Waste and fraud pervade wartime contracting

“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” (James Madison)

BURNET, Texas (Sept. 17) – The final report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, chartered by the U.S. Congress, has concluded that at least $31 billion, and possibly $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud. They also found that not only did contractors sometimes outnumber the military personnel they were supporting, often the contractors were doing things only federal employees could legally do and oversight of their work was frequently absent or ineffective. But these were not the most disturbing findings of the commission.

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Ten years of fear is enough

“Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear, kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it.” (Gen. Douglas MacArthur)

BURNET, Texas (Sept. 7) – As we approach the tenth anniversary of one of the most devastating events in American history, we will be inundated with a mind-numbing around-the-clock media coverage of the event. We will be flooded with a rehash of the events of that tragic day, hear countless stories about heroes, be subjected, once again, to endless analysis from “experts” about why this attack occurred, and listen to political leaders pontificate on the meaning of the tragedy in memorial services, newspapers and on radio and television. We will see the tragic events over and over again just as they were captured that day when people all over the world sat in front of their televisions and watched the horror as the twin towers came tumbling down.

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The most destructive war in American history

“The drug war has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery.”- Norm Stamper, retired Seattle Chief of Police

BURNET, Texas (Aug. 14) – The most destructive and devastating war in American history was not the Vietnam War, not World War II, not even the Civil War. The most destructive and devastating war in American history is the 40-year War on Drugs. It is a war in which thousands die each year, which wastes billions of dollars, and which has put more people in jail than any other nation in the world. It has come to the point where the War on Drugs is deadlier and more destructive than all the dreaded drugs scattered upon its battlefields.

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Constitutionalist tries independent run for state House

Following in the footsteps of his father, Jordon M. Greene is running for elective office as an unaffiliated candidate. Greene recently announced his candidacy for state House District 87, covering Caldwell County.

Jordon M. Greene

“I’m running for N.C. House because you deserve a representative in Raleigh that values the liberty of each citizen equally and respects the diversity of views and opinions held by his constituents while holding firm to his own values,” Greene said in his campaign announcement. “I’m a concerned citizen who simply cannot stand by when liberty is at stake.”

Greene was campaign manager for his father Bryan’s unsuccessful attempt to run for Congress as an unaffiliated candidate in 2008. The elder Greene failed to collect the 16,457 signatures needed under North Carolina’s highly restrictive ballot access laws.

The young Greene said he’s running as an unaffiliated candidate because the party he’s chosen to join, the Constitution Party, is not allowed on the ballot. “North Carolina’s ballot access laws unduly regulate and, in the end, violate my freedom of association by keeping my party off the ballot with overly restrictive signatures requirements unparalleled in most states,” he said.

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Large parties continue to lose voter registration share

The percentage of unaffiliated registered North Carolina voters reached another record high in August, while the Democratic and Republican share of registered voters continues to decline, according to an analysis of the statistics posted on the state Board of Elections website. As of August 6, 24.1 percent of voters registered unaffiliated, 45.63 registered Democratic, 31.52 percent choose Republican, and 0.19 percent registered Libertarian.

While the larger party shares of registered voters are in a long term decline, the number of unaffiliated voters has powered up from less than five percent in 1989 to almost a quarter of the electorate. The non-Demopublican (unaffiliated plus Libertarian) share of voter registration is also at an all-time high of 24.3 percent, a constant increase since February 2009.

The total number of registered voters has increased steadily since April 2011, rising from 6,106,990 to its current high of 6,136,049. Meanwhile, the Democratic share of that figure has decreased since August 2009, going from 45.63 percent to its current low of 44.2 percent. The Republican share also decreased from 31.53 percent in January 2011, down to another record low of 31.52 percent. In addition, the difference between the two large party shares has constantly decreased, from 12.97 in February 2011 to its current low of 12.71 percent.

In August 2005, the Libertarian share of voter registrants was at a record high of 0.24 percent, but was reset to zero when the party lost state recognition under North Carolina’s highly restrictive ballot access laws. Since regaining official recognition in June 2008, the Libertarian share of registered voters has steadily risen. The Libertarian Party is about where it was in April 2003, according these calculations.

Voting for the lesser of two evils

“If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.” – Thomas Jefferson

BURNET, Texas (Aug. 3) – It never ceases to amaze me how many citizens can vote for a candidate who doesn’t represent their views merely because he’s not as bad as the other guy, and then complain about the results. This phenomenon reminds me of a joke that circulated after the 1964 presidential election. That campaign was particularly vicious and decisive, especially the debate over the increasing American involvement in a far-off country called Vietnam and the fight against the “Communist Menace.” While President Lyndon Johnson pledged, “We are not going to send American boys nine or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves,” Sen. Barry Goldwater countered by saying he’d make “a damned swamp out of North Vietnam” if they didn’t quit their aggression.

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The manufacture and manipulation of fear

“Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.
– Gen. Douglas MacArthur

BURNET, Texas (July 23) – Fear is a very powerful emotion. Fear can paralyze you into inaction, or stampede you into doing things you would not ordinarily do. In certain situations fear can be beneficial; it can heighten your senses when you’re facing danger, stimulating the adrenalin necessary to survive or the sense to avoid the situation altogether. But more often than not fear simply overwhelms principle, reason, logic and common sense and drives you into a state of paralysis or panic that may ultimately destroy you.

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The Wasted Vote Lie

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
– Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, 1781

BURNET, Texas (July 12) – Every election Libertarians are invariably confronted with the charge that a vote for a Libertarian candidate is a wasted vote. The accuser claims that if you really wanted limited government you should vote for the candidate who has a chance of winning — the Republican. In some rare cases, the assertion may be that if you really wanted to protect civil liberties you’d vote for the candidate who has a chance of winning — the Democrat. And yet, our liberty goes unprotected as government grows unimpeded.

To my utter astonishment, this bogus argument invariably causes some genuine freedom-loving people to betray their stated beliefs. Why do they leap from the Ship of Principle into the stormy Sea of Compromise at the very moment their strength, courage and resolve are needed the most? Only one thing makes a person abandon everything they’ve ever believed in and fought for — desperation, the feeling that all is lost and the best one can do is choose the lesser of two evils. Even telling them that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil doesn’t seem to dissuade them from their decision.

Little do they realize that they have once again been duped by the Wasted Vote Lie. It is a deliberate, carefully crafted fable concocted and perpetrated by the Democratic and Republican duopoly to maintain their stranglehold on power. They cleverly employ the propaganda trick of tyrants throughout the ages; if you repeat a lie loud enough and often enough eventually people will believe it.

The worst thing about voting for the “lesser of two evils” is that it actually has the opposite effect of what it’s intended to do. Winning candidates don’t know, they don’t want to know — and frankly don’t care — why people vote for them. They certainly don’t know and don’t care how many of the votes they got were so-called protest votes. All they want is enough votes to win. They’ll consider all the votes they get as an endorsement of their campaign promises or past performance to claim a “mandate from the people.”

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Ballot access reform bill still alive

An election bill that would dramatically lower the threshold for a new political party to gain and maintain ballot access in North Carolina may still be considered by the state General Assembly when it reconvenes in July. H.B. 32, The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, passed the House in a bipartisan 68-49 vote, but the Senate adjourned before considering the measure.

The legislature will return in July primarily to deal with redistricting but may consider other matters, including election law bills.

“We’re hopeful that legislators will pass this bill when the return,” said Jordon M. Greene, president of Free the Vote North Carolina. His group is heading a coalition of political parties and public policy groups from across the political spectrum supporting the bill. The measure has backing from the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, Democracy NC, the John Locke Foundation and the N.C. League of Women Voters.

“Clearly there’s a broad base of support from across the political spectrum to offer voters more choice on the ballot. We hope the state Senate will consider this and take action,” Greene said. “It is past time that North Carolinians were given as much choice on the ballot as they do in the grocery store.”

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