To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pride of Nations - My Foreign Policy

I downloaded a new game last month on Steam... it's called "Pride of Nations" by Paradox Entertainment, a Swedish design group I've been following for years now.  I've played Europa Universalis III with a college professor and other friends, and also the Hearts of Iron series as a solo game... for hundreds of hours.

Interesting point about "gamers"... we don't talk politics.  Usually.  I mean, everyone is entitled to their opinions and their own pursuits, and I have to thank all my gamer friends who have tolerated my participation over the decades.  Like West Point graduates of the mid-1800's,, we know and respect each other.

These games are "epic scale", encompassing the entire Earth:  Europa Universalis begins in 1399 and proceeds as far as the early 1800s.  Hearts of Iron begins in 1936 and lasts until the end of an eventual World War Two.    If anyone wants to understand the expansion of "western civilization" over the world, these two games provide interesting models to consider.

But this latest game, Pride of Nations, just gave me the heebie-jeebies.  The game begins in 1850 and ends in 1920.  Think of that.  Just 70 years--  The "Victorian Age", the beginning of modern warfare.  The Age of Imperialism; the Age of Industrialism.  The Forge of the Modern Age.

I clicked on United States to begin a solo campaign-- and I just stared at it for a second, a minute, ten minutes... and I had to turn away.  Shut down!  NO WAY.  I can't deal with this.

The US begins the game barely "controlling" the eastern part of what we now call America.  The Spanish, the English, the Austrians.. you name it... and the "indigenous peoples" who would eventually be displaced and exterminated like so many Ukranians... I can't handle this "model".  It's too real.

But that's the fact of history.. the fact of reality, a fact of "Sovereignty".  Serously, what would YOUR foreign policy be in 1850 as the US player?

I have always, for over 30 years, been anti-war, anti-draft, anti-imperialism; yet I have always been drawn to games where the martial arts are involved.  The Art of War defines any claim to Sovereignty.  This has been true since the first campfires of civilization lit the night sky.

Those who seek Peace should prepare for War.  There is no alternative, no reasonable Excuse:  "Pandora will shit you out with zero warning."

And I quote Avatar here because, quite frankly it has been the most unquoted film of all time, in spite of it's epic success and acclaim.  When YOU seek to establish your personal "foreign policy", you really should resolve the issues presented in Avatar... from both perspectives.

I've tried, but I'm still thinking.

Is there a way to extend "sovereignty" without violating human rights?  I think there is.  But seriously, I'm looking for input here.  Please speak your mind in the comment section below.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lincoln on OWS (Occupy Wall Street)

Below is from an email I received from the Alan Grayson campaign referring to a speech Lincoln gave to Congress just two years before the Gettysburg Address. I offer it here as an interesting, historical observation about Labor and Capital during the early years of the American Civil War. Of course, Lincoln was the first Republican president.

This is what President Lincoln said to Congress, to America, and to us:

"It is not needed, nor fitting here [in discussing the Civil War] that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effect to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor, in the structure of government.

It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them, and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded thus far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.

“Now, there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy Your Precinct

It may be possible to organize and change our federal government without corporate finance.  In fact, the only way to truly end the wholesale corruption of our US Legislature is to organize in spite of corporate money.  How can people do this?

There are over 500,000 registered voters in your US Congressional District.  These districts are broken down into "Precincts" where you, as a citizen, go to vote.  There are usually hundreds of precincts in each district.

100 active community leaders (i.e. anyone who wants to go outside and actually do something) located one-per precinct could generate:
  • 3000 petition signatures in a single weekend (for ballot access or whatever)
  • 10,000 fliers distributed to local neighborhoods in 3 hours
  • 1000 yard signs distributed and maintained throughout the congressional district
  • 500 supporting members, running local campaigns and helping out when they can
  • 10,000 new registered voters in the district each year
Combine this model with another 100+ US Congressional Districts just like it, and you have a national movement capable of displacing the current power structure in America.

Seems simple enough?  Enter the question of "policy".  That's usually when everyone throws their hands up and goes home.  My view on policy is that it should outline the Social Contract--- bind the organization to a common trust, complete with a definition of rights and privileges of membership.  But that's me...

You, I, we each have the ability to occupy our own precincts.  Map your district, get a street list from the local county election board, and get voter registration effort started.  Combined with the efforts of others, the effect could be immense.

Ah, but how do you trust the others in the group?  How do you trust your very own candidate?  This needs to be resolved.  If it were up to me, I'd organize a national party at the Congressional District level, binding them to charters that guaranteed membership rights.  It is not up to me though.

It is up to you.  If you're willing to take responsibility for your precinct, and if 100 other people also take responsibility for theirs, and if those 100 precinct leaders formed a Congressional District committee, the people could stand up to financial control, win popular support and change their government.

As long as the policy doesn't suck :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Fringes of Empire

It is no secret.  Half of US discretionary spending is on "the military", and this spending has allowed the US to dominate world politics since World War 2.

America has been a colonial power since well before that, but it wasn't until WW2 that we made the transition to "superpower".  And while the US is certainly not alone in the suppression of billions of people around the world, it certainly dominates the game today.

But this little article isn't about all the big players, it's not even about democracy in the US.  I'd like to talk about you, and me, and the world we have come to expect when we wake each morning.

You and I, as US citizens, are living the American Dream.  The oil from the world flows to the US, gets refined and distributed, and you pump it into your gas tank.  You probably complain from time to time about how expensive gas has become.

As a human being, you probably have some empathy for other people throughout the world.  You're probably distressed when you hear about massacres, injustices and trillion-dollar war budgets.  After all, it's not your fault that these things are happening.  It's not your fault that we invaded Iraq and hundreds of other forgotten places around the world.  I'm sure you'd vote to change that too.

Have you considered, though, what the effect would be of a major military withdrawal of US forces from its commitments, hot and cold, around the world?  Have you considered what would actually happen if the US "defense" budget was cut by 50% and we stopped the wars, stopped supporting dictatorships, and stopped providing military force for the US version of the East India Tea Company?

That's right.  Bitch now about gas prices, but recognize that it is US foreign policy that makes it possible for you to budget your daily life back and forth to work, and the store, and to visit your friends and family.

So much of the worlds' resources flow to the US.  It's just a fact.  It's not because we're awesome, or we're divinely gifted, or somehow superior to the rest of the world.  It isn't because we are "free".

Is it possible to have the advantages of colonialism without the moral cost?  Would you be willing to live in a world where all that oil did not flow to the US?  And what would you say to the billions now on the fringes of Empire?

Thanks for all the fish!  (Hitchhiker's Guide)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Power to the People?

The Draft issue has raised its ugly head, yet again.  I was looking at old protest footage from the early 70s with an audio track of Lennon’s “Power to the People”.  Inspiring.   Compare that time with our time today.

The left was the spearhead the 60’s movement.  When Abbie Hoffman organized youth rallies to burn their draft cards, they were chanting phrases like “hell no, we won’t go”.  The protest wasn’t against the draft, per se; it was against the war and the military industrial complex. 

In the early 80s after the LP collapsed under the weight of debt from the Clark/Koch campaign, my college friends in Delaware decided to keep building the “movement.”  We came across an anti-draft pamphlet written by Jeffrey Hummel (compatriot of Murray Rothbard), made a new cover with the SLS logo on it (Students for a Libertarian Society… a play on the 60’s “SDS” anti-draft movement), and photocopied hundreds on a school copier and passed them out all over the U of D campus.

Thinking back, the argument we put out wasn’t “hell no, we won’t go”, but that “the draft violates the 13th Amendment”.  We held a few small rallies against Reagan’s draft registration.  We argued that the draft, as all compulsory service, was the foundation for “statism”, blah blah, blah—you get the picture.

Point is that the left burned draft cards in protest to the war and the military industrial complex, and modern C4L rallies of Ron Paul scream to our youth about the Constitution and the merits of Anarchy.  So does the entire right wing, when it suits them.

The radical left was always for a draft—and not just for military service.  It is seen as a way to make military service “fair” and not just for poor people.  It is the citizen army concept that pre-dates Das Kapital by 2000 years.  Nixon took away their thunder by declaring the AVF, All-Volunteer Force, which serves the military industrial complex just fine.

A recent email by Alan Grayson, whom I consider a true patriot, outlines the logic of the radical left and causes me to question their vision.  Yes, it makes sense that 2 trillion spent on wars could fund a new CCC in all its modern, multi-branded forms.  However, taking the model of Bureaucracy to its logical conclusion, in my opinion, is no better vision than that of the neo-libertarian anarchists of today.

I remain against compulsory service, and I remain against any draft.  But more importantly, I remain against the wars and the military industrial complex that has blighted our planet and enslaved our people.  Government should protect the people.  The only “national interest” is the people under protection of our sovereignty, not the private ventures of capital and ambition.

As with Ron Paul, I’ll go so far with Alan Grayson to include stopping the wars and ending the military industrial complex.  I’ll even go further and praise Grayson for his stand on the public option and for single-payer Medicare for all.  But recruiting 2 million workers for the Peace Corp, and the This Corp and That Corp, all those new uniforms!  Sorry, too “Starship Troopers” for me.

You want to bring jobs back to the US?  Raise tariffs to 35%.  Bam; done.

You want alternative energy to thrive?  It would happen naturally as America was cut off from oil.  After all, that’s what the wars are really about, aren’t they?  Add our military budget to our energy consumption and you have a good idea what oil is REALLY costing America.

Yes, I want fairness in the current income tax code.  Instead of “tax credits” which benefit the wealthy and force middle class investment into narrow directions such as “real estate” or “education”, a single deduction of $40,000 for all citizens would be much more “fair”, with a linear rate after that.  Thus, a person making $50,000 would pay x% of $10,000.  No write-offs for depreciation or tax havens.

Simple and fair.  And I haven’t discussed the Currency issue yet J

Yes, I’m with Grayson on the Banks issue too.  I’d like to be on Ron Paul’s side, since I would also like to “end the fed”, but any serious look at his proposals to do so are just wrong, wrong, wrong.  Grayson wants to regulate the banks, and I’d like nothing more than to haul their CEO’s into public court, committee hearings be damned!

Then again, Alan Grayson isn’t campaigning on every college campus in America.  Ron Paul is.  Who will lead the rebellion of America?  Whose policies will rise to the top?

Look around and see.  Look at the Middle East today, look at the Mediterranean Basin, from Algeria to Israel to Greece to Spain.  Look at Indonesia, and South America, Mexico.  Look at what corporate and banking interests have done to our world.

Egypt still has no democracy as of this writing.  It is being run by a junta, financed by outside “national interests”.  The people rise against corruption and are left with what?  Somalia?  The very Libertopia that Ron Paul ultimately advocates?  It is that world, not Grayson's, that will come to pass over America and across the Earth.

Unless we stop them, here at the heart of darkness, America.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arguing with Anarchists

You took my jacket!  Give it back!


My jacket.  You stole it.  Give it back.
   I didn't take your jacket.

Yes you did.  Now give it back, or I'll come to your house and start taking stuff.

  I have two friends, Smith and Wesson, say you won't.

Well, my gang is bigger than your gang.  Give me back my jacket now, or else!

Herein lies the absurdity of the NIF Principle, the "non-initiation of force" argument that claims to be at the pinnacle of neo-libertarian thought.

Obviously, this is where the "minarchists" come in, claiming that government should have a limited role in resolving just this situation.  There is no principle of minarchism though that would prevent such a government from being unjust in resolving the dispute listed above.

Some point to the DRO idea (I have no idea what that stands for, but it's basically a mercenary insurance company) and say that common people would "join" their protection company.  So, how's that different from every other petty monarchy or street gang throughout human history?

I had the opportunity in 1985 to ask Murray Rothbard a question.  I asked that, since he believed that everything should be privatized, including courts and military, shouldn't we, as the Libertarian Party, start resolving other issues on how we would address things like habeus corpus, bans on torture, etc.?

And at that point, aren't we discussing a Social Contract?  i.e. Government?

Most people read the NIF principle and think, at first, that it means we don't advocate political violence.  Of course, anarchists strongly believe in the ability to retaliate, to use force after it has been initiated.  So, any excuse for violence is justified if you can argue that the other person started it.

Taking their argument to the next level, anarcho-folks argue that the State is, by it's nature, the initiation of force.  By that logic, it's no-holds barred on what to do about it, and violent revolution becomes some fantasy.

Sorry kids, I'm not in your club.  Government should protect people without violating their rights.  It can be done, too, without this touchstone of ideological BS.

And don't think I didn't forget:  I want my jacket back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Liberty or Pie? An Esoteric Rant Against the Austrians

Veterans support Ron Paul.  There is no question.  End the Wars.

But Ron Paul is certainly no Phil Ochs.  He has a deep ideological position on economic theory.  At the core of that theory is Austrian Economics as taught by the Mises Institute.

Do we care?  Ron Paul has no more ability to win the Republican primary than Eugene McCarthy could have won at the Democratic convention of 1968 in Chicago.  What will his followers do?

We run into RP fans every day; well, at least I do.  Facebook, Youtube and elsewhere is packed with standardized ideology rooted to the Mises Institute and the Lew Rockwell blog.

There has been a web of conservative "think tanks" that have resonated on the frequencies of national discourse:  Cato, AFP, FreedomWorks, Heritage Foundation, you name it.  It goes even deeper into the fringe "recruiting" areas of right-wing radio.

This is why I try to be tolerant of Ron Paul fans.  They want to go outside and change the world.  That's a good thing.

However, I am concerned.  I'm concerned that the economic policies he reflects are the dangerous, right-wing policies of "anarcho-capitalism", the very definition of Plutocracy.

That's right:  Plutocracy.  Not "Liberty" as they claim to own the term.

Any cursory review of corruption in government today points to a near absolute control of our legislatures by, let's say, "corporations".  Money rules.  America has the best government money can buy, and we are being led to Serfdom by it.

While conservatives believe that reducing regulation and taxation is good, the Austrians believe that ending them would be better.  They see the State as the tool of serfdom, and argue that true freedom can only mean "every man a king".

Owners of the Republican Party are currently using this logic.  And they have so thoroughly corrupted our nation's governments, top to bottom, that public support for government itself is waning.  So too throughout the world, and for that matter, Obama.

The street soldiers of the Ron Paul campaign are rightfully concerned.  They know things are coming down to something big.  And they all march and celebrate.  They go outside and speak the message:  a Libertarian message.

The message?  End the Wars and End the War on Drugs.  That's what people are hearing, and that's enough for many to say "Ron Paul 2012".

Sounds good.  Count me in!

Then there is the second, deeper layer of activism that calls for an End to Welfare, an End to Taxes and an End to the State itself.  "R-LOVE-UTION!!!"

What?  On second thought, count me out.

At the very top of this ideological pyramid, that's where the "web of conservative think tanks" resides, like some Greek Gods of Reason.  They really, really piss me off.

The Austrian School is simply wrong on many important issues.  I say "wrong" because I believe that plutocracy is wrong, and that government should protect the people.  I'm a libertarian because I believe government can protect the people without violating their rights.

In fact, I think that government should be concerned with more than just civil protection and infrastructure, but also with social welfare.  There is nothing evil in this position.  It isn't socialism.  It isn't statism.  It isn't heresy.

On the contrary, the root "moral" argument of the Mises Institute is invalid.  The Non-Initiation of Force (NIF) principle is at the core of the Rothbardian, Lew Rockwell theory of Libertopia (which I see more as either Somalia or Bahrain).

The nullifcation of the NIF principle is in the rights of land ownership.   Land claims are held by force, so the anarcho-capitalist claim of "allodial title" to land is absurd.  Your claim is just your claim, and it's backed by a gun.  Some Indian walks by and what, you shoot him?  That's your big plan?  Fail.

Oh yes, in defense of Property you would allow for a "minimal state", a limited government to secure pesky issues like land title (and those damned Indians).  Bottom line "anarcho-dude", you're owned on this issue.

And who wants to hear that chatter on the FB feed anyway?  I certainly don't.

I try to hold back.  But to those annoying types who keep posting "liberty stuff" about ending Social Security and Medicare and mimic virtually every radical Republican talking point on economic issues, they need to be confronted.

I need to make it clear that (1) I'm a libertarian, and (2) that government should protect the people.  Sure, let's end the Fed, but let's do it right.  Gold standard and unregulated banking isn't Liberty, it's the foundation of plutocracy-- for some, serfdom for the rest.

Democracy isn't granted; it is demanded.  It is the corruption of government that must end,  not the government itself.  We need a functioning social contract endorsed by the general population.  We need to reclaim our sovereignty.  Anarchy IS NOT AN OPTION. 

The people need to win back their control of government, to BE the government.  We need to organize to do that, and not follow some cult leader into the abyss of right-wing ideology.

We need issues settled:  currency, taxation, civil protection, infrastructure and social welfare.  Let's settle them before we move down that merry road of civil breakdown.

Government should protect the people; and if we cannot protect the people, then serfdom is our lot.

My motto is LIBERTY.
or PIE... haven't decided yet.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Tea Party and the New Bolshevism"

The world today is rising in revolution. It will wash on our shores, and when the flood collapses the confidence of the US Government, a new order will rise.

In order to compare the Tea Party and Bolshevism, it is first important that these terms be defined.  I am referring to the marketing side of these movements, and not to the participation side.

It is presumed here that (1) both movements were well financed, (2) they will both follow a flag, and that (3) any “new order” will be born of “citizens” (in the Heinlein sense), loyal to the Founders.

I should note that I’m not making comparison with either the American Revolution nor the rise of Nazi Germany as they are so overplayed and really not as interesting.

The Tea Party is a fiction created as any pop star is created. You have money, then you have friends. Millions of dollars into really glossy brochures, buttons and signs, get in the Keysey bus and ride across America singing “Born to be Wild”… this can create an impact.

And mega millions were dumped into this media blitz that has persisted for 2 years. Who pays for the ride? The same people that paid for Bolshevism on the docks of St. Petersburg. Well, not the same-same people, but you get my point.

Consider what’s happening throughout the world, at the same time this little parade show is going on here in the US. If you think the IMF and EU are having problems, how long before the virus reaches the system core? And who will come out on top in the end?

The secret is in the propaganda that they have been selling to us, the principles and rhetoric of ‘conservatism’. This includes the rhetoric of ‘anarchism’, ‘anarcho-capitalism’, and other cult beliefs. The programmes they have written will become the lexicon of the new order, just as bolshevism established ownership of the USSR.

This is not about religion. In fact, the uprisings throughout the world have nothing to do with religion, a far cry from the wars of the Middle Ages. The Tea Party, however, has a big God component, and has been dominated by the old religious right since its inception.

The Tea Party will not lead the uprisings in America. It will simply organize. I am betting that they will develop this idea in 2012, and if the country breaks into rebellion, it will maintain nationwide authority of….

The same people that provided the enthusiasm, the Hope, the call to arms, and put the Bolsheviks in power.. Banking Interests! It is no small consideration that Gold Standard is at the core of conservative economic theory, and that it serves the interests of Wealth.

The Bolsheviks put in power a Socialist Republic, with State control over all aspects of the economy. What sort of Republic would a corporate takeover of the US look like? Whatever the fantasy model is, you can bet it will have control over all aspects of the economy.

Now, the levels of conservative rhetoric go from Theocracy to Anarchy. Those ideas are more similar IMO than they are separate, but that’s another topic. Do you think any part of this babbling we hear day by day (of which I’m a part) about government is going to matter when America looks like Egypt does today?

Actually, I’d like to think it does. I’d like to think that we’re smart enough as common people to think for ourselves, to figure out what’s right and wrong, and to agree to certain ideas of social order. We don’t need Dr. Strangelove to save our society after a collapse.

And we don’t need the Tea Party to guide us into the next phase of civilization.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unions: The Real Issue

There is a lot of hatred toward unions.  Libertarians have a difficult time dealing with the issue and are easily lured into conservative thinking here.  Is the issue wages?  Budget constraints?  Working conditions?

There is one single function that unions serve to their members:  protection from wrongful termination.  An employer can fire, at-will, any person they hire unless they have a union contract.  The right of collective bargaining is the only protection these workers have.

I am not in a union.  Most people aren't.  Most people don't have this protection.  The ability of business owners and government managers to use termination as a means of intimidation cannot be understated.  The freedom of speech ends when your boss tells you to shut up, stop your political activities, or to support a particular agenda.

All of which has happened to me in my lifetime.

This threat is not possible in a union shop.  It is the primary reason that the civil service unions are under attack today.  The ability of a governor to terminate, without cause, civil service employees for their private or political activites is by-definition "tyranny".

The argument that union employees cannot be fired is simply not true.  Any reasonable cause can lead to the termination or suspension of any employee.  An unreasonable cause, however, is not so much a threat to a union employee as it is to the rest of us who are not unionized.

I have always found this condition of our society something that should be changed.  I cannot help but wonder if there is any true freedom when our livlihoods can so easily be threatened.

Honestly, I don't care so much about unions as I do about what they represent to their employees:  protection from unjust termination.  I would hope that in a better world, such protections would extend to each person, high and low.  It is something to consider.

In the military, soldiers are subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  In that code rests the ability of the command chain to discipline individual troops.  Also in that code are some protections to limit the abuse of this judicial process for corrupt purposes.

A typical worker in our society has no such protections.  The only consolation prize they get is 6 months of unemployment benefits in exchange for the possibility of being secretly blacklisted.

"In the space below, please list your previous employers..."

The bottom line:  I stand with unions, including civil service unions, in their right to collectively bargain.  Yes, I recognize that government unions bargain, not against the profitability of a company, but against the taxing power of government.  But this is another issue entirely. 

I would never support a political party that sought to strip away protections against wrongful termination.  I would hope to support a party that would extend this protection to everybody.

Intimidation is not liberty.  Fear is not freedom.  A good businessman would recognize this.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five Essential Reasons I Oppose Ron Paul

There are many good arguments for ignoring or even opposing Ron Paul on grounds that he is a Republican, and that supporting Paul is to support, indirectly, the modern Republican gang.

But this isn't my reason for opposing Ron Paul. I oppose him on policy. Not tiny little issues like DOMA or Abortion or this-and-that. These are core policy issues that drive me to oppose him openly, verbally, and with every fiber of my being.

And I'm a Libertarian.

1. Civil Liberty.

Ron Paul says he is for civil liberty. This is not true. He believes in privatization of everything, and that private businesses have a right to discriminate for any reason whatsoever. If roads were privatized, the "road company" could deny access to travel for any reason. This is not civil liberty.

I am all for a reasonable discussion about private employment rights.  They certainly don't exist today.  And it's the lack of such protections that made ideas like Unions and Affirmative Action important parts of our history.  It would be nice not to need unions or affirmative action.  Paul would like to simply get rid of any protections whatsoever.  This is not civil liberty.

It is good that he argues against prohibition. It is good that he argues against arrest for non-violent actions. This doesn't means he stands for civil liberty.

2. Monetary Reform.

Ron Paul says he wants to "End the Fed". He says nothing about ending fractional reserve lending (banking privilege, aka "fraud"), or ending the privatization of currency that exists NOW under the central banking system. He just wants to end the federal bank and let state banks do what they want.

He also claims that a gold standard is prescribed in the US Constitution. It is not. In fact, a gold standard is arguably NOT constitutional. William Jennings Bryan tried to oppose the central banks prior to 1913. Ron Paul is certainly no Bryan.

Real monetary reform is an important issue for me, rooted to American history and our national struggle, our world struggle, against enslavement to central banks.  I will not allow him and the Austrian School to crucify mankind on a cross of gold.

(Edit, 2013:  This was posted before I had heard of MMT, which I'm following now)

3. Social Welfare.

Ron Paul says he wants to end Medicare and Social Security, all activities that aren't authorized by the constitution (in his mind). This is crap, and his followers mimick this drivel on every facebook and youtube post in America.

The only argument against social welfare is taxation.  Resolve the tax issue and there's no reason not to include social welfare (i.e. safety net or whatever) into public policy.

Never mind endless arguments over USC Article 1 Section 8.  Never mind trying arguing that, by definition, Medicare isn't "socialism".  They will not budge, and raise their bible in hand as if they are the only ones privy to the Holy Word. Idiots.

4. Foreign Policy.

Ron Paul says we should never involve ourselve in foreign affairs. He's the conservative who wants to adopt an isolationist foreign policy. While I agree to a large extent, it is a very naive view to think that the US has spread the plague of world poverty and oppression.

There are sound reasons to intervene in the "affairs" of other nations.  This should not be done by volunteers as it has with the IRA or in the Spanish Civil War.  It should not be done by corporations hiring death squads in El Salvador or Columbia.  We should not be a nation of mercenaries.

And I will not trade "End the Wars" for "End Welfare". They are two completely different issues. If people can't see that, they are probably Ron Paul supporters.

5. States Rights and the Constitution.

This "Revolution", the R-Love-ution, that Paul is building is not the 1776 version; it's the 1861 version. The oppression of a State is no different than the oppression of a Federal government. And in cases where States are in the wrong, it is the responsibility for the other states, through the Nation, to resolve the problem.

Rights are universal, to all human beings. Sovereignty is of the Nation, not the individual States. The South may be rising again, but I will be on the side of Union.


These are not simple policy differences that I should simply ignore in exchange for some higher "message" or "movement". These are core issues that affect the millions of people being oppressed by bad government.

Government is not evil; corruption is. When government is controlled by plutocrats, by a covert aristocracy, by corporations or banking interests, then it is corrupted.

I am convinced that the whole of Ron Paul's C4L movement exists to pull young and poor people into the Republican fold, to offer pie in the sky (like ending military intervention and legalizing pot) in exchange for moral, grassroots support of deregulating and removing taxes from the richest 1% of Americans (i.e. Republican policies).

Libertarians need to get their heads out of their asses and understand truly who they're supporting and what they're doing. In my opinion, these Ron Paul supporters are fighting for the wrong people. They're certainly not fighting for me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

“Eternal Vigilance: How to Coup a National Libertarian Party”

This idea came to mind back in 1985 when I tried to stress, at the time, the fragility of the national LP organization design. The whole party was based on a charter, and in that charter laid the key to its own undoing.

If you control the delegate count at the national convention, you control the LP. Some issues take 2/3 vote. The national “Statement of Principles” requires a 7/8 vote. It all depends on what you want to do, how far you want to go.

Controlling the delegate count means controlling state parties. The delegate count is huge… way more than actually attend, so control of a minority of state parties is all that’s necessary to control the LNC and its affairs.

In 1985, I put a price tag of $100,000 to take over the national Libertarian party. Today, an easy million would do the trick. “Small pataytas” in the world of politics.

The key flaw is in the definition of “membership”. The LP isn’t set up like a normal political party. It’s set up like a local Lions Club. Membership dues doesn’t carry with it any other loyalty whatsoever. There are plenty of Republicans in the national LP, even in high level positions.

Take the Pennsylvania LP for example: “Membership” is still based on dues, and has nothing to do with actually registering to vote as a Libertarian. While 39,000 people are listed as registered libertarians in PA, only a few hundred are dues-paying members, many not registered or even residents of the state!

Let’s say I’m some rich guy wanting the national LP nomination, and let’s assume for a moment that I’m a dishonest man. (“Assume away”, as Zero Mostel said in The Producers). I would have to control the delegate count to accommodate a majority on the floor of the national Convention, and get people to fill those seats there and voting.

I think buses would be a good feature. Something like what Dick Armey or Sarah Palin has. You know…

The national LP today survives on its own insignificance. If the national LP were to have any real significance whatsoever in national policy making (other than being a lackey for the Republican party), it would quickly be purchased on Wall Street from a company like Montana Management.

This is not a prospectus! It is a warning to my fellow Libertarian activists that we are vulnerable. When we cast off sound policies of democracy over public policy, when we allow plutocracy to rule our political affairs, we are servants to the lenders.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty? I’m down with that. Let’s take a good look at the true, real-life, actual “alternative” we are presenting to the People, and take some ideas from our founders on the merits of a democratic republic over central authority.

I hope fellow members of my Pennsylvania LP (and across the US) take note of this issue and consider more closely the issue of "membership" and the broader issue of "democracy".

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friend Me Mr. President

President Obama is a legal fiction. He is the product of the greatest demographic study in all history. According to the Hitchhiker's Guide: "Presidents don't have power; they divert attention from those who do."

When he was elected, I was as excited as a child, finally getting to try the latest Kellogs product. The Obama Campaign was a brilliant play, absorbing the audience to thunderous applause, across the country and around the world.

And those who defend him today? Are they defending the person of Obama, or do they pine for the legal fiction they dreamt as a child?

I don't care about the President Obama. The truth is that the person of Obama is owned by the same bastards that own everything else.  I don't expect him to kick down the doors of the Federal Reserve Bank.

He has no true freedom; but he has earned his place on the Stage. That's why I've so enjoyed his orations. As in Shakespeare, he plays the lead brilliantly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Illusions & Dreams

The topic is "Indonesia". I'm sure if Jay Leno walked the streets with his camera, he'd find that most people don't care (or even know) about Indonesia. Some people do. Some people are interested in the greater world around us. I'm sure anyone reading here is too.

Indonesia is a brutal dictatorship, supported by all US Presidents since Carter. Few know of their genocide of the people of East Timor, but that's just a true, sick detail. Labor is cheap in Indonesia as with most nations outside the UN Security Council.

Sure, I recognize the monetary connection to this and the post-WW2 history. But think of what the Republican Party is doing now, today. Look at what they advocate.

How many platforms of the Tea Party coincide with the actual situation in Indonesia? Medicare, Social Security, Regulations, Liberal Poppycock? None of that there. It's all business.

Is that the Liberty that the Republican Party offers America?

Would they, as the Heritage Foundation would argue, privatize every aspect of government including the Military?  Blackwater & KBL looking for new markets?  New investments?

For decades after WW2, we Americans have enjoyed privileges just by our citizenship.  This will eventually end, and we will be no better off than the poor peons in Liberia, Guatemala, Afghanistan or Indonesia where democracy is an illusion, and liberty a dream.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why We Need a Progressive Libertarian Movement in the US

The term "progressive" makes every libertarian squirm.  Every libertarian; even the ones who agree with me.  Quid pro quo:  the term "conservative" makes me squirm.  Let's get to business.

Monetary reform is probably the single change this country could make to improve the lives and well-being of the entire country.  The enslavement of our entire society, our entire world, to a network of private banking interests is reaching a breaking point.  As the ponzi scheme continues to grow, now to include the Islamic countries from Algeria to Syria and beyond, we peons here in the US hold the last remaining hope for change, for freedom.

It is no small surprise that conservatism has embraced libertarian thinking (or the other way around).  The argument that government is evil, that government should be eliminated altogether, and that democracy is a candy-coated word for tyranny is simply absurd.

We have rights, and government should protect us without violating those rights.  It's pretty simple.  We don't need less government, we need better government.  More specifically, we need better control of our government.  And that means looking to another part of our American Heritage:  progressivism.

We have a choice:  to continue to support the plutocracy that owns and controls our government, or we can build a truly grassroots movement on behalf of the people and on the principle of Liberty.  Choose wisely.

The moral arguments of conservatism are designed to keep people divided, keep them politically stupid.  They are easily disproven, but there is no real forum to disprove them once and for all.  There is no final court of public opinion.  And there is a great deal of funding behind the conservative arguments to continue their public relations campaigns.

Instead of arguing about the size of government, we should be discussing the methods of government.  If there is a better idea regarding environmental protection, we should be discussing it.  If we can ensure worker safety better than the games OSHA plays, we should be doing it.  Hating government isn't the answer.  But hating the corruption of our government is both essential and natural.

I've spoken for decades about alternative systems of social welfare, civil protection and infrastructure management.  I've always approached the issue first as a libertaian, and second as a reasonable, progressive individual who cares about the general welfare.  These can be discussed in detail and I'm sure there are acceptable platforms that can be developed.

The core issues that focus my attention, and should be the focus of all our attention (if we regard liberty and prosperity as common values) are currency and taxation.  And while monetary reform is probably enough to build a movement on, it would be in our interest to discuss a tax shift as well.

The progressive side of me wants monetary reform, away from private central banks and toward a public, debt-free currency.   The libertarian side of me wants to shift taxation away from income and trade, and move toward land, severance and pollution taxes.  The politician side of me wants to focus on spending issues, away from corruption and toward popular, democratic control.

As I've always said:  I'm not the smartest person I've ever met.  I'm just doing what I think is best, and I'm hoping folks will understand what it is I'm doing and why I'm doing it.  If you have something to contribute to this, I'd be happy to hear it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why School Vouchers will Fail in Pennsylvania

The primary motivation, the thrust of all statistical evidence, for SB-1 is to reduce educational costs to Pennsylvania taxpayers. 

This becomes problematic when children of private schools, which receive few benefits from the public school system, would also receive these funds.  In many scenarios throughout the years, such as with Ridge's bill many years ago, only private school enrollments would have been affected.  There is no direct cost-savings in these scenarios.

A school district is much like an aircraft carrier in the sense that you can't fund "just half of it" and expect it to work.  Withdrawing funds to send 500 kids to private/parochial schools would certainly sink school districts, but not before desperate attempts to raise property taxes through the roof.

But I have never seen it this way.  The failures of our educational system have nothing to do with the cost.  This should be obvious as we've been greatly increasing funding for public schools over the decades.. to no effect.  Cutting costs too would have little or no positive impact on education.

So either you're just pissed about government spending, or you actually want an alternative to our public schooling system, one that would work better than what we have today.

If we can curb our irrational hatred of "teachers" for just one moment, we can look at the public schooling system as a failed model of social welfare.  A parallel to state farms, state housing, state stores and state health care eludes to a structural failure of central planning versus their free-market, direct-subsidy alternatives.

Consider that a voucher for $3,000 is a pointless gesture to the majority of parents in PA.  At most, it is only a supplement to people already outside the public school system.  It doesn't resolve the core failures (and costs) of our present system.

It is no wonder that "vouchers" have been embraced by the social conservatives in the Republican party who finally get to throw some pork to their constituents.  A few thousand dollars is a nice bonus to parents struggling to send their kids to private school for their own religious reasons.

But I don't care about any of that.  The real issue is the model of public education that we want to embrace.  Some say "zero" public education-- no funding for anything.  I say great, go out and sell that idea to somebody.

The simple argument:  to divide the costs of education into the number of students affected, and send the money down directly to ALL kids.  Keep the teacher licensing idea and let ANY teacher reimburse the voucher.  Let teachers be free to teach as professionals, like medical doctors do now.  Free market delivery of public education would be responsive to the people.

This argument isn't being made, at least not directly.  Sure, it might happen in rhetoric and in passing discussion, but it is never part of the hard political initiatives coming out of Harrisburg.  Win or lose on SB-1, the moral failure of conservatism on this issue will kill the idea of vouchers.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Say You Want a Revolution? Seriously?

I am always critical of any calls for a “2nd American Revolution”.  That war was already fought in 1861, and you’d be surprised how many take the revisionist side of the Confederacy.

A tyranny by a state is no different than a tyranny by a nation. We have neither at this point. Sure, our legislatures are ALL owned by wall street lobbyists (and a few unions), and our debt-money system is impoverishing our society.

But take a CLOSE LOOK at the money behind the Tea Party and the conservative think tanks that fuel this fire: CATO, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works… all financed by big, big money from… you know where.

Learn the word “plutocracy” and decide if that’s what you really want. The role of government is to protect our equal rights to life and liberty… and to do it well.

The federal reserve bank is a private corporation and is the largest holder of our national debt (1.6 trillion last I heard). There is no reason for this. The US should be able to issue its own currency, debt-free.

And a note to the gold bugs: “Fiat” simply means legal tender. If you promote gold standard, then you are promoting a gold-fiat system, a system where the only way to pay your taxes is with gold. That’s what the Currency Act of 1764 (and the Stamp Act of 1765) did to the colonies, wrecking their economy and driving them to revolution.

I'm really getting tired of hearing calls for the 2nd American Revolution, especially when it's over this issue or that, "states rights" or whatever lame excuse you hear these days.

Debt-free currency and the end of fractional reserve lending is the biggest prod you can give to the assholes who run our society.   Poke THAT bear with a stick and see if he doesn’t get up and fight.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A History of the Modern Libertarian Party

The modern view of the Libertarian Party is seen through the lenses of corporate media. Fox, MSNBC and even Jon Stewart use the term “libertarian” freely now to describe an implicit position on issues of taxation, regulation and social welfare. To the common viewer, Libertarian means a conservative who wants to legalize pot, or a Tea Partier without the theocratic nonsense.

Here’s a quick history lesson: You’ve heard of David Koch? He’s the very wealthy person who bankrolled the Tea Party in 2009. What you may not know is that he was also the LP candidate for Vice-President in 1980, and bankrolled the Clark campaign for some 1 million dollars. The parallels between the current Tea Party and the old Libertarian Party of 1980 are too similar to be ignored.

The Libertarian Party was founded, so the lore goes, in the living room of David Nolan and some other Republicans who were upset about Richard Nixon’s wage-price freeze. They recruited a Presidential candidate John Hospers who wrote a campaign book and was on the ballot in maybe 2 states.

John Hospers received an electoral vote from the guy who wrote Little House on the Prairie. That guy also wrote his own campaign book and ran for President the next time around. The Libertarian Party was slowly growing through a network of unappreciated Objectivists, followers of Ayn Rand, and in coalition with anarchists and ex-Birchers.

In 1980, the LP went from relative obscurity to national prominence, as Ed Clark (with David Koch) was on the ballot in all 50 states and ran a strong, well-funded nationwide campaign. Reagan was elected that year, and in 1981 the LP collapsed under a half-million dollar debt incurred by the Clark Campaign.

Reagan’s presidential address was titled “A New Beginning”, also the title of Ed Clark’s campaign book. To deny that the LP was a vehicle for the Republican Party is to deny the same of the Tea Party today.

By 1982, the LP had all but vanished, except in little pockets such as my own state of Delaware. 20% of the candidates fielded by the LP in 1982 were from my state. We had a full ballot, every precinct covered with legislative and state-level candidates. But this little pocket collapsed as well in 1983, and not much happened after that—nationwide.

The LP had become another American Party, a lingering pool of veterans from some media battle long ago. It was temporarily revived when Ron Paul ran for President in 1988, but he wasn’t advocating the LP at the time, just his own views and agenda. Today, Ron Paul is considered the de facto leader of the LP by corporate media, with John Stossel as its official pundit.

So the Tea Party phenomenon was, historically, quite similar to the Libertarian Party of 1980, with the same post-election fallout of factionalism and defunding. The only difference today is in the intensity of media. In 1980, there were 3 broadcast networks. Controlling the national discourse is a more delicate affair these days.

I should say that, in 1980, there was a 3rd party candidate named John Anderson who came out of nowhere to run for President. That guy received 6% of the vote nationwide, much as Ross Perot did in 1992 when Bush was denied a second term. Obviously, corporate media provided both of these candidates with grand coverage. I maintain that a box of rocks could win 6% of the vote given adequate media coverage.

I still think the Libertarian Party is a good idea, or rather could be