Become a better advocate of liberty

This post, written by Jeffrey Tucker, originally appeared on the Foundation for Economic Education website last month.

What does it mean to be an effective advocate of liberty? It means to love what you do and adopt sustainable patterns of thinking and living that contribute to making the world a freer place.

Sustainability is key. Most of today’s attacks on freedom lovers include a dismissal that libertarianism is an ideology for idealistic (or maybe deluded) kids, not one for adults. Sure, you can feel enraptured by the writings of Bastiat or Rand or Rothbard when you are in high school or college. But once you get into the real world, they say, you mature and give up the illusions of a freer world.

I don’t believe this. Within the domain of liberty, we find the path to prosperity, social peace, and human flourishing. Every limitation on the freedom of thought, action, and ownership robs the world of creativity, wealth, and progress.

And yet, freedom is not baked into a world where various forms of despotism are always threatening. It must be won anew in every generation. Indeed, it’s the ones who fancy themselves as grown-ups — able to make big decisions for the rest of humanity — who become the next generation of despots. It is the very foundation of intellectual and moral maturity to resist this level of hubris and to acknowledge the truth of our limitations.

Surely maturity shows us the limits of power. Surely the cause of liberty is worth our lifelong efforts.

But there is a superficial plausibility to the critics’ claims because there is a tendency for libertarians to give up hope. I’ve known many who lost their enthusiasm for liberty for a number of reasons, none of them strictly intellectual. People can begin to feel demoralized on discovering how little they can do to change the world. The gap between dreams and reality grows too large. Idealism fades when you sense you are hitting your head against a brick wall.

What can be done to sustain the passion for liberty throughout a lifetime? Here are my suggestions for seven habits to foster a lifelong attachment to liberty and to live a life that makes the best possible contribution to human well-being.

1. Oppose oppression but love liberty even more.

The dawning of the libertarian consciousness often takes place in two steps.

First, you realize that there is such a thing as a state that is distinct from society at large, a fact that massive swaths of the social sciences (not to mention mainstream media) try to cover up. Second, there is the new awareness that the state is distinct from every other institution in society because it uses aggressive force to achieve its aims. Further, the state actually does not achieve the aims it promises. Rather, it violates rights, undermines economic achievement, fosters dependency and serves a ruling class rather than the public at large.

At this point in your intellectual journey, you realize that the mainstream alternatives of left and right leave a lot to be desired; neither is a wholly consistent application of a principled opposition to power.

A new consciousness dawns. It can give rise to righteous anger. You see for the first time the difference between how the world is (which can often look dark and gloomy) and what could be. It can be tempting to focus on the negative: wars, police abuse, corruption, looting of the productive, graft in politics, and so on.

This anger is why so many liberty-minded news feeds consist of terrible news. But how much bad news can one person possibly handle? We have no means to directly right wrongs, to change the world for the better in one fell swoop. To see evil that we cannot change can only lead to despair: a trap that too many libertarians fall into.

It is crucial not only to think about the problem but also to see the solutions being lived out all around us. We need to learn to observe the marvelous businesses starting and succeeding every day, the beauty of spontaneous human interaction, the order and prosperity that emerge from the exercise of human choice. We should thrill in the many ways that people go about their lives in casual defiance of the central plan. We can glory in the creations all around us that were never mapped out or approved by politicians, or by the experts in their pay.

In other words, focusing on the solutions rather than solely on the problems can brighten your day and give rise to creativity in the service of the good. Liberty is not just the absence of oppression; it is the presence of well-lived lives and institutions that emerge despite every attempt to stop them. In this sense, freedom is blossoming all over the world. If we can focus on making that positive change, rather than dwelling on what’s wrong with the world, our task becomes more delightful and a dedication to liberty becomes more sustainable.

2. Read broadly and be confident in your ideas.

Political debates can be fun, but they can also be shrill and unproductive, with two sides battling it out and making no intellectual progress. They bring more heat than light. If you are going to change that pattern, you must have the confidence to listen carefully to other ideas and not be threatened by them. With intellectual confidence, you can respond in a way that is sure-footed rather than belligerent. You can be thoughtful rather than reactive.

Think of the difference between the way a street thug behaves and how a martial arts expert carries himself in combat. One is angry, threatening, and reckless. The other is calm, clever, and effective. In a hand-to-hand match between the two, the latter is going to win. Why? Because the martial arts expert has actual skill, whereas the bully only has attitude and emotion. Libertarians should be like skilled experts and exhibit the confidence that comes with that discipline. But becoming a black belt in liberty takes time and learning; it doesn’t happen overnight.

We should also know our opponents’ arguments better than they do and be prepared to respond to them fairly and without caricature, crafting our own arguments in ways that are actually persuasive rather than just forceful or loud. This requires that we spend some time reading and studying other traditions of thought. Our libraries ought to be broad and sample all disciplines and viewpoints.

We should never shy away from ideas that are different from our own. Sometimes our intellectual opponents — even when they are completely wrong — are our most valued benefactors. They help us think through issues, sharpen our skills and inspire us to research and read more. This is the way we improve. Then we can approach debates with no fear.

This approach will make us far more effective over the long term. Bombast and bromides can shut down opponents, but do they win hearts and minds? Not likely. As Ludwig von Mises emphasized in his great 1927 book “Liberalism”, it is reason, good arguments and thoughtfulness — combined with a genuine desire for a better world — that will carry the day.

We don’t want to shut down our opponents, causing them to retreat to their comfortable and familiar way of thinking. We want our opponents to keep asking questions of us, to keep challenging our ideas as we continue to engage them. We want them to keep talking with us and others. The ongoing discussion is a sign of curiosity and openness that we should welcome.

3. Look beyond politics.

For most libertarians, politics is the initial draw. There is nothing wrong with this. It is typical of American culture that it takes campaigns to get people interested in big questions like the role of human freedom, the place of the state, whether war is necessary, and so on.

But it only takes one or two campaigns before people realize that politics is a not a very effective way for changing the world for the better. Our votes matter very little, if at all. We are mostly only voting for people, not policies. And people in politics tend to betray principles. If we put too much stock in politicians — even the best of whom confront a system much larger than they can control — we will feel frustrated and powerless. Plus, there is no nastier business on the planet. Calumnies and deceptions define the political world.

Working in campaigns as a consumption good is fine, if that’s the sort of thing you like. Some people enjoy it. But let’s be realistic. As a production good — a means of producing good outcomes — it is mostly an illusion. Politics tends to be a lagging rather than leading indicator of social change. The first steps toward change are cultural and not political. Politics is reactive, not proactive. If we can make a contribution to changing minds and fostering a culture of liberty, the rest will take care of itself.

There are many other ways to make a difference outside of politics. Think of the way the economy of mobile apps is challenging the status quo in nearly every area of commerce. Municipal taxi monopolies are reeling from the competition from ride-sharing applications. Peer-to-peer housing solutions are making a mess of zoning laws. Cryptocurrency is challenging nationalized money and old-fashioned payment systems. Homeschooling and online education are busting up the state’s education system. These efforts have already accomplished more than any top-down reform.

Indeed, every start-up enterprise is a kind of revolutionary act against the status quo that the state’s regulations and plunderings have conspired to prevent. Their existence is proof that you can’t stop human creativity with any amount of control. At the end of day, we’ll look back to see that start-ups have made a mightier contribution to liberty than all the political campaigns combined. Libertarians have long understood that bottom-up solutions to social problems work better than top-down approaches. It’s the same with building a free society.

4. See everyone as an ideological friend.

Do you know anyone who actually opposes human freedom? I don’t. It’s just that we all have different ways of understanding that idea and different levels of tolerance for its inconsistent application. We should see everyone as a potential ally in the great cause, regardless of sex, race, religion, or station in life.

Modern democratic politics divides people by interest-group affiliation. According to the prevailing ethos, women should prefer one set of politics and men another. Blacks want things one way, whites another — and Hispanics want yet another. Young and old are each opposed to the other, just as are the rich and the poor. In this way, as Frédéric Bastiat never tired of pointing out, politics divides people, creating a war of all against all.

But the classical liberals always emphasized that freedom means a harmony of interests between all groups. Only true liberals favor the common good of all, because they want to remove the major source of division in society. They favor allowing all groups and individuals to cooperate, associate, exchange and produce to their mutual betterment. Society can manage itself better than any central planner can.

To see this today, in a time of cold war between groups, requires some high-minded thinking. Often, it requires acknowledging the justice of victim-group complaints and drawing attention to how the state has created the problem in the first place. This pertains to a huge range of problems in society, from unemployment to institutionalized racism to persistent poverty, exploitation and war. It is not the case that we all have different goals; it’s that we disagree on the means to achieve those goals.

Start all discussions with the presumption that the other person is a potential lover of liberty. When someone says something right and true, seize on it and draw it out. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t gain a convert immediately. As with all exchanges of ideas, the goal should be to plant seeds, not harvest a crop. It is through such subtle but persistent efforts that we win over hearts and minds to the cause of liberty.

5. Don’t have all the answers.

It is typical of nonlibertarians that they demand full and complete answers to all human problems that are currently tackled by statist means. Who will care for the poor? How will education work? How will people get health insurance? What is to be done about the problems of racism, misogyny and religious intolerance? Above all else, who will build the roads? (Never mind that roads are all built by private companies on contract with the state today.)

It is tempting to try to give complete answers. And history can provide some important hints and guides along the way to giving us a vision of what might be. There is a point to drawing attention to the way government intervention has displaced a whole range of private industries: schools, roads, mutual aid, title companies, courts and more. At the same time, we must resist the temptation to construct a different central plan for freedom. If we take the bait, we set ourselves up for failure.

We do not have all the answers. In freedom, we discover answers through an ongoing process of trial and error. An open society exists to leave the maximum amount of room for innovation and discovery.

F.A. Hayek was correct in his amazing essay “The Case for Freedom”:

Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom. If we knew how freedom would be used, the case for it would largely disappear.… Our faith in freedom does not rest on the foreseeable results in particular circumstances but on the belief that it will, on balance, release more forces for the good than for the bad.… It is because we do not know how individuals will use their freedom that it is so important.

As Leonard Read used to say, the single most notable feature of freedom is its humility. It defers to the results of human action and does not attempt to design them in advance. Freedom does not mean rule by smart libertarians who know better than anyone else. It means the removal of institutionalized sources of power that rule with the arrogant presumption that there is only one way to manage society, and that society can and should be managed.

There is nothing wrong with responding to critics of freedom, “I don’t know the answers, but neither do politicians and bureaucrats, which is why they aren’t in a position to impose their ideas on the rest of us. We need freedom to work out social problems for ourselves. If you see a challenge to be met, it’s guaranteed that others see the same problem. Let’s work together to find the answers. Freedom is a necessary condition for finding the best solutions.”

6. Hack your life.

Once you realize that we are living under a central plan for your life and property, you can start to get creative about finding alternatives. You can use technologies to find a new approach to education. You can find better paths toward personal success. You can better manage your finances without the personal debt encouraged by the policies of the Federal Reserve. You can hack your appliances in ways that make them operate better than the regulations allow.

One way that statist lobbying groups have increased the power of government has been to find ways to apply their principles in public life. The greens have become masters of this approach. They have constructed a whole liturgy for our lives whereby we recycle, bike, ration garbage, take short showers and so on — never mind that these things do next to nothing for the environment. The point is to personalize the political (the opposite of the left’s principle of politicizing the personal).

We libertarians can personalize the political by finding ways around the central plan. These steps are hugely important because they make liberty real in our lives. It is not just an abstraction we hold in our minds, a vague hope of some world that may or may not dawn in the future. The opportunities to live out freedom are all around us. We only need eyes to see and the courage to act.

Before Ayn Rand wrote “Atlas Shrugged”, she knew that it was not enough to write a novel solely about a decaying social order under the iron hand of a corrupt government. She needed characters who felt empowered to do something about it. She ended up with an epic story about a whole generation of entrepreneurs who moved to Galt’s Gulch to build a better world. Their plan of action, as presented in this book, has influenced libertarians for half a century.

No, that doesn’t mean that we must all bail out and move to New Hampshire. It does mean that we must all look for ways to live and innovate without permission from the ruling class, embracing freedom whether our political masters like it or not.

7. Be joyful.

Factionalism is a major joy killer. There is a temptation to become overly embedded in a small circle of opinion, to look for differences (however minute), and to argue tempestuously. When debates are civil and fair, they can lead to intellectual growth. When they become personal and lead to claims that so-and-so is not a real libertarian, they can lead to broken friendships and general acrimony.

No one wins in such joyless struggles. They cause people to lose focus on the critical goal, which is the rise of liberty and the fall of everything that stands in its way. Social media is a wonderful thing, but sometimes technology can exacerbate squabbles rather than build real community. Remember that it takes two to fight, and you can always walk away. That takes discipline and humility, but it preserves relationships. For our own well-being, we need to focus on building a community of ideas, not on purges based on the false hope of purifying the movement.

There is something seriously wrong if the dawning of libertarian consciousness leads to a dour and dreary attitude toward the world and all its works. It should be easy to adopt a joyful view of the world, especially in our times.

We are seeing the failure of 20th-century statist measures in every area of life. All the statists’ fiscal, monetary, and regulatory plans have all failed. Their programs are unraveling. Governments and their leaders have never been more unpopular. Commerce is making an end-run around their schemes every day.

These should be causes of great joy. Libertarians are on the right side of history. We celebrate and seek to defend human rights against all who would take them away. This is a happy pursuit, one that gives our lives added meaning and significance.

Murray Rothbard used to say that fighting the state should be a joyful occupation. In the end, tyranny cannot work. There is just something wonderful about realizing that and seeing how it plays itself out in the real world. Having such joy was effortless for Rothbard because it was part of his personality. For the rest of us, it takes some practice. We should smile at the inevitable failures of the state, feel happy about the liberty all around us and take comfort in the hope for a future of liberty that is realizable, partly through our own efforts.

Onward!

Let us remember that when we are talking about human liberty, we are talking about the whole of what makes life itself beautiful. That is a gigantic subject. There are many pathways into the ideas of liberty and many ways of living the ideas, too. That is a beautiful truth, one worthy of lifelong attention and commitment. To make it effective, we should never forget that liberty is about real life, not merely an intellectual abstraction.

Imagine a small group of people going out into the world armed with these seven habits. Soon, that infectious optimism helps grow the group, as more and more people are drawn to its light. Those who doubt, criticize and clamber for power will come to be seen not as progressive and forward thinking, but rather as stuck in old ways that don’t work. And the group of networked changemakers will prove their value one experiment at a time. People will turn not to the politicians and the paid experts, but to the geeks, volunteers and entrepreneurs — to those with a vision of a beautiful future. That’s what freedom looks like. And that’s how you change the world with it.

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, the global liberty community with advanced social and publishing features, executive editor of Laissez Faire Books, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press. His new book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.

Texas Ranger Drops Jade Helm Bombshell: ‘There Are Trains With Shackles On Them’

This report, written by Mac Slavo, was originally published April 29 by SHTFplan.com.

The reports about the coming Jade Helm 15 operation across the southwest continue to suggest that this is not merely a standard training exercise to prepare our military personnel for foreign engagements as has been suggested by officials.

A letter sent to Dave Hodges at The Common Sense Show by a concerned Texas Ranger indicates that the government is preparing for a scenario similar to what has been described in William Forstchen’s recent novella Day of Wrath in which ISIS terrorists cross the southern border of the United States and simultaneously attack soft targets across the nation.

But the letter doesn’t stop there. The Ranger, who has kept his identify private for obvious reasons and makes clear that the scope of Jade Helm is so secret that the intent is not completely clear, says that the JH15 mission objectives may go much farther than just preparing for terrorists. According to the law enforcement insider there are trains moving throughout Texas and some of them have been outfitted with shackles, presumably to “transport prisoners of some sort.” The claim adds further credence to a report about Jade Helm dissident roundups and arrests and widespread martial law declarations following an emergency.

His letter sheds some light on the Walmart store closings, suggesting at least one may be utilized in a national security capacity as a staging point for the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that is apparently not trusted by anyone within the Texas Rangers organization, according to the source.

The full letter follows:

Hello Mr. Hodges,

I have been a Texas Ranger for quite some time, and as such, I am privy to much of what is going on with regard to the Midland Walmart store closing, the presence of ISIS on Texas soil and our preparations to combat an insurgent threat.

I will not give you my rank or location because it would not be safe to do so. It is a waste of time to try and trace the IP#, etc., as I have taken steps to ensure that this note cannot be traced back to me.  I understand and  realize that you seem to have a growing issue with people who will not go on the record with their inside knowledge or first-hand observations, but you cannot understand the pressure and scrutiny that some of us are under. I am taking a big risk writing this email to you.

The main reason that I am writing to you is to encourage you to keep writing on the growing threat of infiltration in Texas and I suspect other states as well. The infiltration I am writing about is not just Special Forces that are going to conducting covert drills in our state. that is concerning and I agree with you this involves martial law.  For now I am talking about ISIS and the danger that they pose to all of us. Our intelligence indicates that they have enough manpower & firepower to subdue a small town. The Midland Walmart takeover by DHS is a national security move in which we have been told falls under the Continuity of Government provisions. The Threat Fusion Centers are providing related information on what it is we are facing but the information sharing is only in one direction and that is very concerning.

We expecting an attack on more than one Texas city or town by ISIS and/or any of their partners. I believe the information to be accurate. However, this makes the covert operations of groups like the Navy Seals and others under JH15 highly suspicious. We do not need the insertion of Special Ops into Texas towns and cities. I think that you are probably right about the intention of arresting political undesirables given what we know about JH15. I am of the opinion that whatever the mission objectives of JH15, they have nothing to do with the immediate threat. Therefore, I do not pretend to understand the full scope of JH 15 because there are unfolding operational details which are almost impossible to reconcile with what I already know to be fact based the evidence for what is going on.

Let me drop a bombshell that I have not seen you address. There are trains moving throughout Texas that have shackles inside some of the cars. I have not personally seen them, but I know personnel that have seen this. This indicates that these trains will be used to transport prisoners of some sort. I know from reading your articles that your default belief will be that these are for American political prisoners and will be transported to FEMA detention camps of some sort. We have been told by Homeland that these trains are slated for transporting captured terrorists, non-domestic. We are not sure we can trust this explanation because Homeland is keeping a lot from us and we are growing increasingly uncomfortable with their presence in Texas.

I wanted to tell also you that we believe that Pantex is a high value target for ISIS and much or our preparation is to thwart any action by terrorists against the facility.  I am wondering how in the hell you figured that out. Someone on the deep inside must be talking with you.

Keep writing Mr. Hodges, you and the underground media are making a difference. As I am sure you know, Colorado announced today that JH15 is suspended in that state. Unfortunately, we do not have that prerogative because we believe that we are under the threat of eminent attack here in Texas.

I do believe the ISIS threat is legitimate. But you are also correct to suspect the motives behind the JH15 drills. They are clouded in secrecy and we have been shut out regarding their operational intent. The people of Texas and all of the United States of America should be pushing back against JH15.

I will support the Feds in their preparation against ISIS. But the moment that this action turns against our locals is the moment I will perform my oath of office. I am not alone in this feeling. None of my brothers trust Homeland. We will have to see where this is going but I have a bad feeling.

You do your job and keep writing and I will do my job in upholding the Constitution

Thank You

The suspicions of the public are quite justified, it seems. The operational commanders for Jade Helm have compartmentalized the “exercise” to such an extent that no one, not the local and state law enforcement officers involved or the majority of military personnel, has any idea what is actually going on.

As noted in the letter, a realistic threat from our southern border certainly exists and as we’ve written previously, Border Patrol and Homeland Security have been capturing suspected terrorist operatives crossing into the United States for years. But the Texas Ranger who penned the letter says this is not necessarily the full scope of the massive Summer exercise.

And given that people within his own organization report seeing shackles in trains, is it completely out of the question to suggest that the government does, in fact, have procedures in place to detain, transport and imprison those suspected of terrorism, or those who may be suspected of being suspected?

When Gerald Celente warned of the Auschwitz Express back in a 2012 interview he wasn’t joking:

First it was the Patriot Act. Now it’s the National Defense Authorization Act. And then it was Obama’s Executive Order giving El Presidente Los Estados Unidos the supreme right to call Martial Law at a potential threat – a potential threat.

Then there’s Big Bro over there, Attorney General Eric Holder, who just passed these guidelines that could let them listen in to what we’re saying right now, listen to you on your cell phone, watch every stroke of your keyboard, and they at the White House could then determine whether or not the algorythms add up to you being a terrorist or a potential terrorist.

Big Brother never had it so good.

…all aboard the Auschwitz Express…

…That’s what’s going on here… and the people don’t see it, and they’re afraid to speak up… People don’t want to believe it.

Full Interview Via SGT Report

We will soon find out if Jade Helm is just another military exercise. Some are of the opinion that it could be used to facilitate a false flag operation that would then be used as justification to implement nationwide martial law and to activate Doomsday Executive Orders recently signed by President Obama.

It may sound wildly conspiratorial, but it wouldn’t be the first time a government has purposefully engaged in such conduct.

Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing


Commenting on The freedom to discriminate is essential to liberty,
Phillip_in_TX says:
April 13, 2015


Freedom of choice. It’s a wonderful thing.

Now, the government gets to “tell you” which choices you HAVE to make!

Reply

Commenting on Will Hillary be able to buy the election?,
Alan says:
April 14, 2015


Ordinary americans would prefer to see her head explode. Spontaneous human combustion would also be welcomed.

Reply

We have a God-given right to protect ourselves


Commenting on D.C. lawmaker: The city’s anti-gun laws are needed to protect dignitaries,
Keen Kirk KuntMan says:
April 2, 2015


Ignorant Professional LIB Pol NutJob says:

“We’re talking about the nation’s capital,” she said. “Every day our streets are flooded with foreign dignitaries and high-ranking public officials.”

And how many of them have been murdered by guns over the last couple of decades???…. Not many, maybe even none…But, how many D.C. citizens have been murdered by guns in the same time frame?….Like most Big Cities in the last 20 years, the murder rate in DC has gone down, but it ain’t ZERO, Lady & they should have the God-given right to protect themselves…see below:

http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/24856843/murder-rate-in-dc-doubles

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Readers point out idiocy


Commenting on Lies about Ferguson are exposed,
Peter Wang says:
March 10, 2015


Extraordinary. A police officer does his duty in attempting to move a person off the road; the person attacks him and assaults him. The officer shoots the person in self defence. A bunch of bigoted witnesses perjure themselves. The race baiters move in. Democrat politicians make accusations without waiting for the investigation. The media destroy the man’s career and place his life in danger, along with his family. There are riots in Ferguson, all based on lies. The President says nothing in response of any value, and our Attorney General excuses the riots. Now the truth comes out, and the cockroaches silently scuttle back under the cupboard; no apology, no recognition, nothing. Appalling. Furthermore, there are even idiots on this blog that question the evidence and the clear conclusions from it. What has happened to this country?

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Commenting on David and Goliath,
Texastim says:
March 11, 2015


It’s difficult to comment on this article as it is full of truths and talks to established facts as well as some deeply emotional issues. Of course Mr. Myers opinion comes slipping through with the biggest item of all; Obama is an idiot. He earned a Nobel prize for simply being the first person of color to be elected POTUS. But the issue is he is still an idiot. That makes him dangerous as he is blinkered to all things Muslim and therefore intolerant to all things Hebrew. If I had to pick one of the two to put my trust in, it would be Israel. After all, they have the backing of God. So if I had to pick between an idiot and God, well you get the point.

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Republican Liberty Caucus announces Wayne Allyn Root as chairman of National Campaign Committee

The National Board of the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) has voted to name Wayne Allyn Root as chairman of its National Campaign Committee, as well as chairman of the RLC Advisory Board. Root, now back to his lifelong Republican roots, was the Libertarian vice presidential nominee in 2008, as well as an elected board member of the Libertarian National Committee and chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee.

One of America’s most vocal critics of the Obama administration, Root is a frequent radio and TV guest, political commentator, political columnist and the author of the national bestselling books “The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide” and “The Murder of the Middle Class.” On Thursdays, his video commentary and accompanying transcript run on Personal Liberty Digest™.

“We are very excited to have Wayne on board,” said Matt Nye, RLC national chairman. “Wayne is an extremely talented, charismatic and dynamic media personality; he’s an outspoken advocate for liberty, but he is particularly fierce on economic freedom and the U.S. Constitution.”

Root joined the Libertarian presidential ticket in 2008; at the time, the Bob Barr-Wayne Root presidential ticket was the second most successful vote-getter in the party’s history. Root says that experience showed him just how heavily the scales are tilted in favor of the two-party system.

“As the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee, I called myself a ‘Reagan libertarian,’ in honor of my heroes Ronald Reagan and his mentor Barry Goldwater,” Root said. “I will forever be a libertarian-leaning Republican conservative, and I am grateful for my start in national politics with the Libertarian Party.”

Root says the grass-roots uprisings in 2010 and 2014 have given him hope the Republican Party can be returned to its roots.

“Given the popularity of the Tea Party message, it makes sense to work within the Republican Party to return the GOP to the ideology of Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and Jack Kemp,” Root said. “That is exactly the mission of the Republican Liberty Caucus, and I’m here to inject a dose of world-class energy and enthusiasm!”

RLC Chairman Matt Nye agrees, but says the Republicans apparently didn’t get the memo. He hopes high-profile individuals like Root joining grass-roots organizations like the RLC will help them see the light.

“In spite of the clear message the grassroots sent with massive, record-setting landslides in both the 2010 and 2014 elections, GOP party leadership doesn’t appear to have gotten the message,” Nye said. “Republicans were given a clear mandate to stop Obama’s agenda, but they’ve done nothing of substance to do so.”

Root agrees.

“We’re stuck with leadership in both houses that is either spineless, incompetent or sympathetic to the president’s big government agenda; that, or the GOP’s leaders have simply been bought off by lawyers, lobbyists, big corporate donations and the famous DC culture of corruption,” Root said. “This is simply unacceptable. We are watching the greatest country, and the greatest middle class, in world history being systematically destroyed, and that is something I cannot stand by idly and watch.”

In his bestselling books Root blames the partnership of big government, big media and big corporations.

“Republicans must stand firm, cut spending and debt, balance the budget, repeal Obamacare, audit and reform the Fed, re-establish the Gold Standard and roll back out-of-control federal agencies like the EPA, IRS and the NSA program spying on U.S. citizens,” Root said. “Most of all, Republican leaders must stand up and fight for capitalism and American exceptionalism.”

Root says Republicans must offer a clear alternative.

“The GOP controls Congress, and Congress controls spending,” Root said. “It’s time the GOP withdraws from this president’s agenda that is destroying capitalism, small business and America. If they can’t do that, then Americans have no reason to vote Republican.”

Nye concurs.

“With Wayne’s help, we at the RLC intend to hold their feet to the fire,” he said.

Boehner and his friends are in bed with Obama


Commenting on Boehner did it,
KingDon says:
March 6, 2015


Boehner and his Komrads are totally in bed with Obama. Why is it so hard for people to grasp this fact. As I repeatedly say, we no longer have a 2-party system of government. We only have one. It’s the progressive/socialist Democrats. There’s the pure progressive side that’s far to the left and then there’s the slightly less socialist side calling themselves Republicans. I’m tired of seeing all the posts stating that Obama lies. Sure he does, but so do the Republicans. Boehner has never, not once, actually stood up to Obama. Some are now also beginning to wonder just what it is that Obama has that he’s holding over Boehner’s head. If so, it must be pretty politically damaging because every time Boehner starts barking like a dog at Obama, Obama just gives a tug on Boehner’s leash and he shut right up and bows to Obama’s demands.

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Feds overstepping their bounds


Commenting on Tyranny and America’s moral decline,
ONLYJB1 says:
February 23, 2015


What ever happened to the old standard of doing business. “We reserve the right to refuse service”!??
Now our Fed Gov is overstepping their bounds and flexing their communist muscle, mandating what business owners MUST do.

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Commenting on Obama’s lapdog media is a pack of cowards,
Donnie J McDonald says:
February 25, 2015


Obama’s enemy is every American who believes in traditional values. I must be his enemy. I support the second amendment, I support the first amendment and the right to draw cartoons if I or anyone else wishes. How ridiculous, muslim radicals are committing outlandish acts of mutilations and murders of human beings just because they do not believes as they do. It does not surprise me after these attacks by radical muslims that Obaham seeks to target Americans instead of radical murderous muslims. It has become obvious he is a radical muslim supporter who hates Americans, Christians and Jews. He also ranted against the Egyptian military after they threw the radical muslim brotherhood supporters out of Egypt. The USA has met the enemy and it is obama and his supporters.

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Romney was right


Commenting on Want to take your country back? Here’s where it starts,
1940voter says:
February 9, 2015


Most Americans haven’t a clue about the Constitution. We now have a federal free stuff army that only grows every day. Obama and the dems have created this monster and who will defund it?No politician who attempts to change this system will win. Think not? go to Romney’s 47% statement, the msm and dems crucified him yet he was correct. He was also correct about Russia and the same happened. Obama’s army cares nothing about issues and policy, it’s what am I getting for free. Period.

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Commenting on Illinois governor ends mandatory union dues for public employees,
Mys77 says:
February 11, 2015


So, the poor unions have experienced push back. They abused the power they were given, created more problems than they solved, and now they have been neutralize….how very poetic, and justified.

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State of the Union a waste of time


Commenting on Open mic night at the State of the Union,
2broke said:
January 23, 2015


you guys have more guts than me… I hear him and I want to throw up. not one minute of my time was wasted on him, I had better things to do, like sitting on a toilet!

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Commenting on The amazing arrogance and stupidity of Barack Obama,
Glock 10 said:
January 29, 2015


Obamas is Arrogant but not stupid. He knows what he is saying is not true but he also knows the MSM will not make a fuss about it , in fact they will double down with him. So anybody who calls him out will be vilified and made to look like “Stupid Squared”. He owns the Media and they own the Narrative = everything he says is the Gospel according to the Koran.. bible… I did not capitalized the word Koran , spellcheck did it, so I tried typing the bible to see if it would Auto Correct to a capital, you can see the results for yourself.
Even spellcheck has been corrupted by this administration, I should not have to capitalize the kor an……
We used to live in a free country, now not so much………
I am looking forward to the shooting part of “Hope and Change”..

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Voters ignored the facts


Commenting on America’s Muslim in chief,
TruFolk says:
January 14, 2015


All of the information was available before the 2008 presidential elections, and a majority of American’s (and I use that name lightly) ignored it, and voted him into the most powerful position in the world. Why, either they agree with Obama and want America to be a Communist nation with Islam as the national religion, or they’re idiots and just thought it would be cool to have a Black president. I also hold the MSM responsible for the destruction of America because of their intentional lies concerning Rev. Wright and his hatred, racist views of White Americans… also, their avoidance and cover-ups of the terrorism arrests and convictions of Bill Ayers and Eric Holder. I want to watch their agony when they realize they’ve caused their own suicide when America no longer resembles anything close to its glorious past as a free country.

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Tackling acid indigestion

Dear Bob,

In this month’s (Bob Livingston) letter, you mentioned taking Betaine Hydrochloride for acid indigestion. I looked on Amazon for this product and there are so many different options, I didn’t know which to get. Do you have any suggestions for this? I’d appreciate any help you can give.

I really enjoy your newsletter and have benefited from your advice. Thank you for all you do.

Alonah L.

Dear Alonah,

This is a mild preparation that puts acid back in your stomach, so it is OK to just get any of them. I have used the product from the NOW product line and also from Standard Process. Both are good. I have noticed that Standard Process’ product is now available on Amazon.

Thank you for your continued patronage.

Best wishes,

Bob

Independent thinking is still alive and well

Commenting on Personal Liberty’s 2015 agenda revealed,
John Adams says:
December 29, 2014
Thanks, Bob. You have assembled a crew of journalist – writer – researchers that continually provide excellent fodder for debate and disagreement and – therefore – some evidence that independent thinking is still alive and well.

As someone with over 6 decades of experience on this planet, I have always believed that reading was a key element in whatever small success I’ve had in my life. In fact, I recently read the most compelling reason that parents should read to their infant children who cannot even decipher the alphabet yet. They learn to associate reading, and books, with familial love and affection, and these deep feelings are imprinted on their young minds for their entire lives.

In support of your broad agenda, here are some quotes that I have found to contain some value in my life:

=-=-=-=-=-=-=

ON LIVING WELL

“To resist the frigidity of old age one must combine the body, the mind and the heart – and to keep them in parallel vigor one must exercise, study and love.” Karl von Bonstetten

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Bertha Calloway

ON HUMANITY AND POLITICS

“Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.” Gene Fowler

“A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well.” Dan Rather

“I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that!” Tom Lehrer

ON GOVERNMENT AND OVERLORDS IN GENERAL

“Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.” Russell Baker

=-=-=-=-=-=-=

To all who read this, please accept my best wishes for you, your families and friends, for 2015. Each of us has but one life to live. Let us live well, and without surrendering the integrity of our own beliefs for short term gain.

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Blame judges, lawyers for destruction of republic


Commenting on From republicanism to tyranny: How did we lose our rights?,
joe1cr says:
December 8, 2014


Main 2 reasons for the destruction of our republic are corrupt federal judges and conniving double speaking lawyers who have taken over the congress and formed a Oligarchy . What we have today is a Presidential Dictator along with a Congressional Oligarchy. Oligarchies have been tyrannical relying on public obedience and/or oppression to exist. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich. Today the banks, commercial entities and lobbyists that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogatives.

“There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. ” Daniel Webster

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Commenting on The ‘thin blue line’ serves no purpose,
wavesofgrain says:
December 9, 2014


The separation between the citizens and the Public Ruling Class has been enabled due to the unionization of these employees and departments. They have become a collective untouchable by the citizens, and these employees now work for their unions and the politicians who promise to continue their parasitic existence and utopian wages, benefits and power.
The unionized police have become a left arm of the government, a mafia brotherhood, protected by their unions so they are rarely fired or held accountable. The days of Andy Griffith and Barney disappeared with the implementation of these unions. Abolish public unions and get the power back in the citizens hands.

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Perhaps we’ve learned from the errors of the past

Dear Mr. Livingston,

I am dismayed and alarmed that this nation has become so polarized. It is not too much to say that we are divided into progressive vs. conservative camps and the the really disturbing element of all this is that these are armed camps. We have a tinderbox on the verge of exploding into a holocaust if we do not learn to talk to and not merely shout at our fellow citizens who simply hold different political and social views than ourselves. Unthinkable as it may be, I can foresee the ‘Balkanization’ of this great country. A contentious patchwork on the old City State model with the ‘ULTRA LIBERAL TALIBAN STATES OF AMERICA’ Bordering the FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN STATES OF AMERICA Bordering the ULTRA-ORTHODOX JEWISH STATES OF AMERICA etc., etc., etc., I do not doubt your sincerity, sir. But the recent poll I took on your site regarding the right to openly carry weapons in public and into private businesses is very telling. Yours is clearly a very conservative site. Not many progressives or liberals are likely to visit it anymore than your conservative bretheren (and ‘sisteren) are likely to view your site. So clearly your poll will reflect the conservative point of view. BUT-the overwhelming adherence of the majority of your poll respondents in favor of 2nd amendment supremacy voted overwhelmingly in the last question to indicate that they would, in fact, boycott businesses which allowed patrons to carry weapons. What does that tell you about the dichotomy between deeply held philosophical convictions and practical reality? People, applying commonsense, know that if multiple people in a business are carrying weapons, however responsible they may be, when confronted with criminal activity in which they elect to intervene are likely to injure and kill more citizens in uncoordinated friendly fire than the lone criminal perpetrating the action. I would welcome a dialogue here. )

Sincerely,

Harley V.

Dear Harley,

I am currently reading “The Political Crisis of the 1850s” by Michael Holt, published in 1978. It describes the political situation that led to the breakdown of the U.S. political system and, ultimately, the War to Prevent Southern Secession (aka Civil War). On page 4 Holt writes:

[T]he collapse of the old framework of two-party rivalry aggravated and in part reflected a loss of popular faith in the normal party political process to meet the needs of voters, to redress personal, group, and sectional grievances. Malignant distrust of politicians as self-centered and corrupt wirepullers out of touch with the people spread like an epidemic during the 1850s. So, too, did dissatisfaction with political parties as unresponsive and beyond popular control. Americans grew impatient with the inefficacy of traditional political methods and institutions. Widespread disgust with politics as usual engendered cries for reform that helped to destroy the old parties, propel voters to new affiliations, and shape new parties as ways were sought to return power to the people.

That sounds exactly like the political situation of today. You see, we are not experiencing anything that has not happened before. Perhaps we’ve learned from the errors of the past. You fear a separation of the states that you call “Balkanization.” I embrace the notion. I also encourage you to read “Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-First Century,” edited by Donald Livingston (no relation).

The vast U.S. “democracy” is too large and corrupt for republican government. It has become a fascist system, and I fear that only its breakup can “fix” it. If only the corrupt U.S. regime will allow those states that want to leave peacefully do so this time, as is their right under natural law, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

You write: “Yours is clearly a very conservative site. Not many progressives or liberals are likely to visit it anymore than your conservative bretheren (and ‘sisteren) are likely to view your site.” You are wrong on both counts. People of all political persuasions are found here in great numbers, and they are welcomed. In the very poll you mentioned, respondents claim to be 4 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican, 7 percent Libertarian, 27 percent Tea Party, 22 percent independent and 5 percent other.

You write: “BUT-the overwhelming adherence of the majority of your poll respondents in favor of 2nd amendment supremacy voted overwhelmingly in the last question to indicate that they would, in fact, boycott businesses which allowed patrons to carry weapons. What does that tell you about the dichotomy between deeply held philosophical convictions and practical reality?” It tells me you have difficulty with you reading comprehension. The question asks exactly the opposite of what you claim it asks.

You write: “People, applying commonsense, know that if multiple people in a business are carrying weapons, however responsible they may be, when confronted with criminal activity in which they elect to intervene are likely to injure and kill more citizens in uncoordinated friendly fire than the lone criminal perpetrating the action. I would welcome a dialogue here.)” Proof by bald assertion, and unsupported with history.

Best wishes,

Bob

A crisis of American culture

In response to an article on President Obama’s immigration announcement, a commenter describes how he sees illegal immigration hurting the nation.

Commenting on Lawmakers: Immigration plan could lead to violence, get Obama jailed, Libertarian Soldier says:

November 21, 2014

barack hussein obama is a divider. This renegade illegal alien, himself, is doing against America just what he did to get himself on a ballot, commit naturalization fraud.

If anybody is paying attention, we’re in a crisis of American culture. America, “one nation under God” has been so chipped away, Christmas and Easter have been so eviscerated by interlopers that hate America, anyway that our culture, our founding documents, our moral principles, our currency are all but moot.

Our Just Us Department has disenfranchised our citizens and our laws in favor of criminal aliens, affording them forms of amnesty with no regard for our citizens in an economy, directly, artificially repressed and factually undermined by our pResident.

It has become policy that American students may not wear or present effects with an American flag on them because they are “racist” of all things, in America! Un-American, un-Constitutional, democrat appointed and elected judges rule against American citizens’ Constitutional, 1st Amendment Rights, in favor of the illegal alien children and the children of criminal aliens.

Soon after the turn of the 20th Century, extended for decades, immigration and naturalization was strictly restricted, almost stopped. There were many reasons. One was that, like today, the country, economically couldn’t support its current citizens and residents. Another reason is the dilution of our culture. We weren’t naturalizing new citizens fast enough and new Americans were not learning what it means to be American, weren’t having loyalty and patriotism instilled in them. They weren’t learning about what America is, what it stands for and what it means to live within the traditions of an established, new country. Still, another was national security. We were becoming a power which comes with competitors, enemies and subversive influences like socialism and communism.

We have a flood of criminal aliens, about 35 million+, more than triple the White House’s fallacious estimate of 11 million (more than 11 million just between California and Texas, at that time), criminal because their first act in America was to violate our sovereignty and they commit petty and serious crimes daily, while here. They actually have more political clout than citizens, now! If the TEA Party has a peaceful rally, there’s almost a 1-10 law enforcement officer presence. Yet, when the government was putting up fences to keep veterans out of the open air memorials in Washington, they granted permits and provided security for illegal aliens, criminal aliens to protest, to complain that they weren’t given citizenship as a reward for their crimes. They demanded, some violently, amnesty and citizenship!

While we’re struggling with unemployment and underemployment, the underground, labor market is flourishing and un-American, big business is using cheap, illegal labor to supplant the American laborer.

There’s another consequence. National security is more an issue than ever before. While the pResident continues his islamocentric agenda, kissing up to and assisting muslim nations that wish to go nuclear, he stupidly seeks to destabilize the globe while destablizing America and her allies. He engineered, funded and armed the overthrow or attempted overthrow of 4 allies for the muslim brotherhood! Look at who’s behind Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Syria. obama and clinton ii did that!. In Libya, he also moved unilaterally under the fabrication that Ghadafi was slaughtering his people when operatives on the ground reported no such event. Turns out Ghadafi, our ally, didn’t trust the US currency for oil and demanded gold. So, we paid and armed al qaida to overthrow him. We even provided air support bombing and cover fire as well as cash, guns and intelligence, while we were pretending to be looking out for Ghadafi, ansar al shariah, usama bin laden’s re-branded al qaida was raping and executing Ghadafi and his family.

I digress. Naturalized Americans who go through the process of naturalization do not plant bombs at our Boston Marathon. They don’t fly fully fueled, fully occupied, commercial airliners into densely populated, iconic American structures on American soil.

The idea that criminal aliens are already American, as pelosi and biden both claim is a lie, as is jeb bush’s assertion that criminal aliens are all ‘here as an act of love’. This is preposterous and this guy wants to be the next obama? This is how we come to understand that wearing or presenting an American flag is a racist statement in America.

This pResident has committed an illegal act. It is time for the states to take back the trust, the sovereignty, the power that the government has corruptly violated and send their national guard to protect our border and to begin the deportations in compliance with the Congressionally, Legitimate Presidentially passed bills that have become laws the shameful, disgraceful, criminal executive will not enforce.

Extreme weather warning: As polar vortex descends on U.S., all hell to break loose

This article originally appeared at SHTFplan.com

Leading physics professor Michio Kaku of the City University of New York has signaled a warning concerning the polar vortex now bringing extreme cold weather to a majority of states in the U.S.

“Superstorm Nuri packs more energy than Hurricane Sandy. It’s headed our way, and we are in the bull’s-eye. This weekend it’s going to plow into Alaska, creating 50-foot waves. Then, by midweek, all hell breaks loose. It’s going to combine with the jetstream, pushing arctic air perhaps as low as Florida,” Michio Kaku told CBS News.

“In the worst-case scenario, it could mean a deep freeze. It means airlines canceling flights left and right. It means transportation being disrupted… we’re talking disruption that will peak between Nov. 13 and Nov. 15, but will ripple through the rest of November,” Kaku added, telling viewers to “get used to” polar vortexes, because “the Earth is changing, and we’re going to see more violent swings.”

Northern states are expected to experience extreme lows that could reach -30 Fahrenheit and beyond, while early bouts of extreme cold will affect nearly the entire U.S., dipping between 15 and 30 degrees below normal.

It will bring snowstorms and heavy rains across the much of Northern United States and Canada, particularly in the Northeast.

The Weather Channel’s Tom Niziol cautioned, “It’s early in the season, but we are poised for a pure Arctic outbreak.”

While several credible weather watchers have linked this polar vortex to weather manipulation — which Kaku himself admits is different from last year’s — investigative reporter Shephard Ambellas has also linked it with several curiously timed events that may prove to be play into a disaster-recovery agenda:

However, all of this may dovetail into a massive FEMA drill already set to take place on Nov. 13, in FEMA Region II, as reported by Intellihub.com.

Furthermore the Washington Post reported, “Hackers from China breached the federal weather network recently, forcing cybersecurity teams to seal off data vital to disaster planning, aviation, shipping and scores of other crucial uses” possibly coinciding with the plan.

Hurricane Sandy certainly proved to be a massive weather event with even bigger political and power ramifications, which included massive property damage, tens of thousands of destroyed homes and severe disruption to the power grid, gasoline fuel and natural gas for heating. FEMA is still dealing with the aftermath of destruction that affected millions and totaled $1.1 billion just in federal allocated dollars and another $3.2 billion in National Flood Insurance Program payments, along with several hundred million dollars in other related costs.

There are some important ways that you can prepare your home and family for extreme winter weather, as well as possible electricity outages or gas and food shortages.

Below are some detailed steps on how to insulate your body, particularly for any extended outdoors activity, and also to insulate your home. In particular, there are several ways to winterize your abode for even the most insane winter weather, while taking some common-sense steps to preparing for alternative energy supplies, power outages and potentially life-threatening circumstances.

Insulating the home

  • Light some candles. Burning candles can add some much-needed warmth to a small area. And if you want to make the most of heat emitted from a candle, try making a space heater from a candle. This handy device collects, retains, concentrates and radiates dry space heat from a candle.
  • Sealing off a room or a smaller area to heat by using a folded quilt at the bottom to better insulate the room. You can also hang heavy quilts in the doorways of rooms with a heat source to block them off from the rest of the house. Ensure that you seal any drafts coming from windows in the room as well.
  • To prevent heat from escaping from the fireplace when it’s not in use, purchase a fireplace plug. It is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.
  • Insulate your windows. Rubber weather sealant and/or window insulation film can also keep drafts at a minimum.
  • You can also use a plastic shower curtain or bubble wrap and duct tape, topped by a heavy quilt, to keep the wind from whistling through your windows. Another option is to purchase a draft door dodger or make your own. Layers of curtains made of heavy fabrics can also keep a room more insulated.
  • Heat some rocks. If you have a place outdoors for a cooking fire, you can add large rocks to the fire. Rocks retain heat for a very long time. When you are ready to go to bed, move the rocks into a cast iron Dutch oven. Very carefully take this into the room that you are heating. The stones will emit heat for several hours. This is an excellent way to passively heat your room when you’re sleeping. With this method, you don’t have to be concerned about the potential of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning during the night.

Serious preppers will already have a step forward on this, but it is not yet too late for most to check over your supplies or to shop for additional emergency items to ensure that the polar vortex, or any similar biting winter cycles, don’t leave you out in the cold.

Here’s who is ruining our country


Commenting on Friday morning quarterbacking,
TheOriginalDaveH says:
November 7, 2014


Here’s a good example of how even Ben, who I think considers himself a Conservative, has been misled:

Ben says—”If they [Democrats] hope to return to the majority, they might consider ending their war on liberty”.

War on Liberty?

Who backs the Liberty-Crushing Drug Wars?

Who backed the Patriot Act? Who backed the NDAA? Who is backing the perpetual overseas wars?

Both the NeoConservative Progressives and the Liberal Progressives are ruining our country and diminishing our Freedom.

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Ron Gold, Republican candidate for California AG, supports marijuana legalization; here’s why

This post, written by Zoe Russell, was originally published on the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition website. 

Ron Gold, the Republican candidate for attorney general in California, answered several questions about marijuana legalization in an interview with Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP). His Democratic opponent, Attorney General Kamala Harris, did not support Prop 19, the 2010 effort to legalize recreational marijuana in California that narrowly lost. Brian Brokaw, a spokesman for Harris told KCRA in August, “She believes that this is an evolving issue that requires that we monitor what is happening in Colorado and other states, and that ultimately, this should be up to a vote of the people.”

Gold, on the other hand, supports marijuana legalization and has outlined some steps in the interview below that he would pursue as Attorney General.

RAMP: Why do you think marijuana prohibition is not in line with conservative principles?

Gold: Marijuana legalization is basically libertarian rather than conservative. Libertarian concepts, such as rights of privacy and free expression, negate any other principles. People have a right to do with their bodies what they wish as long as they don’t harm others. This is basically a libertarian concept.

RAMP: What are the complexities California has had to deal with since the 1996 medical marijuana initiative? There seems to be a gray area in the law.

Gold: It is a black and white area with regards to the federal government, state government and the 10th Amendment. Obama, through his DEA, is enforcing the federal law of prohibition. Meanwhile, California and other state laws have progressively gone toward medicinal marijuana. California has not approached recreational marijuana like it needs to. It is shocking to see the federal government in action, like with Dr. [Mollie] Fry who is spending time in prison for prescribing marijuana. We have a petition on www.rongold.org to pardon her. Our opponent decided not to help her. The complexity arises because an old fashioned concept like prohibition implies marijuana should be restricted because it’s sinful. We will overcome this mindset with libertarian concepts and freedom of choice.

RAMP: Did you always support marijuana legalization or have you adopted that position over time?

Gold: This is something that I have long held beliefs on. Fortunately, early in my legal career, I worked with John J. Murphy Jr., a former FBI agent. Over 45 years ago, we discussed that even FBI agents and most cops knew this was a farce. It made no sense to take law enforcement resources from hard crimes like rape and murder for marijuana enforcement. In the last month, our campaign recognized the 100th anniversary of the first person to be convicted for marijuana, which occurred in Los Angeles. I’ve known for the last 45 years that marijuana needs to be legalized for both medical and recreational uses.

RAMP: What would you, as attorney general, be able to do to correct the current structure of California marijuana laws?

Gold: In 2016 there will be an initiative to legalize marijuana. I wouldn’t wait for an initiative. When I am elected, I will call in experts in the field, of which I’ve already contacted a number. We’d recommended legislation. We will also create guidance for regulation. There’s no purpose in waiting for 2016. We’ve waited 100 years for marijuana reform. Serious reform requires serious action.

RAMP: What are your opinions of the federal government’s actions in California? It seems the Feds take a harder stance against California growers, distributors and patients than in other states.

Gold: That’s a really interesting point. On one side, you have a Republican potential attorney general who supports recreational legalization. Then you have a Democratic Party, whose state platform supports recreational marijuana legalization. And yet, you have two or three obstinate politicians like Kamala Harris and Barbara Boxer, who resist. The federal government has been friendly with the current administration in California, and yet the California lawmakers seem not to have made any progress in the last four years with the federal government respecting our state laws. Even though my opponent went to the marijuana community in 2010 saying she would work to clear up regulations for the industry, four years have gone by and she’s sat at her desk.

FBI borrows a page from Obama’s EPA by seeking power expansion through a rules change

It appears to be working at the EPA, so why shouldn’t federal law enforcement get in on the power-grab game?

The FBI is reportedly seeking a major expansion in surveillance powers not by approaching lawmakers, but by tweaking the phrasing of federal rules of criminal procedure. The change, if approved, would allow the agency to execute search warrants for digital content in locations far from the jurisdictions in which they’ve been issued.

According to The Guardian, the change concerns a small tweak to a very specific portion of one rule:

The proposed operating changes related to rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, the terms under which the FBI is allowed to conduct searches under court-approved warrants. Under existing wording, warrants have to be highly focused on specific locations where suspected criminal activity is occurring and approved by judges located in that same district.

But under the proposed amendment, a judge can issue a warrant that would allow the FBI to hack into any computer, no matter where it is located. The change is designed specifically to help federal investigators carry out surveillance on computers that have been “anonymized” — that is, their location has been hidden using tools such as Tor.

The FBI hopes to accomplish this policy-level sea change in surveillance powers by introducing the concept of “remote access” searching of computers — regardless of whether they’re located inside the jurisdiction of the issuing magistrate — into the revised rule, essentially allowing the agency to use Patriot Act terror surveillance methods in routine domestic criminal cases.

In order to push through the proposal, it must clear the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules, a standing committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. The body meets on Nov. 5; civil liberties groups are already submitting written testimony intended to oppose the changes.

The Center for Democracy and Technology has made public its prepared testimony ahead of time, making several strong arguments against the change.

None is more germane to the constitutionality of the proposed power grab than the group’s argument that the proposal “would authorize searches that violate the particularity requirement of the Fourth Amendment.”

If the physical location of the electronic media to be searched is unknown, the search may not satisfy the particularity requirement of the Fourth Amendment, which requires that the ‘place to be searched’ be particularly described.

… The proposed FRCrmP Rule 41 modification includes a note that states: “The amendment does not address constitutional questions, such as the specificity of description that the Fourth Amendment may require in a warrant for remotely searching electronic storage media […] leaving application of this and other constitutional standards to ongoing case law development.”8 While we appreciate the fact that the Committee does not seek to address such questions in this rulemaking, the proposed modification to Rule 41 nonetheless does have direct bearing on these very questions since it specifically contemplates the issuance of warrants for computers in concealed locations.

Where potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders stand on marijuana reform

All photos by Gage Skidmore

This post, written by Zoe Russell, was originally published on the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition website. 

We’ve taken a look across the field of the names being thrown around as Republican presidential contenders and collected their thoughts on marijuana policy.

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush is the former Governor of Florida, a state whose residents are voting on a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana this November. He has recently weighed in on the issue with a statement to “strongly urge” a no vote.

His statement:

Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism, and a desirable place to raise a family or retire. Allowing large-scale marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November.

Though he’s clear on his feelings about medical marijuana, Bush is not sure how a president should react to state-by-state reform while marijuana remains illegal federally.

Asked by the Miami Herald how the federal government should be enforcing marijuana laws, Bush said, “In medical marijuana states? I don’t know. I’d have to sort that out. I think that states ought to have a right to decide these things. I think the federal government’s role in our lives is way too-overreaching.”

“But having said that,” he continued, “if you’re in Colorado and you can purchase marijuana openly, should people in Wyoming not be concerned about that? And I think there, maybe, the federal law needs to be looked at — interstate commerce.”

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been the most outspoken in the field of Republican presidential contenders on the topic of marijuana policy.

Medical Marijuana
Paul co-sponsored an amendment in the Senate to limit DEA raids in legal medical marijuana states. The bill is similar to the one passed in the House in a historic vote in May. Paul also introduced an amendment to the “Bring Jobs Home Act” which would allow states to “enact and implement laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use” free from federal raids.

Industrial Hemp
Rand Paul is a champion of industrial hemp in Kentucky, which is legal for research purposes. Paul and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell succeeded in passing a measure in the 2014 Farm Bill providing for hemp research by universities.

Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession
Rand has actively engaged minority communities by discussing how drug policy unfairly affects African American and Hispanic young men. He and Cory Booker co-sponsored the REDEEM Act, a sentencing reform bill with several reforms aimed at non-violent criminals. Paul also co-sponsored the “Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013″ which would provide judges the option to institute a lesser mandatory minimum sentence in certain cases of non-violent drug offenses.

Chris Christie

Chris Christie has repeatedly denounced the war on drugs as a “failure,” yet prefers the route of drug courts rather than taking the issue out of the criminal realm.

Christie signed a bill in 2012 requiring drug treatment for low-level offenders in lieu of prison time. Defendants attend meetings and other strict requirements of the five-year program.

We have tried now, for 40-plus years, a war on drugs that is broad and wide against everyone involved in drugs in America, and it hasn’t worked, it hasn’t worked. What works is giving those people – non-violent drug offenders, addicts – the ability to get the tools that they need to be able to deal with their issues. I put lots of people in jail for seven years, and violent sociopath drug dealers deserve to go to prison. That’s not the people I’m talking about. The people I’m talking about are the users.

The New Jersey medical marijuana bill was passed in 2010, but is suffering from low enrollment and financial instability of the dispensaries. Christie believes the program’s issues speak to the inefficacy of marijuana as medicine. Supporters of the bill, however, say regulators have made the program too strict and expensive for doctors or patients to utilize. Another issue pointed to is the requirement of doctors to publicly list their participation in the program on a state website, which they’ve shied away from.

On his radio show, Christie asserted, “This program and all these other programs, in my mind, are a front for legalization… I am not going to allow de-facto legalization of marijuana in this state or regular legalization of marijuana in this state by statute. It’s not going to happen on my watch.”

In his warnings against legalization, Christie said, “Go to Colorado and see if you want to live there. See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado, where there are head shops popping up on every corner, and people flying into your airport just to get high. To me, it’s not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey.”

Christie told the Denver Post during a later trip to Colorado, “I’m not backing off an inch from what I said. What I said is what I believe. I think it’s the wrong thing to do. I think legalizing marijuana is the wrong thing to do from a societal perspective, from a governmental perspective. I just disagree.”

Bobby Jindal

Jindal answered at a press conference, “I continue to be opposed to legalization of marijuana. When it comes to medical marijuana … if there is a legitimate medical need, I’d certainly be open to making it available under very strict supervision for patients that would benefit from that.”

“He would be open to making medical marijuana available under strict circumstances,” Jindal spokesman Kyle Plotkin said.

The Times-Picayune asked Governor Jindal about his openness to reducing sentences for non-violent drug offenders. He responded, “I think it is better, for all of us, to help provide that treatment, instead of simply adding longer sentences.”

Rick Perry

Rick Perry has twice garnered recent headlines about marijuana. First, Perry participated on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Perry said about his tenure as Texas governor, “As the governor of the second-largest state in the country, what I can do is start us on policies that can start us on the road to decriminalization.”

Perry does not support legalization, but as “a staunch promoter of the 10th Amendment,” he believes “states should be allowed to make those decisions.”

Perry’s comments in Davos prompted Jimmy Kimmel to ask, “In January, you said you might possibly favor decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Texas. Is that correct?”

Rick Perry: “Yea, we’ve kinda done that. What we did is, for over a decade, we’ve lowered the penalties. We’re trying to be smart about it. You don’t want to ruin a kid’s life for having a joint, and that was historically what you saw. We put drug courts into place and we, I think, are making really smart decisions about dealing with people, particularly when it comes to these small amounts of drugs. And we’ve been able to shut down a prison in the state of Texas. That’s conservative, man.”

Ted Cruz

Senator Cruz from Texas has criticized President Obama for his lawlessness, which he extends to the Justice Department’s handling of marijuana legalization across the states. He believes the federal government should take up the issue, but is less clear on his position. Cruz has not had a chance to vote on an amendment similar to the one passed in the House to improve clarity between state and federal law in legal medical marijuana states, but when asked if he would support a bill that restores federal gun rights to medical marijuana patients, he answered affirmatively.

Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio has been clear about his opposition to recreational marijuana. He has recently come out against the medical marijuana ballot initiative to be voted on this November in Florida. Rubio did, however, support the CBD-oil bill passed by the Florida legislature in 2014.

Marco Rubio told ABC News, “Marijuana is illegal under federal law. That should be enforced.”

He continued, “When something is legal, implicitly, what you’re saying [is] it can’t be all that bad, because if it’s legal, it can’t be bad for you. And the bottom line is, I believe that adding yet another mind-altering substance to something that’s legal is not good for the country. I understand there are people that have different views on it, but I feel strongly about that.”

Rubio answers whether he has ever tried marijuana with the non-answer of, “If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, “Well I can smoke marijuana because look how he made it.”

Ben Carson

Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and author, is being drafted to run for president. I don’t question his knowledge of medical cannabis, which he supports, but I do question his knowledge of economics. He seems to think the 77 years of marijuana prohibition has not been enough time to discuss the ramifications of marijuana use versus the effectiveness of a zero-tolerance policy.

He tells Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, “I think medical use of marijuana in compassionate cases certainly has been proven to be useful. But recognize that marijuana is what’s known as a gateway drug. It tends to be a starter drug for people who move onto heavier duty drugs – sometimes legal, sometimes illegal – and I don’t think this is something that we really want for our society. You know, we’re gradually just removing all the barriers to hedonistic activity and you know, it’s just, we’re changing so rapidly to a different type of society and nobody is getting a chance to discuss it because, you know, it’s taboo. It’s politically incorrect. You’re not supposed to talk about these things.”

Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez is the current Governor of New Mexico, the first female Hispanic Governor in the US, and a former prosecutor and District Attorney. She is up for reelection in November. She has reacted to the local efforts in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, where citizens and councilmembers want to pass ordinances to decriminalize the possession of 0-1 ounces of marijuana possession within city limits. (Santa Fe’s ordinance was passed and Albuquerque’s vetoed after Martinez gave these comments.)

“It is against the law federally and therefore it is also against the law in New Mexico. And I think it is the way it should be, and the penalties are appropriate.”

The AP also reports, “Martinez called the efforts political moves to get young voters to the polls.”

RAMP wants to know why that is a bad thing. People with a small government message should be reaching out to young voters.

Scott Walker

Medical Marijuana
Scott Walker, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, has recently signed into law a bill legalizing a low-THC/high-CBD strain of medical cannabis oil that has been shown to help children suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

In the bill, doctors may only dispense the medication through an FDA-approved clinical trial. No doctors have contacted the state to start a trial.

Criminal Penalties of Marijuana Possession
Walker told reporters at a meeting of the Badger State Sheriffs Association that sheriffs had discussed with him concerns about any policy that could “open up the door to marijuana use legally in the state of Wisconsin.”

“They said when they talked about heroin and meth and other issues that they were still very concerned that (marijuana) was a gateway drug,” he said.

Mitt Romney

Will he run again? That’s not for us to decide, but we will try to pin him down on his marijuana stance.

Romney said to the Denver Post in October 2012, “I oppose marijuana being used for recreational purposes and I believe the federal law should prohibit the recreational use of marijuana.”

Soon after his spokesperson said, “Governor Romney has a long record of opposing the use of marijuana for any reason. He opposes legalizing drugs, including marijuana for medicinal purposes. He will fully enforce the nation’s drug laws, and he will oppose any attempts at legalization.”

This, of course, was 2012. Since 2012, seven more states passed medical marijuana legislation, Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, and Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. may soon follow suit.

About the Author: As a small government, fiscal conservative, Russell sees grave inconsistencies between Republican values and the prohibition of marijuana. Her role within RAMP is to act as a spokesperson, coordinate and grow membership as well as organizing events. She went as a state delegate to the 2012 and 2014 Texas GOP Conventions in Fort Worth. She is also an active member of Houston Young Republicans. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Auburn University.

Learn more about RAMP here.

Alliance Defending Freedom: ‘Controversial Speech’ Restricted At University Of South Alabama

This post was reprinted from the Alliance Defending Freedom website.

MOBILE, Ala. — Alliance Defending Freedom filed an amended complaint Friday in a pro-life student organization’s lawsuit against the University of South Alabama.

The university relegated the group’s pro-life display to a small speech zone on campus because it deemed the nature of the event “controversial.” Under the university’s policies, students must also obtain a permit 72 hours in advance in order to use the speech zone.

“Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “Free speech should not be censored or limited to a ridiculously small area on campus, nor should students need permission to exercise their constitutionally protected freedom of speech. The First Amendment protects speech for all students in the outdoor areas of campus, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”

Last October, Students for Life USA requested permission to a hold a “Cemetery of the Innocents” event, which consists of students placing small crosses in the ground to represent the innocent lives lost to abortion. University officials denied the request and said it would need to be held in the campus’s speech zone, even though other groups have exercised free speech on other portions of the campus. At the time, the speech zone was restricted to the Student Center, which was less than one percent of the college’s main campus. Although the university has since expanded its speech zone, it still restricts speech throughout the campus.

The lawsuit, Students for Life USA v. Waldrop, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, explains that the university’s speech policy violates the First Amendment and gives university officials “unbridled discretionary power to limit student speech in advance of such expression on campus and to do so based on the content and viewpoint of the speech.”

“Free, spontaneous discourse on college campuses is supposed to be a hallmark of higher education rather than the exception to the rule,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope that the University of South Alabama will revise its policy so that its students can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”

Neoconservatives Wary Of Real Conservative Becoming President

This story, written by Nick Sorrentino, was published by AgainstCronyCapitalism.org on May 16. 

chart of neoconservatives
THE WASHINGTON POST

The term “neoconservative” or “neocon” is often thrown around, but few people have a real grasp of the school of thought.

Basically, it is a big-government “conservative” position. Neoconservatism does not fear government and government expansion the way traditional or “paleoconservatives” do. Neocons believe, like progressives, that the state should be used to craft a better society (at home and abroad). It can be argued well that neoconservatives are a branch of the progressive tradition in this country.

In fact, Irving Kristol in his book Neoconservatism even wrote:

It describes the erosion of liberals among a small group toward a conservative point of view, conservative but different in certain respects from the conservatism of the Republican Party [1930’s]. We accepted the New Deal in principle, and had little affection for the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism.

The neocons rose out of the City College of New York, led by Irving Kristol, the father of Bill Kristol, the current editor of the Weekly Standard. In its early days, it has been said that the school was influenced by the ideas of Soviet thinker and leader Leon Trotsky. Originally, the neocons were allied with the Democratic Party but then switched to the GOP in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the Democrats became too socially liberal for the neocons. Soon the neocon school was lodged firmly within the GOP.

Abroad neocons are advocates of an activist foreign policy. It is this activist policy that most defines them. Iraq and, in many ways, Afghanistan were neoconservative endeavors. As you may recall, President George W. Bush referred to Iraq as the first of many battles in an ongoing war. Indeed, the plan was to turn the Mideast into a garden in which democracy could blossom.

I remember listening to the Diane Rheame show in 2002 or 2003 while some neocon wonk made the case that we needed to systematically depose all the despots in the region one by one, that Iraq was only the beginning and that a bright shining future lay just around the corner. In addition to increasing our safety in the U.S., the wonk argued, such a crusade would greatly enhance the security of Israel.

It must be noted that a large number of neoconservatives are Jewish, but certainly not all are. And it is true that for neocons Israel occupies a special place. It is for these reasons that opposition to the neoconservatives has often been characterized by some within the school as anti-Semitic. To oppose the neocons is to oppose Israel’s existence, which is to oppose the Jewish people.

It has been an effective charge. But it is one that has worn with time. As more and more Americans have seen their sons and daughters come home in body bags or with crippling injuries, both visible and not, more and more Americans have grown sour to the idea that we must make the world “safe for democracy” — especially while the democracy at home is a shadow of what it should be or even what it once was.

The neocons, who still control many of the purse strings of the GOP and many of the important foreign policy positions in the GOP, are very concerned that this more traditional American approach to foreign policy might really take hold (again) within the halls of power. They particularly fear a leader who can articulate the traditional GOP position on foreign policy effectively to the voting public — a position which holds that the U.S. is to be very sparing in engagement and slow to meddle in the affairs of other countries. The neocons fear that Rand Paul might be such a leader, and that is why they are lining up to throw money at the other Republicans running for President.

The neocons think Paul can’t be trusted. That is, Paul can’t be trusted to expand the government at home the way the neocons like (think the Bush big-government years) or to employ our military overseas in the way the neocons would like.

Of particular concern is the idea that Paul might not bomb Iran the way the neocons want the next President to. Another concern is that Paul has questioned the effectiveness of foreign aid. Israel gets more than $3 billion in foreign aid each year. Israel is not a big country. That’s a lot of bread spread across the Israeli political class. The neocons and their allies in Israel do not want that money to dry up. It’s conceivable that a President Paul would move to reduce this pool of money.

That is why the neocons are gunning for the first real conservative to have a shot at the GOP nomination in a very long time. They simply don’t want a truly conservative President. And yet the neocons still dominate the GOP. What does this say about “the party of small government?”

From POLITICO:

The foreign policy hawks within the establishment GOP — among them pro-Israel donors, national security types and neoconservatives — are impressed by Paul’s attempts to broaden the Republican base and find him willing to listen to their concerns. But ultimately, according to people plugged into the Republican donor class, they worry that a President Paul would dangerously scale back America’s activities abroad — a deepening concern in some corners as his star has risen within the broader party.

Editor’s note: Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Noninterventionism is the traditional American position. It’s also known as minding one’s own business.