Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Memory Lane: Carl Shumacher, Elkton VA

Sometimes a conversation brings up memories of old friends.  One good friend in my life was Carl Schumacher of Elkton, VA.

Carl was a LONG time Libertarian Party adherent.  He was "brought into the movement" because his publishing company (X-High Graphic Arts, Elkton, VA -- which still operates in the same building now) printed many of Murray Rothbard's treatises throughout the sixties and seventies.  He also printed Virginia Liberty for many years (1986-1993).

Carl's wife was Murray's sister.  ((!!))

While I worked at Libertarian Party Headquarters (1989-1993), Carl also printed several things for the national office, such as the 1987 & 1989 LP platforms.

We had them bulk printed, on newsprint.  They were cheap that way.  But they were also heavy.  Both times I had him print the platform, the bundles of platforms  filled my 1980 Ford Fiesta right to the brim, and the rear wheels were basically resting on the snubbers for the trip over the mountains back to DC.

Shumacher was elected to the Elkton Town Council as of July 1, 1978 and served until May 11, 1981.  His first meeting after being sworn in would have been the 7/5/1978 meeting, minutes of which are available here.  He resigned effective at the council meeting on May 11, 1981.  The minutes of that meeting are available here:

Carl and an old buddy of his (don't remember his buddy's name).  Between the two of them, they must have owned about 30 Studebakers.  Carl's company for years printed the Studebaker Drivers Club magazine.  It was one of the few club publications that really had magazine-quality work behind it. 

I attended a bunch of Stude meets with them in the early nineties.  About twenty miles into the very first trip, I realized I had to drive, because they couldn't wait to get to Pennsylvania before breaking into their "snakebite kit" (a box of about a dozen bottles of liquor).

Fortunately they let me do so without complaint, and for the next three years I was their designated driver to shows.  Man, but they could plow through some hooch.  One time Carl's buddy was so blotto by the time we got to the national meet that I had to fireman carry him into his room.  I could never fathom how those guys made it out & back on all of their previous trips.

Carl passed away many years ago, long after I left the employ of LPHQ.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Abolish Government Police!

~1,400 Americans are killed by government police every year, and there are thousands of incidents fitting that description just in the last twenty years:





Cops, regardless which agency they burble forth from, are increasingly unwilling to respect anyone's right to life, liberty, or property.

The paid vacation given to cops after police assaults and killings is basically "paying a bounty" for civilian beatings and murder.

The main obstacle to reform is that government police face zero liability and are often given awards and raises for assaulting and killing people.  These amount to powerful incentives to behave in ways that most people would normally never consider.

The culture must change, and no human/civil rights commission will change it.  As long as police get a government paycheck, there is no incentive for police to respect anyone's rights.

Why Hold Back if You're Not Going to Win?

At an LP gathering in May 2015, I was asked by a candidate for suggestions on presentation.  He was wondering if he should tone down his campaign messages so that it wouldn't appear scary to the average voter.

Before I could answer, another person sitting at the meeting said "Pandering?"

He said what I was thinking; and it was a good (albeit flippant) rejoinder.

In the early 1990's, then-state chairman John Buckley was basically asked the very same question.  His answer was immediate and without any hesitation whatsoever:

"Well, you're not going to win."

28 years later, I remember that response very well, and I repeated it to the current questioner.

"Are you going to win?" I asked.  He understood immediately the import of what I was telling him.

"That certainly gives me a lot more freedom, doesn't it?" he said.

Indeed it does.

Being honest about our goals -- even our end goals -- is liberating.  Being honest with ourselves about our prospects is also liberating.  If we already know we do not YET have the money or manpower to be competitive, then the object of running campaigns is to GET the money and manpower gathered to the Party, so we eventually will have them in sufficient quantity to win.

So how do we GET that money and manpower gathered to the LP?

By inspiring people to join, donate, and run.  Milque-toasty messages and candidates who refuse to say anything new or bold do not inspire anyone to join, much less vote for us.

I favor a message that will get the attention of the 1/4 of the population that is already BASICALLY libertarian, and provide them with the nudge they need to take a leap.  Only a bold message will excite those kind of people so much that they're ready to sign on the line and send in their dues and become active.

Libertarianism itself is an abolitionist philosophy.  Libertarians should always speak of tax abolition, rather than "tax reduction".  We should always advocate the full repeal of (drug) Prohibition, rather than just "reducing sentencing guidelines".  We should call for the abolition of entire agencies of government, rather than just "budget reductions" or "eliminating waste".  Don't "reform" government police agencies, or call for "citizen review boards" -- speak for abolishing them all outright.

As LP campaigns move "up-ticket", they should be more radical, not less.  A candidate for state legislator should use "abolish", "eliminate" and "repeal" much more often than a candidate for city council (although city council races can use a healthy dose of those things also).  A candidate for US House or Senate should use those terms even more often; and candidates for President should use them most of all.

Up-ticket candidates should know the talk, speak it well and speak well of it.

We should give more leeway for those running for more local offices; but the centerpiece campaigns should be bold and clear about what we want.

If you're only interested in "tinkering-around-the-edges" reforms that are tepid and fearful, why are you even in the Libertarian Party?  There are already two major political parties MUCH better-suited to dancing around.

Speaking just for myself...  One thing I insist on is that any campaign I am actively involved in (either via donations or volunteer time) will need to have a bold and radical message.  If I wanted "tax cuts", "less government", "mild government reform", and other things I can hear from a major-party candidate, I can spend my time much more profitably working for those things within the major parties.

I still have $1,000 waiting for the RIGHT Libertarian candidate.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Abolish Blue Privilege: Abolish Government Police Agencies

It's not white privilege that keeps starting up the riot furnace, it is Blue privilege.

Government Bureaucracy Logic 101: Constantly maim and kill people for little to no reason -- then act surprised when violence erupts.

The State kills roughly 1,400 Americans every year, and injures or threatens to injure half a million or more.  That isn't a statistic, it is a documented LIST.  See below for the source for that number.

Yes, that's *every* year.

The dead are also disproportionately black, but only by a few percentage points.  The majority of the dead in that list of 1,400 are *white*.

How many times does a child whack a hornets nest until he learns not to whack hornet's nests?


The State apparently never learns.

No, actually, that's not right.  The state knows very well that whacking a hornets nest will get the hornets in the air -- but the state also knows that when the hornets are in the air, it won't be politicians, bureaucrats, or the teeming nerds and hangers-on who suck at the government breast who will be getting stung.  It will be innocent civilians who will begetting stung because of the state's manipulation of the hornets.  When your house is under attack, your car has been destroyed, your daughter raped, and your son beaten up, you're desperate to find something that will protect your property and your family.

Government has forced alternatives to itself off the market -- which means those innocents who are getting hurt have only one practical thing to turn to: the very same batch of criminal bureaucrats who started it all in the first place.

Stirring the hornets' nest is extremely profitable for the government, and that's why government thugs do it.

Cops *know* when they break someone's spine, or shoot people in the back, or crush the life out of them, that they will not be prosecuted.  Their fellow government employees will protect them; the system is set up to give them license to murder.

Cops also *know* at some point when they kill someone in a particularly pointless, brutal way, that the community will erupt.

They KNOW it.

There is NO WAY they DON'T know it.

They also KNOW that the system refusing to throw them in jail when they do it can ONLY have one result: Throw gasoline on the fire.

Once the cop-ocracy has set the firestorm, they usually pull back from it to save their own tails, and they leave the Korean store owners, the Jewish deli owners, and the corner drug store to fend for themselves.  They don't even bother trying to evacuate anyone.

Cops also know that once they've finished each cycle, their department will have a fat budget increase, and some of that loot -- which is stolen from the families of their victims -- is going to go to those very same cops in the form of bonuses, pay raises, and the inevitable paid vacation most cops get after they kill someone.

Paid vacations which look an awful lot like "paying a bounty" for killing civilians.

After a year in which a constant stream of brutality was captured on video, and grudgingly "discovered" by the lamestream media, one would think that government police bureaucracies would at least try to restrain their worst officers for a while.

But no.  They continue to put the worst of their thugs on full display.  Instead of getting rid of the thugs, they harass and arrest people who try to video document their actions.

For example, Baltimore cops engaged in harassment and eventually arrested the videographer who caught the six Baltimore cops in action, there's enough illegal activity to send the perps to jail for several years (but only if they were Mundanes).  Let's start with "witness intimidation".

President John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable."

Government policing cannot be "reformed".  There simply far too many perverse incentives against any lasting change.

The only way to make police behave like responsible citizens is to eliminate their blue privilege and subject them to a healthy dose of the free market.  Already, private security plays a larger role in protecting lives and property in America than government cops do.  And insurance helps to make crime victims whole.

Government-run police on the other hand have proven to be failures at the job time and time again.  Every time they fail, their budgets increase, their pay and benefits fatten, and innocents pay the ultimate price for their failure.

Someday, people *will* wake up to just how big a failure it is, and they will start building alternatives.

Interactions with police are far, far more dangerous for citizens than for the cops.  ~1,400 Americans are killed every year by the cops, and many of them were people who simply didn't deserve to die.

The Kelly Thomas story: http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/us/california-homeless-beating-verdict/

These sites have documented that ~1,400 Americans are killed by police every year:





Police work is actually one of the safer occupations.  Deep-sea fishermen who put food on your table are ~100 times more likely to die any given year in work-related accidents.  Law enforcement does not make the top ten list of most dangerous occupations.

Law enforcement is made dangerous to a large degree because police themselves willingly escalate to extreme violence in way too many encounters.  Police also make their own job more dangerous by voluntarily enforcing immoral and unconstitutional laws.

How many cops would be alive today if they weren't so slavishly handcuffed to shock and awe tactics, flash-bang grenades, sledge hammers and door-breaching devices used in breaking through doors...

... at 3:00 am?

Since government policing simply cannot be reformed, the only thing that will increase citizen safety is to abolish government police forces, and replace them with neighborhood-hired private security.

There is a growing body of study on what a privatized system of security would look like:




The only thing that might help reform American justice is privatization. At least then if the neighborhood-hired cop starts beating up his customers, they will have some hope of recourse.

Private cops actually get prosecuted when they break down the wrong door (example: "Two Bounty Hunters Charged In Henrico / They Smashed Way Into Woman’s Apartment", ­ Richmond Times ­ Dispatch ­ Richmond, Va. ­ Date: Jul 7, 1995 ­ Start Page: B.1).

In contrast, government cops can break down the door, shoot the dog, shoot a sleeping innocent unarmed person, throw a grenade into a baby's crib, ransack the house ­ -- and yet get away scot-free.

Is the prospect of private police really so much scarier than what goes on now under the current paradigm?

Further reading:

Support Your Local Private Peace Officer: He Has A Dangerous Job

  -- By William Norman Grigg

Taxpayers Near Ferguson Must Turn to Private Security
  -- by Ryan McMaken   

Without "Qualified Immunity," Would Cops Be So Quick to Kill?
  -- By William Norman Grigg

Darren Wilson and the Reality of "Blue Privilege"
  -- By William Norman Grigg
"We Have Been a Paramilitary Organization": How the Police Talk When They Think We're Not Listening
  -- By William Norman Grigg

Why "Good Cops" Stay Silent: The Persecution of Officer Adam Basford
  -- By William Norman Grigg

Police Union Commissar: If You Resist, You Should Expect to Die
  -- By William Norman Grigg

To Crush a Cop-Watcher: Prosecutorial Abuse in Ada County, Idaho
  -- By William Norman Grigg

Enhance Public Safety: Disarm the Police!
  -- By William Norman Grigg   

Walter Block has a bibliography to offer on the subject of Privatize Police.

How to Maximize The LP Presidential Campaign

For thirty-five years, I have watched thousands of Libertarian Party candidates run for office.  The most prominent of course have been the presidential campaigns.  Having been witness to so much has led me to a conclusion: The "credibility" and "electability" of our presidential candidate has little to do with the success of the Libertarian Party.

The only times in LP history when the LP was smaller at the end of the election than at the beginning were during the campaigns of two "well-qualified", "credible", and "electable" candidates: Bob Barr and Gary Johnson.

I want the Libertarian Party to be the majority party in America.  But it will never happen as long as Libertarians refuse to understand that every day is an opportunity to recruit a new person into the LP.  We will never be the majority party unless we grow.  We will never achieve our aims with 11,000 donors, or even 110,000.  We need a million!

So here's the suggestion:

Stop looking for the "magic bullet" candidates of our fantasies, and instead look for the candidate who:

- will make the best possible presentation of consistent Libertarian ideas; and,

- is committed to growing the Party.

For the first part, the Libertarian Party was intended to be an abolitionist political voice.  If we're too weak-bladdered to deliver that message, then it's no wonder the several million people out there who are already basically libertarian aren't interested in joining.

Trying to peddle the FairTax will never excite those people.

For the second part, it's time to get over the idea that the presidential campaign is "all about the candidate".  It isn't about his future plans to run for congress or some other office, or even about covering up for sloppy campaign money management.  Instead, LP presidential campaigns should be about recruiting new members into the LP so that our cadre will be larger in the next presidential election.  If the candidates do not understand that they’re not going to win and that this election is not about this election but the NEXT election, then they have no business seeking the nomination.

To address the Party-building need, I will support nominating a candidate who might actually excite and invigorate new libertarians enough so they would join the LP and add to our efforts.  I will not support a candidate who is intent on "not making waves" so they can appeal to the so-called “mainstream” and has no visible plan to recruit more members.

So how to grow the party -- using the presidential campaign?

It's actually fairly simple: The campaign should share every last shred of data about its contributors with the LP.

I was a national staffer in 1991-1992 while the Marrou campaign was going on. Right after the nomination, Marrou hired a single staffer and rented an office in LPHQ’s building (when it was in its old row house at 1528 Pennsylvania Ave SE in DC). Their single computer was networked directly with LPHQ’s system. Every time a new prospect was found by the campaign, their staffer placed the new name on the LP’s database system. Likewise, if anyone on either “Marrou’s” or the “LP’s” list gave money to the campaign, the staffer simply entered the contribution with a special code that indicated it was a campaign contribution rather than an LP contribution, and they filed their own FEC reports based on that information.

For the year and a half of the campaign, **every** name acquired by Marrou was shared with the LP the instant it was acquired, and vice-versa.  Every new lead was then sent a follow-up letter.  If Marrou received a donation from a new person, the LP then sent that person an invitation to also join the Party.  If the LP found a new donor, the campaign then sent that person an invitation to support the campaign.  And so on.

There was none of this amateur-hour “let’s wait until the end of the campaign to see if we still need to raise money to get out of debt, before we give our precious list to the LP” BS.

It was the Marrou campaign’s tight integration with the LP database that was a major factor in the LP’s steady increase in size between August 1991 (remember that the nominating convention was the prior, rather than the year of, election) and April 1993. The steady stream of new inquiries coming in from the campaign over that period were cultivated by a steady direct mail program by LPHQ, and as a result, membership set a new record by the end of March 1993, at 12,400. I note here with interest that then-ED Nick Dunbar shortly thereafter was sent packing, and all of the direct mail procedures that had been developed were promptly shut off. The predictable result was that LP membership rapidly slumped — dropping to 8500 or something in late 1993 or early 1994.

The 1996 Browne campaign followed the Marrou 100% sharing model, and the results were similarly good.

The way to grow the LP has been amply demonstrated. It seems that Libertarians have a determination, however, to ignore past successes and to refuse to accept what have been proven to be “best practices”.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

When Bad Things Happen, Don't Punish The Innocent

Christopher Michael-Martinez didn't deserve to die.  He was among the victims of the UCSB killings last year.

Since then, Christopher's father, Richard Martinez, has been using his son's killing to promote gun control.

A criminal act against your son is not an excuse for *you* to join hands with armed agents and have them commit crimes against *me*.

If Christopher had been among those the murderer killed with a knife, would you voluntarily give up the knives, loppers, axes, hatchets and scissors in your own home?  Would you call for the arrest and prosecution of your next door neighbor for scraping paint off his windows with a razor?

Had Christopher been one of the victims who were struck by the assailant's car, would you start agitating for the banning of cars and looting the auto manufacturers?  Would you then voluntarily give up *your own* car?

I fully understand you have a huge hole in your heart from the injustice of your son being taken from you that way.  But using your grief as an excuse to harm others who have done nothing to you will do nothing to stop such events.  And using armed agents of The State to achieve your aims may very well foment tragedy all by itself.

I hope you find peace.  We're all with you on that journey.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Allende Could Have Started a Real Revolution - But He Didn't

9/11, for the people of Chile, has a completely different meaning than it has for Americans.

Forty-one years ago, on September 11, 1973 Salvador Allende was deposed in a violent coup led by Augusto Pinochet.

CNN published a pretty good article about the coup marking the 40th anniversary last year.

I remember watching the news at the time this happened.  My parents were in tears.  But the thing to remember about it is there are always two sides to a story, and my parents could not hear the other side.

Generally speaking, the left takes from the rich and middle class and gives to the poor; while the right takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the rich.  Both the left and the right are covetous of other people's wealth.

Allende was from the left.  He was a Marxist who had close ties with Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), which was a leftist militant & terrorist group.

Once elected, Allende ignored thousands of court orders and precedents (writing executive orders to override them, as all of our own recent presidents including Obama have done) and confiscated billions of dollars of private property in a forced nationalization of industries.  What had been a growing middle class in Chile was reduced to penury by the end of his term.

In a few cases where anyone dared resist confiscation, they were jailed or shot.

Removing someone's property at gunpoint is called "robbery".

The election of Allende was a product of the repression of the middle and lower classes prior to 1968; but the coup was a product of Allende's repression of the middle and upper classes.  Allende had a chance to break the cycle of one government breaking bad one way and the next government breaking bad the opposite way.

He chose not to.

Most leaders don't -- they'd rather double down.

Allende could have concentrated on reforms that would have improved lives and extended the free market so that more of the poor could participate.  Instead he chose to bring down the middle class and the rich.

This effect has been demonstrated dozens of times in the last century.  A more recent example is Columbia, where the government went from rightist to leftist. The same thing is happening there.

The only way to end polarizing politics is to protect the rights of all, and reduce government intrusion into all areas of private life -- business and personal.  Government should not be involved in so many aspects of your life; it only creates conflict and turns people against each other.

A small and frugal government that doesn't steal or murder doesn't create enemies.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Elites Will Run You Over, and Not Lose Any Sleep Over It

A couple of years ago, Karen Kwiatkowski  was out campaigning at the Rockingham County Fair.  I had been acquainted with her and considered her to be a friend, so of course when my family and I spotted her, we all stopped to talk a bit.

As I was speaking to her, a bureaucratocade (motorcade) drove into the exhibition area we were in.  The kids were fascinated.

I watched them come in, inwardly chuckling at the arrogance of the elites.

But then the two lead motorcycles with two very over-sized cops turned straight towards my children.  I was expecting them to hard right behind the pavilion, but then they cut diagonally across the grass without really slowing down.  I grabbed my child and pulled him behind me, as we were out of room behind us; we could not back up any further.  The elitists of the state missed me and my 5-year-old old by inches.  I was backed all the way up and holding him behind and beside me.

Couldn't have the governor walking more than a few feet to the big top, now, could we?

It was Bob McDonnell, the state's top Republican.

Besides the kingly driving, I was flabbergasted by the waste of it all.  There were at least twenty cops around the pavilion, and the motorcade disgorged a half-dozen more on motorcycles with disco lights flashing and a few more the big ol' full-size SUV the Guv was riding in.  There were maybe fifty people milling about to meet elected officials, including McDonnell.

You'd think Republicans supposedly interested in smaller government would order the police escort to go fight crime instead of showboating the self-importance of the political class -- and drive himself to the Fair himself in a second-hand, gas-sipping, 41 mpg city Ford Fusion hybrid.

Or maybe even an old, paid-for 1990 Ford Escort or Chevy Cavalier.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Regional or Local?

Should We Organize a Regional LP Affiliate That Covers Several Counties/Cities, or a Single-Jurisdiction Group?

By Marc Montoni

Over many years of organizing Libertarian Party affiliates in Virginia, it has become crystal clear to me that certain styles of organization are conducive to growing the Libertarian Party and recruiting candidates who actually get elected -- and other styles are not.

There are many deleterious problems with organizing a regional group that covers more than one jurisdiction.  Here are some brief descriptions of a few of these issues:

1)  I have heard many Libertarians claim that their intent is to split up into single jurisdiction groups later on, after there has been some growth.  However, in my experience, once a regional affiliate has been set up the members *never* bother to start up individual affiliates, regardless of how large the group becomes.

2)  Regional groups are the Kiss of Death as far as real local activity is concerned.  The members generally come to viewing the group's purpose as continuing to meet -- rather than participating in local electoral politics.  In other words, the group's purpose becomes perpetuating the group itself.

3)  The entire purpose of having a Libertarian Party is to organize for elections.  If Libertarians are never going to act like they mean to challenge offices at the local level, there's utterly no point in having any local committees at all.

4)  There is the issue of personalities.  If a large, multijurisdictional group claims to have exclusive control over Libertarian events over the entire area, and some fraction of their constituency doesn't get along with them, those people have no option other than to a) wrest control of the group away from those they disagree with, b) stay inactive, or c) travel to some other area far beyond their local city or county to be active with others.  To me, this invites only two real outcomes: a) infighting; or b) inactivity by the group on the "outside".

Frankly, we do not have the time to waste.

A larger group that controls a large area limits the ability of people who may not like the larger group to become active in an alternative the next city over.  For example, consider Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake.  These three cities are the first, second, and third-largest cities in Virginia; each > a quarter of a million people.  Each city is plenty large enough to where it could support a local affiliate that draws 25 to 50 people to each meeting.

So why we do not have a local affiliate in Chesapeake, for example?

Because we have one regional affiliate that claims to control all three of those cities, plus Portsmouth.  Because of this, people in Chesapeake think they have to have something to say in the TLP, or they will have no other outlet for their energy and enthusiasm.  Ergo, they focus their efforts at TLP instead.

Another problem we run into with Regionals is their membership begins to believe the group can annex neighboring communities at will.  And indeed, this happened with the TLP many years ago.  The TLP was originally chartered as the Virginia Beach LP back in 2001.  However, without seeking approval from the LPVA, the TLP now claims jurisdiction over an enormous geopolitical area -- all without following any of the procedures listed in the LPVA Bylaws for such affiliation; without any poll of the LP members within the areas they were annexing as to whether they wanted the TLP to cover them, and without circulating a new petition to that effect.

It has become clear to me that having recognized regional affiliates is not just inefficient.  It's also injurious.

Now, there *is* a place for regional libertarian groups.  They just should act as social groups that don't need to be officially affiliated with the Libertarian Party.  Essentially, that's how the TLP behaves.  The Rocktown Libertarians, the Richmond Metro Libertarians, and other regional groups all operate this way.  None of these groups really need any officers, bylaws, or official recongnition.

In addition, we already have eleven regional affiliates established by the LPVA Constitution: the congressional district committees.  Do we really need any more?

Single-jurisdiction local parties do many things better than regionals:

1)  They tend to recruit more candidates for local office -- the level at which LP candidates can actually win.

2)  They tend to commit political acts, such as attending local Board of Supervisors or City Council meetings as a group.

3)  They allow members to have a choice of local events to participate in.

4)  Personalities are less of an issue, if you can ride ten minutes down the road and see other libertarians who get along with you better.

5)  Even though locals are kept as separate entities, there is ample opportunity for cross-pollination.  When I started the Chesterfield County Libertarian Committee in 2007, I didn't live there.  I still supported them with my time and money.  I just didn't ask them to make me a voting member; their choices belonged to those who lived in the county.

So there are things to think carefully about when it comes to the regional vs single-jurisdiction local question.  I have started both kinds of affiliates over the past twenty years -- about 15 of them.  And my experience tells me that once you try to cover more than one city or county, the group will rapidly lose focus on committing real political acts.

After twenty years of seeing that in action, I hope I can persuade you to take the other road.

Thank you for reading!