Glenn Jacobs & The East Tennessee Libertarians

Last night, the East Tennessee Libertarian Party held their monthly gathering at the Lawson McGhee Library in Knoxville.  Being relatively new, it was their third gathering.  According to my count there were 32 people in attendance.  In one corner of the room they had a large supply of Johnson/Weld yard signs, bumper stickers, and palm cards.

In the first part of the meeting, the leaders discussed issues such as preparations for the upcoming elections and the creation of campaign materials such as Johnson/Weld koozies to be distributed at the University of Tennessee events.  They also noted that this was the first meeting for many of the attendees.  The leaders were in the process of collecting signatures so that the Libertarians could achieve recognition as an offical political party in Tennessee.  In Virginia, a political party needs to get 10% of the vote in a statewide election in order to be recognized, while apparently in Tennessee they need a certain number of signatures from registered voters based upon a percent of the number of people who voted in the last election for governor.

In the second half of the meeting, the featured speaker was Glenn Jacobs who is more famously known as the professional wrestler Kane from the WWE.  You never know what sort of speech a celebrity political activist will give.  Unfortunately, some rely mainly upon their notoriety rather than sound arguments or their speaking skills.  However, I must say that I thought Mr. Jacobs did a phenomenal job.  He spoke on a variety of topics such as: the need to promote a free market as opposed to the mixed one we have presently, the unsustainability of our government’s economic policies and its potential future collapse, the importance of being mindful of state and local elections, not just national campaigns, and the need for employing both logic and emotional appeals when discussing topics of liberty.  He also hinted at the idea of one day running for county mayor of Knox County (which I assume is similar to the chairman of a county board of supervisors in Virginia).

Although it took about 45 minutes for me to drive to the event last night, I thought it was well-worth the effort.  If you’d like to learn more about the East Tennessee Libertarian Party, you can check out their website or connect with them on Facebook.

Greetings from Tennessee

A view of Cherokee Lake
A view of Cherokee Lake

Hello readers and greetings from eastern Tennessee.  For the last several days, I have been here and will remain for a while longer, visting family, cat sitting, and the like.

Of course there have been political developments since last I’ve written.  After all, with a presidential election bearing down upon us, there is always something new to talk about.

As I’m sure you know, tonight is the first debate between Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R).  Unfortunately, the debate excludes the voices of Gary Johnson (L) and Jill Stein (G), two candidates who are on enough ballots to win the presidency. but are not allowed on stage nevertheless.  Although the debate is likely to be entertaining, with Trump and Clinton attacking each other relentlessly, I assume it will be fairly substance free.   Therefore, I not planning on watching, instead visiting the local gaming store or watching Monday Night Football.

I wish that I could say something positive about any of the presidential candidates or campaigns, but I can’t really.  The Gary Johnson campaign (my choice) has been a disappointment thus far, with the odd Johnson sticking out his tongue interview, Bill Weld showing he is more of a liberal Republican than a Libertarian, and the general lack of organization and professionalism overall.  As for Clinton and Trump, well, the borrow a quote from Henry Kissinger regarding the Iran-Iraq War, “it’s too bad they can’t both lose.”

In about 48 hours, I will be in Knoxville taking the GREs.  I last took them about 8 years ago.  I hope I will do as well as I did then.  It would be nice to do something more meaningful in politics.

On Thursday, the Knoxville Libertarian Party will be holding a meeting.  Their featured speaker is Glenn Jacobs.  For the WWE fans out there, you might know him by the name Kane.

Well, the cause of liberty can and will continue, but for the moment I think I’ll take a bit of time for myself here in eastern Tennessee.  Nevertheless, I suspect you’ll catch me on tomorrow’s podcast of Freedom Gulch.

Best wishes and I look forward to writing you again soon!

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XXXIX)

IMG_0339On September 15th, Andy Schmookler and I returned to the radio waves on 550 AM WSVA to discuss what has been going on politically over the last month.  The time mainly considered the 2016 presidential election including:  Hillary Clinton’s recent health problems, the upcoming debates, and Trump’s rise in the polls.  In case you missed the radio hour when it was broadcast, you can find it here.

Freedom Gulch #12

fg12Last night, Will Hammer, Michael Pickens, Joshua Huffman, Carl Loser, and Andy Bakker gathered together for Freedom Gulch’s twelfth podcast.  Topics for the evening included: Gary Johnson and his Aleppo misadventure, Hillary Clinton’s health, the upcoming presidential debates, recent newspaper endorsements, and more.

If you missed the broadcast live, you can find it below.  Enjoy!

MAC PAC Comes to Harrisonburg

Image from the MAC PAC Facebook page
Image from the MAC PAC Facebook page of the Harrisonburg gathering

Recently, ten or eleven political activists from across the state created a new political action committee called the Millennial Advocacy Council or MAC PAC for short.  As a way to introduce themselves to Virginians, they have been holding gatherings around the Commonwealth.  As the group includes several of my Facebook friends, when they came to Harrisonburg on their third stop on their tour last night, I decided to check out what they had to say.

About a dozen people attended the meeting at Capital Ale House in downtown Harrisonburg including: several leaders of MAC PAC, some local college activists, and Delegate Steve Landes (R-25).  At the beginning, the leaders of MAC PAC introduced the leaders of their group.  As far as I could tell, each either worked for an elected official, another PAC, the Republican Party, or was a leader of a Republican group.  This information sparked a concern in my mind that the PAC might be little more than a front group for the Republican Party.  However, next they began discussing their principles, focusing upon a number of issues facing millennials, such as dealing with student debt, the future of social security, increasing home ownership, and the like.  These matters sounded pretty good, so that was a positive development.  But, then they explained that only millennials could hold any position of leadership in their group.  Although the term millennial has been defined in a variety of ways, MAC PAC labels it as a person born between 1982-2000.  Given that I was born about 17 months before this range, it is disappointing to learn that I could have no real part in this group, other than donating to them, simply based upon date of birth.  For someone who grew up watching Nick At Nite, to quote Maxwell Smart, I “missed by that much.”

The MAC PAC folks followed up by taking some questions from the group.  I tried to express my concern about the PAC advocating for a political party instead of for a certain set of principles though I was assured this was not the case.  Nevertheless, a bit later in the night one of the leaders of MAC PAC encouraged the attendees to invite their friends to become members of their local Republican Party units.  Given the various loyalty oaths and restrictions required for participation in many Republican Party functions, this call to join the GOP seemed like MAC PAC had abandoned at pretenses of being a nonpartisan organization and was simply establishing itself as another wing of the Republican Party.  Although that might very well be what some people are looking for, I have no interest in being a cog in the Republican machine or getting the largest possible piece of the Republican pie.  Therefore, I excused myself and departed before the gathering had concluded.

As you might imagine, I left the meeting feeling rather disappointed.  I suppose that if you fit the MAC PAC definition of a millennial and are also wed to the Republican Party then the organization might be a good fit for you.  However, as I don’t seem to fall into either of these two categories, it doesn’t seem like a group that speaks either to me or for me.  Oh well.