For the Last Time; Bob Barr for President

Bill Quick over at the Daily Pundit endorsed Bob Barr the other day.

I just dropped my absentee ballot in the mail box. After waffling around, first saying I wouldn’t vote for John McCain, then saying I would, I ended up voting for Bob Barr. Not because I think he has any chance of winning, or even because I think he’d be a great president – although he would certainly be a much better one than either of the two major candidates.
I voted for him because it was the only way I could think of to get my libertarian/conservative preference on the official record, in hopes that the GOP might see what it had thrown away with its nomination of McCain, and its general move away from conservative and libertarian principles.
I guess I ended up being convinced by my own arguments.

read more | digg story

I briefly came up for air from a 7 hour stint on my diversion of choice these days, and decided to visit some of my old haunts (like digg and blogger) for a brief reminder as to why I have need of some diversion. I noticed a shout on digg from Bob Barr to the article above, and while reading through the comments on the site, I ran across one (buried to the level of -9) which offered up the same old “thanks for voting for Obama” argument in response.

Here’s a little counter spin for you.

As a Texas resident living in Austin, I am surrounded by Yellow Dogs who voted for Kerry 4 years ago, and are dutifully touting their Obama stickers

[which have mercifully replaced the Kerry stickers. Leave the advertisement for an ‘also ran’ on your bumper for 4 years; what does that mean? I can’t tell the real Democrats from the fake ones?]

trumpeting their intention to vote for the guy with the best teeth and hair (like all Americans do) the man who will be the future president of the United States; as almost anyone who pays attention to politics could have told you the minute that Barak Obama became the clear Democrat favorite (until then, the next President of the US was going to be a woman) because the Republicans never stood a chance this time around; and stand even less of a chance now that the markets have tanked.

But none of this even touches on the fact that Texas will go for McCain. The Republicans could leave the top of the ticket blank and claim that we’d be better off without a President, and Texas would still go to the Republicans, because “nobody is better than anybody the Democrats would nominate”.

So, for all you Yellow Dog Democrats out there, wasting your vote for Obama in Texas; I just want to know, why? If you agree with Mr. Better Teeth and Hair then good for you, you did you research and know what you are getting into (you’re wrong, but…) But if you are voting for Obama because at least he’s not McCain, what planet are you living on?

The ultimate wasted vote is a vote for the lessor of two evils; especially when the majority of the voting population disagrees with you. To use the old adage; if two wolves and a sheep are voting on what’s for dinner, and you’re the sheep, why are you wasting your time voting? If it’s a life or death issue, better to be a well armed sheep when the wolves come knocking looking for dinner.

Politics has become quite blasé for me. I never was much interested in saying “I told you so”, and I’ve found myself repeating that phrase more and more often since 9/11. I got into politics because I wanted to see a positive change in the system; and in 15 years of activity, I’ve seen things go from bad to worse to imminent destruction. I no longer care about petty little things like who the next President will be. He’s going to screw things up at least as much as the last guy did; both candidates are blissfully oblivious to real problems, while attacking each other over meaningless twaddle. Obama chooses a dedicated socialist as his running mate, and McCain nominates a woman who is so backwards in her thinking I shudder to wonder what her presidency will be like after McCain kicks it

[my money is on him not even surviving to be sworn in, myself; in the almost incomprehensible reversal of fortune that would inspire Americans to vote for the ugly puppet]

But in either case; the baggage is so onerous, and the understanding of the real world around us is so absent, that I have no doubt that whichever screwup is elected, he’ll make the most mess possible before the downfall of the dollar brings his reign to it’s ultimate end.

So, excuse me, but I’m not wasting my time worrying about which lessor evil to vote for. I’m going to go out and pull the lever next to the ‘L’, again. Bob Barr at least talks about issues, and has the nomination of the only party dedicated to smaller government. The rest of it is just so much noise.

The reorganization of my priority list continues apace. Time to return to my W0W session.


This was my last post as a member of the Libertarian party. I find this odd, looking back. I remember there being a finality in my having to hold my nose and vote for Bob Barr. Hold my nose and vote for the presidential candidate for my party of conscience. I remember thinking “does this make sense? I thought the other guys were evil and we weren’t?”

Looking back eight years I wonder how I couldn’t see it. The libertarians in Texas and through most of the US are closer to conservatives than they are to liberals. Economics is to blame for this; economics and the influence of the Midwestern work ethic. Not even they can see it from inside. It is only from outside, from the vantage point of more accumulated knowledge on the subject of money and social systems that I can say that the mantra of small government forces them into proximity with conservatives who have adopted the same talking points.

As if government in the US isn’t already small.  We just pay too much for it, considering how much it doesn’t get done. 

Majority Support Libertarian Inclusion in Debates

Open Debates issued this press release today.

MAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT INCLUSION OF THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE BOB BARR IN DEBATES

For Immediate Release
September 5, 2008
Contact: George Farah
Washington, D.C. – The majority of likely voters support the inclusion of Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential debates.
A Zogby poll has found that 55% of likely voters want to see former Congressman Bob Barr participate in the upcoming presidential debates with Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. The Zogby also poll found that 45% of likely voters supported the inclusion of independent candidate Ralph Nader in the presidential debates. However, despite support from a majority of likely voters for Bob Barr’s inclusion, Barr will be excluded from the presidential debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a creation of the Republican and Democratic parties, established candidate selection criteria that ensure that only the major party candidates will be eligible to participate in the debates.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates should serve the interests of the American people, not the interests of the two major parties,” said George Farah, executive director of Open Debates. “The Commission on Presidential Debates should include candidates that a majority of Americans want to see participate in the debates.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates was created by and for the Republican and Democratic Parties. In 1986, the Republican and Democratic National Committees ratified an agreement “to take over the presidential debates” from the League of Women Voters. Fifteen months later, then-Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and then-Democratic Party chair Paul Kirk incorporated the Commission on Presidential Debates. Fahrenkopf and Kirk still co-chair the Commission on Presidential Debates, and every four years, it excludes candidates that most voters want to see debate.

read more | digg story

I don’t think enough can be said about this subject. Pundits talk endlessly, day in and day out, about The Will of the People. Shall we disregard the will of the people on this subject, then?

How can there be informed consent, or free and fair elections, when the true breadth of opinion on politics is excluded from open debate?

Bob Barr Currently only Presidential Candidate on Texas Ballot

From Bob Barr’s website:

Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News reports that Democrats and Republicans have missed the August 26th deadline to place a presidential candidate on the ballot in Texas. According to the Texas Secretary of State website, Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Root are the only candidates for president and vice-president that will appear on the ballot in the Lone Star State.

Winger writes:

Section 192.031 of the Texas election code says that political parties must certify their presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the November ballot no later than 70 days before the general election. It says, “A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees for president and vice-president placed on the ballot if before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before presidential election day, the party’s state chair signs and delivers to the secretary of state a written certification of the name’s of the party’s nominees for president and vice-president.”
[…]
At 2:30 pm Texas time, August 27, Kim Kizer of the Texas Secretary of State’s elections division says neither major party’s certification has been received in the Elections Division. The Executive Office of the Secretary of State refers all questions back to the Elections Division.

This year, neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party obeyed this law.

In a press release sent from Bob Barr 2008, Russ Verney said, “Unless the state of Texas violates their own election laws, Congressman Barr will be the only presidential candidate on the ballot,” adding that “Texas law makes no exceptions for missing deadlines.”

We’ll be paying attention to this situation.

read more | digg story

The source referenced is Ballot Access News Richard Winger’s online resource for all things election. His final paragraph in the post pretty much sums up my opinion on the subject:

In 1988, the Democratic and Republican Parties missed a similar Indiana deadline. Lenora Fulani sued the State Election Board to force the Board to enforce the deadline. The 7th circuit ruled that Fulani did have standing to file such a lawsuit. Fulani v Hogsett, 917 F 2d 1028 (1990). However, the 7th circuit also said that Fulani waited too long to file her lawsuit. The implication is that if she had filed the lawsuit promptly, it would have been successful; or, more likely, the Indiana deadline for the major parties to certify their nominees might have been held unconstitutional. Fulani in 1988 was the only ballot-listed presidential candidate other than the Democratic and Republican nominees. This year, the Texas Libertarian Party and Bob Barr are the only ballot-listed presidential candidates on the Texas ballot, so the Texas Libertarian Party could, if it wished, bring a lawsuit. However, the result of the lawsuit would probably be to get the deadline declared unconstitutional; no court would order that Obama and McCain be kept off the ballot.

In the end, Obama and McCain will appear on the Texas ballot. Laws don’t apply to major parties and their candidates. On the other hand, McCain is currently suing to have Barr removed from a ballot in another state. Are we taking bets on the outcome there?

This is simply another lesson on who holds the power in this country. Get ready for the next 4 years.


Additional. The website has already been updated to include the two major party candidates.

http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/general/2008gensbs.shtml

And that, after the deadline has passed. I think we need to ask the question, did they get in before the deadline, and the website just wasn’t updated; or after it, and the law was violated? Based on Wingers research, it looks like the answer is ‘after’.


The latest from BobBarr2008.com:

“The law is clear, and it was clearly not followed,” says Verney. “The Texas Supreme Court was emphatic when it stated that the law ‘does not allow political parties or candidates to ignore statutory deadlines . . .’ Senators Obama and McCain did not file by the deadline; therefore, Texas should abide by the laws it created. No political party or candidate is above the law.”

read more | digg story

You can read campaign filings from Obama and McCain here and a letter from Russ Verney to the Texas Secretary of State here.

I.O.U.S.A. It’s the Debt, Stupid!

I haven’t seen this film yet…


I.O.U.S.A. Movie Trailer

But nothing in the trailer surprises me. Looking forward to catching I.O.U.S.A. this Thursday. For those of you who might doubt the size of the monetary problem we face, here’s a Presidential candidate weighing in on the issue…


Barr: Americans must see I.O.U.S.A.

I’ve been worried about this subject since before America: Freedom to Fascism aired; I started buying and selling silver because of it. This is the reason why the War on Terror can’t run for a hundred years, no matter what John McCain may say; and it’s the reason why none of Obama’s societal changes stand a chance of working. The debt is the 900 lb. gorilla in the room. Time to talk about it.


Mea culpa review 2018. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. This is yet another post where my own lack of foresight made the article virtually useless; which ought to give anyone pause who thinks they know what the future holds on any subject, especially when it comes to murky subjects like money and finance. Not understanding that Youtube links might not function properly as the internet evolves and changes, I never bothered to tell even myself what it was the youtube links went to. Going back through these articles I’m left with having to guess my own mental states and projections from the time to piece together what it was that I thought I was saying with the various links that no longer work. So it is with money, especially hard currency, which you have to be able to barter for goods in order for it to have any value at all. When no one takes the silver you have, you might as well throw it away or sell it to a smelter for silver weight, because it has no other value aside from what it is made of. It certainly has no relation to the value stamped on it. This is true of silver coins whether they are officially minted with ridiculously low values on them, or privately minted with ludicrous values on them that no one will honor.

That doesn’t necessarily change the value of questioning debt and spending which can’t be sustained, such as what we spend on healthcare and the military in the United States, but it does change the calculation as to the value of spending on children and parents so as to assure that their dependents grow up understanding the value of society and the benefits of it.

As for the link to the Bob Barr video, or what groundshaking thing I thought it said, that is lost to history unless some other sleuth wants to track it down and find out for themselves. I did find a link to the blog his campaign maintained at the time and linked it under the broken youtube shortcut. That will have to do. I wish you luck, time traveler. 

The resurgence of Meetup.com

A few days ago, Bob Barr’s election campaign established a goal for their ambitious “60 seconds for Bob” promotional campaign as “Join a Bob Barr Meetup!” In response, I wrote a note to them (which went unanswered, not that I mind) explaining why I won’t be attempting to spend that 60 seconds for Bob.

Today, Austin Bookcrossers informs me that they have re-opened their meetup group. In the process of writing a response, I got to wondering “didn’t I blog on this issue…?

I mean, the reason I don’t (and won’t ever) participate on meetup.com was a long painful decision reached over the course of several months. There’s an entire section of the forum archived at meetup.com, to this day, that goes into great detail as to why the membership at meetup.com was going to bail out, and why a great many of us were never going to return.

The local libertarian group has been bugging me to join, virtually since the day I deleted my meetup.com membership and watched the two groups I had organized get flushed down the bit bin, but I never thought to elaborate on why I won’t do the meetup thing.

When I first ran across meetup.com, it was related to a political event. If I remember correctly, Howard Dean used it extensively to promote his candidacy in 2003 (in fact, he should have been the Democrat nominee) The Libertarians followed suit, and I consequently joined meetup as part of a promotional effort to get more Libertarians active on the local level.

Or maybe it was a fandom event. Rings on the Range (a local Austin LOTR fan club) was active on Meetup at or about that time. In fact, their meetup page still features a picture of me at one of their meetings (in 2003!) That’s what I call an active group.

Whatever it was, I became a member at Meetup.com. After awhile, I conceived of the idea of getting Austinites together again, to watch SF movies and discuss SF we liked. I had started a Yahoo! group for the Star Trek organization that I had been active in years previously, and there wasn’t an active SF group anywhere in Austin at the time (these days there is Austin Pan-Geeks. You might want to check them out) so I thought “what the heck, let’s see what’s on Meetup.com.”

There were already 20 or so people signed up as interested in SciFi in Austin when I checked on meetup. No one had stepped up to organize the group. After making sure that there were no financial liabilities (that is the important bit of information) I signed up as organizer, and actively started promoting the group. After discovering my love for Firefly, I volunteered to organize the local Firefly group, hoping to roll interest for that show into a large active group of SF fans in Austin.

That dream ended abruptly when Meetup.com’s new management hit upon the idea of charging organizers a monthly fee for their groups. Fan groups run on shoestrings. There is no money available to pay for flashy organizing tools and whizbang graphics. Most of them meet in the back rooms of cheap restaurants for free, because they can’t afford to rent a room to meet in.

Consequently the majority of meetup’s membership objected to the change in policy. But the management at Meetup was adamant that they were going to start charging. When they did, I left, as I had promised to do. As did more than 3/4’s of the membership. What was once a vibrant open community became a virtual ghost town.

…Until the next election rolled around. Elections that are awash with cash to spend on things like organizational tools.

But I’m still not interested, not even if it costs me nothing personally. I like open systems. Systems that invite average people to join and contribute. Meetup is not one of those systems. Consequently, I don’t have the time of day for them, much less the inclination to bolster their ranks and justify their decision to charge for services.

Obama and McCain; a Real Horse Race?

We have come to that part of the campaign season again. The part where those responsible for “putting on the show” of American politics, tries to convince you that there is a real question of who will be the next president.

A national Associated TV/Zogby International poll1 finds Republican Sen. John McCain taking a barely distinguishable 42%-41% lead over Democrat Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the U.S. presidency. The difference between the candidates is statistically insignificant, but nonetheless indicates a notable turn-around for McCain.

read more | digg story

Forgive me if I don’t just buy into the hype here.

I have a hard time believing polling data that says this is a real horse race. All you have to do is compare the two candidates in the average American fashion (television presence) and it’s obvious that Obama is the better candidate. The only way you get to a dead heat is if you compare McCain’s total lack of understanding when it comes to the cost of unending war, with Obama’s total lack of understanding of economics in general. In other words, the only way there is a real race for the White House is if the American people are paying attention to the issues. A completely unprecedented turn of events.

Americans have never (NEVER) returned the same party to power when an economic downturn occurs on their watch. Never mind that the sitting president has squat to do with the value of a dollar these days, other than his military adventurism; and historically, war has not been something the electorate punishes a president for. Taxes (Read my lips) yes; war, no. Massive home foreclosures, inflation, etc, all point to the election of the opposition to the presidency; making this election virtually unloseable for the Democrats.

At least in the presidential field.

So, why the anomalous polling data? Could be the way the questions are asked. Could be the average American is suspect of a President who appears to be more popular overseas than he is here. But don’t pretend that Americans care about issues. That never happens.

If Americans cared about issues, Ron Paul would be the Republican nominee. If Americans cared about issues, Bob Barr would be polling at least on the same level as Obama and McCain. They both talk about issues, and can back up the talk with facts.

No, issues don’t drive American politics. Americans care about good hair and teeth, and the right soundbites. Obama has that in spades. I’m sure they’ll come around to the right way of looking at things soon enough, and the polls will once again reflect the True Will of The People.

Petition Congress: STOP Abusing the Bill of Rights

Here’s something I can agree with. Bob Barr is testifying before congress on the Bill of Rights blackout.

Petition to the U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on the Judiciary, Congressman Conyers, Chairman

Whereas, the basis for the laws of this great Republic is the Constitution, adopted September 17th, 1789; and,

Whereas, that Constitution provided for a clear but difficult procedure for amending it; and,

Whereas, the founding fathers saw a need for Amendments to guarantee certain civil rights to citizens including the right to a free press, free religious expression, the right to keep and bear arms, freedom from government seizure of their property, freedom from unlawful detention, the right to a prompt and fair trial by a jury, and protection from unreasonable bail requirements; and,

Whereas, these and other rights were considered important enough to be added as the first 10 Amendments and these have become known as The Bill of Rights; and,

Whereas, The Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791 remain untouched by Amendment for more than two centuries; and,

Whereas, the Executive branch of the Federal Government, through executive orders and other schemes has eroded many of these rights and still greater threats loom; Now therefore the undersigned citizens of the United States petition Congress to rise to its responsibilities and enforce and protect the Bill of Rights through any and all means at its disposal including but not limited to Committee Hearings and legal action through the courts.

read more | digg story

Sign the petition at BobBarr2008.com

Barr on Fannie/Freddie Bailout

The more this guy talks, the more I like him. The wife has gone into several uncharacteristic rants lately, concerning the unfairness of taxing us for other peoples inability to actually read their mortgage documents (she drove the mortgage brokers crazy and read every page before signing off on all our mortgages. I can’t even begin to read that fast) before signing them.

Check out what Bob Barr has to say on the subject:


Fannie & Freddie Bailout Bad for Taxpayers -Barr on FXN 7/14

You won’t catch Obama or McCain sounding this type of note. The federal government shouldn’t be involved in bailing out private, for profit industries that break the basic rules of finance and contract. The mortgage industry should be left to hang in the breeze.

This all comes of legalized theft (codified as Fractional Reserve Banking) which is what modern banking systems are based on.

Bob Barr – A Real Choice

I like it.

read more | digg story

I would also like to thank digg.com for revamping their digg the candidates page. I have inquired several times over the past few months as to whether they intended to continue the old media policies of ignoring any candidate without a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ in front of their names; I am very happy to pass on the following:

Hey Everyone —

We just released a new version of Digg the Candidates today – check it out if you’re interested in following the latest U.S. presidential election news on Digg. The growth of the World & Business and Elections sections on Digg over the past year has been amazing, and it’s been great to see the diversity of interest from Digg users from all around the world.

We’ll be doing a few interesting things at this summer’s political party conventions. More details to come soon, but I wanted to give you a heads up there are a few projects the works.

read more | digg story

So, I mosied on over and added Bob Barr to my friends list. It’s nice to officially be able to take an interest in politics. Finally.

I’d also like to point out an interesting fact. Barak Obama has just over 19,000 fans on digg.com. Ron Paul had over 20,000 fans when he bowed out of the race last month. What does that say about candidate popularity on the web?

Live from Denver

So, the LP convention is winding up in Denver today. (is it just me or is Wayne Allyn Root breathing too many of his own exhaust fumes?) Mercifully, I’m not there to witness it in person. Politics is like sausage, you really don’t want to know what goes into it.

For a list of bloggers who attended the convention, go here, or you could listen to the mellow, bourbon infused tones of my friend Tom Knapp as he tries to assemble coherent sentences over the telephone for a Gcast from the convention:


C-SPAN, MAY 25, 2008, Libertarian Party National Convention, Denver

I’m watching the coverage on C-Span. Sixth round of balloting, Bob Barr facing off against Mary Ruwart. Root has just thrown his endorsement of Barr out to the convention, and he has enough votes behind him to give the nomination to Bob Barr. Like it or not, the days of the LP as an ineffectual debating society are coming to a close.

With the nomination of a prominent former Republican as the LP’s candidate for president (Dr. Paul has never been prominent within the Republican party. He has gained some fame for his principled stands on controversial issues of late, but nothing like Barr was when he was sitting in Congress) as well as the back room wheeling and dealing and the public maneuvering that went into getting Barr his nomination, the LP has turned a corner in history. Clearly someone thinks that this nomination is worth something in the grand scheme of things.

Mike Gravel left his run for the Democrat nomination for President to also run as a Libertarian for President. For all intents and purposes, the LP has graduated into the level of serious politics.

The other thing that has occurred with the nomination of Barr, is that the LP has put forward a candidate, for the first time since I pulled the lever next to “L” on the ballot more than 10 years ago, that I’m going to have a hard time voting for. His track record in congress is not something to recommend him to people who are concerned with the growth of government, especially those of us who are concerned about the growing encroachment of religion in politics. Can a leopard truly change his spots? It remains to be seen.

What is clear is that the news outlets have no excuse not to cover the campaign of Bob Barr as it progresses. They have never failed to point a camera his way when he wore an “R” next to his name; is he less newsworthy now that the “R” has been replaced with an “L”? If he can poll double digit numbers (provided pollsters actually include his name) the major party construct that runs the debates will have a hard time leaving him out and making it look like they aren’t excluding him.

All of this ultimately leads to growth of the LP, and potential success at the ballot box at some point in the distant future. Mr. Barr has promised that he will grow the party, and garner more votes for the LP than any candidate in it’s history. Sounds good, right?

But not all growth is good growth. Libertarians should be well acquainted with this concept, since we rail against the growth of government on a continuing basis. Will a massive influx of disaffected Republicans be a surge for the cause of liberty, or a dilution of the principles that many of us already in the party embrace? A substitution of libertarian principles for the even more amorphous conservative thought, and all the baggage that group brings with it?

This is a reason to remain active in the party, if nothing else. Hold the line against conservative encroachment. I’m not interested in being associated with an LP that is nothing more than a GOP-lite. I come from the other side of the fence, harking back to the founders and their principles, the liberals of their time; not from the Goldwater era which (supposedly) redefined what conservatism was in the US.

I am not a conservative, not even vaguely. I’m a libertarian. The self-identifying conservative who carries my parties nomination is going to have to sell me on his worthiness to get my vote.