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.