Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gary Johnson's Speech at CPAC



Hat tip: Chris W. at My Thoughts on Freedom



Will libertarians succeed?


By Daryl Luna, Editor of:

In Defense of the Constitution

Libertarians are often viewed as pie in the sky idealists, who sit around all day promoting ideas that could never take hold. There is some validity to this if one merely takes the musings of libertarians at face value, but that is not how they should be taken.

Just because we think that large parts of the government should be abolished or privatized, just because we want to do away with bloated entitlements, and just because our positions are principled and consistent, that doesn't mean that we are not realistic about how to achieve our goals. Most libertarians are both rational and realistic, realizing that incremental progress must be made toward our views of a free society, and that this progress will not come overnight.

Here is an example of reasonableness in the thought of a libertarian: I, personally, would love to do away with Medicare, but it's not my desire to purge the masses from Medicare rolls overnight. I believe we should stop the program from growing and phase people off of dependence on the system as quickly and fairly as possible, while simultaneously creating the necessary conditions for a flourishing, effective, private alternative.

But even if we aren't naive idealists, there is still a huge hurtle to the advancement of libertarianism. That hurtle is the unwillingness of the electorate to stand on principle and hold elected officials accountable; therefore, each election becomes one of "choosing the lesser of two evils" and each time the American people suffer.

Likewise, we see a flood of philosophical compromise flowing out of Washington on a daily basis as almost no one seems to stand for anything anymore. None of us are the better for it. So what is to be done when the system seems stacked against us? The simple answer is to act on the opportunities that present themselves.

Samuel Adams once noted, "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." Adams was right. Libertarians would do well to remember his advice. We need to be "an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."

We are in a war of ideas. I believe our ideas are the right ones as do many Americans, but unless we properly advocate and stand for those ideas, we will profit none. We don't necessarily have to convert everyone to an explicit philosophy of libertarianism. Instead, we just need to create support at different times in different ways for our policies, based on the opportunities before us.

When policy makers look for the best way to accomplish any given objective and the libertarian perspective is adopted--and it sometimes is--we succeed. We have seen these small victories a number of times. Just look at what libertarians did to gut Real-ID, or look at the focus and pressure now being put on our central bank to see the triumph of our libertarian principles in two policy areas.

Not everyone who backs these measures is necessarily a libertarian, but if we are able to sway them to our position, we have had success. John McCain and I may not see eye to eye on much, but I think it's great when we can get him to support the audit of the Federal Reserve; that is a victory in our battle of ideas. So I would contend that we can be successful; we just need to go at it one issue at a time.

Moreover, can we see electoral success? I think we can because we have. We have a strong libertarian in the U.S. House (Ron Paul) and have had a host of libertarians at the state level. Former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM) and Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) immediately come to mind. Is this enough to change our system completely? No, but it is enough to affect real change at a number of levels.

Another ray of hope is the resurgent liberty movement, spurred by Ron Paul's 2008 presidential bid. Liberty candidates are now seriously in contention to win big races. Look no further than Rand Paul's U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. Moreover, new organizations such as Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Liberty, and Campaign for Liberty, are making huge inroads into promoting liberty effectively.

Together, they are all chipping away at establishment influence and gaining respect. Because of the liberty movement's influence, people are being exposed to libertarian ideas through interviews with liberty proponents in the media and other venues like never before.

Will the libertarian movement prove successful at creating lasting change? I sure hope so, but only time will tell. The answer to that question is up to you. Will we allow the torch of liberty to be squelched or shall we continue to be "an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds?"


Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robert_carpenter/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

Ron Paul's Conservative Foreign Policy

This has been making the rounds, and if you haven't seen it, you need to:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ask Bonnie: 2012 Predictions

Photo: Gary Johnson, former Gov. (R) of New Mexico | Author: Gage Skidmore

Bonnie Kristian, the blogger in chief at Young Americans for Liberty, has recently started a new website at BonnieKristian.com, which she describes thusly:

This blog’s primary purpose is to be a sort of political advice column. Like Dear Abby, but for politics. It’s a new idea which may prove smart quickly, slowly, or not at all, so expect to see a varying proportion of posts which don’t match the advice column format. If you have a question you’d like addressed – about current events, political philosophy, civic history, or some other politics-related topic – use the contact form at the bottom of the page to submit it!

Taking Miss Kristian up on her offer, I submitted the following question:

Q. My question is two-fold (er- sort of two-and-a-half fold): I understand that it’s a little early, but 1. Who do you think the GOP will nominate in 2012, and 2. who do you think the GOP *should* nominate in 2012 (and 2b. what do you think of Republican Governor Gary Johnson)? — Wes from Nashville, TN.

You can read her answer here.


What do you think?


Meanwhile, do feel free to answer my "sort of two-and-a-half fold" question in the comment thread below...

Live Call-In Radio Show Tonight


Hey everybody! I've been planning a regular, weekly radio show since November, and it looks like now we're finally going to make it happen. Tentatively, we'll start doing it Saturday evenings and play it by ear from there. Feel free to give feedback on how that matches up with your availability.

It shouldn't interfere too much with anyone's weekend plans because the show will be at 7 pm Central Time, and will run for two hours. So if you have fun things to do, we'll be done by 10 pm Eastern at the latest (and all the good parties and clubs don't get really going until 11 or 12 *wink*).

So do please tune in tonight from 7 - 8:30 pm Central (we'll be doing a shorter show tonight) by visiting this page to stream the show live on your computer. We'll be covering Chile's 8.8 earthquake and the resulting tsunami warning for Hawaii, as well as other current events.

Blogger Tim Daniel of Left Coast Rebel will be co-hosting for an hour and we'll both be sharing some of our best tips for political blogging. He lives in San Diego, so might be able to report live about some of the effects on the Pacific Coast of the giant wave Chile's earthquake sent across the ocean.

We will be taking calls throughout the show to get your thoughts and opinions. The call in number is 646.929.2657. See you then!

We're All Libertarians Now


From today's article on my column at CAIVN:

"It was only a year ago that President Obama was inaugurated in what some commentators hailed as a sweeping endorsement of socialism: more European-style central economic planning, federal regulation, and entitlement programs. But it would seem that the pundits misread the Democrats' victories in 2006 and 2008. America didn't want more, it wanted less.

Americans wanted change, and change after eight years of George W. Bush did not mean more government spending or involvement in our lives. It meant less unchecked executive power, less military involvement overseas, less spending, less secrecy, less corruption, less cronyism, and less partisan bickering. To take his victory as a mandate for a more socialist re-ordering of American society may have been a fatal mistake by the fledgling Obama Administration."

Read the whole article here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Can We Trust Bernanke's Testimony?

My most recent article at the Our America Initiative blog:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his semi-annual testimony to Congress on monetary policy Wednesday. While cautioning lawmakers that job numbers are still a concern, Bernanke indicated that because of measures taken by the government and the Fed, we are in the process of economic recovery. But can Americans trust Bernanke’s testimony?

Economic and monetary policy “luminaries” like Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Hank Paulson, and Tim Geithner- along with the rest of America- were blindsided by the financial meltdown, credit crunch, housing bust, and subsequent recession. These are all “really, really smart” guys who “know what they’re talking about” and understand all of the complicated intricacies of economics, which are all but ineffable to the layman. But they got it wrong just like everyone else.

Can we trust someone to predict our recovery from this economic crisis, who didn’t even see the crisis coming? Instead, we should listen to the (very) few analysts who predicted the economic collapse with frightening accuracy. What they all had in common was their adherence to a school of economic thought called Austrian economics, because it originated with several Austrian economists like Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek.

Read the whole thing here.

This article also appeared on Young Americans for Liberty.


More about Our America Initiative:

Our America Initiative is the advocacy group of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R). He is the Republican Party's absolute best pick in 2012. If you haven't already, please: 1) Become a Fan of Gary Johnson's Facebook Page, 2) Follow Gary Johnson's Twitter account, and 3) Subscribe to Gary Johnson's YouTube Channel.

More on Governor Gary Johnson:

Put On Your Bikinis: Global Warming Rocks The North East!

Hat tip: Libertarian Advocate

Take the extremely harsh, cold winter weather we're having, and add to that an exaggerated UN climate report, a scandalous information breach at East Anglia's climate research center, and the revealing flap over Superfreakonomics... and what you have is a cooling of public opinion over global warming. (Did you like that pun? There's more where that came from.)

Related news: PSNH power outage puts thousands out of power in the very libertarian state of New Hampshire today, as a fierce winter storm pounded New England.



What's a climate skeptic to do at such a perfect time? Laugh. Laugh really, really hard at how silly the climate change alarmists look. And post lots and lots of pictures of women in their bikinis enjoying all the "global warming" we've been getting, global warming beach party-style. (Yes, this is my libertarian, global warming skeptic homage to Stacy McCain's Rule 5).



(To view the sources for any of these photos of lovely ladies enjoying all this "global warming" in their bikinis, simply click on the images.)



I am not an animal rights activist myself, but I do love the "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign. I like that it makes the point cleverly, humorously, and peacefully. You've got to hand it to them as good marketers. Global warming realists should use this same strategy. I'd love to see a campaign with pictures like this and captions like "Still waiting for that warming catastrophe..."



Speaking of which, have you heard of LOLA? It's the Ladies of Liberty Alliance. They sell awesome calendars and they organize like crazy to turn out libertarian activists to important events, spread and defend the libertarian platform, and do some solid community service (like sending care packages to the troops).



And I know, I know: climate and weather aren't the same thing. Cold weather doesn't prove the climate isn't warming. Outliers don't mean there isn't a warming trend. It's not just warming, it's climate change- more extreme weather of all kinds. Yeah- and we've always been at war with East Asia, right?

I also dare you to look me in the eye with a straight face and say that if we had an unseasonably sweltering winter, that warmists wouldn't be touting it constantly as they argued for an oppressive global carbon regulatory scheme. We both know they would be.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go barbecue some hot dogs in shorts and flip flops. Peace!

Losing Faith in Barack Obama

This says it all. THL reader, Mike left this comment on a recent critique I wrote of Barack Obama's broken lobbyist promises. I wonder how many Obama supporters are starting to feel this way:

I was an unabashed supporter of Obama, but that ended a couple months ago. For me the last straw was the announcement at West Point of the Afghanistan buildup, which ironically was not a broken promise, but combined with everything else, that was it for me.

I've returned to a very cynical attitude towards politicians in general, including Obama. I think he's a puppet for the Military Industrial Complex, the Insurance companies and the Banks.

Dear Mike,

Thanks for being willing to admit what's before your very eyes, that Obama is doing the opposite of what he said he would. This shows that you're not blindly clinging to the "idea of Obama" or a campaign that I'm sure felt really, really good for Democrats.

It shows you really want what's best for our country, you really expected Obama to deliver the kind of change we needed, and you're willing to take him to task for going back on his word.

Many political commentators and news junkies are just partisans drinking the Kool-Aid, but you sir, are a true patriot.

Peace,
Wes

PS: Afghanistan may not have been a broken promise, but Obama did very consciously ride a wave of anti-war sentiment right into the White House. As an anti-war guy myself, if I had voted for him, I would feel pretty lied to right now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Milton Friedman Responds to Barack Obama's Health Care Summit

If libertarian economist Milton Friedman were alive today, and was invited to speak at President Obama's health care summit (televised live today), he might say something like this:



Hat tip to the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy

And if you haven't read it yet, you absolutely must read (and share!) the Cato Institute's article explaining exactly what the Democrats' health "reform" bill will do and why it is definitely hazardous to your health:

Health Reformers' Worst Idea

"His health-care overhaul adrift and increasingly unpopular, President Obama has invited Republicans to a televised summit today to discuss "all the best ideas that are out there." Odds are that Democrats will use the moment to exalt - and berate Republicans for blocking - one of their worst ideas: federal price controls on health insurance."

Read the whole thing here.

The Samuel Colt Revolver

This day in history...

On this day in 1836 Inventor Samuel Colt patented his revolver and did more for good manners than anyone since the man who invented the table napkin.

Hat tip: THL reader, Rich Hamblen.

Image courtesy of Adams Guns

Tell Congress to Audit the Fed NOW!

The latest action item from the Campaign for Liberty. Please take just five minutes to read this over and sign the petition to your U.S. Senators. You can do it very easily electronically, and Campaign for Liberty makes sure your Senators are notified.

TELL THE SENATE: AUDIT THE FED NOW!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

Dear Patriot:

For a while there, it looked like you and I had him.

Ben Bernanke’s back was to the wall, and he was being grilled by the Senate. His reconfirmation was anything but certain.

In the end, he managed to squeak through. Nevertheless, we should be truly proud of what we accomplished.

Fewer senators backed Bernanke’s reconfirmation than that of any other Fed Chair before. EVER.

He was publicly shamed by your grassroots pressure.

You and I can’t let this public scrutiny go to waste!

That’s why I need you to sign our petition demanding an up-or-down roll call vote on the Audit the Fed Bill IMMEDIATELY.

But now we also face new challenges. Until this vote, Ben Bernanke and his Fed cronies were just laughing us off.

This was a real shot across the bow, and they got the message.

Now, the Fed and their high-powered lobbyists are digging in. We have the momentum, but they won’t easily budge an inch.

That’s why I hope you’ll sign the Senate “Audit the Fed NOW!” petition and also make a generous contribution to help Campaign for Liberty turn up the heat on our Senate targets and combat the Fed’s new lobbying counter-offensive.

They’ll be pulling out all the stops, calling in all their Senate favors and drumming up as much support as they can muster to derail our Audit the Fed freight train.

Remember, the Fed was able to secure 99 out of 100 Senate votes for Bernanke’s first confirmation in 2006. So, they’ve had nearly the whole Senate in their pocket before.

But the recent vote clearly showed cracks in the armor, since 30 senators voted against Bernanke’s reconfirmation.

Even though the Fed’s grip on the U.S. Senate is slipping, they’re not likely to let go without a fight.

So now we need to push harder than ever before.

We can’t let up the pressure one bit, or the bankster lobbyists will convince Congress that our Audit movement was “just a fluke.”

I couldn’t stand to see all our hard work go up in smoke.

We need to show them we’re here to stay, and we mean business!

So please, sign the petition I’ve linked below right away and make a generous $100, $50 or $25 contribution to C4L.


TELL THE SENATE: AUDIT THE FED NOW!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION


The Fed’s lobbyists will throw their weight around and try to pin back down Senators who’ve slipped out from under their thumb.

The good news is it may be too late for that.

After the grassroots OUTRAGE over Ben Bernanke’s reconfirmation, most senators are terrified their re-election bids will be D.O.A. if they’re seen backing the Fed now.

Just look at how Federal Reserve lackeys like Senators Chris Dodd and Evan Bayh are ducking out of their races.

They read the handwriting on the wall and knew there was no way they could explain away their support for the Fed’s secret banking and currency devaluation.

They couldn’t survive the voters again, because the American people have wised up to the Fed’s destructive meddling.

Before Ron Paul’s Presidential Campaign, I never would have thought this possible.

There was just no way Americans everywhere would be asking “Why do we even need a Fed?”

But now voters everywhere are hearing the Fed apologists’ big lie and are rejecting it outright.

You know the one. We’ve heard it ad nauseam for months.

That the Federal Reserve “saved our economy.” That they “brought us back from the brink of disaster.”

Today, fewer and fewer people are buying that story. And the Fed is paying the price in slipping Senate support.

The America people are finally realizing that the Fed is responsible for bringing this economic crisis down on our heads in the first place!

And that’s why now is the perfect time to launch our Audit the Fed push into high gear.


TELL THE SENATE: AUDIT THE FED NOW!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION


I hope you’ll sign this petition INSISTING your senators immediately push for an up or down roll call vote on Audit the Fed.

But I really hope you’ll make a generous $100, $50 or $25 contribution so Campaign for Liberty can really kick the pressure into overdrive and combat the Fed’s new lobbying push.

With your help, we’ll drop truckloads of mail, hitting carefully-selected target senators in their own state...

...we’ll crank up the phone banks to rally the grassroots and light up the Senate switchboards...

...we’ll organize rallies and protests right in these swing senators’ backyards.

We’ll hit our targets where it HURTS.

And with your help, we’ll finally get our vote on Audit the Fed.

It all starts with you.

I’m counting on your petition, but when a fight like this comes to a head...

...when push comes to SHOVE...

...even a towering stack of petitions won’t get the job done.

That’s why I’m also counting on you for a generous contribution of $100, $50 or $25 right away.

You see, the Fed banksters may be down, but they’re certainly not out yet. In fact, they’re just getting started.

And they still have plenty of pull, and lots of loyal friends in high places.

That’s why we need to double down on target senators who can still be freed from the Fed’s stranglehold.

And that’s why your contribution of $100, $50 or even just $25 is so important. It lets us really turn up the heat in target states where we’ll get the most “bang for the buck.”

So please, click here to sign the petition to your senators and then please make a generous contribution of $100, $50 or $25 to Campaign for Liberty.

We’re almost at the finish line, but the going’s about to get tough. Please don’t quit now.

In Liberty,

John Tate
President

P.S. Ever since Ben Bernanke was reconfirmed with the most tepid “support” of any Fed Chairmen EVER, the public scrutiny of the Fed has never been higher. Unfortunately, the Fed lobbyists are now beginning to really push back.

That’s why we must gear up too, and launch our Audit the Fed push into OVERDRIVE!


TELL THE SENATE: AUDIT THE FED NOW!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

Keith Olbermann Challenged: The Tea Parties Are More Diverse Than MSNBC

The Dallas Tea Party answers Keith Olbermann's criticism that the Tea Parties are an exclusively "white" protest movement:



Hat tip: Matthew Hurtt

And don't forget this video.

Cross-posted on my first post at YALiberty

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Barack Obama's Perpetual Campaign

Remember President Obama's State of the Union Address just last month? The one in which he said "But what frustrates the American people, is a Washington where every day is election day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign..." (video below)



As we have come to expect from this administration, those were just cozy words to excite the electorate and boost Obama's poll numbers. Because we have it from The Politico today (via: Memeorandum), that the White House is already quietly laying the groundwork for its 2012 run. That's right- they're already in campaign mode for an election three years from now:

"President Barack Obama’s top advisers are quietly laying the groundwork for the 2012 reelection campaign, which is likely to be run out of Chicago and managed by White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, according to Democrats familiar with the discussions.

The planning for now consists entirely of private conversations, with Obama aides at all levels indulging occasionally in closed-door 2012 discussions while focusing ferociously on the midterm elections and health care reform, the Democratic sources said. “The gathering storm is the 2010 elections,” one top official said.

But the sources said Obama has given every sign of planning to run again and wants the next campaign to resemble the highly successful 2008 effort."

Now, I know, I know- I should give him a break. These talks are preliminary. He's spending way more time on the Democrats' health bill. Of course he's considering a second run in the meantime. The actual campaign won't open until a year from now after the mid-terms at the same time our past two presidents started their re-election bids. Blah, blah, blah...

That's exactly my point. He's no different than either of his predecessors. We have not gotten any substantive change from this guy, just a lot of rhetoric. If he's still in campaign mode and already planning for 2012, whatever. But don't get up in front of Congress and everybody, and say that "we can't wage a perpetual campaign" when that's exactly what you do every day, Mr. President.

This is why people don't trust you or take you seriously. This is why your poll numbers are steadily dropping. We keep hearing one thing from you and getting another. If I were a liberal Democrat, I would feel pretty freaking used right now.

Obama's Broken Lobbyist Promise

I recently received an e-mail regarding my post entitled: "The First 100 Days: 100 of Obama's Lies, Blunders, Gaffes, and Abuses of Liberty." It said:

I read the first line; 100 lies etc. in the second line the word “lies” disappears for ever. Then it becomes broken promises like he promised to get lobbyist out of congress and the administration. What he actually said was that he wanted to limit the number of lobbyist. When do you stop lying????

I just wanted to share my response with the rest of you:

Hey Don, thanks for writing me.

In all fairness to myself, the title of the post was 100 of Obama's Lies, Blunders, Gaffes, and Abuses of Liberty. So the list was designed to include all four of those, not just lies. As for broken promises, those are actually a subset of lies (because if you say you're going to do something, then do something else, you've told a lie).

And Obama did say that there would be no lobbyists in his administration...

Former Lobbyists Join Obama
In November 2007, Obama boasted at a campaign event that lobbyists "won't find a job in my White House." He later softened that rhetoric to say that lobbyists "won't dominate" the White House.

If we grant that he backed down from it, let me ask you if it looks like lobbyists dominate the White House or not...

Obama Speaks: Lobbyists Not Welcome in My Administration
* Tom Daschle. Lobbyist for healthcare industry. Obama’s health care advisor.
* Eric Holder. Lobbyist at Covington & Burling. Now, Attorney General.
* Tom Vilsack. Lobbyist for National Educational Assn. Now, Agriculture Sectetary.
* Ron Klain. Lobbyist at O’Melveny & Myers. Now, chief of staff to V.P. Biden.
* Leon Panetta. Lobbyist for corporations. Now, Director of CIA.
* Patrick Gaspard. Chief lobbyist for SEIU. Transition deputy director of personnel.
* David Hayes. Lobbyist at Latham & Watkins. Now, deputy director of Interior.
* William Corr. Lobbyist for Tobacco-Free Kids. Now, deputy secretary of Health & Human Services.
* Mark Patterson. Lobbyist at Goldman Sachs. Now, chief of staff for Treasury Secretary.

Would you say we're getting the change we wanted or that we're still getting abused a little? I'm not writing these things because I'm partisan or because I hate Obama. I just really do want all of those things that we thought we were getting from him: change, transparency, reform, civil liberties, an end to military imperialism, an end to torture, an end to cronyism and corruption, a government that applies practical, non-partisan solutions to some of our country's biggest problems... I really, really do want all those things, and Don, if you take an honest look at what's happening with our present administration, we're not getting them. In fact, we're getting all the worst aspects of the last eight years on steroids.

For examples of this lobbyist issue, check out:


Former Lobbyists in senior Obama administration positions
Although Barack Obama promised lobbyists would not serve in his White House, and issued executive orders restricting former lobbyists, more than 40 ex-lobbyists now populate top jobs in the Obama administration, including three Cabinet secretaries, the Director of Central Intelligence, and many senior White House officials.

Below is our working list of ex-lobbyists in the Obama administration.


Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
"No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration."


Obama makes a mockery of his own lobbyist ban
More than 40 former lobbyists work in senior positions in the Obama administration, including three Cabinet secretaries and the CIA director. Yet in his State of the Union address, Obama claimed, "We've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs."

Did Obama speak falsely?

Well, it depends on what the definition of "excluded lobbyists" is.

I asked the White House if he chose his words poorly, but the media affairs office defended the president's statement: "As the President said," a spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail, "we have turned away lobbyists for many, many positions."

So, the country may have heard, "we haven't hired lobbyists to policymaking jobs," but the White House tells us Obama meant, "we only hired some of the lobbyists who applied for policymaking jobs." In other words, they've excluded some lobbyists.

And this was in the context of reducing the "deficit of trust."

Now are you going to honestly tell me that Mr. Obama has delivered what he promised? If you really truly want good policies and proper government, and less corruption and more transparency... if you really want those things and are not simply enamored with the man regardless of what he does, you will please agree that Mr. Obama has not at all delivered on his campaign rhetoric about lobbyists.

Thank you so much for writing, Don. I really do appreciate you taking the time out to share your thoughts with me and keep my blog on its toes. I hope after reading this you don't think I'm a liar anymore. At the very least if you still disagree with me, hopefully you can agree that I have some good reasons to assert what I have asserted here and on the Humble Libertarian?

Peace,
Wes

Join Young Americans for Liberty

I just became a dues-paying member of Young Americans for Liberty! After getting a lot of my work featured at YAL (like here, here, and here) I will start contributing soon directly to the YAL blog and can't wait to add my voice to the many students and young people out there on fire for liberty (just keep an eye out here at THL and I'll link you to any articles I post at YAL).

In the meantime, I highly encourage everyone (especially students) to join YAL and advance the ideas and philosophy of liberty on what is perhaps America's most crucial ideological battlefield- the university.

Here are ten reasons you should join YAL:


1. Receive a copy of Young American Revolution (YAR)
Four times a year, YAL publishes a national magazine titled Young American Revolution. The magazine solicits student and professional writers dedicated to the ideals of liberty and the tactics of practical politics. All YAL members will receive a free copy of YAR in the mail. An annual subscription to YAR alone is worth the $10 dues.

2. Host Ron Paul and other speakers on your campus
Rallies on college campuses brought the biggest crowds during the presidential campaign, so why stop now? Dr. Paul has agreed to speak at a handful of YAL sponsored college events next semester, so we'll be looking for YAL chapters to host these events. Other keynote speakers, such as Tom Woods, have also spoken at YAL events.

3. Participate in YAL events
Every month it is the goal of YAL National to organize a national event that all chapters can participate in on their campus. This will afford us the opportunity to bring attention to specific issues and dates, show our strength in numbers, and celebrate our values as an organization.

4. Learn the tactics and strategies to win in politics
You owe it to your philosophy to learn how to win. It is fundamental to our mission to train our members how to win in politics. Whether it is a lobby effort, local campaign, or student government election, YAL will develop a training curriculum to teach you the nuts and bolts of winning in politics.

5. Attend the 2010 YAL Nation Convention
Speakers, training workshops, National Committee elections, and partying will comprise the of 2010 YAL National Convention in Washington, DC. It's going to be another huge event!

6. Receive activism grants
Passing out monopoly money to demonstrate the concept of fiat money? Exposing a Marxist professor? Promoting the ideas of liberty on campus? Too many great ideas never happen, because they do not have the smallest amount of funding. We want to provide YAL chapters with the opportunity to apply for "activism grants" and receive financial support to accomplish their activism projects.

7. Find jobs and internships
Hundreds of internships and jobs are offered within the liberty movement, and we want to connect you with those opportunities.

8. Connect with like-minded organizations
There are countless numbers of resources currently available to students, so there is no need for YAL to reinvent the wheel. We will just gather all the resources in one place and connect you with the proper organization.

9. Network with like-minded people
The Internet is the best resource we've got. Right now, we are developing a website to launch before the beginning of next semester to keep our members networked and informed. YAL members will have exclusive access to many areas of the site.

10. Get free YAL Stuff
There's nothing better than free stuff, and we want to give it to you. T-shirts, cozies, bumper stickers, bottle openers, books, hats, buttons, etc. When we've got them, we give them to our members.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Joe Stack was a Terrorist. Period.

Above: Photo of the damage to the Echelon Building | Author: Jasleen Kaur

The following is an excerpt from a piece I got published today on the Christian Science Monitor's opinion page. I really am getting sick of hearing from Stack apologists, and am less than happy with the response Stack has been getting from the tea party movement.

I hoped to set the right example with my post condemning Stack's criminal act last week, but maybe the tea party doesn't have as much spine (or good sense) as I hoped it would. I hate that I had to write this, but someone has to say it:

Joe Stack was a terrorist. Period.

If intentionally targeting civilians with acts of violence is terrorism, then Mr. Stack was a domestic terrorist. So why the nonchalance, even empathy, from conservatives like Rep. Steve King (R) of Iowa and Sen. Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts who are typically “strong on defense?”

The progressive blogosphere and media rushed to label Stack a “tea party terrorist” and associate him with the resurgent antitax protest movement in the United States (conveniently ignoring the concluding swipe Stack’s suicide note made at capitalism: “The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”)

Yet despite this glaring omission of something you probably won’t see on a sign at your next tea party rally, it would seem that tea party activists have bought into the smear that Stack is one of their own. Their reactions have varied from explicit endorsements of Stack’s violence, like this appalling tweet from TeaPartyPatriots.org, “God bless Joe Stack an american hero,” to lukewarm condemnations and awkward dismissals of his behavior, à la Representative King and Senator Brown.


Read the rest of the article at the Christian Science Monitor.

Digg it up here. Discuss here.

The Failure of Anti-Money Laundering Laws

The Cato Institute's Dr. Dan Mitchell explains the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of anti-money laundering policies, for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity:

The Anti-Capitalist Mentality of Joe Stack

A Humble Libertarian reader writes in regarding my appraisal of the anti-capitalist and terrorist Joe Stack, to say:

The Anti-Capitalist Mentality (of Joseph Stack)

If you've never perused the title, you might wish to do so. In Joseph Stack you'll find a textbook example of "the resentment of frustrated ambition". Joe Stack wasn't so specifically a Marxist, but a rather zealous, general anti-capitalist.

http://mises.org/etexts/mises/anticap.asp

Regarding that zeal, another good title is "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer which deals with the self-despising that drives individuals to lose their unwanted selves in a perceived nobler collective movement-- in Stack's case, the movement against our peculiar institution of indentured servitude to the federal state known as the 'voluntary' income tax. Unfortunately, I've been unable to locate Hoffer's writings online.

http://www.erichoffer.net/books.html

Expounding upon the epistemology of servitude, a historical title every American should read is "The Politics of Obedience:: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude" by Etienne de la Boetie, 1553.

http://mises.org/book/boetie.pdf

Salut.

Thanks for the references!

The Bloom Box and Energy Entrepreneurship

Republican Governor Gary Johnson's advocacy group Our America Initiative is starting to gain steam by putting some fantastic ideas out there and helping Americans to understand that good government is easy!

I am proud to announce that I will start making regular contributions to the Our America Initiative blog and am honored to be a part of what I hope will be an historic initiative to restore America to its former greatness by restoring her freedoms.

The following is an excerpt from my first blog post at Our American Initiative:

One important question for our era is: How do we create clean, affordable, renewable energy? It would seem that Silicon Valley engineer, K.R. Sridhar has found an answer to that question, the Bloom Box. With its dazzling premiere on 60 minutes Sunday evening, the Bloom Box is making a big splash on the Internet as the next best solution to our energy needs. It’s a small fuel cell that produces a lot of energy, allowing its users to unplug from the power grid and cheaply generate energy themselves.

...

Innovators like K.R. Sridhar and his company, Bloom Energy, offer a better alternative. Instead of limiting our environmental impact in a way that hurts the finances of American households and businesses, energy entrepreneurs seek to limit our environmental impact by creating value for Americans. The beauty of energy efficiency is that it needs no directive from a government central planner, because energy efficiency is cost efficiency, and Americans already have an incentive to cut costs. In the end, it will be people like you and me who want to save money in our homes and small businesses that will drive a true and lasting revolution in energy efficiency and sustainability.

Be sure to read the whole thing here, and while you're there, peruse the site and check out some of Governor Johnson's positions on other political issues.

And please, please, please do three quick things right this instant (it'll take less than five minutes, probably less than two): 1) Become a Fan of Gary Johnson's Facebook Page, 2) Follow Gary Johnson's Twitter account, and 3) Subscribe to Gary Johnson's YouTube Channel.

Monday, February 22, 2010

This Picture Should Be Everywhere!

The image above was taken by someone who lives in Canada and tried to go to his walk in clinic (where the doctor has a good sense of humor and a healthy dose of frustration with the RATIONING that takes place in a system of socialized medicine).

Don't bother looking for the Onion logo in the corner of the picture- 'cause it ain't there! This is for real. A major tip of my hat to Taylor R. Cottam (who lives in Toronto) of EconomyPolitics for exposing this to the rest of us Yanks still living here in America.

Read more straight from Taylor right here.

Please make this go viral. America needs to see what's in store for us if the Democrats successfully "Rahm" the Reid-Pelosi bill through Congress.

Video Ron Paul's Full Speech at CPAC

Video of Ron Paul's full speech at CPAC 2010:



Ron Paul enters to the tune of "We will rock you..." I love it. I absolutely love it. Hear that neoconservatives? We will rock you!

Flashback: Ron Paul's speech at CPAC in 2009:





Ron Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ron Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

We saw so many good signs for the state of "conservatism" and the Republican Party at CPAC this weekend. To begin with, Ron Paul actually won the CPAC presidential straw poll. This is a long way for the self-described conservative movement to come from actually supporting Mitt "socialized medicine" Romney for the past three years.

It's also a long way for the Ron Paul REVOLution to come. Going from winning every single poll there is on the Internet (thanks to his very web-savvy, and extremely dedicated supporters) to actually winning a "real" poll of the major movers and shakers in the conservative movement at CPAC, is encouraging to say the least.


Michael Steele is Ron Paul's Newest Fan

Even RNC Chairman Michael Steele kowtowed to Ron Paul and his vision of monetary sanity in his best-selling book End the Fed at CPAC this weekend:



It would seem that the true libertarians in the Republican party and conservative movement are finally stepping it up, playing the game, getting involved, and yes- taking over *huge grin*


We're all libertarians now

Mike Huckabee even sat out the CPAC convention with a bad case of sour grapes, saying: "CPAC has becoming increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year." Well, Mr. Huckabee, if you don't stand for liberty, I pray fervently that the Republican Party knows better than to stand for you in 2012.

This is how it needs to happen. The socialists, fascists, and Fabians hijacked the U.S. Democratic Party over the last century to accomplish their political agenda. I am not unconvinced that the libertarians need to do the same with the Republican Party.


Actually- not all of us...

While all these signs are certainly encouraging, there were many, many discouraging signs from CPAC, so libertarians had better stay on their toes and keep working hard. To begin with, when Ron Paul was announced as the CPAC straw poll winner, there were several audible boos mixed in with the cheering.



Dick Cheney's Surprise Speech, Standing Ovation

Then there's the fact that they actually gave a standing ovation for Dick Cheney's surprise speech at CPAC. He joked that "A welcome like that almost makes me want to run for office," and actually received more thunderous applause. The guy who "vice presided" over eight years of the most radical growth in Federal size and power ever gets that kind of reaction from all of Huckabee's crazed "libertarians?"

I wish their middle fingers had given him a standing ovation.


John Ashcroft's Bogus Award

Then former Attorney General John Ashcroft actually gets the Defender of the Constitution Award at CPAC. Yes, John Ashcroft. Defend of the Constitution Award. The guy who supported the Patriot Act. I guess it could have been worse. I guess if they were really, really trying for a headline that could have been from the Onion, they could have given that award to Alberto Gonzales.


Mitt "socialized medicine" Romney Defends Bush

Then last, but not least, was the reaction to Mitt Romney's defense of the Bush Administration. The Cato Institute's David Boaz put it best (H.T. United Liberty):

What did tell me something very disturbing about the state of conservatism was Mitt Romney's speech at CPAC. It was a well-written and well-delivered speech, and I agreed with much of what I heard on C-SPAN Radio. But after all the talk about how Republicans have learned their lessons, how they know that they went badly awry during the Bush-Hastert-DeLay years, Romney drew cheers for saying, "I am convinced that history will judge President Bush far more kindly—he pulled us from a deepening recession following the attack of 9-11, he overcame teachers unions to test school children and evaluate schools, he took down the Taliban, waged a war against the jihadists and was not afraid to call it what it is—a war, and he kept us safe." And then he drew wild, foot-stomping cheers for going on: "I respect his silence even in the face of the assaults on his record that come from this administration. But at the same time, I also respect the loyalty and indefatigable defense of truth that comes from our “I don’t give a damn” Vice President Dick Cheney!" (text)

I am reminded that in February 2008, after seven disastrous years of overspending, federal intrusion, entitlement expansion, civil liberties abuses, and foundering wars, President Bush spoke at CPAC, and the assembled conservatives greeted him with chants of "Four More Years!"

Really? You wanted more of that? And you're still cheering it in 2010?

Conservative leaders may have restated principles of long standing, principles that reflect the philosophy of Buckley and Reagan rather than the practice of Bush. And Tea Party activists may be demanding that both parties get control of spending and stop expanding government. But in 2008 and 2010, it appears that when you get committed conservatives together in a room, they display no regrets about the Bush disaster. No wonder the public is rapidly losing confidence in President Obama and his program (Romney: "the gold medal in the downhill was taken away from American Lindsey Vonn. It was determined that President Obama is going downhill faster than she is."), but voters are not yet ready to embrace Republicans.

Absolutely well said, Mr. Boaz!


Conclusions about CPAC

In the end, the tone and results at CPAC should give libertarians hope. They are making inroads. Ron freaking Paul won the presidential straw poll at America's foremost gathering of conservatives. But CPAC shouldn't give libertarians too much hope or the impression that they have arrived and can safely rest on their laurels.

We have a long, hard road ahead.


..and now your moment of zen:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Libertarians and Responsibility

By Daryl Luna, Editor of:
In Defense of the Constitution

With its laissez-faire approach to economics and “get the government out of my business” attitude, libertarianism often gets a bad rap as an ideology of unconcerned and uninvolved citizens. This could be true of some libertarians, but no truer than it is for people of all ideological stripes.

For the most part, libertarians are responsible members of society. In fact, they must be, because libertarianism necessitates responsibility. A free people must have personal responsibility, while slaves to Leviathan have no desire or need to be responsible.

Truly, with much freedom comes much responsibility. Therefore, in a society where the government does not provide all wants and needs from cradle to grave, individuals must provide for social needs. The difference is that what once would be provided through compulsion (i.e. taxes) would then be provided out of actual desire.

Either in a desire to economically benefit or in a desire to reach out and help others, the private sector would provide goods and services for society as a whole. The idea that government should direct and centrally plan this process is truly silly and misguided.

Of course, we already see this concept of private action at work. No mandate was issued to create your band’s favorite music, your favorite restaurant’s burger, or any host of other things solely produced for and by the private sector. The need was met without government intrusion.

Sadly, however, we also see government involved in a whole host of things not allowed by the Constitution—things that should be left to private individuals. Look no further than the multitude of government welfare programs for an example. We all know these programs kill incentives for responsibility.

The government is not the only entity capable of carrying out its programs and actions. It simply usurps the responsibility of individuals. It is not that the private sector cannot act; in fact it can do a much better job. It is just that the government has squeezed out the private sector's desire and/or ability to act. I assure you that if a problem exists and a solution is to be found, small business, not big government will provide it.

Being in a constitutional republic, I understand that we have agreed to allow the government to be active in some areas; they are specifically spelled out in the Constitution. However, no argument can be made to justify the size and scope of government we now possess—at least not according to the Constitution. And just because a policy is constitutional, that doesn't mean it's a good policy.

Sadly, throughout American history, we have had an inaccurate and unrealistic picture of the results we get from government. The state has saved us from ourselves, it contends, but this is untrue. Instead of bringing help, the government has brought dependency.

As F. A. Hayek notes, we have been marched down a road to serfdom which has changed both what we allow from our government and exactly how we feel about what government does. Regretfully, I see even those who claim to be libertarians justifying unwarranted government action. We have taken the bait, and that bait could be our ruin.

I continually see those who claim to be against "big government" endorse big government policies. We say we want freedom, but cry for more government control. We claim to be against large centralized government, but usher more of it into our lives.

Much of this would be solved if we merely took a closer look at the situation and realized that the private sector can and would act in absence of government intervention. In the absence of government, personal responsibility must flourish. Because libertarians desire a properly limited government, we are most in favor personal responsibility.

We don’t want the government taking care of the poor, sick, or hungry. We want to do that. We don’t want the government involved in industry. We’ll take care of that. We don’t want the government to expand beyond its proper role. We want our rights protected.

You can be irresponsible, but you cannot be so and be truly free. As for me, I’ll take liberty and personal responsibility. That is the heritage for which I’ll fight.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Is The Tea Party Just White People?

Resoundingly- NO! There are all kinds of minorities at the Tea Parties, which gives lie to the claim that the tea parties are racist or that the tea parties are some kind of white supremacy group angry about America's first black President, Mr. Obama.

Want proof? Glenn Reynolds has it, a video montage of quite a few black people at Tea Parties across the country. After watching it, Chris Matthews exclaimed that for a few minutes, he forgot they were black! Here it is:

Libertarian Campaign Ad Features Gun

Whoa. A recent campaign ad by Nashville Libertarian candidate for State House, Daniel Lewis features the candidate holding a very large gun:



While I have shot plenty of guns in my life, I am in all honesty, not a huge gun enthusiast and don't have a clue what kind of gun Mr. Lewis is holding, but I have a strong feeling that Attorney General Eric Holder really wants to take it away. As a liberty enthusiast, I certainly hope that doesn't happen.

Hat tip: Nashville Post Politics

A "Lockbox" for State Tax Revenue?

From this week's article at my CAIVN column:

Just like we blister at the possibility of someone spending their entire life paying into Social Security, then having their age eligibility raised and their monthly checks cut in half when they hit retirement, we should find it outrageous that the State of California pays more into the Federal coffers than it receives. California should get back roughly the same amount of Federal money in entitlements, projects, and Federal services that it pays in Federal taxes. Should there be some kind of "lock box" for states? Could there be? Could we feasibly account for every dollar California pays into the Federal system and make sure it gets roughly the same amount back?

Read the whole article here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Joe Stack Was A Left Leaning Marxist

Yesterday I unequivocally condemned Joe Stack's brutal plane crash into the Echelon Building in Austin, Texas, which housed Federal IRS offices. I explained that regardless of his anti-tax philosophy, he does not speak for the libertarian or Tea Party movement, and that his actions are certainly inconsistent with those movements.

My mistake was to think that Joe Stack even presumed to speak as a libertarian. He did not. After a very close reading of his online diatribe today (full text here), it is very clear to me that his entire work was one of the most strongly leftist, most Marxist things I had read in some time. His fundamental complaint is the exploitation of the poor and working classes by the ruling class, and his fundamental purpose was to encourage and foment a violent overthrow thereof.

At no point does he oppose taxation or the redistribution of wealth on principle, certainly not from libertarian principles. At no point for instance, does he quote Hayek or Locke (though he conspicuously channels Marx). He never says- as a libertarian or Tea Partier would- that there should be no special interests in government. Instead he simply lobbies for his interests and laments for the plight of his own special interest group- the working class poor.

I would like to see direct condemnations of Joe Stack's actions by the left. I would like to see them vocally distance themselves from his radical, Marxist agenda to violently overthrow the ruling class and forcibly seize justice for the proletariat. I would like to see a little more embarrassment from the commentators on the Huffington Post, DailyKos, and even here at this blog, who gleefully demand to see Tea Partiers and libertarians cower, and cry, and blush, and beg forgiveness for the consequences of their ideas, because yesterday's attack was the bitter fruit of leftist thought, not Tea Party activism.

Joe Stack made it no clearer than in his concluding remarks, a contrast of communism and capitalism in clear favor of the former: "The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed." Did you get that? The Joe Stack plane crash in Austin, Texas was motivated by anti-capitalism. So those of you who want me to take responsibility for Stack, can go troll around Michael Moore's website. Just stop the lies, lies, lies.

For yet more evidence, I have compiled a list of quotes from the Stack Manifesto (full text here) below:


Joe Stack rants against big business:

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? ...The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies...


Joe Stack channels Democrat Alan Grayson:

Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.


Joe Stack condemns health care reform obstructionists:

Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.


Joe Stack rants against organized religion:

In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God)... The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living.


Joe Stack channels John Edwards' Two Americas:

However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us…


Joe Stack and the proletariat:

My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement.


Joe Stack calls for violent revolution- very Marxist:

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.


Joe Stack Concludes:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Joe Stack Plane Crash in Austin, Texas

THL Condemns:

Earlier today, Joseph Andrew Stack, a disgruntled, anti-government software engineer, crashed a small plane into the Echelon Building in Austin, Texas, which housed U.S. Federal tax employees in its IRS offices.

(Sources: FoxNews via: Memeorandum and CNN via: Memeorandum)


As the Editor-in-Chief of The Humble Libertarian, I unequivocally and without qualification, condemn this brutal, senseless, and stupid act of violence. As a libertarian, I am incensed that Joe Stack took it upon himself to take innocent lives in the name of less government spending and lower taxes.

Liberty is Peaceful

You can bet that socialists and welfare statists will aggressively associate libertarianism with this violent outburst for years to come in order to smear our movement and our message. But I write today so that no one can doubt it- that I fiercely condemn Joe Stack's plane bombing of the Echelon Building in Austin, Texas, and that Joe Stack is no libertarian. Libertarianism emphasizes non-coercion, non-aggression, and peaceful coexistence among people. Its exemplars include luminaries like the Mahatma Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, and Leo Tolstoy.

Joe Stack committed his violent crime just a few short hours after I published these words at The Humble Libertarian: "We need to be good representatives of libertarianism. Ultimately people are concerned about whether a libertarian society will be a good society, and we must show them it will be a good society by being good people." Joe Stack doesn't speak for me or the millions of other Americans who correctly support more fiscal responsibility in Washington. We are good people, law-abiding citizens, and peace-loving activists.

Guilty by association?

I would also caution the welfare statists and social democrats on the "left" who are already gleefully attributing this criminal act to the "tea baggers" and the libertarian "right" in "left"-leaning blogs and discussion forums all over the Internet. To its credit, a DailyKos blogger correctly writes:

"Obviously Stack was not a mentally healthy person, and he was embittered at capitalism, including crony capitalism, and health insurance companies and the government. Reading larger political motives into this action would be preliminary, until more information emerges about whether he actually has been involved in any political movement like the teabaggers. But it should inject a bit of caution into the anti-government flame-throwers on the right."

But it's unfortunate that many of the commentators on that post didn't read it too carefully before commenting. I would also add to the author's statement above that even if Joe Stack did attend tea party protests, that doesn't make the Tea Parties or libertarians a terrorist group any more than it would make the YMCA a terrorist group if we found out that Joe Stack had a gym membership at one. But the smears will likely continue regardless.

More Information on the Plane Crash in Austin Texas

Below is the full text of the Austin, Texas plane crash criminal- Joe Stack's Internet note (or "Stack Manifesto"), which he first published to his website "Embedded Art" at EmbeddedArt.com (which has now been taken down). Hat tip to The Smoking Gun via: Memeorandum and The Statesman via: Memeorandum.


FULL TEXT OF "STACK MANIFESTO" BEGINS HERE

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report (http://www.synergistech.com/1706.shtml#ConferenceCommitteeReport) regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (http://www.synergistech.com/ic-taxlaw.shtml).

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL - Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. - This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. - The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

Note:

· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to XXXX XXXX, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, XXXX knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010

FULL TEXT OF "STACK MANIFESTO" ENDS HERE