Category Archives: Election ’08

Demographics, Statistics, and Signs of Hope

Obviously, I disagree with the choice that 51% of Americans made last night, but in that choice, there are many aspects that I think are good things… perhaps great things.

The first point, is that although the democrats are already trying to spin this as a huge numeric victory, it is not. Though the electoral college totals are approximately 2 to 1 Obama, that is because of the math of the swing states in the electoral college. There are 8 states where Obamas margin of victory is 3% or under. A 1.5% swing one way or the other, and the results would be quite different.

I reported earlier this week that I believed the 10% support advantage polls showed for Obama was drastically inflated, and that any state within six percent would break for McCain.

It turns out I was half right. The real number was 3% not 10%. I thought that those six point states would swing all six points when it came down to actual voting. Instead they swung 3 or 4 points.

The polls however were very clearly wrong. The exit polls over indicated Obamas support by as much as 10% in some states. This is I think a long term problem that we need to address.

Now as to demographics, they interest me (of course they are also based on the flawed polling data, but the numbers are so large as to be at least indicitive).

McCain won about 60% of whites overall. This is a larger margin than expected. He won both white men, and white women, by a significant margin. It was expected that he would lose white women (and when race is taken out of the equation, McCain lost all women 45-55).

I don’t want to speculate as to why here; I’ll leave that to others. I’m sure they will do so, with great vitriol.

Obama won 95% of blacks, and this election featured the largest turnout of blacks in history. I think that’s a great thing. I hope that a non-black candidate would have the same result.

Obama won 60% of hispanics, a suprising achievement; and more hispanics voted in this election than any other election in american history. Again I think this is great.

Obama won 70% of people under 30 and 70% of first time voters. More people under 30 voted in this election than ever before in American history. First time voters made up a larger percentage of the electorate than any other election in American history.

Collectively the four groups I mentioned, usually make up less than 10% of actual voters. This election they made up about 30% of voters, and that is absolutely INCREDIBLE.

Although all the votes have not yet been counted, if the polls are even close to right, more Americans voted in our election than have ever voted before.

That is even more incredible. We have recently been a country where 40% participation has been considered “good”; and yesterday, we had perhaps 60% of the eligible voting populace do so. I won’t be happy until we get to over 80%, but I’m heartened.

In fact, I am heartened by all of this. I am given hope.

143 years ago, a black man in this country could not vote. 43 years ago, a black man in Mississippi may have even been killed for trying to. Next January, a black man is going to be president.

The cynic in me says that a fair portion of the reason his is president is because he IS black… but the idealist in me hopes this truly says that race is no longer relevant… or that at least we are walking down that road.

I hope these amazing changes continue, and grow. I hope that those people become fully engaged, and educate themselves, and perhaps commit themselves to liberty as they do.

I fear they will not, but I hope.

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

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A Lone Silver Lining

Today is, truly, a historic day. I’m not an old man, but when I was born 30 years ago the idea of electing a black president was something that might be discussed in polite circles, but was not reality. Today that has changed.

Perhaps I’ve become more sentimental as I’ve aged, or perhaps it’s that I have a 14-month-old son, but I am happy to see living proof that America has moved beyond this. My son won’t grow up knowing that this country won’t elect a black president; he’ll grow up knowing that we already have.

Now, that doesn’t mean I am an Obama fan. America is headed into an economic buzzsaw of extreme proportions, and I don’t have any faith in Obama to do what’s necessary. I have a feeling this country is headed towards a New New Deal, and that America as we know it will never recover. I expect to spend the next four (or 8) years railing against almost everything Barack Obama does in office.

Today we elected a black man to the most powerful office in the world. That’s not trivial. I wholeheartedly wish that it hadn’t been this black man, but that doesn’t change the historical significance of this day.

Take a moment to reflect on what has just happened. Then get ready, because the next 4 or 8 years are going to be a hell of a fight.

Hulk MAD! Hulk VOTE!

Voting is now analogized to Popeye eating his spinach:

The final presidential debate concluded with some stirring words, though not from either candidate. Moderator and CBS newsman Bob Schieffer said, “I will leave you tonight with what my mother always said — go vote now. It will make you feel big and strong.

Cue the Huggies Pullups commercial: “I’m a big kid now!”

It’s strange to me. The act of voting is akin to marshaling a $3T government with the greatest military in the history of the world and an army of bureaucrats, redistributionists, and enforcement personnel to go out and perform the tasks you wish it to do. It should make one feel big and strong and powerful. But somehow, just somehow, it seems just as cowardly as sending the school bully to take the nerd’s lunch money for you. And it’s about as moral.

But I guess Schieffer had one point, though he didn’t intend it. Your vote doesn’t matter. So as long as it makes you feel good, I guess you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

Live it up today, looters! I hope you all feel wonderful tonight, and don’t blame me when the government hangover comes tomorrow.

Hat Tip: Cafe Hayek

Third Party Debate

The City Club of Cleveland extended an invitation to the top six presidential candidates*. Of the six candidates, Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr, Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, and independent candidate Ralph Nader participated; Democrat Barack Obama, Republican John McCain, and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney were no-shows.

Unlike the debates we have already seen in this cycle, the candidates in this debate actually debated the issues!

*The candidates who could theoretically receive the requisite electoral vote to win the presidency

Quote Of The Day

From Doug Stanhope:

The most important thing is to vote locally and know what you’re voting for – and if race or sex are your first reason, you should be denied a ballot because you are an ape who should be banished to voting online for upstart variety show websites. If you dont know exactly why you are voting, go buy someone a drink instead. We’ll say it’s your civic duty.

If it’s the day before the election and you’re not yet sure who you’re voting for– or more importantly, why… Stay home.
» Read more

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

Ditto:

6) State Representative: NOTA

Ditto.

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

Ditto.

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.

Social Security: The Betrayal Between Generations

If you think the “bailout from hell” is going to be painful to taxpayers, wait until the bill comes due for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. According to Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, the unfunded liability for Social Security and Medicare sits at an incredible $99.2 trillion. This figure does not account for the myriad of other existing so-called entitlement programs or even consider future wealth redistribution entitlement programs Barack Obama and the Democrats wish to burden the taxpayer with.

The looming Social Security crisis is one which angers me to no end. If you are under 40, you should be angry too. The payroll taxes which are forcibly taken out of your paycheck by the federal government are given to current retirees. There will be little or nothing left when you retire but you will still be paying the bill for those who have benefited from your labors.

Yet anyone who dares to suggest even putting aside a small percentage of FICA withholding into private accounts is accused by the Left of trying to undermine Social Security. AARP and other such organizations run attack ads aimed at the elderly to make them believe they will be kicked into the streets if any such reforms are suggested by anyone who recognizes a need to reform the system.

Reason.tv is currently running a very entertaining, humorous, and informative animated series which explains exactly how royally we are getting screwed by this Ponzi scheme we call Social Security. Here are the first four episodes:

Best Biden Interview Ever

Found via Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: The campaign retaliates by denying the TV station access for the rest of the campaign.

WFTV-Channel 9’s Barbara West conducted a satellite interview with Sen. Joe Biden on Thursday. A friend says it’s some of the best entertainment he’s seen recently. What do you think?

West wondered about Sen. Barack Obama’s comment, to Joe the Plumber, about spreading the wealth. She quoted Karl Marx and asked how Obama isn’t being a Marxist with the “spreading the wealth” comment.

“Are you joking?” said Biden, who is Obama’s running mate. “No,” West said.

West later asked Biden about his comments that Obama could be tested early on as president. She wondered if the Delaware senator was saying America’s days as the world’s leading power were over.

“I don’t know who’s writing your questions,” Biden shot back.

Biden so disliked West’s line of questioning that the Obama campaign canceled a WFTV interview with Jill Biden, the candidate’s wife.

“This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election,” wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.

McGinnis said the Biden cancellation was “a result of her husband’s experience yesterday during the satellite interview with Barbara West.”

Here’s a link to the interview: http://www.wftv.com/video/17790025/index.html.

WFTV news director Bob Jordan said, “When you get a shot to ask these candidates, you want to make the most of it. They usually give you five minutes.”

Jordan said political campaigns in general pick and choose the stations they like. And stations often pose softball questions during the satellite interviews.

“Mr. Biden didn’t like the questions,” Jordan said. “We choose not to ask softball questions.”

Jordan added, “I’m crying foul on this one.”

What did you think of the interview?

I think the news directors response was perfect.

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

The Coming Constitutional Crisis

The following motion was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on October 22nd, and entered earlier today.

This is an amended filing from the earlier motions (as is clear from the text); based on the state of the case as of the 22nd.

Earlier, the Obama campaign filed a motion to dismiss, and a motion to prevent discovery. Neither of these motions have been granted.

The Obama campaign has not filed substantive responses to Bergs motions and assertions; and has missed several deadlines.

Theoretically, by the rules of civil procedure, the judge has to rule in favor of the plaintiff, unless he finds the plaintiffs motions have no merit (or that he cannot hear the case due to jurisdictional defect, or lack of standing on the part of the plaintiff); however the judge could decide to dismiss, or to hear the case instead.

Also, the plaintiff has requested a jury trial if summary judgement is not entered; and the Obama campaign failed to respond to this request; so if the judge decides not to enter summary judgement and instead hear the case, he is again required by civil procedure to order a hearing before a jury.

Judges have a lot of leeway within the rules, but if they decide to do something outside of normal practice that leaves a lot of room for appeal. I’ve looked at this judges rules for civil procedure (judges can set their own rules to a certain extent) and he is a hardcore stickler for the rules.

The Obama campaign clearly thought the judge wasn’t going to take this case seriously, and that they could either get it dismissed our of hand, or delayed until after the election.

It seems clear now this isn’t going to happen.

At this point, the Obama campaigns only response is to claim jurisdictional defect and lack of standing. They are saying that the court can’t hear the case, and that even if they could, Berg can’t bring the case. Their grounds for such assertions are weak at best.

Read the filings. If you don’t believe me, go log in to P.A.C.E.R. and look at the totality of the case. Berg has affadavits from Obamas grandmother, officials from the Kenyan ministry of state, officials from the hospital he is alleging Obama was born in…

This is going to be messy. Even if the case is dismissed by jurisdictional or standing defect, it will simply be refiled immediately by someone who has standing (that shouldn’t be hard to find) in the proper jurisdiction.

This isn’t going away.

Whether the allegations are true or not, by not taking this case seriously, Obama is in trouble.

UPDATE:

Understand, I am making no claims as to the validity of the case; only that it has not been dismissed, and the Obama campaign is treating it as if it already has been.

I’m inclined to think if the judge were going to summarily dismiss the case, he would have done so before Oct. 21st.

I have a feeling the judge will at least have a hearing on jurisdiction and standing.

If the Obama campaign address this only as a jurisdictional issue, or a standing issue, it’s going to come back.

Right now, the Obama campaign isn’t even arguing the merits of the case; and if they DON’T get it dismissed on the merits, the exact same allegations and information are going to be used to file cases from now, until he is out of office presuming he is elected.

I’ve spent the last three years arguing a federal case, responding to motions and appeals with no merit. Because our opponent had even the slightest validity in his cause of action, it was strongly advised BY THE JUDGE, that we respond to all motions in a timely manner; even though we had a motion to dismiss pending the entire time (it was eventually granted).

Until this case is heard on the merits, and dismissed on the merits, I think it’s going to be a MAJOR issue for Obama; even after the election, whether he is elected or not.

» Read more

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

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 QandO.net, Jonathan Blank of the Cato Institute, Nicky Fellenzer from The Liberty Zone, Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute and DaveKopel.com, 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 archive.org.

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

Ha Ha Only Serious

This has to be John McCains Best Speech Ever

Seriously, McCain delivers what is certainly the best speech he’s ever given… and it’s a comedy routine.

Part 1:

And part 2:

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

Why I’m Voting For Bob Barr, And Why You Should Too

In a likelihood, two weeks and one day from now, I will be standing outside of my local polling place in Western Prince William County, Virginia waiting for the doors to open so I can cast my ballot in the 2008 election.

Unless the polls and electoral college projections that we’re seeing right now are remarkably bad, or there is an historically unprecedented shift in the public mood over the next two weeks, or, unless, as former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards once joked, one of the candidates is caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, it seems fairly clear that Barack Obama will win and America will have it’s first non-white President.

I’ve been voting in Presidential elections for twenty years now. In my first General Election, I was faced with a choice between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. Partly because Bush’s pandering on the flag-burning issue disgusted me, but mostly because I considered my first vote for President to be so important to me personally that I wanted to vote for the candidate that actually stood for the things I believed in, I ended up voting for the Libertarian Party nominee that year, Ron Paul. I voted Libertarian again in 1992, for Andre Marrou, and in 1996, for Harry Browne.

Then came the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. I wasn’t entirely thrilled with Bush, but he seemed to be different from the nominees the Republicans had put up in the past and, as an added bonus, spoke out against the Clinton Administration’s policy of “nation building” in countries like Bosnia. The Libertarian Party, meanwhile, had descended in to parody — Harry Browne was nominated again but the party had quickly become little more than a vehicle for him to promote his own business ventures. Since there was no way I was going to vote for Gore based on his policies, Bush seemed like a better choice than throwing my vote away on a third-party candidate that wasn’t taking the election seriously.

By 2004, I had soured on Bush’s foreign policy but he was still a clearly better choice than the candidate the Democrats had selected, and the Libertarian Party seemed to be in more disarry than ever.

Man, do I regret those votes I made in 2000 and 2004 now.

Did I feel at the time like I was compromising my principles when I pulled the lever for George W. Bush not once, but twice ? Absolutely, but. as I think many Americans do on a regular basis, I fell hook, line, and sinker for the “lesser of two evils” argument.

That’s not happening this time.

After eight years of a Republican President who has engaged in a reckless and irresponsible war, and expanded the size, scope, and power of the Federal Government at a greater rate than any President since Lyndon Johnson, I’ve come to realize that compromising your principles in the voting both is, ultimately, just a path that will lead you to regret what you’ve done.

Back in February, I crossed party lines and voted for Barack Obama in the Virginia Democratic Primary, but my reasons for doing so then were quite clear:

What’s needed, I am convinced, is a break with the past and a new direction. In some sense, although I hate to admit it, John McCain represents that for the GOP but Barack Obama represents it even more and, more importantly, is running against the one person who, if she wins, would guarantee a return to same crap we’ve been dealing with since 1993 on both sides of the political aisle.

Defeating Hillary Clinton was, I thought then and still think today, essential to even taking the baby steps necessary to move America beyond the divisive politics that has been infecting the political system for the past twenty-odd years. If my vote for Barack Obama on February 12th helped make that happen even in the smallest degree, it was worth it.

I also noted in February:

Does this mean I would vote for Obama in November if he’s the nominee ? No, and, frankly I probably wouldn’t.

Given Obama’s positions on a variety of issues, that answer today is an emphatic no. Whether it’s the economy, education, health care, taxes, or a whole other variety of issues that face America today, it’s clear to me that Obama believes in more government, not less. He suffers from the same fatal conceit that all liberal Democrats do — the idea that they can use the power of the state to remake the world in their own image.

On the issues, John McCain isn’t much better. The difference is that McCain campaigns on rhetoric that makes you think that he believes in individual liberty, self-reliance, and small government. The reality of a hypothetical McCain Administration, though, is demonstrated quite clearly in his response to the financial crisis, his support of the bailout, and his insane idea to have the government buy-up and renegotiate distressed mortgages. These are not the policy proposals of a man who believes in the free market.

Moreover, McCain has run his campaign in a manner that is at the very least offensive and borders on an insult to the intelligence of the American voter. He selected as his Vice-Presidential running mate a woman manifestly unqualified for the job. He engaged in the pointless, some might even say reckless, stunt of pretending to suspend his in response to an economic crisis that he obviously had no real understand as to either the causes or the remedies. And, most recently, he engaged in nearly two weeks of relentlessly negative campaigning that concentrated not on the issues facing the country, but on his opponents alleged associations with someone even he admitted was a “washed up terrorist” and, in the process, brought out some of the worst in his supporters.

I said a long time ago that I would never vote for John McCain based solely on his manifest disdain for one of the fundamental freedoms in the Constitution. Now I can say that, even if he had never sponsored McCain-Feingold, his conduct during the course of this election has demonstrated to me that he is unfit to be President of the United States.

That’s why, this year, I am voting for Bob Barr for President of the United States.

Unlike any other candidate running for President this year, Bob Barr stand unequivocally in favor of the principles of individual liberty and limited government that stand at the core of America’s founding documents. He’s the only candidate who has spoken out against the evils of the Nanny State in all it’s manifestations. He’s the only candidate who has made the case against a solution to the problem of increasing health care costs that doesn’t involve more government regulation, higher taxes, and no real solution for the consumer. He’s one of the few politicians I’ve ever seen admit that he was wrong when he repudiated his previous positions on the War on Drugs. He’s spoken out on the Bush Administration’s assault on civil liberties, taken a clear and consistent position on the Second Amendment, called for the separation of government and the economy, and called for a return to a defense policy that actually involves defending the United States rather than engaging in adventures abroad. More recently, he has been the only candidate to speak out against government bailouts of private companies — whether its Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or the entire banking industry.

Most importantly of all, though, Bob Barr is the only candidate running for President on a platform that is based upon the ideas of individual liberty and limited government that the United States was founded upon. They are ideas that have worked in the past, but they’ve been abandoned by both major political parties.

It’s time to return to the America that was meant to be. It’s time to vote for Bob Barr.

Intrade — Make Money On Barr’08

Last night, I posted about the wild swings seen on the Intrade prediction market for President; wilder than anything I saw in ’04. I wanted to see how a true “long shot” was looking, so I started looking up contracts on Barr.

Barr has several contracts based on his percentage in the popular vote, and a contract on whether or not he will receive any electoral votes. There may be options to take advantage of these contracts.

The contract trading whether he will receive >2% of the popular vote is trading at about 19, which mathematically makes it about a 4:1 bet if you want to hold it until election day. The contract trading whether he will receive >3% of the popular vote is currently trading at 4. Mathematically, that’s a 24:1 bet.

I’m actually considering getting on there and laying $100 on each contract, buying 5 shares of the 2% and 25 shares of the 3% contract. Assuming that Barr makes it above 2% but not 3%, I’d walk away with $500 for a $300 profit. If he were to pass 3%, I’d walk away with $3000 for a $2800 profit.

Given that this election seems to be running away from McCain, I think there’s a good chance that the “protest vote” will be out in more force than usual. Granted, the Libertarian party candidate hasn’t earned over 1% of the popular vote nationwide in recent history, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

Intrade Update — Wild Left Hook

Before the conventions, the election was looking pretty decently to be in Obama’s hands according to Intrade, with him predicted about 60% likely to win (which was higher than Bush was predicted in 2004). After the conventions, though, I remarked how shocked I was to see the numbers come to a dead heat.

Comparing my analysis to that of the financial world, I consider myself more of a “fundamentals” guy than a “technician”. I thought it was pretty clear that the country was pretty well sick of Bush, less than impressed by McCain, and that a significant number of people would be swindled by false promises of a new hopey-changey paradigm. So I was not surprised to see Obama trending at 60% before the election.

I was surprised to see the numbers over the last few weeks, though. Intrade’s current contract has Obama trading just over 80%. Their state-by-state analysis predicts he’ll win 364 electoral votes compared to McCain’s 174.

Now, a technician with a greater understanding of futures markets would probably state that those numbers will trend closer to parity between now and the election, and I don’t disagree. But I trust prediction markets a lot more than polls, and I think it’s pretty darn clear which way this one is going to end up. And to make it worse, they predict slightly over a 90% chance for each house of Congress being retained by the Democrats.

I’ve said before that I don’t believe that either McCain nor Obama would be a positive force for liberty. But things appear to be lining up about as negative as they can go. All that in the middle of what appears to be a financial meltdown of history-making proportions, and I have my own prediction for America over the next decade.

We’re screwed.

Vote for ‘N.O.T.A.’

Comrades, once a year, sometimes more, we are confronted with the question of whom to vote for. Millions of man-hours are consumed every two years in debating and discussing who is standing for elected office, the pros and cons of their policies and their past performance. Billions of dollars are spent promoting or defaming candidates. For men and women of principle, the debate often sounds like this:

The Marsh house, dinnertime. The family is gathered at table, with Grandpa at one end, Randy at the other. Sharon comes in with plates and the main course
Sharon: How was school today, Stanley?
Stan: It was ridiculous. We have to have a new school mascot and we’re supposed to vote between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.
Sharon: …What did you say?
Randy: Did you just say that… voting is ridiculous?
Stan: No, I think voting is great, but, if I have to choose between a douche and a turd, I just don’t see the point.
Randy: clenches his fists You don’t see the point!! Oh you young people just make me sick!
Sharon: Stanley, do you know how many people died so you could have the right to vote?!
Stan Mom, a-I just don’t think there’s much of a difference between a douche and a turd. I d-I don’t care.
Randy: jumps upright and plants his hands on the table You don’t care?! You really want a turd sandwich as your school mascot?! On your football helmets?! A turd?!
Sharon: Well, hold on, Randy, I think a turd sandwich is a little better than them having a giant douche on their uniforms.
Randy: You’re crazy!! A d-a douche is at least clean!
Sharon: It’s sexist is what it is!
Randy: You don’t understand the issues, Sharon!
Sharon: Are you calling me ignorant??
Randy: You think the school mascot should be a turd sandwich? Well you’re not exactly Einstein!
Sharon: I am sick of you belittling my opinion, you son of a bitch!
Sharon picks up the casserole and chucks it at Randy, who ducks and looks back at her angrily. They both leave the table in opposite directions.
Shelley: leaving the table as well I hate this family, I hate it!
Stan looks on, shocked, while Grandpa continues eating unruffled.

Notice how Sharon’s opposition to a douche is equated to supporting a turd sandwich? Notice how Sharon is supporting the turd sandwich not because she likes turds, but because she thinks the douche is so awful that anything else would be better?

The government is a violent organization.  The election is a method of choosing against whom the violence will be directed, the magnitude of the violence, and for who shall benefit from the violence.  Most people don’t want to loot others.  Rather, they are afraid they will be victims of the violence.  Fear is the motivator that drives people to the polls. Fear is what animates them.

Thus, if a turd sandwich wants to drive people to the polls to vote for him, he will emphasize what a douche the douche is.  He will point out all the unflattering consequences of voting for the douche.  In the meantime, the douche is trying to panic those who have more to lose from the election of the turd sandwich into showing up at the voting booth.

While this phenomenon explains the ubiquity of so called “negative campaigning”, it would seem that it provides an incentive for more libertarian candidates.  Why do we get such raging nutcases running for office?  Why are we stuck in a race to the bottom?  The answer is, of course, in the incentives of political economy.

To scare the voters, the turd sandwich needs money.  He needs publicists, volunteers, media support, etc.  All of this costs money.  Lots of money.  To get the money, he needs to convince people to give it to him.  This means offering people spoils or public favors.  It could be a favorable line in the tax code, an anticompetitive tariff or regulation, some law that enables rents, etc.  To provide these spoils, the candidate must execute interventionist policies – in other words, the more government violence the candidate offers, the more financial and volunteer support he gets.

This incentive is worsened by the way the political classes of votes equate votes with power.  Let us say, for example, that most people thought a turd sandwich to be far worse than a douche, and had voted for the douche in overwhelming numbers.  The douche would then go into office claiming a mandate. Other politicians will be less likely to spurn him. They will attempt to assist him so that he will throw some of his support their way.

The major mistake the voters are making is that they are assuming that they must choose between the douche and the turd sandwich – that a failure to vote for the douche is tantamount to wanting the turd sandwich to win. The only option that they consider is to refrain from entering the voting booth at all.

I think this is insufficiently imaginative for several reasons.
1) Every election has a few ballot questions. If I stay home this year, I miss my chance to vote to repeal my state’s income tax.
2) Nor can I refuse to vote on certain items in the ballot, and vote for others: ballots that don’t contain votes for all races are typically thrown out as being damaged.Update: This claim is wrong, and I withdraw it.
3) In most states, you can write in a candidate. You could vote for anybody you want to hold a position.

The problem the disgruntled voter faces is how to show up and vote against all the candidates simultaneously. The short answer is that one can accomplish this via writing in None of The Above. If one does vote that way, the ballot is counted and is included in the totals.

This is a great way to jam the system.  It pushes down the vote totals of each candidate.  It allows you to vote for freedom loving candidates where available while withholding support from non-freedom loving candidates.  You can vote in the freedom maximizing direction on ballot initiatives.  And, if enough people do it, it could even start to influence candidates.  Suppose 1/10th of those who stayed home in the last election had shown up and voted for NOTA instead.  That population consisted of 36.2% of the voting age population: 89 million people stayed home.  8.9 million people voting for NOTA would have resulted in Bush getting much less than 50% of the vote.  In fact, the 8.9 million votes would have dwarfed the difference between Bush and Kerry’s votes.

So don’t stay home on voting day.  It indicates passive acquiescence to the ruling classes.  Don’t vote for one of the two or three choices the rulers have approved for you, that encourages them.  Rather show up at the polling booth and tell them to go to hell.  Show them your contempt in a way that they cannot deny. Don’t see anyone you like? Write in NOTA.

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.

Why Libertarians Should Vote: Restoring Liberty via the Ballot Box (Part 3 of 3)

I am not a fan of direct democracy. As I pointed out in part 2 of this series, the Colorado ballot has a number of anti-liberty ballot measures from the Left and the Right. The Colorado ballot is a classic example of how democracy can be reduced to tyrannical of mob rule.

Having said that, the system is what it is; why not use the system in a way which restores the rights of life, liberty, and property?

When Democracy is used to Promote Liberty: The Compassionate Use Act of 1996

Paradoxically, direct democracy has in some ways advanced Libertarian issues in ways which would have been difficult if not impossible given the current two party power structure. Libertarian activist Steve Kubby was a key player in advocating California Prop 215 (a.k.a. the “Compassionate Use Act of 1996”) which legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

Unfortunately Prop 215 has failed numerous legal challenges and patients, vendors, and doctors have suffered severe punishment at the hands of the federal government despite the state law (click here, here, and here for details). Prop 215 has, however, at the very least forced policy makers to rethink prohibition of medical marijuana.

Since the passage of Prop 215, 11 other states have passed similar laws (7 through the initiative process 4 through state legislatures). Earlier this year, Barney Frank (D) introduced HR5843 which would go even further to decriminalize use of marijuana by adults. Still, it may take some time before Washington catches up with the progress being made at the state level but if/when Washington does get over its reefer mania, it will be due in no small part to those who fought for the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

Pro-Liberty Ballot Measures on the Colorado Ballot?

As terrible as the Colorado ballot is, there are more than a few measures which would restore liberty to Coloradans. Amendment 46 would prohibit state and city governments from using race, gender, or ethnic, based preferences (a.k.a. “affirmative action”) for hiring or promotion considerations.

Amendment 50 would take decisions regarding casino gambling away from the state and allow the local communities where the casinos are located to decide hours of operation, the games which will be played, and maximum wager.

Referendum N removes obsolete language from the Colorado Constitution as originally adopted in 1876 regarding the prohibition of the importing, manufacturing, and selling of “impure” alcohol. Proponents of N point out that the problem of impure alcohol no longer exists as it did when Colorado first became a state. The only argument against the measure in the 2008 Ballot Information Booklet is that enacting N “may diminish the historical character of the constitution.”

And perhaps the best ballot measure of all this November: Referendum O. Referendum O would improve the process of citizen-initiated state laws by raising the requirements for amending the state constitution while simultaneously lowering the requirements for citizen-initiated statutes. Currently, the requirements for statutes and amendments are identical but the state constitution is supreme when statutes conflict with the constitution.

This would encourage activist groups to focus their efforts on statutes rather than litter the state constitution with every wacko proposal the mob wishes to impose. And not only does Referendum raise the minimum number of signatures to qualify for the ballot but it also requires that 8% of the minimum required signatures are collected from each congressional district (rather than the will of people of Denver vs. the rest of the state).

Final Thoughts

When the prospects for liberty are not so good, it’s very tempting to drop out of the process. Although I am supporting Libertarian Bob Barr for president in this election, I realize that he does not have a realistic chance of winning.

But don’t tell me I’m “throwing my vote away” because I’m voting my principles. If I were to choose between “the lesser of two evils,” then I would be throwing my vote away. Beyond that, I also realize that in voting Libertarian, I can help pave the way for other Libertarians to have easier access to the ballot in future races from sheriff all the way up to president.

But even if you believe that Barr is not a “real Libertarian” and therefore, cannot support him, I would urge you to skip the presidential race and work down the ballot. Are there any other Libertarians, “Ron Paul Republicans,” or Libertarian leaning independents running? Are there any ballot measures which will either advance or reduce liberty?

As John Philpot Curran once said, “Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”

While it is true that evil may still prosper despite our best efforts, we can each at least say we did our part to resist the emotional whims of our friends, the tyrants next door.

The Credit Crisis: A Bipartisan “Achievement”

First, President Bush in 2002 pushes for increased home “ownership” regardless of creditworthiness.

Second, despite what Nancy Pelosi says, the Democrats most certainly did their part to help President Bush succeed in his “ownership society.” These Democrats who scream that this credit crisis is a result of lax regulations didn’t much appreciate the regulators when they warned that Freddie and Fannie were in trouble as early as 2004.

The recent rescue package bailout was also a bipartisan “achievement.” Despite these bipartisan efforts, as of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped to 9720 (-235 so far today).

In tonight’s debate we can almost certainly count on John McCain and Barack Obama talking about “bipartisanship” and how each will “reach across the aisle” to get things done. As McCain and Obama reach across the aisle, we’ll be reaching for our ankles and say “Thank you Mistress Helga, may I please have another?”

That’s exactly what we are going to do. We are going to elect one of these two collectivists into the White House in just a few weeks and we are going to send Democrats and Republicans back to the House and the Senate and ask them to abuse us more.

Make no mistake: this credit crisis is a bipartisan government achievement. What it is NOT is a failure of the free market.

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