Tag: 2018

The Democratic Party Doesn’t Care about America’s Youth

By John Keller | United States

In the current day, a critical midterm election is rapidly approaching. With this, a segment of the Democratic Party is claiming that only they care about the nation’s youth. This segment of the party is campaigning with their alleged care for the youth. But their promises of free college, free healthcare, and more only prove how little they really care.

Promises of billions, even trillions, in new spending for the youth beg a simple question. Just where will all of this money come from? Currently, the United States Treasury is bankrupt, with a debt of over $21 trillion. “Free” education and healthcare is only remotely possible in a stable economy, and holding a debt greater than our GDP is a guarantee at an economy that is too weak and too unstable for such programs.

Furthermore, the money for “free” programs must come from somewhere, meaning it comes from government revenue. Ultimately, this is a fancy term for the taxpayer’s back pocket. Currently, the United States has some of the highest tax rates in the world when factoring in city, county, state, and federal taxes.

In order for the Democratic Party’s “free” programs to work, the current entitlements, such as Medicare and Medicaid, require major revisions. As they hurtle towards bankruptcy, there is not much more room to tax people to fund them. In order to avoid this, it is necessary for the government to look at its wasted spending. Several members of Congress, such as Senator Rand Paul, have spoken out against it. In order to improve the United States Treasury and make any of the Democratic Party’s policies attainable, ending waste is a must.

However, the Democratic Party has no plan to lower the debt or rework spending in order to make their promises possible. Thus, any tangible Blue Wave will only put America’s treasury deeper in the red. A bigger debt with consistent votes for more spending simply pushes the issues down the road. This, of course, deepens the severity of issues that America’s youth must tackle. As taxes increase and services decay, America’s youth will take on the responsibility of this nation’s debt. But the cycle can end, in fact quite simply, by stopping this fall’s Blue Wave.


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Justin Tucker: All Politics is Local

Justin Tucker, Chair of the Chicago Libertarian Party, is running for Illinois State Representatives in District Four.

71R: With thousands of career options, what inspired you to seek a career in politics?

Tucker: I have been interested in politics since I was a teenager. I have been a libertarian since I learned about Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party nominee in 2000. It was only in 2015 that I jumped into activism and joined my local LP chapter. What inspired me to join was the gross misconduct of the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago amusement tax imposed applying to Netflix. I felt enough was enough. I could no longer be willfully apathetic or believe I couldn’t make a difference.

I am currently the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Chicago, serving since 2016. I also worked on the Gary Johnson’s 2016 campaign as Volunteer Coordinator in Illinois. This year, I collected over 1600 signatures for our statewide candidates to be on the ballot this November.

I choose to run for Illinois House of Representatives in District 4 with the purpose of telling my neighbors about our candidates and maybe getting a few signatures for myself. My energy, however, was better spent circulating petitions for the statewide slate than circulating my own.  Also, as a Libertarian, I didn’t want to deal with all the government paperwork to get on the ballot. I will instead be running a write-in campaign to have a platform to talk about why our candidates are the best choices for Illinois and to share our ideas with the electorate.

71R: Many people when they think of government they think of Congress or the presidency. Why is politics at the state level, and in the state House of Representatives, so important and motivated you to get involved?

Tucker: It is often said that all politics is local. Politics at the state and local level are so important because they are closest to the people, and thus easier to make an impact on policy. That’s why I chose to involve myself in a run for a State House seat and also why I support statehood for Cook County.

I’m a fan of local control. It’s easier to hold the crooks accountable when they’re in your neighborhood as opposed to far away legislature.

71R: For over 150 years the United States has been locked in the two-party duopoly. What attracted you to the Libertarian Party?

Tucker: I was attracted to the Libertarian Party because it’s the only party that is for small government and means actually means it. One of the biggest issues for me is getting the government out of the way of my LGBT friends. Republicans claimed to be for smaller government but fought against the right of gender and sexual minorities to marry. When I discovered the Libertarian Party, I saw they were consistently for small government across all areas of life. I’ve been a fan ever since. My only regret is that I didn’t get involved with activism sooner.

71R: Illinois is often brought to the political forefront and were put into the national spotlight during the gun control debates, a debate that still exists today, due to Chicago’s crime. Where do you stand on this critical issue?

Tucker: As a Libertarian, I believe in the right to protect yourself. Chicago residents like Otis McDonald stood up to the city’s infringement on the right to self-defense and ended up changing the course of history. The fight, however, is not over. In Illinois, we need to abolish the Firearm Owner’s Identification card, conceal carry licensing and waiting periods. The Second Amendment is the only permit anyone needs.

Drastically reducing gang violence in Chicago is more of a complicated task. We can start by ending drug prohibition, cutting taxes and regulations to attract economic development, and reforming education.

71R: Our Founding Fathers even disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, shown in the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates. What is your interpretation of the Constitution, and how does that influence your view on government?

Tucker: The Constitution has, without a doubt, contributed to the development of liberal thought. It was a document designed to limit the power of the federal government and protect the rights of the people. I have a tremendous amount of respect for it. The problem, however, is that it hasn’t prevented the federal government from overstepping its authority.

If our federal government followed the Constitution literally as it is currently written, the size and scope of government would be drastically reduced. I certainly wish that’s how it operates today.

Ideally, the feds are allowed to do only a handful of things. They get out of the way for the rest of the stuff and let the communities in the several states do their things. That’s how I interpret the Constitution. Local control is key and the Constitution influenced me in that regard.

71R: Libertarians tend to believe less government is better government. What is one area of government, however, you would like to see operating?

Tucker: I believe that the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people. That would include courts, peace officers, and a defensive military.

On a municipal level, I think there’s a little more flexibility in what the government can do if its available to all people. Chicago has gorgeous parks, stocked libraries, and an extensive mass transit system, all of which I use.

Ideally, all these things should be paid for by the most voluntarily or least coercively means possible. In the case of the parks, the libraries and the transit system, these could be fully or partially privatized.

71R: Branching off of the last question, what is one area you think there should be cutbacks or even elimination in the state of Illinois?

Tucker: It’s hard to pick just one, but in Illinois, it would be taxes. We should cut or eliminate as many taxes as we can. Property taxes, incomes taxes, sales taxes, taxes on vices, taxes on bags. Let’s take a chainsaw to as many taxes as we can.

71R: What can the people of District Four expect should you be elected?

Tucker: If enough of the people of District Four write me in, they can expect me to work many things that would help to reduce the size and scope of government. My major initiatives include establishing 401(k) plans for all new state government employees, slashing spending, cutting taxes and or abolishing as many taxes and regulations as possible, legalizing cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms and reforming the criminal justice system. I would also make the case for Cook County statehood any chance I could.

71R: If someone was interested in getting involved or donating, how can they reach out to your campaign?

Tucker: Folks can reach out to me through my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/JustinTuckerforIL) if they want to get involved. Since I don’t want to deal with government authorities, I am not accepting donations; however, I highly recommend donating to Kash Jackson’s campaign for Illinois governor (www.kash2018.com/donate) or to the Libertarian Party of Illinois (www.lpillinois.org/donate).

71R: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?

Tucker: The Libertarian Party is not possible without our candidates, our volunteers and our donors. Please consider volunteering a few hours a week to a Libertarian candidate. Be an activist in your local chapter, or if there aren’t any available, get a few friends together and form a LP chapter yourselves. If you want to share the LP with your neighbors, consider running for office or becoming a precinct committeeman. If you can’t donate your time, please donate your money. Every volunteer hour and every dollar helps us fuel the fires of liberty. Thank you!

I would like to thank Justin Tucker for his time. Be sure to visit his website for more information.


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How #GoldRush2018 Could Save the Supreme Court

By John Keller | USA

Following the retirement of SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Republicans and the Democrats are locked in a battle of wills over who will be the nominee to fill Kennedy’s seat. The current partisan makeup of the Senate is 51-49, with the Republicans having the narrow majority. Mitch McConnell and head Republicans went “nuclear” in 2017, changing the votes required for nomination of a Justice from 60 to a simple majority, in order to get Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. These new rules allows for hyper partisan justices who are favored by the majority party in the Senate to be nominated.

The Republican Party may be waiting to nominate a Justice until the midterm elections this November in order to use the nomination process as a political weapon to get people out and vote Republican. The Republicans used a similar tactic in 2016, blocking President Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, for 293 days until President Trump could nominate Neil Gorsuch.

Voting Libertarian could save the Supreme Court from extreme partisanship. Should just two Libertarians be elected to the Senate, a 49-49-2 composition of parties would be created in the Senate, preventing any nomination that would be decided based on ideological differences and party politics. It would also allow for a return to nominating a Justice who would base their rulings on the constitution, rather than partisanship, just as Justice Anthony Kennedy had done. Justice Kennedy was a swing voter on the court, meaning he didn’t use his ideology as a basis for his rulings, but rather the Constitution.

This upcoming election could be critical in determining if the United States will have a partisan court or a non-partisan court that chooses to prioritize the Constitution rather than political opinion in its rulings. Two options can save the court: voting for Libertarians, such as Matt Waters (L-VA), or by “denuclearizing” the Senate and justices are confirmed. “Denuclearization” would mean a return to requiring sixty votes to confirm a Supreme Court Justice – a change that won’t come voting Republican or Democrat. Only the introduction of a third party to the Senate can prevent a partisan Supreme Court and begin the process of “denuclearizing” the Supreme Court Justice nomination process.


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A New Hope for Congress – Jason Hope for House of Reps

By John Keller | United States
Jason Hope is the libertarian candidate for Congress in Texas’ 31st Congressional District.
Keller: What inspired you to pursue a career in politics?
Hope: I have thought about running for office for many years, I was first inspired by Ron Paul.  Ron Paul showed me that you could be a politician and stand on principles.  When I realized that you could be a principled politician and could actually help people in the quest for freedom I was all in!
Keller: With such a political duopoly by the Democrats and Republicans, what made you join the Libertarian Party?
Hope: I joined the libertarian party because it is the party of principle, they believe in the non-aggression principle which means I can live my life as I please as long as I don’t harm anyone else.  This is a great philosophy, which extends to so much that the government has overreached on.  If it is wrong to take something from someone by force than how do we allow taxation of any form?  The only thing the other two major parties believe is how to attain more power and money.  After considering all of that it was a very easy decision.
Keller: In your own words, what is a Libertarian?
Hope: A libertarian is a voluntarist who believes people should be free to live their lives how they choose to live, as long as they don’t try and impose there way of living on anyone else (that’s the best part I think, we can have gun restrictions that I don’t agree with just do it somewhere else away from me and I probably wont go there and visit but that is freedom).
Keller: What policy and change do you hope to bring to Congress?
Hope: There is several things I want to change with congress.  I would like to drastically reduce spending especially on the military budget.  I would like to reschedule Cannabis so it is no longer considered class 1 felony.  I would heavily push to audit the federal reserve so we can take our currency back and end the income tax.  I would also push to reduce regulation on business and commerce to allow the free market to thrive better so we have a better economy. Lastly I would like to end many government agencies including but not limited to the department of education, EPA, DEA, CIA and I’m sure I could go on for a while with this list.
Keller: Although Libertarians tend to believe less laws and less government is better, what is one law you would like to see passed?
Hope: If I had to come up with a law I would want passed it would have to be that the president or anyone who can be held liable that aided in the attack/waging of war on another country without congressional approval would be arrested and subject to criminal trial.
Keller: If elected to Congress, how will you see legislation passed through the duopoly majority?
Hope: The only way I have ever been able to get anyone to aid in the quest for liberty is stand on my principles and speak out hoping the rest will hear the message and realize what they are doing is wrong and correct the mistake.  I was a die hard republican for many years until I was shown there is a better way of liberty and true individual freedom, so if I can hear that message so will others.
Keller: Donald Trump has been very controversial to say the least. In Congress would you work with President Trump to get his agenda passed?
Hope: That is a broad statement, first we have to figure out what his agenda is.  He campaigned on bringing troops home and ending wars abroad but so far I have heard the drums of war only get louder. He has flip flopped on many things just like so many presidents before him.  I would work with him if it was to reduce government or something of the like, but to say I would help get his agenda passed 100% would be a lie.
Keller: What is the key to winning your election? If someone wanted to get involved, how would they do so?
Hope: Getting the message out to the people of District 31 in Texas that they have a principled candidate with their freedom in mind.  Go to my Facebook page you can message me and we can figure something out to help, also like and share it with others in that district tell them to vote libertarian.  I am self funding this campaign so I don’t really have any money for the campaign but if people want to make a sign or whatever I encourage individuals to speak out in their community on my behalf as long as it aligns with what my message is. 
Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?
Hope: I believe the time has come to take our liberties back, the people are tired of politics as usual and Donald Trump being elected speaks volumes to this. Regardless if he has stuck to his word or not, the message he put out of ending wars and eliminating federal overreach with regulation and reducing welfare etc is why he was elected.  If the people realize there are people running for office who really mean what they say, the Democrats and Republicans will have no chance.   Also my district is a military district which has Fort Hood as part of it, so I have decided that if elected I would give $100,000 of the $174,000 congressional yearly salary to help veterans coming home from these illegal wars with PTSD and also help organize local militia to have local protection against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Thank you Mr. Hope for your time. Be sure to visit his website if interested in getting involved.


 

Hanging Out With Larry Sharpe

By The Libertarian Curmudgeon | New York

Larry Sharpe, the Libertarian candidate for governor of New York, visited the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin Convention in Madison on Saturday, April 14, where he spoke to a real audience. But first, he granted a brief interview in the lobby.

It’s tough to stay curmudgeonly in the presence of Larry Sharpe, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of New York.

Sharpe is unremittingly optimistic, upbeat, positive – things that tend to irritate us curmudgeons, because they tend to be ill-fitting when a politician tries to wear them. You know, the twenty-minute stump speech about making America stronger together again, followed by backstage swearing at staff because the teleprompter was too dim or the podium too high, and then envelopes full of cash change hands to buy favors while bubbly young interns giggle and coo. The American people get left in the spin cycle of corruption and cronyism.

A ten-minute sit-down with candidate Sharpe at the Wisconsin Libertarian Party Convention in Madison soon turned to twenty, thirty and forty-five minutes. I witnessed no envelopes of cash or swearing at staff. No cooing interns. Sharpe is taking on Gov. Andrew Cuomo – a longshot by any calculation, considering Cuomo’s the incumbent, the Democrat in a state with a 2-1 Democratic majority and a $30 million campaign war chest.

Sharpe says his campaign has raised more money than all other candidates combined other than Cuomo, including two Republicans. The longshot isn’t as distant as it once was. Or maybe that’s just Mr. Sharpe’s optimism rubbing off.

How does a third-party candidate depose King Cuomo?

Plurality vote with multiple candidates

“Win more votes than anyone else,” Sharpe says. “New York is a plurality winner. I don’t need a majority. I only need about 25 percent to win this race.” Assuming the same 4-million- voter turnout as 2014, with four or five candidates on the ballot and an irrelevant New York Republican Party, a million votes could win this thing. Enter Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame. Because celebrities as government leaders have been so
successful.

“Nixon getting in the race is great for us.” Sharpe was downright exuberant over the prospects. “She will damage Cuomo for us in the primary and split the liberal and progressive voters.” And Cuomo may have to waste some of the war chest to fend off Miranda’s attack from his left flank. Nixon was endorsed by the Working Families Party, a far-left party that often endorses the Democratic Party nominee, including Cuomo last time. Not this year. Nixon could be on the general election ballot even if Cuomo defeats her in the Democratic primary. That could peel a substantial number of votes away from Cuomo.

Multi-party ticket

Another step higher on this uphill battle is the possibility of a fusion ticket. If Sharpe receives the endorsement of another party or two, his name could appear on the ballot multiple times, increasing visibility and the number of potential voters. Possible fusion tickets include the Reform Party and the Upstate Jobs Party.

Downsides to fusion tickets?

“It can water down the message,” Sharpe says, “but that’s not a problem for me because I never change my message. If I get another party’s endorsement, it’s because they like my message, not because I tailor my message to each party.”

From a Libertarian Party perspective, it gets trickier. “A fusion ticket can complicate ballot access. If the Libertarian Party candidate gets 50,000 votes on the Libertarian ballot line, that guarantees the party ballot access for the next four years. If people are voting for me on three different lines, that ballot access vote gets split up among the parties.”

A growing base plus niche voters

In 2014, the Libertarian candidate for governor, Michael McDermott, pulled down a whopping 17,000 votes, 0.4 percent of the total. Cuomo receive two million votes. Even if Nixon splits the Democratic vote, how does Sharpe gather a million-plus to make this a horse race?

“Gary Johnson received 175,000 votes in New York for president in 2016. That’s my base. That’s where I start.”

From there, Sharpe tackles the niche, one-issue voters no one else is pays attention to.

“Vaping. These businesses and users don’t want crushing regulation. They don’t care what else I stand for if I support the issue that’s important to them.” Okay, so there’s a couple thousand more voters. Sharpe then rattles off a few more niche voters that should support his candidacy. Single dads crushed by unfair family law. Drivers licenses revoked in perpetuity for a third DUI conviction, preventing people who have served their time and paid their dues from ever driving again in any state, which often means unemployment in perpetuity. And Utica, where abuse of eminent domain will destroy thirty businesses to make way for a hospital.

“I don’t have to change my message for any of these groups,” Sharpe says. “Break the state mandates. Return local control to local governments and away from Albany.”

The city versus upstate

Sure, some of Sharpe’s message will play well in Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and the vast expanses of rural upstate. But no one wins statewide without the city.

“Education is a statewide issue.” Sharpe makes the point that New York spends more on education than any other state with the worst results. “People in Queens care about their children’s education as much as people in Rochester. And right now, we’re failing because of state mandates. That’s an issue that bridges the divide.”

Gun control?

“There’s no winning the city with that issue.” Sharpe opposes New York’s SAFE Act, the most stringent gun control regulations in the country. He obviously doesn’t change his message to win over different voting blocs. “The SAFE Act may sound great, but it actually does more harm than good. Overnight, law-abiding citizens became criminals with the stroke of a pen.”

Sharpe has pledged to repeal the SAFE Act and pardon those who became overnight criminals.

Three keys to electoral success

Even with all that optimism and a fresh approach to state government, can a third-party candidate knock off a sitting governor from the dominant political party? Won’t it take more than a celebrity activist syphoning off some lefties and picking up the support of the vaping industry?

Sharpe listed three key turning points:

  1. Corruption. “Scandals are swirling around Cuomo and many of his key people. If one of these scandals sticks to him… voters are fed up with the corruption.”
  2. Media. “It can take a while before the statewide mainstream media start to take notice, but it’s happening at the local media level now. I’ll stop at a restaurant with twenty people, and there will be representatives from four different media outlets there. As fundraising grows, local media builds, and the momentum increases, the big media will be there.”
  3. Debate. “The top four or five candidates will debate. Cuomo will participate, and that’s where I will stand out among the crowd.”

Are the odds long?

Absolutely. Nixon, a fusion ticket, a scandal on the incumbent, a million or so voters
fed up with the Status Cuomo, and some pissed-off vapers. Combine that perfect storm with a genuine, articulate believer in people, a Marine veteran, a successful business executive and leadership guru, and New York could lead the way to liberty.


Full disclosure: This interview was facilitated by Sharpe’s communications director, who happens to be my daughter.

The Libertarian Curmudgeon, aka Robb Grindstaff, is a fiction writer, editor, and newspaper executive.

He’s lived in Phoenix, small towns in North Carolina and Texas, Washington, D.C. (also known as Fresh Hell), and five years in Tokyo, Japan.

He now resides in Wisconsin on a few acres out in the country where the only things he ever yells at to get off his lawn are possums, deer, and wild turkeys.

His critically acclaimed and modestly selling novel, Hannah’s Voice, has been called the best libertarian novel since Atlas Shrugged. Full disclosure: That was also his daughter who said that.

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