Rand’s Quest For a Transparent Health Care Bill

Photo from Rand Paul’s Facebook page

Guest piece by Philip Haddad

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had launched on a mission to find a draft of the House GOP’s bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock and key, in a secure location, and not available for me or the public to view,” he tweeted, and then he went into action.

Paul went to a Capitol meeting room with staff and a photocopier to surprise members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were rumored to be discussing the ACA.

“In my state, in Kentucky, it’s illegal to do this,” he said, beckoning to a door where he was told there was no bill. “This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if this were a plot to invade another country.”

Paul held a press conference on the spot and told a dozen or so reporters that “We’re here today because I’d like to read the Obamacare bill. If you’d recall, when Obamacare was passed in 2009 and 2010, Nancy Pelosi said you’ll know what’s in it after you pass it. The Republican Party shouldn’t act in the same way.”

Later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Paul said reports claim, “It keeps the Cadillac tax but renames it. It starts a new entitlement program with refundable tax credits, and it also keeps the individual mandate.”

Paul is concerned that a cloak and dagger routine is being employed to hide parts of the bill that would run counter to many wanting to see the ACA repealed, and he fears this maneuvering may be a ploy to force Senate Republicans into a “take it or leave it” mindset when the legislation gets to them.

Whatever someone’s position is on this issue Paul should be applauded for bringing focus to an important issue, namely healthcare and the backroom deals that too often accompany legislation.

Paul produced a reaction not only from the media, but also from establishment politicians with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan saying, “…I like Rand, but I think he’s looking for a publicity stunt here”, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger called Paul “the master of theatrics“, and former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi posted a twitter picture with two dogs with the caption “Just helping out @RandPaul. #ReleaseTheHounds #WheresTheBill,”. However, Paul wasn’t alone in his concern as some Democrat members of the House were also going to different rooms on a quest to find the bill and the Washington Post quoted Rep. Thomas Massie as saying “We asked for the score and all that. We were told we’ll have that by the time it gets to the floor. We need to have that now! You can’t have a discussion about this proposal independent from costs. It’s ridiculous. That’s kind of like, just ‘vote for it to see what’s in it.’”

Paul has introduced his own ACA replacement bill allowing people to:

  1. Choose inexpensive insurance free of government mandates;
  2. Buy insurance across state lines;
  3. Save unlimited amounts in a health savings account (HSA) and expanding options for using said funds; and
  4. Join together in voluntary associations to gain the leverage of being part of a large insurance pool.

It remains to be seen if Paul’s bill will pass but Senators Cruz and Lee are joining with him voicing similar concerns, backing by the House Freedom Caucus, and his tech savvy team continue to capitalize on all of the media attention by creating a Twitter account @randpaulcopier posting pictures of a photo copier with a sign “SHOW ME THE Bill” in front of numerous landmarks in front of the Capital.

It’s tough to disagree with his main message: “This should be an open and transparent process…This should be done openly in the public…”.
Paul continues to be the most interesting person in the Senate and we all are better for him being there!

UPDATE: The GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Bill has finally been released and Paul’s concerns have been vindicated!

American Health Care Act: https://housegop.leadpages.co/healthcare/

 

Philip lives in Harrisonburg with his wife, son, & two cats: Swirl and Rand Paul. He has worked on political campaigns ranging from his city council run to the presidential level. He is the co-editor of the book “Ron Paul Speak”.

An Open Letter to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Photo from CBC News

A Guest post from Robert Short Sr.

This message is only for those who claim to follow Christ, it does not apply to others as they cannot, and should not, be expected to live like Christ followers.

 

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Even if you have been living under a rock, you have heard about President Trump’s recent actions on immigration. For clarity, I am speaking of the at least 120-day ban on all refugees, at least 90-day ban on all people from seven countries, and the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. You also likely have your own opinion on this issue, and I will not provide you with any new facts today, however, I hope to provide you with a perspective that you may not have considered.

These Muslims are fleeing countries where it is, either de facto or de jure, illegal for Christians to tell others about Christ, and where people who get saved face death. They are begging to be allowed to come to a country where they can hear about Christ, where they will not have to choose between rejecting Christ and martyrdom. Yes, that isn’t why they want to come, but the woman didn’t go to the well to meet Jesus either. 

We are told that Satan is the father of lies, that he deceives people, and is active in our world. After hearing of the barbarisms of ISIS, I cannot see how anyone doubts this. Yet, the main reasons people in the Church cite for supporting the ban are all based on lies. No refugee has killed a single person in a terrorist attack in the US. The countries that have actively sponsored terrorists that have attacked the US homeland aren’t even on the ban list. Whether other Muslim majority countries allow refugees in or not is beside the point, we are not called to live and act as the world does. In fact, we are commanded to do the opposite, for Christ said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

This is not to mention the fact that we are not called to sit inside our safe zones and worry. We are meant to be taking the fight for the lost to the enemy. As Christ said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”, and as an infantry veteran, I can tell you, when you attack you don’t bring the gates.

We are commanded to go into all the world and tell them about Jesus, and part of the world we have been shut off from is begging us to let them come here. Our choice by brothers and sisters cannot be more clear, do we give in to fear and the petty politics of this world, or do we set the concerns that hinder us and run this race that he has set before us, because anyone who is against letting the lost hear the word is not serving the Word.

Remember:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Your yokemate in Christ,

Robert W. T. Short, Sr.

 

R.W.T. Short, Sr. is an accountant and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a civil libertarian and Veteran’s Rights activist. He lives in Covington, Va. with his wife of ten years, their three children, and their dogs. He can be reached via email at Robert.W.T.Short.Sr@GMail.com and on Twitter at @RobertShortSr.

Teeter-Totter Syndrome

rvf9ww7m-1435680516By Jeff Smith

“If you wish to view politics with clarity you need to get off the teeter-totter.” ~Old Man Anarchyball

Ever hear of a political syndrome called the teeter-totter? Imagine, a playground teeter-totter. Now mentally title the right-side seat Republican and the left-side seat Democrat. When the right-side seat is up in the air the Republicans are “winning” (debates, arguments, etc.). When the left-side seat is up, the Democrats are “winning.” It goes without saying that when one side is up in the air, the other is automatically down on the ground. In the real world politics doesn’t work like this, but it is amazing how many people believe that it is so.

We are all aware of the dislike the Republican and Democratic Parties and their supporters have for one another. In many, that dislike is closer to a foam-frothing hatred. This hatred between supporters can be so great that it becomes imperative to each side that they win at almost any cost. Each passionately believes that their side must always be in the up position on the teeter-totter or automatically the opposing side is winning. The power of this syndrome is such, that it is speculated that if Joseph Stalin were to come back to life and run for president on the Democratic ticket, and Adolph Hitler were to come back and run on the Republican ticket, one of these two monsters would become the president of the United States. Neither side can tolerate the other side winning and will do almost anything to ensure it, leading to lying and trickery. This is known as the ends justifies the means. That in order to achieve the desired goal, it becomes acceptable to deceive and trick the public. Strangely, it never occurs to the supporters of each side, that what they have come to believe about their own side, may not be entirely true, due to the same lies, trickery and deceptions utilized to obtain their support in the first place.

We are human. We are easily trained to play to win in politics, just as we do in sporting endeavors. The teeter-totter syndrome is part of the state’s training (brainwashing) to accept lies as being truths. A well-brainwashed supporter will defensively deny the truth without realizing it, especially if that truth differs or threatens the normal belief system of that side. The human brain is an amazing and powerful tool. When properly prepared the human brain can consciously fool itself into seeing an altered truth. this naturally hampers the ability to see facts as they really are. Subconsciously, humans are able to realize that they are not processing a real truth, but when combined with hatred and fear (of the opposing party), people can deny themselves the truth, in order to maintain a lie. A good example of this is when voters blame the opposition party for current and ongoing problems, but are unable to see the fault of their own side (denial). Another example is when voters change their position on an issue (war, liberty) based on which party currently holds office. When the parties change which holds office, so changes the supporters positions. In discussing this behavior with the supporters of both sides, they deny any change in their opinions, even though it is plainly obvious to the casual observer.

The teeter-totter syndrome is directly responsible for the tyranny and corruption Americans suffer from. Neither side being able to see and admit that their side is equally part of the problem, not the solution. Because the majority of the people are stuck in this teeter-totter syndrome the Democratic and Republican Parities hold complete economic and individual control over our lives, all the while, the syndrome convinces the individual to believe that they are actually free. The two monopoly mega-parties intentionally feed and fuel the teeter-totter hatred in order to maintain control. In public the two parties passionately attack one another, but in private they are friends, co-partners in the biggest slave trade history has ever witnessed.

The people need to see the truth. That there is no teeter-totter. It is just an illusion of the mind, a tool for the state. If the people could cease hating the other party they would be able to see the world through clear eyes, thus being able to make better choices. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic solution. Hate and fear are natural human traits. They cannot be regulated. The only real solution is to remove the ability of people to have control over other people’s lives. If they can’t see clearly they have no business involving themselves in the solutions others need. This removal of control over others must also include the state, as it is made up of these same people who cannot “see clearly.” Until that day arrives, the government will continue instigating hate and fear so that it can retain control, all-the-while, blaming the other party not currently in office.

Jeff Smith is a political activist who has been involved in libertarian politics since 1975.  He sometimes uses the moniker Old Man Anarchyball.  This piece has been reposted with his permission.

[Image from theconversation.com]

Corporate Taxes: More Trouble than They’re Worth

Image from http://economics21.org
Image from http://economics21.org

A Guest post from Robert Short Sr.

The ofttimes ignored question when tax policy is discussed is, “What is the purpose of Taxation?”, in particular, “What is the purpose of this tax?” The question is important because the common sense answer is to fund the government. Yet most of the time politicians and others don’t even mention this. The normal reason given for a certain tax rate is either to “make everyone pay their fair share”, “punish the greedy wall street leaches”, or “unleash America’s job creators”.

So which is it? Well actually it’s all of the above. Our tax policy is the result of a continual shift in public sentiment. When the public is focused on other issues, which to be honest is north of 99.9% of the time, those with a high degree of interest in the tax code are able to lobby, reason, beg, and bribe their own carve outs into law. But once these carve outs hit a critical mass the public rebels, demanding an end to Crony Capitalism and the corrupt officials who partake. We get inundated with lists of companies that didn’t pay a dime in taxes (a note, these lists almost always only mention income taxes, as a company paying billions in other taxes kinda takes away from the reports message) and so on. This goes on until another soccer ball distracts the public and the process repeats, over and over again.

Not only is this cycle stupid, but it leads to greater corruption and huge amounts of waste. Logic dictates that a company will support any tax cut or loophole that saves it more in taxes than it costs to comply with. Especially since the company can deduct the costs of complying with the carve out from their remaining taxes. Whole industries have come into being merely to facilitate this compliance. Many people make all of their taxable income by helping other people minimize their taxed income. Leading to, by some estimates, up to a million people who are motivated to maintain or increase compliance costs.

According to the IRS, American companies spend over 4.4 billion dollars a year just filing their tax returns, and this is the smallest cost of compliance. According to a study done by Jason J. Fichtner and Jacob Feldman of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the total cost of compliance is well over 200 billion dollars a year. To put this in perspective, the corporate tax compliance cost is larger than the economy of South Carolina, larger than the economies of 23 states.

So is there a way to save those billions, get rid of most of the corruption in Washington, “make everyone pay their fair share”, “punish the greedy wall street leaches”, AND “unleash America’s job creators”?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

End corporate taxes and tax the owners of the companies instead. Rather than taxing profits companies make when they earn them, tax the profits when they are given to the owners, either through dividends or through stock buybacks.

I’ll get to the numbers in a second, but first I want to focus on the aforementioned goals. For starters obviously the switch would eliminate the compliance costs associated with the current tax scheme, and as a bonus it would transfer the compliance obligation to one of the cheapest, in terms of compliance, taxes, the Capital Gains Tax.

Such a change would also upend the current Crony environment of Washington. The reason corporate lobbying is so pervasive is that over 50% of Americans own stock, mostly through retirement accounts, and if someone asked them would they rather the value of their investment go up or down, every single one of them would say up. So companies have a great incentive to make that happen. But if the taxes for corporate profits were transferred to the owners, their incentives would no longer line up as neatly, and it would be much harder to organize an effective lobbying effort to create new carve outs, not impossible but much, much harder.

What’s that I hear? A Bernie Sanders supporter yelling about how this is a give away to big business? Fear not my friend, this plan will ensure that “everyone pays their fair share”. Currently if you are a multinational corporation you can basically pick your tax rate by manipulating where your income is ‘earned’ (a future post will go into this), but if you are a family owned business, a small manufacturer, an Etsy mogul, you cannot, you earn your income here in the US and pay the full amount of taxes. Under this plan the multinational and the mom and pop pay the same amount. The mom and pop are also no longer disadvantaged by their inability to hire someone like me full time to find and exploit the carve outs, like the GE’s of the world can.

Now diverse contingents of folks, everyone from the last occupier on Wall Street to the ardent Ron Paul fans, are thinking what about those who gamed the system. Those who took millions from the government only to screw over the workers? Well, this system fixes much of that. Most Corporate Welfare is not direct payouts; rather it is handled through what are called Tax Expenditures. These have the advantage of not showing up on the budget as actual spending items but having the exact same effect. This plan eliminates every single one of them. Then if Congress wishes to support a private company, it must do so in full sight of the American people.

Additionally, this plan punishes greed. If someone wants to buy a company and bleed it dry, without regard to the workers or common decency, they still can, but they will pay through the nose in taxes. But if someone chooses to buy a company, manage it correctly, and reinvest their profits into the company, they pay no taxes, and get to grow their investment tax deferred, essentially turning every company into a 401(k).

This piece dovetails with the oft repeated goal of “unleashing America’s job creators” (ignoring that it is worker spending that creates jobs in a market economy, not investment from on high). Since the job creators do not pay any taxes on their profits while they are creating jobs, they are incentivized to continue doing so. Only when they choose to take income out for their own use do they get hit with a tax bill. This allows them 100% control over how much they pay in taxes.

Now for the actual numbers, the part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song, (sorry was listening to my kids’ movie in the background). Currently the federal government takes in 300 billion dollars in corporate taxes. Meanwhile, Michael Thompson, Managing Director and Chairman of S&P Investment Advisory Services at S&P Capital IQ the top 500 companies in the US, known as the S&P 500, give back over one trillion dollars in dividends and stock buybacks this year. That one trillion is not the total amount, only the fraction that those 500 companies make up, and that is also after they paid their share of corporate taxes and compliance costs. So this plan could be revenue neutral if all investment income was treated as regular income, assuming no economic growth caused by this plan.

Oh and it would also allow for the repatriation of the two trillion dollars hiding overseas from US taxes (again a topic that a future post will discuss).

But that’s just my two cents.

R.W.T. Short, Sr. is an accountant and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a civil libertarian and Veteran’s Rights activist. He lives in Lynchburg, Va. with his wife of eight years, their three children, their dogs, and a colony of former stray cats his daughter adopted. He can be reached via email at Robert.W.T.Short.Sr@GMail.com and on Twitter at @RobertShortSr.

Why We Must Oppose Trump!

Photo from ABC News

A guest piece by Christian Heiens

I’m going to put this out there before the Donald Train(wreck) makes another stop and stirs up political controversy once again…

Donald Trump will never get my vote for President. NEVER.

“Party loyalty” be damned, a guy who less than a decade ago called himself a Democrat, said we need to socialize all healthcare in America, calls immigrants “rapists”, questions the war record of some of our bravest soldiers (our POWs), wishes to start a trade war with China and half of the world, wants to start a war with Iran and use unilateral executive orders to implement his political will, flip flops on abortion like it’s a question of who to ask to High School prom, and once donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton, Anthony Weiner, Charles Rangel, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid does not deserve my vote, and will never get it.

Donald Trump has clearly taken notes from the Rachael Dolezal political playbook. He is a two-faced, lying hypocrite whose candidacy shames not just the Party of Liberty, but this nation. Rick Perry was right. Donald Trump is not just an embarrassment to the Republican Party, he’s a cancer. The Donald doesn’t offer practical or principled solutions to our nation’s problems, he offers “Trumpism”: a toxic concoction of demagoguery, economic ignorance, nativism, corporatism, and even borderline-fascism.

“Trumpism” has no place in the Republican Party, and never will. If Donald Trump ever became the Republican nominee, we as a party deserve to lose in the greatest electoral and political landslide our nation has ever seen. We deserve to be relegated to the ashes of history and languish in the void of political irrelevancy for a generation to come.

My fellow Republicans! My fellow Americans! Don’t be deceived by this political impostor. Donald Trump is a charismatic political outsider promising the world to us, but the 20th century shows us what happens when the public hands over the reigns of power to charismatic men fueled by bitter populism. Everything we stand for: the unleashing of the individual, the shackling of government tyranny, the limiting of arbitrary and executive power, the principle of separation of powers, and a belief in economic liberty, equal treatment under the law, and human morality will be discarded for “Trumpism” should this man become our nominee.

I understand your anger. I’m angry. Everyone I know in politics is angry. We are facing some of the greatest crises in our nation’s history. We long for someone who will finally tell the truth. We long for someone to take on the system, someone to fight back against the Washington machine and the do more than pour water on the ashes of the Constitution our political leaders have set fire to. We hope and pray for someone to rise up, capture our anger, and lead a political revolution that will change the course of history and save this country from the fate which has befallen other great nations before us. But putting our faith (and our votes) in the hands of a mad man is not the answer. No single person will save this country. Our problems are greater than any one of us, and while we should no doubt elect principled men and women with a background and history of taking a stand for liberty and justice, we should also understand that Washington will never be changed from the inside, even by a “political outsider”. Let’s instead harness our passion rather than waste it on empty men like Donald Trump, and use it to force Washington to listen to We the People through our elected officials at the State and Local level. Donald Trump is offering a top down approach to solving our problems, but the restoration of our Constitution and our liberties won’t come from the top down, but the bottom up.

Christian Heiens is a political activist from Culpeper, Virginia and is a student at James Madison University

Congressman Goodlatte Should Provide Leadership on Passing LEADS Act

Representative Bob Goodlatte
Representative Bob Goodlatte

A guest article by Dean Chambers

 

Privacy is a key right for all who use the internet as well as those who communicate and exchange key data needed in business. Privacy is under attack from a power grab undertaken by the Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder, who asserted the power to take data from a server in Ireland owned a subsidiary doing business with Microsoft. Had that data been printed documents in that office in Ireland, the Justice Department would have approached the government of Ireland, under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the two countries seeking a warrant to obtain that information. Data on computer servers should be subject to the same exact protections of law as data on printed document enjoys.

The answer to this judiciary power grab is the LEADS Act proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, that would protect the privacy of data against such encroachment. The ability of individuals to use the internet to communicate as well as that of businesses to communicate, invent and innovate using such “cloud servers” on the internet would be protect by enacting the LEADS Act. This legislation would restore balance under the Fourth Amendment, protecting privacy and allowing law enforcement to obtain data when authorized by a warrant from a judge or abiding by MLAT in the instance of data on a foreign server.

The privacy protections of computer data under the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) would be extended to protect the privacy of data on overseas servers. Many businesses have operations and subsidiaries around the globe involved in creating new products and services using servers around the world. The data and processes involved would be protected, giving a competitive advantage to American businesses operating around the world.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte has done some good work in the areas of copyright issues and internet piracy as well as introducing the Innovation Act to reduce frivolous patent infringement lawsuits by patent trolls. It would be very consistent with those efforts, and follow in the same direction, if Rep. Goodlatte would take the lead in helping to pass the LEADS Act in the House.

Writing recently for The Hill, Karen S. Evans writes, “LEADS will improve data privacy protections for U.S. citizens and residents while strengthening law enforcement cooperation with other nations. The bill also preserves the essential balance between security and privacy. At the same time, it will signal to our foreign partners that we are serious about improving law enforcement cooperation with them. In these times, such improvements are vital to ensuring effective functioning of our law enforcement agencies while maintaining the privacy rights of our citizens.”

The key issue involved here, for individuals and businesses using the internet and servers to store and exchange data, is such data has the same protections as any data stored and exchanged in other forms. The use of such “cloud servers” allows a level of communication in innovation not previously possible.

“It is legislation like LEADS that will help the U.S. achieve broader, much-needed ECPA reform. The goal is clear – the laws should ensure that data stored in the cloud receives the same legal protections as data stored in our homes and at work,” Evans wrote in The Hill.

The LEADS Act is extremely important legislation that really needs to be enacted into law, and I strongly urge Rep. Goodlatte to take up the lead in getting this bill passed in the House. Mr. Goodlatte has done great work in the past to ensure the protection of privacy and other rights on the internet, and this is a great opportunity to do so again by helping pass the LEADS Act. The result will be a much stronger and prosperous America if this legislation is passed.

 

Dean Chambers is an independent journalist and blogger who has written news and commentary articles on a wide variety of subjects. His articles have been published on Examiner.com, The Inquisitr, Conservative Firing Line and have been featured on The Drudge Report, The Rush Limbaugh Program, The Blaze and The Gateway Pundit as well as parodied by Stephen Colbert, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow.

The Most Important Aspects of the McKinney Pool Party Incident, Why isn’t Anyone Talking About it?

Image from http://cdn.uinterview.com
Image from http://cdn.uinterview.com

A guest post by Robert W. T. Short, Sr.

By now everyone reading this has seen the video released last week of Cpl. Eric Casebolt throwing a teenage girl to the ground, sitting on her, and pulling out his gun on some teenage boys. But I’d like you to watch it again, see if you notice the breath taking aspect of it that the media has ignored. When Cpl. Casebolt pulls his gun out, the other officers, who are not fearing for their lives, do not stop him. Cpl. Casebolt is obviously emotionally disturbed, but the other officers ignore that. Why?

Well it might be that those cops were hoping he would open fire on the teens, I highly doubt it though. So what would cause two seemingly rational people to ignore a threat? Could it be that cops have found out that trying to keep other cops honest is detrimental to their careers? In case after case the police officers who defend the public against bad cops are punished. In Virginia a police officer who asked that some out of state cops obey the speed limit was told, “there is no room for people like you in law enforcement.” And that is not the only case it happened in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and many, many, more.

As we have been told by economists since Adam Smith, incentives matter. If you incentivize something you get more of it. If you incentivize cops not to report, or stop other cops from breaking the law, then you get fewer cops who will report or stop other cops. But that then incentivizes cops to break the law, since you eliminate most consequences of doing so. In fact if we wanted corrupt police, then we have set up a system that is optimal for providing that. This is why whistleblower protections are so important. As long as we, as a society, insist that good cops live in fear for their lives and careers we cannot expect the system to improve.

I mentioned earlier that Cpl. Casebolt was emotionally disturbed, I think from a neutral viewing of the video that this is obvious, however, I am not a psychologist, I was not there, so where do I get off saying that? Well Cpl. Casebolt himself said as much. He released a statement in which he apologized to those her hurt and explained how much of a toll going from one suicide to the next, including one where a man shot himself in fron of Cpl. Casebolt, took on him. When I first read that I was shocked, how could an officer leave a scene where a man kills himself in front of his very eyes and then be expected to immediately respond to a disturbance call? Not to excuse his actions, but what kind of supervisor would allow that to happen? If someone commits suicide in front of you, ten minutes later you are not emotionally ready to work a checkout at Walmart, much less to have a gun and attempt to enforce order. So more than just an investigation into Cpl. Casebolt’s actions at the pool, there needs to be an investigation into why he was there in the first place.

Finally, I must commend Cpl. Casebolt, while he made a very bad mistake, at least he was man enough to admit to it and apologize. In this he is an example to everyone of what we should expect from those in Law Enforcement.

R.W.T. Short, Sr. is a US Army veteran of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. He is a civil libertarian and Veteran’s Rights activist, as well as a political consultant. He lives in Lynchburg, Va. with his wife of eight years, their three children, their dogs Bellum, Maria and a colony of former stray cats his daughter adopted. He can be reached via email at Robert.W.T.Short.Sr@GMail.com and on Twitter at @RobertShortSr.

Anti-Collectivism in a Collectivist Political Race

kwiatkowskismallVC Note: A guest piece from Karen Kwiatkowski

I like where Rand Paul is taking the national imagination.  Clapper sharing a cell with Ed Snowden, discussing liberty!   Ending the war on drugs and even more astounding – proposing that justice be blind, and applied equally to rich and poor, white and black, politically connected and political outcast?  Allowing an Act to sunset as the Congress “intended”?  This guy is a freaking radical!

As libertarians, AnCaps, Rothbardians, Menckenites, Lysander-lovers and whatever else we are, we should be exceptionally pleased with what is coming in the next 18 months or so.   Towards that end, it might be helpful to lay down a few ground rules in our endless discussion and critiques, of all things political, and specifically of all things Rand.

We could see as many 15 Republicans running in the primaries!  Given the two party national setup created by the Holy Constitution, it could really be a wild west shootout leading to the GOP convention – and what a convention it will be!

The hairy will line up against the hoary, Old Testament thumpers and zombie apocalypse predictors will align and realign against Constitution worshippers and the ragged liberty wing of the GOP.  Candidates include racist autarchs, non-racist autarchs, Neo-Progressives, Neo-Conservatives, bureaucrats, crooks, liars, and pseudo populists.  Then there is Rand Paul.  Stuck in the GOP because he opposes collectivism, hated by the GOP because he opposes collectivism, fascinating to the rest of us because he opposes collectivism, and an extremely dangerous man in Washington because he opposes collectivism.  Predictably, because he opposes collectivism, he stands mostly alone in DC, and voterland sees him simultaneously as a liberal conservative, a conservative liberal, an out-of-touch populist, a patriotic un-American, and idiotic genius.

Leading up to the GOP convention, the odd statements, retractions, clarifications, and pile-ons by the candidates in their political slugfest will become delightful truffles for the rooting hogs we become as we seek to become involved in “the direction of our country.”   The Republicans alone will be delicious, but with Bernie Sanders chiding Hillary, and potentially pulling every old Naderite still in the party plus the whole of the social justice antiwar element, well, it’s going to be just wonderful!

I have yet to become aware of what the third parties will offer candidate-wise, but it is increasingly apparent that what we think of as “the two major parties” are nothing of the kind.  A party must have structural discipline, a creed of sorts, and a semblance of consistency of its candidates to that creed.  Neither major party stands for anything, and Katie Perry once roared about what that leads to.

Without a party creed, code, or spine, the Republican baker’s dozen will be disciplined by the campaign itself.  This discipline will be cat-o-nine-tails style – by pundits, other candidates, cynics, wisecrackers, meme-makers, and the odd viral video or federal crime.   It will be non-stop entertainment!

Photo from Rand Paul's Facebook page
Photo from Rand Paul’s Facebook page

But back to Rand Paul.   Because it really does come back to Rand Paul, early, often and always.  He is driving the train, pushing the train and riding on the train, all at once.  The RNC, the old guard and the crony collectivists in both parties are asking, “Who gave him permission to do that?”  The media is asking “How does he do that?” But the question we should be asking is, “For how long can he do that, and how can I help?”

Towards that end, I’ll propose some guidelines, that if followed exactly as I have described, to the letter, 100% of the time, will absolutely and instantly calm the Internets, and bring a glowing perpetual peace to the blogosphere. I personally guarantee it.

First, if Rand Paul says something about putting someone in jail (like Ed Snowden)  for a few years, he is just being moderate.  Obama, his party, and the Republicans have been demanding Ed’s head on a platter, his body on a pike, his nuts in a vise, and his scalp on a mantel for a few years now.  That said, I do think being forced to spend any time in a cell with retired General Clapper is cruel and unusual punishment, as such would violate the Constitution, and I would be against it.

Second, when Rand Paul likens the ACA (aka Obamacare) and the presumed right to health care as leading to doctors in irons, he does frighten people with the concept of 21st century slavery.  But we libertarians are well-qualified to calm the waters, and take the heat off Rand by reminding people that at least forcing doctors to give us health care is a waaaaaaaay more socially useful kind of slavery than say, having the government force somebody to bake a wedding cake against their will, pay their unskilled employees more then they produce, create millions of college graduates who have to live with their parents and work nights at Pizza Hut to try and pay down their stifling student loan debt, and print fiat money to support the warfare welfare state at the expense of human liberty and prosperity everywhere.  Right?

Third, if you hear that Rand Paul likes somebody, or endorses someone, or was nice to someone in the political world, instead of going off the deep end like some kind of ISIS wannabe, couldn’t we instead just call him a lying hypocritical bastard and let it go?  I mean, he is a politician, isn’t he?  Poly and tick, many bloodsuckers, seriously, he’s probably just after food and everybody’s gotta eat.   What are we, monsters?  I think not!

I could go on, but you get the picture.  Rand Paul is our era’s political Janus – a face for every angle, looking back, looking forward, and more than that, every other candidate in every party wants to be him, even as they fear and loathe everything he stands for.   Hillary started talking about police reform for the first time this week, after Rand’s work on that subject over the six months.  As soon as the GOP pack figures out where Rand is on immigration (THE most important issue EVER) they will know what to they are supposed to say.  I imagine the Libertarian and the Green candidate will both echo something Rand has said or written, and then accuse him of trying to out-green and out-freedom them.

I don’t know if elections matter, and a democracy of the dimwitted and damned right is never pretty picture.  I don’t know if the deep state has nefarious plans for Rand, or whether the Janus act is real, faked or just a private illusion.  But I do believe politics should be both dangerous and fun.  Towards this end, I stand with Rand!

Karen Kwiatkowski is a fellow political activist and commentator in addition to being a farmer, a professor, and a retired Air Force Colonel.  In 2012, she challenged the Republican establishment by running for the House of Representatives in Virginia’s 6th district.  Presently, she serves at the leader of the Republican Women of Shenandoah County.

American History is not Black History; Black History is not America’s

-1A guest article by Leonce Gaiter

As taught in mainstream culture, American history propagates this nation as the womb of freedom, justice, and liberty.  There are American creation myths as exemplified by the “Founding Fathers.”  There are founding documents as revered as biblical texts for their promise of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That is why the argument that ‘black history is American history’ is naïve to the point of insipidity.  For most of this nation’s history, blacks were not ‘Americans.’  First, we were owned, and then we were barred from exercising the rights of citizenship.  That’s why our history puts the lie to American history’s mainstream myths.  Almost half of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, some of whom wrote so eloquently of freedom, owned other men as slaves.  For most of its history, this country profited immensely from forcibly denying us freedom and liberty, by keeping us in chains, and from our labor as sub-citizens.  Our history puts the lie to America’s history as popularly told.

Do we want to continue to teach our children black history through a white racial frame?  That is the practical effect of stating, “black history is American history.”  It states that the majority veil should be placed on the history that we teach our children.  It states that we should forego the right that every other culture assumes—the right to teach our history from our own point-of-view, and to be the heroes of our own stories—and instead, subsume our history within the majority’s. It states that we do not have the right to express our rage at the barbarities we endured, for those are histories that the majority has little willingness to accept and examine, and for good reason: they put the lie to treasured American myths.

To pronounce that “black history is American history” says that every black child should learn that after Vernon Dahmer’s home was firebombed in Mississippi and Dahmer died from his wounds, the outraged white community worked to rebuild the Dahmer home.  It says that black children needn’t learn that in Brookhaven, Mississippi in 1955, Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn in broad daylight by a white man for the crime of organizing blacks to vote, and that the known killer was never indicted because, per the Southern Poverty Law Center, “no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man.”

To say “black history is American history” approves the endless repetition of a Martin Luther King quote like:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

It says black children needn’t bother with another strand of King’s thinking:

“It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle—the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic.

To insist that black history is American history says that the majority should be allowed to use our history to paint themselves in the warmest light, but that we should not be allowed to do the same.  The two are often mutually exclusive.  To understand the challenges and triumphs of the American descendants of African slaves, it is imperative to understand that almost every aspect of the might of this nation was used to cripple us.  To understand how far we’ve come, the battles we fought, the blood we shed and the triumphs and defeats we suffered, you must understand the weight of the spiked boot that was placed on our necks.  To do that, you must indict America for crimes she would rather forget.

American history is not black history, and our history is not America’s to dictate.  Until we understand that, and begin teaching our history to ourselves in ways that serve our own cultural needs instead of the majority’s, we will continue to internalize this nation’s prejudices against us, instead of arming ourselves to appropriately demonize and deflect them.

Leonce Gaiter is a prolific African American writer and proud Harvard Alum. His writing has appeared in the NYTimes, NYT Magazine, LA Times, Washington Times, and Washington Post, and he has written two novels.  His newly released novel, In the Company of Educated Men, (http://bit.ly/ZyqSuN) is a literary thriller with socio-economic, class, and racial themes.

BOOK LINKS

In the company of Educated Men

AMAZON:  http://amzn.to/1v411Kj

B&N:  http://bit.ly/1Eq5da0

APPLE:  http://bit.ly/1CyF3jo

 

Virginia’s 2015 Libertarian Bills

283996_10150239890381651_2358105_nA guest piece from Charles Frohman

For the second year in a row the grassroots organization Our America Initiative (OAI) found in Virginia’s legislature the good bills – those that restrain government power and honor personal liberty –  that need your support before adjournment later this month.  Below I’ll share how you can send an email to get your opinion registered before the state legislature closes down for the year.

Admittedly some of these bills already have passed or been defeated, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send an email to get your opinions heard.  If your email is the last thing your representative or senator reads before locking the Richmond office, he or she will remember the unfinished business for next year.

Our America Initiative divided the supported-bills among five categories:  (1) cutting taxes and red tape (regulations); (2) rolling back over-criminalization; (3) expanding choices in education and health; (4) respecting personal liberty; and (5) opening and limiting government power.  Each category is described below.

On the first category Our America Initiative listed bills to study moving away from taxation of income and businesses, as well as cutting our corporate rate.  With eleven states raising sufficient revenue from sales or property values, there’s no reason for Virginia to let other states steal our businesses because we’re too greedy with the citizens’ money.  On regulations we support bills to exempt from inspection food sold directly by farmers to customers.  Requirements to install industrial kitchens to sell homemade dishes or raw milk limits healthful options for families looking for local, superior options.  Two constitutional amendments made the list, one to allow the right to work and another to allow majority votes in the Assembly to strike burdensome regulations.

The second category has some chance since Republicans are facing remorse for their unreasonable “tough-on-crime” hyperbole and carte blanche gifts to the Security State.  Bills include ones to respect the 4th amendment’s prohibition on searches without warrants, forbid asset forfeiture by police until a defendant has exhausted all appeals, prohibit arrest quotas, and study how to reverse the over-criminalization epidemic.  Other bills would require bureaucracies to use the police for enforcement actions instead of creating their own SWAT teams; clarify the sheriffs’ role as a locality’s top enforcement officer; impose regulations on privatized, local cops; raise the reckless driving speed to 85 mph; and end the prohibition on the cannabis and hemp plants (the prohibition of which are the driving force for the over-criminalization disease).

While Common Core and ObamaCare merely piled on national rules to already over-regulated education and health markets, Virginia’s politicians have introduced at least a few bills that achieve OAI’s goal to grant parents more choices in both areas.  One bill would prohibit local school boards from blocking charter choices for parents dissatisfied with their required, local government school, and another bill would block the Common Core federalization of state K-12 standards.  Health freedom bills include one to allow unregulated direct access to local farm food; another to disclose when a product has been genetically modified; a third to allow self-selecting states to replace ObamaCare with an interstate compact to regulate the health market; one allowing dying patients to access drugs that haven’t completed FDA safety reviews; a bill expanding diseases qualifying for doctor-recommended marijuana; and a bill immunizing good samaritans helping over-dose victims.

A smorgasbord of bills made it onto the “Respecting Personal Liberty” category of OAI-supported bills in Virginia’s legislature.  Most would also address the over-criminalization epidemic, by stopping government searches of property without having to get a judge first to issue a warrant identifying what needs to be searched and why.  Other bills would compensate victims of government sterilization crimes in the 20th century; return voting rights to felons who’ve served their time; grant provisional licenses to those refusing DUI road tests; and propose an amendment to clarify the 2nd Amendment prohibition on government interference with the right to armed defense.

The final category of supported-bills includes those that open the government to scrutiny and limits its power.  Two bills would limit the ability of the dominant Parties (Republican and Democrat) to keep out competition from third parties – thus giving voters the choices polls show they demand.  Other bills include those to forbid bureaucrat actions that violate notice requirements; forbid public universities from ignoring Freedom of Information Act requests; limit the revolving door between government employment and working for government contractors; reduce budget gimmicks in spending bills; and call for a constitutional convention but for only amendments that limit government spending or power.

Our America Initiative didn’t capture all the libertarian-leaning bills in these five categories, and not all of the bills on the list are without some risk to liberty.  When you could click here (http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/), then, to get the email address of your state representative and senator, and email them the OAI handout (https://www.ouramericainitiative.com/virginia.html), feel free to emphasize the bills you believe are most important to liberty.  With adjournment later this month or in March, now is the time to show our Virginia politicians that a constituency exists not just for handouts, but also for personal responsibility.

Charles Frohman directs grassroots for www.OurAmericaInitiative, a 501(c)4 chaired by Governor Gary Johnson to advocate libertarian changes in the law, nationally and through the organization’s 50 state affiliates.  After earning a B.A. in Government in 1988 from the College of William and Mary, Frohman went on to work for members of Congress, financial trade associations, the Cato Institute, and, later as a sole proprietor with a large number of small nonprofit clients as well as one of the nation’s largest security guard companies.  For a few years he tried his hand at teaching high school history, earning his M.Ed. in 2010 from the George Washington University.  Residing in Williamsburg, Virginia, Frohman grew up in Suffolk and also is a certified kundalini yoga teacher.