Libertarians see opportunity in rising voter discontent

brad_hesselThe Libertarian Party of North Carolina’s new executive director believes the growing public dissatisfaction with the government in general and the “two-party” system in particular offers a new opportunity to move public policy in a more libertarian direction.

“As the Democrats and Republicans move us relentlessly down the road to hell, kicking the can as we go, more and more Americans can feel the heat rising,” said Brad Hessel, who was appointed last month.

Hessel said the advent of the Tea Party, the Occupy Wall Street Movement and, in North Carolina, the growth rate of unaffiliated voters, which is dramatically outstripping that of Democrats and Republicans, are evidence of this discontent.

“These are all signs that most Americans believe something is very, very wrong with our political system,” he said.

Continue reading

Public-private partnership is not privatization

Leaving aside the observation that the term “public-private” partnership is an oxymoron, the fact is that such an arrangement is merely a cover for corporate welfare.

The proposal by Gov. Pat McCrory’s Department of Commerce to “privatize” several functions is a case in point. Republicans either are afraid to stand up for the values they supposedly believe in, or do not understand what “private” means. (“Speed, sweep of NC Commerce restructuring raise concerns,” News & Observer, Dec. 6)

Using “authority” supposedly granted in a brief, vaguely worded section in the budget bill – and guidelines in a bill that did not even pass the General Assembly – Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker created a public-private partnership called the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Continue reading

Pension spiking is corruption

Once again, the News and Observer has performed an admirable public service by exposing the exorbitant salaries being paid to select state government employees and the manipulation of the law to increase their pensions.

In a series called Checks without balances, the N&O detailed how four community college presidents, two housing authority directors, and a Town of Cary “tennis pro” collected tens of thousands of dollars in perks and benefits in a scheme designed to circumvent salary caps.

Continue reading

New voters continue to shun major parties

The number of voters registering in a major party continues to decline in North Carolina, even as the total number of registered voters in continues to rise. As of Nov. 2, there were 6,475,017 registered voters: 2,764,123 registered Democrats, 1,990,192 registered Republicans, 22,173 registered Libertarians, and 1,698,529 registered unaffiliated.

The decline in the percentage of voters registered as Republicans or Democrats reached a new record low of 42.69 percent. The number of unaffiliated voters is now at 26.23 percent and the Libertarian portion is at 0.34 percent.

The number of registered Libertarians, 22,173, while still proportionally small, is an historic high for the party.

The Democratic share of registered votes is now at a new record low of 42.69 percent, and the Republican portion is down to a low of 30.74 percent.

Continue reading

Don’t send old shoes to the Philippines

To all those who are moved by the typhoon disaster in the Philippines, and want to do something, here is some advice: “Don’t Send Old Shoes to the Philippines.”

LovePhilippinesThis is not a joke. Sending clothes, food goods, shoes, and other material aid not only doesn’t help, it hurts the relief effort. Access to the disaster area is already severely limited. It’s very difficult to deliver critically needed food and medicine. Sending boxes of old clothes and shoes will only clog the system up even more.

Follow the advice of Jessica Alexander, a humanitarian aid worker. “Donate money – not teddy bears, not old shoes, not breast milk. Give money to organizations that have worked in the affected areas before the storm – they will be more likely to know and be able to navigate the local context and may be able to respond faster, as it won’t take them time to set up.”

In this case, the best thing to do is give money to a charity that is helping with the relief. I would recommend the Red Cross or Catholic Relief Services.

Libertarian elected, but can’t serve

One Libertarian was elected to a municipal office Nov. 5, but unfortunately he won’t be able to serve. According to unofficial results, Matt Hoerner was elected to the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners in Cumberland County. But he’s serving as a federal government civilian employee in Korea. He said if his election was certified, he would resign.

He emailed the county board of elections in October withdrawing from the race. Hoerner wasn’t taken off the ballot, however, because the BOE needed a signed written statement. He received 551 votes (10.81 percent).

Andrea Boyer ran a classic door-to-door, grassroots campaign for Woodfin town alderman. This was her first run for office. She received 179 votes (15.9 percent) in an unsuccessful bid for one of four seats on the board.

But she told her supporters, “I am not going away – see you around town! Many thanks and lots of love to everyone who voted for me, supported the campaign, and sounded your voice! Your voice needs to be heard at town hall in the weeks and months ahead!”

In Charlotte, Eric Cable received 7,459 votes (2.12 percent) for city council at-large and fellow Libertarian Travis Wheat got 443 votes (4.55 percent) in the district three race.

“Historically speaking these were great results for Charlotte,” Cable said “I was expecting one to two percent and got 4.55 percent, and Eric (Cable) broke two percent in an at-large race, I believe getting more raw votes and percentage than we did in the last two at large races.”

Cable also noted that more than 63 percent of voters choose a straight Democratic Party ticket. That will not be possible in future elections.

Jason Varner is another candidate who said he’d be back. He got 619 votes (6.19 percent) for Thomasville City Council in Davidson County. He placed eight in a 12 candidate field vying for seven seats.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during this election process,” he told his supporters on Facebook. “While I regret to inform you that I fell a little over 300 votes short, my race is not over. 2015 will be here before you know it. I will never quit.”

LP joins rally to stop NSA surveillance

Libertarian Party press release

The heroic revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden have let the world know: The National Security Agency is watching you and has undermined the fabric of the Internet. Its overreaching surveillance creates a climate of fear, chills free speech, and violates our basic human rights — your Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

But a movement is building to change all this.

stop_watching_us_logoThe Libertarian Party was among the first groups to join a growing coalition of organizations operating under the umbrella Stop Watching Us, which aims to stop the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans.

The coalition will hold a rally in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26, 2013, on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act. Thousands of people from across the political spectrum are expected to unite in Washington, D.C., to demand: Stop watching us.

Speakers at the rally will include 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson. A march before the rally, music, and other festivities are planned for the day.

Show your determination to stop government surveillance and come to Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26. For more details about the rally, visit: https://rally.stopwatching.us/

Visit LP.org to share this with your friends!

Libertarians sponsor Nullify Now NC

Nullification is not about state’s rights or slavery, but about the fundamental principles of the American republic, said J.J. Summerell, chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina. The Libertarian Party is one of the sponsors of the Nullify Now conference scheduled for the Raleigh Convention Center Oct. 19.

The Tenth Amendment Center has been hosting events around the country to educate and activate people on the topic of Nullification since September 2012. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., an historian and best-selling author of the book “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century,” will give the keynote speech the event. Continue reading

Top ten books about libertarianism

Here are my choices for the top ten best libertarian books, in no particular order. My Amazon.com wish list is here. Some are also available form the Advocates for Self-Government, The Cato Institute, Laissez Faire Club, or from the author’s website. Many can be downloaded as PDFs for free.

Continue reading

On Constitution Day 2012, read the manual for self-government

You’ve seen U.S. Senators brandishing the little booklet, like some octogenarian Red Guards. After several years of trying, the late Sen. Richard Byrd (D-Va.) got a law passed creating a new Federal holiday and mandating a special curriculum for all public schools in the United States to mark the birthday of the document.

The law establishes Sept. 17 as U.S. Constitution Day and requires all schools receiving Federal funds and all Federal agencies to provide materials about the Constitution. Or rather, to study what the ruling political class promotes as their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

Fortunately, the law has no enforcement power, nor does it allocate any money for the project. Libertarians nevertheless point out the law itself is unconstitutional, since no where in the Constitution is Congress given the authority to mandate school curriculum.

“There’s irony in using an unconstitutional measure to promote Constitution Day,” said Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington.

Continue reading