Who rules Egypt is none of our business

“They who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

During the Cold War the United States supported a host of corrupt dictators who oppressed, brutalized, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered their own citizens. In the name of protecting us from the monster in the closet, monolithic communism, a succession of American presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, promoted a foreign policy that knowingly and willingly sacrificed the liberty of other people in order to secure a false sense of safety for Americans.

American foreign policy was based on the specious premise that as long as a ruler professed he was anti-Communist, it did not matter whether or not he was pro-democracy. Whenever one of these petty potentates got in trouble, when the people in his country dared to challenge his authority and seek liberty and freedom, American officials were quick to step in and “mediate” or “moderate” under the subterfuge of “preserving democracy,” “insuring stability” and “protecting American interests.”

If things got really out of hand, we “facilitated” a “change in government,” which actually meant changing dictators. In some cases, the regimes eventually were overthrown by popular uprising that resulted in a government that turned against us.

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Lowering ballot barriers for ‘third parties,’ unaffiliated candidates

by Brian Irving

A bill to dramatically reduce the ballot access restrictions for new political parties and unaffiliated candidates was introduced in the state General Assembly Feb. 3.  House Bill 32, The Electoral FreFree the Vote Coalitionedom Act of 2011, would set at 10,000 the number of signatures a new party must collect to be listed on the ballot. It would establish the same number for unaffiliated candidate to run for a statewide office, including governor, council of state or U.S. Senator.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-10) and co-sponsored by Reps. Glen Bradley (R49), Paul Luebke (D-11) and Jean Farmer-Butterfield (D-24). Bert Jones, the only unaffiliated member of the House, is a co-sponsor, along with Larry Hall (D-29), Pricey Harrison (D-57),  Harry Warren (R-77), Jonathan Jordon (R-93), Rodney Moore (D-99), and Jennifer Weiss (D-35).

Several alternative political parties and electoral reform groups have formed the Free the Vote Coalition in support of the bill. The coalition is a project of Free the Vote North Carolina, a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to protecting freedom of speech, association and the right to vote of every North Carolinian through education, research and legislative advocacy.

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Free the Vote Coalition formed

Free the Vote North Carolina has announced formation of the Free the Vote Coalition, an alliance of the state’s alternative political parties and several electoral reform groups, who have banded together to enact major ballot access reform this year.

Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Lenoir Republican, is expected to file the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011 this week. It will be co-sponsored by Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat. The bill will dramatically reduce the restrictions placed on new political parties and unaffiliated candidates attempting to get on the ballot.

“The Free the Vote Coalition is a truly non-partisan alliance of alternative political parties and public policy groups joined together in the common cause of the right to vote,” said Jordon Greene, founder and president of Free the Vote NC in announcing formation of the coalition.

In addition to Free the Vote NC, coalition members include the Conservative, Constitution, Green, Libertarian, and the Modern Whig parties, the N.C. Center for Voter Education, NC Common Cause, Democracy NC, and the John Locke Foundation.

“These groups have joined together to work to restore the right of every citizen to vote for the candidate of their choice, a right currently denied by the state’s exploitative, unequal and free speech stifling laws that keep most alternative political parties and unaffiliated candidates off the election ballot,” Greene said.

Greene said that it was very significant that the coalition includes political parties and groups representing all shades and colors of the political spectrum.

“North Carolina has the second most restrictive ballot access laws in the entire nation,” noted Greene. “This scheme is deliberately intended to impede competition to the two major parties by placing unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on any potential electoral competitors through restrictive signature requirements unparalleled in most other states.”

Key provision of the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011 are:

  • Reduce the number of signatures a new political party needs obtain for ballot access to the fixed figure of 10,000.
  • Reduce the number of votes a new political party must get in order to remain on the ballot the fixed number 10,000 for any statewide candidate.
  • Reduce the number of signatures an unaffiliated candidate for statewide offices needs to obtain to the fixed figure of 10,000.
  • Set a fixed number of signatures for unaffiliated candidates to run for U.S. House, the state General Assembly and local office.

For more on the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, go to Free the Vote NC.

Wrights takes ‘stop all war’ message to Arizona

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 31) – People are ready to listen to a presidential candidate who is committed to proclaiming the message to stop all war, Libertarian writer and activist R. Lee Wrights told the Arizona State Libertarian Party convention Saturday in Phoenix.

“This message resonates outside the Libertarian Party,” Wrights told the Arizona libertarians. “Look at what young people are wearing,” he asked them to observe. “I see peace symbols everywhere. I feel like I’m back in the 60s.”

Wrights said an e-mail from a Norwegian man he received just before coming to the convention reinforced this belief. The man thanked him for an op-ed, “The state of the union is still a state of war,” featured on Antiwar.com.

“He probably didn’t even know I’m thinking of running for president, but he thanked me for the message,” Wrights recounted.

“We’ve got to stop all war in order to bring this country back to a stable position, economically and morally,” Wrights said. He is considering seeking the 2012 presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war.

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State of the union still a state of war

What was glaringly absent from President Obama’s state of the union address night, as well as from the response from both the Republicans and the Tea Party movement, is an admission that the real state of the union is a state of war.

The president only mentioned Iraq and Afghanistan towards the end of his hour-long speech, and uttered the familiar shibboleth of “support the troops” as an applause line to gain the longest sustained ovation of the evening. Neither Rep. Paul Ryan, speaking for the Republicans, or Rep. Michelle Bachman, speaking for the Tea Party movement, mentioned these wars in their remarks at all.

Most of the president’s speech was a classic example of elected officials speaking out of both sides of their mouth. While on the one hand calling for a freeze in federal non-security, discretionary spending, the president also called for increased federal spending for a litany of non-security, discretionary items ranging from roads to high speed Internet. Except he doesn’t call it spending money, he calls it investment.

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War is not moral

“Some explanations of a crime are not explanations: they’re part of the crime.” (Olavo de Carvalho)

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 24) — Every American who has ever worn a uniform should be offended and outraged by the claim by former President George H.W. Bush that the 1991 Iraq war was morally justified, said R. Lee Wrights, a libertarian activist, writer and potential 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee.

“I am outraged by the cavalier attitude about war and death this remark implies, an attitude apparently shared by his son,” said Wrights, an Air Force veteran. “Acts of immorality are inevitable in any war, even a justified war of self-defense. Therefore, no war is moral, and certainly not a war to defend or prop up oppressive governments.”

Bush and other key members of his foreign policy team spoke at a gathering at Texas A&M University marking the 20th anniversary of the first invasion of Iraq which began on Jan. 17, 1991.

In response to a question about the view that economics and oil were the real reason for going to war, Bush said, “I think (economics) was vitally important, but I don’t think that was the whole message by a longshot. It was the immorality of a big country – with the fourth-largest army in the world – taking over a member state of the U.N., just brutally taking it over.”

James Baker, secretary of state under Bush, added that it was “appropriate to use all the arguments” in favor of the war because, “We were doing the right thing.”

Wrights stated in a phone conference that he was flabbergasted at those statements. “If it’s immoral for a big country to take over a smaller country, then how can he justify the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Wrights asks. “But I shouldn’t have been surprised, since this is the same president who directed the U.S. military to invade a small country in Central America (Panama) in an action called Operation Just Cause.”

“Claiming they were ‘doing the right thing’ and citing moral justification is a tactic every tyrant, dictator and aggressor in history has used to vindicate their evil,” observed Wrights. “It is disgraceful, but not surprising, to hear similar arguments from American leaders.”

“War is never about morality or doing the right thing. It is always about power and control,” Wrights said. “In 1991, one autocratic state invaded another autocratic Muslim state. What should the United States have done? Nothing.”

“Libertarians believe it is never moral to use force, fraud or coercion to achieve political, social or economic goals,” Wrights explains. “Unfortunately, the politicians who run governments don’t think the same way. They are more than willing to use force, and sacrifice other people’s lives to achieve their goal of power.”

Wrights concluded by restating one of the themes of his campaign, “You do not teach people it is wrong to kill people by killing people. You only perpetuate war and sentence our children to death on battlefields far from home. There is nothing moral about sending someone else’s loved one to fight for something in which you believe. I want to bring those loved ones home.”

Wrights, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

Blame Arizona shooting on the shooter

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 13) – It will be all too easy and popular to claim that the shooting in Arizona that killed six people was caused by the vitriol prevalent in American political discourse, but as usual the easy and popular explanation of this tragedy will avoid the truth, R. Lee Wrights, libertarian writer, activist and potential 2012 presidential candidate said in a statement today.

“As a father of two daughters myself, I am especially saddened by the murder of a 6-year-old girl, and I mourn the death of all those killed,” Wrights said. “I pray for the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and all those injured.”

“I understand that in our grief it’s naturally for us to want to know why such a terrible thing happened,” Wrights continued. “So it will be easy and popular for people to attempt to explain this awful event by laying the blame on everything from so-called hate speech, to the rhetoric of the Tea Party movement and political talk show hosts.”

“Sadly, that won’t give us the true answer. Everyone will conveniently overlook the fact that this was the horrible act of one, very troubled individual,” Wrights observed. “No matter what other factors were present, no matter what pressures, ideas or words he was exposed to, one individual made the decision to commit this horrible crime.”

“We shouldn’t let grief, or political agendas, obscure the fundamental truth that the real culprit in this tragedy is the individual who pulled the trigger,” Wrights said. “Blaming this crime on anyone or anything else would be an unconscionable justification of his failure or inability to take responsibility for his own actions.”

“Unfortunately, it’s all too common in America today to justify bad behavior by blaming in on nebulous causes like upbringing, environment or society in general. No one is willing to take responsibility for their actions,” Wrights said.

“If the person who committed this heinous act has mental or emotional problems, that could mitigate his guilt, but should not excuse or justify his action,” Wrights said.

“I began this new year by resolving to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness, and focus on using the tools of peace, love, mercy and forgiveness against the weapons of war, hate, vengeance, and cruelty,” Wrights resolved. “I also resolved to remain civil in my political discourse and treat all people I encounter with the dignity and respect that is their due as human beings.”

“This terrible act only increases my determination to keep those commitments. If we are going to put an end to violence in our nation, if we are going to stop all war, then we must begin by stopping the use of war-like words in our political debates,” Wrights reflected.

“Words did not cause this tragedy anymore than words will bring back the dead or heal the wounded. So, we must be ever careful to not allow the words of talking heads and political pundits to push America into another unnecessary war,” Wrights concludes. “Let’s not be drawn into a war against one of the most precious freedoms we Americans still enjoy… the freedom of speech.”

Wrights, a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

Rep. LaRoque to introduce ballot access reform bill

Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-10) has agreed to sponsor an election law reform bill supported by Free the Vote North Carolina. The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011 would dramatically reduce the number of signatures required to a fixed figure for a new political party or an unaffiliated candidate to qualify for the ballot.

“I am proud to sponsor the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011,” said LaRoque. “North Carolina’s current ballot access laws make it very difficult for new political parties and unaffiliated candidates to get on the ballot. That’s not consistent with a representative form of government.”

“Our state’s election laws impose excessive and unreasonable requirements on new political parties and unaffiliated candidates that are far and above the standard prevalent in a majority of the other states,” LaRoque said. “I believe it’s time for North Carolina to follow their example and reduce those burdens.”

“We’re pleased to have Rep. LaRoque sponsor this bill,” said Jordon Greene, president and founder of Free the Vote NC. “North Carolina has some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the United States. Our election laws deny citizens their right to vote for candidates of their choice, their right to run for office, and their right to freedom of association to form alternative political parties to place candidates on the ballot.”

“Together, these regulations fundamentally degrade the purpose of government, of our representative democracy, effectively denying citizens real representation, something the founders were adamant about,” Greene said.

Key provisions of the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011 are to:

  • Reduce the number of signatures a new political party needs to obtain for ballot access to the fixed figure of 10,000.
  • Reduce the number of votes a new political party must receive in order to remain on the ballot to 1,000 for that party’s candidate for president, governor or any other council of state office.
  • Reduce the number of signatures an unaffiliated candidate for statewide offices needs to obtain to the fixed figure of 5,000.
  • Set a fixed number of signatures for unaffiliated candidates to run for U.S. House, General Assembly and local offices in line with neighboring states.

For the text of the bill go here.

Free the Vote North Carolina press release

Wrights’ resolutions for 2011 a declaration of peace

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” (Benjamin Franklin)

BURNET, Texas (Dec. 31) – All libertarians should take time at the beginning of the new year to read and reflect on A Libertarian’s New Year’s Resolutions written by the late Harry Browne, said R. Lee Wrights, libertarian writer, activist and potential presidential candidate.

“Harry was gifted with an ability to communicate libertarian ideas and ideals in a clear, direct and concise way so that anyone could understand what libertarianism is all about,” said Wrights. “His New Year’s Resolutions are one of the best examples of this talent, a classic of libertarian thought.”

“What Harry wrote in 1998 is even more relevant today, and especially relevant to me as I consider seeking the 2012 Libertarian presidential nomination,” Wrights revealed. “So, inspired by Harry’s thoughts and words, and as a tribute to him, I offer these Wrights’ Resolutions as the standard by which I will conduct that effort and my life in 2011:

“First and foremost, I resolve to remain focused on the paramount issue facing the Libertarian Party and our nation – to stop all war. No matter what other issues are raised, I intend to keep returning to the central point that unless we stop all war, whether foreign or domestic, individuals can never truly be free.

“I resolve to remain committed to ensuring that whoever is the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in 2012, he or she is committed to proclaiming a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war; and be equally dedicated to carrying a solid, uncompromised, unfiltered, unequivocal, and unapologetic libertarian message to all 50 states.

“I resolve to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness, and focus on using the tools of peace, love, mercy and forgiveness against the weapons of war, hate, vengeance, and cruelty.

“I resolve to keep from being drawn into arguments or debates on inconsequential issues, and to always remember that my purpose is to increase people’s appetite for liberty — not to prove that they’re wrong.

“I resolve to always acknowledge my good fortune in having been born an American, to refrain from dwelling on America’s defects and past mistakes, and to focus instead on how we together can realize America’s potential and promise.

“I resolve not to adopt the political campaign tactics of Republicans and Democrats, who use coercion, character assassination, evasions, fear, and intimidation in their unbridled quest for power. Rather, I resolve to remain civil in my political discourse and treat all people I encounter with the dignity and respect that is their due as human beings.

“Lastly, I resolve never to cease working to ensure that the Libertarian Party and our presidential candidate in 2012 is committed to proclaiming loudly, clearly and unequivocally – stop all war.”

Wrights is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 should be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. He has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

The 52-year old writer and political activist was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. and now lives in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All.

Wrights 2012 press release

U.S. justice argues citizens can’t defend voting rights in court

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys argued in a Washington DC Federal courtroom Monday that neither voters nor candidates had the legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of federal law.

The case involved citizens from Kinston who were challenging the DOJ’s overturning a municipal referendum in which voters overwhelming approved changing the city’s elections from partisan to nonpartisan.

The DOJ claimed that making ballot access more difficult doesn’t injure a candidate and therefore doesn’t given them grounds to sue. Writing in National Review Online Hans von Spakovsky called this argument “strained and hypocritical.”

“This position completely contradicts the position the department has taken on numerous prior occasions when it has argued that ballot-qualification requirements violated Section 5 (of the Voting Rights Act of 1965),” he wrote.

Spakovsky wrote that it was “embarrassing” and “astonishing” to see NAACP lawyer Anita Earls argue citizens don’t have standing to see the U.S. Attorney General or contest the constitutionality of federal law. “It was astonishing to watch the NAACP, which shared the government’s argument time as interveners in the lawsuit, argue for restricted access to the courts by aggrieved voters — like their members.”

For background on the lawsuit, go to Free the Vote NC.

Read the complete National Review Online article here.