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Archive for December, 2007

With all the carnage going on in, in our name, in the middle east, the hundreds of millions of dollars taken from us under the threat of force that are being wasted there for the benefit of military contractors, petroleum corporations, government power-trippers, and the rest of the cabal; the thousands of bodybags and tens of thousands coming back crippled; the torture, surveillance, secret prisons, and all the current and planned destruction of our privacy and civil liberty in its name, sometimes we forget the other war at home.

From one of my myspace bulletins.

The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. … Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs.

As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you’ll get the picture.

According to the U.S. Dept of Justice, the number of offenders under age 18 imprisoned for drug offenses increased twelvefold from 1985 to 1997. The group most affected by this propensity for incarceration is African-Americans. From 1985 to 1997, the percentage of African-American young people put in prison increased from 53 to 62 percent.

Today, 89 percent of police departments have paramilitary units, and 46 percent have been trained by active duty armed forces. The most common use of paramilitary units is serving drug-related …

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The Libertarian Party has started a new fundraising campaign called “Liberty Decides ‘08“. Basically, all Libertarian presidential candidates who have met certain guidelines (age-qualified, member of the LP, filed with the FEC, and raise at least $5000 for ballot access) are listed for competition (with one exception, since Dr. George Phillies chose to decline participation). People then “vote” for those candidates by making a donation in that candidate’s name. Each vote equals $1, so the more you contribute, the more votes you get to cast.There is no requirement that the donations/votes come from a registered member of the LP, or even that the voters claim to be a libertarian (many libertarians are not registered with the Libertarian Party, since that would remove their right to vote in many state primaries). The Libertarian Party will keep 60% of the money collected, while the eventual presidential nominee will get the remaining 40%, to be used in promoting the Libertarian Party.

There are a number of glaringly obvious problems with this competition.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that there are candidates listed there who have not raised $5000, period. However, if they left out candidates who hadn’t accomplished that yet, there would only be three candidates listed. I’ll get to those candidates in a moment.

There is no indication how many individual contributions each candidate received, and the competition is not set up to gauge support in that manner. This is important for several reasons, not the least of which is that there is no way to tell if the candidates received contributions from others, or if all their funds came from them. While at first glance it would seem unethical for the candidates to contribute to themselves in a competition, since that normally would be viewed as rigging the results, there is in fact nothing stopping the candidates from using their own funds. The rules quite specifically state, “Donations from the candidates will be counted towards funds raised”.

Given that three of the candidates have a great deal of money (specifically the ones sitting in the top three right now) there is absolutely no way for anyone to tell if those candidates simply contributed to themselves, though it definitely appears that they have done exactly that. Furthermore, allowing candidates to contribute to themselves places the wealthy candidates at an unfair advantage, and explains the current results.

The current frontrunners are Wayne Allyn Root, Mike Jingozian, and Daniel Imperato. However, I have seen no indication whatsoever that those three have any significant following. Quite the contrary, since all three have been subjected to a great deal of negative opinion from libertarians.

Imperato in particular is a candidate who has no discernible support, and his “press releases” are met with a great deal of laughter and derision, including from Yours Truly. Many others across the blogosphere have voiced their concern that Imperato may not be completely sane, though he does have enough money to rig the competition with ease. He is now in third place, undoubtedly due to contributing to himself.

Root is new to the LP, and even still has a website called “Millionaire Republican”; as a result he is viewed with suspicion, and is considered to be a Republican by most. Furthermore, Root is running on what is primarily a pro-gambling platform, since he is a Vegas oddsmaker. While libertarians believe gambling should not be illegal, one cannot run a presidential campaign on that stance alone, and some of his other ideas are hardly libertarian. For example, he is pro-war (and as a matter of fact, regularly uses his initials, which spell “WAR”, in place of his name), whereas libertarians adopt a strict non-interventionist policy. Root is currently in first place, also undoubtedly due to contributing to himself.

Jingozian is simply not very well known. I recall reading his site back when his candidacy first came to my attention, and I got the distinct impression that his views are a cross between the Greens and the Libertarians. Few libertarians will support a fusion candidate. By necessity Green goals require governmental intrusion upon our property rights, whereas libertarians believe the government’s only proper activity is to protect our rights. A successful businessman, Jingozian is in second place, also undoubtedly because he contributed to himself.

That the three wealthiest candidates – who have no chance of actually gaining widespread support among LP members – would appear to be winning was a completely foreseeable situation, given how the competition is designed; and it is inevitable that those candidates will contribute to themselves, then use that poll to falsely state they are a “frontrunner” in the race for the LP nomination. It is equally strange that, based on my own estimate of those candidates’ personal wealth, they are in exactly the order I would expect.

That’s a very serious problem, not only because misrepresentations about their own support among LP members might mislead people who are not already familiar with the candidates, but also because as discussed, those candidates who are winning have some decidedly un-libertarian ideas which will undoubtedly reflect very poorly on the LP as a whole.

This poll may also have a very strange effect on the Libertarian Convention. If delegates vote pursuant to what their constituents want, they cannot in good conscience ignore an official LP poll, especially since they may not realize that the wealthy candidates are contributing to themselves, as that information is not available on the same page as the competition. The actual rules are contained in a PDF file.

As much as I disapprove of the LP keeping the majority of the contributions for itself, and stipulating that the other 40% must be used to the LP’s advantage, that does explain why they are allowing candidates to contribute to themselves since there are three wealthy candidates who would get little if any support otherwise.

Another matter of concern is that, according to the rules, the poll counts funds raised since each candidate announced their campaign, including any funds raised by an exploratory committee. That gives an advantage to candidates who announced early, though as it is that early advantage is canceled out by the wealthier candidates who contribute to themselves. Again, it is impossible to ascertain the amount of actual support each candidate has during the course of the competition, which negates any possible usefulness the competition might otherwise have.

Last but not least, even in a poll where actual money is involved, “None Of The Above” rated fourth (for those of you not familiar with the Libertarian Party, delegates can actually vote for NOTA rather than to nominate a candidate). Quite honestly, I think it’s a very popular choice in this presidential election, and if not for the three wealthy candidates contributing to themselves, it would be ranked firmly in first place. NOTA is almost $2000 ahead of the next most popular candidate, which is “Future candidate”; in other words, those contributing to this competition (not counting the first three who are obviously contributing to themselves) by far prefer none of the candidates. NOTA and FC, if placed into one category as it should be, would be roughly equivalent to the current third-place competitor who contributed to himself, and firmly in first place if the three wealthy candidates were discounted due to contributing to themselves.

That says a lot.

Can the serious LP candidates overcome this negativity, based in a lack of excitement about the announced candidates, and a great deal of excitement about Ron Paul, who is running as a Republican? I honestly don’t know, but I somehow doubt it. The LP may end up not nominating a presidential candidate for 2008.

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Sources:
Last Free Voice
Libertarian Party
Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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StripperStrip clubs in Texas are all riled up over a $5 per head “pole tax” on entrance into their establishments. Most of the proceeds will go to help rape victims; it is unknown where the rest will go. It is estimated that the new tax will raise about $40 million per year.

While helping rape victims is certainly a noble cause, it is offensive not only to strip clubs, but also to rape victims, to suggest that strip clubs are somehow related to rape. Rape is an act of violence, not an act of pleasure, while strip clubs exist solely for pleasure. It is therefore unfair and inaccurate to make that association. The thought process is most likely that in both, women are sexually exploited by men. However, that is not necessarily the case with strip clubs, since most strippers intentionally choose that profession, and are treated well by their employers.

Not at all surprisingly, the tax was spearheaded by a female, state Rep. Ellen Cohen, a Houston Democrat. It appears that Rep. Cohen has never even been inside a strip club, since she relied on what she had been told by others about entrance fees. Perhaps if she actually went to a strip club, she would understand better what is really happening there.

Undoubtedly Rep. Cohen views herself as a feminist, freeing young women from the bonds of sexual exploitation; but in truth she is anything but that, since many young females use stripping as a way to pursue their dreams without depending upon the government to help them. When the tax goes into effect January 1st, it is inevitable that some young women will lose their jobs, and become dependent upon minimum wages and government assistance.

While the conventional wisdom is that strip clubs are run by organized crime, and that strippers are unintelligent and being sexually exploited, as usual the conventional wisdom is wrong. Certainly there are many strip clubs run by organized crime, but most are a business just like any other business. Many intelligent young women work their way through college as a stripper. Many intelligent young mothers can’t support their children on a minimum wage job without relying upon government assistance, so they choose to strip so they can be independent. The more enterprising strippers both raise their children and attend college on the money they make in that occasionally-lucrative profession.

However, despite those facts, there is still a great moral stigma attached to strippers and strip clubs. As usual the government has found a way to tax morality, just as they have done in the past with cigarettes, alcohol, and other so-called vices.

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Source: Lawrence Journal: “Texas Strip Club Owners Trying To Block $40M Pole Tax” by David Koenig

Originally posted on Adventures in Frickintardistan

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moneydecides2.jpg

The Libertarian National Party has a new program, Liberty Decides ’08 designed “to promote our pre-nomination presidential candidates as they engage in a competitive process. To participate in the program, candidates must cross three thresholds: meet the LP bylaws requirements; file with the FEC; and raise at least $5,000 for the LP or LP state parties for ballot access.

Once qualified, candidates will be ranked by the funds they have raised for the program and promoted through the Internet, mail and LP publications.”

40% of all donations to this program will be set aside in a special fund to be used for expenditures coordinated with the candidate who does eventually win the LP nomination in convention. The remainder of the funds will be used to help the LP move forward with core issues such as media, ballot access and member recruitment.

One candidate has declined to participate, noting that the money does not go to help the candidates now, when they need help the most, and only 40% will go to the eventual nominee – whoever that may be – not necessarily the candidate that the donors click on to contribute in the name of.

Further controversy ensued when, in an early version of Liberty Decides, this candidate was included without his consent, and a silhouette of Ron Paul was used as a “Future/Unannounced Candidate.” The silhouette was removed, as was the objecting candidate, but in a controversial and widely talked about move, the LNC voted unanimously to invite Ron Paul to seek the LP nomination for President if he does not get the Republican nomination.

Some candidates are more positive about Liberty Decides.

Some other Libertarian activists have criticized Liberty Decides, notably Susan Hogarth, who wrote:

It would be a much more useful tool for Libertarian activists and likely convention delegates (you know, the folks who actually select the LP nominee) with two simple additions, which I mentioned yesterday:

1) some indication of how many individual donors each candidate has (and, ideally, how many of them are Party members).

2) some indication (other than a link to their websites) of positions.

Susan shares her thoughts about Liberty Decides here, here,
here, and
here.

Despite the criticism, the LNC expressed support for Executive Director Shane Cory and Liberty Decides at its recent meeting in Charleston.

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Announcement by Richard Cowan

 


 


Steve Kubby has asked me to become his campaign manager for his bid for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination, and for the Presidency. I have accepted because I am determined to put marijuana prohibition and the drug war at the top of the public agenda and for libertarians in particular. 


 


On the 10th I wrote about why I had started hosting the Steve Kubby Show on BlogTalkRadio.com 

See 

Why the Libertarian Party and Movement Are Especially Important to the Marijuana Reform Movement This Year. Ron Paul and Beyond with Steve Kubby.
and links  


Of course, becoming �Campaign Manager� is a much more serious commitment, especially since I am determined to keep posting on MarijuanaNews.com on a regular basis.  


 


However, Steve has gone to jail, lost his family, and put his life on the line, and I have seen him get up after being knocked down again and again, when he had every reason to retire from the field.  


 


Consequently, it is very difficult to decline his invitation simply because it might add to my work load.  


 


Also, as I have said many times, the libertarians and the cannabis community need one another, and Steve is the bridge between these two worlds.  

 


In the last two Presidential elections the Libertarian Presidential candidates got around 400,000 votes, less than half the 829,625 Americans who were arrested on marijuana charges last year. Do the math! 


 


To put it bluntly, the libertarians need the bodies and the cannabis movement needs to be taken seriously.  


 


But what about Ron Paul?  


 


Well, it seems possible that we may not even know who will win the Republican nomination until their convention next September! If Dr. Paul does win the nomination, then Steve (and I) will back him, but we cannot simply wait until then and hope that someone mentions marijuana prohibition. Steve will not wait, and neither should we. 


 


Let me tell you a typical Steve Kubby story. 


  


When Steve moved to Mendocino County last year, he found that even though an initiative called Measure G, allowing patients to have 25 plants, had been passed by the voters in 2000 by a margin of 58%-42% , it sat collecting dust for six years and was being treated as being merely “advisory” ( i.e. ignored) by everyone, including some local “activists”! They were satisfied with the status quo. 

  


But Steve was not. 


  


It was Steve who looked up the County’s summary to the voters about the initiative.    It was Steve who went before the County Board of Supervisors and told them it would be fraud if they didn’t uphold Measure G as a law, since that is what they told the voters.  Within thirty days, Measure G was codified into law. 


  


Now that is leading from the front! 

  


Steve knows that a loophole isn’t liberty, but he also knows from painful personal experiences, the dangers of “law enFORCEment ” that will not obey the law.  


 


2008 is certain to be a pivotal year in American politics, and the Internet has clearly come into its own as a campaign tool, especially for the heretofore disenfranchised � meaning us. Steve and I are going to be developing creative uses of the net to help spread the message, and that will be fun.


 


My crystal ball is badly in need of Windex, so I have no idea what is going to happen, but I can promise you a ringside seat at a real fight for real freedom for real people. 


 


Join us and, if you think, as I do, that the issues and record of personal commitment that Steve brings to the campaign are important, then donate to the campaign.

Donation links are prominently displayed at: http://www.kubby2008.com, or if you are averse to electoral politics you can always click on my humble Paypal button. You will be proud to have been a part of this battle.   

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