“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H. L. Mencken
You can see this tactic at work in the faux controversy over House Bill 2. Former NC Gov. Jim Martin, a Republican, made some cogent observations on the issue in a recent News & Observer op-ed “HB 2: Who Did This to Us? We Did.”
He writes that “some young people have great difficulty dealing with their anatomy and hormones, in ways most of us could never begin to understand..”
On the other hand, he says “some people have had terrible experiences with sexual predators, and are fearful of laws that could make it easier for one to slip into girls’ locker rooms.”
But neither side wants to listen to the other. Nor do they need to, because Democrats and Republicans are safely ensconced in gerrymandered districts and have no need to appeal to moderates who have fled their respective parties.
The Libertarian Party has joined the growing list of organizations calling for the repeal of House Bill 2.
“The state has no authority to determine gender,” the unanimous resolution states. HB 2 also “unduly intrudes state authority into local decision-making and unreasonably limits the ability of the citizens … to govern themselves.”
In addition, the bill reduces individual rights because it “bans citizens from using state courts to remedy discrimination”
Nic Haag, Libertarian candidate for NC Senate 44, introduced the resolution. It was endorsed by General Assembly candidates Brad Hessel, NC Senate 15, Brian Irving, NC House 36, and Rob Rose, NC 37.
The convention was held in Raleigh last weekend.
The convention also passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the ban on counting write-in votes. The state does not count the votes for persons who haven’t gathered enough petition signatures.
This “amounts to the legislature picking and choosing which votes to count, sometimes yielding suspicious results like unanimous vote tallies in our statewide elections,” the resolutions says.
Six candidates for the Libertarian presidential nomination participated in a forum Saturday. They included former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 standard-bearer.
In other business, the convention elected at-large members to the state executive committee and adopted a revised platform. It also selected delegates to the Libertarian National Convention and nominated presidential electors.
Once again, North Carolina’s elections are under a cloud. A U.S. District Court panel just ruled two Congressional districts unconstitutional.
The people of North Carolina deserve a process where they choose their representatives, not the other way around. When it reconvenes in April, the state House should immediately consider and bring to a vote House Bill 92 to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process.
Under this bill, the redistricting plan would be drawn up by a legislative office and submitted to the legislature for an up or down vote. It is based on the system used in Iowa successfully for years.
For decades, North Carolina has had the most litigated redistricting process in the nation. Both Democrats and Republicans put partisan politics ahead of the interests of the people. As a result, elections were delayed and representation denied.
When the Democrats controlled the process, the Republicans cried foul and challenged the plans in court. Now that Republicans are in power, they act no better. Whichever party is on top invariably acts in the same, self-serving way.
Even though only two Congressional districts were ruled unconstitutional, redrawing the lines will have a ripple effect in adjoining districts. The problem goes far beyond using race to draw lines. The process is fundamentally flawed. The people of North Carolina need and deserve better.
The state Libertarian Party supports an independent, nonpartisan, open, and transparent redistricting process. Party registration, voting history data, and the incumbent’s place of residence shouldn’t be considered when drawing district lines.
Welcome to my blog, which will double as the website for my campaign for NC House 36. Read “Why I Am Running.” In short, I’m running because I believe the people of North Carolina can do a better job of running their lives than politicians.
There will be a $2 billion bond issue on the March 15 ballot called Connect NC. This is another bipartisan boondoggle with a deceptive name. The loan request is not for transportation funding or K-12 education projects.
The $2 billion will go into the “Connect NC” fund, a committee chaired by a whole host of politicians, who will divvy up 66 percent of the money to the NC college systems, and hundreds of millions of dollars to parks, zoos, agricultural “research,” and other political pet projects across the state.
The only thing this bond will connect is your wallet to the special interest groups that support it. As with most programs touted as bipartisan, the more bipartisan support a bill has, the worse it is for your liberty and your well-being.
Bonds are just deferred taxes. They are taxes on our children and grandchildren. It is simply a lie that this bond issue will not result in a raise in taxes. Someone will have to pay for the the interest when the bonds are repaid, and you can bet it won’t be the Democrats and Republican legislators, or the lobbyists and special interest groups who support this bill.
Since tyranny is usually better organized – and funded – than liberty, the effort to promote this bipartisan boondoggle program to increase the debt is well funded by special interest groups.
But a grassroots referendum committee, NC Against the Bond, is organizing a petition drive to oppose this debt increase. Go to AgainstTheBond.com and sign the petition to oppose this debt increase. Follow them on Facebook.
North Carolina will continue its tradition of unopposed elections in 2016. Seventy-two General Assembly candidates were either “elected” at the close of filing Dec. 21 or will be elected in the March primary. So in November nearly half of North Carolina voters will no choice about who represents them in Raleigh.
While it’s true gerrymandering is a cause, there’s another more significant reason – highly restrictive ballot access laws. It’s very difficult for a party – other than the Democrats or Republicans – to get on the ballot. It’s nearly impossible for independent candidates to do so.
These high barriers to ballot access thus effectively disenfranchise nearly a third of North Carolina voters, the unaffiliated, the fastest growing voter block.
Most voters don’t realize how the establishment parties manipulate the system through gerrymandering and restrictive ballot access. To qualify for the ballot a “new” party must collect in excess of 90,000 signatures. To run for statewide office without a party label you must hurdle the same barrier. Anyone who wants to challenge an unopposed incumbent in a legislative district or local office, needs to collect anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 signatures from registered voters.
It’s not gerrymandering, voter IDs, or early voting limitations that disenfranchises NC voters. It’s our ballot access lockout.
Is America on the cusp of a revolution that will usher in a new monetary order? The lessons of history tell us that no fiat currency retains its value for long or lasts forever. And as Shakespeare noted, “what’s past is prologue.”
Major episodes in monetary history often stem from political revolutions. Just as there are boom-bust economic cycles, there are cycles of optimism pessimism that drive cultural, geopolitical, and war cycles. American history reflects the ebbs and flows in social sentiment.
The Founders wrote gold and silver into the Constitution as legal tender. They did so not because the American Revolution was financed with sound money – quite the opposite. The Founders were keenly aware of the dangers of unbacked paper money because the Continental Congress printed huge volumes of it to pay for the Revolutionary war.
The Libertarian Party of North Carolina will host the only presidential debate scheduled in North Carolina. It is set for March 7 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. EST and will be webcast on Google Hangouts On Air. The debate will feature candidates for the Libertarian presidential nomination.
Carolina Journal Associate Editor Barry Smith will moderate the debate from a location in Raleigh. Candidate will participate from locations across the nation.
“We’re excited to be hosting a virtual debate with our candidates for president so that the public can see and hear their views on the critical issues neither the Democrats nor Republican candidates and parties will address,” said J.J. Summerell, state party chair.
“We especially encourage the 25 percent of North Carolina voters registered unaffiliated to watch, as well as independents across this nation,” he added. “National polls show that a vast majority of Americans want a choice outside the old parties. The Libertarian Party offers that choice.”
The debate will be held one week prior to North Carolina’s March 15 Presidential Primary. Participants in the debate will be selected by online poll conducted by the LPNC from a list of a candidates who will appear on the March 15 Presidential Primary ballot.
Those candidates are: Marc Feldman of Ohio; John Hale of Kentucky; Cecil Ince of Missouri, Gary Johnson of New Mexico; Steven Kerbel of Colorado; Darryl W. Perry of New Hampshire; Austin Petersen of Missouri, Derrick Reid of California; Jack Robinson of South Carolina; Rhett Smith of Texas, and; Joy Waymire of California.
BREAKING NEWS: So much for Republican grassroots indignation. The “new,” supposedly “grassroots” Republican party chair has caved in to the oligarchs. He agreed to a “compromise” that will now allow an additional “affiliated party committee” to be set up by the senior member of the Council of State (i.e. the governor). Gov. Pat McCrory has siged the bill (or course).
“As Chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, I’d like to express sincere appreciation to both Republicans and Democrats in our General Assembly and Council of State for placing particular emphasis on their absolute lack of morals, ethics and professionalism,” commented J.J. Summerell. “By stooping to new depths you have raised the LPNC, the Party of Principle, to new heights in the eyes of informed voters.”
by J.J. Summerell
In an eleventh hour back-door maneuver, the Republican leadership in the General Assembly rammed through a bill giving them the unlimited and uncontrolled ability to raise as much money as they want for candidates they alone select.
They’ll be able to appoint an “affiliated party committee” that won’t have to abide by the same rules and constrains that apply to parties and candidates. And if that doesn’t make a sufficient mockery of the law, individuals, lobbyists, and special interest groups will be able to give as much money as the want to these faux committee.
We agree with the Republican assistant counsel David Williams that this is a “poison pill” for the Republican Party. But it’s also a toxic potion for Libertarians, unaffiliated voters–and most especially the people of North Carolina.
We also agree with Rep. John Blust, one of 19 Republicans who voted against this bill, who said, “Honorable people do not conduct the publics’ business this way. The attitude reflected by the leaders in carrying this out shows a profound disrespect not only for the other legislators, but for the people we represent.”
About 60 days late and many, many dollars short, Republican legislators have finally agreed on a state budget. There are some commendable provisions but overall the budget is still not the best deal for North Carolina.
They continued moving in the right direction by lowering the personal income tax rate again. They also took a small step toward ending corporate welfare by eliminating renewable energy tax credits. But these positives are offset by adding a sales tax to some services, increasing in driver’s license and vehicle registration fees, and reinstating historic preservation tax credits.
Reducing everyone’s income taxes is good. But expanding the sales tax and increased DMV fees, while seemingly fair, will actually have a greater impact on those with lower incomes. That’s not good for anyone.
Overall, the budget increased 3.1 percent over last year. As the Civitas Institute notes, in the last 20 years, our state budget has more than doubled – a growth rate nearly three times the rate of population growth. Even after adjusting for inflation, general fund spending per person has grow by 50 percent over the past 30 years.
The worst part is the process itself. It has become overly politicized, secretive, and easily manipulated by special interest groups – even with one party in commanding control of state government. Passing the budget should be the primary business of the General Assembly during its ‘long session.’ Yet state legislators, Democrats and Republicans, have made it a habit of not meeting their constitutional mandate to pass the budget by July 1.
Another problem is that policy issues have become entangled it what should be just a spending document. Issues like teacher’s assistants, driver’s education, sales tax distribution, and tax credits are important policy matters. They should properly be debated separately and individually, on their own merits.
In short, the General Assembly should first decide what items the spend money on, and then decide how much money to spend on each item.
North Carolina taxpayers deserve better. They deserve a government that does not stifle innovation through regulation, subvert compassion through bureaucracy, and suppress achievement through economic manipulation—and in so doing, limit our potential to work together voluntarily in achieving shared success and individual fulfillment.
J.J. Summerell is chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina. He manages a benefits communications and enrollment firm in Greensboro.