Democracy inaction

The General Assembly adjourned last week, so we relatively safe — for a while. You might have been taught that democracy is the “rule of the majority. Critics say democracy is really “rule by the majority who show up.”

This session provides a more accurate definition of democracy: “rule by the minority of special interests groups, lobbyists, and government employees who get access to entrenched incumbents to get what they want, despite the demands of the majority of the people.”.

Despite two study commissions, several pubic hearings attended by thousands of opponents of forced annexation, and a deluge of email and calls demanding annexation reform, legislators kowtowed to the taxpayer-funded League of Municipalities and did nothing.

On the other hand, Marc Basnight, Senate president pro tem used his power to ban the use of plastic bags by large retailers in Outer Banks counties. It’s unclear whether the restaurant he owns in the area will be affected.

Following up on the “success” of the welfare grants to Google and Dell, the GA gave $12.5 million to Apple Computer. Small businesses didn’t fare so well. Bars and restaurants will take a hit when the state ban on smoking in their establishments goes into effect January 1.

The governor who during the election proclaimed she’d be “in charge of education” sat idly by while the legislators cut teachers salaries and other parts of the education budget. She ordered teachers to take time off and initiated across the board cuts in state agency budgets, the worst way to cut spending.

Then she hired “communications policy advisor” for a salary of $136,00) to join a communications director (salary $115,2OO), a senior adviser for government relations (salary $153,000) and a policy director (salary $160,000) already on her staff.

Worth reading in the News & Observer:

Legislation is tailored for a state in transition

Wins, losses, near misses and hangers: Session recap

The session’s big winners and losers

The Generous Assembly

Take the money and run (for office)

North Carolina Libertarians were surprised and somewhat stunned to receive a windfall from the State … a check for $39,361.50. This represents funds from the $3 write-off on the state income tax form. A party spokesperson said that although they did not believe the write-off was legal, they would take the money since it is in effect a donation directly from taxpayers.

Coincidentally (or not) there’s a connection between the amount and the number of voters registered Libertarian in August 2005,  just before the Democrat-Republican controlled  State Board of Elections kicked us off the ballot. If those 13,000 voters each marked the block on their tax form, it would come to $39,000.

There is also some poetic justice in this beneficence. The Libertarian Party will be able to pay off the debt incurred as a result of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina election laws. They are still waiting a decision from the Court of Appeals.

Even so, the state  Libertarian Party still needs to raise money in order to compete in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Even though North Carolina law says only parties with registration of 1% should be on the tax form, a revenue department bureaucrat either didn’t now the law, or ignored it, and put the party on the tax form.

Libertarian way to lower health care costs

“In my family, we’ve had to talk about some of the difficult choices. I hope we won’t ever have to make them, but if and when the time comes, we will.

“We will make those decisions about our family, our loved ones ourselves.  No government bureaucrat will do it.

“Because we will have to live with it.  And that’s the essence of Libertarianism, folks: I decide for my life, I live with the consequences.  And you have the same freedom.”

So writes Rachel Hawkridge in an article for Examiner.com, ” Libertarianism 101: How to Lower Health Care Costs. Rachel is a Seattle libertarian activists and a regional rep on the Libertarian National Committee.

Question for city council candidates

Local government has perhaps the most direct impact on our lives, yet it is the level of government most people ignore. Turnout for municipal elections is generally abysmal.

On the other hand, it is probably where libertarians can have the most impact, whether or not they actually run for office. The John Locke Foundation just published a checklist “Crucial Questions: A Checklist for City Council Candidates and Citizens.” It has some zingers … especially for libertarians. The questions are short, direct and can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” although it is doubtful any politician would be so bold.  Here are a few:

  • Are supporters of new taxes or tax increases required to prove that they need them.
  • Does the city reject the use of targeted incentives and eminent domain to attract businesses?
  • Do land use and zoning regulations minimize detailed regulatory control and maximize market trends?
  • Does the city require a vote of the residents in any area the city intends to annex?

It’s a great tool to use when attending a candidate forum. I intend to try a few of these out in Cary.

Watch what you say

From the White House website:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.”

You can start with the previous post on Liberty Point.

By the way, I learned in high school that using “a lot” is a piece of land; using “a lot” to mean many is grammatically incorrect. The author even has the audacity to quote “our second president” (John Adams) that “facts are stubborn things.”

So are rights, Mr. President. I for one plan to add flag@whitehouse.gov to my daily e-mail speed dial.

Activist training

UPDATE

The American Majority and the John P. Pope Civitas Institute are holding a Candidate and Activist Training workshop in Raleigh Aug. 29.

The goal of this training is to enable common citizens to make a difference in their communities by learning to utilize modern communication tools, resources, and by networking with other like-minded individuals and organizations. The training will be hosted at the Civitas Institute headquarters, 100 S. Harrington St.from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Presentations that will be offered include:

* Building Coalitions, Reaching Your Community, and Organizing Meaningful Events
* Holding Your Elected Officials Accountable
* Getting Involved in State and Local Political Campaigns
* New Media: Opinion Editorials, Blogs, Wikipedia Projects and more
* Much more!

Continue reading

Beam me up Scotty

Picture Captain James T. Kirk on the floor of the NC General Assembly. He flips open his communicator and says, “Beam me up Scotty. There’s no intelligent life here.”

Of course, real Trekkies know Captain Kirk never uttered those words in any episode. But if this scene were ever shot, Raleigh would be an appropriate place. Rep. Earl Jones (D-Guilford) has introduced HB 1623 to use your tax dollars to establish a Star Fleet Academy Complex at NCA&T. The Civitas Institutes ranks this as their Bad Bill of the Week.

Health care 'reform' = government health control

Over at No Coercion, Daren has written an article about “health care reform” that I have been wanting to write myself for a while …

Update: Follow this with a read of Dennis Preager’s Ten Questions for nationalized health care supporters. To which I would add the critical 11th question: Where in the Constitution does it give the Federal government the authority to regulate health care or health insurance?