Wednesday, June 29, 2011

California Libertarian Party Violates Fundamental Fairness

The U.S. Constitution imposes Fundamental Fairness and Proceduarl Due Process on the government's actions.

Due Process "requires notice and an opportunity to be heard" before adverse action is taken against you.

The State must give you Notice that a proceeding in which you have an interest is scheduled to be taken -- and a Hearing so you can present your case.

The Libertarian Party often slams government because, either from incompetence or duplicity, government fails to abide by Constitutional Due Process.

By contrast, the LP trumpets itself as the Party of Principle, implying that its behavior is morally superior to that of any government.


The various LPs (state and national) are as shifty or incompetent as any governmental bureaucracy out there.

LPC Northern Vice Chair C. Michael Pickens attended the Libertarian Party of California's Executive Committee meeting on June 18, 2011, in Ventura County, and reports:

"After lunch we were given a convention proposal presentation by the Ventura County Libertarian Party. The verbal presentation was accompanied by a full-color binder showcasing Ventura's accommodations, dining and entertainment, transportation...

"After the presentation Gale Morgan motioned to vote on having the 2012 California Libertarian party convention in Ventura. The motion was seconded.

"A few members expressed their concern that the vote was premature because there were other county parties that were going to submit bids for the 2012 convention.

"But because there was only nine months left until the convention the executive committee went ahead with the vote and it was decided that the 2012 convention is to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura California."

In other words, competing county LPs were blindsided. No notice was given to them about a deadline for submitting convention bids, or that a decision on a convention site was on this meeting's agenda. These competing counties were denied Notice and a Hearing.

I know the LPC isn't bound by governmental standards of fairness and due process -- but that never stops the LP from claiming to meet even higher standards of fairness and transparency. Yet many LPs fail to meet even governmental standards. If Americans don't notice, it's only because the LPs are too unimportant for their misbehaviors to affect the real world.

If the LP can't walk the walk, why should American voters pay attention to the LP's talk?

Pickens continues his report:

"Because of the confusion about submitting bids and the approval process for future convention locations the executive committee voted to implement a process for the 2013 convention."

Did he say "confusion"? So in other words, the LPC wasn't duplicitous, but incompetent.

The LPC had forty years of existence in which to create a clear process for submitting convention bids and deadlines -- and it's failed to even meet that level of procedural competence? The DMV is more efficient.

And if the LPC Executive Committee admits they had no clear process, then why not begin the remedy with the 2012 convention? Give Fair Notice to all the county LPs to submit bids within 30 or 60 days of the June 18 meeting.

But no. The LPC instead admits confusion, and promises to fix it in the future. Just like any other governmental bureaucracy.

I don't know if Ventura County as a convention site was intentionally railroaded through (duplicity -- the LPC has a history of convention shenanigans and trickery), or if Ventura County was chosen by default due to the admitted "confusion" (incompetence).

Either way, it seems that even the government is a model of competence and fair dealing compared to the Libertarian Party of California.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Video Games: Desensitizing Tomorrow's Killing Machines

With improving technology and human actors, video wargame images are looking ever more realistic, depicting combat in all its gory detail -- but minus the actual pain.

Video games are also addictive.

What better way to desensitize children into becoming tomorrow's lean, mean, killing machines?

Get them "hooked" on the high of fighting virtual battles, without any consequences -- until, of course, they grow up, go to a real war, and lose two or three limbs...)

It's called "militainment" -- and now there's a documentary that exposes this unsettling phenomenon. Read Returning Fire: Docu Examines How Video Game 'Militainment' Promotes War in the Hollywood Investigator.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aid to Israel Was Supposed to be Temporary

I've written previously about our Orwellian Memory Hole. Just as young people in Oceana were ignorant of life before Big Brother, Americans are growing up ignorant of pre-9/11 American history.

Here's another blast from the past...

In the late 1970s/early 1980s, it was a "given" that U.S. aid to Israel was temporary. Even the Israeli lobby said so. It was one of their talking points for sending money to Israel.

Back then I attended high school in New York City, and often listened to Bob Grant's call-in radio talk show on WOR-AM. Grant was a big supporter of Israel, as were many of his callers.

Sometimes people called to complain about American tax dollars sent to Israel. One of the defenses offered by pro-Israel callers was: "Hey, it's only for a few years! Israel's having some tough economic times right now -- but just as soon as Israel gets on its feet, there'll be no more aid! You can help out our great friend and ally, just for a few years, can't you?"

This was about when Carter was doing his Camp David peace accords. Then came Israel's (expensive) incursion into Lebanon, and it became "just a few years more..."

A Fundamental Conservative/Libertarian Principle (in that they all at least claim to believe it) is that: Welfare is never temporary. Welfare creates dependency, and a demand for increasingly more money. Welfare recipients know no gratitude, but instead fight viciously to retain -- and increase -- their welfare benefits.

This principle is often proven correct, as in the case of Israel. Today most conservatives (and even some libertarians) accept American tax dollars for Israel as a "given."

Another forgotten excuse for sending money to Israel (one I often heard in the 1980s), was the Cold War. The rationale was that the Soviets funded the Arab states, so America had to fund Israel to "level the playing field."

This excuse had some surface logic during the Cold War. Wherever political strife, national tensions, or civil war arose (in Africa, Asia, or Latin America), the Soviets and Americans often funded opposing sides, each trying to prevent the other from establishing the sole foothold in that particular nation or region.

But with the Cold War's end, that logic was flipped on its head. The new "logic" was: "Hey, now that the Soviets have withdrawn from the Mideast, the U.S. can support Israel that much more safely, since there's no risk of escalating tensions into World War III. America should take advantage of this Golden Opportunity of being the world's Sole Superpower -- by supporting Israel!"

Both the Soviet's presence in the Mideast, and the lack of a Soviet presence, was a reason to fund Israel.

Another excuse I've heard over the years for American aid to Israel is that it benefits American business, because Israel spends some of that aid money in the U.S., buying weapons.

By that logic, why not instead give all of those tax dollars to Americans (via food stamps, welfare, health care, etc.), so that all of those tax dollars are spent in America? Would that not boost the economy that much more?

Curiously, no conservative or libertarian would advise increasing welfare payments to Americans as a way to boost the American economy -- but some have actually suggested that welfare payments to a foreign nation are a good way to boost the American economy.

(I assume such conservatives and libertarians know better; they don't believe their own talking points, but think they might get it past an audience that doesn't think too much about it.)

Another reason some conservatives and libertarians offer for sending tax dollars to Israel is that Israel needs the money. Israel could not survive without U.S. tax dollars, so that trumps all other principles. (I heard KABC-AM's John Phillips make the "needed for survival" argument earlier this year.)

But as Ayn Rand said, A need is not a claim. Conservatives and libertarians love quoting Rand when denying U.S. tax dollars to poor Americans, but curiously, a need is a claim -- when the claiment is Israel.

Yet even that isn't true -- Israel does not need U.S. aid to survive. Israel is a wealthy nation, with a heavily subsidized, socialist economy (like that of many Western European nations). Compared to Israeli economic policies, the "Marxist" Barak Obama looks like a free marketeer.

This brings us to yet another Fundamental Conservative/Libertarian Principle: Money is fungible. If I pay for your health care, I'm really paying for your car, your CD collection, your trip to Europe. The money you spent on your CDs and trip would have covered your health care, but since I subsidized your health care, you were free to spend your money on fun stuff.

Israel can easily pay for its own defense -- if it cuts back on its subsidized health care, education, housing, and other socialist goodies. Because money is fungible, American taxpayers are actually subsidizing Israelis' health care, housing, and education.

America is nearing bankruptcy, crippled by its own rising health care, housing, pension, infrastructure, and education expenses. Why should American taxpayers keep financing Israel's welfare state?

A need is not a claim, but Israel doesn't even need American money. Israel wants American money, because, like any welfare client, it's gotten used to it. Israel feels entitled to American tax dollars, and -- like many state union employees -- feels enraged and "attacked" if there's any talk of cutbacks.

Israel, like America, has forgotten that aid to Israel was originally supposed to be "only for a few years."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Libertarians Support NSA Domestic Spying

At least that's increasingly the image given by today's "voter friendly" Libertarian Party.

Why do I say this?

I was listening to Bill Handel's radio show last Friday (June 17, 2011, heard on 640 KFI-AM). Handel was discussing some new National Security Agency plan or proposal to spy on all the email passing over the internet in the U.S.

Handel said that he has no problem with this. (I don't think he was joking.) He said the NSA already listens in on all cell phone calls and texting, worldwide.

Then Handel said, "Of course, some people are gonna have a problem with that. The First Amendment folks, privacy folks, the libertarians -- not the libertarians. The civil...what word am I looking for? The ACLU types. The..."

And so on.

I think the phrase Handel was seeking was civil libertarians.

Handel's comment demonstrates that the word libertarian is no longer associated with opposition to NSA domestic spying. Civil libertarians, sure, but not libertarians.

No, I don't think Handel was trying to slam libertarians. He is a non-partisan guy, with no particular animus toward libertarians. A middle-of-the-road, common sense-oriented, shock jock. He's praised both Bush and Obama, depending on the issues. He's agreed with California Republicans on the need for severe budget cuts, but he also supports national, single payer health care.

Handel's comment was not intended as a slam against libertarians, but his honest understanding of libertarian views.

You can listen to the above broadcast over here.

Good job, libertarian "vote getters"! Good job, you "big tent" types who don't want the Libertarian Party to take too "extreme" a position on the issues. Congrats also to Wayne Allyn Root for his carefully nuanced position on Julian Assange!

Increasingly, the public perceives libertarians as a right-wing party that supports government domestic spying. I'm sure electoral victories are right around the corner!

At times like this, I sure am glad I'm no longer a member of the Libertarian Party.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Screw Elections, Not Principles

I recently wrote a letter to the editor opposing sales taxes and rent control. The details (the context, which newspaper) aren't important. What is important is this: I made no mention of the Libertarian Party or of the libertarian philosophy.

Some libertarians have made a sexual fetish of "the L word." What I call Sesame Street Libertarians.

Back when I was active in the California Libertarian Party, I met many LP members who measured the value of their activism (mostly letters to the editor and calls to radio talk shows) by how often they managed to publicize the word "libertarian."

"I wrote 'libertarian' twice in my letter to the editor," one LP member might say, "but the newspaper deleted one instance, so they only printed 'libertarian' once."

"I managed to say 'libertarian' three times during my call to a radio talk show," another would brag.

These sick puppies measure the value of their message not by its cogency, intelligence, integrity, or persuasiveness -- but by the number of "L word" hits.

They imagine that getting "the L word" out there is itself a good thing, because the more often people hear "the L word," the more likely they are to vote Libertarian. Sesame Street Libertarians think that selling the party is like selling Pepsi. These "vote getters" emphasize "branding" and "marketing" over ideas, principles, and truth.

One problem with this thinking is that it elevates form over content; packaging over substance. We see the result.

Today, Sesame Street Libertarians infest the LP. Obsessed with winning votes for "the L party," they regard principles as a ball-and-chain that prevents the LP from winning elections. They've sold out, with nothing to show for it at the ballot box.

I think the reverse is closer to the truth. "The L word" is a ball-and-chain that defames libertarian principles.

Why do I refuse to use "the L word" in my letters to the editor? Because one can more effectively promote libertarian ideas if one ditches "the L word" -- and even more so, "the L party."

If I argue against a sales tax increase, without identifying myself as a libertarian, then people from across the political spectrum are more likely to consider my ideas with an open mind.

If I call my ideas libertarian, then many people who are prejudiced against libertarianism will shut their minds to my arguments.

(This is why actor Mike Farrell tells people to "Just call me Mike." -- because he thinks political labels prevent people from listening to each other with an open mind.)

Do libertarians want to promote their principles -- or a political party?

If principles, then it's wise to ditch the ball-and-chain that is the Libertarian Party. Don't mention the party. Don't even mention "the L word" as a philosophy. Now that Sean Hannity, Wayne Allyn Root, and all manner of neocons are hiding behind "the L word," it's likely been corrupted in many people's minds anyway.

If, on the other hand, you're more intent on promoting the LP rather than principles, well then, take a tip from Howard Stern. Call every random radio talk show, and in the middle of the conversation, start spouting, "Libertarian, libertarian, Baba Booey, Baba Booey, Wayne Allyn Root rules!"

It won't win the LP any votes, but nothing does, so you may as well get "the L word" out of your system and enjoy the rush.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jennifer Jajeh's I Heart Hamas in Hollywood

It can't be easy being a Palestinian-American in Hollywood -- or anywhere else in America.

Writer/actress Jennifer Jajeh, a Christian Palestinian-American, was raised in the U.S., and has visited Israel and the Occupied Territories.

She now courageously places her difficult identity into the spotlight, and mines her life experiences, for a one-woman show: I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You.

Despite the provocative title, I Heart Hamas is getting rave reviews in major American cities.

This play, along with films like Miral, indicates that a significant number of Americans -- Jews and gentiles -- are ready to see Palestinians as actual human beings.

True, Jajeh is a Christian Palestinian-American. Nevertheless, I'm sure the Islamophobic bigots can make an exception in Jajeh's case (seeing as she's still an Arab) and hate her anyway.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Nevada Libertarian Party Prefers Bolshevik Party Discipline to Pluralism

After the Libertarian Party of Nevada dissolved its county parties, it offered, as part of its rationale, the need to speak with one voice and promote one message to the public. They didn't want the county LPs to issue independent or conflicting messages. As the Nevada LP said in a press release:

...our primary reason for this change was to more effectively pursue Libertarian goals of identifying and electing qualified Libertarian candidates statewide by creating a single source of a unified, positive message...

“Without adequate coordination, the voting public is getting mixed messages from different parts of the LPNevada as county affiliates often focus on issues of little importance to mainstream voters...."

According to the Nevada LP, the goal is to elect candidates. Allowing the county parties an independent voice impedes that effort. Too many voices, too many opinions.

The Nevada LP is lying.

It's not that they want to promote one message -- it's that they want to promote their message.

That's how control freaks think.

A few years back, when the pro-war control freaks were on the out (at least here in California), they whined that it was “divisive” to publicly say that the LP was antiwar.

No one tried to squelch their right to voice their pro-war crap, but having a voice was not good enough for them. Since they were a small minority, their pro-war screeds would have been drowned out -- so they instead wanted all libertarians (pro and antiwar) to shut up about the war, because “it's an issue over which libertarians of good faith disagree.”

Now it seems that the pro-war control freaks are in charge of the Nevada LP. (I say this because Nevada LP Vice Chair Wayne Allyn Root supported the dissolution of the county LPs.) And these control freaks are not satisfied with having the state LP bully pulpit (the loudest voice) -- they want the other, smaller voices to shut up.

Here in California, it's long been customary for every LP -- the state LP, county LPs, and even regional LPs (the Los Angeles County LP is divided into 8 regions) to issue their own press releases, and pass their own resolutions. County LPs are independent entities, entitled to their own voices in the public arena.

This is a Good Thing.

When I was editing the state newspaper, I always allowed, and even invited, pro-war LP members to submit articles and letters to the editor. I was satisfied that, because antiwar libertarians were the majority, and had the better arguments, that we had nothing to fear from giving a platform to the pro-war crowd.

But the Nevada LP control freaks (of which Wayne Allyn Root is one) don't see it that way. Now that they're in charge, they want to be the sole voice representing Libertarianism.

I don't know how big a factor the war issue was in the Nevada LP's dictatorial action, but I suspect that, overall, this conflict falls along the usual Reform vs. Radical divide. A “Reform faction” (now in charge) prioritizes vote-getting, and thus wants to avoid hot-button issues like ending the drug war, opening borders to immigration, ending foreign bases and foreign aid (even to Israel -- gasp!), ending the police state, downsizing the military -- things that “normal Americans” don't feel comfortable with. (Or so the Reformers claim to believe.)

When Radicals are in charge, they dominate the debate.

When Reformers are in charge, there is no debate.

At least that's how it seems to work out.

Reformist control freaks like to impose Bolshevik Party discipline.

At least Mao Zedong paid lip service to pluralism, saying that Communism should "Let one hundred flowers bloom.” Not so the Nevada LP.