhome Diaries will be there.  For those not following the story, here’s an overview of their recent encounter with the police in Mississippi.  I’m sure that hearing Jason and Pete describe their experiences will prove quite interesting.

We’re also meeting at the the J.Clyde, which has been very supportive of the Free the Hops legislation we’ve been working so hard on in Alabama.

America is in trouble, so perhaps it’s time to invoke the spirit of the Green Dragon.  Perhaps it’s time for you to start planning a libertarian social event in your area.

Libertarians arrested in Mississippi — probably for being libertarians

Talley: "Here is a photo of the arrest."

Talley: "Here is a photo of the arrest."

Some of my friends were just arrested in Mississippi.  Here’s a description of why they’re traveling across the country:

The Motorhome Diaries is the story of three friends who took to the road in April 2009 to search for freedom in America. Along the way the friends — Jason, Pete and Tom — interact with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints at college campuses, homes, businesses and organizations that are united by one thing: increasing individual freedom and responsibility and decreasing the scope of government.

Here’s the best and lastest info about the arrest  (follow the comment thread for updates):

It went down this morning in Jones County, MS. Jason Talley posted this to MHD’s Twitter:

“We are in Jones County MS and @adammueller has been arrested for filming cops after they pulled us over.”
http://img15.imageshack.us/my.php?image=q72.jpg&via=tfrog

Later, other posts to Jason’s facebook page revealed they were all arrested. After asking for details and hearing nothing, I called the Jones County Jail at 601-649-7502 and confirmed they have all been imprisoned.

Adam Mueller – Disorderly Conduct and Disobeying an Officer
Pete Eyre – Possession of a Beer in a Dry County
Jason Talley – Disorderly Conduct, Disobeying, and Resisting Arrest

The bureaucrats at the jail think they will be arraigned tomorrow…

They were scheduled to be in Nashville tonight, but the good folks in Tennessee aren’t going to let their arrest go to waste.  Here’s a Facebook message I received:

Subject: Bring your stash of bail $ tonight…

Greetings everyone!

Sorry to disappoint, but the Motorhome Diaries boys won’t be joining us tonight. They are held up in Mississippi…in jail. That’s right. Ironic that they are traveling across American searching for liberty and are arrested for filming a traffic stop? Yes, it is. Read more here:

http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://freekeene.com/2009/05/14/keenes-motorhome-diaries-crew-arrested-in-ms/

Please don’t let this discourage you from joining us at Mafi’s tonight. We have to figure out how to help them – sounds like they’re being arraigned tomorrow. Allison Gibbs (Campaign for Liberty) is on her way now to bail them out, and they do need money. Mafi’s gives us a 2 for 1 special on drafts, so maybe you can use the money you’re saving for bail??????

See you tonight at 7!

Jason and I have worked together on a variety of issues (the latest being Fr33Agents) over the years.  I’m speculating at this moment that he was arrested for respectfully asserting his legal rights.  I know his style and I also know Mississippi cops.  They probably mixed like oil and water.

The guys are supposed to be in Alabama next week and I was looking forward to seeing them  — now even more.  I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: Here’s one of Pete Eyre’s previous encounters with the police.



UPDATE II
: From Twitter:

All 3 are coming out¡!@jdtalley @peteeyre @ammueller! All under 1000! Now we have to get marv!

UPDATE III: Jason tweets:

The #MHD crew has been released from Jones County jail. I was pepper sprayed and choked for refusing to give ID.

UPDATE IV: It’s interesting that Jones County is notorious for KKK activity. It isn’t not all that far from Prentiss, Mississippi.  Those who followed the Cory Maye story which Radley Balko broke have probably already figured out the real probable cause: simply being a libertarian in Mississippi.  In Alabama, we like Mississippi because it keeps us from being number 50 on a lot of lists.

UPDATE V: Pete Eyre has a while lot of additional details here.

Alabama’s hops are almost free

I’ve been writing about a bill in Alabama to Free the Hops.  The bill just passed the Alabama Senate and is heading to the Governor’s office to be signed into law.  Here’s the relevant news update:

The bill passed the Senate 22-9 and now goes to the governor. If signed, retailers would be allowed the sale of certain gourmet and imported beers in Alabama. Free the Hops, an organization which lobbied for the bill, says the beverages cost an average of $5 to $6 a bottle.

The bill came up for consideration earlier in the session but was filibustered by state Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, who cited his personal opposition to alcohol consumption in blocking the legislation. Erwin was not in the Senate chamber for Thursday’s vote; however, the Senate approved the bill by using a previous vote total. Erwin was on that roll as voting aye.

I’m not sure why Erwin left the Senate floor, as he’d threatened to filibuster this bill to the very end.  That someone voted “aye” for him leaves a smile on my face.  Here’s the next (hopefully final) step in the process:

We need to do everything we can to encourage the Governor to either sign our bill. That’s why we’re asking everyone in the state who values personal freedom and who thinks the Alabama government should stop telling us which beers are ok to drink and which ones we can’t handle to contact Governor Riley immediately. By phone, fax, or email, whatever works best for you.

We’ve even had one of his former staffers give us some tips on how best to go about this:

The volume of letters and phone calls that he receives on a particular issue is reported to him every morning, and he takes them seriously. … A couple quick points:

  • They have a pretty sophisticated constituent database, so multiple calls/mail from the same person won’t accomplish much. They report to him the number of persons, not the number of communications.
  • Any arguments that sounds like something the gambling folks would say should be avoided (”People go over state lines to do it anyway…”). You don’t want to equate yourself with those guys in his mind.
  • Arguments about personal liberty and economic development will probably have more sway.
    Pointing out the surrounding states that allow it will also be helpful. The fact that GA, NC, SC, and WV have passed these bills in the past couple years is persuasive.

Just keep it short and to the point.  Let him know you support the bill and why.

Here’s contact information for the Governor’s office:

Switchboard:  (334) 242-7100
Fax:  (334) 353-0004
Email form:  http://www.governor.alabama.gov/contact/contact_form.aspx

Don’t hesitate!  We haven’t come this far only to suffer a veto now.  Make sure Gov. Riley knows the people of Alabama want him to sign HB373 into law.
Thank you to everyone who has gotten us to this point.  Time to seal the deal.

For folks in Alabama, the party tonight is going in Birmingham at the J. Clyde.

A suggested mea maxima culpa for Republican leaders

While hanging out on Twitter earlier today, I made this observation: “American voters will not take the GOP seriously until they make some sincere and MAJOR mea culpas.”

This got me to thinking about what it would take for me to start taking the Republican Party more seriously.  My initial observation is that I’m suddenly taken much more seriously by conservatives at the grassroots level.  A lot of these folks are equally upset with the senior leadership in the GOP.  The problems seems to be at the top.  Here’s the example du jour:

For the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s recruitment list for 2010 reads like a roster of some of the party’s best-known RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and squishes — the derisive terms applied to centrists by movement conservatives.

The party’s top choice for Florida’s open Senate seat is popular Gov. Charlie Crist, who raised eyebrows earlier this year with his vigorous advocacy of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package — he even went so far as to appear with Obama at a Florida rally in February. In Connecticut, the national GOP has lobbied former Rep. Rob Simmons — who holds a higher lifetime rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action group than Specter does — to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.

Then there’s last week’s example:

Republican House Whip Eric Cantor has just announced the formation of the National Council for a New America, which is described as “a forward-looking, grassroots caucus intended to bring together Congressional leaders with a national panel of experts.”

In reality, the National Council for a New America looks like another top-down organization which will be conducting forums and town hall meetings to push an agenda which looks just like the same-old agenda we’ve been seeing from Republicans.

The Republican leadership has had plenty of chances.  2006 election results should have been a clear kick upside the head.  After the 2008 results came in, it was time to start CPR.  And now they are going back to the same old practices which put them in this boat in the first place.

For the Republican Party to survive, the grassroots are going to have to take over the GOP or Republican leaders will need to learn a new vocabulary very quickly. This vocabulary will require a lot more than simply saying “I’m sorry.” It will have to be a serious and heartfelt apology to the American people.  If I was tasked to write an apology speech for some senior elected Republican, it might go something like this:

I come before you today to ask — no, to beg — for your forgiveness.

For years, I’ve disregarded my priorities and placed being in power ahead of my duty to you and to the Constitution of the United States.

For years, I’ve been voting for bloated budgets and increased deficit spending because I placed party loyalty above fiscal stewardship.

For years, I’ve been listening to lobbyists, as opposed to my you, my constituents.

For years, I’ve disregarded the Tenth Amendment and placed undo burdens on the states.

For years, I’ve voted for law after law which invades personal privacy and stifles individual liberty.

For years, I’ve placed my personal social agenda above the basic concepts of federalism and the Republic.  Especially with my vote on the Internet Gambling Ban and the Terri Schiavo case, I was truly wrong.

When President Bush wanted a bailout package, I succumbed to pressure and voted for it.  There is no excuse for this deplorable action of mine.

When Senator McCain won the presidential nomination, I stood with him on the campaign trail.  There is no excuse for this deplorable action of mine.

There is no apology I can make which will begin to make up for the financial and freedom losses you have suffered due to my irresponsibility.  I can only humbly ask your forgiveness and for your help to bring this country back on track again.

There is no excuse for many of my votes and actions since the Republican Revolution.  However, I’ve been reading a lot and talking with some very bright people over the last few months.   I’ve read about laissez-faire economic policy, the true free market.  I’ve read our founding fathers and learned why they wrote the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation the way they did.  I’ve read about natural law and libertarian theory.  I now carry a copy of the Constitution with me — and consult it before voting on any questionable bill.  I no longer vote on any bill which I haven’t first read.

I’ve sold your rights down the river, but I’m willing to do everything I can to buy back your freedom. I promise that I’ll work much harder than I ever have in the past to restore as much of your money and as many of your rights as possible.  It’s the very least I should do.

I know you will be watching each and every one of my votes between now and Election Day, as well you should.  I’d like to announce that the door to my office is once again open to the public. I hope you will take the time to call, e-mail or stop by to tell me how I’m doing.

While I may not deserve it, I’m now on the road to recovery.  With your help, America can be, too.

The only problem is that the speech would be coming from my keyboard — not from the heart of the RINO who would be delivering it.


Southern Baptists condemn torture, including waterboarding

In a move very surprising to this veteran of far too many southern talk radio programs where I was the one condemning torture to a hostile audience, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has just condemned torture.

“I don’t agree with the belief that we should use any means necessary to extract information,” said SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Richard Land. “I believe there are absolutes. There are things we must never do under any circumstances.”

Furthermore, they clearly indicated that waterboarding is indeed an act of torture:

“For me the ultimate test is: Could I, in good conscience, do whatever I am authorizing or condoning others to do? If not, then I must oppose the action. If I could not waterboard someone—and I couldn’t—then I must oppose its practice.”

Land said he considers waterboarding to be torture because the definition of torture includes the determination of whether a procedure causes permanent physical harm, noting he is unable to “separate physical from psychological harm” in this instance. The practice contravenes an individual’s personhood and their humanity, he said.

“It violates everything we believe in as a country,” Land said, reflecting on the words in the Declaration of Independence: that “all men are created equal” and that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

“There are some things you should never do to another human being, no matter how horrific the things they have done. If you do so, you demean yourself to their level,” he said.

“Civilized countries should err on the side of caution. It does cost us something to play by different rules than our enemies, but it would cost us far more if we played by their rules,” Land concluded.

To begin, I’d like to applaud the Southern Baptist Convention for taking this stand.  Based on my anecdotal observations, this won’t be popular with the let’s-waterboard-them-another-hundred-times crowd.  However, some of their members may now think through the issue or gain the courage to publicly oppose acts of torture.

While this condemnation is clearly many days late, it’s not a dollar short.  Perhaps it’s time to welcome the Southern Baptists into the fold of people who like to have rational and reasonable debate over issues of a political nature.  Or perhaps not.

Heroes of the Day: The Second Amendment and a Georgia college student

secondamendmentAccording to early reports, an armed student in College Park, GA seems to have saved the lives of  a bunch of his friends.  It’s pretty clear from the reporting so far that he kept a bunch of them from being robbed and raped.  Here’s the scoop:

Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.

Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.

That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.

“Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window,” said Bailey.

A neighbor heard the shots and heard someone running nearby. “And I heard someone say, ‘Someone help me. Call the police. Somebody call the police,’” said a neighbor.

The neighbor said she believes it was Lavant, who was found dead near his apartment, only one building away.

Bailey said he is just thankful one student risked his life to keep others alive.“I think all of us are really cognizant of the fact that we could have all been killed,” said Bailey.

One female student was shot several times during the crossfire. She is expected to make a full recovery.

An immediate question is why there are only two news stories (at this moment)  covering the issue so far.  If the thugs had been successful in their plans, the story would be headlined all over the national news.  Why aren’t they covering the hero who stopped a potential travesty?

Also, I still want to know why Sarah Brady and most Democrats keep trying to pass laws which would have made it impossible for these kids in Georgia to defend themselves.

Cost of a bullet: $0.41

Cost of a trial and incarceration: in the millions

Message sent to community when citizens are armed and ready to defend themselves: PRICELESS!

Please help Alabamians tweet the hops free

This is a request for a moment of online activism from folks in the freedom movement to help us Free the Hops. Right now, a bill to allow for the legal purchase and consumption of gourmet beers is being held up by one Bible-thumpin’ State Senator in Alabama.  He’s bragging about his filibuster of the bill on Twitter and we’re planning to use Twitter to communicate our desire that he end his filibuster.

He’s not returning phone calls or e-mails on the topic, so it’s time to try a new technology to make our voices heard.  Even if you aren’t from Alabama, we’d could use your help. All we’re asking for is a tweet or two.  The full details of the bill status and Twitter strategy are here.

Even if you don’t drink beer in Alabama, you probably know or love someone who does and it will only take a few seconds of your time.  Thanks.

UPDATE: Although Twitter is extremely slow tonight, you can track the results here.  There’s some pretty snark coming in now.

UPDATE II: We now have a theme song.  To explain, the name of the Senator in question is Hank Erwin.

Something for the left to think about regarding hate crime laws

As a libertarian, I find Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx’s comment that Matthew Shepard’s death was a “a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills” as reprehensible as anyone on the left ever could.  Although she’s now apologized for the remark, she’s yet another good example of why the Republican Party continues to lose elections.

However, some of the well-meaning arguments used by the left regarding hate crime legislation make no sense to me, either.  Most of my progressive friends are fairly bright people — and they are certainly smart enough to know that they probably won’t control Congress and the White House forever.  It seems that the progressive movement is promoting a slippery-slope issue which will ultimately be used to target the left side of the aisle should the social conservatives ever take over.

When the Department of Homeland Security report branding of most people on the right as potential terrorist threats was made public, I had a difficult time being sympathetic to those who applauded President Bush’s egregious abuse of executive power and blatant disregard for civil liberties.  Now that the worm has turned on them, a lot of conservatives are once again concerned about more than one of the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  Their problem is similar to the same general slippery-slope the left is currently creating with the hate crime legislation soon to hit the Senate floor.

“Personal bias in officers or prosecution is absolutely indicative of what’s going to happen sometimes,” said Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, on The Rachel Maddow Show the other night. “Not always, but sometimes.”

While it isn’t the point that Ms. Shepard was trying to make, she brings up a very valid topic.  Personal and political bias will happen as a matter of public policy should extreme social conservatives manage to gain political control. Imagine a President Mike Huckabee, Vice President Rick Santorum, Attorney General John Yoo, and Senator Ralph Reed.

If you don’t think social conservatives will do everything they can to define those in opposition to their agenda as hate-mongers, think again.  They already call folks opposed to the Iraq War or the Patriot Act part of the “Hate America” crowd.  With control of Congress and the White House, it would be easy to expand the definition of hate crime to suit their purposes.

Next, imagine that some gay guy murders some straight person. While he admitted some dislike for straight people in his confession, there is still doubt in the minds of some intelligent and reasonable people about his true intent.  What is established is that the police found evidence that the suspect had participated in local Pride parades and his personal library contains works by Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Oscar Wilde and Gore Vidal.

If you don’t think social conservatives would use ownership of books like these as evidence, think again.  If you don’t think the right is capable of stretching a legal definition to suit their own purposes, I’ll suggest that you go ask John Yoo about his definition of torture.

If the intent of the left is to provide some level of federal oversight to crimes ignored at the local level, please do the right thing and amend the Constitution if you don’t feel that the 14th Amendment provides enough protection in these sorts of cases.

By creating and now expanding hate crime laws, the left is unwittedly drawing the papers with which they’ll later be prosecuted.

It’s about time to start using the “n” word

No. No! NO! NO! Hell, NO!

There, I’ve said it, and it would do the GOP a lot of good if more Republicans would say it, too.  Voters in early polls did say it to Arlen Specter, who’s now busy boohooin at CNN about the “one vote, the stimulus package vote, [where he] was ostracized.”

Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of senior GOP-types still don’t get it.

Republican House Whip Eric Cantor has just announced the formation of the National Council for a New America, which is described as “a forward-looking, grassroots caucus intended to bring together Congressional leaders with a national panel of experts.”

In reality, the National Council for a New America looks like another top-down organization which will be conducting forums and town hall meetings to push an agenda which looks just like the same-old agenda we’ve been seeing from Republicans.

As an example, their proposed national security agenda seems little different from the Bush Doctrine most Americans despise:

The threats posed to our nation are more varied and evolving more than perhaps at any other time in our history. Modern communications, technology and the proliferation of weapons of all types have empowered our enemies and those who support them. Our national security policy must reflect these realities while allowing us to maintain technological superiority, support the most well-trained and well-equipped military in the world and have the intelligence capabilities to uncover and prevent attacks before they occur.

Their plans for the economy, healthcare, education and energy don’t look any different, either.

Adding insult to injury, one of their top five policy experts is going to be John McCain.

The Washington Post reports:

At a pizza restaurant in Arlington, where they officially unveiled the National Council for a New America, party leaders attempted to portray Republicans as sensitive to the concerns of average Americans and to shake off the “Party of No” label that Democrats have tried to affix to the GOP.

America could use a lot more “no” these days, not less.  While one doesn’t expect Republicans to be moral enough to take a moral stand on an issue like torture, they could at least be saying no to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, no auto bailouts, no to bank bailouts, no to TARP funding, no to stimulus packages, no to deficit spending.

Instead, the same guy who endorsed a bailout and brought us McCain-Feingold is going to once again be cheerleading for the “yes” crowd.

If the GOP leadership wants to continue to say “yes” to big-government, they can expect the voters to tell them “no”, just like they did to Arlen Specter.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

From UPI (emphasis added):

Newt Gingrich has angered some members of the U.S. Republican National Committee by telling them on national TV that they have big egos.

The former speaker of the House and architect of the Contract With America was responding to a question about a resolution to limit Republican Chairman Michael Steele‘s ability to spend committee funds. Steele, Gingrich said in an interview recorded on C-Span, “probably has not yet learned the art of massaging the egos of RNC members.”

“Newt needs to take a breath,” David Norcross, an RNC member from New Jersey and backer of the resolution, told CNN.

Neither Gingrich nor the RNC get it, despite successive GOP losses. I’ll suggest a simple strategy that seems far too complicated for them: Get back to the basics of limited government.

John Monds: A credible Libertarian candidate

Website bio:

John Monds is a 1983 graduate of J.M. Tate High School in Gonzalez, Florida and a 1987 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he received his Bachelors degree in Banking and Finance. John married his wife, Dr. Kathaleena Edward Monds, in 1998 and has four children: Akintunde, Cazembe, Halima and Malik.

Monds earned the 2002 Superior Service Award and the 2003 Omega Man of the Year Award – both from the Mu Beta Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In 2003 he earned the Superior Service Award from the aforementioned fraternity’s state organization. In 2005 he was named Man of the Year by the Grady County NAACP.

In his capacity as a member and currently President of the Grady County NAACP, Monds has held financial literacy classes for the Holder Park Summer Program, helped implement the Freedom Day Health Fair and advocated for citizens who believed they had been treated unjustly. He is a twenty year member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and has held various leadership positions on the local and state level including President of the Mu Beta Beta chapter. Monds also serves on the Grady County Planning Commission, Grady County Habitat for Humanity board, the Libertarian Party of Georgia Executive Committee and the Grady County Fine Arts Project.

Last year, Monds received 1,076,726 votes for 33.4% of the vote for the Georgia Public Service Commission District 1 seat.

Keep up with the Monds campaign on Twitter here.  Keep up with all sorts of libertarian goodness on Twitter here.

And the Republican Party still can’t figure out why they keep losing elections…

hankFor some time, the national libertarian community has been paying attention to the Free the Hops movement in Alabama.  A brief overview provides:

Of the Top 100 beers of the World at BeerAdvocate.com, a renowned beer review site, 98 cannot be sold in this state. Why is our choice so limited?

Currently, Alabama is one of only three states in the country that limits alcohol by volume (ABV) for beer to only 6%, and the only state that limits beer containers to a size of no more than 1 pint (16 ounces).

Free The Hops drafted the Gourmet Beer Bill to modify existing laws to allow more specialty and gourmet beers in Alabama. Specifically, the Gourmet Beer Bill would raise the limit on ABV in beer to just below that of wine. Free The Hops presented the Gourmet Beer Bill to the Alabama Legislature in 2006 and 2007 and has presented it again for 2008.

Right now, the bill is being held up by one authoritarian imbecile in the State Senate.  Here’s the scoop:

Republican State Senator Hank Erwin has been an outspoken opponent of this bill.  Instead of letting it go to a vote, he places his moral code above the legislative process. Erwin has been filibustering the bill and plans to continue until this legislative season ends.

Erwin’s strange views on morality have already placed him in the national spotlight.

“New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness,” wrote Erwin about why Hurricane Katrina hit. “It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God.”

According to stories I’m hearing today, Senator Morality doesn’t mind breaking his word when it gives him political leverage.  Two reliable sources close to the Free the Hops effort have relayed pretty much the same story to me.  According to them, a Free the Hops lobbyist approached Erwin about not filibustering the bill.  Erwin had a gun rights bill he was pushing and a deal was cut: Erwin wouldn’t filibuster the gourmet beer bill if the lobbyist would support the gun bill.

As I hear it, the lobbyist did push hard for the gun bill, but it failed anyway.  Now Erwin isn’t holding up to his end of the bargain.

Not that I’m suggesting that anyone give Senator Erwin a call at his home number of (205) 620-0116 or pop him an e-mail at senatorerwin@aol.com, but I just did.  While I’m still riled up over the issue, I do feel a bit calmer after completing the call.

Erwin is such a joke that I reserved a special place for him in my recent lineup of dumbass Alabama politicians.   However, the joke could be on Alabama, as Erwin has recently announced his intention to run for Lt. Governor in 2010.  I don’t think he’ll win, as I know too many Republicans who’d cross party lines to vote against him.  This video clearly indicates how loved he is even in his home district.

Photo courtesy of The Birmingham Free Press

A new libertarian line-of-attack when debating medical marijuana issues with Republicans

For years, activists have been trying to pass federal legislation which prevents the feds from arresting patients (or doctors, growing clubs, etc.) when they’ve been prescribed medicinal marijuana by a physician in the states where such prescriptions are allowed by law.  Libertarians have often made valid points about Republican hypocrisy regarding federalism when it comes to medical marijuana.

Loretta Nall provides a brand new argument to use with Republicans on the matter:

I am sick of hearing Republicans scream about ‘socialized medicine that would put the government between you and your doctor.’ Just what the hell is the difference here? The Republicans want to be involved in your health care decisions if they seek to prevent you and your doctor from discussing/using marijuana as medicine…and that is the same thing. Socialized medicine. HYPOCRITICAL FUCKS EVERY ONE OF THEM! […]

[…] Mention that it is socialized medicine for Republicans to stand between a doctor and patient….no matter what their ‘justification’. Human suffering shouldn’t be used as a political football.

Let’s take a look at some recent Republican stands on socialized medicine and compare them to the views of the very same people on medical marijuana.

“In any serious discussion of health care in our nation, this should always be our starting point — because the goal, after all, is to make the best care available to everyone,” said Senator John McCain in a 2008 presidential campaign speech. Later on, he added: “[With nationalized health care, ] we’ll have all the problems, and more, of private health care — rigid rules, long waits and lack of choices, and risk degrading its great strengths and advantages including the innovation and life-saving technology that make American medicine the most advanced in the world. The key to real reform is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves.”

“Families also place a high value on quickly getting simple care, and have shown a willingness to pay cash to get it,” noted McCain, surely aware that the cost of home-grown marijuana is significantly less than the cost of Marinol. “Government can provide leadership to solve problems, of course. So often it comes down to personal responsibility — the duty of every adult in America to look after themselves and to safeguard the gift of life.”

When asked about medical marijuana on the very same campaign trail, McCain responded, “Right now my answer to you is no.”

On the same presidential campaign trail, Rudy Giuliani had a moment of libertarian lucidity when he stated that “government cannot take care of you. You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

Here are some of Giuliani’s views on socialized health care:

Charging that Democrats’ health care proposals would lead to “socialized medicine,” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday he wants to give American citizens more control over their health care.

“We’ve got to do it the American way,” Giuliani said during a town hall forum in Rochester, New Hampshire. “The American way is not single-payer, government-controlled anything. That’s a European way of doing something; that’s frankly a socialist way of doing something.”

McCain and Giuliani weren’t alone on the GOP presidential campaign trail regarding these issues. No stranger to hypocrisy regarding health care issues, Mitt Romney piped in, as well:  “[Senator Clinton’s health care] plan is crafted by Washington; mine is crafted by individual states.”

Of course, Giuliani and Romney both opposed medical marijuana from both a federal and state perspective.

Let’s take it off the presidential campaign trail for a moment and pick on perhaps the most hated drug warrior in Congress.   Here’s Congressman Mark Souder’s take on health care (from his website):

Every American deserves affordable and quality health care, not government control. I support a patient-centered approach to health care reform that provides every American, regardless of health or financial status, access to the affordable health care coverage of their choice. Nobody should go bankrupt because they get sick.

I will continue to fight to make health care family-focused and patient-centered. I think that patients, in consultation with their doctors, should have control over the health care they receive. The government, your employer or a health care plan selected by your employer should not decide what health care you receive. The road to affordable health care for all is not easy or simple but, by implementing more consumer choice, cracking down on frivolous law suits and lessening the bureaucratic paper work it is achievable. Forcing Americans into a government controlled health care plan will not solve the problem. I believe that it will only make things worse.

Here’s Souder calling for a non-patient-centered “approach to health care” which is neither family-focused nor “patient-centered.”  Here’s a direct contradiction to “I think that patients, in consultation with their doctors, should have control over the health care they receive.”  Here’s a crystal-clear example of the hypocrisy to which Nall referred.

If passed, this amendment would put people in danger of shysters and quacks willing to recommend a dangerous drug, marijuana, in place of federally approved safe and proven medicines. You can get Marinol. We have got other ways by taking a pill to treat this. There are multiple chemicals in marijuana. It is not medicine. Marijuana is just as much medicine as the carbolic smoke ball from the later 19th century was medicine…. The rhetoric about marijuana as a ‘treatment’ for medical purposes… probably was dreamed up at some college dorm…

[L]et me state that my mother and father-in-law both recently died of cancer as well. Compassion is not limited to either side, but there is science and there is not science. In fact, the Carbolic Smoke Balls and the snake oil is very similar; getting high is the same as getting splashed….

Furthermore, we have heard kind of a silly argument here on the House floor today that physicians should be making up FDA law. Physicians do not do trials of a different drug when they come to market. Physicians do not have big testing agencies. That is why we have a Food and Drug Administration. This is in effect asking to repeal the Food and Drug Administration.

Imagine being in the audience the next time a local Republican congressional candidate gives a speech.  When it comes Q&A time, it might be fairly easy to ask the following:

Congressman Smith, I applaud your view that the federal government shouldn’t be able to tell states what to do.  Furthermore, you are to be applauded for your views that the government shouldn’t stand between a patient and a doctor, that individuals should be empowered to make their own medical decisions, that federal bureaucracy harms the health care process, that when patients have the responsibility to make their own decisions health care costs are drastically reduced, and that health care choices should be made in a free market.  Since it’s so obvious that you agree with how I feel about these issues, I’m pleased that you’ll be supporting both the Hinchey-Rohrabacher bill and our state legislation to treat cancer victims and AIDS patients with a bit more compassion.

Disharmony @ #tcot, freedom @ #tlot

tlot-logoDespite all of the hullabaloo over #tcot (Top Conservatives on Twitter), there seems to a be a bit of a scrap brewing between TCOT co-founders Rob Neppell and Michael Patrick Leahy.  To date, the argument sounds more like a quarrel between gay lovers than one between some of the God-fearing, pro-torture fag-bashing Republicans who frequently tweet with the #tcot hashtag.  Here’s the first description of the spat I’ve found online:

This morning teabagger-in-chief and “Top Conservatives on Twitter” (TCOT) co-founder Rob Neppell posted this message on TopConservativesOnTwitter.org (which has since been removed) outlining his decision to shut down the site and encouraging fellow TCOT co-founder and notorious douchenozzle Michael Patrick Leahy to, essentially, eat a bag of dicks.

According to the note, Leahy also “was recently asked to leave the leadership team of Tea Party Patriots” “due to his inability to work in a group decision-making environment.” Oh, snap.

Revolution is never easy.

While their front page says it’s under construction, the message is still online and one can peek at it though the back door here. I haven’t seen any sort of response from Leahy, yet.

Over at 7mesh.com, thespaghetticat asks::

I wonder how this will affect #tcot frequent tweeter Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove (@Karl_rove)?

In the meantime, there is also Top Libertarians on Twitter (#tlot), where folks feel that even conservative homosexuals deserve equal treatment under the law.  If you are a libertarian on Twitter, be sure to sign up here.

While we are on the topic of social networking, feel free to follow The Liberty Papers on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Here’s where you can follow or friend some of the individuals at The Liberty Papers:

Chris Byrne

Twitter

Eric Cowperthwaite

Facebook Twitter

Stephen Gordon

Facebook Twitter

Doug Mataconis

Facebook Twitter

Jason Pye

Facebook Twitter

Brad Warbiany

Facebook

Feel free to leave your social networking links in the comment section if you’d like to expand your social networking with other like-minded people.

UPDATE: The old TCOT format and data seem to have survived and are available here.

Except for a few crapweasel holdouts, Arlen Specter unites the left and the right

crapweaselWhen Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, progressives, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and socialists can all agree on something political in nature, it’s a monumental occasion.  There seems to be a near consensus: Arlen Specter is a spineless crapweasel who now prefers to bottom-feed from a blue pond, as opposed to the red one he’s been polluting for quite some time. Here’s what they’re saying from the right, left and points in-between:

  • Specter: RINO no more by Robert Stacy McCain: ” Specter reminds me of the high-school slut trying to sleep her way to popularity — a weak reed, blown by the shifting winds.”
  • The RNC responds by Markos Moulitsas: “But as we’ve seen, Specter has no convictions he won’t betray in his naked efforts to remain in power.”
  • What did Specter represent besides himself? by Ed Morrissey: “But what core values does Specter represent? “
  • Arlen Specter, Democrat by Matt Welch: “Throat-clearing aside, this strikes me as no favor at all to the Democrats.”
  • Goodnight, Arlen by Scott Boykin: “We do not want Republican leaders like Specter who find their ‘political philosophy more in line with Democrats,’ and we will be happy to show them the way to the door.”
  • What Specter’s switch says about him, the Democrats and our political spectrum by Glenn Greenwald: “Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics.”
  • Arlen Specter makes it official; Flashback: Specter’s denial by Michelle Malkin: “Arlen Specter, we have just 10 words for you: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
  • What will Democrats do about Arlen Specter? by Jon Henke: “So, by promising to give Specter the institutional support of the Democratic Party, it looks like the Democratic establishment has engineered a switch that advances their political control at the expense of the ideological agenda and ideals of the progressive movement.”
  • Arlen Specter’s Leapfrog Across the Aisle by watertiger: “Well played, suckers. Let me know when those wire transfers from that Nigerian bank finally come through.”
  • Specter of Absurdity by James Ostrowski: “Yet, today the MSM is obsessed with it and saying the GOP is dead now. That’s true, but the GOP was dead last week too.”
  • D., Himself by NRO‘s editorial staff: “But here’s hoping that Pennsylvania Democrats become the second party to turn down Specter’s dubious services.”
  • Arlen Specter switches parties by Megan McArdle: “I hope that Specter has better sense than Jeffords in titling his next self-serving autobiography. “
  • Unprincipled hack (D-PA) by Jonathan Chait: “When a politician switches parties, it’s customary for the party he’s abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he’s joined to praise him as a brave convert who’s genuinely seen the light. But I think it’s pretty clear that Specter is an unprincipled hack.”
  • Arlen Specter: The Democrat Most Deserving of a Primary Challenge by Chris Bowers: “He is joining our party purely for personal political survival. “
  • Did you give money to Arlen Specter? by Erick Erickson: “If so, and you want a refund, call him at (202) 224-4254 and demand your money back.”
  • Club for Growth press release: “Senator Specter has confirmed what we already knew – he’s a liberal devoted to more spending, more bailouts, and less economic freedom. Thanks to him, Democrats will now be able to steamroll their big government agenda through the Senate.”
  • Glenn Reynolds scribes: “TRUTH IN LABELING”
  • Rush Limbaugh via Hot Air: “Well, Specter, take [Sen. John] McCain with you. And his daughter [Meghan]. Take McCain and his daughter with you if you’re gonna…”
  • Al Franken‘s comedy routine: “Forget that he’s humorless and pasty-looking. He’s Jewish! See, I’ve been following the whole Colin Powell phenomenon, and it’s led me to an indisputable conclusion: The first Jew to be elected President of the United States will be a four-star general.”
  • Michael Steele‘s statement: “Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”
  • Suzanna Logan hasn’t written anything about Specter and we certainly aren’t in agreement with every item of the conservative social agenda.  Sometimes I like linking her because she’s hot.

For the most part, Specter seems to be about as highly regarded as Bob Dole after he runs out of Viagra.  However, I’d be remiss not to mention this little crapweasel lovefest:

  • Ezra Klein gets a woodie because he thinks Specter may end up playing bottom for the Dem’s when they nationalize another industry.
  • Olympia Snowe gets her panties in a wad over losing one of her best socialist buds to the even darker side.
  • David Frum likes pitching tents.  Really big tents.  However, it seems that he’s poorly equipped ideologically for the job.


I’m not quite sure how to categorize this response:

  • A Children’s Treasury of Wingnut Responses To Arlen Specter Becoming Gay at Wonkette: “The 14 remaining wingnut Republicans are, of course, furious about Muslin-Communist and Pennsylvania shit monster Arlen Specter doing what they always knew he would do, with the becoming a DemonCRAP, because of course his whole plan all along from the day he was hatched, from a turd, was to stick an Arab Dagger in the backs of the Real Americans, right at the moment when there are basically no Real Americans left, which means … ?! … which means PURGE THE GOP OF OTHER NOT-WINGNUTTY-ENOUGH SENATORS, so that they have maybe 30 seats, maybe 25? Hoor — HUH?!”

Yet another Truther gives the freedom movement some positive media attention

denniskucinichI’m taken to task in the comments every time I write about how Truthers and other conspiracy theorists harm the freedom movement.  Now that someone has just been arrested for posting threats on Twitter, let’s take a look at how the newspaper reported (emphasis added) the individual accused of the threat:

According to an FBI criminal complaint, Daniel Knight Hayden, who went by the name CitizenQuasar on a popular microblogging site, threatened murder on several occasions in the run-up to tax day.

On April 11 he posted a message on Twitter that said,”The WAR wWIL [sic] start on the stepes [sic] of the Oklahoma State Capitol. I will cast the first stone.”

That message was followed by others that said, “”START THE KILLING NOW” and  “After I am killed on the Capitol Steps, like a REAL man, the rest of you will REMEMBER ME!!!”  He also wrote “I really don’t give a (expletive) anymore. Send the cops around. I will cut their heads off the heads and throw the(m) on the State Capitol steps.”

He then wrote life wasn’t worth living in Oklahoma – without listing any reasons – feigned he has been drinking too much and posted the name and home phone number of a man he believed was a local tea party organizer, instructing his followers to “REMEMBER this name.”

The last Twitter message posted by Mr. Hayden on April 15 said, “Locked AND loaded for the Oklahoma State Capitol. Let’s see what happens.”

Special agent Michael S. Puskas wrote in his complaint that he tracked Mr. Hayden down through his computer’s IP address and his public MySpace profile.

Wired Magazine believes this is the first criminal prosecution to arise from postings on Twitter.

Liberal bloggers quickly pointed to Mr. Hayden to validate the Obama’s administation’s report about the rise of right-wing extremism. Mr. Hayden’s online posting are obviously anti-government, although his political persuasions do not appear to be linked to any party.

Several political videos are posted on Mr. Hayden’s MySpace account, including one known as a “truther” documentary, accusing President Bush of being responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

A video heavy blog by Mr. Hayden posted on April 6 suggests President Obama has hypnotized his supporters and a prominently featured quote in his profile from The Gulag Archipelago says, “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say goodbye to his family?”

Now look at his MySpace page.  Of his incoherent video and written ramblings, I’m not sure of which I like best:

  • Male – 52 years old – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – United States
  • Alex Jones Interviewed by Russia Today: “U.S. is a puppet of private bankers .”
  • Hoagland on The Monuments of Mars
  • Republic Broadcasting Network: Because you CAN handle the truth
  • Prophesy reveal American pentagram

This one is self-explanatory:

Citizen Quasar ‘s Details
Status: Single

While I feel a bit sorry for the person in question, at this moment, he has 474 friends (including Dennis Kucinich, Dylan Avery and Alex Jones) on his MySpace page.  That’s truly scary.

Of course, the conspiracy theorists will all suggest that this was planned by Obama in preparation for the April 15th Tea Parties and that thermite was found behind the grassy knoll which was paid for by the Jews.  In truth, I’ve paid myself with Arizona desert moon rock sales.

Disclosure: I was paid by the CFR, Illuminati and the Bilderbergers to write this.  I’m currently en route to meet with the Jewish banking cartel so I can take over the world next week.  I also have 666 tattoos of the very-same pyramid one can find on the one dollar bill on both my forehead and one of my wrists. Timothy LaHaye is probably writing a new book about me right now. Don’t tell anyone, but we all plan to meet at Area 51 at midnight on Friday.  See you there.

The White House owes us some answers

“The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”President Barack Obama

Along with other plaintiffs, talk radio host Michael Savage has sued Homeland Security Secretary Janet Reno and Attorney General Eric Holder for their roles in this issue.  While I don’t agree with the social agenda of the group bringing about the suit, at least they are attacking the issue on constitutional grounds.

Several questions occurred to me before I clicked the “send” button on the now infamous DHS report on right-wing extremism:

  • Did Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder or Barack Obama know about the report in advance?
  • Who was the highest level person to know of the report? Who authorized it to be released?
  • Why was the report issued (and released) when it was?  Did the timing have anything to do with Tea Parties planned across the country?

Hopefully, we’ll learn a lot more during the discovery phase of this suit.  Since President Obama repeatedly mentioned government transparency on the campaign trail, I’m sure the White House will be releasing these details to the general public over the next day or two.

This veteran won’t accept Janet Napolitano’s lame apology

According to this ABC News headline, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has offered a “right-wing mea culpa” for the report this site played a major role in bringing to public attention.  However, journalist Rachel Martin (or perhaps her copy editor) either has a political agenda or they just aren’t all that smart over at ABC.  While the title suggests an apology to the right, the article only mentions mentions issues pertaining to veterans.  The article doesn’t cover the tens and tens of millions of Americans who may be “mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”  It doesn’t mention “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” either.

I’ll note that in her initial statement regarding the issue, Napolitano referenced the veteran’s issue, too.  Perhaps she was following John Boehner’s lead?

According to the article, it seems that Napolitano’s meeting with the American Legion’s National Commander David Rehbein “seemed to satisfy” those upset with the report. This veteran of eleven years is now doubly insulted.

As a civilian political activist, I’m highly upset that virtually every believer in the principles of small government (this category describes me well) or social conservatism (this doesn’t describe this libertarian so much) has been labeled as a potential terrorist.  That Napolitano, Rehbein, Boehner and ABC News seem to be operating in concert to sweep this attack on having a political ideology under the rug is dangerous.

As a veteran, I’m now as upset with Rehbein as I am with those who are only focusing on the veteran’s side of this issue.  I took that “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” portion of my oath very damned seriously.  Part of the Constitution I swore I’d uphold (and Rehbehn, Napolitano and Boehner should know this general oath even better than I do) is that pesky little First Amendment.  In case Napolitano, Rehbein, Boehner and ABC News have forgotten, it allows for freedom of speech, assembly and the right to air grievences against the government.

Military service is an honor, and most veterans I know place their defense of the Constitution and the American people ahead of their own personal desires.

This veteran won’t even hear of an apology to veterans until people who believe in smaller government have first been apologized to.

This veteran won’t even hear of an apology to veterans until people who support the 10th Amendment have first been apologized to.

This veteran won’t even hear of an apology to veterans until anarchists have first been apologized to.

This veteran won’t even hear of an apology to veterans until people who are pro-life people have first been apologized to.

This veteran won’t even hear of an apology to veterans until people who believe in closed-borders have first been apologized to.

I certainly don’t agree with all of these issues, but I would have willingly died to ensure that people had the right to express these views and to mobilize politically to support them.

Unless something additional happened in their conversation which I haven’t seen in the news, Rehbehn has dishonored each of us who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.  There is no honor in taking refuge in a photo-op apology while the rights of many American citizens are still being disregarded.

UPDATE: This blog posting seems to have provoked a lot of anger from the left.  Since you’re here,  you might as well read about why your Messiah should replace Janet Napolitano with Andrew Napolitano, too.

Libertarian snark of the day

And the award goes to…

…Nick Gillespie for this gem:

Here’s Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) talking with Conservative News Service (CNS) who, like the Canadian Mounties, always seem to get their man when it comes interview:

“I would let people gamble on the Internet,” Frank said. “I would let adults smoke marijuana; I would let adults do a lot of things, if they choose.”

He added: “But allowing them total freedom to take on economic obligations that spill over into the broader society? The individual is not the only one impacted here, when bad decisions get made in the economic sphere, it causes problems.”

As Meatloaf documented so long ago, two out of three ain’t bad (baby), but in this case, it really hurts worse than Phil Rizzuto’s play-by-play in “Paradise By The Dashboard Light.”

Bragging about a shining star and a very dear friend

shanapaul

Shana Kluck on stage telling the national staff that we had just won the Alabama GOP Straw Poll by a decisive margin

I’ve heard Wayne Allyn Root described as “the Energizer Bunny on speed.”  While our styles are significantly different, I’ve been told that I outperform Root.  I’m not trying to compete with Root, but to make another point.  There is one person in the liberty movement I know who has the energy and results of Root and me combined multiplied together amplified by some exponential function only Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking could grok.

Earlier tonight, I published an article about a mostly unrelated issue.  In it, I described Shana Kluck as follows:

A key driving force behind this panel is Shana Kluck.  Shana is not only a member of the Alabama Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, but she also serves on her state GOP executive committee, is president of the Alabama Republican Assemby and serves as secretary of the Alabama Republican Liberty Caucus.  When she’s not busy homeshcooling her four children, consulting on Web 2.0 projects, engaged in Eagle Forum activities, attending various political meetings around the state and working behind the scenes on a variety of conservative and libertarian causes, she is busy helping me on campaigns.

Considering Shana’s schedule, very few of us have grounds to offer the excuse that we are too busy to become more involved in the African-American community.

Instead of sitting around complaining about how black people voted in previous election cycles, Senator Beason and Ms. Kluck are taking leadership roles in providing justice for members of the African-American community.

I first met Shana during the Ron Paul presidential campaign.  While in the process of leaving my job in DC and moving back to Alabama, I starting signing up for various Ron Paul Meetups and e-mail lists back home.  One name quickly surfaced to the top: Shana’s.

Despite growing up in Ron Paul’s congressional district, the Paul campaign was Shana’s first real exposure to politics.  She didn’t let being a newby slow her down though, but rose to and very quickly surpassed the challenge.

shanabarr1

Shana Kluck working a booth at the Libertarian National Convention

Shana ended up being the national homeschooling coordinator for Ron Paul’s campaign, as well as serving as the Alabama field coordinator.  As the state media coordinator, it was my distinct pleasure to serve with her.   Not being able to stomach John McCain as the GOP presidential nominee, Shana immediately jumped on board the Bob Barr campaign after Ron Paul was out of the picture.  Without her efforts enhancing our social networking operations, my eventual position with that campaign would have been impossible.

Most libertarians are content living their lives as free from government intervention as they can.  They quite understandably spend their time holed up with their family and friends and try to live life for the most they can get out of it.  Others pop out of the woodwork to criticize the government from time to time but accomplish little to actually change things.  Others have dedicated their lives to making America a freer place.  As long as I’ve been in the movement, I’ve never met anyone who has accomplished as much in a short period of time as Shana.  Not so very long ago, I felt that I was her mentor.  Today, I feel that she is my mentor.

I’m well aware that we have a lot of left-leaning libertarian visitors on this site who might criticize certain organizations with which Shana (or me, even) works.  That’s okay.  Since we are all on the same general sheet of music, let’s turn this into some healthy competition.  Who is willing to put more energy into and provide greater results to the cause of freedom than Shana?

It doesn’t really matter who wins this particular competition, as all of us will win in the long run.

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