The power of the D!

FreedomCocktailMartini(Big)_With Title_FlattenedNot long ago, I had a chance to fill in for my friend, Erick Erickson, on his evening show on WSB AM 750 and 95.5 FM in Atlanta. In one of my segments, I asked the board op to play music reminiscent of an 80’s porn movie and started talking low and suggestive:

Welcome back, everyone. It’s time to talk about something we can all relate to. It’s time to recognize it’s power. It holds sway over men and women alike. It’s a powerful thing. It’s full of desire. It has the ability to make us throw caution to the wind, leaving logic and reason behind in favor of embracing nothing but our emotional passions. It strips us of our ability to think straight. It holds sway over our hearts and minds. It’s the power of the D! And nothing is more powerful than the D!

The double-entendre was intentional. The “D” everyone was hearing in their heads was planted.  Then it was time for the twist. The D stood for Democrat. And just like the phallic imagery I conjured, the two share many common elements. Sexual desire is one of the most powerful urges human beings experience. The release of endorphins while engaged in sexual activity hits the same areas of the brain responsible for addiction. In a report published by Health.com :

Sex makes us feel good. That’s why we want it, like it, and spend so much time hunting for mates. The pleasure we get from sex is largely due to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the reward center of the brain. Dopamine is also one of the chemicals responsible for the high people get on certain drugs. “Taking cocaine and having sex don’t feel exactly the same, but they do involve the same [brain] regions as well as different regions of the brain,” said Dr. Timothy Fong, associate professor of psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

Democrats have long understood if you stimulate the reward centers of the brain, they will continue to pull the lever for their free food pellet. They’ll do it over and over again, without question. Using the word “free” in as many stump speeches as they can is like Pavlov ringing his bell. The promise of riches for doing little-to-nothing gets Democrat voters salivating unconsciously. These politicians put on the figurative red velvet, white fur-trimmed, suit and hat and become Santa Claus.

Want to baffle a politician with a letter other than D by their name? Ask them how to convince their constituents it would be more beneficial to vote against Santa rather than for him? When you employ logic and reason, it is easy to recognize the best course of individual success is to not be dependent on government hand-outs. But, logic and reason have nothing to do with the reward center of the brain, and the politicians know it. I do find it interesting, concerning politicians in general, that Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “The pursuit of wealth generally diverts men of great talents and strong passions from the pursuit of power; and it frequently happens that a man does not undertake to direct the fortunes of the state until he has shown himself incompetent to conduct his own.” Interesting, huh? We are convinced to vote for incompetent people who we will trust to direct the fortunes of the state. The power of the D, baby!

Another power inherent in the D involves short-term amnesia. For some, sexual activity can cause:

…”global transient amnesia,” a sudden but temporary loss of memory that can’t be attributed to any other neurological condition. The condition can be brought on by vigorous sex, as well as emotional stress, pain, minor head injuries, medical procedures, and jumping into hot or cold water. The forgetfulness can last a few minutes or a few hours. During an episode, a person cannot form new memories or remember very recent events.

Maybe that helps to explain how someone in office with a D by their name can do something that would ordinarily garner a comprehensive second look, but instead is immediately dismissed. The D makes hypocrisy, bad behavior, bad judgment, borderline illegal actions seem petty and actually cause anger against those who dared to bring those subjects to light. It’s a clear case of hating the messenger, not the message.

Let me show you an example of just how powerful the D really is and explains how our current mainstream media can look at one candidate through rose-colored glasses while looking at another through the prism of mistrust and spite. For example, there once was a candidate running for the office of the President. He had a mentor who was an affirmed Communist. He made up key details about his life and his relationships, calling them “composites” of several different memories. He attended a church where the pastor routinely attacked our founding principles, wishing harm for our own nation. His autobiographies were obviously not written by him and he launched his political campaign in the home of a known domestic terrorist. His college transcripts have been permanently sealed and fellow classmates are near-impossible to find. His past is obscured with large gaps in the timeline.

Onto Candidate 2:

There is another candidate running for office who grew up angry and disenfranchised. He was heading down a path of violence and anger until his mother stepped in and forced changes. By the end of his high school career, he was a top JROTC member, had fantastic grades and learned to temper his emotions, employing logic and reason to maintain his path toward medicine. He meets a distinguished general who sees exceptional qualities and, like any recruiter of any university, says West Point would be a good fit and would likely be a free-ride if he wished to attend. He declines, knowing his desire to be a doctor trumps all other pursuits. His change of personality leads him to revere life and to protect it, including helping keep some fellow students safe during a riot.

Which candidate would you think should be given the full roto-rooter investigation by the press? Which one leads you to believe there are some dubious elements of their past that call into question their qualification to be Commander-in-Chief? Which one deserves in-depth investigative journalism to reveal the veracity of the stories they’ve told? If you had to use these descriptors alone as your sole basis for gaining your vote, whom would you pick?

Oh, now let’s add one more fact to make my point. One of the candidates has a D by their name. The other does not.

For over 40% of this nation (and over 90% in the press), it’s the only descriptor that matters.

 

Taking Out The Trash (Before the Party is Over)

Every great party starts with great guests. Inevitably, if the party goes on too long or happens too often, those guests invite friends. Those friends bring bottles and disposal what-nots. And those friends invite other friends who bring more cans and dishes to wash. And by the end of its life, said party isn’t what it used to be. But come morning’s end, the garbage that needs to be hauled away, damn.

The last we left it, I’m not a Conservative (as thought by today’s meaning). Also, it is better time spent whipping the Republican Party back to its original objective: Promoting smaller government; not back to Reagan, but all the way back to Constitutional limits. And, most importantly, don’t ever, never argue with Democrats or anyone else in the “communitarian” gene pool. You might as well be attending a debate between a pastor and a Imam. At best, hang out, fly on the wall, and listen to their complaints. Then offer the Free Market solution, but only once. Never, ever, never get caught in the back and forth banter I see on social networks.

Quite some time ago, Harry Browne was asked on his radio show if Libertarians should work towards privatizing the Post Office. It was authorized in the Constitution but with the advent of Fed Ex, UPS, etc, the government doesn’t need to be involved in mail delivery any more. Plus, with the Internet, no one writes letters like they used to. Even bills and coupons are being paid and exchanged via the Web. However, as logical as this is, Mr. Browne’s answer was rather well spoken. He said that we were so far from the Constitution that we should at least try to get back to that. Then we could see if chipping away further was a worthy pursuit. I recall that conversation taking place in the late 1990s give or take a few years. And since then, I’d have to say, we’re even further away from the Constitution. Why now we have national health care. Or, I don’t know, maybe we don’t? Something on paper that’s supposed to be health care is out there but no ones really using it. And a government website that, as of this writing, doesn’t work. But whatevs.

It would be nice to say we have the Democrats to thank for the rise in government spending and programs. That way we’d be able to identify the problem. But it’s not reality. The Republican Party is just as much to blame. In fact, it’s an old joke among us Libertarians that the Democrats propose a Bill that costs $4.5 billion but the Republicans fight and it ends up costing only $4 billion and the Republicans say, “See, look at how we’re stopping the growth of government.” Not really. But it makes them feel better.

And it’s a myth, more legend, really, that under Ronald Reagan, spending was curbed. When Reagan took office, the federal budget was only creeping to $700 billion dollars. By the time he left office, it was over $2 trillion. It might be easy to blame the Cold War for the spending but then why didn’t it go down after the Berlin Wall fell? Harry Browne has a wonderful analysis here if you wish to revisit the myth of Reagan.

The fact is, the Republican Party is far beyond its claim of “smaller government”. It’s kind of bi-polar. (We Libertarians have long observed how they campaign like Libertarians but legislate like Democrats). In our last series, we noted that the Grand Old Party suffered from catering to false history. And, it’s paying for it as the recent election shows. In this study, let’s continue to find ways the Republican Party can overcome, be different than the Democrats, and uphold their rhetoric.

1) Start respecting other people’s money:

This year, 2013, marks one-hundred-years of the Income Tax. The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913 and has been reeking havoc ever since. Combined totals of Federal, State and City Income Tax and you’re take home pay is already in half. On top of that, include sales taxes and all the other ways the government gets your money not-so-discretely and you have to work from January until somewhere around July before you start earning for yourself. Republicans, think of it this way: You’re so pro-family, why not end the Income Tax and other pick pocketing schemes, allowing one parent to remain a full-time homemaker? Right now, families have no choice but for both parents, all adults, to find employment just to keep above water.

In a prior article, we noted several bits of pork the federal government involves itself in. End it and we could have more parents involved in their children’s lives. Less kids raised on the streets. Think about it.

2) Start respecting other people’s personal choices:

End the War on Drugs. Five years after the Sixteenth Amendment, Congress passed the Eighteen Amendment, thus, beginning the war on alcohol. Look how bad that turned out. Corrupt police and judges, gun battles on the streets, making criminals out of otherwise good citizens who enjoyed nothing more than a Tom Collins in the evening. It gave rise to Al Capone and the quality of drink was so poor, people found themselves terribly sick or dead from bathtub gin. Prohibition was such a bad idea that it ended in 1933 and the Eighteenth Amendment was put to scrap. The same should be done for ALL non-violent drug laws.

The War on Drugs has turned otherwise respectable people into criminals. Someone wishing to engage with a little marijuana while watching their favorite television show or composing a song or poetry risks time in jail. Why? Alcohol has shown itself to be a far more dangerous drug yet it remains legal. The War on Drugs has given rise to street gangs, working in an underground economy, giving little incentive to go back to school once they’ve become accustomed to the riches. Why work a minimum wage job for forty-hours a week when you can earn thousands on a Saturday night? Let’s note that while the illegal drug trade is bringing gun battles to the streets over illegal transactions, Miller and Budweiser haven’t lost an employee in their competition for customers. Johnnie Walker hasn’t suffered a gun fight with Jamesons. End the War on Drugs.

Dump the War on Gay Marriage. Get government out of what marriage means. Let individuals decide. There is no more personal of a relationship than two (or more) people choosing how to love one another. Dump the debates in Congress over this issue. Stay out.

Revamp Foreign Policy. We make much marching in other people’s countries, telling them what to do and how to do it. Telling Iran it can’t have nuclear weapons but winking at Israel. We trash China on it’s human rights issues but continue to wage war against casual drug users at home. And then we make war if we don’t likey. I can’t think of any war or “police action” the United States has engaged in since the War of 1812 that really needed to take place. Even the engagement with the Taliban and Al-Qeada after 9/11 could have been less of a cluster fuck. Congress could have enacted the Constitutional Letters of Marque, allowing anyone to go after Osama bin Laden et al. This would have reduced the entire Middle East from hating us, reduced the generation of children who will grow up one or two less parents over “collateral damage”. It also wouldn’t have spiralled into Iraq where, despite President Obama’s pledge to get out of, will never, ever happen. Our embassy over there is bigger than the Vatican. We. Ain’t. Leaving. Revamp Foreign Policy.

3) Start respecting academics and business:

From the Farm Bill to Obamacare (two hot topics as I write this), we are witnessing what happens when government gets into business. Prices go up, choices go down and the only winners are the friends of the politicians. True, the Republican Party has been rather united in standing against Obamacare but, Republicans drink their whiskey while complaining Mr. Smith is enjoying his Vodka. They knock government involvement in health care but have no trouble subsidizing sugar, insuring crops but letting go of some food stamp assistance. Do you see why this is a political disaster? Big business gets a boost but the poor are left to fend for themselves; or, at least, that’s how it looks. If the Republican Party could have just said no in it’s entirety, no government in food, no government in health care, no government in (pick your favorite industry). Allowing government to help some, punish others and forget the rest sets up the game of endless lobbyists for favors.

Imagine if the government ran a supermarket. Imagine the lack of choice. Imagine only one type of ice cream, low-fat and in a government approved cup size. When government regulates industry, that’s how it ends up.

Finally, get government out of academics. A Republican sponsored Bill is asking that the National Science Foundation justify future grants for research by proving that said research will benefit “National Interest”. Yet in so many cases, we really don’t know if the end result will be such a thing. Observing and testing is sometimes just to see what will happen, not knowing the final result up front. The researcher may have an idea but won’t know (can’t prove up front) the outcome until the research is done. As an example, modern chemotherapy has its roots in mustard gas. Mustard gas, a weapon used en masse in World War I for chemical warfare turned out to benefit for a chemical warfare against the Emperor of all Maladies. Get government out of academics. Expect more hurt as government intrudes into the sciences and academy. Republicans: Don’t support these things.

So the Republican Party has a lot of trash to take out. The GOP has hooked into some bad guests and bad policies and is losing for it. This and our last post on it aren’t meant to be exhaustive. There’s a lot of other garbage to remove but, in the interest of keeping this shorter than novel length, we’ll leave it as is. Besides, I’m exhausted. Exhausted talking to Republicans who think they’re Libertarians. Look, implement the suggestions noted above and we’ll call it a good start.

And remember: Don’t argue with Democrats. Save the air for the election night balloon drop when you actually win.

Some Required House Cleaning

The other day, a dear colleague of mine noted that I was a conservative. I was dumbfounded. I don’t consider myself one. Why? Because the term doesn’t mean to me what it means to the public at large. The term carries the stigma of Christian principled, stuffy rich white guy. That isn’t me. I guess I’m white. But none of the rest. If you wish to label me, go with Classical Liberal, or Libertarian. And I insist on a Capital L. But it got me thinking.

Those of us fixed with a political philosophy grounded on a Constitutional Republic have the same public image: Christian principled, stuffy rich white guys. We even get charged with racism or uncaring for the needy and poor. Granted, we all have stereotypes for political philosophies but I don’t care for the one labeled on mine. And what I care less for are the politicians who feel the need to mold into it. I am certain there are more atheists or non-Christians in government but are afraid to say so. I don’t believe for a minute every conservative is against homosexual marriage. I don’t buy that every Republican pines for the days of Ronald Reagan or feels the only sex education young adults should get is abstinence. But it’s so expected to come out of their mouths that when I hear it, I cringe. I think, Damn, someone will think that of me. Damn, someone does think that of me!

The Republican Party is showing signs of crumbling under the weight of its own unintelligible platform. For years they’ve compromised and catered to the above noted stereotype and now we are at great risk of losing any hope of returning to a Constitutional Republic. I remain a member of the Libertarian Party because it’s the only party that never compromises on the issue of small government. And the stuffy white guy stereotype isn’t with that party. The reason there’s a Libertarian Party at all (or any other third party of smaller government) is because Republicans have alienated so many. And worst of all, moved so far away from what they claim to want. But with the likes of the Paul family sticking with them and the fact that there is a Republican Liberty Caucus, it is clear there is a Libertarian entrenchment within. With that noted, all that needs to take place is strengthening that wing, letting it spread about the entire bird. Returning to small government has a better chance with the only party big enough to stand up to New Liberals.

I don’t argue with Democrats or New Liberals any more. Why? Glad you asked. I don’t argue with them any more than a gynecologist argues with a Stork-Theorist about where babies come from. (Thank you Dr. Dawkins for such a reference). They have made their choices: Without government, they can’t do anything. At this point, it’s energy wasted to hash it out over a computer screen with them. It is, however, a better alternative to use my energy to keep the Republican Party on track and in line with their stated principles. It’s like this, a mother will scold her own child for two reasons: 1) So the mother doesn’t look bad; 2) So the child doesn’t turn into an asshole.

If I’m going to be associated with conservatives whether I like it or not, then I must assist in changing what it means. I have to insist that you don’t have to be stuffy or Christian or white to be in favor of small government or a member of the Republican Party. And, quite frankly, if you’re a “conservative candidate” catering to the stereotype, you’re doing it wrong. There never was a time in our country’s history like you pine for. So let’s do this. Let’s dispel some myths trumpeted by conservative candidates and politicians. Let’s talk about them Good ole’ days conservatives pay lip service to. Time for some house cleaning because the Republican Party is better than that and needs to be scolded.

Oh the Good ole’ days. We need to get back to a time of simplicity. A time when women were women and men were men. When kids obeyed their parents. When the churches were full come Sundays. A time when people said “please” and “thank you”. There was a day when the police officer never drew his pistol, only a whistle to assist kids across the street. A time when families were strong, unbreakable. When drugs weren’t rampant. A time…

…that never existed.

After finishing The Good News Club by Katherine Stewart (review here), I was left with how it’s not only Christian apologists who get American history wrong. It’s everyone else who saw Leave It To Beaver after it aired and thought, “Wow, how things used to be. Wish we could go back.” There’s a notion among conservatives that once upon a time, Dad earned a decent wage and came home to dinner and a news paper while mom took care of the house, made sure the kids were off to and back from school and that that news paper was on the end table, waiting for Dad. Girls wore dresses, boys wore ties. Not always. Well maybe the dresses part, up until 1960 something or other. But…

…back in the Beaver 50s,

Domestic violence was just as common as today. Just less reported. It was expected that the man would keep his woman in line. Women had a larger problem with alcohol and tranquilizer abuse considering what they were required to do – Be superwomen but not be super. There were more unwed pregnancies than now. And marriages didn’t last as long as we think. Funny how the entertainment industry that conservatives point fingers at for ruining the family helped promulgate the myth in the first place. *

…further back to the 1800s, before television,

In these years, the nuclear bread-winning father, child-rearing mother appeared for the first time but the husband and wife weren’t even close to Ward and June Cleaver. No, separate spheres dominated male/female realms, leaving many women to have the most intimate relationship with…wait for it…other women. (Must I point out that the fathers of western civilization, the Greeks, reserved women for child bearing and male-on-male physical contact for pleasure?) Conservatives lashing out against homosexual relationships have no foundation in history. Unless you use the Bible.

…on to those “Christian roots” that never were.

Sure, many came to America to escape religious persecution. But the Puritans and like minds weren’t the Founding Fathers. No, the Founding Fathers were Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, et al. These men wrote the founding documents but failed to include the name of Jesus. Strange for a government supposedly based on Christianity. The name “God” appears but not Yahweh. Not any other form indicating “God” from the Old or New Testament. Looking at the lives of these men they were more so deists, than conforming to any sect.

Evidence exists that this is so: Thomas Jefferson rewrote the New Testament, removing all references to the divinity of Jesus. George Washington refused communion. In fact, when asked about Washington’s religious beliefs after he had died, the Rev. Dr. James Abercrombie remarked, “…Washington was a Deist.” Other famous deists were Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. While Dr. Franklin preferred to take no quarrel with Christianity, Mr. Paine had no problem ridiculing it, taking up the task in his work, The Age of Reason. Finally, the most obvious thwart to the argument that America was based on Christianity comes from our second president himself, John Adams. In the Treaty of Tripoli, that which ended the Barbary Wars for a time, it is written (with President Adam’s signature), “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

Late 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut wrote to then president, Thomas Jefferson. Their complaint was that the State government of Connecticut was based on Congregationalism and they wished to see it not interfere with their practice. President Jefferson wrote back, indicating that Wall of Separation between government and religion that is so familiar that some think it’s the text of the First Amendment. In this letter to the Danbury Baptists, Mr. Jefferson noted that federally, such a wall existed. He wished the States would do the same.

There never was a time like that of Leave It To Beaver. There never was a time of simple and happy and pleasant family life. There has never been a model of “family” that worked for all ages. “Family” has changed and adapted with the times. And since there’s no golden age to return to, stop saying we have to get back to it. Drop the holier-than-thou attitude. You can be a Republican or just call yourself a conservative without camping out with the Religious Right. By all means if you wish to pursue a religion, fine. But do it for yourself. Don’t govern from the Bible and claim it’s tradition. It’s not.

The only tradition worth fighting for is individual pursuits of life, liberty and happiness. That is what the Republican Party should be fostering, not entangling alliances with groups promoting false histories. The Republican Party should be spending more of its time acting like Rand Paul (who isn’t entirely an angel here but I already addressed that). They should spend more time listening to the Liberty Caucus within itself. I am not the first person to try to whip the Republican Party into shape. Over a decade ago, David Horowitz wrote, The Art of Political War where he called upon the Republican Party to start acting like the party of smaller government. Perhaps members need to read that book again. Or most, for the first time.

The term, “conservative”, really should mean one who wishes to remain the most confined to the Constitution. The elements shown above to be more legendary than real, should be removed from it. If we can, then by all means, start referring to me as a conservative again. Until then, I’m sticking with the Capital L.

* I can not recommend enough to read The Way We Never Were, by Stephanie Coontz if you wish for a detailed analysis on the history of families. And if you wish to know more about how poor living conditions were long ago, and how much better we have it today, I recommend The Good Old Days, They Were Terrible! by Otto Bettmann.

All or Nothing?

Rand Paul said, “I’m not a Libertarian.”
Rand Paul said, “I’m a Libertarian Republican.”
Rand Paul said, “I’m a Constitutional Conservative.”

He said all these things on May 10, 2013 at a luncheon with several evangelical pastors in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He made it rather clear he wasn’t a Libertarian when he advised he was not in favor of ending the Drug War, that he was more in favor of a “Virtuous Society” with people practicing “Self Restraint.” Damn. Doesn’t it seem we, Ron Paul fans, got suckered by the Son? Doesn’t first glance suggest the Filibuster was a stunt? Maybe.

Rand Paul hasn’t quite practiced small government all the time. He voted in favor of sanctions against Iran. And he said that 900 US military bases worldwide was a lot but made it clear, he wouldn’t make reducing foreign intervention a priority. Regarding marriage, Senator Paul advised he thinks it’s a mistake to support a federal ban on gay marriage because they are going to “lose” that debate right now. So he’s not in favor of gay marriage. He just doesn’t think it’s a winning battle right now. Finally, the ultimate insult, was that for the 2012 presidential election, he cast his lot for Mitt Romney. NOT for his own father, who is very Libertarian.

All the offenses listed above could confirm what we Libertarians have been saying for years. That Republicans always campaign like Libertarians but end up governing like Democrats. All, except the elder Paul. But Rand Paul did filibuster until Attorney General Holder confirmed, in writing, that the President does not have the authority to kill non-combative Americans on American soil with armed drones. He is also in favor of term limits, reductions in taxation and in favor of gun rights (right to self-defense). And despite recently telling his evangelical audience that they’d lose the battle right now on gay marriage, in an earlier interview, he advised that despite being in favor of traditional One Man/One Woman marriage, he would rather the federal government remain neutral on the subject as it’s a subject more for the States. This is very Libertarian: I tolerate your life choices and; in turn, you tolerate mine.

So what are we to make of him? It’s clear and he knows it, he’s not a Libertarian. But it’s also clear but doesn’t know it, he’s not a Constitutional Conservative. The Drug War, the vast foreign meddling, those are very non-Constitutional policies. Perhaps he’s using the term as a buzz word, an ear catcher to the Tea Party that supported him from the beginning. He is, at best, correct that he’s a Libertarian Republican. Senator Paul cherry picks from both platforms. I suspect as the 2016 presidential election approaches, we’ll hear Senator Paul continue to use the words, “Libertarian”, “Republican”, “Constitution” and “Conservative”. Consider Rand Paul a connection-point between four political views. Like the one corner that the States Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico share, Rand Paul sits right there as the thread holding said political views together.

Some of my colleagues in the Libertarian Party are cautioning it’s members from supporting Senator Paul. They argue, a half-assed (small L) libertarian isn’t worth our vote. We should only vote for candidates that support the complete return to the limits of the Constitution. We should only support Libertarian candidates who run from the Libertarian Platform under the LP Banner. But I say, let’s think about that.

By the 2016 presidential election, I will have put in twenty-years of campaigning (directly and indirectly) for the Libertarian Party. And despite my efforts and the extraordinary efforts of members better qualified and dedicated than myself, we’re still clocking in at around 1% of the presidential vote. There are reasons for this. Check out the link and come back to this post. It appears we’ve been so far away from freedom, we don’t know how to get back. Maybe instead of an All or Nothing philosophy, we need to take steps. And saying this, even entertaining it gently, makes me cringe. But I’m ready to try something different.

I’ll say it again, we are so far away from the simplicity of a Constitutional government, even gradual, small steps are gratifying. It’s working for drugs. Medical marijuana is popular and States are passing favorable laws more often. Washington and Colorado voted in favor of legalization of small amounts of marijuana, having nothing to do with medicinal purposes. As people see the sky isn’t falling, more legalization will occur. The end of illegal plants is coming to an end. Isn’t this considered a victory?

In my home state, Michigan, riders of motorcycles were recently allowed to decide for themselves if they wanted to wear helmets. Instead of government mandates, the rider is now allowed to make his/her own safety decisions. That step, once the sky doesn’t fall, could lead to relaxed mandatory seat belts and air bags. Yes?

An All or Nothing stance may never get us where we want to be. I hesitated several times writing those words. Forever and a day, until today, I was an All or Nothing Libertarian. But it isn’t working. A candidate like Rand Paul is still worthy. Much better than, say, a John McCain. Some Libertarian is better than No Libertarian. Right now, I think Rand Paul is our best bridge. It took a Nirvana to bridge Metal and Punk fans.

Harry Browne once took a question on his radio show where the questioner wondered if we could even remove the Post Office from the Constitution now that we have private delivery companies like FedEx and UPS. Mr. Browne advised that we were so far away from the Constitution we needed to get back to at least the Constitution before we hacked further. This, is sound to me.

Right now, as much as I want ALL of the Libertarian Platform, a candidate like Rand Paul could be our medical marijuana. He’s worth continuing to support and look at. I say support and look at. If he falls further from the Tree of Liberty, then by all means, let’s dump him. But right now, I think he deserves a continued admiration for not giving in everywhere.

A final thought on All or Nothing. Ask a cancer patient (me) if chemotherapy and radiation reduction of a tumor is better than waiting for a complete cure. They won’t complain if the tumor is still there. But they’ll dance and sing when the bloated bastard shrinks.

Senator Rand Paul. Kill This Hog!

We had this Sequester thingy. Yet despite this humble, meek downsizing of government funding, John Kerry lunched with Egypt’s ignoramus Muslim Brotherhood and handed over $250 million US dollars. Then we read that the Obama Administration wanted to make the Sequester “hurt” to give a black eye to the Republican Party. Well the fact is, our government has been pissing around money for decades, playing political football with all kinds of programming.

Every year, the good people at Citizens Against Government Waste, spend their warm summers and cold winters, combing through proposals and bills before Congress. The objective is to review for Pork. CAGW didn’t choose the word. It’s been with us for awhile.

Don’t know why we settled on the word “Pork”. Tasty, yummy pork. I mean, here’s the first definition at Merriam-Webster: The fresh or salted flesh of swine when dressed for food. My mouth starts watering at salted (and this is coming from a Morrissey worshipper). How did this word come to mean the second definition: Government funds, jobs, or favors distributed by politicians to gain political advantage. Maybe it goes back to the Bible, where the Hebrews were prohibited from eating the pig because it was thought to be a filthy animal. Okay, that makes sense. Moving on.

The first I heard of the CAGW was in the late 90s. And I bought their Pig Book in 1999. Here are some entries:

  • $3,354,000 for shrimp aquaculture.
  • $500,000 for research at North Carolina State University on the impact of pfiesteria.
  • $1,470,000 to begin planning for the marine mammal research and education center at the National Energy Laboratory.
  • $19,600,000 for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) in support of the Anglo-Irish Accord.
  • $4,250,000 for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
  • $2,000,000 for the Guadalupe Cener in Kansas city for training in culinary arts.
  • $475,000 for Women’s World Cup Soccer.
  • $100,000 for improvements in accessibility and safety to the Black World History Wax Museum in St. Louis.
  • $1,000,000 for the Animal Waste Management Consortium through the U. Of MO for projects associated with animal waste.
  • $500,000 for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for restoration of the Boston Symphony Hall.
    Ad nauseum…

When I found it on my bookshelves and flipped through it again with 2013 eyes, what first hit me was how small these numbers were. Here we are, about fourteen years later, and I’ve been conditioned to hearing billions. It seems like government does nothing less than a dollar sign followed by ten digits. So I wondered if I had false memories.

Checking in with the CAGW website, they are kind enough to publish online, a summary of the Pig Book. And here are some entries for 2012:

  • $120,000,000 for three earmarks of $40,000,000 each for alternative energy research within the Air Force, Army, and Navy. (Hilarious if you consider an aircraft carrier is never, ever, never done ever, gonna run on solar).
  • $50,000,000 for the National Guard for Counter-Drug Program state plans.
  • $13,840,000 for hydropower construction.
  • $3,388,000 for national fish hatchery system operations.
  • $5,000,000 for abstinence education.
  • $2,094,000 for the Asia Foundation, which is “committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region.” (With Kim Jong-un getting testier as of late, I’d say we’re not getting our monies worth).

Although the numbers weren’t in the billions, it’s interesting to note two things:

1) My memory serves correct; in that, our government has continued to piss away money on the most Unconstitutionally-authorized projects.

2) My memory serves poor; in that, the money spent in 2013 is similar to 1999. What has changed is that there are more pet projects than 1999. And that explains the huge federal budget.

Granted the above examples are not apples to apples. It’s not entirely common to have, say, $4,250,000 for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area happen again. The point is that the federal government continues to spend our tax dollars on pet projects or, at best, what should be local (State/City) endeavours.

In Fourteen-years, the federal budget has grown by trillions. It’s an increase in garbage spending, and increased in exploits and plundering. None/most of the activity is not authorized by the Constitution. How do they get away with it? I think it’s because the same two parties have been in power for decades. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Remember John McCain’s ultimatum, during the scandals of steroid use in Professional Baseball? He gave the Major Leagues an Old West Get it together or I’m pulling this piece of mine. * This pretty much shows a we’ll do whatever the hell we want attitude. A dangerous attitude. A dangerous old curmudgeon.

So it’s time for a change. A change of the old guard. A change from an incumbent, members-only club. If you want to see the pork go away, you have to start voting for groups and/or individuals who want to do that. It’s why I vote Libertarian often.

The story doesn’t end there. I’m not rolling credits yet. There is a New Hope. It’s kinda like Episode IV in Republican circles these past few weeks.

It used to be that we, Libertarians, would smirk and wince come election season. We’d see Republican candidates campaigning, using libertarian language, and selling themselves as small-government politicians. But then they’d get into office and trash the place. Like teenagers with new licenses, back seats full of buddies and a party to get to, we knew it wouldn’t end well and probably cost a lot of money in damages. But two Republicans have caught our Libertarian eyes which has this Libertarian not yet ready to throw in the towel.

Libertarians are no stranger to Ron Paul. He ran under our banner for president in 1988. But then switched to the Republican Party for reasons of his own (I don’t know why). But he’s gone now. He quit Congress and went back home. But a new Paul rises.

In 2010, we saw the election of Ron’s son, Rand Paul, to the US Senate. He serves for the State of Kentucky. And so far, he hasn’t disappointed me (he did, however, endorse Mitt Romney for president in 2012 which made me go all wide-eyed for a bit but I forgive him). Senator Paul’s thirteen-hour filibuster was a grand way to make him a household name and I don’t believe it was a publicity stunt. He truly believed an answer was needed to the question on whether or not the President could use drones to kill American citizens on American soil. It was a proud moment to watch a Senator, who calls himself a Republican, act like it. I also saw a number of other liberty minded Republicans join Senator Paul on the Congressional floor. When Marco Rubio quoted Jay-Z and the Godfather to President Obama, oh wow.

That evening, I didn’t go to bed early. It was a great thing to see a sitting Senator and comrades, for once, demanding the president answer a question that wasn’t about a mystery stain on a clerk’s dress.

Senator Rand Paul has lit a fire, a burning towards liberty and away from big government. If the Republican Party can run with it, find their way again (it’s what they claim to be about) I might call them friends again. I might Like them on Facebook. I might occasionally Tweet GOP goodness. And I might proudly vote for them in future elections.

Senator Paul, Kill this Hog! We, at Freedom Cocktail, Stand with you!

* McCain’s sour notes over the triumph of Rand Paul shows that he really is like Ferris Bueller’s sister.

And now, let’s check in and see what Congress is up to…yep, same shit.

XaiUx