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.

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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/

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Sad and tragic irony

It is sadly ironic that just as we’re commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the March on Washington, a milestone event and triumph of non-violent protest, President Obama is about to add to his record as the Nobel Peace price winner who has bombed the most countries.

martin-luther-king21Sadly ironic, and disturbing. I do not presume to speak for Dr. King, or know what he would say. But his life and work had a profound impact on all Americans even those like me who grew up in a “all-white” society.

His devotion to non-violent protest, even in the face of unspeakable violence against him and his followers, helped form the conscience of an entire generation, white and black.

In his later years, Dr. King poke eloquently against war, specifically the war in Viet Nam. He lamented that American had become a of “guided missiles and misguided men.”

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Where are the protestors?

Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of Future of Freedom Foundation, writes what I have been thinking:

It is so amusing to see mainstream commentators condemning Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, for assuming dictatorial powers. Their critiques are well-taken … But what’s amusing about the mainstreamers is how they can so quickly identify and condemn dictatorial conduct on the part of foreign rulers but maintain an absolutely obsequious blind spot when it comes to the dictatorial actions by their own ruler.

Morsi, so far, has only talked about suspending the rule of law. American presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama, have already done it, torturing and murdering even American citizens. To our shame, there have been no demonstrations and they were both re-elected.

“Democracy” isn’t worth a damn if there is no rule of law, if we merely get to “choose” which dictator will rule us.

An elective despotism was not the government we fought for. – Thomas Jefferson

Petraeus fell for the wrong reason

by Sheldon Richman

David Petraeus has fallen — but not as he should have. Before being disgraced by an extramarital affair, the retired four-star general and ex-CIA director should have been shamed out of public life for his horrendous military record in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Are we talking about the same David Petraeus who is said to have heroically saved Iraq with the famous surge and then salvaged a floundering military effort in Afghanistan?

That’s the one. But those “accomplishments” are merely the products of sharp public relations.

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How did Christians become warmongers?

I never thought I would hear myself say what I’m about to say, but the truth is, the term “Christian” today signifies anything but Christ-like. To many people today, “Christian” refers to some warmongering, mean-spirited, throw-anyone-to-the-wolves-who-crosses-them person, who then has the audacity to look down their nose in contempt against anyone who disagrees with them

After reading this very powerful column by Chuck Baldwin, all I could think was — wow!

The Christian church “was born in a baptism of love and unity,” he writes. While there were differences of opinion, the early church was “a loving, caring, compassionate ecclesia” The New Testament church always attempted to be and teach the importance of being peacemakers.

That doesn’t mean they were pacifists. Early Christians believed they had a God-given right to defend themselves. But they never confused self-defense with warmongering, Baldwin note.

Something has happened to today’s church, Baldwin says. Christians, particularly those who call themselves evangelicals and fundamentalists, have become the “biggest cheerleaders for war.”

Baldwin says the modern Warfare state would grind to a screeching halt of Christians stopped supporting it. He criticizes those religious leaders who interpret Romans 13 to mean that Christian owe unquestioning obedience to civil authority as “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” claptrap.

No man is exempt from the moral laws of God. No man! Not even the President of the United States. And how much guilt do those of us in America who laud and support the Warfare State share when atrocities are committed by our leaders in our name and with our approval? And if none, then what were those trials in Nuremberg all about?

Something to think about on Nov. 6.

War with Iran is next

If it wasn’t clear to Americans before, it should be clear today. After watching last night’s joint presidential candidate press conference, masquerading as a debate, no one should have any doubt that America’s state of perpetual and universal war will continue under President Barack Obama or a President Mitt Romney.

Regardless of which of these men is elected, America will go to war with Iran. Both said the a “nuclear-capable” Iran is a threat to U.S. “national security.” Both expressed unwavering, unequivocal – and unquestioning – support for Israel. “We stand with Israel,” said Obama. “We got their back,” said Gov. Romney.

As Libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson noted, neither of them challenged the fundamental premise of endless foreign intervention.

“Rather, we have two candidates agreeing with one another about flawed foreign excursions we cannot afford,” he commented. “And remarkably, we heard a continuation of the fallacy that we can somehow balance the budget while spending more on defense. It doesn’t add up.”

Obama repeated the imperialist assertion that the United States is the “one, indispensable nation” in the world. They both claimed that one of their foreign policy goals would be to bring “democracy” to the Middle East, including Syria. But it was clear from the qualifications they outlined that they really did not mean democracy in the sense of government of, by, and for the people of that nation, but a government that complies with standards dictated by the United States.

Obama repeated the hubris that America is “the one, indispensable nation in the world.” Romney had some trouble geography when he said that Syria was Iran’s only ally in the region, and that give Iran access to the sea.

War myths and America’s drone terrorism

Just the other day, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. war in Afghanistan is "succeeding" and "has turned an important corner."

Chicago Tribute columnist Steve Chapman had the same reaction I did, “Where have I heard that before?”

Oh yes, could it have been in 2003, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld boasted, “We clearly have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability. … The bulk of this country today is permissive, it’s secure.”

Chapman notes that four years later, Rummy pronounced Afghanistan "a big success," and then in 2011, Defense Secretary Robert Gates assured us the U.S. effort was "succeeding."

“There is a term for a war that is always ‘succeeding’ but never concluding: a failure. But Barack Obama has followed the custom of George W. Bush in pretending otherwise,” Chapman writes.

Another myth being perpetrated by the Obama Administration is the narrative that the use of drones is a “surgically precise and effective tool” that kills bad guys with minimal “collateral impacts,” meaning killing innocents.

A joint report Living Under Drones by the New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic and Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic exposes this lie.

The use of drones to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan is by definition itself an act of terrorism.

Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.

Sheldon Richman of the Future of Freedom Foundation notes that the report also finds that the drone strikes killed 2,563-3,325 people in Pakistan from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, of whom 474–881 were civilians, including 176 children.

Incredibly, President Obama continues to deny the strikes kill civilians, even in the light of the U.S. tactic to make multiple drone strikes in one area that result in rescuers being killed.

Terrorist suicide bombers do the same thing, and we’re outraged by it. Why are we not outraged by this misuse of American military might?

“The Obama administration denies that it has killed civilians, but bear in mind that it considers any male of military age a ‘militant,’ Richman writes.

This is also an eerily and disturbingly familiar assertion, like the “body counts” of the Viet Nam war.

George McGovern is dead

George McGovern, the Democratic Party’s last anti-war candidate, died today. Sadly, McGovern’s obits will focus on his disastrous 1972 bid for the White House, when he only got 17 electoral votes, and not his anti-war activism. Libertarian author David Boaz wrote this tribute.

Nick Gillespie eulogies George McGovern, Libertarian Hero on Bloomberg.com

The Libya Lie

Almost everything we’ve been told about Libya, including the terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate, is a lie. These two articles lay the blame for the lie squarely on President Barack Obama.

The reason Libyan streets aren’t safe and the country is ruled by roving gangs of militia is due to the U.S. bombing last year, writes Judge Andrew Napolitano on LewRockwell.com.

“In an unconstitutional act of war, the president alone ordered the bombing. It destroyed the Libyan military, national and local police, roads, bridges, and private homes. It facilitated the murder of our former ally Col. Gadhafi and ensured the replacement of him by a government that cannot govern.”

Libya wasn’t “liberated” but plunged into the chaos of tribal payback, observes Victor David Hanson in the National Review.

“Former Qaddafi supporters and African mercenaries were executed by those we helped. Islamists began consolidating power, desecrating a British military cemetery and driving out Westerners.”