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As Usual, Government Regulation as Political Payoff

I heard the president’s speech at Cooper Union College today and thought it was quite bizarre that he would criticize Wall Street for bad behavior when Washington is currently running our national debt through the roof and the policies that emanated from there in the last ten years caused our current financial crisis.  The old adage about those that live in glass houses and stone throwing immediately came to mind.  But, the president really believes that the financial crisis we still find ourselves in despite trillions of dollars in Keynesian spending is somebody else’s fault.  In fact, he indicated that, “…the system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly, taxpayer bailouts.”  And I thought it was Mr. Obama and his big government colleagues in the Congress who voted unconstitutionally to give away our money to the greedy, misbehaving banks.

Now, the president’s bizarre remarks are one thing, but the financial regulation bill before the Senate is even more bizarre.  Crafted by Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, the bill will do nothing to fix the real causes of the financial crisis. In actuality, the bill amounts to nothing more than a political payoff for Dodd’s benefactors on Wall Street.  And this should come as no surprise since Dodd’s donor list reads like a who’s who of the financial services sector.        

First of all, Dodd’s bill does nothing to address the primary culprit of the financial crisis – the Federal Reserve.  Yes, consumers took out mortgages they could not afford and loan officers falsified applications knowing that they would collect their commissions long before the bad loans defaulted on a bigger institution up the line.  But the Fed supplied the poison for it all to happen – easy money.  After 911, Alan Greenspan’s Fed kept interest rates artificially low at 1 percent for three years.  This encouraged a mortgage craze as trillions of dollars were borrowed.  It was a government sponsored get rich quick scheme as many housing investors bought homes with low teaser rates and no money down.  You know the rest of the story – homeowners leveraged their homes to the max, rates adjusted up and the bubble burst when many folks could no longer afford their payments.  To add insult to injury, the Fed came to the rescue of financial institutions, even foreign ones, at the expense of taxpayers.  Make no mistake about it, the Federal Reserve exists for the profit making of banks alone.  It was established by bankers; it is run by bankers; it allows banks to inflate dollars through fractional reserve banking; and it is there for them when they need a few dollars to keep the charade going.  No other industry has a full government agency to support its shady dealings like the banking industry.  Dodd’s bill, by ignoring the Fed’s culpability in the crisis, has no chance of preventing financial calamities in the future.  Additionally, it only benefits the big banks since their benefactor, the Fed, will continue to operate unencumbered by any new regulations or oversight.

If ignoring the Fed’s role in the financial crisis is not bad enough, Dodd’s bill also institutionalizes “too big to fail” bailouts.  It should be pointed out that a major rationale of financial reform is to ensure that taxpayers never again get stuck with bailing out firms that are too crucial to our economy to fail.  Well, Section 113 of the bill provides for a “Financial Stability Oversight Council” which would identify distressed firms whose failure would “pose a threat to the financial security of the United States…”  Section 210(n)(1) establishes an “Orderly Resolution Fund” within the U.S. Treasury that would provide $50 billion in bailout money funded by taxes on financial firms.  Of course, ultimately those taxes would come from consumers in the form of higher bank fees.  These two sections of the bill essentially provide implicit guarantees from the government against failure for big banks.  They extend the life of the moral hazards that we have become too familiar with.  In the end, they will encourage big banks to continue to take undue risks which will once again put taxpayers in harm’s way.  These sections of Dodd’s bill will not prevent future financial crises.  On the contrary, they only benefit big banks by allowing them to risk everything with the knowledge that taxpayers will be there to pony up bailout funds for them.

Since 1989, Chris Dodd has received over $12             million in campaign contributions from the financial services industry.  They own him and this bill proves it.  On the other hand, the president is yet to embrace Dodd’s bill.  In his speech at Cooper Union he said to financial firms, “I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort.”  If he chooses Dodd’s bill to reform the financial industry he probably won’t get much of a fight from Wall Street.

       

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina.

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Press release posted on the LP Radicals yahoo group. Starchild has had various offices in the San Francisco and California LP, and is one of the spokespeople for this initiative.

The San Francisco Department of Elections announced today that the measure prohibiting city officials from spending money arresting and prosecuting people for prostitution, and mandating equal legal protection for sex workers, has qualified for the November ballot. Of 500 signatures randomly sampled and checked by department personnel, 80 percent were found to be valid. “This is a happy day for San Franciscans who want government to focus on fighting real crimes like homicides and robberies, and are tired of seeing resources wasted in a futile effort to police consensual sex between adults,” said Starchild, a sex worker activist and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve cleared the first hurdle.” By the Elections Department’s tally, supporters had turned in 12,745 signatures of registered San Francisco voters on July 7.

The campaign to decriminalize prostitution will hold a kickoff rally and press conference to formally announce the results on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Polk Street entrance of City Hall, with
speakers to likely include Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who was a signer of the petition to put the measure on the ballot along with two of his board colleagues. “It is way past time that the
recommendations of the Board of Supervisors 1996 Prostitution Task Force were implemented,” said the measure’s proponent, Maxine Doogan. “Criminalizing sex workers has been putting workers at risk of violence and discrimination for far too long.”

The prostitution reform measure joins two other voter-submitted measures on the local Nov. 4 ballot, along with eight measures put on the ballot by the mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors, with many others expected to be added in the next several weeks.

Starchild – (415) 621-7932 / (415) 368-8657 / RealReform@…
Maxine Doogan – (415) 265-3302 / MistressMax@…

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Something stinks in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma voters were the only voters with no choices for president on their ballot except Bush Skull and Kerry Bones in 2004, and Oklahoma is one of 5 states that doesn’t permit write-ins, so Oklahoma voters who wanted to vote for someone other than Bush or Kerry in 2004 completely lost their right to vote (Source: Ballot Access News). In order to be on the ballot, an independent candidate or alternative party has to get signatures equal to 5% of the last vote cast, which is the hardest standard in the country, and they have to get 10% of the vote to keep their place on the ballot, second behind only Alabama with 20%. Half of the state legislative races go completely unopposed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court refused a challenge to this edict, and the feds have no jurisdiction.

Currently, there is an
effort
underway to change this crazy scheme by initiative, but Oklahoma makes it hard to get issues on the ballot by initiative. Statute initiatives must get the signatures of 8% of the voters, which is among the highest percentages among states which allow citizen initiative, and constitutional amendments need 15%, tied with Arizona for the highest percentage required by any state that allows constitutional amendments by citizen petition according to a chart by
National Voter Outreach. The signatures have to all be gathered within 90 days, and then the State Supreme Court can hold up approval for the vote to take place by over a year.

After you gather the signatures, you have to print the names of everyone who signed on the back of the page. Imagine having to do that several hundred times after you get back from a hard day of asking people to sign and getting run out (or attempted) of every location imaginable, public and private, or having to flip the page over and ask busy people to print their name a second time for every single signature – especially when working on more than one issue. Yep, it sucks, and is one of the most asinine rules I have encountered in petitioning in 27 states plus DC over the past ten years. And there are some very asinine rules out there, such as New England states requiring signatures from every city to be on a separate page, and Massachusetts ruling that any tiny tear, food stain, stray pen mark or writing outside the box disqualifies a whole page of signatures.

To make matters worse, in a decision in the case of Yes on Term Limits v. Savage, U.S. District Court Judge Tim Leonard upheld a challenged Oklahoma state law (in effect since 1969) banning out of state residents from being ballot petition circulators and signature-collectors there. Who, exactly, is a state resident? People move all the time. Some more frequently than others. Some people don’t predictably live in one place long enough to get a mortgage or apartment lease, so we prefer to live in motels or stay with friends (I resemble this remark). Some people don’t even have a place to live at all. Does that mean we should lose our right to petition the government for redress of grievances?

Shortly after this ruling, as Brian Doherty reports at Reason Magazine,

longtime libertarian political activist Paul Jacob was indicted on felony charges in Oklahoma for conspiracy to defraud the state, along with Susan Johnson of National Voter Outreach and Rick Carpenter of Oklahomans in Action.

It isn’t Jacob’s first time with the guns of the state aimed at him. He served five months in jail in 1984, after a year on the run, for refusal to register for the draft.

In his interview about the arrest with Brian Doherty, Paul Jacob explains:

(more…)

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Border wall boondoggle: even dumber than I thought!

http://freestudents.blogspot.com/

So a gaggle of right-wing racists and faux libertarians want to build a wall on the border. They are going to “secure” the borders. Nice.

So what does securing the borders mean? Well, one taste of it is that the historic right of Americans to cross into Canada or Mexico without a passport is gone. To travel you have to a government document giving you permission to do so. You can see why I think the “libertarians” who support this measure are not really libertarians at all.

And they want to build a big wall on the Mexican border. Also nice. Real nice. (You do know I’m being sarcastic.)

Since the United States was founded (and before) the borders with Canada and Mexico were never “secure”. Never. So the communities developed often without regard of that imaginary line in the dirt.

Now the authoritarians want “secure borders” and that means problems. It doesn’t mean problems for would-be terrorists. After all the 9/11 criminals didn’t cross the border illegally. They came in with government permission. They had passports and the US government said to them: “Welcome to America. Want some flying lessons?”

No one came in through Canada or Mexico. They didn’t cross the borders but flew in and handed over their permission slips to the hall monitors at the airports. They were roaming around killing people because they passed government security and had state permission to be in the US. You would think the government would look at how they approve would-be terrorists to enter the US. Instead Americans are being forced to get passports to spend a few hours shopping in Mexico. (more…)

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A while back I wrote about the Energy Vortex and others have commented on the same issue.

The most cited instance of this is the War in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan; it may have had a lot to do with the proposed oil pipeline through Afghanistan).

This view of

Operation
Iraqi
Liberation

has worked its way into popular culture:

Many have denied the connection, but the new Iraqi Oil Law
makes it harder to give any credibility to such denials.

Nor is the regime’s energy fascism solely confined to grand projects abroad; sometimes, it can also be quite petty and domestic.
Francois Tremblay
reports:

Despite his good intentions, the state fined Teixeira $1,000 for not paying motor fuel taxes. North Carolina officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he’d have to first post a $2,500 bond.

Such penalties have also been levied against other North Carolina drivers whose vehicles were powered by alternative fuels.

It’s enough to make you do a Katrina Clap…

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In this week’s radio address, Steve Kubby discusses the US Senate’s immigration “compromise.”

The political community’s been abuzz this week with news of a bi-partisan “deal” on immigration law. We go through this every few years as our politicians try to satisfy everyone, end up satisfying no one, and usually make things worse than they were.

The proponents of the new law claim that it will secure America’s borders, provide for a “guest worker” program and a “path to citizenship.” They’re wrong. It won’t secure the borders, and its “guest worker” and “path to citizenship” provisions are already blueprinted to quickly degenerate into yet another set of expensive, intrusive bureaucracies.

The opponents of the law claim that the “guest worker” and “path to citizenship” measures amount to an amnesty. They’re right as far as that goes, but they’re wrong when they suggest that that’s a bad thing, or that it’s incompatible with the national security. Not only is amnesty a GREAT idea — it’s the best thing to do when you’ve had a really, really stupid law in place for so many years — it is a prerequisite to ANY effective national defense.

Tune in for more:

Subscribe Free for future posts  Add this player to my Page

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H/T BureauCrash

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Despite what a certain milk shake would like you to believe, Rudolf Giuliani Mussolini is As Far From Libertarian As Possible (click on the link to read about his early history as a psychotically deranged persecutor of victimless white collar “criminals”).

Even some of Giuliani’s admirers admit he has fascist tendencies. The amazing record of corruption and perfidy simply boggles the mind. Giuliani even had the incredible temerity to
try to stay on as mayor after his term was over.

Check out the comments at Serf City. Giuliani abused his mayoral office to go after cabbies, artists, street vendors, porn,
sex-related businesses, and anyone who did business without a license. His phony tax cuts were merely deficit spending – putting the tax bill on future victims, plus interest, while ducking the responsibility for his out of control spending, a favorite ploy of scumbag Rapepublicneoconartists.

Ron Moore reports,

Let’s take the pot smokers. One study points out that under Rudy’s Broken Windows policy, public-toking arrests rose 2000% from about 2000 in 1994 to over 50,000 by 2000 ( Harcourt & Ludwig, Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing and Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests in New York City, 1989-2000 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=948753). The study also finds that this had no measurable effect on violent crime.”

Furthermore,

Unfortunately, Rudy’s broken windows policy didn’t apply to Rudy’s buddies in the New York Police Department. An April 1999 article in Crime and Delinquency (Zero Tolerance: A Case Study in Police Policies and Practices in New York City, Judith Greene) points to a 75% increase in new civil rights claims against the police for abusive conduct. The article also points to a sharp increase in the number of complaints which resulted in no arrest and no summons and where there was no suspicion of criminal activity. Um – just why were people being stopped? What was Mayor Rudy’s response to growing concern about police misconduct? According to the article the new Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) funding was cut 17% compared to the agency it replaced.

Victim disarmament? According to Mike Blessing, Giuliani said on one of the

morning empty-talk shows that “We shouldn’t just try one of these [”gun control”] plans, we should try them all.”

Giuliani libertarian?

King George Dubai-ya Dubai-ya III Bush has gone a long way towards creating a fascist Amerikkka. Rudolf the coke nosed Fascist would go all the way. No libertarians should even remotely consider being fellow travellers in helping Ayatollah Giuliani set up his gulag regime.

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

-Rudy

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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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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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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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Illegal Immigration Quiz
by Joseph Knight


The Libertarian Enterprise

(1) Who will remove you from your home, job, family, and community to lock you in a cage like an animal for no reason other than what you smoke in your pipe or grow in your garden?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(2) Who demands that you surrender a portion of each paycheck to be used for purposes that they decide on rather than you?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(3) Who demands that you render tribute annually or be evicted from your property?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(4) Who demands that you take no medicine or medical treatment without their permission?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(5) Who tells you whom you may or may not hire?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(6) Who demands that you turn your children over to them daily for indoctrination?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(7) Who tells you with whom and under what conditions you may have sex?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(8) Who claims the right to enslave you or your children to fight their wars?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(9) Who can seize your property for any purpose they desire?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(10) Who tells you what you may or may not read, look at, and listen to?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(11) Who can kick in your door and go through your stuff with impunity?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(12) Who is most likely to disarm you?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(13) Which group claims to work for you, gets exorbitant salaries, but can’t be fired unless you act in concert with large numbers of like-minded individuals?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(14) Who created and perpetuates the welfare state?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

(15) Which of these terms is the antithesis of “freedom”?

A. Government
B. Illegal immigrants

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I’ll just post this one “as is” and note only, with great relief, that Tom is once again acting de facto campaign manager, aka HMFIC, which totally gets me off the hook. Whew!

by Tom Knapp

via Kn@ppster

The good news: Steve Kubby’s presidential campaign is “in the black.” It has money in the bank.

The bad news: Almost all of that money was raised for, and donated by people expecting it to be used for, a specific purpose — producing the campaign’s first television commercial — and we’re not touching it for any other purpose.

The worse news: The Oregon Libertarian Party’s state convention at Sunriver Resort (near Bend) is this weekend.

That last bit may not sound like bad news, and in the normal course of things it wouldn’t be. But here’s how it is:

Steve Kubby’s car is an older vehicle that we’d really rather not see him driving over mountain passes in March. As a matter of fact, we’d really rather not see him driving over mountain passes at all in March.

Right now, that looks like it’s the only way he’s going to get to Oregon … and he is going to get to Oregon if I have to throw him over my shoulders and carry him. That’s something you don’t want to see.

We’d prefer to rent a more suitable vehicle — or, better yet, put him on a plane.

I’m going to explain why you should help us do that in a minute, but first I’m going to issue my little “matching challenge.”

I just contributed $10 to the Kubby campaign. That may not sound like much to you. If it doesn’t, good — go ahead and get out your credit card, because I’m asking you to kick in a picture of Al Hamilton, too.

(more…)

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Via ElfNinosMom today comes
the sad news that one of our
favorite Presidential candidates
may have to drop out of the race due to government persecution.

Gene Dropping Out of Presidential Race?

Gene posted the following on his blog today:

IRS Finds Chapman

Well, the IRS has sent a letter to my employer to take my checks, down to $168 per week, so I’m off to new adventures. I’m praying about a walk in the desert to visit with God on the matter. Being a homeless man is attractive to me in the world we live in. Lots of homeless people come from IRS issues, I’ve found.

I’ll attend LP and CP events, as I can, but God has clearly opened up a new direction for me, and His priorities are gonna be #1.

Gene Chapman
Libertarian Man
ChapmanForPresident08.com

(more…)

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420factor.jpg

We’re sending out an “open call” to drug law reform folks to support the LP and the Kubby campaign. We would like to make future appeals like this to the peace community, environmentalists, immigrants rights activists, and many others, but we have to start with a base. For anyone who is involved in drug policy reform groups and discussions, please help us distribute this widely, and whether you are or not, please send us some money (see the “read more” link) and some ideas so we can reach more folks with this message! Steve Kubby writes…

To my friends and comrades in the drug policy reform movement:

The last 10 years have been a decade of incredible progress toward ending the war on drugs. Twelve states have adopted medical marijuana legislation. Numerous communities have reduced marijuana to “lowest law enforcement priority.” More and more studies reveal both the medical efficacy of marijuana and the inefficacy and brutality of the war on drugs.

This progress is the result of your years of hard work: Your rallies. Your marches. Your petition drives. The letters to the editor. Your willingness to stand up and be counted. Your refusal to accept anything less than victory.

But it’s time to take the next step: We need to support a political party that recognizes these facts and acts on them instead of ignoring them and trying to wish them away. We need to support a party that stands up for our rights instead of using us as pawns on the chessboard of politics. We need to support the Libertarian Party.

Read more…

hempfest.jpg

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By way of Brad Spangler

Shopping for Subsidies: How Wal-Mart Uses Taxpayer Money to Finance Its Never-Ending Growth

by Philip Mattera and Anna Purinton

  • “The $1 billion figure we cite for total public assistance to Wal-Mart may very well be the tip of the iceberg.”

Link above is to the full study. Handy summary available here.

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by way of LP blog

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An exchange provoked by the Libertarian Response to Bush’s State of the Union Speech

Andrew L Sullivan writes…

You have a choice of drilling for oil in your own damn country or fighting for it in the Persian Gulf. PICK AND CHOOSE!

http://www.terrorfreeoil.org/

Well, yeah, those are a couple of choices. But there are others such as biodiesel from hemp, biodiesel from other sources, hydrogen, elctric based on wind, wave, geothermal, solar, fusion etc.

Currently the market incentives for developing alternative energy are pretty badly distorted: one way of looking at half a trillion for Iraq, among other military expenditures, is as a subsidy for petroleum. There are also non-military subsidies like highway spending (actually, in a sense military spending as well, they are technically Defense Highways).

Then there is the prohibition related ban on industrial hemp, even though it can’t possibly get anybody high.

Also, corporate personhood and limited liability absolves corporations of the true costs and risks of petroleum drilling, refining and burning, thus throwing off the cost/benefit/risk of petrol against other types of energy.

Taxes and regulations fossilize the market, destroying the natural turbulence that keep new companies from forming and rising and artificially keeping the big players securely on top.

That, and the SS system, keeps potential venture capital locked up.

The linkage of health care to employment is another system that keeps people, on the margin, as corporate employees rather than starting up entrepreneurial ventures, and the government school system teaches regimentation and unthinking leader-following for the purpose of
docile corporate and government employment.

Those are just a few of the factors.

Steve Kubby’s Energy Policy:

http://www.kubby2008.com/node/9


Originally posted at pauliecannoli wordpress

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The following reaction to the King George’s latest State of the Union speech at
http://kubby2008.com/ got so many hits that it overwhelmed our server yesterday and caused the website to go down for most of the afternoon. We’ve got the site back up now, and Tom Knapp says we will be getting a server upgrade soon.

My fellow Americans,

Earlier this evening, America listened as President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress, fulfilling his Constitutional duty to report annually to Congress on “the state of the union.” Shortly thereafter, Virginia Senator Jim Webb delivered the Democratic Party’s response to his report.

I am not privileged to address you tonight over broadcast televison or radio; my party’s opinions are considered unworthy of coverage by the “mainstream media.” A response, however, is required, and I accept the responsibility for making it as an American, a presidential candidate, and hopefully a worthy, although not official, representative of my party.

The union, President Bush tells us, is strong. And he may be right. What he does not admit is that the union is weaker now than when he took office.

As evidence for his claim of national strength, he cites an economy which thrives in spite of, not because of, the ministrations of his government … and proposes additional “help” of the type that weakens rather than strengthens it.

As proof of the bright future before us and the care which we take to leave our children a better world, he points to his “No Child Left Behind Act” — an act which props up a disintegrating public education system with more of the federal interference that, until only a few short years ago, his party had pledged to eliminate at the first opportunity.

Addressing himself to the question of national defense, he defends to the very last his failed experiments in foreign military adventurism which have stretched America’s armed forces to the breaking point, alienated our friends, empowered our enemies, and left us less, not more, secure against attack or invasion.

Turning to issues of energy independence and environmental sanity, he recommends more subsidies and more regulation, rather than smaller government and more innovation.

Like President Bush, I believe that the union is strong. Unlike President Bush, I and my fellow Libertarians understand what makes America strong.

We understand that every dollar in taxes taken out of your paycheck makes America weaker, and that every dollar left in your pocket makes America stronger.

We understand that Washington’s one-size-fits-all programs for public education make America weaker, and that parental control and individual choice in education make America stronger.

We understand that “bring’em on” and “mission accomplished” and “surge” make America weaker, and that a foreign policy based on “friendship and commerce with all nations, entangling alliances with none” makes America stronger.

We understand that government subsidies to Big Oil and Big Agriculture make America weaker, that unsubsidized competition makes America stronger — and that only the innovation fostered by a truly free market will allow us to meet the challenges of pollution, climate change and future fossil fuel scarcity.

The union is strong — not because of the efforts George W. Bush and his fellow politicians, but in spite of them. And in their clutches, America can only continue to become weaker … because the strength of our union, my fellow Americans, is freedom.

The notion that government exists only for the purpose of securing our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, bequeathed us by our nation’s founders, is the foundation upon which every worthwhile American accomplishment rests. The Bush adminstration, the Congress, and their predecessors in the White House and on Capitol Hill, have gone at that foundation with a sledgehammer.

The cracks they’ve produced in that foundation are visible all around us. The Patriot Act. The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless searches and wiretaps. No-knock raids. Detention without charge, counsel or trial. As a nation, we now imprison more of our own than any other. One in thirty of us are trapped in a “justice” system that has long since ceased to represent justice. The rest of us are subject to reams of arbitrary and capricious edicts concerning what we may say, how we may worship, which political candidates we may support (and how much we do so financially), what arms we may carry in our own defense, what medicines we may use, even whether or not we can play cards on the Internet.

America as we know it — everything in it worthy of our devotion and allegiance — stands at the edge of cliff, below which the darkness of totalitarianism awaits. Whether or not our union is strong enough to step backward from the precipice is a question only time will answer.

Over the next two years, I’ll watch with you as the new Democratic Congress wrestles with the problem of restoring freedoms that a corrupt and lawless administration has robbed us of. If history is any guide, the Democrats will choose instead to go to work with their own sledgehammers.

In the meantime, I urge you to join with me in support of America’s last, best hope for a better tomorrow: The Libertarian Party. Even as we speak, hundreds of Libertarians toil in elected and appointed office or as volunteer party activists, working to protect your reedom. With your help, we can elect thousands of new local officials, hundreds of state legislators, dozens of US
Representatives and Senators and, yes, a President, who understand what makes America strong and are prepared to act on that understanding.

Let freedom grow!
Steve Kubby
Libertarian for President

George Phillies and Bill Redpath have also written responses to the
Shrub speech. My favorite review of Dubai-ya’s oratory, however, was written by Jason Gatties.

UPDATE 1/26: Libertarian Presidential Candidate Kent McManigal has also written a response to the State of the Union blatherings.

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This is an MLK day Message from Steve Kubby, Libertarian for President with markup links by me, paulie cannoli.

FREE AT LAST?

I wonder what Martin Luther King, Jr., would think of the America we live in — how he’d feel had he and his assassin not met on that fateful April morning and if instead he had awakened this morning to his 78th birthday.

I wonder what he’d have to say about a country that treats one in thirty of its own citizens as criminals.

I wonder how he’d characterize a country that imprisons more of its own people than any other nation on earth.

I wander what he’d call a country that incarcerates one in four of
its young black males
.

I wonder if he could tolerate a country that differentiates between
“white people’s cocaine” and “black people’s cocaine” in its sentencing laws.

I wonder if Dr. King would have the moral strength to stick to his philosophy of non-violence in this era of militarized police, “no-
knock” raids, death sentences for self-defense, and the cold-blooded murder of elderly black women by their alleged protectors.

I wonder if Dr. King would even recognize the America we live in today.

I don’t think he would. I think he’d still be leading marches and working for justice — demanding that America make good on what he called the “architects of our republic['s] … promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. … a promise that all men
would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Dr. King is not often described as a “libertarian” when his work for racial equality is remembered — and maybe there are other, better words to describe his ideas. Certainly the movemement he led for so many years has sometimes struck out in directions he’d likely not
have supported. But, just as clearly, he understood the importance of freedom. On this, his birthday, I like to take a few minutes to remember the closing words of his famous 1963 speech in Washington:

“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to
join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”

I hope that you’ll spend a few moments pondering those words with me — and the coming years working with me to renew them and to make them real.

Let freedom grow!
Steve Kubby
Libertarian for President

This post also appears at

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2007/01/15/steve-kubbys-mlk-day-message/

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Can liberals and libertarians find common ground on health care solutions?

At http://mutualist.livejournal.com/

01:30 pm – What is worse: socialized medicine or fascist medicine?
With the democrats retaking congress socialized medicine (er, “universal healthcare”) will once again take the center stage. While I certainly expect the far left to spew more rhetoric, I do not expect them to come anywhere close to passing a major health reform bill.

This year, I’m much more worried about the healthcare proposal coming from right-wing groups like the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation. The proposal is to legislatively mandate that everyone must buy health insurance and adds subsidies for families under the three times the federal poverty level ($60,000 per year for a family of four). This proposal is already law in Massachusetts, and California is considering adapting it as well.

The rub of the matter:

I think we all want a health care system that is broadly accessible. Rather than focusing on how to generate an accessible system, let’s change the focus on eliminating barriers to access. Of all the barriers to access I could name, the biggest barrier is employer provided health insurance.

After all, isn’t the root of the problem the fact that health insurance is tied to employment? This places all of the power in the hands of corporate managers, who decide whom will receive what benefits, if any at all. Health benefits are lost when people change jobs, reducing mobility, and the self-employed and chronically unemployed are often unable to obtain insurance. Health benefits are subject the budgeting whims of managers, who are increasing using cost sharing and reducing benefits to meet budgets.

The post details how WWII wage controls led to adoption of benefits as a proxy for raises, which in turn were made tax-exempt by Congress after the war. Later, this led to a price spiral in health care costs, eventually leading to the mess we have today.

To see how government started to created this problem even earlier, see

http://ruwart.com/Healing/chap5.html

Which details how the AMA-created monopoly on occupational licensing served to destroy alternative medicine and innovation, and to close the ranks of the medical profession to women, non-whites, and the poor for decades while limiting supply of services and raising prices.

Also, see
Health Care Issues: A Compendium of Posts
by Kevin Carson.

This post also appears at

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2007/01/15/health-care-alternatives-to-socialism-and-fascism/

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