Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gaza

Something that annoys me about Libertarians is that there are so many who think they know what is going on in the Middle East, but they've never been there.

Plus, they seem to have blinders on about half of the discussion about the region.

Yes, AIPAC and other such propaganda organs hold a disproportionate share of eyeballs in the policy-making community.

But the policy-making community is notoriously prostitutional in nature, and so the flood of petrodollars from the Arab governments into the American political marketplace ensures the Arab point of view likewise gets an outsized share of attention.

I find it very distasteful to find Libertarians jumping on the anti-Israel bandwagon. There is nothing about Israel that isn't true about a hundred other US allies.

My main concern with Libertarians singling out Israel for our ire and derision is that doing so makes us sound like Nazis who only find fault with Jews.  Yes, there are so-called libertarians who *are* prejudiced against Jews, just as there are libertarians who are bigoted towards women, men, blacks, caucasians, and so on.

A pox on all their houses.

Bigots -- Nazi or otherwise -- should not be allowed to hijack the movement or the Party.

The only real "Libertarian position about Israel" is that we regard them no differently than any other government: We call for disengagement from all foreign conflicts and abolishing all foreign aid, regardless of the recipient.

A recent discussion reminded me of the lack of investigation libertarians are sometimes guilty of.
  Specifically, a friend related a claim from WikiLeaks


"... The State of Israel is conspiring to keep their economy at the lowest level of subsistence possible..."

I found this statement to be ridiculous -- regardless of the alleged source being a US Embassy cable.  The Embassy is part of the US government -- and the US government is invompetent at everything it does.
 
The Israelis are no more capable of "keeping" the Gazan economy "on the brink of collapse" than the US government is capable of controlling the flow of guns, drugs, people, counterfeit products, or anything else across the Rio Grande.

Israel was for decades the largest buyer of goods made (or grown) in Gaza. The decline in exports from Gaza and the resultant economic repercussions were primarily a result of the Israeli regulatory boycott on goods which was instituted in response to repeated murders and rocket attacks. I suspect Americans wouldn't want to buy anything from Canada either if it was throwing bombs across the border every day.

There is NO prohibition on Gazan goods going to other countries from Gaza. Slowdowns of trucks (and ships) to accommodate searches for weapons and bomb precursors (as well as to calculate taxes), yes, but prohibitions, no.   As if the USA doesn't have exactly that same policy.  Ever heard of "US Customs"?  Same freaking thing.  Well, except there are a lot more things the US government prohibits from crossing the border (such as foreign medications, etc).

Despite the so-called economic "blockade" nee bureaucracy at the border, Gazans manage to smuggle $3 billion in goods into Gaza every year, and almost that much in exports -- all outside of the normal regulatory trade markets.

Formal trade -- in other words, good NOT smuggled, mainly between Israel and Gaza -- amounts to about $6 billion per year, or about twice the informal sector.  Indeed, formal business between Israel and Gaza & the West Bank together amounted to about $20 billion in 2013.

I suspect the KFC imports from Egypt are no more difficult than it would be doing the same thing across the border from Tijuana into California.  Or even across the border from Windsor ON to Detroit MI.

Americans -- and Libertarians -- need to worry about our own house.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Bamiyan Moment for America's Bigoted Social Justice Warriors

This is the Bamiyan Moment of America's intolerant social justice warriors and the perpetually offended: Vandalizing monuments.

OK.

Let's destroy them all. Every monument, any flag. We should even turn all the museums with any of that offensive garbage into rubble. Erase everything.

And let's slaughter those who still "cling to their flags and guns".

Screencap of a CNN video of Afghan Taliban doing to
the Buddhas at Bamiyan what the American Taliban
want to do to statues and monuments in America
After all, we have to model our cultural cleansing after what the Taliban did to all of those offensive statues of Buddha at Bamiyan and elsewhere.

But let's not stop there.

George Washington was a slave holder. So was Jefferson. Let's shove their monuments into the Potomac.

Maybe the William Ellisson historical marker in Sumter SC should be taken down, also?

We could spend years figuring out how to get our society completely rid of all symbols that offend someone.

In fact, we could make a "War on Offensiveness", that will last us for generations, like the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs.

Or -- as a much quicker alternative -- we could take all the American Taliban Social Justice Warriors and dump them over Niagra Falls.

Those willfully and stupidly ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. And the worst thing is everyone else pays for their folly. The way Obama and the rest of the idiocracy is poking at Russia and China, one day it will be the USA that will be overrun, demonized and erased from history.

But I guess that will be just fine with the American Taliban leftist swills who will be sucking at the breast of the state in that era.

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:

http://practicallawandjustice.liberty.me/2015/01/01/killed-by-police-preliminary-2014-data/

http://www.killedbypolice.net/

http://regressing.deadspin.com/were-compiling-every-police-involved-shooting-in-americ-1624180387

http://gawker.com/what-ive-learned-from-two-years-collecting-data-on-poli-1625472836

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?

Once.

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:

http://practicallawandjustice.liberty.me/2015/01/01/killed-by-police-preliminary-2014-data/

http://www.killedbypolice.net/

http://regressing.deadspin.com/were-compiling-every-police-involved-shooting-in-americ-1624180387

http://gawker.com/what-ive-learned-from-two-years-collecting-data-on-poli-1625472836

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:

http://www.guns.com/2015/02/27/opinion-its-time-to-consider-privatized-policing/

http://www.copblock.org/130/public-vs-private-police-which-would-you-choose-2/

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/tag/privatized-police/


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.