What the bailout really means

So, now they’re talking about bailing out the mortgage companies. Let’s put this into perspective.

Bailing them out will mean more deficit spending, which will increase inflation. That inflation will eat into our earnings by resulting in even greater prices at the checkout counter, and the gas pump, and everywhere else, and more significantly it will eat into savings, including our retirement accounts.

So, really, what they’re proposing is to take wealth from people who have saved and spent their money wisely, and give it to people who made foolish investments and paid the price.

Sounds like a typical government reaction, doesn’t it?

Judges are the worst kind of politician

I’ve always been confused about how some people think that judges are above the corruption and elitism inherent to politics. After all, what are they but politicians in black robes?

Case in point: our recent ballot access lawsuit here in North Carolina was struck down. The judge gave no credence to the liberty-based arguments of how oppressive and unconstitutional North Carolina’s ballot access restrictions are, choosing instead to simply sign his name to an opinion written by the state. As the Greensboro News & Record reports:

A judge has upheld North Carolina’s high standard requiring tens of thousands of signatures to be collected before a group is officially recognized as a political party, ruling there’s no fundamental right for the party of a voter’s choice to be on the ballot.

Translation: You only get to make the choices we permit you to make.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood, who heard the case in a non-jury trial earlier this month in Wake County, ruled late Tuesday that the “state has a compelling interest in requiring a preliminary modicum of support before recognizing a political party and placing its candidates on the ballot.”

Translation: You don’t expect those incumbents to just let people run against them, do you?

Hobgood wrote that the state has an interest “in avoiding confusion, deception and even frustration of the democratic process in the general election.”

Translation: You’re too stupid to be able to handle more than two (or, in some cases, one) options on the ballot. Aren’t you so lucky to have the government here to make it simpler for you? Now, go away and let mommy and daddy decide what’s best for you.

What’s it going to take for people to want to descend on our politicians with torches and pitchforks? How much of this blatant oppression are we going to take?

A solution

One thing I keep hearing from family, from friends, and online, is that we will never make any real progress in this country as long as Congressmen and Senators can stick whatever they like in any old bill. They slip in pork spending, and horrendous legislation such as the Real ID Act (attached to a bill for defense spending and tsunami relief), with even the most conscientious legislator sometimes left with no choice but to vote for it to get a necessary bill passed.

All of these people need to write to Congress to support DownsizeDC‘s One Subject at a Time Act.

The hopeful try to create a new party. The naive try to reform their own. The wise go to DownsizeDC.org.

Bob Barr beats Ruwart for Libertarian Nomination

So former Congressman Bob Barr just narrowly beat out Dr. Mary Ruwart for the Libertarian Party‘s Presidential nomination.

I’m REALLY bummed this wonderful lady didn’t get our nomination. She really would have been our best foot forward, in so many ways. I’m sorry the other delegates couldn’t see that.

But, being the hopeless optimist that I am, I’m going to give Barr a fair chance. If I think he’s a net plus for liberty, I’ll vote for him. If I think he’ll be a good representative for the party, I’ll support him.

But I have to say, this is the first time since I started voting Libertarian in 1992 that I haven’t been excited about our Presidential candidate.

Victory for liberty at San Tan Flat!

A few months ago, I blogged about a town that used zoning to stop dancing at a local restaurant. An amazing organization, the Institute for Justice, which uses litigation to fight against oppression, has won victory for the family that runs the restaurant and the people of the town who love to go there:

Kick off your boots and get ready to two-step because dancing is now allowed at San Tan Flat.

Pinal County Superior Court Judge William O’Neil overturned a decision
from the county Board of Supervisors that said the
country-Western-themed restaurant was operating an illegal dance hall
by allowing patrons to dance to live music on its back patio.

The judge’s ruling brings closure to the conflict between the county
and restaurant owner Dale Bell, who have been at odds for more than two
years after San Tan Flat neighbors complained about noise coming from
the property.

Just a reminder: according to the neighbors themselves, none of them complained. That was an unsubstantiated assertion by the local government stooges.

Bell sued the county for $1, saying the dance-hall ordinance violated his constitutional right to freely run his business.

"That $1 is about freedom and about civil liberties and the government not being allowed to overreach," Bell said Wednesday.

You can read the entire article here, and here is Reason.TV‘s coverage:

My Primary Ballot Recommendations

So on Tuesday I’ll be voting in the Republican primary. I’ve spent some time figuring out who I’m going to vote for in the different races on the Lincoln County ballot, and thought I’d share it for anyone who might be interested:

President: Ron Paul. Duh.

Senate: Pete Di Lauro. If he can be trusted to his word (I have no other information to go on), he should be nominated because 1) he’s not Elizabeth Dole, and 2) he’s for bringing the troops home as quickly as possible. He’s also talked about reigning in the Federal Reserve by making it part of the Treasury (although it would be better if we eliminated it entirely, and we saw in the early 1800s the problems that can arise by mixing the Treasury with the banking system) and realizes our monetary policy is the source of our current economic woes.

US Congress District 10: Lance Sigmon. Let’s face it: it doesn’t take much to be better than McHenry. Not only that, he talks about cutting taxes AND spending (whereas most Republicans are just borrow-and-spend). He’s against gun control, which is good, but I can’t figure out what his policy on Iraq is (other than McHenry is a dooty-head). Still, all in all, an improvement over McHenry.

Governor: Okay, not Pat McCrory. A bad mayor would make a really bad governor.

Fred Smith’s been sending out fliers and copies of his (self-published) book, and I still don’t know what he stands for; someone who can use that many words and not actually say anything cannot be good.

Bill Graham has called for a gas tax “holiday;” make it permanent and I might like him. But he still needs to realize simple things, like the fact that water is a renewable resource and we in NC have one of the most plentiful supplies of potable water in the world, despite the “drought.”

Bob Orr? Don’t even get me started on his website…it should be submitted to “Web Pages That Suck.” Can we at least have functioning nav links? I can’t even use Google to get to the Issues page! At least he wants to “limit” corporate welfare, although “eliminate” would be better; why not make them compete for our money?

Elbie Powers will get my vote, even if I might have to hold one nostril shut to do it. At least he’s searching for profitable options other than tax, tax, and more tax. Add to that a fairly sensible education policy, and we could do a lot worse. If I can just get past his support for the death penalty…

Lt. Governor: Tim Cook may not say much, but what he does say I like. Greg Dority might as well be a cardboard cutout of a stereotypical Republican (and no, that’s not a good thing), Robert Pittenger’s website reads like a neocon manifesto, and Jim Snyder seems to be trying to distance himself from the neocons and McCain while not offering anything substantially different. I’m going with Cook.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Eric H. Smith. Pure Libertarian. I think he’s the only Republican candidate running for any NC office who’s in favor of lifting the caps on charter schools.

County Commissioner: Okay, first off, not Patton or Moore; supporting the sales tax increase and the ridiculous tax-hike-in-not-much-of-a-disguise revaluation should not get anyone reelected. And not Funderburk or Mitchem, either; they had their chance.

I’m really glad to see the name Martin Oakes on the ballot. He’s been a rare voice of reason and sanity in Lincoln County politics for years.

As for the others, Louis McConnell thinks districting and growth “management” are both great, Clayton Mullis can’t seem to land on a position, John Sitzenstock’s answer for everything is more debt, and George Arena just loves the phrases “land use” and “adequate public facilities.”

So, although I get three votes, Oakes will be the only one I can place a mark next to.

Court of Appeals: If I could find where any one of them stated the Constitution is supreme and must be followed at all times, I’d vote for them. As it is, it looks like we’ll be sinking deeper into the quagmire. I’m not voting for any of them. EDIT: I’ve just been informed that Dean Pourier is a constitutionalist whom Eric Smith has endorsed. I trust Eric, so Pourier gets my vote.

Sales Tax Increase: NO!!! (Did you really need to ask?)

School Bond: Yeah, like we need another $44.6 million in debt. And notice that it specifically authorizes the levying of new taxes to pay off the bond and the interest. It’s just like the one in 2004. It may even be verbatim. It’ll just leave us with more Taj-Mahal buildings and students and teachers scraping for supplies. If you care at all about our children, vote no to this. And you may also want to ask yourself (and our county and state politicians), if we need new school buildings so badly, why won’t they just remove the caps on charter schools?

Anyway, that’s how I’m voting. Use the comments to agree or disagree with me all you want.

Vote against legalized racketeering this Tuesday

It’s bad enough that NC taxes its citizens more than “Taxachusetts” does. It’s bad enough that Lincoln County just issued a laughable revaluation which is a very thinly veiled tax increase, revaluing some homes 300% or more of their previous value at a time when home prices are suffering. It’s bad enough that the dollar is the worst it’s ever been, that inflation is eating into our savings, and the Misery Index is the highest it’s been since 1980.

Now, they want to increase the sales tax as well–and they’re trying to slip it in through the primary where the turnout is lower than the general election (and which are supposed to be just for candidate selection, paid for by the filing fees of the candidates).

Do not let them get away with this! Go Tuesday and vote “No” to the sales tax increase. If you don’t live in Lincoln County, but you live in North Carolina, you can go to this website and see if your county is trying to increase taxes.

Oh, and while you’re at it, it would be great if you could vote for the only candidate on the ballot dedicated to getting taxes down–Ron Paul. Yes, he’s still in the running, and unlike votes for the rest of the candidates, every vote for Ron Paul absolutely will make a difference!

For our own good, of course

Okay, so, government can’t protect us from terrorists, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, mortgage companies, illegal aliens, inside traders, greedy health care profit-seekers, drunk drivers, pollution, high gas prices, high food prices, illiteracy, teenage sex, online gambling, election fraud, OPEC, creationism, cheap foreign labor, prostitutes, Canadian television, music downloaders, or Wal-Mart, but at least we can know that in some part of the country, the government is doing its best to crack down on vendors selling…


If we’d had televised debates in 1789

After watching the laughable mockery that has been the last few Presidential “debates,” I have come to the conclusion that this country may not even have gotten started had they been around back then. Here is a hypothetical excerpt from the ABC Presidential Debates of 1789:

(Much of the text for Washington here comes from his first annual message to Congress, 8 January 1790)

ABC News: Decision 1789

Moderators: Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos

CG: Mr. Washington, we’ll begin with your opening remarks.

GW: Thank you. A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies. The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable will be entitled–

CG: I’m sorry to cut you off there, Mr. Washington, but I feel you should answer a burning issue of great importance to the people: Are your teeth wooden or not?

GW: What?

CG: Your teeth, sir. We need a response to the rumors that your teeth are wooden.

GW: Well, I don’t see how that’s a “burning issue of great importance,” but if you must know, they’re not wooden at all. They’re ivory. Anyway, returning to my remarks, the interests of the United States require that our intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by such provisions as–

CG: Sir, will you please stop evading?

GW: How am I being evasive?

CG: We want you to respond to the core of the issue: is your refusal to wear wooden teeth a slap in the face of the logging workers?

GW: What? Why would it be? They’re just teeth.

CG: Sir, we need to know–

GW: I don’t know what good wooden teeth would be, anyway. Wouldn’t they rot?

(Continued beneath the fold.)

Continue reading

Battered Voter Syndrome

First of all, I want you to know that I love you. You are a good and dear friend, and I am saying this to you because I care about you greatly, and I don’t like seeing you get hurt. I certainly don’t like to see you be used and abused the way you have been.

Year after year he has made the same promises, and swears to you that he has changed, and year after year you believe him. Thinking that this time it really is going to be different, you go back to the same Party and vote for the same kind of politician. You want to believe that he has changed; you need to believe that he has changed, and you want to give him just one more chance. I understand. I really do.

But there comes a time when one has to admit that no change is coming. How many broken promises, how many excuses, how many lies does he have to tell you before you realize that you need to get out of this relationship?

Do you remember when he said, “Government is not the solution, it is the problem”? Do you remember when he said, “The era of big government is over”? What happened since then?

This year, your Party has had at least one candidate (or another, or another) who actually lives up to the promises your Party has made. They have promised an immediate end to the war, real tax cuts, constitutional principles, and government out of our lives. But your Party abused them every bit as much as he abused you. He marginalized them, made fun of them, even lied about them–all to make sure that they never had any real chance of being elected, all the while telling you that he can change, he wants to change, just give him a chance. Well, face it, my friend–he just had his chance. It’s time to leave him.

I warn you: he’s going to tell you the same thing he always has. He’s going to say he needs your help, that you should work with him to affect change, that if you leave you’re wasting your vote, that if you don’t support him then someone even worse will come along. When he says these things to you, remember that he has said all of this to you before. Every single word. There is no difference at all.

It’s time to leave him. It’s time to come to a party where you are truly loved. Many of us were once in your situation, and we are here with open arms. I can’t promise that we’ll agree with everything you want, nor can I promise that you’ll come to agree with everything we stand for. But if you’ve been staying with him, hoping that his promises of lower taxes, lower deficits, smaller government, and greater liberty will pan out, then I can promise you that here you’ll find people who truly want this.

We are the Libertarian Party.

I’m sure we’ll have our disagreements. I’m sure we’ll have our arguments. But at least with us, you know we can be relied upon. And if you think we want to go too far, well, help us along for as much as you think is right, and then depart from us. We’ll shake your hand and thank you for all you’ve done. We’ll never abuse you the way he has done. And who knows? When the time comes, you may just decide you want to stay with us awhile longer.

I can promise one thing: your vote will never be wasted. By joining us, you will have shed off the horse-race mentality that his abuse has forced you to have. You will no longer feel you have to vote for the winner, no matter how horrible he has been to you. You will no longer feel dirty afterward, wanting to wash off the stink, but feeling you had no other alternative. I cannot describe the wonderful feeling of voting your conscience; that is something you can only experience for yourself. But I can promise you that it will feel very good, and you will realize that what he told you about wasting your vote is a complete lie. In reality, you have been wasting your vote all along, by continually voting for pretty lies and platitudes that only result in more of the problems you want to get rid of. Make no mistake: even if the Libertarian candidate doesn’t win, your vote will have made a difference.

Look at how desperate he will be to keep your vote. He will keep telling you that this year, it’s different. This year, there’s a lot more on the line. This year, there’s just too much at stake, and if you abandon him now at this most critical time, the consequences will be dire. Remember that he has told you this exact same thing every other election year as well. Why do you think he has been so desperate to keep your vote? Do you really think he was telling you this for your own good, given how much he has abused you?

The truth is, he’s afraid. Because he knows that if you and your fellow battered voters leave him, then he’ll be powerless. He’ll no longer be able to manipulate you and control your life. He’ll no longer be able to force you to give up part of your paycheck, to force his way into your home to make sure you’re living your life the way he thinks you should, to force you into foreign entanglements that only endanger you and those around you.

Just look at how he complains about you behind your back. To others,
you are the one to blame; it’s your fault for how badly his Party is
going. No one should need any more proof of duplicity than this.

The time has come. Come to those who welcome you and your ideas. Come to the Libertarian Party.