This past Saturday, I decided to meet up with Colorado Libertarian Party members to take part in a town hall meeting at the Smoky Hill Library in Centennial, Colorado. Several members of the state legislature hosted the event: Sen. Nancy Todd (D-Sen. Dist. 28), John Buckner (D-House Dist. 40), and Su Ryden (D-House Dist. 36). Senate Majority Leader, Morgan Carroll (D-Dist.29) was a no show.
When I received the invitation, in my inbox, there were 11 others who RSVP’d to attend the event. I really had no idea if we would be the only individuals in attendance who would challenge these legislators or if we would be in good company. All I knew was all of these legislators would be Democrats in favor of most, if not all, of the gun control measures (at least in principle) being considered at the state capitol. I fully expected that we would be crashing their party.
As it turned out, the Colorado Libertarians who responded to the Meetup invitation were not the only party crashers (I’m not entirely clear on who was part of ‘our group’ and who wasn’t). Before the meeting, several of us were outside with our pro-gun rights signs. Rep. Ryden and Sen. Todd were kind enough to talk with us briefly before the meeting started.
Just before the meeting started, we were advised to write down our questions on the 3X5 cards the meeting organizers provided to us rather than take random questions from the citizens. As the meeting progressed with a small number of the questions being read, many in attendance were not too pleased with this “I thought this was supposed to be a town hall meeting,” one person complained. About halfway into the meeting after several unsatisfactory answers from the legislators concerning the right to bear arms, one elderly gentleman stormed out.
I’m going to have to disagree with my colleague Kevin on the Brandon Raub case. Sure, I get that he is no martyr. (First of all, he isn’t dead. Yet.) But neither is there any cause for the man to picked up by the FBI and involuntarily put in custody for “psychiatric evaluation.”
We all know the comments on his Facebook wall. Kevin listed some of them. Yes, they looked like Mr. Raub was deeply frustrated with this country, and they were, I admit, a bit threatening. (“I’m coming for some heads,” “There will be justice,” etc.). But is that grounds for arresting him? I find that very doubtful.
If my mother had posted what she had said to me on a daily basis as a kid to a Facebook wall, she would no doubt be arrested. That’s because, half the time I did something very stupid and aggravating, she would shout “I’m going to kill you!” Now that’s a statement many would take as one of intent to kill. But did my mother ever intend to murder me? Of course not. (She might say otherwise, but really, she never wanted to hurt me.) Yet some overzealous law enforcement officer or child protective services agent might have seen that and had my mother locked up, for really no good reason.
Editor’s note: This is one of two takes on the Brandon Raub story that will posted today.
Early Monday morning while making my news rounds, a very interesting item from caught my attention. Brandon Raub, a former Marine, was arrested by local police and the FBI in Virginia and was sent for a mental evaluation for posting anti-government comments. At least, according to that first article I read.
I sure as hell wasn’t going to share or comment on the story until I had more info, but I had to get to work. So, as the day progressed, I read more and more about this story. There was talk about green warrants and possible mental health issues. Then someone posted a link to this guy’s Facebook page. Some of the stuff on there was just downright crazy. But! Was it a threat or a call for violence? No. Not in my opinion.
Still…I didn’t have the necessary information to make an informed decision. Did this guy’s family have him committed? At this point, it’s looking like no. And the strangest thing to me was, as I mentioned, that the FBI was involved with his detainment.
I haven’t heard yet that SCOTUS has ruled on Obamacare, but in a bit of good news, the Federal Communications Commission can no longer fine broadcasters for obscenities and nudity:
The US Supreme Court has prohibited the FCC from imposing fines and sanctions for spoken obscenities and nudity on television in a ruling today. While the court didn’t tackle the constitutional validity of the FCC’s authority to set indecency rules, its decision shows that it has begun to back away from policies that were implemented prior to the ubiquity of media over the internet. Broadcast networks work under a set of indecency rules no internet outlet is required to consider because they use scarce public spectrum, and prior to today’s ruling, they faced severe penalties for airing curse words or nudity that violated the FCC’s policy.
This doesn’t mean that broadcasters will start worshipping at the feat of St. Carlin and drop f-bombs left and right, After all, they still have an audience to maintain, and many audiences frown on vulgarities and nudity (or at least, its inappropriate for said audience. Like many of my fellow United Liberty contributors. [Stop picking on Doug. - Editor]
Even so, despite whatever the hell Middleborough, Massachusetts thinks, there is absolutely no role for government to keep our mouths clean. Free speech, after all, is free speech, even if you don’t like it. And besides, when you consider that most youth can easily get porn and whatever on the Internet for free—yeah, your “parental controls” don’t really mean anything, because your kid knows about about hacking then you know about word processing, in all likelihood—the fines are sort of irrelevant.
Our U.S. Constitution is a remarkably efficient document. It is our only founding charter. Many times changed, rendered, adumbrated. But it’s essence is unshakable. Written in Thomas Jefferson’s handwriting, edited against his will, pored over, discussed, hushed about, while it lay about some small wooden tables in independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Americans believe, that the Constitution is the link between our government and our lives. Congress and the Executive, can not overstep the harmony that exists, by each American following his path of liberty. Unfortunately, too many harmful minds, want too much power in this country. Power never vested in the Constitution. Power never meant to be handled by bureaucrats or officials or committees. We need to change all this. The oath of office should be sworn on the Constitution. In the Capital Rotunda. Among the historicity of remains from past great ages of the United States.
Drones in our night skies. Unelected lawyers interpreting the U.S. Constition. Surveillance. Internet spying. Blackouts and Stasi-like encroachements. Torturing. Deaths and internment of American citizens. Socialization of medicare for the elderly, and healthcare for those in mid-age. Food stamps and deductibles for people who do not work. Taxation over representation. Data-accumulation. Groping at airports. Fumbling and nefarious Justice Department officials. Cronies. Welfare abuses. War and destruction as an industry, like Hollywood and Corporate America! Blame-games. Undermining of basic civil rights. Monetarism-mongering! Unaccountability and state-sponsored fear. Campaigns of division. Solutions disguised for self-created problems.
Republican voters are being put through the pincers. We are back to 2008. Heaps of strong candidates, but no consensus. Great speeches, but no substance. PAC money spent by the millions, but no conclusive results. GOP candidates are even welcoming Democratic voters, to smear each other, to add to their victories, or to just plainly embitter each other. The Republican race is not going to get any more civil. Once, we see these subterfuges, we can ask the real questions: what will it take to unseat Obama in November, and who can best do this?
In America the conservative movement has been changing. Neo-conservatives, who had for roughly two decades (1980-2000) held the strongarm of the party, are gone with the Bush Administration’s doctrine of “pre-emptive strike” and the PATRIOT ACT. We are in the midst of the dregs. Still trying to find out which direction this country will spill it’s spirit of changelessness.
For all his grandeur, Mitt Romney just has not taken his campaign to the next level. Rick Santorum has peaked, but more likely will not hold his miniscule leads. Newt Gingrinch’s populism and Ron Paul’s constitutionalism, so similar to each other, are self-negating. None is in charge. Marginal candidates can’t win delegates, nor the RNC party’s nomination. Mitt Romney, the ever-chameleon like business mogul, can’t strike a human touch to save his life and political prospects.
If Mitt Romney is the front runner of the wolves, ready to flay Obama; what is his version of the American Dream? How does he see this country, through which prism? Is it a legalistic, rigidly technocratic, institutional approach? It seems, his advantage is not his base, his character, anything as much as his warchest. He won’t run out of steam. Even if the delegate count gets close in Tampa, FL this spring; he’ll be able to resurrect himself, make the necessary promises and sail away with the nomination.
Let us make fresh.
The reason why Rick Santorum would not oust Barack Obama in November, is not his faith. It is simply that he is running a ‘social message’ of uniform decency against a ‘social message’ of uniform healthcare. Plainly, Obama’s health plan, is vital: but not more pressing than the economic calamity of bailouts, frauds, money-laundering, spending and public debt. These are focal issues of the 2012 election.
Santorum is the politician everyone can super-impose themselves on. He’s no CEO like Mitt Romney, no renowned speaker like Newt Gingrich, not intellectual like Ron Paul. No, he is a regular Pennsylvania lawyer, who argued some weird World Wrestling Federation cases. Somehow he is unspectacular enough, that he could almost be your town butcher, postal deliverer or stockyard piler. You would think this is a strength. But it is not.
Eventually, while trying to keep your political pronunciations to a minimum, to correspond to the widest social base possible, you hit a tollboth going 160 mph. Santorum is earnest, he surely is: means well to families and the elderly, but he has yet to prove his salt. His record is plain: he has taken massive amounts of Washington D.C. beltway funding, voted to raise the debt ceiling, is in cahoots with the (so-called) ‘military industrial complex’ and dislikes many anomalies of our population: young pregnants, migrant-labor, jobless, gays, blacks. He has been able to entrench his campaign in an atmosphere of rustic humbleness and simpletonness.
The more connected you are, within the Washington D.C. circuit; and on the long-stretch between Los Angeles and New York, the more clout you have as a politician. Especially, if you’ve squandered taxpayer money on “bridges to nowhere” (Rick Santorum), Olympic “Games” (Mitt Romney) or have been kick-backed by Fannie & Freddie (Newt Gingrich).
All these, of course, are fine examples of Capitalist enterprise, of leadership and smart capital-management. But what do all these undertakings reveal, about abilities in leadership, necessary to plug the dam of the 2008-unward recession? Not, much.
Ron Paul is the antithesis. He negates almost in it’s entirety, every other issues brought by his opponents in the GOP presidential race. He is not reported on, because those who indeed try to, fail miserably: the way Gerald Seib did, moderating the Republican Debate in South Carolina. Ron Paul is too honest: clear, succinct, philosophically astute. This makes him a slippery fish, to place in the Republican Party, although he is by far the most consequently, stalwartly arch-conservative since that other Gipper, that slipped his way into the White House: Ronald Reagan!
Being less ‘politicized’, in other words by having put his neck out on an execution-block, or guillotine, to amass money, has meant he has to do with less campaign finance. But what Paul has lacked in initial spending, his patriots have donated in turn. No other US politician has ever raised a sum, close to over 1 million, which Paul’s campaign has been able to do in 2011. What this means, is; people base decision on mass-media, pandered bits-and-pieces of evening chatter, boxed soundbites (often misinterpreted) while heading out the door in the morning. Ron Paul is lucky to get 3 minutes airtime, after a debate platform.
DemandProgress, some of the folks behind the anti-SOPA push, just sent me a very funny letter. At least, that’s how I’m taking it.
From the email I received:
It took 10 million-plus constituent contacts to beat back SOPA—and we barely won. That’s because a few wealthy interests had bought the allegiance of key members of Congress.
If we want to win the next fight, we need to reduce the role of special interest money in politics.
That’s why we’re teaming up with CREDO on a call to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood.
Oh, where to begin?
Of course, the DemandProgress guys are looking at the MPAA and the RIAA when it comes to corporations…but have they given any thought whatsoever to the big boys who helped bring it down? You know—Google? Facebook? Twitter? Wikipedia?
Perhaps DemandProgress should go and read Doug Mataconis’ excellent post on the subject over at Outside The Beltway. Let’s face it: SOPA would have gone under the public’s radar if Wikipedia and Reddit didn’t go dark and if Google hadn’t spoke out against it. DemandProgress has a staff of two people and while it has many supporters, there’s not enough of them to seriously change the debate within the 311.5 million population of the United States.
If DemandProgress got their way and got Citizens United overturned, when SOPA (inevitably) comes back for a second run, Google and other major companies and organizations might not say anything, and we’ll get shafted by our government again. Then where would DemandProgress be?
Maybe they should take a minute to consider what they’re saying before they just push it out to the public. They’re making themselves jokes now.
There are certainly a plethora of good arguments for state rights, federalism, and transferring more powers to the states vis-a-vis the federal govenrment. There are also a few bad ones.
T. Kurt Jaros at Values & Capitalism argues that the “Incorporation Doctrine”—making the Bill of Rights legally binding upon state governments—goes too far, and harms religious freedoms:
Prior to the twentieth century, the Supreme Court explicitly believed that the Bill of Rights was limited to the federal government and not the states. This is evident in Barron v. Baltimore (1833). Chief Justice John Marshall believed the Bill of Rights “contain(s) no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments. This court cannot so apply them.” Thus, the Bill of Rights (believe it or not) did not restrict what States could do, such as limiting speech, behavior, or expression of religion.
United States v. Cruishank (1876) also confirmed this view. This understanding is the only way to understand why it is the Supreme Court never took up ideas like prayer in school, whether or not a valedictorian could mention Jesus in a speech or if cheerleaders could hold up Bible verses during a football game. The simple fact is, they knew it was not the federal government’s role (as described in the Constitution). After all, the first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This means the federal government was going to stay neutral.