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Thursday, November 18, 2010

So, Sarah, you think you can beat Barack ...

So, Sarah, you think you can beat Barack ... from Salon.

It is more likely, should the desire to toss out Obama exist, that a third party candidate would win if Palin were the nominee. Possible contenders are Romney, Clark and Bloomberg. Heck, I could beat Palin in a three way race, assuming she would debate me. One major lapse of poise and she comes in third

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Iowa Center for Fiscal Equity: Revised submission to Fiscal Commission

The Iowa Center for Fiscal Equity: Revised submission to Fiscal Commission is a link to my briefing charts, notices and attachments.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prospects for an Article V Convention

Of late, I have been more heavily involved in the Article V Convention movement. There is a new effort under this movement to do an online Article V convention, which will operate until a real one is convened. You can reach it at https://www.convusa.com/ This movement seems to bring together the usual suspects who believe in term limits, limiting delegations to the executive, reforming the Supreme Court, etc. In other words, the usual right-wing libertarians who believe the current regime is operating outside the wishes of the founders. The Hon. Thomas Brennan, a retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice is the organizer of this, He is on blogspot at http://oldjudge.blogspot.com/ This entry is a riff on what he stated as his agenda. My comments on his agenda are on that entry, at least until he deletes them - and I don't think he will. Certain of my comments are more applicable to the general case of an Article V convention, so I will repeat them here.

I am also involved in another Convention bid, which seeks to dissolve the United States into 10 indendent nations which can unify by treaty. The sponsor thinks that Nixon's regional breakdown would be a good idea. My suggested breakdown, which can be found on this blog at http://xianlp.blogspot.com/2009/10/regional-government.html, is for 7 regions of equal electoral vote strength (which yields a smaller NW/Plains states region in terms of population - since equal population - or even equal House strength produces too large a plains state region).

I would keep a national union for civil and workers rights enforcement, a unified currency, a unified foreign and immigration policy, a unified military command in national service or for foreign deployments and for the cleaning of environmental disasters (although regions would have a big part as well). Aviation and auto safety would also be national. There would also be national parks and a national space program. The debt would be paid off on a national basis with a national progressive income tax (high incomes only) although you could split the debt up based on the latest income tax collection figures as well - however the income tax would also fund overseas deployments and naval sea operations.

Most pork, however, including pay and maintenance of domestically stationed armed forces, would be paid for with regional taxes - probably a VAT, an expanded Business Tax or a Fair Tax. Regional caucuses would pass their own laws, regulations and appropriations with signing or vetoing recommended by the regional VP, with the Congress passing without amendment on a pro-forma basis by consent and the President allowing legislation to pass without his signature or vetoing only if the act goes beyond regional boundaries or upon the request of the regional VP.An amendment is not required for regionalization, given that most functions could be taken care of under changes to rules in each house. Indeed, it is easier to enact this by electing a party promising to do these things and THEN ratifying the action with the appropriate constitutional amendment.

I believe that regional reform by statute is much easier to accomplish - even though it would probably require organizing a new political party or coalition - than holding an Article V convention. It is easier to get control of Congress than it is to get control of 38 state legislatures.

The convention mythos is that state legislators can be convinced that Congress and the Federal Government are their enemy - or are at least usurping their authority. In practice, this is not the case. Partisan gerrymandering has resulted in the linking of state legislative and house political organizations in the most profound ways. The local congressman usually works very closely with the local state senators and state assembly members. Indeed, until very recently, my local state house delegate was the brother of my local congressman - and the former would be in office still had he not run for Governor of Virginia. This is true in both parties. Congressional district and county/city party committees are the lynch pin that keeps this relationship strong and these are the biggest reason why there will likely be no Article V convention.

So, why am I spending $120 to join an online convention? Because it could be the basis for a new party that could be elected to actually do reform. Indeed, as some members of the Tea Party movement attach themselves to Palin and the social conservatives, especially on immigration, I suspect that the Republican Party will shrink and a new party will take up the slack. Some Tea Partiers will stay with the GOP until the better end, while others will join the new party - since most will never become Democrats and many Catholic Obama Democrats will eventually leave that party over abortion (which, in reality is a non-issue in the real world since for now the law is settled on this). Of course, abortion might not be the Democratic tipping point. It could be some other issue, maybe the debt, that causes the schism. A living wage might also do it. The point is, things are in flux right now and a round of creative destruction will eventually lead to reform.

The ony real hope for an Article V convention seems to be gay marriage. As I write this, the US District Court for Northern California is about to overturn Proposition 8. The Speaker of the House is from that area and she will never let a federal defense of marriage amendment be considered on the floor. I suspect that popular outrage over this decision, and its certain affirmation by the 9th Circuit and likely affirmation by the SCOTUS, will be used both polticially to try to elect Republicans to Congress to get rid of Pelosi and to call an Article V convention. I suspect, however, that their list of particulars will be very different from yours - although I suspect there will be some overlap. Again, however, if there are 17 blue states that are unwilling to go along, even this effort is doomed.

The best strategy here is to look at the states where there is no chance of such a convention being called for.The contest of for the day is to list states that won't even call an Article V for gay marriage (which is shooting fish in a barrel).

Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Washington State (maybe Virginia - which has a liberal state senate). That's 12 or 13 right there. The battlegrounds here are Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and Michigan. If all my blue states cited hold firm against and half the battlegrounds do as well, the chances of ratification are nil. If you lose all the battlegrounds there will be no convention. Getting the other states to support a convention on a center right or defense of marriage basis should be like shooting fish in a barrel. The key to success is in picking off all of the battlegrounds, including Virginia.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thoughts on Public Accomodations

As I was relaxing at the pool at my condo this past weekend (which has lifeguards who are guest workers and clientele which reflects our multi-ethnic mix of owners and renters), I had a final thought on the whole Rand Paul debacle over the public accommodations provisions in the Civil Rights Act.

The standard libertarian critique over these provisions, which Paul expressed to Rachel Maddow, is that private property holders should be able to refuse service to whomever they please, even if it is based on racism. My usual response is that if a business is open to the public, especially if it is incorporated, it cannot do that. Indeed, private clubs are still free to discriminate - as much as we dislike that. Someone who does business from their private home can certainly not take all clients, but if the public space is used, the freedom to deny service does not exist. Hanging a sign that says "open" rather than "by appointment only" pretty much obligates you to take all comers.

Let me now add another piece to the argument - one that shuts down any libertarian objection to public accommodation.

The essential part of the freedom to exclude is what happens when someone comes in and demands service, even though a "White's Only" sign hangs in the door. The police are called, or private security is summoned, and violence is used to remove the person. This fact alone should settle the question for any true libertarian, since the violence involved was most likely governmental violence. Indeed, without direct violence, or a right of private violence, restricting service based on race is impossible, especially when the excluded parties come in anyway. If big L libertarians are really serious about their pledge to do no violence, then public accommodation laws are actually the most libertarian option - much more than a faux respect for private party which really masks a culture of violent racism.

Let's now remove the "right to refuse service" meme from the liberty conversation forever.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

OK, so I couldn't stay away

Since I have been involved with libertarian blogging, I have constantly been called a statist or a socialist. This is odd, because I left the Green Party of the US precisely because they were statists and I really was not. Lately I have been attracted to the Independent Green Party of Virginia, which is "unaffiliated" with the Greens and recently affiliated with the Independence Party of America. I will leave it to the reader to research the Independence Party (which seems to be dominated by Reform Party veterans and Bloomberg supporters) and will confine this entry to the various ways to pursue liberty.

Being a cantankerous lot, libertarians have many factions - probably as many as there are libertarians. There is, of course, the Libertarian Party, the stawarts of which hold fast to the Pledge to exercise no force or violence. There is also the reform movement within the Party which seeks to end the pledge and to field a more realistic platform. I wish them well, but I doubt they will live down the reputation of past ideology. Speaking of ideology, there are libertarian anarchists - who Carl Milsted calls Radical Libertarians, Social Libertarians (who Carl calls Left Leaning Freedom Lovers) and Economic Libertarians (who Carl calls Right Leaning Freedom Lovers). In a somewhat analagous breakdown, there are the laize faire libertarians who resist the state, but not corporate power, as typified by the Austrian School (and who are as likely to be Republicans as LP members). Their close cousins are the anarcho-capitalists, who favor individual solutions. There are the libertarian socialists (aka anarcho syndicalists), who also reject corporate power and priviledge. They believe in cooperativism (as I do) but reject government action to help it along. True anarchists fall into both camps. Then there is me. I have been called an anarcho-synidicalist by our publisher, but I really am not, since I believe in changing taxation in order to encourage private cooperatives and social action, rather than abandonning taxation and expecting society to organize.

Examining implementation scenarios is instructive to this exercise. The LP does not expect to ever win power at the ballot box and does not seek electoral victory - and if it did the hardcore partisans believe in tearing down the system rather than reforming it. They believe in using campaigns as an educational tool, rather than a means to gain power. Similar to the LP are the anarchists, who encourage people to opt out of the system in what amounts to separatism - either in place or as a group - depending on whether one is an indvidualist or a cooperativist. At the heart of both philosophies is the belief that if only the state were out of the way, people would self organize and everything would work out fairly quickly. Of course, the state will not just get out of the way, people need to stop supporting it or it is expected to collapse, perhaps in a debt crisis or an environmental catastrophe. There are also the non-libertarian anarchists who believe in violent resistence, however I do not take these people seriously as what they are espousing is a form of terrorism. To me, they are no different then al Queda.

I find none of the societal collapse or separatist notions very appealing. First, I don't think they will be successful. People are not unaware drones who continue to vote bad people into office because they have no choice. Most people with a high school education know and accept the basic parameters of the electoral system and most citizens draw their income from some governmental salary, contract or benefit program - and have for decades. They will not part with these benefits easily and certainly will not be guilted out of them. Neither do most of them have a decent appreciation of the rights of their fellow citizens, especially in the areas of criminal justice and free expression. It is mostly government elites that protect society from the un-freedom loving ways of its citizens.

The only way out has to be a system that the population will accept and the solution must make sense. While appeals to liberty are certainly viral, as with the Tea Partiers who screamed last summer that they did not want socialism but they didn't want their Medicare touched (for the record, benefits were not altered, however Medicare Advantage providers did lose some money), they did not project the kind of clear message that could lead to action or even alternative policies. It is not enough for libertarians to stop action, since demands for governmental action usually arise from an unmet need.

The problem of the uninsured is very real and simply resisting action did not prove effective. What is needed are alternative policy solutions within the realm of government action. In the Medicare area, this could have looked like an exemption from Medicare taxation for those companies that provide comprehensive retiree health care which is at least as comprehensive as the governmental plan. Indeed, if senior Medicaid and Medicare were funded by the same tax, it could be avoided by providing long term insurance coverage (or direct care) to retirees instead of letting the government and medical sector do it. The alternative to single-payer health care (which is almost inevitable) could be direct medical care (hiring doctors and pre-paying hospital care and specialists) rather than participating in a single-payer system and paying a single-payer tax. What I cannot see, at least right away, is that absent some kind of taxation, the emergence of the libertarian alternative.

Charitable contributions are at their highest when tax rates are high. Cutting taxes leaves a lot of givers out of philanthropy - which contradicts the claim that charity cannot or should not be forced. A more productive approach is to offer a charitable alternative to governmental action, the funding of which eliminates the obligation to pay tax. Without the existence of taxation, however, all you will get is an unmet need, since most employers and taxpayers will advance their individual interests over the interest of the group. After a generation or two of such alternative systems, it could very well be that alternatives become ingrained so that taxation might be dispensed with, but I have my doubts.

Obviously, advocating the continuation of taxation puts me outside either the "anarcho" part of anarcho-syndicalism or the libertarian part of libertarian socialism. Indeed, what I am advocating demands political involvement. To be a player at the table and offer alternatives to governmental action, one must be part of the government and eventually control the government. This is not Animal Farm, which was an allegory for the replacement of one group of authoritarians (the Tsar) with another (the Bolshevicks). What I advocate is a way to ween the people off of dependence on the state for services, with the eventual hope that cooperative arrangements will make the state unneccessary. I believe this is a more realistic path than hoping for a collapse - and one which won't have old people suddenly losing their Social Security and Medicare - regardless of their - or their children's - ability to pick up the slack.

The remaining question is what to call this ideology. It could be seen as a part of what I call inter-independence, where a cooperative builds systems for its members that make them totally independent - including habitats which have food production capabilities. That is fine for explaining the macro ideology, but it does not fit into the usual typologies without a great deal of explanation. If I am not an anarcho-syndicalist or a libertarian socialist, then what am I. I am not a politico-socialist, since I don't believe (like my former mates in the Greens) in having an expanding governmental sector. The Greens believe in a different kind of libertarian socialism. Unlike Kerpotnick, they believe in strong government but personal liberty in social issues. I would contract and eventually elimiate public agencies (although not public obligations).

This leads me to the following label: politico-syndicalist. Does this fit what I have been talking about or does someone have a better term. Comments please.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Folding the Party

This blog is going dark. Today I transferred most of the posts to the Iowa Fiscal Equity blog. I have left only those posts which were purely about trying to build a party. That effort is over. I am taking the plunge into the Independent Green Party, which is now affliliated with the Independence Party of America (rather than anyone who comes along and believes in third parties). The Indies have a chance, so I am going to throw in with them rather than trying to duplicate their efforts.

For any who have read this blog, please check us out at http://independenceamerica.com/

See you there and good luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christian Libertarian Party Manifesto

Geocities has gone away, so I have transferred everything I posted on my Christian Libertarian Manifesto page on Geocities to this blog. Here are links to the essays transferred that have a libertarian bent.

What is Christian Libertarianism

Christian Liberarian Summary

Liberation Morality

Rebuilding the Body of Christ

The Limits of State Power

Education, Welfare and Religion

Drugs, Mental Health and Crime

Racial Justice

Gay Rights

Birth Control and Stem Cell Research

Roe v. Wade and Reproductive Freedom

Abortion and the Christian Left

Limiting Congressional Meddling in District Affairs

The Budget Process and Regulatory Reform

Improving Budget Execution

Health Care for Seniors

Medical Lines of Credit

Medical Malpractice Reform

The True Nature of the Social Security Crisis

Comprehensive Tax Reform

State and Local Finance

Transportation Systems

Social Security and Ownership

Corporate Governance

Pay Equity

21st Century Homes: Interindependence

The 21st Century Career

Professional Sports Teams and the Entertainment Industry

Employee and Union-owned Multinationals and Trade

Converting Socialist Enterprise to Employee Ownership

Fighting for Justice

An International Bill of Rights

Elections and Campaign Finance

How to Pick Better Bureaucrats

Reform of the Civil Service

Reorganizing the US Government

Regional Government

Bringing Peace to Israel

Lessons from the War in Iraq

Toward Allied Government

A Private Space Transportation System

Going to Mars

Aerospace Firm Management

Ending Government as We Know It

Taking Action

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Like Mike

First off, as I have been selected for Federal Service, I am no longer in the running for President on the Unity 08 ticket. This has me searching for another Christian Libertarian/Leftist to run instead.

Lately, my online activism has been expressed in writing for The Free Liberal. Carl Milstead posited that Ron Paul might be a good occupant for the territory left empty by the major parties: communal libertarians. I countered that Dennis Kucinich and Mike Huckabee might also occupy this space.

Ron Paul has been doing great fundraising and is certainly attracting many small and large L libertarians. Whether he will win the GOP nomination is another matter.

Dennis Kucinich, although the darling of the progressives, does not seem to be picking up where Mrs. Clinton is stumbling.

Mike Huckabee is taking off, big time. While some of his positions are hardly libertarian, he may be the least objectionable of the Republicans. Here are the points in his favor:

He is a two-term governor, which means he will likely do a better job than any member of the House or Senate (the former are hardly ever elected and the latter are only re-elected 50% of the time).

Unlike the other Republicans, he is not in favor of abandoning 14th Amendment jurisprudence to overturn abortion - meaning he does not believe in a states rights solution, which if used as the key to overturn Roe, would put all federal supremacy on civil rights and equal protection matters in jeapordy. He realizes that giving rights to the fetus, if done, must be a national decision.

He will not create a permanent underclass or put women in the position of being unable to get an abortion while also denying them social services or income support for their children. The hardline conservatives attack him for this. For me, a member of the Christian Left, this is a plus.

Unlike Rudy Guiliani, he does not have a record supporting the denial of civil liberty in the war on terror. The more I hear about Rudy, the more he scares me (from his hardline security stances to his likely choices for judicial nominations).

Given the likely choices, I like Mike.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Unity*08 Candidacy

For myself, I would like to run if there is interest. Why would I run in Unity*08?

I believe in reforming our tax laws to end the filing of income taxes by most individuals, replacing it and the usual credits with an expanded business income tax where wages are not deductible but dependent support is creditable at $500 per month per dependent (refundable), with a minimum wage subject to tax at $10 per hour in addition to any credits (so no one pays their employees just with credits). There would also be credits for charitable contributions made in the employees name for education and social services to either public or private schools and social service agencies, a tuition credi, a capped mortgage interest credit and a health care/insurance credit. The dependent credit is high enough to discourage abortions, especially if matched by a similar state credit.

The reason I would run as a third party candidate with this position is that the Republicans think my plan is socialistic for the large dependent credit and the Democrats think it is fascist because I favor privatizing most government services and do not support abortion as a form of birth control.

The Libertarians and Greens have the same opinions, except they will add curse words to this description. (*!$% Socialist and ^%$% Fascist).

To run, I need 100 names on a "hard copy" petition. If you are interested in signing such a petition, comment to this post and I will give you the address. Note that to sign such a thing you must be a registered voter.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yo, Rudy!

Michael Powell and Chris Chillizza read the tea leaves on a Giuliani primary candidacy as a Republican. They are not optimistic.

The way the GOP is going, with other libertarians looking elsewhere - and the donor base not far behind, they may be right. What they don't highlight is that if Rudy raises a lot of money from libertarian Republicans and loses, these donors may take their money and go elsewhere - especially if Rudy does the same thing.

Yo, Rudy! Over here. Check out the call for candidates on the right. If you find it interesting, perhaps you should look to a third party. I am making this call now, knowing that your tenancity will probably drive you into a few GOP primaries. If that doesn't work out, there is still time in early 2008 to get something going. As I have said here previously, there are quite a few of your fellow Catholics who disagree with the GOP, either on economic grounds or on social grounds. The party has never been a good fit for us, and the Dems are not that much better. If you can relate, a lot of people will relate with you.