Shortly before his election, President Donald J. Trump promised that he would “drain the swamp”, and he quickly went to work on that promise when he took office. Government officials from previous administrations became victims of slander. Many became forced to prove their loyalty. A conspiracy movement arose from the “threat” of the deep state, with supporters receiving promises of military tribunals and mass incarcerations. When it was time for the President to determine who would be in his inner circle, he made the wrong choices. Instead of surrounding himself with the best, Donald Trump decided to surround himself with the silent mosquitoes of the swamp who have waited for a moment like this. Most namely, he has let men like Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller take the helm of a sinking ship.
Francis Folz | United States
The 2016 Presidential election will be remembered in history as a watershed moment for the modern American republic. Despite over three quarters of Americans desiring third party candidates on the debate stage, the old guard of both establishment Republicans and Democrats alike shut out any voices outside of the red and blue camp. Partisanship was put in maximum overdrive and on display in the nation that prides itself on freedom, yet limits its choices for representation to two candidates. It is no surprise that voter turnout reached a 20 year low in the latest contest between the lesser of the two evils. But as a citizenry comprised of sovereign, astute people, when do we collectively abandon evil and start voting for only exemplary candidates deserving our vote? That time is now.
Regardless of political affiliation, it is apparent to the majority of Americans that our Republic is coming apart at the seams. Whether it’s the rise of violence against political opponents or blind support for dishonest politicians, both sides of the aisle are engaged in a heightened sense of devoted loyalty to their political overlords, even at the expense of violating long-held principles and dogmas. For Democrats, their political figures have incited violence to rally their base at the expense of civility and their previously-held beliefs in peace and love. Meanwhile, Republicans have encouraged conformity while a newly embraced and adored leader slowly and subtlety moves his base farther to the left. This how Americans continue to forfeit their freedoms while their political powers maintain control.
This scenario is nothing new to the Democratic and Republican party, which have perfected the art of conning the American public into complaisant support for over a hundred years. After all, FDR and Wendell Willkie conspired to bring the two parties together to create one monolithic, hybrid party in the 1940’s. The two parties have been two different rails of the same track ever since. It should be no surprise that the Republican and Democratic party continue to team up to create large deficits, initiate endless conflicts abroad, and undermine our constitution and civil liberties.
The two parties possess a stranglehold over all of our election outcomes by successfully deceiving the public into thinking their candidates and parties are significantly distinguishable from one another. For example, the Republican party proclaims to be the cabal of the constitution, fiscal conservatism, ‘small’ government, gun rights, and life for the unborn. Yet since 2010, Republicans have trampled our Constitution and Bill of Rights, ballooned the federal deficit, grown the size of government, failed to pass concealed carry reciprocity and pro-life legislation.
The Democratic Party promulgates the narrative that they are the faction for the people, the workers, the 99 percent, civil liberties, and peace. Beginning in 2008, Democrats, led by newly- elected Barack Obama, passed legislation benefiting big banks, imploded the healthcare industry by rigging the rules in favor of corporations at the expense of taxpayers, curtailed our civil liberties by reauthorizing FISA 702, and pursued destructive warfare against seven different nations, three more than President Bush.
If Americans ever intend to recover the freedoms lost at the hands of the establishment duopoly, it will require a third party, as is evident by this years’ midterms. Take the state of Pennsylvania as a case study. Despite 41% of Pennsylvanians approving of the work Bob Casey has done in his second term as senator and only a mere 30% of Pennsylvanians believing the senator deserves a third term, he leads his Republican opponent by double digits in every poll. Lou Barletta shares more in common with his Democratic adversary than Pennsylvania’s conservative Republican base, which begs the question why the Republican party would nominate such a lackluster candidate.
Enter Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate Dale Kerns, Pennsylvania’s only choice for fiscally conservative, socially laissez-faire representation. Mr. Kerns passionately advocates for a sharp reduction to federal spending which has grown exponentially at the hands of both Republicans and Democrats. Also, he plans to take on the Federal Reserve for their role in growing our debt and inflating our currency almost 100 percent in its 100 years of existence.
The War on Drugs is yet another example of government overreach which has wreaked havoc on the American public. Over the last 40 years, the American prison population has exploded to 800% of its former size as a direct result of America’s toughness on victimless crimes. Coupled with mandatory minimums, more Americans are going to jail longer for misbehavior as deemed by society. To combat these victimless criminals, America has divulged into a police state. Dale recognizes these problems and the solutions necessary to fix them. After all, his campaign is centered around the premise that addiction is not a crime and that no one can run your life better than you. This serves as a stark contrast to Bob Casey and Bob Casey-Lite Lou.
At this point, most people interject and concede that although Dale Kerns may be the best candidate ideologically, he doesn’t stand a chance to win. It’s worth noting Donald Trump had a 1% chance of winning the presidency one day before the election, yet became the first Republican in almost 30 years to carry Pennsylvania on his way to the oval office. It is possible to elect any candidate despite all the preconceived odds stacked against the individual. However, people continue to choose the obsolete red and blue teams instead of principled alternatives. How come?
The answer lies in an unfounded notion that the establishment parties have ingrained in the American public. We are routinely fed the lie that third party candidates can’t win an election for no other reason than they are running outside of the two party duopoly. That lie is reinforced by minuscule media coverage of outsider candidates and inhibiting them from participating in televised debates. And then whenever five or seven percent of people decide to vote their conscience or against this unjust system, third party candidates are disparaged and delegitimized as, despite the countless flaws and missteps of the establishment nominees.
It is time for a second American revolution, only this struggle must be fought with dogmas and ideas, forged by a new political party. The old guards of American politics have enthroned themselves as our de-facto leaders, dictating everything from our economy to our health care to our behavior. Unfortunately, it’s abundantly evident that reform is impossible within our current, century-old two party system. It is time Americans embrace the freedom our Founding Fathers intended for us to enjoy, and it starts by embracing and electing third party candidates.
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By Atilla Sulker | United States
Recently, a fellow writer published a piece which stated that libertarians should not support Donald Trump. The article has some good insights, and it is quite obvious that President Trump is no small government advocate. However, this does not mean that to support him is to betray libertarian principles.
What does it truly mean to “support” someone? Would this mean that one’s policies are nearly or exactly in line with the candidate which they are supporting? Can one loosely back someone in an act of vengeance or in support of the “lesser of two evils”? We must ask these fundamental questions, for ignoring them would lead to confusion.
Murray Rothbard’s Support for Statists
In an attempt to answer these questions, let’s take a look at the political activist life of Murray Rothbard. Rothbard is easily one of the most staunch proponents of decentralization. But from the perspective that it is wrong to support an individual whom we may disagree with on a load of issues, Rothbard can be said to be betraying his principles.
Rothbard notably supported the efforts of the infamous Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy was the epitome of the danger of government violating our Fourth Amendment and First Amendment rights. Rothbard also backed protectionist Ross Perot and Democrat Adlai Stevenson, among others. So, why exactly did Rothbard support all of these individuals, whose visions for the country differed greatly from his own?
Regarding McCarthy, while Rothbard strongly opposed the use of propaganda to frame individuals as communists, he also loved the fact that McCarthy was mainly targeting the establishment. Though Rothbard admits that he later saw the connection between McCarthyism and the shift of the right towards an imperialist foreign policy, he nevertheless had good reason to support him at the time.
Foreign Policy Justification
The phenomena of supporting Adlai Stevenson and Ross Perot show a more developed Rothbard. He supported these candidates, as he saw their opponents as much more volatile in regards to foreign policy. One will see that foreign policy was a very big issue to Rothbard. Likewise, it should be for all proponents of decentralization.
What we now see is that Rothbard supported those whom he viewed as being against the establishment, even if their policy proposals were drastically different from his. He would have supported the anti-establishment progressive over the establishment, imperialist conservative.
Rothbard embodied true maverick qualities, unlike the phony doctrine of McCainism. What makes the latter phony is the fact that individuals such as John McCain were anchored in the establishment. So, to cross aisles is not significant if both parties embody nearly the same principles. Rothbard, on the other hand, searched for allies who he believed would not sell out on their principles, even if he did not agree with the principles themselves.
Libertarians for Trump
It is important to make the connection between this sort of Rothbardian way of thinking and libertarians who support Trump. Libertarians must always criticize Trump for his shortcomings. However, they must always remember that Trump constitutes a much greater threat to the Washington cesspool than a moderate establishment figure or even a beltway libertarian such as Gary Johnson.
Of course, candidate Trump was quite different from President Trump. But regardless of how much of his anti-establishment sentiment Trump has followed, we must always remember that supporting such individuals does not constitute a betrayal to libertarian principles.
A Chance for Libertarians
The realm of activism is quite different from the realm of developing and staying true to your ideas. In order for decentralization to come about, we must fight the establishment, the ultimate centralizers. Ideas in favor of small government render useless if they are not also attached to fighting the establishment. This is what has led to the phenomenon of the “sellout libertarian”, not supporting individuals such as Trump.
Rothbard acknowledged the importance of populism in fighting the establishment. Before nitpicking over what specific policies to implement, we must drain the swamp and clean the mess in Washington, while still remaining true to our principles. Only then will we win this battle. This is why supporting Trump for “some good things” is different from supporting Obama or Bush for “some good things”. I am not a Trump supporter in the traditional sense. But when the deep state is in panic mode, libertarians have the opportunity to take back control.
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By Francis Folz | United States
Does anyone remember 2013? To be fair, it was a long time ago. Barack Obama was president and Hillary Clinton was relevant. However, the former real estate mogul tweeted in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, “All I can say is that if I were President, Snowden would have already been returned to the U.S. (by [our] fastest jet) and with an apology!” I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Donald Trump’s been president for over 500 days, and nothing’s changed for Snowden. What changed for Trump?
Trump’s Snowden Flip
I don’t think anyone can say for sure, but Trump’s shift in perspective of the NSA whistleblower happened somewhere between Summer 2013 and Spring of the next year. In April of 2014, Mr. Trump tweeted disdain for Mr. Snowden saying, “[He] is a spy who has caused great damage to the U.S. A spy in the old days, when our country was respected and strong, would be executed”.
Talk about a 180. To date, Mr. Trump hasn’t specified how Mr. Snowden’s leaked information about the NSA has caused “great damage” to our nation. It’s also important to note that a spy has to possess an allegiance to another country. Mr. Snowden has only held an allegiance to the U.S. and the American public. This makes him a courageous champion of human rights and civil liberties, not a spy.
There is yet another level of irony in this situation. President Trump has a record of contradicting himself in many ways. While Mr. Trump was a presidential candidate, he promised to drain the swamp, condemned our nation’s failed neocon foreign policy agenda, and even expressed love for Wikileaks at one of his rallies.
However, since his election, Mr. Trump has flipped on those positions at times. For example, despite President Trump stating the Iraq War was a failure, he has embraced further conflict in the Middle East by bombing Syria and aiding Al-Qaeda forces in the area.
In addition, he has partnered with the Saudis, despite calling them an evil empire in the past, to commit human rights violations in Yemen.
A Cabinet of Neocons
Mr. Trump has appointed deep-state neocons John Bolton, Gina Haspel, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Pompeo to various positions within his office. Pompeo has called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service” and has called Mr. Assange a coward. Sessions has stated that Mr. Assange’s arrest is a “priority” for the Trump administration. Both Pompeo and Sessions have expressed disdain for Snowden. It would seem like these men and their rhetoric directly contradict the president. However, since Trump’s inauguration, he no longer shows support for Wikileaks.
Considering how President Trump has altered many of his former perspectives, it should be no surprise that the President reauthorized an even more watered-down version of the FISA Amendments. Those same laws may have been used to spy on his own campaign. Prior to Trump reauthorizing the FISA Amendments, the president had tweeted displeasure with the programs Snowden revealed back in 2013, placing himself on similar ground with the NSA whistleblower before bowing to the Swamp.
Edward Snowden’s Fate
Although nobody can say for sure what Snowden’s fate will be during this administration, the Russian government has insisted Mr. Snowden’s future is self-determined. This contradicts a statement from Donald Trump on the campaign trail which he stated if he was president, the Russian government would hand over Edward Snowden. But for now, Russia’s foreign minister has stated that Mr. Snowden is the master of his fate and that it is unlikely his name will come up at the Helsinki Summit.
President Trump has made headlines for using his presidential power to pardon individuals, many of whom having committed nonviolent offenses. It is time for the president to heed his words of yesteryear, pardon Edward Snowden, and bring the human rights defender home to safety, despite the objections of the neocons in his administration.
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By Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars | United States of America
“The long experiment with professional politicians and professional government is over, and it failed.” -Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House.
In 1947, Congress proposed the 22nd amendment to the US Constitution: an act to place term limits on the President. Specifically, it forbid a president from serving more than two full terms, or a maximum of ten years. This came shortly after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served four consecutive terms in office.The reasoning behind this piece of legislation was to keep the head member of the executive branch of government from becoming corrupt, or sustaining corruption. For, as we escaped from in 1776 with the British Monarchy, if one person stays in power for too long, it gets to their heads.
In an experiment by student Andy Yap of Columbia University, over 100 people were shown pictures of others surveyed. Yap was able to get them to believe the 99 people seen in pictures were shorter than themselves (for the most part). There is in fact a correlation between a taller height and a higher position of power as seen in the Fortune 500 CEO’s, where the average height is 6 ft, 2 in. This figure is 4.5 inches taller than the average US men’s height (5’9½”). Point is, that there is a trend of people who may actually have power, or perceive that they have power, with a taller height. The fact that the people thought they were taller than the others after being persuaded into a position of power, shows that power corrupts the brain.
Staying in power for too long has proven to change the mindset of the person in question, and will do it again in the future, given the opportunity. Thus, 76% of America, according to a 2013 Gallup poll, is asking an important question. Why have we not implemented legislative term limits? It seems rather foolish to limit the President, but allow Congress to serve endless terms.
This past year, citizens of Michigan’s thirteenth district were surprised when Rep. John Conyers announced his immediate retirement. He was 88 years old, and served for 52 years on Capitol Hill without term limits. To give you a bit of perspective, in 1966, when he took office for his first term, Startrek was just debuting, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys was released, and the US was one year deep into their mission in Vietnam.
With only a 15% approval rating, our congressmen and congresswomen have proven to do next to nothing with their time in their positions. These people sign themselves into their own salaries, their own day-to-day agendas, and eventually, if the legislation were to make it that far, they’d be voting on limiting their own power. It’s ludicrous to think that these people would restrict how long they could make empty promises to their supporters, and put on a bright, big smile for the cameras.
“It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.” -PJ O’Rourke, political satirist and journalist, CATO institute.
There are, however, a few lawmakers with our best interests in mind. People like the Florida chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, Ben Sasse (R- NE), Thom Tillis (R- NC), David Perdue (R- GA), and many more advocate for term limits. Though they may not get the press that other people in Washington may get, I encourage you to read more up on them, to support them to bringing progress back to Congress.
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