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Archive for April, 2007

Ed and Elaine BrownEd and Elaine Brown have been holed up in their Plainfield, NH house for months, daring federal law enforcement to bother them. While normally that’s not a problem, since I don’t want federal law enforcement to bother me at home either, Ed and Elaine Brown have been not only convicted of federal crimes, but also sentenced to prison for those crimes. They have also repeatedly referred to the outcome of any attempt to take them into custody as another “Waco”, and have openly stated that they will kill anyone who tries to take them into lawful custody. Now, that’s a problem.

Elaine is a very successful dentist (or at least she was, until all this happened). Ed is usually described as a “retired exterminator”. Basically, he lives off his wealthy wife, which I guess is nice work if you can get it. However, if Ed and Elaine Brown were young financially disadvantaged African-Americans, they’d have been toast long ago. See, my problem with this situation has nothing to do with the Browns’ convictions per se – and in fact, the nature of their conviction is irrelevant to me – but rather my concern is that everyone is supposed to be equal under the law. Obviously, though, that is not the case.

This whole mess started years ago, when Ed and Elaine decided there was no law which requires them to pay federal income taxes. So, they didn’t, and quite predictably the IRS came a-knockin’. They had failed to file or pay taxes on over $1.3 million in income, and refused to pay or even discuss payment when the government demanded its money, so they were criminally prosecuted. They then tried to buy their way out of trouble by offering to pay the back taxes, but it was too late. (more…)

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In this week’s “radio address” (recorded a little late, as the candidate spent the weekend on the road) Steve discusses the status of his presidential campaign:

This weekend, I attended the California Libertarian Party’s state convention, where I was joined by four other presidential candidates for an evening of speeches and questions from the audience. It was a fantastic gathering, and I was happy to be able to spend some quality time with Libertarians from around my great state.

It was also an opportunity for me to talk with some of my closest friends about where this presidential campaign is going and what it holds for the future.

Tune in for more:

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I hate to say I told you so. But, I told you so.

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By Richard Winger, posted at Ballot Access News. Links by Sicilian Pastry Productions.

The California Libertarian Party held its annual state convention in San Ramon, California, April 20-22. On Saturday evening, five candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination addressed the attendees. Each of the five was given 30 minutes. A random procedure dictated the order. The five candidates, in the order in which they spoke, were Steve Kubby, Dave Hollist, Mike Jingozian, Daniel Imperato, and Wayne Allyn Root. Candidate Christine Smith had been expected, but she did not appear. George Phillies did not appear, but campaign literature on his behalf was circulated. Also, campaign literature was circulated, urging that Karen Kwiatkowski (who says she only wants the vice-presidential nomination) be drafted for president.

Steve Kubby, speaking first, displayed skill as an orator. He also allowed time for questions. Kubby, of course, has been a member of the Libertarian Party for at least a decade, and was the California party’s gubernatorial candidate in 1998. He responded to a question about immigration policy by saying he favors open borders. He introduced his campaign treasurer, who was in the audience. He stressed that long-time Libertarian Party activist Tom Knapp is acting as his campaign manager, even though Knapp doesn’t use that title.

paul) Tom, I know you at least were using the title…is that no longer the case? Not that I care that much about titles, just slightly curious.

Dave Hollist, a California Libertarian who has sought the party’s presidential nomination twice before, started to use his 30 minutes by showing a video of himself making a speech. The sound quality was poor. After ten minutes, state party chair Aaron Starr interrupted the video presentation and persuaded Hollist that the video was a bad idea, so Hollist then spoke for himself for ten minutes more. He criticized the other presidential candidates for not proposing an immediate end to taxation, and suggested that his idea for contract insurance could replace the lost tax revenue.

Mike Jingozian spoke next. He is an Oregon businessman who is fairly new to the Libertarian Party. His presentation was devoted almost entirely to an attack on the failed policies of the Republican and Democratic Parties. He had circulated copies of his campaign literature which labels him an “independent candidate for president”. He took questions. Asked about the label, he said he is a Libertarian but that the “independent” label is designed to draw the attention of voters who might not be as interested if he didn’t use that label. His answers probably didn’t dispel a feeling among the audience that he may not be sufficiently in sync with party core beliefs.

Daniel Imperato spoke next. He is a Florida businessman who is very new to the Libertarian Party. He said that he will be elected president in 2008, or, if not then, in an election in the future. He stressed his familiarity with people all over the world and said his company has offices in 70 nations. He spoke a smattering of Arabic. He answered questions. As in the case of Jingozian, he probably didn’t dispel a feeling among the audience that he may not be a match for the party. He said that he would have U.S. military forces stop fighting in Iraq, but remain there, and that he would demand that Iraq repay the U.S. for the costs of U.S. military expenditures so far.

Wayne Allyn Root spoke last. He lives in Las Vegas, is CEO of a company that gives advice to people who bet on sports outcomes, and hosts the Fox TV network show The Winning Edge. Like Kubby, he displayed impressive oratorical skills. He gave more information about his past political life than the other candidates had done. He said his father had helped establish the New York Conservative Party. He said that his own personal heroes are Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. He is also new to the Libertarian Party. He emphasized his skills with television, and revealed that a cameraman who had been filming all day long is working for him, and that the filming is for a proposed Reality TV Show about his quest for the Libertarian nomination. He didn’t take questions, since his presentation consumed his full allotment of 30 minutes.

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Tee BarkdullTee Barkdull is a presidential candidate for The American Party. In fact, it appears he created that party, and that he is its one and only member. You can see his completely amateurish website here. His website is for the most part boring, but the misspellings alone make it worth the visit. ;-)

The sad thing is that Tee has some interesting ideas, but he is such a complete and utter jerkwad that none of those ideas will ever be taken seriously unless someone else decides to promote them.

Then again, some of his ideas are certifiably insane.

Basically, Tee’s main qualification is that he was elected president of his local VFW where, if his website and blog comments are any indication, he drinks to excess. He spent years in the military, but it doesn’t appear he was either an officer, or a gentleman. In fact, as far as I can tell, he was a low-level enlisted man for his entire 20-year military career – his website shows a photo of a corporal’s insignia – and he admits he worked mostly in supply (which, for anyone who has never been in the military, means that he has the intelligence of a slug). He also claims he is well educated, not because he has a degree in anything (although he claims to have a “Doctrine in Common Sense”) , but because he figured out how to put gas in his car and food on the table.

By that standard, my 19-year-old son is a frickin’ genius. (more…)

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National Okay, I know a lot of people make their living by doing telemarketing. Even my own son did it for a while (although he absolutely hated it). It’s an honest living, as long as they aren’t doing telemarketing for a scam. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t annoy me, though. My phone number has always been unlisted and unpublished. I put all my phones on the no-call list, including my cell, to no avail. I finally just got rid of my home phone, because they were driving me crazy.

So you can imagine my amusement when I ran across a recording wherein someone probably scared some poor “you have just qualified for a free….” telemarketer out of the industry forever. I have to laugh every time I hear it.

Fun with telemarketers

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In a twist on the old “the devil made me do it” claim, members of Westboro Baptist Church claim that the Virginia Tech massacre was an act of God. Why would God do that? Well, apparently because people like me have been making fun of the Westboro Baptist Church ‘tards (best known as godhatesfags.com) for a little too long.

Um, yeah.

Westboro Baptist Pickets Virginia Tech funeral

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Kent McManigalA few folks have asked me why I support LP Presidential Candidate Kent McManigal. After all, I don’t agree with everything he says and he’s unlikely to get the nomination, but the truth is that Kent is a fascinating individual, a true individualist who has so much more to offer us than politics. He just published an insightful article on Strike the Root, which he calls “A Deep Breath of Freedom” . Here is an excerpt:

I have not really spent much time until now thinking about why freedom is so important to me. I love freedom for the same reason I love oxygen: Both are necessary for life. Government is like a fire in a small room, burning up the oxygen and making me fight to get to the fresh air outside. When the Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” I think it is simply repeating itself for emphasis. The three things are so tightly bound together that I don’t think they can be separated.

Most of my thoughts of freedom center around the outdoors. Freedom to me is the ability to enjoy life and not worry about laws or regulations. Freedom is not the opportunity to take advantage of or hurt anyone. Those kind of twisted desires bring their own chains, even if you don’t get caught.

There are many times in my life where I have felt limitless freedom, such as the day I spent sitting on the edge of a cliff, in the roots of an ancient tree. I watched the clouds drifting slowly past far below me, hawks riding the air currents beneath the clouds. I could see the river glistening in the distance and tiny houses that I understood were very important to people I didn’t know, people who were the whole world to someone. For that day, I felt as though I were a part of their world, yet isolated from it. On days like that, freedom is a physical presence.

There are also the days of peeling the bark from poles destined to be new lodge poles for my tipi. Seeing the bark curl away from my drawknife and smelling the freshly exposed wood, there is no way to adequately describe the experience. I immerse myself in it so deeply that I chew bits of the bark to more fully become a part of the tree.

(more…)

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This is an attempt to get Andy and Gary to stop sending this stuff to my email.

Here you go guys, have at it.

Source material for the debate:

1 (continues for 12 pages when you hit (“previous entries”).

2

The Case for Free Trade and Open Immigration


Both sides

OK, now you can quit copying me on those emails! Thanks.

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Sorry it’s late. Been busy with work. Tom, let me know if we can sign you up here so you can post these when I don’t have time.

In this week’s “radio address,” Steve Kubby commemorates Tax Day 2007 with a campaign promise:

Over the last few years, politicians in the “major” parties have put forward a number of ideas for “reforming” the income tax, or for replacing it with some other tax. What you seldom hear these politicians discuss is actual, significant cuts in government revenue from taxation. They like to talk about lower taxes, but not if it means cutting back on their power.

Libertarians see it differently: We don’t just want to cut your taxes if we can do so without cutting the size, scope or power of government. We want to cut taxes AND shrink government. Not just shrink its rate of growth, but shrink its ACTUAL size. My pledge to you is simple:

If elected president, I will immediately ask Congress to repeal the income tax. Not “reform” it. Not “re-structure” it. Not replace it with another tax that takes just as much money out of your pocket. Just do away with it — entirely. If Congress won’t do that — and I admit that they probably won’t want to — I’ll pull out my veto pen and start knocking down budget bills that don’t include massive cuts on both the tax side and the spending side of the government ledger.

Tune in for more:

Tune in for more:

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Iconoclastic novelist, essayist and humanist Kurt Vonnegut Jr has died, at the age of 84. While Vonnegut would be best described as a libertarian socialist (putting him in a category with such groups as the ACLU and Food Not Bombs), he was the writer whose work most strongly influenced my left libertarian beliefs. The loss of his wry wit and great intellect is a loss to us all.

For anyone not familiar with Vonnegut, he was without question one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Penning such classics as Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut mixed science fiction, sarcasm, black humor, and keen insight to force us to confront the commonality of mankind. His “bad guys” were never people, but governments and situations. His characters were each “a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”

Vonnegut spoke out against war, despite his belief that WWII was necessary. In Slaughterhouse Five, named after the underground meat-packing cellar in which he was held as a POW during the bombing of Dresden, he confronted a truth that most would like to overlook when he wrote, “You know we’ve had to imagine the war here, and we have imagined that it was being fought by aging men like ourselves. We had forgotten that wars were fought by babies. When I saw those freshly shaved faces, it was a shock. ‘My God, my God—’ I said to myself. ‘It’s the Children’s Crusade.'” His Slaughterhouse Five catchphrase “So it goes”, an ironic reference to death, was adopted by protesters during Vietnam. (more…)

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In this week’s “radio address,” Steve Kubby explains why it’s a bad idea for Libertarians to support those other parties:

I’ve heard from a number of you that you’re not supporting the Libertarian Party or its presidential candidate in 2008. That, instead, you’re giving your money and support to a candidate for another party’s presidential nomination.

I’m referring, of course, to Congressman Ron Paul of Texas — a sitting member of the US House of Representatives, and the Libertarian Party’s 1988 presidential candidate.

Friends — you’re making a mistake.

I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul. He’s a fine man and a fine libertarian. But he’s affiliated himself with a party of big government … the party that brought us the war on Iraq. The party brought us “extraordinary rendition.” The party that can’t find habeas corpus in the Constitution. The party that, over the last six years, has grown government faster than at any time since the end of WWII.

If a candidate for the Nazi Party’s presidential nomination asked for your support, you’d laugh at him or turn away in disgust. You’d do so even if he said that he wasn’t one of “those Nazis” who wanted to herd all the Jews, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses into gas chambers. You wouldn’t just walk away from that candidate, you’d run away. And you’d be right — because even if that candidate isn’t one of “those Nazis,” his party itself stands for things that you can’t support.

When you support a candidate, you support that candidate’s party. And as fine a man as Ron Paul is, his party is simply not worthy of your support. He may be a libertarian, but his party is not libertarian and it’s not going to become libertarian, no matter how much money you throw at it.

Tune in for more:

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Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh, or to feel bad that this guy hasn’t received appropriate psychiatric care. Or both.

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By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Staffing was so inadequate at a California senior center that a rat crawled into an Alzheimer’s patient’s mouth and died there before staff noticed, a lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday on behalf of 90-year-old Sigmund Bock, alleges that administrators at the Paragon Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Mission Viejo overbooked their facility to receive corporate bonuses, but cut back on staff to increase profits.

“The facility so literally ignored the needs of their residents … as to allow vermin in the form of a rat to become lodged in the mouth of Sigmund Bock and die therein,” the lawsuit alleges.

Melody Chatelle, a spokeswoman for Sunwest Management Inc., the Oregon-based company that operates Paragon, denied the allegations.

“We take care of our residents, and find this negative publicity to be a disheartening affront to our professional caregivers and most especially to our residents and their loved ones,” she said.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Of course, the nursing home claims they did nothing wrong, but apparently a staff member observed that patient sharing candy with a rat earlier that day, but thought nothing of it and did nothing to stop it.

This is not the first time that particular nursing home has gotten into trouble, either. Apparently they almost got their ticket pulled when a 71-year-old dementia patient wandered off last year. Tragically, that patient has never been found.

This kind of stuff just majorly pisses me off. Nursing homes like that one must choose their staff by leaving them alone in a room with a small puppy, to make sure they’ll torture it.

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Orlando police have unbelievably arrested 21-year-old Eric Montanez, an activist with the charity “Food Not Bombs”, for feeding 30 homeless people in downtown Orlando.

A city ordinance, supported by businesses which claim the homeless frighten away customers, prevents feeding more than 25 homeless persons within two miles of Orlando City Hall. The law does allow charities to feed more than 25 people at a time with a special permit, but only allows two such special permits per year. Perhaps they feel charitable only on Christmas and Thanksgiving?

I’ve been in downtown Orlando. It’s no different from any other large city, insofar as the homeless population is concerned. It’s also nothing special, and chances are this ordinance has little to do with the homeless frightening customers, and everything to do with the people who work downtown not wanting to deal with them.

Police videotaped Montanez as he fed the needy some stew from a large kettle. They later arrested him and charged him with a misdemeanor for violating the ordinance, and took a sample of the stew as evidence. A police spokesperson said that Montanez is the first person to be arrested under the controversial law.

Frankly, I hope he prevails in court, and that the law is found to be unconstitutional. After all, it is a restriction on the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Besides, charities historically have done a much better job of caring for the needy, but that wouldn’t let the government have quite so much control, would it? The charities go where the needy are, and in most cases, they’re downtown. The government needs to butt out, and let the charities do what they do best.

I also have to wonder if there is any connection between this action and the name of the charity, “Food Not Bombs”. There may be more to this than meets the eye.

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In this week’s “radio address” (slightly late due to maintenance at the Gcast site) Steve Kubby discusses former Congressman Bob Barr’s decision to join the Libertarian Party (and the Marijuana Policy Project):

I’m sure that Congressman Barr’s ideas about what it means to be a libertarian are very different from mine … and that’s okay. We come from different backgrounds. Our views have been formed from very different life experiences. There are almost certainly things we still disagree on, and there probably always will be.

BUT! We don’t have to agree on everything. Stick two libertarians in a room, give them something to argue about, and they’ll come out of that room with THREE different opinions.

At the end of the day, Bob Barr and I agree that government is too big, too expensive, too powerful, too intrusive.

At the end of the day, Bob Barr and I agree that something needs to be done to reduce the size, power and scope of government.

And since we agree on those two things, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t work together to make America a better, freer nation.

Welcome to the Party, Congressman Barr.

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Hat tip Presidential Election ’08 blog:

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina. April 1 — Vice President Cheney delivered a speech early Sunday morning before a formation of soldiers at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The speech was not publicized and the prepared remarks were intended to boost troop morale. The comments were fairly unremarkable except for one short comment near the end of the speech in which Mr. Cheney suggested that the Bush Administration may seek to challenge the 22nd amendment in the 2008 presidential election in an effort to ensure that the war in Iraq is successful.

Vice President Dick Cheney delivers a speech Saturday at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Mr. Cheney again cited the war in Iraq as a key component in the effort to combat terrorism, saying “The war in Iraq is such a crucial part of the greater war on terror that we currently have our legal advisors looking into the possibility that the 22nd Amendment may not apply in 2008.”

Because the speech was not publicized and was held on a secure military base, very few journalists were present, and none were able to ask questions about what the Vice President’s comments might mean. Repeated efforts to contact the Vice President’s Office to clarify the comment were unsuccessful.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution prohibits U.S. Presidents from running for a third term, stating “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice…“. The 22nd Amendment was passed in 1951 after President Franklin Roosevelt broke a tradition that dated back to George Washington, in which Presidents voluntarily refused to run for a third term.

Click to read the rest of the article by Philip McKrack of the New York Times.

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The newest idea in rounding up “deadbeat dads” is to display their photos and identifying information on pizza boxes. Each child support wanted poster in Butler County, Ohio depicts multiple men along with their last known address, age and date of birth, occupation, number of children, and amount owed.

I’m sorry, but as much as I think everybody should pony up to support their children, I think this plan could possibly do a great deal of emotional damage to the children whose fathers are pictured in such a public manner.

There is also the possibility that there is a legitimate reason why the person is behind on their support payments, as well as the rather chilling possibility that someone could be publicly outed as a “deadbeat” when they aren’t behind on their child support at all, thanks to the government system which very regularly has no idea who has paid or how much someone is behind.

No matter how I view it, it’s a bad idea. There’s too much margin for error, and an error in something of this nature could ruin someone’s life.

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An Illinois woman mourns her two young daughters, swept to their deaths in Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters. It’s a tragic and terrifying story. It’s also a lie.

An Alabama woman applies for disaster aid for hurricane damage. She files 28 claims for addresses in four states. It’s all a sham.

Two California men help stage Internet auctions designed to help Katrina relief organizations. Those, too, are bogus.

More than 18 months after Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, authorities are chipping away at a mountain of fraud cases that, by some estimates, involve thousands of people who bilked the federal government and charities out of hundreds of millions of dollars intended to aid storm victims.

The full scope of Katrina fraud may never be known, but this much is clear: It stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast, like the hurricane evacuees themselves. So far, more than 600 people have been charged in federal cases in 22 states — from Florida to Oregon — and the District of Columbia.

The frauds range in value from a few thousand dollars to more than $700,000. Complaints are still pouring in and several thousand possible cases are in the pipeline — enough work to keep authorities busy for five to eight years, maybe more.

Read the rest of this article here.

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