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In the Antelope Valley, on April 15th of 2010, there were two tea parties.  They were at different locations and had different organizers.

It is hard to say if either of them were successful.

The first was a demonstration in a parking lot at a busy intersection.  People held signs and waved banners.  Observers honked their horns in encouragement as they went by.  Due to all the good cheer it was considered a resounding success.

The second was a table at the post office that had after-hours service.  A patron could go into the post office and buy a dated stamp that, since it had the date, guaranteed your income tax forms were mailed before midnight even though there were no postal employees there.

At the table, a very small group of people handed out reading material to the people in the very long line.  This material included the Libertarian Party’s Cut Taxes brochure, stuffed with political quizzes and with the Obama 1040 for entertainment value.

We had over 200 pamphlets, and we handed out all of them.  People read them in line, and took them home as well.  We actually got information into peoples’ hands.

The protest ran from about 7 pm to 10 pm when we ran out of materials.

We were also very helpful to those who didn’t know what was going on.  We explained about the date-stamps, why people were waiting in line, about how if you simply dropped your mail in the box then it would be post-marked the next day.  People were really appreciative of our help.  It is somewhat ironic that we were helping people file their taxes on time, but it made a big difference to the people involved.

While nobody honked their horns at us, it was from our point of view a success, perhaps more of one than the larger rally that accomplished nothing.  Lesson learned?  If you want a Tea Party to mean something, and you know that the announced parties are Astroturf, go ahead and do your own Tea Party.

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The Antelope Valley Tea Party – Or – A Republican Circle Jerk

I hope that in other parts of the country tea parties are more representative of a true anti-tax or anti-government attitude than they are here. In spite of the best efforts of the Campaign for Liberty and the Libertarian Party to focus the Antelope Valley Tea Party in Lancaster, California, this one was little more than a pep rally for mainstream Republican Party members.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected much given that prominent local politicians were involved. In attendance were two State Assemblymen and one State Senator, all Republican, as well as the chairman of the local Republican Party. While the mayor of Lancaster was supposed to have been there but had to bow out at the last minute, conspicuous by his absence in any of the event literature was the mayor of Palmdale, a relatively better sort of Republican. (Not better enough to be Libertarian, but better than the average Republican … kind of like saying “taller than Deep Roy” but I mean it in a nice way.) Then again, he did have the gall to oppose a ruling family Republican in a primary race not long ago.

The event planners ensured that there would be no official question and answer session. I should have known that the politicians would not have shown up had they been faced with the risk of an unprepared question while the press was there to cover it.

I handed out fliers with twelve very pointed questions about the Republican Party’s support for the recent California tax increases and the ballot proposition that would extend those increases from two years to four years. I was told that if I was handing out fliers I could not do it in the official tea party area but had to do it out in the parking lot.

It was good to see that people were heckling Assemblyman Steve Knight. He voted to put the tax extension proposition on the ballot. The next speaker was Assemblyman Cameron Smyth who, seeing the way Knight was fiercely heckled, instead talked entirely about our valiant troops overseas defending our freedom. Trying to get him to explain why he voted to put the tax extension proposition on the ballot by my own heckling led to someone nearby hushing me for not showing support for the troops.

Most of the rally afterwards centered on how illegal immigrants were to blame for all of our financial problems, or how we should concentrate all our attention on the Democrats in Washington. There was almost no attention paid to the Republicans and Democrats in Sacramento. It would seem natural for local politicians to discuss local issues, but that would reflect too poorly on their own behavior.

The last thing on anyone’s mind (except for the LPers and the C4Lers) was how the Republican Party contributed to this mess. This pep rally was for the Republicans to convince themselves that they are not to blame for the mess they made. Sorry, I didn’t fall for it. I hope other Tea Parties are better, but the Antelope Valley is were ideas go to die.

I did corner Assemblyman Knight after the rally.  Apparently he knows my name because as soon as I introduced myself he talked to everyone but me.  But I can be quite patient and after every single last distraction had finished talking to him he was willing to angrily defend his voting to put the tax hike on the ballot.  Apparently the bill had some good stuff and some bad stuff, and for the sake of the good stuff he voted for the bill with the bad stuff in it.  Also he angrliy said he does indeed endorse the Republicans who voted to raise taxes because otherwise the Democrats would get 2/3 in the legislature and taxes would be raised.

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Disturbing medical marijuana case involving an AIDS patient

Tom FaltynowiczTom Faltynowicz, a 43-year-old gay rancher in Meade County, South Dakota, was diagnosed with Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1990, and is currently facing criminal charges for possessing and growing marijuana for medicinal usage.For those of you unaware of the specifics of that disease, a patient infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may or may not develop AIDS. Once infected with HIV, the disease damages the CD4 cells (T-Cells), and in fact uses those cells to replicate within the body; CD4 cells can be replaced through normal process in the early stages of the disease, but eventually the counts start to fall as the cells are overcome by the virus. A CD4 count between 700 and 1000 is considered normal in a non-HIV infected person; while a CD4 count of about 500 is considered normal when the virus is present. A CD4 count below 200 is indicative of AIDS, since it is at that point that the body loses its ability to fight off opportunistic infection.

Opportunistic infection is any infection which, under normal circumstances, the body could easily fight off. However, due to the lack of CD4 immune cells, AIDS patients are at very high risk of contracting diseases which they would never contract were it not for the virus destroying their immune system. Some diseases are so common in AIDS patients, and so uncommon in non-AIDS patients, that they are considered to be AIDS-defining diseases. Examples of AIDS-defining diseases include Pneumocystis Pneumonia (a fungal infection of the lungs) and Kaposi’s Sarcoma (once believed to be a rare form of cancer, now believed to be caused by Herpes Virus HHV8); these diseases are normally not seen in patients with a normal immune system. While there is viable treatment for many opportunistic diseases, they must be treated swiftly in an AIDS patient due to the patient’s body being unable to fight infection on its own.

Another important way of measuring HIV is by measuring the viral load. The viral load is the amount of HIV in the body. So while a CD4 count measures the amount of damage HIV has done, a viral load count will measure how much of the virus is actually in the body. In this way, doctors are able to measure whether drugs are working to halt the spread of the virus.

AIDS is a pandemic first identified in 1981 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), due to Pneumocystis Pneumonia being identified in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. The disease did not take over worldwide as quickly as it is generally believed, though. AIDS has been identified in tissue samples of patients who died of unknown causes as early as 1959; one postmortem case identified the virus in a tissue sample from a 15-year-old boy who died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969, though it is still unknown how the boy may have contracted the virus. Some scientists suggest the virus could have first infected humans sometime during the end of the 19th Century, while other scientists suggest it first infected humans during the early 20th century, between 1915 and 1930. Regardless of whether it started during the late 19th Century or early 20th Century, it took many decades for it to even become prevalent enough to be noticed. Since the virus is slow to overtake its host, the window for inadvertent infection of others is years, rather than days or weeks as with most viruses.

It is unclear exactly how the virus started, but it seems clear that it crossed species from primates (which can carry a disease known as the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) into humans, likely when humans came into contact with the bodily fluids of monkeys, possibly during consumption, hunting or butchering the animals (monkey meat is a delicacy in some areas of the world, and is regularly eaten in some areas of Africa). The virus spread due to a number of factors, including vaccines given with unclean needles in developing countries. While AIDS is now generally viewed as a disease of gay men and intravenous drug users, the truth is far more chilling, since the virus is not contained only within a particular population. Many women and children are infected with the virus, and in some areas of the world, particularly Africa where infected patients do not have access to proper health care, the number of deaths has become catastrophic.

At this time, there is no cure for HIV, or for AIDS, nor is there a vaccine to prevent transmission. However, scientists have designed a number of drugs inhibit the virus’s replication. To understand how these drugs work, a short primer on the virus is necessary.

HIV takes over CD4 cells, changing their molecular structure by inserting its own ribonucleic acid (RNA). The virus itself, which is too small to be seen except with an electron microscope, consists of an outer envelope containing the virus and the proteins and enzymes necessary for replication; the envelope has about 72 spikes on its surface. When the virus bumps into a cell coated by the CD4 protein, the spikes stick into the cell and fuse, at which time the inner contents of the HIV envelope is released into the CD4 cell.

Once inside the cell, the HIV enzyme called reverse transciptase converts the viral RNA into DNA, which is compatible with human genetic material. This DNA is transported to the cell’s nucleus, where it is spliced into the human DNA by the HIV enzyme called integrase. Once it is spliced into the human DNA, the HIV DNA is known as provirus. The provirus may lie dormant within a cell for quite some time. However, when the cell becomes activated, it treats HIV genes in almost the same way as human genes. First it uses human enzymes to convert HIV genes into messenger RNA. The messenger RNA is transported outside the cell nucleus, and is used as a blueprint for producing new HIV proteins and enzymes, much in the same way as the human body normally produce replacement cells.

Complete copies of HIV genetic material is contained among the strands of messenger RNA produced by the cell. These copies combine with newly made HIV proteins and enzymes to form new viral particles, which are then released from the cell. The enzyme protease plays a vital role of the HIV life cycle, as it chops up long strands of protein into smaller pieces, which are then used to construct mature viral cores. At that point the newly matured HIV particles are ready to infect another cell, and begin the replication process all over again. In this way the virus quickly spreads through the human body, and causes its host to become infectious. HIV is passed to others through bodily fluids; some fluids contain more of the virus than others.

Contrary to popular belief, people do not die of HIV, or of AIDS. They die of the opportunistic infections which accompany the complete loss of their immune system. Patients therefore must take a strong cocktail of medications to stop the virus from replicating and destroying their immune system. Some common drugs prescribed for AIDS patients, to stop the virus from replicating, include reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which prevent the viral RNA from being converted into human DNA; protease inhibitors, which prevent the virus from creating new mature viral cores; and integrase inhibitors, which prevent the viral DNA from being spliced into the human DNA within the cells.

Unfortunately, with those life-saving treatments for the virus come life-threatening side effects, from lethal liver damage to an overwhelming nausea which results in starvation and dehydration; when this occurs, it only worsens those same symptoms which can be caused by the virus itself. Over the years many drugs have been discovered to combat the side effects (those same side effects are found in many other medical conditions as well), and to increase the quality of life for those who are infected with the virus; some of those drugs and treatments are pharmaceutical in nature, and some are natural.

One of the non-pharmaceutical drugs, which has proven very helpful in battling the anxiety, overwhelming nausea and physical wasting which comes with the virus and its treatment, is marijuana. So effective is marijuana that scientists have even made a pharmaceutical version of the drug, used in chemotherapy patients as well as AIDS patients, which contains synthetic THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, many patients believe that the natural THC in marijuana works better than the synthetic version in Marinol, and science supports this belief. In studies of marijuana usage for medicinal usage, it was found that other chemicals found in marijuana have additional medicinal effects which complement the effects of THC. Furthermore Marinol is extremely expensive (Tom’s Marinol costs about $2200 per month, so severe is his nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms), and thus the drug is far beyond the financial reach of most patients; and for that reason they cultivate and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the black market cost of marijuana can be high, the plant can be cultivated at home from seeds, at very little cost to the patient.

In some states, it is legal for patients with a valid medical prescription to possess certain amounts of dried and cultivated marijuana for personal medicinal use. However, even in those states, the US Government – which has declared that marijuana is an illicit and therefore illegal drug – refuses to permit patients to use the cultivated form of THC. Patients are regularly arrested for merely possessing the substance which allows them to live a more normal life, and which in cases of extreme wasting seen in AIDS, is actually life-saving. This occurs nationwide, including in the states where marijuana is legal for medicinal use.

I do not advocate the casual use of marijuana (or any other drug, prescription or otherwise) to get “high”. I do strongly advocate the right of physicians and patients to determine the best course of treatment, and I believe the government has no right to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship when the patient is not being placed in untoward danger.

Enter Tom Faltynowicz. When Tom was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990, he was given “maybe a few years” to live. Eighteen years later, he is in a fight for his life, but it’s a fight of a very different kind.

In September 2007, law enforcement officials in his native Meade County received an anonymous call, stating that Tom had between 75 and 100 marijuana plants growing behind a metal building on his property. It is believed that the anonymous call came from Tom’s daughter, who was angry with him because he had recently stated his disapproval of her relationship with a particular man.

When Meade County Investigator Michael Walker and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Agent John Griswold arrived at Tom’s home the next day, there were not 75 to 100 plants on the property, or even anywhere near that many; in fact, there were no plants out in the open at all. However, when asked by those officers about the accusation, Tom immediately admitted to growing marijuana to treat his medical condition. He even invited the officers into his home, so they can see where he was growing it, and he was completely cooperative at all times, even according to the police report regarding the incident. All told, the officers found five plants, and about four ounces of dried marijuana. There was never an allegation that the marijuana was being used for anything but his medical condition, and never an allegation that he was selling the marijuana. It remains undisputed that Tom was using the marijuana to treat AIDS, and the side effects of the many potent medications he takes to fight the virus.

Tom takes a total of four antiretroviral drugs to combat the HIV infection: Combivir (a combination of Retrovir and Epivir), Sustiva, and Viread. Each of these drugs, by themselves, come with potentially fatal side effects. All of these drugs can cause severe nausea, and can result in extreme anxiety as an additional side effect. In addition, Tom has been prescribed Marinol, the synthetic THC drug to combat nausea and vomiting, so there is no question that he suffers the side effects which are treated by marijuana, and there is no question that his side effects are severe based upon his dosage. However, Tom says that the marijuana is far more effective than the Marinol, since Marinol makes him so tired that he cannot function; and his physician is aware of and supports his use of marijuana to treat his symptoms.

Tom, though he has no prior criminal record with the exception of two prior misdemeanor convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana – both of which occurred after he was diagnosed with AIDS – pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana. He faces a maximum of two years in prison, and a maximum fine of $4000; he could also be given probation. His sentencing date has been set for April 21st, before the Honorable Jerome Eckrich, Circuit Judge. Tom’s Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Traub, will speak at the sentencing hearing. The State Attorney has already said that he will not object to anything Dr. Traub might say. It appears that no one is interested in punishing Tom Faltynowicz; at the same time, under the law, his possession of marijuana – regardless of the reason why he possessed it – is a felony in the state of South Dakota.

Tom, however, is an exception to the reason that law was written. It was written to stop people from abusing the drug to get high, and to stop them from selling or otherwise providing it to others for the same illicit purpose. It is extremely doubtful the legislature was aware of the medicinal effects of marijuana when that law was passed, and it’s extremely doubtful the legislature ever intended to punish patients with a deadly disease. It’s even possible that the medicinal effects of marijuana were unknown to them when that law was passed, since it is hardly a new law. Nevertheless, since the law exists, it will be enforced, even against people like Tom who are using marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes.

This raises a number of questions. Even if Tom is merely placed on probation, and even if he stopped smoking marijuana altogether, using Marinol to control his symptoms would result in violation of probation, since he would test positive for THC during required drug tests. If he fails a drug test while on probation, he will be incarcerated.

If he is incarcerated, he will not only not have access to the drug which he needs to survive without excessive suffering due to overwhelming nausea, vomiting, physical wasting, and extreme fatigue; but the South Dakota Department of Corrections will be forced to pay for the extremely expensive antiretroviral drugs which fight the virus as well as the Marinol, at a cost of thousands of dollars per month to the taxpayers, in addition to the increased cost of incarceration for a man with an infectious deadly disease. As you should understand after my explanation of how those drugs work, and how the virus works, missing even one dose of his antiretroviral drugs could be catastrophic for his health, since it would allow the virus to replicate until the drug was again built up to a therapeutic dosage. Yet in a prison environment there is no guarantee that he will receive his life-sustaining medications at all, much less receive them on the schedule those drugs demand.

Tom has said that he will not stop using marijuana, because it allows him to live a relatively normal life. Without it, his body is wracked with pain, nausea, and vomiting; he is unable to eat or drink, and thus his body becomes even more weakened, even more unable to fight the virus, and even more prone to the many opportunistic illnesses, any one of which could easily end his life. This is especially true if he is confined in a jail or prison facility, given that there are large numbers of inmates living in close approximation.

To incarcerate Tom Faltynowicz would therefore place his life at severe risk, and as such would clearly constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. Furthermore, it would serve no purpose to incarcerate him, since his crime is merely possession of a drug which allows him to live with his disease and to continue take the cruel medications which literally keep him alive. He poses no threat to anyone and he is not selling or otherwise distributing the marijuana, nor has it even been suggested that he is selling or distributing the marijuana. Rehabilitation is also not a valid cause for his incarceration, since he merely uses the drug for medicinal purposes, and thus he is not in need of rehabilitation.

Society would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz. The interests of justice would not be served by incarcerating Tom Faltynowicz.

As such, justice demands that the court show mercy by giving Tom Faltynowicz a suspended sentence, no probation, and whatever fine the court sees fit, as long as it is within Tom’s ability to pay said fine.

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Taxes cartoonFormer National Journal Tech Daily editor Danny Glover (no, not the actor) will be blogging to keep track of every single cent his family pays in taxes for 2008. I have a feeling many people will be shocked. I usually pay attention to how much tax I pay on everything, including hidden taxes such as those built into the price gasoline, cigarettes, liquor, etc., and it always, always pisses me off.I haven’t kept track of my tax expenditures in a written form, so I find this to be an interesting experiment sure to open the eyes of many.

The average person pays a lot more in hidden taxes, I suspect, than they do in income taxes. It will be interesting to see if my theory is true. Here is the description of the blog in question:

How much do you really pay in taxes? If you knew, you might get angry. You should — and I hope this blog will get you riled. For the next year, I’ll be blogging about the taxes our family pays so you can appreciate how much you pay.

Keep track of the taxes they pay here.

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.

_____________________________

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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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:

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CigarettesAccording to the website stoptheFETincrease.com, state and federal cigarette taxes have been raised an astonishing 73 times since the year 2000, increasing the average price of cigarettes by 80% per pack.

On Wednesday, August 1st, H.R. 3162 which included a $4.50 per carton federal cigarette excise increase was passed by the US House of Representatives by a vote of 225-204. On Thursday, August 2nd, H.R. 976 which included a $6.10 per carton federal cigarette excise tax increase was passed by the US Senate by a vote of 68-31. Smokers know that cigarettes are already one of the most highly taxed products in the country today. In fact, since the year 2000, state and federal cigarette excise taxes have been increased more than 73 times – driving up the average price of cigarettes over 80%.

Everyone should pay their share of taxes, but a federal tax increase on cigarettes is an unfair burden on smokers – especially when these taxes fund a wide-range of expanding government programs that benefit everyone. And as cigarette sales decline it’s an unreliable source of revenue.

Singling out smokers for as much as a 156% increase in the federal cigarette excise tax is going too far – IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO TELL CONGRESS – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

The argument which I find most convincing, but which that website doesn’t make, is that by excessively taxing those things which Congress believes to be wrong – such as cigarettes and alcohol – the government is effectively legislating morality.

You can sign a form letter on this issue, to be sent to your members of Congress, by visiting the website.

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Yes, I know, I already had this up in the comments section, but more people probably read this than that, so I thought I’d put it up on the wall too…

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hat tip Michelle Shinghal

Now, anyone who has not just gotten here just now knows I’m supporting Steve Kubby for President. You know I have some issue position differences with Ron Paul. But, I’m endorsing Ron Paul for reelection to Congress, and I love what he is doing in the Republican debates.

Speaking of Republican debates, we will be providing live coverage at Last Free Voice tonight. I’ve heard a rumor that Michelle and TG might show up drunk, and there may or may not be trampolines involved. You won’t want to miss it!

So, to sum it up: until Steve can start showing up on the Daily Show, I’m damn glad and proud to see 1988 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Ron Paul on there. Here’s the clip:

And here is Michelle, doing her part by offering some high profile advertising:

Also useful as a floatation device, this kewl and handy billboard has many useful and even life saving properties.

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Since Stuart mentioned the Outright Libertarians interview with George Phillies, here is their interview with Steve Kubby, from their blog.

Unlike the problem with immigration that Stuart mentioned in George’s answers, Steve’s were traditionally libertarian down the line.

Read the interview after the jump.
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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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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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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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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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From
Classically Liberal

…sit down with the kids. Warn them. Tell that there will be people who pretend to be their friends. They hang out outsides the schools, at the malls, anywhere where kids hang out. They lurk around the internet. They will even call at home if they know the parents aren’t around. Not only will they pretend to be a friend but they will promise rewards, opportunity, even cash if the kids just do what they want. And they really, really don’t want the parents to know about this. Remember if you don’t tell you kids about these people they will get your children.

And if you think the comparison between recruiters and molesters is strained then watch the following CNN report. Over 80 recruiters, in 2005, were caught for sexual misconduct with the young people they are trying to recruit. Over 100 victims have come forward. These people are given, without the knowledge of parents, full access to kids anytime they want at any school in the US under Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” legislation. They are given private information on all children including unlisted phone numbers and you are not able to block their calls, they can bypass blocks on any phone. Since 1996 almost 800 military recruiters have faced these charges.

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From Wally Conger by way of LeftLibertarian.org

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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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I've had my share of stories and I've heard too many to even begin
from other people.

It is getting a lot worse with over 100,000 SWAT Team raids a year
now, most for simple stuff like routine warrant service, and they get
very out of control.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6476

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2007/01/get-cuffs-ponch.html

Check out

http://www.theagitator.com/archives/cat_paramilitary_police_raids.php

http://lastfreevoice.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/police-state-of-overkill

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2007/01/submit-or-well-kill-you.html

If the MSM does not want to cover it we can raise up a stink in the
blogsophere. Just recently Toby Iselin in Keene, NH wrote a polite
letter to his state representative in favor of a bill in the
legislature to decriminalize marijuana and Rep. Burridge wrote back
and CC'ed the Keene PD, called Toby a dumb pothead and said it is
"thrilling to snitch on your friends" and "you would make a great
snitch." (more…)

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by way of LP blog

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posted by Justin Raimondo at AntiWar.com blog

This video (hat tip: Lew Rockwell) is revealing in a number of different ways. First of all, it shows up Hillary Clinton for what she truly is: an opportunist who is only tenuously acquainted with the truth. She now claims that if she had known then what she knows now, she would never have voted for the war: but in this video, in which she meets with members of Code Pink, the antiwar women’s group, she downplays the “weapons of mass destruction” rationale for war, and emphasizes, instead, the brutality of Saddam’s dictatorship.

Secondly, I would note the unctuousness of Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin, who shamelessly kisses up to Hillary in her introduction, and even declares that she “knows you secretly agree with us” about the war. The fun begins when Hillary sternly disabuses Ms. Benjamin of this illusion, lecturing her about the absolute evil represented by Saddam’s Iraq, and reminding her of the Clintonian war against the Serbs, which, as all good liberals know, was a righteous war. Poor Medea — talk about having the rug pulledout from under you!

The best part is when one of the Code Pink women approaches Hillary, at the end, and tries to hand her a “pink slip” — some pink underpants of a decidedly delicate character. This is when Hillary bares her fangs, and lashes out: “I am the Senator from New York,” she intones, wagging her finger at the woman like a schoolmarm, “and if you think I’m going to endanger the security of my constituents you are very much mistaken!”

Wow! How telling that, when cornered, Hillary resorts to the Bushian “we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” argument — and so readily, almost instinctively.

Now that the war is unpopular, however, Hillary is trying to distance herself from her previous incarnation as a hawk. It won’t work — thanks to Youtube!


372902522_697eca75ef_m.jpg 372902526_80685c0c0a_m.jpg

Photos by Jim Bovard

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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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Earlier we had a discussion of the Taxes of Evil outreach piece:


Taxes of Evil 1

We now have a new update.

Final draft of Version1:

taxesofevil4×6_frontv31-page1.jpeg

taxesofevil4×6_backv31-page1.jpeg

Susan writes,

Send your contributions to help print this to my Paypal account!!! Please!

Copies will be sent to all local LPs who request it – courtesy of the
LP Radicals.

Anyone wanting to help with printing (and help is needed! sooner better than later!) can just go to www.paypal.com and use Susan’s email address to send money to: hogarth@gmail.com

Regarding printing and distributing these, Susan says:

By the way, I have no problems with anyone using any of these in any form, modifying them, whatever. No credit neccessary. But PLEASE ask me for the source files. I did the layout in an excellent open source program called Scribus, but can provide the idles as EPS and other formats.

I suggest those looking into working on layout and design look into Scribus.

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Here’s something I’ve ben pointing out for quite a while now:


Pro-war Clinton candidacy success would mean same mob bosses have ruled U.S. since 1980

"Hillary Heralds 30 Year Plus Control Of America By Interlocking Crime Family"

Another Clinton in office would mean America being under the thiefdom of either a Bush or a Clinton for a total of at least 32 years, 36 if Hillary is re-elected (many now acknowledge that H.W. Bush pulled the strings as VP during the Reagan era)

Clinton voted for the Patriot Act and she voted for the war in Iraq, but so many Democrats are blinded by the cult of personality that they will overwhelmingly vote to put this crime family back in office.

Then again, we might just get an indefinite extention of Bush through martial law, precipitated by a war with Iran, Unless The Bush Crime family is impeached now, says Paul Craig Roberts.

Robert Higgs has an in-depth analysis of the
Living Reality of Military-Economic Fascism
and corruption through the military-industrial
complex.

And even LP national is talking about The State of the Monarchy.

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OK, Free Staters…time to show what y’all are made of and make some serious stink about this out of control politician. This deserves to be in all your letters to the editor, public pickets, call every radio and TV station in the state, hell, make it national news. This psychotic individual is clearly legislating while impaired. Book ‘im Danno!


Constituent Representation in Keene
by way of Homeland Stupidity

Earlier today I decided to write my representative, Delmar Burridge, an e-mail to voice my support for HB92, decriminalizing marijuana. Unfortunately I was very disheartened by the response I got to my letter. I expect much more from my representatives. Below is both my original letter and his response:

Dear Representative Delmar Burridge

I hope you are in good health. I understand that you are on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee which is going to hear testimony this Wednesday on HB92, decriminalizing marijuana. I know you are opposed to this bill, but I trust you can understand how important of an issue this is to many people both in Keene and the rest of New Hampshire. I hope you will consider passing it through committee so that all sides will have their chance to speak on it. NH has some of the most draconian legislation on marijuana, and hundreds of our friends and family members are being arrested for choosing to smoke instead of drink. Please think about passing this through committee so everyone can listen to the opposition and have their chance to speak.Thank you very much,

Toby Iselin
Keene NH

And his response:

Dear Toby:

My youngest brother Albert who I was very close to died from head injuries sustained when he wrecked his car in West Virginia. His wife walked away. He was a triple major in college; biology, philosophy, and psychology and was smoking a joint before the crash. It is all very vivid including the anguish my parents went through. This occurred in the 1970s and I still miss him. I began work as a juvenile probation officer in the poorest section in Philadelphia in 1969 and the above described experience pales to my on the job, eyeball to eyeball observation of family devastation I saw daily…..and these males were reefer users just like you….saying the same dumb stuff just like you and they were not smart college smart. I saw lots of blood and death. Trust me, these campers were not soon going to be setting the world on fire. Some did suffer severe burns.

Last night one of your buddies called me twice even asking me to be on his TV show. He was yelling and screaming and I hung up on him. You have to chill this guy out. I will say to you what I said to three different callers; I will vote no on this Bill and have lots of very chilling stories to relate to the other committee members so it goes my way.

Suggest you change all your friends, be the designated driver when you are old enough to drink since you don’t drink. I will sign the Bill that keeps tobacco out of the bars when it come up in the house so you don’t get second hand smoke.

I am copying two members of the Keene Police Department in case you want to change your ways and act legal and save your friends.

You are very passionate in your beliefs and would make a great snitch. It is thrilling to dime on your so called friends.

Be healthy and be well.

Delmar D. Burridge
DBurridge@ne.rr.com

(603) 352-5363 or
(603) 542-7744

I would just like to add that I never said that I don’t drink, and nowhere in the e-mail did I mention that I smoke marijuana. It seems that Representative Delmar Burridge is making assumptions without looking at any of the arguments or evidence.

This post also appears at

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2007/01/17/vote-this-ass-clown-out/

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Over at Ground Up Libs Andy mentioned and idea he had which we have been kicking around for years to make a flier to distribute at antiwar rallies and April 15th demonstrations about how taxes fund the war machine.

This time, Susan Hogarth of LP Radicals picked up on the idea and come up with a cool flyer that we are hoping to actually print and distribute. This is her second edit and there might be more changes coming.

Your ideas, as always, are welcome on any changes that could improve the flyer.

Front:

taxesofevil4×6_front-page1.jpg

Back:

taxesofevil4×6_back-page1.jpg

You can use this file with added contact information for your LP local group or campaign, but Susan asks that you contact her for the source files to alter the file, rather than editing the .jpg, and she will be making it available in a variety of formats.

She is also trying to raise a couple of hundred dollars for a print run.

This post also appears at

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2007/01/17/taxes-of-evil/

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Can we all say Impeachment together yet?

At

http://www.infowars.com/articles/iraq/bush_vows_no_matter_what_surge_is_on.htm

Bush vows to 60 Minutes that ‘no matter what Congress wants’ surge is on

Raw Story | January 13, 2007

In an interview set to air on this Sunday’s 60 Minutes, President George W. Bush vows to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq “no matter what” the Democratic-controlled Congress tries to do.

“Do you believe as Commander in Chief you have the authority to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do,” 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley asks Bush in the short clip uploaded to the CBS News web site Friday night.

“I think I’ve got, in this situation, I do, yeah,” Bush said.

“Now I fully understand they will,” Bush continued, “they could try to stop me from doing it, but, uh, I’ve made my decision and we’re going forward.”

Now, I’m no great Constitutionalist; in fact, I’m rather a fan of Lysander Spooner on the issue.

But, a limited government with divided powers is at least preferable to an unlimited one ruled by an autocratic dictator. The Constitution Bush has sworn to uphold clearly says that all appropriations – including for the military – originate in Congress, and that only Congress can declare war. If the President can simply wage undeclared wars and appropriate spending without consent of Congress, is he not a dictator and a traitor to the Constitution?

Bush clearly believes that he can rule by decree, and spend money whether the Congress likes it or not. The new Democrat “opposition” in Congress has ruled out impeachment and the last convention of the Libertarian Party (?) voted it down as well, despite having been proud to be the first party to have officially called for the impeachment of Clinton. Why the double standard?

It’s time for all of us, as individuals and organizations, to stand up together and separately and demand impeachment hearings in Congress. If the Democrats and the LP can’t find the guts to do it, what about Representative
Ron Paul
who is now
a candidate for President
?

Angel Of Death – Slayer: BSG & CD Remix

via Scott Horton’s Stress

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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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PLEASE FORWARD TO MEMBERS OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY

[THOSE WHO AGREE: Please add your name to the list at the bottom and
forward to LNC Chair Bill Redpath at chair AT lp.org... with CC to
hogarth AT gmail.com...]

Bill,

It is now several days since President Bush announced an escalation in Iraq, and several days since word of the escalation has
been widely available. Many members of the Libertarian Party
are concerned at the apparent lack of response from the Libertarian Party to this dangerous and manifestly anti-freedom action on the part of the US government.

We believe that the war in Iraq and the growing American imperialism is one of the most significant issues – if not the most significant – of our time. We believe the Libertarian response to this war, and especially escalation, should be clear and unambiguous. We want to see the Libertarian Party at the forefront of this fateful issue – not lagging behind with weak and ineffective statements, but rather
pressing forward with bold and freedom-oriented proposals. The Libertarian Party should be an antiwar leader, not a follower. The Party should rally its members to protest the war and American
interventionism vigorously.

Therefore we beg you to consider issuing a position paper which takes the following strong antiwar positions:

- The US government should remove all American troops from Iraq immediately.

- The US government should have no role in determining how Iraqi oil revenues are distributed.

- The US government should cease escalation of rhetoric and action against Iran.

- The US government should immediately cease all embargoes everywhere.

The following members of the Libertarian Party are in agreement on the statement above and add their urgings for speedy and decisive action on your part.

Susan Hogarth, Chair, Libertarian Party of Wake County, NC
Paul Elledge, LP member from North Carolina
Sidney Phillip Rhodes, LP member from North Carolina
Seth Anthony, Chair, Libertarian Party at Colorado State University
Paul Frankel, LP member from Alabama

THis post also appears at

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2007/01/15/open-letter-to-the-lp-leadership/

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The Libertarian Party Radical Caucus
NEW (9 January, 2007):

The LP Radical Caucus offers a press release sketching a Libertarian response to the Bush adminstration’s war escalation.

The press release is for the use of any Libertarian Party affiliate or organization wanting a rapid and forceful response to Bush’s call for escalation in Iraq. Please feel free to place your group’s name and contact information on it and release it to your local media. If you would like to make changes, feel free to do so. No credit need (or should) be given – release this under your own group’s name. The LP should be providing affiliates with platform-compliant, forceful statements on current news events. The LP should be taking a strong antiwar stand. The activists of the LP Radical Caucus offer this release to help LP affiliates make a strong Libertarian statement on current events.

9 January, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[contact info here]

Libertarians:
The people must lead, and the leaders must follow.

In November, the American people clearly demanded an end to war and occupation in Iraq.

George Bush’s response is now clear: he plans to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam and escalate a war that most Americans and most Iraqis do not support; a military occupation and puppet rule that has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and killed or maimed tens of thousands of American soldiers.

The Democratic Party has also turned a deaf ear to those who voted in the vain hope that Democrats would end the occupation. Democratic Party leaders in Congress have opted for ‘partnership’ in the crimes of the Bush administration, rather than leadership in ending the unlawful military action.

The Libertarian Party stands absolutely opposed to the war in Iraq and to foreign military intervention anywhere. The politicians have demonstrated that they will not lead, so they must be made to follow. If those opposed to the war – from left, right, and center – gather together with a passionate focus solely on ending American imperialism, the rulers will follow the people – as they should. If we let ourselves be divided at this critical moment in history by our domestic differences, the wars started in the last century will linger on and end in disaster. We must stand united against the coming draft, against the expansion of imperial rule, and against all aggression both at home and abroad.

Libertarians call on Congress to end taxation and spending in support of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to end preparations in place for a new draft (including selective service registration), and to end punishing embargoes everywhere which encourage war and discourage the expansion of peace through trade and communication.

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

This post also appears at

http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/lp-radicals-antiwar-press-release/

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