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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bob Barr gets Libertarian Party nomination

On Sunday May 25, the Libertarian Party held its convention to select the parties Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate. After six rounds of voting, ex-congressman Bob Barr comes away winning the nomination 324-276 over research scientist Mary Ruwart. Ruwart also sought the party’s presidential nomination unsuccessfully in 1983. Endorsed by Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root will be his running mate as Vice President. Unlike the Democratic and Republican party, the Libertarian party does not hold primaries, delegates selected by the Libertarian Party show up at a convention and place their votes for the candidate they want. The candidates with the least amount of the votes gets removed from the ballot and if no one candidate holds the majority of votes in goes to the next round and the next until a candidate is selected.

“I’m a competitor and I’m in this to win. I do not view the role of the Libertarian Party to be a spoiler and I certainly have no intention of being a spoiler”, Barr Said. He expects the party will be on the ballot in at least 48 states and perhaps all 50 if the party can qualify in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Barr also said he expects to be invited to the national political debates by qualifying with poll support of 15 percent or more of registered voters.

Barr left the GOP in 2006 over what he called bloated spending and civil liberties intrusions by the Bush Administration. Barr represented a district north of Atlanta, and was first elected to Congress in 1994 where he served four terms. He is known for his role in the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Barr was defeated in 2002 after Georgia’s Democratic controlled legislature put him in a district in which he had to oppose a popular Republican incumbent, John Linder.

Sunday’s convention also ended the political career of the former Senator from Alaska Mike Gravel. Senator Gravel who recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential race said his political career is over. “I just ended my political career, he said. “From 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it’s no big deal. I’m a writer, I’m a lecturer, I’ going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I’m going to push those issues until the day I die” Gravel left the Democratic party after he was excluded from some Democratic debates because he failed to meet fundraising or polling thresholds.

The Libertarian Party and Presidential candidate has allot of work ahead of them. The last two Libertarian candidates, Michael Badnarik in 2004 and Harry Browne in 2000, drew fewer than 400,000 votes each. If Barr wants to be more than just a spoiler to the Republican race they will need to raise allot of money and get as much main stream media coverage as the Democratic or Republican candidates get. With a team like Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root anything is possible. Bob Barr is good at fund raising and Wayne Allyn Root has shown he can get the press.

What will this mean for all the Ron Paul supporters? There is no doubt that most of his supporters are Ron Paul for the long haul, however he no longer has his donation widget on his web page, he still has about $4 million in the bank and everyone is working hard to force a brokered convention at the RNC in September through the delegate process. Will Ron Paul endorse the Libertarian Party candidate, a party in which he was the presidential nominee 20 years ago? Will he endorse Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution party or no one? One thing is for sure, both the Barr and Baldwin are going to need money if they are going to compete. In order to do so they are going to need the support of those who are part of the Ron Paul Revolution. Almost every Ron Paul supporter I know believes we should have more than just a two party system. My question is can we work hard to get Ron Paul more delegates and financially support another party such as the Libertarian party or the Constitutional party? If we do this, it will be an election that goes down in history. Ross Perot in the 90s received of 18% of the popular vote, can the Libertarian Party finally do it too? Wouldn’t the elections be great if we no longer had to pick between the “lesser of two evils” and started picking between the “greater of two goods”? This year might be the year we get to shake things up and start taking away from the two dominating parties.

Many wonder if it can be done, if the Libertarian Party can get the job done. I often wonder. When I went to the websites of some of the popular news agencies in this country, the “main stream media” it was hard to find the story of the Libertarian Convention. I could not find a single announcement on Fox News dot com. On both the New York Times and Miami Herald homepage they did a nice write up about Syracuse Lacrosse team winning the title but I had to dig to find the news about the Libertarian Party convention and nominations. Politico and the LA Times both had a link to the story on their homepage and CNN.com had the story under their “Politics” page. To say the least the Libertarian Party needs to start thinking PR and very soon if they want to make a real impact.

To The People of the United States

I am writing today because no one has asked my opinion in any poll. No candidate has sought my vote, and no lobbyist taken up my cause. It seems that of all of the "special interests" in America, mine is forgotten - unworthy of notice by politicians, activists, media commentators, and the press.

It may be because I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, nor represented by lobbyists for the disabled, senior citizens, minorities, trade unions, nor any other lobby. In fact, I am not a member of any group whatsoever.

I am the individual. Our Constitution was written to protect me from the majority. I am the victim of Democracy, which has overwhelmed the safeguards of the old Republic and replaced the Republic with mob rule. I am raising my voice now, while I am still able to raise it, if for no other reason than to let posterity know that I was still here when the ruins of our Republic are examined.

I have lived my life in a country that proclaims itself to the world to be the "land of the free," but have watched my freedoms erode. The most basic right I had – ownership of the fruits of my labor – has been taken from me. Now, politicians argue over what portion of my labor will purchase medical care for the poor and elderly, what portion will pay social security, what portion will educate other people’s children, and what paltry sum I will be allowed to keep so that I may go out tomorrow and work another day.

I once lived in a country which recognized my right to do as I pleased, as long as I did not violate the rights of others. Now, mountains of laws and regulations have been passed in the perverse effort to prevent me from having even the opportunity to commit a crime. As a result, I am rendered paralyzed, as there is almost no action that I can take, beyond rising from my bed, that cannot be construed by someone to be a crime or violation.

More of my property is seized to support grand adventures in foreign lands, where my government spreads "freedom" through the crosshairs of its guns. My government’s invasion of countries that pose no military threat to us whatsoever has made me hated throughout the world, merely for being an American, and helped enslave my children to unserviceable debts.

Most ominously, even the legal protections of my person have been revoked in the name of protecting my fellow citizens against "terrorism."

While the Constitution guarantees me sound money, as only gold and silver shall be legal tender, I am nevertheless forced to use the worthless paper notes of a private banking cartel that decreases their value daily, providing me no safe store of value to save for my future. To aid financial speculators who produce nothing whatsoever, the volume of these notes is increased out of all reason whenever these gamblers and thieves stand to suffer a loss. As a result, the purchasing power of this slave currency is constantly decreased, widening the gap between rich and poor, and destroying the middle class. I am left with no practical means to participate in free trade and civil society.

I give my fellow citizens the benefit of the doubt, and believe that they have merely forgotten what the true nature and purpose of government is. I remind them that government is nothing more than the collective use of force – and that the use of force is never justified except in defense. It is, by definition, a last resort. Government has almost limitless power, but very few rights. It has no right to do anything beyond protecting my life and my freedom.

Government has no right to provide for the needy with monies extorted at gunpoint from its citizens. I will gladly work with my fellow citizens to help those in need, once I have a choice. In the meantime, I demand that my labor cease to be taken from me without my consent.

Government has no right to bring freedom to the oppressed by initiating force. I remind my fellow citizens that all of the tyrants of history justified their conquests under the false guise of "liberation." I will gladly stand with my countrymen to fight any foreign power that truly threatens us, but I demand that my government immediately cease to invade foreign countries in my name.

Government has no right to "manage the economy." Trade is only truly trade when it is free – the result of exchanges between people by mutual, voluntary consent. There is no role for government in this whatsoever. I demand that my right to trade freely with my fellow citizens and citizens abroad be respected and no longer subject to inspection or interference.

Government has no right to "prevent crime." It may only punish activities that are truly criminal, and those are relatively few compared to the ocean of laws and regulations that have been passed. I demand that any law prohibiting an act that does not directly harm another person be repealed, along with any law that prohibits unpopular thoughts or speech. Neither the threat of terrorism, poverty, natural disaster, nor epidemic justifies the surrender of one ounce of liberty. I demand that habeas corpus be restored.

Finally, government has no right to rob me of my property by forcing me to use paper currency whose value is subject to its whim. I demand that gold and silver no longer be taxed as capital gain if it rises in price relative to paper currency.

While I owe my fellow citizens nothing in return for heeding these demands, I nevertheless offer a thousand-fold in return. My fellow citizens are running out of fossil fuel – I will discover a new, renewable energy source. Our planet is growing crowded – I will unlock the secrets of traveling to others. The productive members of our society will soon be outnumbered by those less able or unable to produce any longer – I will feed them all. For it was I – the free individual – that gave you everything you have. It was I that invented the telephone, the automobile, the airplane, and the computer. It was I that devised methods to produce mass amounts of goods, making them affordable and available to everyone. It was I that devised a system of government where the rule of the jungle was replaced by the rule of just laws.

In return for restoring my rights, you will again free my creative power to give you more than you can possibly imagine, and solve problems which you are unable to solve without me. I ask nothing more in return, for it is no more my right to make claims upon my fellow citizens than it is their right to make claims upon me. I hereby waive any supposed "entitlement" to public welfare, medical care, retirement benefits, or any other benefit that requires coercion of my fellow citizens to provide it. In return I demand that my liberty be restored. As I believe that I am the last individual left on earth, I do not believe that my tax money will be missed. However, if there are other individuals besides me that would claim their freedom as well, I invite them to join me, and to them I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor.



Our Sacred Words

George Orwell told us that if you could corrupt language, you could control the way people think. Over the past 100 years, socialism has used this strategy with overwhelming success. It has changed the meaning of our most sacred words. Few people remember, but the “liberals” of 1908 were advocates of laissez faire capitalism and limited government. Today “liberalism” means something quite different. Socialism demonized “Capitalism,” - the word became synonymous with “greed.” However, capitalism is really nothing more than all transactions between people occurring by mutual, voluntary consent. The only alternative is force. Socialism has trained us to forget that government is nothing more than collective force – that taxes are collected by force. And socialism has changed the meaning of our most sacred word: freedom.

Freedom seems to mean different things to different people. It certainly means something quite different to George Bush than it does to me. However, Hillary Clinton’s definition of freedom is just as bizarre. At the end of the day, these two apparent opposites have something very startling in common: they both believe freedom is achieved through the use of force.

So, what did freedom mean to our founding fathers? For practical purposes, freedom to the founders was economic freedom. Freedom is ownership of the fruits of your labor. Socialism has trained us to forget that. Our concept of slavery has also been redefined, as “captivity,” but captivity is not slavery. Slavery is the opposite of freedom. Slavery is not owning the fruits of your labor. That is why our founders prohibited an income tax. We’ve been trained to forget that, too. Every tyrant that ever lived imposed his tyranny for the same reason: to gather wealth that he did not earn.

Our federal government’s budget receives a lot of press – and usually that press is extremely deceiving. Most Americans believe that our chief financial burden is the military. They don’t realize that we spend more on Medicare and Medicaid than we do on defense. Together with welfare and social security, we spend almost 3 times as much money on entitlement programs as we do on defense, even with the Iraq war. That is not meant as a defense of the Iraq war. The war is wrong and expensive. However, entitlement programs are wrong and much, much more expensive.

Some defend entitlement programs as Christian. I find that quite remarkable. I’ve read the New Testament hundreds of times, and it never occurred to me that Simon of Cyrene was the hero. Yet, we have all become Simons of Cyrene in our time, giving aid and comfort to the needy with the point of the sword at our back. And it doesn’t work. Government programs destroy markets, setting artificial prices and rewarding the corporations with the strongest lobbies rather than the best products at the lowest prices. The result has been more poor people receiving less.

True capitalism defeats all evils. When there is demand for goods or services and the price is too high, new firms enter the market and find a way to meet price demands, acting in their own self interest but benefitting society as a whole. Socialism tells us that without Medicare and Medicaid, the poor and elderly would not have medical care, when in reality they would have more care and higher quality.

Capitalism defeats racism and discrimination. Socialism misleads us to think the opposite. I have interviewed thousands of people for jobs over the course of my life. The candidates were black, white, Hispanic, male, female, young, and old. I chose the same way every time. I picked the candidate that I believed would make me the most money. Had I discriminated, capitalism would have punished me by rewarding my competitor with a more talented employee and an advantage in the market. Capitalism rewards nothing but merit.

Socialism divides us into groups, whether it be age, race, income, or sex. It sets one group voting against another, competing for public money. “What will you do for urban blacks,” or “What will you do for seniors?” The strategy is “divide and conquer,” and it results in less freedom for everyone. Capitalism tells us that we are individuals, and that our freedom cannot be voted on. Our Constitution was written to protect the individual from the majority. We’ve been trained to forget that. We’ve lost the meaning. All of this can change, but make no mistake: all of the Democrats and most of the Republicans are advocating more socialism. When deciding how, remember the meaning of our sacred words, and demand freedom. Socialism has led us to where it always leads – to the verge of economic collapse. We’re closer than you think. Freedom can still save us, but time is running out.

Tom Mullen
Blog Information Profile for Minuteman