Libertarian Party of Texas Poised for Largest State Convention in its History

1535541_10152009311404079_391973742_nAUSTIN, Texas, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — With Generation Liberty! as its theme, the Libertarian Party of Texas will host its 2014 state convention April 11-13 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center in Temple.

The party will nominate candidates for statewide office and elect new state party officers. The convention will feature an exciting lineup of speakers and events supporting Libertarian goals of peace, liberty and justice for all.

While national trends show declining party registration for Republicans and Democrats, since November 2012 the Libertarian Party has shown 11.4 percent growth (Ballot Access News).

The Libertarian Party of Texas has enjoyed growth as well. “Our growth has come from a wide variety of Texans, but we especially see interest among young people,” reports Patrick Dixon, Chair, Libertarian Party of Texas. “I am very encouraged to see future generations of Libertarians getting involved.”

The Libertarian State Convention will see over 200 delegates, with 25 candidates seeking nomination for 15 offices, and, what is tracking to be the largest number of non-delegates, in attendance.

Friday events are free and open to the public while Saturday and Sunday includes meal and speaker events that require registration.

With a 1 p.m. kick-off, Friday’s first session will provide important training for delegates to learn mechanics of the procedures observed during convention business sessions. A 3:30 p.m. “Come and Take It” rally in the Mayborn Center parking lot will feature speakers including C.J. Grisham discussing the importance of defending Second Amendment rights. Candidate debates for statewide offices are scheduled from 6 – 9 p.m.

Saturday business sessions will address state rules and nominations while break-out sessions will address topics like, “The Libertarian Message and Drugs, Data and the Dominatrix: Civil Liberties in Texas.”

Saturday’s lunch will feature Students for Liberty (SFL) founder Alexander McCobin discussing how the young generation can carry the Libertarian message.

The dinner banquet will include speakers Wes Benedict, Michael Cloud and Ben Swann. Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, and Cloud, president and co-founder of the Center For Small Government, will talk on effectively spreading the party’s message. Swann, a broadcast news journalist known for creating “Reality Check” and his own media company, the Truth in Media Project, will deliver the keynote address.

On Sunday, 2013 SFL Student of the Year award winner, Noelle Mandell will discuss why young people matter and how Libertarians can work to attract/engage the next generation, and will also facilitate a hands-on exercise in activism.

A Sunday break-out session, “Free Beer: Liberating our favorite libations,” will highlight the challenges of small business owners in a highly regulated environment while lunch speakers will discuss “Bitcoin, Banks and Bailouts: How do Bitcoin, the Federal Reserve System, and crony capitalism affect the economy.”

Full convention schedule:
https://www.lptexas.org/2014-schedule

Registration information:
https://www.lptexas.org/convention-registration

Saving Civilization Means Killing Equality

If a famine befell us and you couldn’t save everyone, would you withhold the food you had and let every citizen starve rather than endure the inequality of just saving some? If recent history is any guide, certain leftists just might say yes.

A good example of this phenomenon involved a multiple sclerosis patient in Gothenburg, Sweden, who was denied a more effective and expensive medication — even though he was willing to pay for it — because, wrote columnist Walter Williams in 2009, “bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.” No wonder Winston Churchill said that socialism’s “inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

And another example just reared its ugly head in Plymouth, Michigan, where the locality’s high school is tearing down newly constructed bleachers in deference to the equality police. MyFoxDetroit.com reports on the issue, writing:

A new set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys’ baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal.

A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard.

So what happened? Some unnamed malcontent lodged a complaint with the feral government, at which point U.S Education Department Office for Civil Rights overlords decreed that the seating must go. Ain’t equality grand?

Except that equality is simply a ruse. And think about it with respect to this issue:  the principle is that facilities “for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal,” but are boys’ and girls’ athletics equal? The striking contradiction in these male/female sports equality controversies is that calls for “equality” are deferred to within the context of the acceptance and promotion of an inherently unequal system. That is to say, if equality is the guiding principle here, why have separate leagues, teams and tours — protected from the best competition — for girls and women?

The solution, whether it’s the Plymouth situation or calls for equal prize money in tennis, is simple. If a lightweight boxer wants the purses the heavyweights get, he needs to fight and succeed in the heavyweight class; likewise, if feminists want what the boys/men have, they should try to compete in their arena. And I do advocate this: eliminate separate categories for women, and let the sexes compete together on a level playing field. After all, to echo what Lincoln said about laws, the best way to eliminate bad social policy is to enforce it strictly. If you believe in equality, practice it.

Live it.

And live with it.

And since the boys’ American high-school mile record is considerably faster than the women’s world record — and since this gap appears, with some variation, across sports — my proposal would provide some necessary “policy clarification.”

The education department’s decree is also an attack on charity. The message is that pursuing good works just might be a waste of time because, inevitably, they’ll conflict with some government regulation or mandate. It’s in addition a quasi-Marxist assault on the market. After all, the Plymouth community’s interest in building new baseball bleachers was no doubt driven by there being greater fan turnout for the boys’ games. And the market renders such verdicts all the time. It’s said that female fashion models earn three times what their male counterparts do, bars may offer women free drinks or entry without a cover charge, and no one troubles over women-only health clubs. It’s only when market determinations seem to benefit boys or men that the equality ruse is trotted out.

The truth is that equality dogma is a fiction of modern times. As for the timeless, the word “equality” appears in only 21 biblical verses, mostly referring to matters such as weights and measures. There’s good reason for this, and don’t blame it on the supposed “backwardness” of religion because a devout evolutionist would have to be the staunchest believer in hierarchies born of natural inequality. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out, “[I]f they [people] were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal.” Look around you at the world of nature and man, which, if the evolutionists are correct, are certainly one and the same. How much equality do you see? Rams butt heads, and one ram wins and the other loses; wolves have alphas and one male lion dominates and leads a pride. Then, there are 3.1 billion possible combinations when a couple has a child. And, oh, what combinations they can be. How many of us can play golf like Tiger Woods, defy gravity and shoot baskets like Michael Jordan or compose music at four years of age as did Mozart? People have greatly varying IQs, physical capabilities, personalities, inclinations toward virtue and gifts. Equality is a pipe dream.

This variation exists among groups, too. Ashkenazi Jews have the world’s highest average IQ, while Asians enjoy that status insofar as major groups go. And disease and conditions have no regard for equality, either: the Pima Indians have the highest rate of diabetes on Earth, breast cancer afflicts mainly women, the incidence of Tay-Sachs disease is highest among Jews, black men suffer from prostate cancer at twice the rate whites do, while sickle-cell anemia is found almost exclusively among blacks. I guess reality is “racist.”

Reality is actually this: it’s completely illogical and contradictory for a person to claim on one hand that he believes in classical, cosmic-accident evolution, but on the other that all groups somehow, quite accidentally, wound up the same in capacity, inclination and worldly abilities. After all, since evolution holds that groups lived and developed separately for millions of years — subject to different environments, stresses, adaptive requirements and to the luck of the draw — their winding up “equal” was, for all intents and purposes, a mathematical impossibility.

Earlier evolutionists recognized and accepted this reality, mind you, and in fact became eugenicists. Note here that the term “eugenics” was coined by Charles Darwin’s cousin Sir Francis Galton. Also note that the concept greatly predates the term: Greek philosopher Plato advocated murdering weak children, and the Spartans had actually done it.

This doesn’t mean I embrace eugenics or classical evolution (my views on the latter are found here). The point is that whether you believe we’re accidentally different or that, as St. Therese learned, there are even divinely ordained hierarchies in Heaven, equality is certainly not a thing of this world.

This helps explain why entities prescribing “equality” — such as the early French republic and all the Marxist killing-field regimes — become the worst tyrannies. Since equality is wholly unnatural, its mullahs must violate man’s nature, must trump it and twist it, in an effort to pound their sinister square peg into the round hole of reality. And woe betide he who defies their self-deified will.

Cries for equality are today the second-to-last refuge of a scoundrel (shouts of “racism” are the absolute last). Contrary to what Churchill said, however, they don’t actually visit upon us an equal sharing of misery. Rather, the pigs more equal than others will dispense the ever-diminishing pork to the peons, as they feed at the trough of modern man’s sloth, envy and error.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Josephou. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Selling Envy: How governments promote the worst in us to redistribute wealth by TERREE P. SUMMER

The current fuss over inequality has a classic feel to it. For one thing, it’s one of the oldest plays in the Progressive playbook. But it’s a well-established maneuver for governments everywhere. The idea is to appeal to the age-old feelings of envy and guilt that arise in virtually every person: Why should some have more than others? Is it fair that some people or whole countries have greater wealth and higher incomes while others struggle?

History is rife with examples of politician-induced envy in order to attempt to justify redistribution. Those who fomented the Russian revolution in the early twentieth century tempted the proletariat with the property of the affluent. Hitler enticed the populace toward envy of the Jews, many of whom were economically successful in Europe, to help construct his national socialist empire. Miquel Faria, in his book,Cuba in Revolution: Escape from a Lost Paradise, states, “As in all socialist systems, Castro uses envy, class hatred, and class warfare.” Much the same has been true of Peronist Argentina.

It pits us against each other, letting politicians leverage an instinctive reaction to gain power. It’s an effective tactic and the rhetoric of inequality remains an effective cover, which is why politicians still trot it out routinely. But the policies it perpetuates will end up impoverishing any country.

Wealth redistribution inevitably robs every person of their freedoms. Equality is never achieved; the wealth is mostly shifted to those currently in power, who administer and derive political support from redistributive programs. The masses remain impoverished, and those in power remain, for as long as they can, the supposed champions of those masses, struggling for a fair redistribution.

This process was diagnosed some time ago by Helmut Schoeck, in his 1966 book Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior. According to Schoeck, “The revolutionary movements in South American republics, Bolshevism in Russia, the resentful Populists in the United States (today the Progressives), all were supported by those circles who would clearly be the first to take a malicious delight in the levelling of society. But without exception, and sometimes in the course of a few decades, the new ruling caste has become a bourgeoisie or a plutocracy.” Inevitably, those promulgating envy as a means to levelling, in the end become the same class they earlier despised.

History has shown us that the result of trying to enact income equality is that you achieve a society where all the citizens are poor together. Ludwig von Mises, in Socialism, wrote,

Most people who demand the greatest possible equality of incomes do not realize that what they desire would only be achieved by sacrificing other aims. They imagine that the sum of incomes will remain unchanged and that all they need to do is to distribute it more equally than it is distributed in the social order based on private property…. It must be clearly understood, however, that this idea rests on a grave error. It has been shown that, in whatever way one envisages the equalization of incomes this must always and necessarily lead to a very considerable reduction of the total national income and, thus, also, of the average income. For we have then to decide whether we are in favor of an equal distribution of income at a lower average income, or inequality of incomes at a higher average income. [emphasis added]

European countries moved toward socialism and levelling in a big way during the twentieth century, partially in order to decrease income equality in monarchies in which only a few had wealth and the rest lived in poverty. But what has been the result?

According to Richard Florida, co-founder and editor at large at The Atlantic Cities, “The U.S. accounts for about a third of all high-net-worth people (60,657), and Europe is home to 54,170.” The actual numbers are not starkly different. In 2012, 24 percent, or 120 million people, of the 500 million people in the European Union were listed as at risk of poverty. In the same year, the U.S. poverty rate (out of 318 million people) was 15 percent, roughly 46.5 million people. Socialist policies that attempt to level the economic playing field are repeatedly unsuccessful. As Winston Churchill stated, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy,” and “The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

A society that encourages envy in order to “level the playing field” for its citizens is a society that will implode from within. Oppressive government spending programs requiring high taxation and controls on individuals can lead to economic stagnation or even collapse. There is something particularly sordid about politicians who play on our envy. It is a game of power and control and it can lead people to justify using violence to take the property of others. Citizens of every country should learn to recognize whether politicians are manipulating them by playing on their envy. Only when we learn to aspire and admire those that are economically successful, and not be envious of them, will we see our economies flourish.

ABOUT TERREE P. SUMMER

Terree P. Summer is an economist and author specializing in healthcare and the federal budget. She is the author of What Has Government Done to Our Health Care? published by the Cato Institute (1992).

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Scaring the World about its Climate

Ever since the creation in 1988 of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it has engaged in the greatest hoax of modern times, releasing reports that predict climate-related catastrophes as if the climate has not been a completely natural and dynamic producer of events that affect our lives.

The IPCC was set up by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Program. It has enlisted thousands of scientists to contribute to its scare campaign, but as Joseph Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, noted in a recent Forbes article regarding the vast difference in the assertions of the IPCC scientists and those of its puckishly named Non Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), “What is a non-scientist to make of these dueling reports? Indeed, what is a scientist to make of this?”

“Very few scientists are familiar with biology, geology, physics, oceanography, engineering, medicine, economics, and scores of other more specialized disciplines that were the basis of the claims…” The IPCC has depended on the ignorance of those scientists outside their particular disciplines and recruited them to be involved in the UN hoax. The rest of us look to them to provide guidance regarding issues involving the climate and, as a result, have been deliberately deceived.

Climate Change ReconsideredThe NIPCC, anticipating the latest IPCC addition to its climate scare campaign, has just issued a new addition to its “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports. The first volume was 850 pages long and the latest is more than 1,000 pages. It represents the findings of scores of scientists from around the world and thousands of peer-reviewed studies. At this point they represent some twenty nations.

I have been an advisor to The Heartland Institute for many years and have been exposing the climate change lies since the late 1980s. A science writer, I have benefited from the work of men like atmospheric physicist, S. Fred Singer, a founder of the NPCC who has overseen five reports debunking the IPCC since 2003.

The Heartland Institute has sponsored nine international conferences that have brought together many scientists and others in an effort to debunk the UN’s climate scare campaign.

I have always depended on the common sense of people to understand that humans have nothing to do with the climate except to endure and enjoy it. We don’t create it or influence it.

The global warming campaign is based on the Big Lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) traps the Sun’s heat and warms the Earth, but the fairly miniscule amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (0.038%) does not do that in a fashion that poses any threat. Indeed, it is the Sun that determines the Earth’s climate, depending where you happen to be on the Earth. Next to oxygen, CO2 is vital to all life on Earth as it is the “food” on which all vegetation depends. More CO2 is good. Less is not so good.

The IPCC has depended in part on the print and broadcast media to spread its Big Lie. It also depends on world leaders, few of whom have any background or serious knowledge of atmospheric science, to impose policies based on the Big Lie. These policies target the use of “fossil fuels”, oil, coal and natural gas, urging a reduction of their use. The world, however, utterly depends on them and, in addition to existing reserves, new reserves are found every year.

One reason the IPCC has been in a growing state of panic is a new, completely natural cooling cycle based on a reduction of solar radiation. As James M. Taylor, the managing editor of Heartland’s “Environment & Climate News”, pointed out recently, “Winter temperatures in the contiguous United States declined by more than a full degree Celsius (more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the past twenty years.” He was citing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. “The data contradicts assertions that human induced global warming is causing a rise in winter temperatures.”

In addition to the recent extremely cold winter, there have been others in 2000-2001 and 2009-2010. There will be more.

The IPCC report is full of claims about global warming, now called “climate change” since the world is obviously not warming. In March, Taylor rebutted an IPCC claim that crop production is falling, noting that global corn, rice, and wheat production have more than tripled since 1970. In recent years, the U.S. has set records for alfalfa, cotton, beans, sugar beets, canola, corn, flaxseed, hops, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugarcane, sunflowers, peanuts, and wheat, to name just a few.

The Earth would benefit from more, not less, CO2 emissions, but the Obama administration has been engaged in imposing hundreds of new regulations aimed at reductions. It targets the development and expansion of our energy sector. The President has repeated the lies in his State of the Union speeches and we have a Secretary of State, John Kerry, who insists that climate change is the greatest threat to mankind and not the increase of nuclear weapons.

Every one of the Earth’s seven billion population are being subjected to the UN’s campaign of lies and every one of us needs to do whatever we can to bring about an end to the United Nations and reject the IPCC’s claims.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED STORY: EPA Tested Deadly Pollutants on Humans to Push Obama Admin’s Agenda

Rothbard’s Remedy: Less government means faster healing, says new study by DOUGLAS FRENCH

Economic theories don’t lend themselves to laboratory testing, so the work of a national appraisal firm is especially enlightening. A new study lends support to the Austrian business cycle theory, which says that the less government is involved, the faster a market will recover.

Pro Teck Valuation Services has posted a report comparing housing-market rebounds in cities with “non-judicial” foreclosure processes with those with “judicial” ones. In other words, they compare states in which the government meddles less in foreclosure with states that meddle more.

Pro Teck found that of 30 metropolitan housing markets in non-judicial states, housing markets corrected sooner and prices have rebounded more quickly than in states with more government involvement. Could Murray Rothbard have been correct that markets clean up clusters of malinvestment?

Pro Teck chief executive Tom O’Grady told The Los Angeles Times, “When we looked closer” at rebound performances state by state, “we observed that nonjudicial states bottomed out sooner”—typically between 2009 and 2011—”versus 2011 to 2012 for judicial states, and have seen greater appreciation since the bottom,” typically 50 percent to 80 percent compared with just 10 percent to 45 percent for judicial states.

“Our hypothesis,” he added, “is that nonjudicial states have been able to work through the foreclosure [glut] faster, allowing them to get back into a non-distressed housing market sooner, and are therefore seeing greater appreciation.”

In October, the top 10 metro areas Pro Teck studies were in non-judicial California. At the bottom were cities in Illinois and Florida, both judicial states. “Unlike California, which tore off the foreclosure Band-Aid quickly, Florida and Illinois have been slowly peeling it away,” the Pro Teck authors explain. “In these states there are still high ratios of foreclosure sales and hefty foreclosure discounts, which in turn are limiting any real recovery. Because of this, all of our bottom ten metros are in Florida or Illinois.”

The top 10 metro areas had less than four months of inventory for sale and averaged more than 20 percent year-over-year appreciation. A key statistic in Pro Teck’s analysis is the ratio of foreclosure sales to total sales. In all of these markets it was under 10 percent. In the view of Pro Teck’s experts, “Supply-demand market fundamentals have returned, which should lead to a sustainable recovery.”

In slow-moving judicial states, foreclosures are still 25 to 50 percent of sales, and unsold inventory remains high, at a five- to 10-month supply.

In the same vein that judges believe they facilitate orderly housing markets in judicial states, Ph.D.s and bureaucrats believe problems with the economy (inadequate aggregate demand) can be fixed with the proper committee-determined interest rate and the use of government force to keep businesses alive or keep certain prices in place.

The Austrian school is unique in recognizing that the real problem is the unsustainable boom. The eventual bust is really the economy’s required healing. Central bank interest-rate manipulation directs capital into high-order capital goods. These low interest rates make these projects appear economically sound, when in fact these projects are malinvestments.

The “cluster of entrepreneurial errors,” as Rothbard termed these malinvestments, is the result of central bank credit expansion driving rates below the natural rate of interest that would be set by individual time preferences.

As bad as what central banks and government policies do to incite the boom that creates the malinvestments, they compound the problem by not allowing the market to heal after the bust.

The financial press appears confounded by the continued lackluster recovery. Five years have passed and trillions of government dollars have been spent since the financial crash. Unemployment is still high, as is the use of food stamps. However, keeping assets in the hands of failed managers with a boom-time cost basis is a sure way to prolong the stagnation.

In non-judicial states, home foreclosures proceed without the involvement of the court and the properties are transferred within months. In judicial foreclosure jurisdictions (22 states), post-default proceedings involve court intervention with specific courted-ordered steps that can take up to two and three years to complete.

In non-judicial states requirements to foreclose are established by state statute. When the borrower defaults, the lender sends a default letter and in many states a notice of default is recorded in public records at the same time. There is a prescribed period for the borrower to cure the default. If the default is not paid, a notice of sale is mailed to the borrower, posted in public places, and recorded at the county recorder’s office. After the notice period has expired, a public auction takes place and the property is sold to the highest bidder.

A judicial foreclosure starts with the lender filing a complaint with the court asking for approval to foreclose its lien and take possession of the property as a remedy for non-payment. The borrower is provided notice of the compliant and is permitted to dispute the facts by answering the complaint.

In most cases there is no dispute, but the court must still issue a judgment in favor of the lender or servicer. The court then authorizes a sheriff’s sale and property is sold to the highest bidder. Lenders’ credit bids (usually the amount owed) are typically the highest and the lenders become owners of the property.

timeline provided by the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates that the average judicial foreclosure process lasts 480 to 700 days, with the homeowner/borrower remaining in the home as many as 400 days.

New York, a judicial state, has the longest foreclosure timeline at 1,049 days. Texas, a non-judicial state, has the shortest timeline of 159 days.

Rothbard pointed out in Man, Economy and State that if the government interferes at all in the cleansing process of the depression, it will only prolong it. “The more these readjustments are delayed,” Rothbard explained, “the longer the depression will have to last, and the longer complete recovery is postponed.”

James Grant pointed out recently in The Wall Street Journal the result of government tinkering with the economy versus letting it be. “The laissez-faire depression of 1920–21 was over and done within 18 months. The federally doctored depression of 1929–33 spanned 43 months.” He went on to write, “America’s economy is too complex to predict, much less to direct from on high.”

On a micro level Pro Teck’s comparison lends support to Austrian theory. Increased government intervention simply prolongs the agony. Less government means a quicker recovery.

ABOUT DOUGLAS FRENCH

Douglas E. French is senior editor of the Laissez Faire Club and the author of Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money, written under the direction of Murray Rothbard at UNLV, and The Failure of Common Knowledge, which takes on many common economic fallacies.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Today’s Totalitarianism

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FREEMAN April 2014 Edition.

When people go around armed with mobile phones and makeshift shields, what are the powers that be to do? Recent events in Venezuela and Ukraine suggest no status quo is safe when popular movements are networked and determined.

The trouble is, the world has not yet learned to be networked and determined as a permanent alternative to State control. After any revolution, a networked and determined people could be self-governing, though this rarely happens; revolutions remain as likely to usher in something not much better—maybe even worse—than what preceded them. Egypt is currently living out a version of this.

Most people still default to the idea that a more benevolent leviathan is going to make everything okay. And there are always would-be leviathans waiting in the wings. The hope that they’ll be less brutal is just that—hope. After regimes are toppled or swept aside, strongmen, puppet governments, or hostile neighbors are almost always well positioned to take and keep power. Problems return.

Further, when you strip off a dictator like removing a scab, what’s left underneath is often a factionalized people.

In the case of the Ukraine, it appears there’s a Russian-speaking faction that is sympathetic to Putin. There is a Ukrainian nationalist faction that is decidedly not into wearing any more totalitarian yokes, but that flirts with notions of ethnic purity, blood, and soil. There is yet another faction that fancies itself European and thinks the European superstate is the right umbrella. And on and on. Foreign powers may also have helped set a match to the tender—the United States, the EU, and Russia are all prime suspects.

In the case of Venezuela, however, the protests seem to have originated primarily among the young who are tired of shortages and suppressed freedoms that come from the Bolivarian state. CNN reports:

The weeks of protests across Venezuela mark the biggest threat President Nicolas Maduro has faced since his election last year. Demonstrators say they have taken to the streets to protest shortages of goods, high inflation and high crime.

Opposition protesters and government officials have traded blame for the violence for weeks.

The current Venezuelan leader argues that brutal suppression is justified; his charismatic predecessor, Hugo Chavez, thought the same thing. And in the mind of the State, it almost always is:

Think about what the U.S. government would do if a political group laid out a road map for overthrowing President Barack Obama, Maduro said.

“What would happen in the United States if a group said they were going to start something in the United States so that President Obama leaves, resigns, to change the constitutional government of the United States?” Maduro said. “Surely, the state would react, would use all the force that the law gives it to re-establish order and to put those who are against the Constitution where they belong.”

Surely it is a bizarro-world justification in which such regimes appeal to any Constitution in the same breath as President Obama, who thinks of the U.S. Constitution as quaint, brittle toilet tissue. But then again, Maduro is right that the U.S. government has all the power it needs to suppress any serious popular uprising—and, one expects, wouldn’t hesitate to use it.

What about states with determined but unconnected people? North Korea is still squirming along under a totalitarian thumb, as the portly Kim Jong Un takes leads from his father and grandfather, whose advice can be summed up in the dictators’ dictum: “A weak fist wipes away tears.” The highest echelon in Pyongyang reserves its fists for striking down and holding down its people—a determined, but sadly unconnected people. Thus the Hermit Kingdom could stay in penury and subjugation for many more years.

Wherever one lands on the continuum between pacificism and hostile interventionism, it is difficult not to let one’s feelings for oppressed people guide his thoughts away from either pragmatism or principle. And yet we must take care: Meddling in foreign affairs rarely ends up in any sort of postwar stability, liberation, or liberalization. It’s frustrating to see Putin get away with it. And we certainly wouldn’t want to live next to such a regime. But the simple fact that the United States could bomb or sanction Russia into even more suffering by no means guarantees a positive outcome if the United States does. The last 40 years of American military misadventures demonstrate that.

A couple of our readers challenged our publishing sentiments with respect to Ukraine. For example, we lent our pages to an anonymous Ukrainian journalist early on, when few outlets were reporting much of anything at all. Indeed, we got this story out relatively early. While we stand by any peoples longing to be free, we remain uncertain about the extent to which foreign meddlers were involved in the uprising, much less whether such meddling was warranted.

In any case, if The Freeman takes any position on matters like these, we side with peoples against illiberal States, realizing all the while that self-determination can be an imperfect process carried out in a world of opportunistic state actors and Hobbesian calculi. And of course we hope that determined and connected people can learn to do more than throw off power. We hope that someday, they can keep it and lock it away from the totalitarians forever.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of FFE and Shutterstock.

Florida: 5,000 Legal Students To Lose Their Dream

In a report released by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) the impact of providing College Tuition Subsidy for Illegal Aliens (HB851/SB1400, a.k.a. in-state tuition) will be that approximately 5,000 legal students will be displaced in Florida higher level institutions by illegal alien students.  These legislators are unwilling to raise taxes for the additional illegal alien students by expanding capacity so legal students will consequently be displaced.

While Democrats have consistently supported college tuition subsidy for illegal aliens only recently has Republican Leadership supported the measure.  The impetus for Republicans to support the benefit seems to be a distorted belief that Governor Rick Scott’s sagging poll numbers will be bolstered.

While the number of displaced legal students and fiscal cost vary slightly between HB851 and SB1400 the estimates are similar:

  • HB851 will displace of 5,026 legal students
  • SB1400 will displace 5,175 legal students
  • The fiscal cost of HB851 is estimated at $21.7 million.
  •  The fiscal cost of SB1400 is estimated at $22.7 million.    

The full report is available at:

http://www.flimen.org/images/HB851-SB1400%20Cost%20Estimate.pdf

RELATED STORY: Florida House: Resident In-state Tuition for Illegal Aliens passes by vote of 81-33! Did they read the bill?

Obama’s War on America is His Top Priority

We all know that the “sanctions” Obama has placed on a few of Putin’s pals thus far and those Obama wants the European Union to impose will have no effect whatever on Putin’s decision to annex the Crimea from Ukraine.

One of Obama’s solutions to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty includes giving it a billion dollars because Russia has raised the price of the natural gas it sells to the Ukraine. This means Putin just made a billion while reacquiring Crimea.

One way to bring Russia to its knees would be for Obama–if he could–to impose the same things he is doing in America on the Russian Federation:

  • Require Russia to adopt Obamacare.
  • Ban the mining and use of coal in Russia.
  • Do not allow any drilling on Russian publicly-held land.
  • Redefine the Russian work week to 30 hours.
  • Raise the Russian minimum wage.
  • Mandate overtime pay for Russian government workers.
  • Demand that Russia pay welfare benefits to its illegal immigrants.
  • Require Russia to enact the same regulations as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Increase the Russian national debt by $6 trillion dollars.
  • Require Russia to reduce all elements of its military force and capabilities by reductions to its military budget.

These policies since 2009 have weakened the United States and, if applied to Russia, they would have the same effect. It’s bad enough what Obama has done and is doing to the U.S., but neither we nor the rest of the world would be better off with a weak Russia. Its economy is too tied into the world’s.

Putin insists that it was the West led by the U.S. that resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 after seventy years of communist rule, but it was Communism that brought it to its knees. The other element was a decline in the prices of oil and natural gas–still the primary source of income for the Russian Federation—that undermined its economy.

While a panoply of experts keeps talking about the prospect of Russia aggression toward its former satellite nations in Eastern Europe, the simple fact is that Putin’s reacquisition of the Crimea just added to Russia’s financial pressures. He can barely afford Crimea. All the hand-wringing about its annexation ignores the fact that it was part of Russia for hundreds of years.

Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, recently spelled out Russia’s economic woes in a Wall Street Journal commentary titled “Putin’s Potemkin Economy.”

“Mr. Putin’s real power base, the economy, is crumbling,” says Sharma. “Russia’s economic growth rate has plummeted from the 7% average annual pace of the last decade to 1.3% last year,” adding that “the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has been fighting to prevent a ruble collapse since the Crimean crisis began.”

Does that sound like a Russia that wants to invade its neighbors at this time?

“The result,” says Sharma, “is that the Russian state has few new sources of income outside of oil and gas, at a time when it is taking on more dependents” in Crimea. As for the rest of the Ukraine population, it’s only the younger generation that did not grow up under the oppression of the former Soviet Russia that thinks giving up its sovereignty is a good idea. Ukrainians with a memory of the pre-1991 days know better.

Europe, much of which depends on Russian gas, will be in no hurry to punish Russia beyond a few relatively meaningless sanctions. It’s all a charade.

It’s true that Europe went to war twice for far less reason than the Crimean annexation, but its present leaders have no wish to repeat that error for all the talk about international law.

What is being debated now is whether Putin will, for whatever reason, invade Ukraine. Only Putin knows that and the decision would be a bad one for him and everyone else.

As we strive to survive Obama’s war on the U.S. economy and the current havoc resulting from Obamacare, it is doubtful that even Obama has any inclination to see Russia collapse and could not reverse the Crimean situation even if he cared about it.

He doesn’t seem to care about what he’s doing to the rest of us so it’s the war at home which we have to survive.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

A Liberal Dose of Intolerance

Our nation is about to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the assassination of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1968). He gave his life so that we could fully participate in all that America has to offer.

Since his death, America has made major strides towards freedom and equality for all. Blacks no longer face the same degree of racial hostility and hatred from Whites like in the days of old. To that end, Dr. King’s death was not in vain.

But within the Black community, I can no longer say with confidence that Dr. King’s death was not in vain. Many believe that Dr. King’s strong opposition to the Vietnam War was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. We have gone from the Vietnam War to the war of words. The Vietnam War killed many thousands of Americans, but the war of words are destroying the very soul of a people.

Rappers are calling our women bitches and hos. Our athletes and entertainers rarely take a principled stand on any relevant issues affecting our community. Many of our own movies do nothing but show the worst in us.

We justify this behavior with the mantra of “I have a right to do whatever.” Well, along with your right comes a responsibility, a responsibility to show our community that through the sacrifice of Dr. King, we have become the embodiment of his dream.

But, it wasn’t his dream alone. The dream was fueled by the likes of Fannie Lou Hamer, Claudette Colvin, and Rosa Parks. The dream was bankrolled by the likes of Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Jim Brown, and John Johnson.

Johnson died at the ripe old age of 87 in 2005. But his legacy lives on through his two flagship publications, Jet and Ebony magazines. From their beginnings, these magazines showcased the best in Black America.

That’s why it pains me that one of their current employees has brought so much shame and disgrace to the legacy of Johnson.

Jamilah Lemieux, Senior Editor for Ebony magazine brought so much shame to this prestigious publication that Johnson has to be turning over in his grave. Based on her behavior, it is quite obvious that Lemieux has absolutely no understanding or appreciation for the sacrifice that Johnson made to build his media empire, Johnson Publishing Company. The ironic thing is that she is from Chicago, which is where Johnson Publishing Company is headquartered; and she attended Howard University, which has a building and a program named after Johnson (The John H. Johnson School of Communications).

Obtaining a college degree does not mean you are educated, it simply means you passed certain courses. Being educated is indicated by an ability to engage in critical thinking and conversation; Lemieux has proven that she is quite incapable of engaging in either.

Last week she was engaged in a twitter conversation about a new conservative magazine, American CurrencySee, that is being headed up by neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson and Armstrong Williams. I am also one of their columnists.

In her twitter feed she begins to cast aspersions at Dr. Carson. My friend and colleague in the battle for the heart and soul of the Black community, Raffi Williams, sent her a tweet suggesting that she get to know about Dr. Carson’s life, which she stated in no uncertain terms, “I 100% do not want to know more. I wish I knew less!” In referring to Raffi, she continues, “Oh great, here comes a White dude telling me how to do this Black thing. Pass.” I have known Raffi for many years and I know for a fact certain he has been Black most of his life.

Furthermore, his race should have had nothing to do with her response to his suggestion of valuing diversity of thought. Isn’t that central to the whole notion of being educated? Obviously, she failed that course.

You can google Lemieux to read the complete twitter exchange.

Isn’t it amazing that Dr. King died because of racism and now people like Lemieux have become the very thing that King fought against?

Blacks like Lemieux are totally incapable of displaying any intellectual scholarship and engaging in a vibrant give-and-take with Raffi, a rising star in the Republican Party.

Two weeks ago, liberals lost their minds over a statement Congressman Paul Ryan made about poverty. These same critics have yet to utter one word of support to Raffi and have not uttered one word of criticism to Lemieux.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, Melissa Perry, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, where are your denunciations of intolerance. The Human Rights Campaign, National Council of La Raza, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, could I just one time hear your voice filled with righteous indignation over the intolerance that Blacks in the Republican Party face every day from liberals?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is of President Lyndon B. Johnson meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 6, 1965.

The State as a Metanarrative: How the postmodern critique can augment the libertarian one by Casey Given

Most people don’t see postmodernism and libertarianism as sharing much in common. After all, the former refers to a philosophical trend embraced by largely leftist academics over the past half-century, while the latter refers to a political ideology of limited government that many characterize as center-right, originating to a great degree in the Enlightenment. One would be hard pressed to find someone subscribing to both schools of thought.

But have libertarians too quickly dismissed postmodernism without critically examining the philosophy in depth? Some of its elements are compatible with libertarianism and can enhance the libertarian critique of the State.

What Is Postmodernism?

Libertarian stereotypes of postmodernism have a grain of truth. Foremost, postmodern philosophers are notoriously obscure in their writing. Trying to comprehensively understand the work of thinkers like Jacques Derrida or Judith Butler is extremely strenuous, leading many who undergo the task to abandon the project altogether. Such opacity is the unfortunate result of a French intellectual culture that emphasizes density over substance. As Michel Foucault famously remarked to the American philosopher John Searle, “In France, you gotta have ten percent incomprehensible, otherwise people won’t think it’s deep—they won’t think you’re a profound thinker.”

Furthermore, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact definition of postmodernism, since most so-called postmodern academics deny that they’re such. Derrida, Butler, and Foucault have all shunned the term at one point or another, despite their work being largely classified into the same school of thought. Adding to the confusion, historians have trouble distinguishing postmodernism from modernism, its supposed predecessor. As literary critic Andreas Huyssen once said, “One critic’s postmodernism is another critic’s modernism.”

But a comprehendible explanation of postmodernism does exist. The clearest definition probably comes from the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard, who wrote in 1979, “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives.”

As the word’s etymology implies, metanarratives are narratives about narratives, giving a grand structural story to human history. In plain English, they’re the tales we’ve been told all our lives about existence from various perspectives. Christianity’s metanarrative, for example, is that humans have been sinful since Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden, but there is hope for salvation in accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The Enlightenment’s metanarrative is that rational thought grounded in empiricism leads to human progress. Marxism’s metanarrative is that the history of the world has been one of class oppression, and a revolution of the proletariat is the only solution to end poverty, scarcity, and injustice.

Postmodernism, as Lyotard explains, is fundamentally defined by skepticism toward these metanarratives. The postmodernist examines, scrutinizes, or “deconstructs” such metanarratives (as Derrida would say), calling into question the premises behind metanarratives’ assumptions. Contrary to the common stereotype of postmodernism muddling philosophical thought, the underlying aim of the school of thought is ultimately to bring greater clarity to our complex world.

How Can Postmodernism Be Libertarian?

Much like various religions and philosophical schools, the government tells its own metanarratives to justify its purpose in exercising a monopoly on violence. Every citizen is familiar with the State’s metanarrative, especially if they’ve read a little Hobbes. Namely, the government monopolizes violence in order to prevent society from devolving into chaos.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren provides a contemporary example of this metanarrative in a 2012 speech that President Obama famously regurgitated later that year:

You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory—and hire someone to protect against this—because of the work the rest of us did.

A good postmodernist, therefore, would challenge this metanarrative, questioning Warren’s underlying assumptions about the State being a necessary force of protection and progress in a cruel, Hobbesian world.

Do roads have to be publicly funded, or do contemporary examples point to the possibility for large-scale networks of private thoroughfares? Does education have to be a function of the State, or would a truly free market provide schooling? Do police always serve to protect, or do they create more violence than peace? Would life truly be “nasty, brutish, and short” without the State, or can market coordination provide the peace and prosperity needed for individuals to flourish?

In this way, a postmodern outlook on politics could be a libertarian one, calling into question the government’s power structure, which has been thoroughly rationalized and accepted for centuries. While most left-leaning postmodernists may shudder at the thought (and libertarians for that matter), these two schools of thought can indeed be compatible.

Postmodernist Libertarianism?

A postmodern political outlook, however, would not simply reaffirm libertarians’ radical questioning of the State. Many postmodern philosophers like Foucault have pushed beyond this, toward analysis of society, in ways that can add meaningfully to traditional libertarian analysis.

Foucault, for instance, was interested not just in how the State directly regulated society through coercion, but also how indirect arms cultivated citizens to regulate themselves—what he coins “biopower.” According to Foucault, the State has “numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations” beyond the traditional institutions of coercion (like the police, the military, and the judicial system).

Hospitals, for instance, regulate a social norm of how to care for one’s own body. Mental institutions regulate what “normal” behavior is. Schools regulate what historical knowledge and political attitudes citizens should be taught.

As German sociologist Thomas Lemuke summarizes Foucault’s view, “What we observe today is not a diminishment or a reduction of state sovereignty and planning capacities but a displacement from formal to informal techniques of government and the appearance of new actors on the scene of government (e.g., NGOs) that indicate fundamental transformations in statehood and a new relation between state and civil society actors.” The government’s reach into civil society has become so broad through indirect means like grants, tax breaks, accreditation, and regulations that it is constantly creating and reinforcing norms of how a citizen should act—and, in turn, justifying itself as society’s protector.

What’s interesting about this analysis from a libertarian standpoint is that these indirect institutions of the State have so often been wrong throughout history. Hospitals once displayed posters of a Department of Agriculture-approved food pyramid that encouraged citizens to eat largely grains and less meat, only to replace it in 2005 because of nutritional concerns. Mental institutions once used severe shock treatment for a number of psychological ills such as depression. Public schools once showed their students public service announcements warning children of the danger of homosexuality.

The underlying point is that the State’s metanarratives allow it to exert control over the population. Even that point is something we can draw from postmodernism, though it’s not the only source of that insight. But the analysis—and even deconstruction—of metanarratives is postmodernism’s bread and butter. Libertarians can learn a thing or two from this. What’s more, it’s consistent with more familiar thinkers in our tradition, like F. A. Hayek, who saw government power as being at odds with a complex, emergent social order. (In fact, Foucault is believed to have developed an interest with Hayek’s work later in his life and encouraged students to read it.) Liberal economics and postmodern philosophy, then, can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Both call us to expose problems with the ways the State justifies its existence and perpetuates its own power.

ABOUT CASEY GIVEN

Casey Given is an editor and political commentator with Young Voices, a project aiming to promote millennials’ policy opinions in the media.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Massachusetts: Scott Lively upends LGBT gubernatorial candidate forum!

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. – George Orwell

Candidate Scott Lively shocked the politicians and audience at the Massachusetts LGBT gubernatorial debate. Doesn’t flinch from the truth! A lesson for the pro-family movement.

Pastor Scott Lively, an independent candidate for Governor of Massachusetts,  shocked the other politicians and audience members at a televised candidate forum on “LGBTQ issues” at the Boston Public Library on March 25. Rather than join in the pro-“gay” chorus, Lively described the truths about those behaviors from a medical, sociological, and biblical standpoint. It was a cold dose of common sense that few there had likely heard before.

The forum was held in the Boston Public Library on March 25. It was jointly sponsored by the homosexual lobby group MassEquality and the left-wing public television station WGBH. All of the declared candidates for Governor participated except the two Republicans, Charlie Baker and Mark Fisher.

Candidates for Governor (left to right): biotech executive Joe Avellone (D), former Medicare and Medicaid administrator Don Berwick (D), Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), health care executive Evan Falchuk (I), State Treasurer Steve Grossman (D), former Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem (D),Scott Lively (I), venture capitalist Jeff McCormick (I).

Pandering vs straight talk

All seven of the other candidates for Governor — both Democrats and Independents, including the current state Attorney General and Treasurer — enthusiastically voiced their support for the homosexual and transgender agendas  and their willingness to advance them in the state if elected.

For most people it’s particularly frightening to see the extent that many politicians are willing to bow to the radical homosexual and transgender movement without seemingly any second thoughts. Few pro-family people realize that.

But Lively told the group that as governor he “would ban LGBT propaganda to children.” Regarding laws supporting transgenderism he said, “It’s perfectly rational and reasonable to exercise discrimination on those grounds . . . We should be helping people to overcome this and not encourage those who persist in the delusion.”

Attorney General Martha Coakley (left) and Scott Lively.

Very hostile environment

The hostility during the event against Lively was fairly dramatic. The crowd of about 150 appeared to consist overwhelmingly of pro-homosexual supporters. There were also about 6-12 Lively supporters there. But just about every time he spoke he was interrupted by loud, rude noises from the audience, which the moderator made little effort to stop. It’s been observed that homosexual activists are emotionally much like 10-year-olds, and that was certainly evident there. (Even then, this was actually more orderly than other venues. At least the activists stayed in their seats this time!)

The audience entering the auditorium just before the forum begins.

In addition, the other candidates were visibly annoyed with Lively’s straight talk. At one point during the debate, Independent candidate Jeff McCormick, who spoke right after Lively, sneered at him and said, “I should win an award after this. Someone owes me a martini.”

But watching this was a clinic on how to fight back in a seemingly overwhelming situation. It wasn’t an easy venue for any pro-family politician. But Lively took it in stride. He did not take any of the hostile bait thrown at him, nor did he veer from his calm but forceful demeanor. This seemed to make his message all the more powerful.

Watch the video of the forum. (1 hr 25 min.) Just watching the first several minutes shows you all you need to see!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/K547pmAoz1I[/youtube]

A few of the questions and answers from the forum

Here is a sample of three of the questions, and how various candidates (and Lively) answered them.

Q. How do you plan to use your role as governor to make Massachusetts the best place for LGBTQ people to live? And how would you tout these initiatives across the country? And how would you use the governor’s office as the bully pulpit?

Joe Avellone. I’m going to have an LGBT Summit yearly to understand the evolving positions and create an LGBT agenda from the governor’s office that we will use in the Legislature to make sure that we keep advancing the agenda.

Attorney General Martha Coakley. We just passed the amendment to the bullying bill and we’ll make sure it’s implemented in the corner office to make sure that LGBTQ children get all the help they need to be good students and have a good future.

Evan Falachuk. The Mass LGBTQ Commission for Youth laid a pretty thorough agenda of items that need to be taken care of. As governor I’ll appoint an assistant secretary and someone who’s a program manager. You need someone in charge of quarterbacking to make that happen, and that will be a big part of my agenda.

Scott Lively. As governor I would ban LGBT propaganda to children. This is a law that I advocated for in Russia. They have found it to be successful for their society. There remains no objective proof that homosexuality is innate and unchangeable despite decades of effort which means that it is an acquired condition. We must assume that that’s true and if that assumption is true, then it is extraordinarily irresponsible to be treating our children as guinea pigs in a massive social experiment. They should be protected from the promotion of homosexuality as good, normal alternative choice for themselves.

Q. Do you support non-discrimination protection for transgender people in public places or accommodations? If so, how do you respond to arguments opposing these protections that provoke controversy and allege public safety issues?

Jeff McCormick. Absolutely I support that. It actually makes my skin crawl to understand how some people can take a segment of our population [and discriminate against it] . . . If I’m having a Catholic wedding or if I’m having a bar mitzvah, it doesn’t make sense to me how someone can selectively discriminate in our society at all. To me this is an absolute no-brainer.

Scott Lively. Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or nationality is completely irrational because those things are morally neutral. But sexual conduct is not morally neutral. And has serious public health, sociological, moral implications. Its perfectly rational and reasonable to exercise discrimination on those grounds. So all the arguments attempting to compare race with homosexuality and transgenderism are simply comparing apples and oranges. I think transgenderism is clearly self-evidently dysfunctional and this it is simply insanity for our society to be embracing it as a normal variant of human sexuality. We should be helping people to overcome this and not encourage those who persist in the delusion.

Juliette Kayyem. Absolutely I would support an inclusion of transgender. Let me be clear on the transgender issue. We can respect other view points, but we’re on the right side of history here. Anyone who has lived the last 20, 30, 40 years know that we are on the right side of history. There is only one way forward in Massachusetts, let alone the United States, and its going to be to include transgender, non-conforming gender, however you want to describe the anti-discrimination statute. We should be ahead of this and we are not.

Q. May 2014 is the ten year anniversary of marriage equality. Yet state data shows persistent disparities for LGBTQ youth, especially for LGBTQ youth of color and transgender youth. What do you see as the most urgent needs of this most vulnerable population and how will you measure your success as governor in addressing these disparities?

State Treasurer Steve Grossman. I’m very proud of the Governor who has $38 million in the budget for a variety of mental health services, many of which directly affect LGBT youth and homeless youth and I think that’s a budget that we can build on. Even during tough economic times we have to recognize that our most vulnerable populations need to be served on mental health and behavioral health need to be funded adequately.

Juliette Kayyem. I believe a lot of this can be addressed through focusing on kindness. The bullying that occurs against many students that are LGBTQ is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable as a legal matter. And as I told you earlier I brought the federal government’s first anti-bullying complaint against a school district. It was the football players against the cheerleaders — but it had a similar focus which was the schools, and the governments that give them money, have the responsibility to make sure its kids are kind to each other . . . I also think straight children of gay parents are also facing discrimination that we can address as well. It begins with focusing on kindness.

Scott Lively. Frankly I agree, that kindness is what the kids need most. I don’t think its kind to affirm a dysfunctional sexual identity, that our lives are fluid. If an adult decides they want to identify as a homosexual, bi-sexual, or transgender, that’s their choice. But we shouldn’t push that on the kids. We should assume that they have the ability to overcome that problem. I was a street kid myself and I knew a lot of people who were struggling with this. Most of them did not want to have a homosexual orientation and if they had had a chance to have counseling for that, they would have taken it. Regarding bullying, I don’t think that we should be having bullying policies that force all the kids to be pro-gay when we can solve the problem by teaching them to respect each other despite their differences.

Reaction from the liberal press

After the forum finished, most of the press in attendance — predictably biased against the pro-family viewpoint — nevertheless seemed to gather around Lively. If nothing else, he stood out as an independent thinker. The other candidates had generally repeated the same rather mindless pro-“gay” political pandering. As one newspaper reported, “Other than Lively, the candidates agreed on most issues.”

Lively being interviewed by reporter for Boston homosexual newspaper Rainbow Times.

Of all the media coverage, probably the fairest came from the Boston University newspaper, the Daily Free Press. It covered the event without noticeable bias.

On the other hand, the left-leaning Springfield Republican newspaper in Western Massachusetts was over-the-top in its bias and near-hysteria in its coverage.

The Springfield Republican newspaper’s flaming headline.

An important lesson for the pro-family movement

Many conservatives, including us, have stated repeatedly that the major factor for pro-family losses on these issues has been the almost universal reluctance of politicians and pro-family leaders to tell the truth. Instead, under pressure they usually sink into a mushy morass of political correctness and moral compromise (e.g., civil unions, “gay” adoptions). In our opinion, that’s how we lost the major gay-marriage court cases last year and it’s how we continue to lose in legislatures, in courtrooms, and in the public square.

Our people, and particularly our politicians, are deathly afraid of being called names or demeaned by the liberal establishment. It’s the road to hell.

Without the truth there are no weapons for a fight, only gradual capitulation. But telling the truth forcefully and fearlessly over and over again is the basis of victory over a movement that depends on lies and disinformation for its success.

It’s going to be an interesting political summer in Massachusetts.

In a video taken right after the forum ended, Scott Lively gives his reaction. (32 sec.)

[youtube]http://youtu.be/PyXEu6Oaaso[/youtube]

Power Play: Political influence of Florida’s top energy corporations

The nonpartisan government watchdog group Integrity Florida released a research report titled “Power Play: Political influence of Florida’s top energy corporations”.

The findings conclude that, increasingly, the Florida Legislature sets its agenda and policy outcomes based on the needs of large political donors rather than the public interest.  In one recent example, the sitting state senate president openly explained his position on a public policy issue as supporting whatever one major campaign donor tells him to support.  A large Budweiser distributor contributed nearly $300,000 to political candidates and committees aligned with Senate President Don Gaetz and had the edge on its smaller craft beer industry competitors.

A similar pattern exists for the energy sector in Florida where the Florida Legislature maintains a traditional, regulated monopoly-utility model.  This report examines the political influence of the state’s four largest electric utility companies: Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy (formerly Progress Energy), TECO Energy and Gulf Power.

These four corporations registered, on average, one lobbyist for every two state legislators each legislative session between 2007 and 2013.  For the last five election cycles, these electric utilities were among the largest donors to state-level campaigns in Florida.

In the same period of time, the policy wins for the four electric utilities included rate increases for customers, legislation that allows early cost recovery for nuclear facilities that have not been built, the defeat of a proposal that would have increased electric bill transparency and the removal of consumer-friendly state regulators who opposed two proposed rate hikes.

Summary of Research Findings

  1. Major campaign donations.  Electric utilities contributed more than $18 million to state-level candidates and party organizations between the 2004 and 2012 election cycles.
  2. Significant lobbying.  Lobbying spending by Florida’s four largest electric utilities was more than $12 million between 2007 and 2013.
  3. Revolving door and cronyism.  Electric utilities have made a point of hiring former state regulators and have employed the firms of several sitting state legislators.
  4. Higher electric bills for consumers.  Floridians have faced higher electric utility bills from each of the four corporations examined in this study in recent years.
  5. Anti-consumer regulations.  The Florida Legislature and the Florida Public Service Commission routinely side with electric utilities rather than consumers.

Summary of Policy Reform Recommendations

  1. Apply uniform ethics rules for legislators and local officials.  If local officials are banned from legislative lobbying, then apply the same rules to legislators lobbying local officials.
  2. Put inspector general reports online.  Inspector general investigative reports and audits should be posted online by the Florida Public Service Commission and all state and local agencies.
  3. Put gift and client disclosures made by all state and local officials online.
  4. Require additional disclosure for political donations from government vendors and companies regulated by the Public Service Commission.
  5. Establish electric bill transparency.  Unbundle bills with detailed disclosure of rate components.

ABOUT INTEGRITY FLORIDA

Integrity Florida is a nonpartisan research institute and government watchdog whose mission is to promote integrity in government and expose public corruption.  More information at www.IntegrityFlorida.org.

Anonymous: Operation American Spring, May 16, 2014

Operation American Spring will begin on May 16th 2014, in Washington DC.

MISSION: Restoration of Constitutional government, rule of law, freedom, liberty ”of the people, for the people, by the people” from despotic and tyrannical federal leadership.

ASSUMPTIONS: Millions of Americans will participate. American Veterans and Patriots are energized to end the tyranny, lawlessness, and shredding of the US Constitution Government is not the target, it is sound…Corrupt and criminal leadership must be removed.

Field millions, as many as ten million Patriots Who will assemble in a non-violent, physically unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed) display of unswerving loyalty to the US Constitution. Go full-bore, no looking back, steadfast in the mission!

We are asking, pleading with you, and any others that have resources, national voices, email lists, blogs, FB, Twitter. To call for a non-violent American Spring on May 16, 2014 in Washington D.C.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/EMim-LMCPz4[/youtube]

To learn more go to:  Operation American Spring.

RELATED COLUMN: Americans rising up against government – USA Today

Common Core the Movie: “Building the Machine”

In the documentary, both proponents and opponents will present their perspectives so that you can draw your own conclusions on this important educational issue. To learn more visit: http://www.commoncoremovie.com.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/zjxBClx01jc[/youtube]

 

EDITORS NOTE: A leaked email from the deputy executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the nonprofits that developed and owns the copyrights to the Common Core standards, indicates the group is mobilizing Common Core supporters in the face of the release of a documentary film from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) on Monday….

Missouri Education Watchdog provided the text of the email from Carissa Moffat Miller of CCSSO, the subject of which is “Anti Common Core Movie, embargoed materials.”

Many of you are likely aware of an anti-common core movie slated to be released in a few days. The Home School Legal Defense Association, a Virginia-based organization opposed to the Common Core, has produced a film called “Building the Machine.” The film’s anticipated online release date (which has changed several times), is currently set for March 31, 2014. The film implies that the Common Core was created through politics, misinformation and corruption. Using stark graphics and ominous music, the film features interviews with Common Core opponents arguing against the standards’ development and implementation—interspersed with misleading snippets of interviews from Common Core supporters…

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fordham have put together the attached two documents that can be used to clarify the vast amount of misinformation that will be circulated as a result of the movie. Please note – these are EMBARGOED until Monday, March 31st. Please do not distribute.

Democrats Being Democrats

Having begun my career as a lobbyist under the dome of the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I know a thing or two about political corruption in the Keystone State and the City of Brotherly Love… I’ve seen it “up close and personal.”  So it came as no surprise when the Philadelphia Inquirer published a story on March 16, detailing the results of a sting operation launched in 2010 under then-Pennsylvania attorney general, now governor, Tom Corbett.

However, to fully understand the evolution of the sting operation it is necessary to begin at the very beginning.  The central character in the sting is a man named Tyron B. Ali, age 40, an immigrant from the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad.  Ali is the owner of a day-care center in North Philadelphia and a registered lobbyist in Harrisburg.

Ali first came to the attention of law enforcement officials in April 2009 when he was arrested in connection with a $430,000 fraud.  According to the Inquirer, Ali was accused of submitting phony invoices and forging hundreds of bank statements, tax forms, and paychecks in a Pennsylvania program designed to aid low-income families and seniors.  State prosecutors were also aware that, in order to circumvent statutory campaign contribution limits, Ali was found to have been lining up illegal “straw” contributions for the campaign of Daniel D. McCaffery, a Democratic candidate for Philadelphia DA, now a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge.

In that case, campaign finance records showed that four contributions of $2,500 each were made to the McCaffrey campaign, all from associates of Ali.  However, at about the same time that Ali delivered the four checks to the McCaffrey campaign, McCaffery staffers learned of Ali’s arrest in the unrelated fraud case.  McCaffery’s campaign manager telephoned the four donors and one admitted that the money was not his; the money was Ali’s.

Then, in a surprising move for a Democrat, McCaffery reported the violations to attorney general Tom Corbett, a Republican, and promptly refunded the illegal contributions.  It was then that a top prosecutor, Frank Fina, chief of the attorney general’s Public Corruption section (who earlier led the criminal investigation of Penn State assistant head football coach, Jerry Sandusky), was assigned to handle the Ali investigation.  In the hope of receiving a more lenient outcome in his fraud indictment, Ali agreed to assist Fina’s investigation into widespread official corruption by wearing a body wire.

In order to keep Ali from “wandering off the reservation,” the attorney general assigned a 24-year veteran of the attorney general’s office to serve as his driver and constant companion.  In the eighteen month period between October 13, 2010 and April 23, 2012, Ali produced some 400 hours of audio and video recordings detailing 113 conversations with Pennsylvania political figures, Republicans and Democrats.  And although Ali dangled inducements before a great many politicians, of both political parties, only four Democratic lawmakers and a Philadelphia traffic court judge took the bait.

Rep. Louise Bishop took $1,500; Rep. Vanessa Brown took $4,000; Rep. Michelle Brownlee took $3,500; Rep. Ronald G. Waters accepted multiple gifts totaling $7,650; and Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes received a Tiffany bracelet.  All are Democrats, all are from Philadelphia (representing precincts that gave not one single vote to Mitt Romney in 2012), and all are African-Americans.

According to the Inquirer, “Things were going so well that, in the summer of 2012, prosecutors considered setting Ali up in a fancy lobbying office near the Capitol.  The plan was to rig the office with hidden cameras and expand the hunt…”  However, before they could implement the plan, Pennsylvanians went to the polls and elected Democrat Kathleen Kane as attorney general.  Within days after taking office Kane brought the investigation to an abrupt halt.

Thumbing through the Democrat Party playbook, Kane found that the simplest and easiest ploy to support her brazenly partisan contempt for the rule of law would be to do what Democrats always do when they find themselves without a plausible argument: she threw down the race card.  In a statement to the Inquirer on Friday, March 14, Kane called the investigation “poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism,” saying it had “targeted African Americans.”

In truth, what motivated Kane was the need to keep Philadelphia’s black voters on the Democrat political plantation.  It just wasn’t smart politics for a Democrat attorney general to prosecute four black Democrat lawmakers and a black Democrat judge for accepting bribes, even though most of their crimes were caught on audio and/or video tape.

The Inquirer report reminded readers that, during her 2012 campaign for attorney general, Kane had been critical of what she felt was the slow pace of the Sandusky investigation at Penn State.  Once elected, she hired a former Philadelphia federal prosecutor to investigate Fina’s handling of the case.  After a full year of investigating the investigation, Kane declared that her investigation was taking longer than she had anticipated.

In Democrat-speak, that is another way of saying that it takes a lot longer to uncover Republican wrongdoing when there is no wrongdoing to be uncovered.  But that doesn’t normally stop Democrats when they’re out to find dirt on Republicans.  According to the Inquirer, within hours after taking office, when Fina was in his last week on the job, Kane sent technicians into his office on a “black bag” mission, after working hours, for the purpose of removing the hard drive from his computer… apparently in the faint hope of finding some usable tidbit of damning evidence relating to his conduct of the Sandusky case.

If nothing else, the mess in Pennsylvania is a perfect example of what happens when the people elect Democrats to public office.  Since the publication of the Inquirer story on March 16, the Democrat Party has been hit by a long list of scandals, from New York to California, where State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), an outspoken foe of 2nd Amendment gun rights, has been charged with multiple offenses, including charges relating to illegal gun trafficking.

But the biggest Democrat fish caught in the corruption net is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)… the most despicable Democrat in a long list of despicable Democrats.  Reid is charged with digging into his campaign chest to give his granddaughter, Ryan Elizabeth Reid, a gift of $17,000, even though she is an aspiring actress in New York and did no useful work for the Reid campaign.  Several members of Congress have gone to prison for committing similar crimes.  It remains to be seen how “Dingy Harry” manages to slither out of this predicament.

This is not to say that there is not an occasional rotten apple in the Republican barrel, but in all my years as a lobbyist and as a political operative I have found very few Republicans who’ve demonstrated the sort of moral and ethical lapses that we regularly see among Democrats.  During my years in the political arena I can recall only two instances in which I was solicited for a bribe.  The first was a member of the Kentucky State Senate and the second was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  Both were Democrats.  My immediate response in both instances was, “I’m sorry, but we just don’t work that way.”

I have long felt that it is impossible to be elected to public office as a Democrat without first making a deal with the devil.  And while there exists a single common thread of ideology that binds all Republicans… of all ages, races, creeds, professions, and economic status… the same is not true of Democrats.  The Democrat Party is a coalition of special interests, each of which demand something specific, and quite different, from government.

For example, when a Democrat candidate appears before a black audience, his/her stance on quality education must be vastly different from the message he/she delivers before an audience of unionized public school teachers.  And when that same politician campaigns before a group of radical environmentalists, his/her message on issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline must be vastly different from the message he/she would deliver before a roomful of blue collar workers.

In order to be successful as a Democratic candidate it is absolutely essential to have a separate position on all of the major issues for each of the party’s many constituencies, and to remember without fail which lies you’ve told to each of them.  It is such a flexible moral compass… standard equipment for all Democrats… that made it possible for all those members of the Pennsylvania Black Caucus to succumb so easily to Mr. Ali’s proffered goodies.

But all is not lost; the Pennsylvania bribery sting may yet have a silver lining.  It is possible that the greatest beneficiary of the Black Caucus political scandal will be Republican governor Tom Corbett.  As matters now stand, Corbett’s approval rating is somewhere in the mid-30s and his reelection chances appear to be in a bit of trouble.  But when the Democrats choose a candidate from among seven candidates running in the May primary, that candidate will be called upon to defend attorney General Kane and the bribe takers of the Black Caucus.  Yes, the fish does rot from the head and it’s clear that Barack Obama’s Chicago-style politics has infected Democrats all across the country… just in time to backfire on the Democrat Party and its candidates in  November.

LIST OF DESPICABLE Ds: Camden, NJ – Mayor Dana Redd; Flint, MI – Mayor Dayne Walling; Detroit, MI – Mayor Dave Bing/Mike Duggan; Oakland, CA – Mayor Jean Quan; St. Louis, MO – Mayor Francis Slay; Cleveland, OH – Mayor Frank Jackson; Gary, IN – Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Newark, NJ – Mayor Corey Booker/Luis Quintana; Bridgeport, CT – Mayor Bill Finch; Birmingham, AL – Mayor William A. Bell.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Djembayz. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.