Monday, August 30, 2004

Badnarik: To Vote or Not Vote For?

Through a Yahoo! usergroup, I received a 12-point “Reasons Why Not to Vote for Michael Badnarik” email from libertarian Eric Dondero. Some of the reasons why Dondero says libertarians should oppose the Libertarian Party presidential candidate (commentary edited down for space):

Michael Badnarik has NEVER held elective or appointed office. “Nominating Presidential candidates who have never held elective office for the Libertarian Party sends a strong signal to the American electorate that the LP is not at all serious about politics and is a fringe movement at best.”

He has made wacky statements to the media. “Badnarik speculated in the Economist Magazine that he doubted whether Al Qaeda was behind the September 11 attacks suggesting that it might even have been our own government.”

He has never served in the military. “September 11 proved that we need to elect Commander in Chiefs who have at least some sort of Military background.”

His views run to the extreme of the libertarian movement. “Badnarik is much closer to being an anarchist than a libertarian. He comes across as a militia type/tax protestor rather than one who is within the mainstream of libertarians.”

In 2000, I voted for Harry Browne of the Libertarian Party because I wasn’t satisfied with either Vice President Al Gore or George W. Bush. Browne also came closest to my own views. I won’t vote Libertarian again for the presidency, because the Libertarian position on the war on terrorism is problematic and naive to me. It would be great if the Libertarian Party got far more pragmatic about its political strategy.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A Libertarian Task, Indeed

From the website of Michael Bowen, our fellow Conservative Brotherhood member: “Here is how Libertarians can earn my unending respect and admiration: work out the microeconomies and advocate for open pricing in every aspect of life. Where should they start? Health Care.”

He notes that - unlike health care for dogs and cats - it’s difficult to find out online how much it costs to fix a broken leg. This is because of powerful major party interests, both Republican and Democratic. “If Ralph Nader wasn't such a pompous ass, he'd focus the media on this issue. If Libertarians weren't such impractical dweebs, they'd quit showing off their ideological purity and get down to this business.”

As a small-l libertarian — as opposed to a Libertarian Party member - I agree. I’ve never understood why Libertarians value ideological purity over actually increasing libertarianism’s viability in society.

As I’ve argued here before, it’s not coincidental that the two areas of the U.S. economy that outpace inflation are those with the most government intervention: health care and education. The American Medical Association stops colluding with state legislatures to limit the number of licensed doctors - which jacks up health care costs, and keeps the number of doctors artificially much lower than it should be given our country’s population. It should reform requiring similar training regardless of actual specialty. And USA must privatize its health care system even more, which would improve efficiency and enable consumers to shop around for health care deals.

Moving to Create a Truly Free State

Thousands of libertarians - mostly former D.C. residents - are moving to New Hampshire with the dream of starting a new movement, known as the Free State Project, that will become a national force. Why that state? Because it’s known for its maverick politics.

Says Philip Boncer, 41, a biomedical engineer from San Diego: "You have choices, but they're all bad for you. Democrats are increasing regulations and the strain on business, and Republicans are increasing moral laws."

Organizers say their primary goals are to limit government, reduce taxes and increase personal liberties. If the plan works, they say, other states will have to follow or lose residents and their tax dollars. Two members are already New Hampshire state representatives.

Sounds interesting, but I ain’t moving to New Hampshire: too cold, little culture, and few black folks. Best wishes to the group though.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Taxpayers Foot Bill for Political Partying

and Radley Balko says it's not right. And he's right! U.S. taxpayers give $15 million apiece to Democrats and Republicans for their conventions. Taxpayers in host cities and host states pay even more. This doesn't include the $50 million that each party gets for convention security in a post-9/11 world.

"After four years of spending taxpayer dollars at rates unseen in U.S. history, after failing to carry out the single most important responsibility of government — to protect American citizens from those who want to harm us — America's two major political organizations now get to throw themselves grand galas, where party leaders bloviate on national television about the earnest, hard-working taxpayer, then party in corporate suites where they nosh on the likes of 'maple bourbon glazed turkey and roasted duck, and Forest Glen chardonnay.' And you and I pay for it."

Radko doesn't buy the major parties' claim that we're paying for the "privilege of democracy," since the primary election system — also paid for by taxpayers — basically selects nominees months earlier.

Yet Democrats claim to be for the "common people" and Republicans feign concern about our tax burdens - while both put the squeeze on us taxpayers. Not long ago I ranted about how this misuse of tax dollars was neither a constitutional duty or responsibility of the federal government. Ending this party freebie would force the donkeys and elephants to create conventions that actually appeal to Americans, and not bore us to death.

Friday, August 06, 2004


I saw this image on the website of Baldilocks, my Conservative Brotherhood mate. This graphic is so true. I've discussed how my family had to flee Mississippi in 1923 because the Ku Klux Klan assaulted a family member, said "niggers be out of town by sundown tomorrow," and burned down our small family farm (my great-grandparents were apparently "too uppity"). Physical assault and violated private property rights (and local government wouldn't enforce the law). This scenario might have played out very differently had my great-grandparents been allowed to own guns like whites could do.

Even today, Booker Rising notes: "What's ironic is that gun ownership is the lowest in black neighborhoods, where crime disproportionately takes place. So law-abiding black masses are defenseless while a tiny thug minority (who will always acquire guns) rips and roars in many communities. Meanwhile, liberal elites expect us to wait for the police (i.e., government) to arrive to help us. Tyrone and Imani, do the police arrive in three minutes flat in your neighborhood?"

Monday, August 02, 2004

Open the Presidential Debates, End the Party Convention Freebie

Look at this recent poll, by Rasmussen Reports. 68% of American adults believe that Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, should be invited to participate in the presidential debates. 20% say he shouldn't be invited, and 12% aren't sure.

The Libertarian Party has been on all 50 state ballots for the past three presidential elections, and is on target to do so this year. If you get on the ballot in all 50 states - no small feat - then you should be in the debates. Of course, the Republicans and Democrats will never go for it so they can protect their political oligarchy. I'm not sure if I'll vote Libertarian again for president this year -- I'm staunchly opposed to Badnarik's anti-war stance on Iraq and too many Libertarian party members are in denial about the rising Islamist threat we face -- but I'd at least like to hear how Badnarik stacks up with Bush and Kerry.

The poll also shows that 62% of Americans agree with the Libertarian Party that tax dollars shouldn't be spent to support the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. I heard that the Democratic National Convention cost $95 million. I don't know how much of it is taxpayers' dollars, but insane nonetheless. Where in the U.S. Constitution is this a duty or responsibility of the federal government? Other than Kerry's speech (watched by a total of about 22 million, network and cable TV combined), hardly anyone watched the DNC. Most of it is a snoozer, and the taxpayer dollars help fuel it.

If these conventions had to pay their own way, they would (1) probably move from four days down to two; and (2) be far more interesting to watch because less money could be sent on script / image consultants and the parties would be forced to limit themselves to just their most captivating speakers. No more of those dreary nobody-who-think-they're-somebody politicians, with awful speaking skills. Far fewer of those "regular people" speakers plucked from battleground states to appeal to battleground voters' issues. The conventions would get more to the point and give us info.

The survey also finds that 10% of Americans identify themselves as libertarian (small-l, which is how I define myself), rather than liberal or conservative. This would be significantly higher if the Libertarian Party could access a larger audience and not regularly face a Catch-22 situation.