Tuesday, December 30, 2003

More Boortz, LP Convention

The January 2004 LP News hit my mailbox today, and from it sprung an insert touting the 2004 National Convention.

Anti-Boortz fanatics will be sad to note that he was touted on Page 3 with a photo and bio, but glad that he wasn't hailed above the fold on Page 1. That space of honor was reserved for that luminary and paragon of pro-liberty thinking, Jimmy Vaughn... the blues guitarist.

The anti-Boortz crowd should be plenty busy, though. The Convention will not only be hosting Neal, but two others equally objectionable to libertarian purists. Bootz is objectionable due to his pro-war position. The other two are Congressman Ron Paul- a REPUBLICAN from Texas, and pro-life at that; and Carl Milsted, Jr. PhD, also known as "The Incrementalist".

How infuriating is this! How DARE the LP host these heretical deviants?! Pro-war? Pro-life? These things are inherently at odds with (hum the Battle Hymn of the Republic) libertarian philosophy! An incrementalist? It's all or nothing, damn it! It's destination, not direction. If it need be nothing instead of all, then I'll take it and wrap myself in the comfort of my righteousness!!!

I am so looking forward to this Convention. I can't wait to shed the Losertarians who object to the inclusion of voices that flow from the same principles to conclusions that differ slightly from theirs.

The irony here is that the purists have been loudly anti-Boortz, but tend to hail Ron Paul as a returning hero every time he takes the floor. I admire Paul a great deal, as I do Boortz, but what I ask of the purists is that they be what they claim they are- consistent. If you're going to boot Boortz, then boot Paul, and Milsted too. Then rid your bookshelves of all Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand and a hundred others.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Help Not Wanted?

Here's intense hatred for you: Iran suffers a catastrophic earthquake with at least 20,000 dead. Israel offers help. Iran refuses! Per a spokesman for Iran's Interior Ministry,

"The Islamic Republic of Iran accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organizations with the exception of the Zionist regime".

Incredible. 'We'd rather all sink into the earth than take your stinkin' help!'

I found this item on the Shark Blog, which I frequently read. Thanks to the Shark!

I found no mention of this offer-refusal in my local media, or in the national stuff I sometimes browse. The AP story in the Indy Star mentions the assistance provided by the US, names others, such as the Swiss, British, Russians, and naturally, the UN.

Of course, this is why I frequently scan blogs, and why I only sometimes browse the rest.

Iran's hatred for Israel is hard for me to comprehend. The US named Iran as part of the Axis of Evil, and yet, American aid is good enough to accept.
Checking the Stats

This blog offers me a number of tools to see what draws people to read it. Look for the little square at the left of the page, and you can see what I check on every so often.

I had a lot of fun observing certain entries around the elections in November. Dean Barkley's mayoral run in Carmel brought a lot of hits to the blog. I was amused to see a certain Indy Star reporter's name on the hit list. My guess was that he did a Google search on himself. I'm sure he was pleased with the results. Har.

One thing I noticed falls into the Possible Foregone Conclusion department. I had a very large number of hits after people did Google searches on "Ceaucescu Execution", and variations thereof, immediately after the capture of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, I had linked the release of Uday and Qusay Hussein's autopsy photos with the release of the video of the Ceaucescu executions with the explanation of proof, along with the treatment of Mussolini.

I have not really made an effort to promote the blog, so the hit numbers are still pretty low. That's okay. I'm enjoying watching people discover the blog for their own reasons. It is gratifying to see some of you come back for more. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Not Booting Boortz

Neal Boortz has the largest audience of any radio talker who self-identifies as a libertarian. It's no contest, as his show is heard coast-to-coast. The nearest challenger I can think of is Larry Elder.

As the Libertarian Party is hosting its' national convention in Atlanta come May, and as Boortz hosts his program in Atlanta, it made perfect sense to convention organizers to schedule Neal to speak. What the heck, he was one of the featured speakers here in Indianapolis in 2002, addressing the 'gold ticket' conventioners at a fancy fund-raising dinner, and was well-received.

In fact, Boortz was welcomed with racous cheering. There was no apparent opposition, before, during, or after. Why would there be? He is easily the most prominent proponent of libertarianism in the media. Indeed, even Nadine Strassen of the ACLU was tolerated at previous conventions. And why not? Although we may not agree on everything, there is so much value in reaching out to those with differences: we can build bridges with what we agree on; we can learn what tactics work for them; we can show others that we aren't the crazy aunt that is best kept in the broom closet...

So, because it is so incongruous, it surprised me not a whit to receive an e-mail from a fellow LP of Indiana member, asking me to sign on to a petition seeking to boot Boortz from the convention line-up.

Feh? While it is to our credit that the LP is a party based on principle far beyond the GOP or Dems, it is to our detriment that many of our members have an ideological purity fanaticism that leads to these irrational witch hunts.

See, Boortz is guilty of thinking independently in his interpretation of the philosophy, and of the world. The purists hate realpolitik and pragmatism. They'll ditch reality in a heartbeat in order to get back to the orderly security of theory. Not Boortz. He has said repeatedly on his program that because of years of foreign policy mistakes, the United States is faced with a situation where we must initiate force against those who merely threaten us.

Like these petitioning detractors, I initially bristled against the idea. I have been committed to using force only to retaliate. However, today's situation is such that a terrorist with a nuclear, biological, or chemical device could wreak such havoc, death, and destruction that it would be irresponsible to wait for this threat, which so many deem inevitably coming to fruition. This is Boortz' reasoning, and I rather agree.

It would have been nice if, after World War 2, the United States resumed its relatively isolated position in the world, without troops stationed across the globe, not supporting both sides in China, etc., etc., etc. But we did, and with consequences. Should we ignore the consequences now that they are pressed up against our noses? At what cost?

The sort of libertarian that would sign onto the petition is the kind who would rather be ideologically correct at any cost rather than consider reality and put it to work. It reminds me of the Bolshevik who would happily cling to the dialectic while starving rather than engaging in a capitalist scheme to survive.

Instead of encouraging Boortz to go on stage so that they might be challenged by his thoughts, the petitioners would rather desperately act to keep him out, as though he were some sort of heretic who must be kept from the Santuary, lest he profane it with his mere footsteps.

I hope the LP sheds a whole lot of these types. It will be serious addition by subtraction.

I think it is revealing to see that of those 600 or so on-line signatures, only about two-thirds are legitimate. Many of the other third hilariously lampoon the whole proposition.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Better Response, But Not Perfect

Dean's response to the Hussein news was much wiser than Kerry's or Gephart's. Dean offered congratulations in his statement:

Dec. 14, 2004, WEST PALM BEACH-- Governor Dean issued the following statement this morning:

"This is a great day for the Iraqi people, the US, and the international community.

"Our troops are to be congratulated on carrying out this mission with the skill and dedication we have come to know of them."

Of course, he failed to congratulate the President. No surprise there. Then, I guess because none of the Dems can resist doing so, Dean went to a line that will not play- bring in the UN:

"This development provides an enormous opportunity to set a new course and take the American label off the war. We must do everything possible to bring the UN, NATO, and other members of the international community back into this effort."

The UN wasn't needed, as was shown by the capture. That is as plain as day.

Presidency Secured

I had previously figured that, with Bush's signing of the legislation authorizing the prescription drug giveaway to senior citizens, he had secured his re-election. Then, Howard Dean was annointed by Al Gore the Pious, which in my mind sealed the deal.

Now, Saddam Hussein has been captured. Can there be any doubt that Bush's approval ratings will soar?

It has been amusing to watch Democratic presidential hopefuls respond. John Kerry was quick to point out that Osama bin Laden is still out there. He's right, but that won't play. Dick Gephart was quick to point out that the US hasn't been including the rest of the world. It was just shown that the rest of the world wasn't needed, so that won't play, either.

It will be interesting to see who will be the first, if anyone does, to point to something that will play. Congratulating the president and the military might be wise.
Issue Number One

For most Americans, terrorism has been Job One, hence President Bush's relatively high approval ratings. Yes, I know, the ratings have been slipping, but they are going to go through the roof if the news of the capture of Saddam Hussein is true. Story.

I have held my nose on the war effort for some time. I thought it quite appropriate to go after Osama bin Laden after the attacks on September 11, but did believe it to be appropriate to go after Iraq. Was Iraq developing weapons of mass destruction? Undoubtedly, just as the Clinton Administration informed the nation. Has China? Did the USSR? Is there any doubt that those nations developed the weapons with us in mind? Should we have gone after them? Would I be here to write this if we had?

My greatest fear is that the US will perpetually be a nation at war. We can endlessly accuse nations of potentially having the United States as a target, and endlessly be issuing pre-emptive strikes. I don't trust governments that act pre-emptively based on what they think someone will do. One that does it abroad may just as easily do it at home.

Gun owners, I'm talking to you. If you have guns, you have the ability to kill. If you are a politically vocal gun owner, might a government official conclude that you are a threat, and should be locked up or taken out, just to be safe?

I know that the Hussein regime was as evil as they come, and I am glad for the Iraqi people that Hussein is out of power. I lament that we have not captured bin Laden, which IS Job Number One.

Question: Is it the job of the United States to overthrow evil empires? If so, who qualifies? The President has identified North Korea and the axis of evil. Iran is probably on the list. Where do we stop? China? Russia? Cuba? France? If this is our job, we're going to be busy for the rest of our lifetimes.

Now that Hussein is in our hands, let's end this thing. Turn the reins over the the Iraqi people and let their experiment in self-government begin.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

The Wide World of Sports

Every person uses tools to perform the work they do. A plumber uses wrenches and sealants. A landscaper uses mowers and rakes. Doctors use instruments. All use their minds to some degree or other, or should.

Athletes have their bodies as their foremost tool. Some people argue that athletes don't use their minds very much. I tend to give most athletes more credit than that, but I will have to concede that there is a group that clearly does not use their minds. In fact, this group is destroying the tools in order to make a point.

What kind of worker destroys his tools in order to demonstrate how oppresed he is? A moron? I guess some union strikers in a wildcat frenzy will do that... but I repeat myself... besides, their intent is to damage the tools provided them by the employer.

Honduran soccer players are destroying the tools, on a hunger strike. Not that I support the employers failing to make good on their end of the deal- far from it. It's just that it's hard to tell who is now harming the worker at the moment. It will be easy to tell in about a month.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

So It's Anathema? Big Deal

One of the biggest hurdles in taking the Libertarian Party from third party to major party status lies in the libertarians themselves. Stay with me on this.

Libertarians abhor government. They join a political party only with the greatest reluctance. Libertarians are living laissez faire, which means "leave us alone". So, it's anathema for libertarians to embrace the idea of becoming government officials.

Pity for us. You can't allow liberal Republicans and socialist Democrats to be the government officials and then also be surprised when they draft anti-liberty legislation or erect a labyrinth of red tape. In the language of my son Alex, "Duh".

In some parts of Indiana, there is actually an opportunity for LP members to be appointed to boards, such as zoning or planning, and some of our members are actually cringing at the thought. (Tell this to the LP of Ohio, where they just poured their souls into getting on the ballot. They have wet dreams about our opportunity.)

I understand the gut-reaction of the cringe. In a better world, government would be nice and small, and would leave us alone. Fact is, it isn't and it doesn't. So, who will it be? Us or them? Would you, as a libertarian, rather have a libertarian serving on a taxing body or a committed statist?".

I'll up the ante and point to what I do these days as an example of what being on the inside of the process can produce. I work for a County Surveyor's Office. Yes sir, I am inside the belly of the beast itself. I was hired by an elected official- a Republican- who has won re-election every time since 1977. I have found that he agrees with us on rather a lot. Not everything, of course, but he's a small government Republican. However, he has even asked me what it would take for us to replace the Democrats on the boards in the county!

Think about that possibility in terms of fiscal issues. If Democrats are on the left, and Republicans right of them, they meet in the middle, more or less. Consider what it would be like in some counties if taxing bodies were comprised of Republicans on the left and Libertarians on the right, meeting in the middle, more or less. Would that be of value to you?

Being alongside elected officials in the day-to-day work setting helps break down the barrier of common thought that goes, "if a Libertarian is elected, the city will be in flames within a week". I do my job very well. They see me do my job very well. They decide, "he's ok". They'll vote for me when I run for office. Moreover, being in government gives you the platform to talk about government in a real, germaine way... unlike Thanksgiving dinner.

I know that most libertarians are so because government is anathema to who they are. However, if we really want to change things, we'll have to get our hands dirty and do some things that may on first blush cause us to hold our noses. Who knows, though? You might even have some fun along the way. (For instance, I'm in Hamilton County, which is one of the most Republican counties in Indiana. I love telling Republicans that I could be one of them if they weren't such fiscal liberals! I love watching them cringe to that music.)

Look, the Declaration of Independence wasn't drafted by a bunch of people who sat around and theorized correctly about Adam Smith in cozy saftey. No, they did something they would rather have not done. They gave up their cozy safety and put their lives on the line.

I'm asking for much less when I ask libertarians to get off their debate society duffs, to put their money where their theory-gushing mouths are, and to get involved in government to affect change towards freedom. If you aren't willing to hold your nose and sit on a zoning board, YOU AREN'T WORTHY OF FREEDOM ANYHOW.

I Do Not Miss Cleveland

When I left Cleveland, I left a numbing mindset of clutching ever backward towards the past. I admit that one of the things I loved about Cleveland was the presence of big industry- steel, railroads, foundries, auto plants, and more. But, I love these things as functional giants, not the rotting hulks in closed-up mills and yards, and the ornamentation they have become in the entertainment district known as the Flats. These things made Cleveland a first-class city in around 1890. No more.

I left the punishing greed of the Democratic Party that rules northeast Ohio to the point that statewide, Ohio's Republicans are left of Indiana's Democrats. I gave myself a full 9.5% raise just by leaving Ohio, saving 4% in state income tax, 3.5% in municipal tax, and 2% in sales tax. The Democratic Party was innovative around 1900, with Mayor Tom. L. Johnson, the capital 'P' Progressive who made Cleveland the first city in the U.S. to own an electric utility. In better than 100 years, the Democrats have more or less owned the city, and look at the result. It was a first-class city that was loaded with towering industrialists such as John D. Rockefeller, and was an immigrant magnet around 1900. No more.
I Miss Cleveland

For the first time in my 15 or so months away from the ol' mistake on the Lake, I actually felt like I missed it once there. I was getting to where I was certain I would never feel such a thing, despite having spent most of my first 34 years there.

It wasn't the industrial landscape that I so love that moved me. I got to play an old game as I drove through the city, called, "I did a job here".

As a surveyor in the Cleveland area doing a lot of work for utility companies, I really blanketed the area. East Side, West Side, Downtown, outer suburbs- it doesn't matter. I can drive in any direction in the area for three minutes, and invariably I will be able to claim, "I did a job there". This is a game I used to annoy a co-worker as we drive across town.

It was a lot of fun to play. What I realized is that I had tangible evidence that I was contributing to my region. I could point to a telephone pole, a pedestal, a service cabinet, a vault, a manhole, and a hundred other structures and know that this was a result of my effort. I could see it every day.

I had no idea I could be so concrete! I know that I am having an impact in Indiana, both in the Surveyor's Office and in the Libertarian Party, but having it be evident almost everywhere was really gratifying.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Adios, Alex

It was so great to have Alex with me for four days over an extended Thanksgiving weekend. It was just like old times to be with him in Cleveland, and in our own little world. We went to Tower City in downtown Cleveland, went bowling, ate tons of food, visited with Grandma & Grandpa, played card games, wrestled, and generally had a blast.

It's tough saying goodbye to him- I hadn't seen him since getting married in June- but the upside is that Ame & I will be visiting him in January in Espana, and we get to look forward to that time when he will show us around his world, which is Rota and Andalucia. It will be a hoot!

I was chuckling as he squirmed through Grandma's, "look at how big you've gotten" -isms. I used to squirm to them, too. I spared him that corny spiel, but I did tell him many times that I think he's a great kid. It's no spiel. He really is a great kid.

Four days never passed so quickly.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A Republican Member of Congress Speaks

Ok, so this is cheating a bit in my quest to dispel the notion that I am a frothing lunatic due to my prediction that the GOP is running itself into a schism. Now Ron Paul (R-TX) has chimed in with his own 'hear ye, fiscal conservatives: abandon all hope in the GOP' message. It's cheating because Paul was the Libertarian candidate for President in a past life. Still, he's a Republican today- just like Andy Horning.

"The Medicare prescription drug bill passed by Congress last week may prove to be a watershed event for political conservatives in America. This latest expansion of the federal government, potentially the largest in our nation’s history, is firmly in keeping with the failed New Deal and Great Society programs of the utopian left. This leaves true conservatives, who believe strongly in limited government and identify with the Goldwater-era Republican party, wondering whether they still have a political home in the modern GOP. In the eyes of many conservatives, today’s GOP simply has abandoned its limited-government heritage to buy votes and gain political power in Washington."

Last week, Neal Boortz brought it home thusly, and I paraphrase, 'Today's Republicans are where Democrats were in 1963, and today's Democrats are where the socialists were in 1963'.

Yep. The statists are winning the war, but this schism will help the individualists clarify the objectives.

Monday, December 01, 2003

The Ink Keeps Spilling

There seems to be an endless supply of well-known or well-placed conservative writers willing to criticize the GOP for their free spending ways. It is pleasing to me that there are so many that do retain their integrity, and who do criticize when the GOP parts ways with principle. (On the left, there are some who will criticize the Democrats, but rarely the well-known, and less than that for the well-placed, and usually the pseudo-intellectual types such as Christopher Hitchens.)

Donald Devine, a Reagan administration official, joins the chorus over the $400 billion Medicare 'reform' / prescription drug transfer of wealth in his article entitled "What Should Reaganites Do?".

Why, join the Libertarian Party, of course, but he dare not say that. What he does say, and the numbers he uses again reinforce that I am not a frothing lunatic.

An ABC News poll recently found disapproval of Bush's job performance among self-described conservatives has increased from 14 to 23 percent. By contrast, Ronald Reagan wanted to cut the welfare state and was generally successful, being rewarded with committed conservative support in good times and bad. Conservatives may have no option in 2004 (other than staying home) but, if they want to recover the Reagan philosophy, they will get no assistance from anyone in party or government today, so they had better start devising a course of action by themselves.

Reaganites who care to be honest will have to begin to assert themselves forcefully while they still can wrest control of the GOP back to its' small government ways. Otherwise, the LP will be their only hope, like it or not.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Letters To The Editor, IV

What fun to be in Cleveland for an extended holiday weekend and to discover that the Indy Star has printed another one of my letters.

I am amazed that it ran as-is, since the thing essentially reads like ad copy. I am pleased and grateful. Is that redundant? I think so.

Couldn't Have Said It Better, II

I am becoming less and less a frothing lunatic as the chorus of committed conservatives and Republicans chimes in to criticize the $400 billion Medicare "reform" bill.

Cal Thomas' article is especially damning, chucking skewers at the GOP in general:

"Smaller government and less spending? That's a joke. Eleven years ago, Newt Gingrich, who would soon become Speaker of the House, blasted Democrats for seeing "no contradiction between adding a billion and a half dollars in pork-barrel (spending) for the politicians in their big-city machines and voting for a balanced budget amendment." Now that Republicans are doing precisely what Democrats did when they were in the majority, what shall we call these overspending Republicans? Hypocrites? Liars?"

Thomas asks, rhetorically, "Is it time for another revolution yet? Who's got the tea?"

I like the fissure that is emerging. Let's make it a chasm. We have the tea!

Friday, November 28, 2003

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

It must have been weird for fiscal conservatives to have to cheer Ted Kennedy and other liberal Democrats as they threatened fillibuster on the $400 billion entitlement program that just passed the Senate. Of course, they were in opposition because the deal wasn't destructive, er, large enough.

Reuben Navarrette's Friday column is excellent analysis. It's almost as though I wrote it on Tuesday. He gave AARP its' due, and even the Democrats the punch in the nose they deserve, but could have given the GOP a bit more of the what for. Still, good stuff!
The Meaning of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays celebrated nationally that I enjoy taking part in. Honestly- and I know how curmudgeonly this sounds- I find most holidays negatively disruptive to my average day. I prefer my average day to the average holiday, mainly because I find my self-esteem in my daily work than in my ceasing my work and making merry about things that do not matter to me.

I especially like the Independence Day celebrations, for obvious political reasons. I am always moved on Memorial Day, for the price paid willingly (usually) by our military. I try to work on Labor Day when I can.

I am not a religious man, so I do not get religious value from Christmas, Easter, or Hannukah. But isn't Thanksgiving a day of offering gratitude to God? Not for me.

Thanksgiving is a day for me to be grateful, God or no god, for my life and for those things in my life that bring me joy. I do not need religion to be grateful for Ame and my love for her. I do not need religion to feel joy at holding my niece for the first time. I do not need a the guidance of man's interpretation of an alleged deity to appreciate the warmth of my extended family. I certainly am not thinking of anything but myself and my son as I wait in excited anticipation for seeing Alex for the first time since June.

Gratitude is a privileged sensation to possess. It is rather akin to satisfaction. I am grateful for the progress I have made in my life. This progress was achieved through my effort and my skill, and little else. After all, luck is little more than opportunity meeting preparation.

I find depressing the notion that all gifts come from God, and that man is hopeless and helpless without the blessings of God. That perspective is the notion of the successful having hit life's lottery. Does man not have free will? Does man not make choices, good and bad? Are we merely pawns on a supreme being's chessboard? If so, I should be grateful for that, and give thanks? No thanks. I'll do it my way.

Take whatever value you can from Thanksgiving, and every other day. I try to do the same with Christmas, substituting the reunion with family over the celebration of the birth of Jesus. On the whole, though, living the average day in the present, means a whole lot more to me than commemorating something from the past.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Next, the Feathers

I give thanks this week for so much, but I will begin with the small political stuff.

President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Frist, and the rest of the GOP tar-wearers have just committed treason against the supporters of their party who have clung to the misguided, seriously outdated belief that the GOP is the party of small government. They may be a party of smaller government than the Democrats, but the Dems are the party of government just smaller than socialism.

I give thanks not for the $400 Billion price tag to this prescription drug plan masquerading as a Medicare reform bill. I give thanks not because my generation and those younger than I will have to pull the weight of the Gimme Gimme generation. I give thanks not because the Democrats have not a prayer in November 2004 of reclaiming the White House.

I give thanks because Bush, Frist, et al have just delivered the fiscal conservatives with a small degree of integrity, spine, or naked self-interest to the Libertarian Party.

This shall mark the finest Pyrrhic victory ever seen in American politics. Bush has purchased the votes for 2004 at the cost of the long-term viability of the GOP. Roll in the feathers, boys!

I know, I know... this analysis makes me a frothing lunatic. That's fine. Galileo was a lunatic... until he was shown to be correct. In January, I thought that the GOP would disintegrate by 2020, sending most of its members to the Libertarians, and the rest to the Democrats, leaving again two major parties, each with a starkly contrasted view. The Dems would represent collectivism, and the LP would represent individualism. With the Senate's passage of this hideous crapola, I will revise my estimate and predict that this split and consolidation will be complete by 2012.

Look at the postings on the Wall Street Journal for immediate evidence. Yeah, my response is in there. Why not spray gasoline on the Burning Bush?

Monday, November 24, 2003

Plenty O' Tar

I have my brush ready and a tanker truck loaded with tar. Line up the Republicans, please.

This is what passes for leadership from the "MBA President" on the domestic front: a hideous, monstrous redistribution of wealth from the healthy and young to the less-than-healthy and the more-than-young.

Give Bush this- he's consistent. He violates everything he should have learned in an Econ 101 class, beginning early on with steel, then with farms, then lumber, and now with prescription drugs. Mainly, the redistribution of wealth is inefficient to the economy despite the unexcelled efficiency in securing votes. Since spending has not decreased under this Republican president, this Republican House, and this Republican Senate, the money must come to the Federal budget in one of two other ways: via taxes or deficit spending. Shall we pay now or pay later? If the AARP is granted the ability to have their cake and eat it too, we'll go the deficit spending route.

Kudos to MSNBC for correctly noting the ploy by Bush, Frist & Co. as a drive for securing votes.

A dripping goo-wad of tar for the Senate Majority Leader, and bucket of the crud over the head of the President.

Now, line up the Democrats.

Only in the fantasy world that is contained inside Ted Kennedy's alleged mind could phrases such as these emerge:

He claims this $400 BILLION expropriation and transfer of wealth “starts the unraveling of the Medicare system.” Well, spit in my eye. If this begins the unravelling, what would be the booster? A trillion dollars?

And yet, I have to acknowledge that Kennedy is on to something here, even if unwittingly. From his Senate webspage, "Why would anyone want to make these destructive changes in Medicare, which has served senior citizens so well for almost forty years? The answer is a right-wing ideology that says government insurance is bad and private insurance is good."

Herein lies the difference between Republicans and Democrats, as Kennedy correctly nods to. A 'right-winger' believes that government insurance is bad, private insurance is good, and it must be funded by taking money from one set of citizens and giving it to another. A 'left-winger' believes that government insurance is good, private insurance is bad, and it must be funded by taking money from one set of citizens and giving it to another.

Ted, there's still plenty of tar in this tanker. Why not just jump in?

What needs to be challenged is the notion that one person's health care options are the responsibility of someone else. Neither the Republicans nor Democrats are willing to do this. Both believe that the right way for anyone to do anything is to take money form someone else to make it happen.

Ready to vote Libertarian yet? If not, what will it take? Where shall the line be drawn? Is it somehow not clear yet that Republicans and Democrats share the same basic premise for approaching domestic policy?

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Rant 2: The Best Tribute Isn't Even Being Considered

I absolutely DETEST the memorials considered finalists for the World Trade Center site. Has it been forgotten what the Twin Towers were?

They were selected by the terrorists for being symbols of capitalism. The Twin Towers were the defining skyscrapers in the defining skyline of the world's definitive financial center. To stand today at the Statue of Liberty and look across the River is to feel the void like a lost love as much to see the void.

There was a lot of talk in the days following the attacks that the American people must not allow the terrorists win, that we must proceed in the spirit of that hated capitalist mantra, 'business as usual'. How right that common wisdom was.

Well, THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON. It isn't that they ended business as usual. Thankfully, that has resumed. But the symbol of capitalism is gone and won't be replaced.

If I was in charge of the process, I would give the greatest tribute to those firefighters who ran up the stairs and to the people who perished while conducting business as usual. I would rebuild the Twin Towers IN EXACTLY THE SAME PLACES UPON WHICH THEY ONCE STOOD, with all dimensions exactly as before save one: the buildings would finish one story higher.

To let the terrorists know that they will not win, they must be given the symbolic 'fuck you' that they gave to the American Spirit. Raising the Twin Towers for all to see is the greatest pair of raised middle fingers the haters of America would ever see.

THAT would be the greatest tribute to those who died in the World Trade Center attacks. No candles or mirrors or list of names will EVER come close to honoring them as new Towers would.
Rant: I Do Not Care a Whit

I do not care about the details of real crimes involving a single victim and a single perpetrator. I do not care to know about murders, rapes, stick-ups, or assaults. When I see such details in the newspaper, my eyes keep moving. When they are on the TV, the channel is changed. Ditto the radio.

Of course, I am very glad to know that police do the job of apprehending the perpetrators of such crimes. I am pleased that prosecutors see to it that criminals go to jail.

I am sometimes interested in crime statistics. I like to have a handle on crime rates and the relative safety of locations. This is useful news. I can take the information and choose to avoid to go alone into some areas with this knowledge. With it, I can avoid other areas when I have my wife or son with me that I might venture into alone. I rarely complain about seeing crime statistics, because it is actual news I can use.

On the other hand, the crimes allegedly committed by celebrities- Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Phil Spector, Robert Blake- DO NOT INTEREST ME IN THE SLIGHTEST.

Why? Details of the violence instigated by Joe Blow against Jane Doe ARE NOT USEFUL NEWS TO ME. Does the alleged violence of some idiot suddenly become relevant to my life because the idiot is Michael Jackson? NO! Mainly, I am not the sort of man who would allow my 11-year-old son sleep in the home of a man who calls the place "Neverland".

Spare the argument that the parents of the children who did stay at Jackson's crib might have found this sort of news about the man useful. Allegations of Jackson's child molestation is a recurring story, and the fact of the news being splashed all over the media before did nothing to deter these parents here.

When I hear ANY details about Michael Jackson on the radio, I will do as I do when I heard details about Kobe Bryant: I will change the station.

Besides, it's all George W. Bush's fault.

Monday, November 17, 2003

I Could Have Written This One

George Will's latest column reads like one of my spiels on my late radio show, Laissez Faire.

Back when I lived in Cleveland, I traded messages with now-Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. I don't have the first, since it was an email, but I have the response from him. It is clear that he thought I was a Republican (what else could there be besides Republicans and Democrats?) because he replied, "I voted with the President on this issue". Well, that was the form-letter response he sent out to the other side. I didn't get that it was a form letter until after I sent the following reply:

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Attn: Dennis J. Kucinich
1730 Longworth Office Building
Washington DC 20515

Dear Mr. Kucinich: July 18, 2002

I am in receipt of your letter which responded to mine regarding steel tariffs. Thank you for your response. It is gratifying to know that the comments were read and considered

I am not quite sure what I wrote, since it was an email, so I would like to add a few more thoughts.

As I understand it, the problem with other nations “dumping” steel is that it causes there to be too much steel on the market, which causes the price of steel to plunge, making the relatively less subsidized American steel less competitive. If this is true, why were tariffs the solution of choice? Do you know what a tariff does?

A tariff on imported steel is a subsidy for American steel. No problem so far, since the point of the policy was to boost the US steel industry… except that any time you subsidize anything, you get more of it, because there is greater incentive to produce and try to gain market share. If the problem is that the price is too low, the tariff raises the price, and that looks good, right? Unfortunately, whenever prices rise, the incentive is to produce more, which, if acted upon, has the effect of bringing the price right back down because more steel lands on the market, which was the problem in the first place.

Wouldn’t it have been better to devise a policy that would have made it cheaper for Americans to produce steel? If the steel costs less to make, it is easier to meet the competition on price and thus sell the steel.

Besides, cheap steel, while painful for the steel industry, is a positive boon for every other American industry that uses steel. Cheap steel means cheaper cars, tools, appliances, bridges- anything at all that uses steel. In fact, on analysis, it looks like the countries that dump steel actually do us a favor. It may not be politically expedient to say that, but it’s true.

Come to think of it, though, it might be politically expedient to say all of this if phrased properly, after all, the brothers in the UAW must certainly appreciate the availability of cheap steel, as must machinists and other tradesmen and assemblers.

I would be very interested to know what, in your estimation, is fair subsidization. You cited steel that was “unfairly subsidized” by other nations. It interests me because other nations, especially the EU nations but also others, are now looking at our tariffs on steel and calling them unfair subsidies. In light of the host of commodities we have recently subsidized (farm products) or placed tariffs on- (foreign steel and lumber), we face the prospect of a trade war with many of our international friends. Do other nations have a point when they look at our subsidies and call them unfair? And what do American producers of fruit or cotton think of steel tariffs when they are told that tariffs will be placed on American fruit and cotton in response?

So, I have to say that I disagree with your assertion that “tariffs correct this imbalance”. On the whole, I think it is rather like driving on ice on W. 25th Street in January. You start to veer off-course, so you pull the wheel feeling like you’ve got the car under control, but the harder you pull the wheel to straighten out the car, the more you swing it side to side, and less in control. I think if you asked an economist at Cleveland State, you might hear the same thing.

Sincerely Yours-

Michael R. Kole
2436 Grovewood Ave
Parma OH 44134

There was no response from Kucinich on this one. The EU is responding finally, and will target products made in states like California and Florida so as to attack the Bush Administration on the grounds the battle is being fought- tariffs in exchange for the favor, or disfavor, of American voters.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Great Radio Day

Fridays have been great for radio since Rush Limbaugh has been on 'vacation' as George Mason University economist Walter Williams has been subbing. Today is his final fill-in.

Inbetween inspections, I'll tune in Williams on WIBC from 1-4pm, right after having listened to Neal Boortz from 10am to 1pm on WXNT 1430-am.

Two libertarians for six hours... in one day! Very great!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Dixon Backlash

Rev. Greg Dixon ran easily the highest profile race for City-County Council the Libertarian Party of Marion County has ever seen. And yet, he may have been more vigorously opposed by long-time libertarians than any other candidate in recent history. I can only chalk it up to a superficial take on the man.

Most know him as his father. Obviously, he isn't his father, but when most people hear the name "Rev. Greg Dixon", they recall the elder man, who took his Indianapolis Baptist Temple to the wall in a tax dispute with the IRS. The elder man is now retired. The younger man now leads the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. I can see the confusion if one heard, "Rev. Greg Dixon of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple". The younger man ran for office this fall.

In case anyone has never experienced a father and adult son before, I'll point this out about the Dixons: they share a lot of values, but they have their own ways of expressing them politically.

I was among the LP officials who met with Dixon The Younger for an exploratory lunch, where we asked him to consider running for office, from Mayor to City-County Council. We knew we had common ground on taxes, but were concerned about his stand on issues such as reproductive rights, drugs, homosexuality, etc. Never mind that as Mayor or City-County Councilman he would not be in a position to affect policy on reproductive rights or drugs... we still wanted to know. His answer was shocking.

He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that he personally opposes abortion, and does not support drug use or homosexuality, but he does not believe that government should make those decisions.

That sold me that he is a libertarian. From then on, I supported and encouraged his campaign. I have also found myself defending it.

I emailed LP members who live in Klop's district, trying to drum up support. In the message, I mentioned that Brad had put together a radio spot with Dixon. I received a curt reply from one members:

"Greg Dixon is no libertarian. Count me out."

One Lucius Alexander had a letter printed in the Oct. 22 Nuvo, thirteen days before the election, that trashed Dixon and Libertarians alike, assailing his candidacy as an axiomatic lack of integrity.

I defended Dixon with a letter of my own, which was printed the day after the election. Thanks, Nuvo.

Nuvo has since printed in the Nov. 12 edition a "thumbsup thumbsdown" slag on local Libertarians,

"Known for losing elections but sticking to principles, this time the party smelled victory and heavily promoted City-County Council candidate the Rev. Greg Dixon, anti-liberty on choice and fuzzy on drug legalization. Libertarians lost both the race and some credibility."

Naturally, if we are losing credibility with the socialist Nuvo, we are probably doing a lot of things right. I will point out again that reproductive rights and drug use are not something a City-County Councilperson can legislate, so the critique is pretty irrelevant.

So, I'd like to know which libertarian principle promoting Dixon violated. OK- I can think of a few. He ran an active, vibrant campaign. He ran to win. Those are hard for the professional iconoclast wing of our party to accept. He raised money. He went door-to-door and met the voters. Those are hard for the air castle-building debate society wing of our party to accept. But he was plain that those things he does not personally support, he does not want government to dictate on.

How I LONG FOR candidates who enunciate this! How right that this sentiment was expressed by an LP candidate! Rev. Dixon expressed glorious tolerance with this position on these issues, something I am betting his detractors have not even considered giving him credit for.

He deserves credit for it.

That is why I wrote the following letter to Nuvo (who really should link their published letters as they do their articles):


Should we gather from Lucius Alexander's letter regarding Libertarian city-county council candidate Rev. Greg Dixon that all who refuse to comply with authority are "sleazy"? Or setting fire to their own house?

By that logic, the brave civil rights activists who sat-in at lunch counters merely "sleazy" and "obstructing" the proper mores of the day. Certainly, Rosa Parks was not following her conscience, but merely acting out in reckless defiance. Yes, Mr. Alexander, Parks should have known her place and found her way to the back of the bus, where she might have more properly passed the time drafting legislation to present to the Birmingham city council for the consideration of eliminating Jim Crow.

Far too many people react to the violation of their consciences with quiet acquiescence. A few rare individuals are true to their principles, no matter how grave the threat, and no matter how they may be perceived.

Rev. Dixon is one such man. People like Rev. Dixon make this world a better place for having the courage to do what 99.9% of the population lacks the resolve to undertake. The Libertarian Party reached out to Dixon because he is a man of sterling character and integrity. Agree or disagree with his positions, you know he holds them as a matter of deep, heart-felt conviction.

I must concede that these are characteristics not usually found in those running for public office, and I can sympathize with Mr. Alexander's bewilderment. However, if you want something other than business as usual from officials, you must be willing to vote for those such as Rev. Dixon who sometimes refuse to say, "yes, sir. I will obey."

Sincerely Yours-

Michael R. Kole
Vice Chair, Libertarian Party of Marion County

Besides, the LPMC has run other candidates who personally oppose abortion, such as Andy Horning and Webster Smith. I have never heard of any outcry against them. In fact, those two gentlemen have been revered by local libertarians. It's about time that the Rev. was too.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Lesson For Libertarian Candidates

In the previous post, I have shown some numbers for Brad Klopfenstein's campaign. Remembering that Brad took 262 votes, or 5.38%, take a look at the totals for Precinct 11-1:


Votes / Vote%
6B P. MUUMBA ABDUALLAH (DEM) 83 / 39.34%

70 votes is 26% of Brad's 262 total votes. What's the deal? Is this the most Libertarian precinct in Marion County? Heh.


Votes / Vote%

Only one stinkin' straight party vote for the LP. So what gives?

Precinct 11-1 is Brad's home precinct. Brad got out and went door-to-door here more than anywhere else. He is well-known by his neighbors as President of his Homeowners Association. He approached his neighbor-voters with a simple message: "I am your neighbor". This message works and needs to be employed in the future by ALL LP candidates, even lineholders. This is the low-hanging fruit!

Consider the math: Brad took 70 votes in his precinct. Let's assume instead that he was a lineholder at home. If he was, it's fair to assume that he would have taken 5% of the 201 votes cast in this race in this precinct rather than the 38.46% he got. He would have gotten 10.5 votes. We'll be generous and round up to 11. That means that he has 59 less votes overall, leaving him 203 votes. His percentage of the vote plunges from 5.38% to 4.16%. In a smaller district, the home precinct matters much more due to being a greater percentage of the whole race.

A Boatload of Impropriety

Ever since arriving in Indy, I had heard from fellow Libertarians that the inner city Marion County Democrats used a lot of dirty tricks at the polling place. I took it all with a grain of salt because I have held the belief that both the GOP and the Dems use dirty tricks. Historically, for every Democratic Boss Tweed, there was a Republican Boss Cox. I never reacted too sharply on behalf of accusers, because they lacked mirrors. Recall the Dems who could point to Florida in 2000 while ignoring their own tactic of using cigarettes to lure the homeless to the polls in Minnesota, where voters can be registered at the polls on election day.

Anyhow, I strongly doubted that much of this nonsense would transpire in an election featuring a mayor's race that was a foregone conclusion a full year before the election. Boy, was I wrong.

The polls opened at 6:00am, and I arrived at my home polling place to vote at 6:02. At 6:14, I arrived at another polling place, Trinity Episcopal Church, to serve as a poll watcher. Immediately, I found a girl distributing literature for the Democrats beyond the 'no electioneering beyond this point' sign. I advised her that she had to be on the right side of the line, to which she responded, "it's dark outside". As the sign did not read, 'no electioneering beyond this point unless it's dark outside,' I had her move, advising her that I would be outside with her if she needed to feel safe. I went inside to advise the judge, who turned out to be a Democrat. He also pointed to the darkness, and I reiterated my point. He made a snide remark about Libertarians being election day amateurs and Democrats being 'professionals'. I discovered that the Democratic precinct committeewoman was the mother of the Judge. She was also the wife of an inspector, and the mother of another paid election official. Another of her sons sat inside wearing a baseball cap promoting Democratic at-large candidate "King Ro" Conley. There was a pile of Democratic literature sitting on a chair 15 feet from the poll.

Before 6:30am, I had seen electioneering and nepotism.

I went out and stood outside with the girl to distribute literature. She mentioned being 16 years old. I asked her if it was her keen interest in politics or a day off school that had her out here. She conceded that it was a little of both. I figured she was pretty honest, so I drilled her with a battery of questions. I found out that she is not a member of the Young Democrats club, but a member of Speedway High School's Key Club, where she and about 30 others volunteered to participate in the elections. Somehow, all of them were distributing literature for the Democrats.

By 6:35, I had seen the use of child labor.

I stayed there until 8:00, leaving because turn-out was very flat, and went to Crispus Attucks Middle School. I was looking forward to going there, as it was once a high school, and home to basketball legend Oscar Robertson. He attended Crispus Attucks when Indianapolis still had segregated schools. At Crispus Attucks I saw amazing nonsense.

A very nice elderly man stood outside to distribute Democratic literature. The first hand-off of literature I observed was done while his arm was around another elderly man and as they were walking beyond the 'no electioneering beyond this point' sign. I mentioned to him that doing this was electioneering. He grinned and laughed, "I know!" I reminded him that it was illegal. He laughed again, "well, I know. I'm sorry". We had this exchange better than 10 times throughout the day.

The Republicans didn't bother to send a poll watcher to either of these polling places, but a Ward Captain did come by and observed the same thing. He made the same complaint with the same result- none. He said he was going to make a call to the Board of Elections.

I chose not to make too great a fuss since the nice old man knew about 90% of the people coming to the polls- almost all elderly black folks just like him. It was an amusing scenario. The voters would approach and I would get to them first, handing them a palm card extolling the virtues of a vote for Brad. I would say, "please consider voting for Brad Klopfenstein for City-County Council. He's endorsed. Thank you." The nice man would put his arm around the voter and confidentially ask, "now, you're going to get the job done, aren't you?" He would hand them a Democratic palm card that instructed the voter how to vote straight ticket. Occasionally, he would follow them right up to the ballot box itself. Not wanting to violate electioneering laws myself, I would scramble to remove the partisan pins I had on my shirt so that I could enter the sanctum to pull the old man out. He would laugh and apologize for "forgetting".

I went to other polling places throughout the day, and at 6:00, I was again at Crispus Attucks. The poll closed, and I removed my pins so that I could enter and observe the closing procedure. There I observed a pile of 'voided' ballots. I noticed that every one of them had a straight ticket vote for the Republicans. Some of those had the straight Republican vote as the only mark on the ballot. Others had both the Republican and Democratic straight ticket, making it a genuine void. A couple of the voids had the Democratic straight ticket and a vote for Brad, making it a genuine void, but telling me that handing them his palm card had an effect. I'm sure one of the nice old men 'helped the voter correct his mistake'.

How much of this was illegal? Probably a good portion of it. How much of it was legal but stinky? Another good portion, no doubt.

I'll say this again, though. The Democrats were well organized in the inner city. The people who worked the polls were not Abduallah supporters. I checked by asking. Many didn't even know who he was. They were purely Democratic Party people. You could have had Newt Gingrich or a hamster running for City County Council as a Democrat, and I have no doubt that the party faithful would have been there to do their jobs. Their jobs included staffing the polling places for better than $100/person, calling those who hadn't voted yet, providing rides- including cabs- to get voters to the polls.

I concluded that the LP will get nowhere in these inner city precincts without an organization to match the Democrats. Hell- the Republicans are nowhere without it. Doubt it? Here are the results of the whole 15th District:

CITY-COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 15; Precincts Reporting 42 / 42 (100.00%)

Votes / Vote%
6B P. MUUMBA ABDUALLAH (DEM) 4,080 / 83.73%

A very Democratic District! But hey, we used to get excited when our candidates got 2% in such districts, so 5.38% is pretty fine. Where did Brad's votes come from? Not Crispus Attucks. Here are the results for Precinct 7-1, at Crispus Attucks:

BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL 138 / 100.00%

Votes / Vote%
DEMOCRATIC PARTY (DEM) 129 / 100.00%

Votes / Vote%
6B P. MUUMBA ABDUALLAH (DEM) 136 / 98.55%

Zero straight party for the Libertarians. Zero straight party for the Republicans. 129 for the Dems. How did those two votes for Brad and the Republican get by?

Precinct 7-6 results, at Crispus Attucks:

BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL 7 / 100.00%

Votes / Vote%

Votes / Vote%

Tiny precinct. I can take a zero here.

Results for Precinct 12-3, also at Crispus Attucks

BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL 166 / 100.00%

Votes / Vote%

Votes / Vote%
6B P. MUUMBA ABDUALLAH (DEM) 137 / 85.62%

This result actually makes me feel great. 11 votes for Brad isn't a lot. It isn't even enough for second place. But in a district like this, I cannot help but believe that handing out his palm cards had an effect. It further makes me question the zeros in Precinct 7-1 especially.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

So Much To Say

Too much, in fact, and I'm pretty burned out, so I'll summarize. I'll flesh this out later.

There were some major bummers: Libertarian incumbent (how wonderful that sounds!) Phil Miller was defeated in his Greenfield city council race; Rev. Greg Dixon finished third in his Indy city-county council race; Brad did not get double-digits in his race; No victories in Noblesville; No upset for Dean Barkley in Carmel.

Major breakthroughs: Miller got 47% in losing- no landslide against, as is always predicted after a Libertarian win, along with the city in flames; Dixon's 14+% was highest ever for a Libertarian in a 3-way partisan city-county council race; Klop got 34.3% in his home district, narrowly trailing the Democrat, who had 38.8% there. By the way, the Dem had about 84% overall, so that mark in the home precinct is awesome; the Noblesville losses were with 43% by Rob Place and 40% by Mark Schreiber; Dean took 27% from a man who had $150,000 more to spend.

I witnessed with genuine awe, and genuine horror, the efficiency of the inner-city Democrats. They do a lot of things very professionally, and a lot of things rather improperly. That will have to be an item all by itself.

Monday, November 03, 2003

'Twas The Night Before The Election...

Nah, forget it. I'm not that cute. But tomorrow is election day, which means I will be up at 5:00 so that I can dress for the day, vote at my home polling place, and then go to a District 15 polling place in support of Brad Klopfenstein, where I will be until the polls close. After that, party at the Press Club.

Let's recap: Brad's running in a district that has recently voted almost 80% Democrat. Brad is not the Democrat. Nor is he the Republican. Hopeless for a Libertarian? No way! We're not delusional or crazy enough to think that it's a win or nothing deal, so we have plenty of secondary objectives.

1. Win Lockerbie, Brad's home neighborhood and a handful of precincts in the area surrounding Lockerbie, thereby building a base.
2. Come in second, ahead of Republican Phil Schoffstall. That would be an excellent achievement!
3. District-wide double digits would be a great success.
4. Demonstrate to the Marion County LP the value of running an active campaign. Rev. Greg Dixon and Brad are really the only two running active campaigns in Marion Co., and it should be apparent in the results. Dixon walked his whole district. There are some streets that were walked and others that were not, mainly due to limited resources. Just as we have no doubt that Dixon will fare well, and may even win, we have no doubt that Brad's numbers will be higher where the hands were shook and the literature distributed. Time to take the LPMC to the next level.
5. Add party members.
6. Show the voters that the LP's candidates are not kooks or anarchists, but good people with good ideas.

We've already accomplished #6. We'll know tomorrow night whether or not we've accomplished #2-4. #5 will show up over the next two months. Brad earned the F.O.P. endorsement over the other two. The big thrill lies in knowing that something good yet unexpected will come out of Brad's candidacy. Someone he met may be inspired to become a candidate or a supporter. One of his issues may be co-opted by someone who wins office or even by one of the other parties. Something great always comes out of an active and good candidacy.

All of that will make the first drink at the Press Club delicious.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Evidence of a One-Newspaper City

First, let's be fair and give credit where credit is due. Today's Star has an excellent pull-out Voters' Guide section that identifies all of the candidates on the ballot, and carries their brief answers to four 'key' questions. This is good stuff, and sadly absent in many other top newspapers.

That highlight is tarnished by a horrible City & State section that features the following:

- Just two days before the election of the Indianapolis Mayor, 29 City-County Council positions, and a host of other offices in communities in the greater Indy area, the only "Election 2003" article on the front page of that prominent section covers one of three underdog Republicans candidates for Governor... a 2004 race. Couldn't that have waited just one more week? Or five? Shouldn't the space have been for any of the races in the election two days away, rather than the one 367 days away? The Star got the '2004' graffic right on the website, by the way.

- As if that wasn't enough, on page B3, there is a second article on the same man, in the same race 367 days away, by the same writer, Mary Beth Schneider. Wow.

- In the interest of fairness, I guess, there is an article on the two Republicans who are extreme underdogs in the race that is 367 days away and not two days away, on B7.

One can only surmise that stories on the minor Republican contestants in the far-off governors race somehow hits the target with the Star's demographic(s) of choice for the race that is 367 days away to be so highlighted in the City & State section over the race that is two days away. One can further conclude that if there was another real daily paper in town, the crucial City-County Council races would get proper coverage. Good as the capsule coverage is, it still could have been so much more.

Speaking of proper coverage, I find the coverage of the Marion County LP's press conference, and the substance contained therein, appalling.

Here is the LP press release:

Patrice Abduallah lists donation from city fund

Libertarians call for Abduallah to exit city-county council race, seek investigation of mayor’s GIPC actions

As a usual practice, the Libertarian Party will occasionally pull Republican and Democrat campaign finance reports.

While reviewing the campaign finance report of Patrice Abduallah (Democrat seeking the City-County Council District 15 seat) that was filed with the Marion County Election board Oct. 17, we noted a donation of $3,450 made to Mr. Abduallah on Sept. 13 by the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC).

This donation is inappropriate for the following reasons:

GIPC is a 501c3 corporation. All corporations are limited by Indiana law to giving no more than $2,000 combined in a calendar year to all candidates who are seeking local offices. Mr. Abduallah received almost 1½ times that amount.

Quoting the GIPC’s own website, "Funding for (GIPC) Action Grants comes from application fees paid to the city by businesses requesting tax abatement." Most importantly, we believe that some of those public funds may have been used to help fund Mr. Abduallah’s campaign.

Additionally, Mr. Abduallah’s campaign finance report indicates that there is $755 in cash missing from his campaign fund between April and October. It also lists the repayment of a loan for $500 when no loan has ever been listed in his report.

The Libertarian Party will be requesting that the following actions occur:

That the entire $3,450 be immediately returned to the City of Indianapolis.

That Mr. Abduallah withdraws from his city-county council race.

That Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi begins an investigation into the $3,450 donation from GIPC to Mr. Abduallah.

Additionally, the Libertarian Party of Marion County will be filing a complaint with the Marion County Election Board regarding the improper donation from GIPC to Mr. Abduallah.

GIPC is a nonprofit organization that implements the Neighborhood Action Grant program. Application fees for tax abatement and other private donations fund these grants. GIPC is run out of Mayor Bart Peterson’s office on the 25th floor of the City-County Building. It falls under the responsibility of the Deputy Mayor for Public Policy.

The Libertarian Party of Marion County finds this all very disturbing. We also have the following questions regarding GIPC:

Why is an organization housed within Mayor Bart Peterson’s office making political donations?

Why is GIPC using public funds for projects that are not included in the city budget? This puts spending outside of the control of the City-County Council, which by law is supposed to control the pursestrings.

Why is it that when organizations default on the conditions of their abatement, the clawback penalty is awarded as a grant by the mayor to community organizations instead of being returned to the county budget? Amounts from organizations like United Airlines and Bindley-Western make a substantial impact on the county budget.

How could Marion County Treasurer Greg Jordan and Marion County Auditor Marty Womacks not be aware of this sketchy revenue stream?

Are there other questionable uses of grant money by GIPC?

Are there other agencies that bestow public funds upon candidates?

To the objective reader: Does this release contain a personal attack on any individual? Does it contain a smear? Is it a slam? Or, does it ask questions? Should these questions be asked, given the information provided? Do the questions merit investigation by public officials in a position of oversight, by watchdog groups, and by the press? When filling out the forms, the applicant is warned that they are to be filled out correctly, for to do otherwise is to commit perjury.

The LP could have inferred the possibility of incompetence on the part of the person filling out the form, but did not. Lying could have been inferred, but was not. Questions were asked, with restraint, and in the interest of the public.

Here is the Star's original story:

Candidate fixes error as Libertarians complain

October 29, 2003

The Marion County Libertarian Party on Tuesday criticized Democratic City-County Council candidate Patrice Abduallah for an error on a recent campaign-finance filing.

The statement, filed Oct. 17, included a $3,450 contribution from the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, an arm of city government that is not allowed to make political contributions.

Abduallah said the listing was a typo -- it should have read "Greater Islamic Progress Committee" -- and filed an amendment Tuesday correcting the error.

Abduallah is running in the heavily Democratic 15th District, which includes portions of Downtown, the Near Northside and the Westside.

Just a typo. No problem, folks. Nothing to see here. Move along. Picture the cop in South Park, as I do.

Remembering that this was a non-story, here is what the Star wrote several days later, in their Sunday edition:

No pulling punches

Politicians, and the people who work for them, become different people in the days leading up to Election Day. This year has been no different.

The week started off with Brad Klopfenstein, executive director of the Indiana Libertarian Party and a City-County Council candidate in Downtown's District 15, holding a news conference to slam Democratic opponent Patrice Abduallah.

Libertarians held forth at the Indianapolis Press Club to attack Abduallah for a $3,400 contribution that appeared on his campaign finance statement as coming from the "Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee" -- a quasi-governmental agency legally barred from giving contributions.

Of course, by the time cameras were rolling, Abduallah had said the item was a typo -- it should have read "Greater Islamic Progress Committee" -- and had filed an amendment. A reporter called Klopfenstein the night before to see whether he would still hold the news conference.

He would, he said, admitting that the move might be "a little sensationalistic."

So, who is guilty here of a slam? The unnamed Star reporter or the LP? Who is guilty of an attack? The unnamed Star reporter or the LP? No pulling punches: that would be John Fritze, who is the unnamed reporter. He, along with the anonymous editor, appear to be different 'reporters' when writing collectively under the cloak of the 'Public Interest' column.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Many Inspections Means USA Today For Lunch.

While I do devour the newspaper, I enjoyed a Hardee's 'Thickburger'. They really are terrific fast food. Busy times in the field means the 'Across the USA' section, which offered two positive stories that should have gotten wider coverage.

From Palmer, Alaska, "Phillip Mielke, 44, a minister who fatally shot two burglars at his church in Big Lake, was acquitted on all counts. He had been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide."

I like a preacher who packs heat, and I like even more a sensible jury.

From Washington D.C., "The police chief supports Mayor Anthony Williams' push for stronger penalties against juvenile offenders. Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey said many crimes committed by those under the age of 18 are not child's play. The city's culture of violence will change only when people understand the consequences of their actions, he said. "

I like a rational mayor in a crime-addled city. I like even more a rational police chief supporting a rational mayor in a crime-addled city. Go figure- two high-ranking public officials talking about cause and effect. It warms the heart and clears the bleary eyes.
Well? Which Way Is It?

I've never been a fan of the phrase, "it's all relative," but I can see the distinction in the following case.

In the US, collectivist Democrats (is that redundant?), Republicans (is that, too?), and other economic authoritarians are fond of farm subsidies, often on the grounds of boosting the poor and oppressed who happen to be farmers.

However, outside the US, these same subsidies were denounced in the 22nd Socialist Congress, as reported in today's USA Today. Delegates "called for an end to agricultural subsidies in the United States, the European Union and Japan, saying they were strangling economic growth in developing nations."

I guess there is just no pleasing meddling busybodies. They do give socialists here a good reason to fear their international comrades: the poor here are viewed as the rich everywhere else, and will be treated with the same regard as the Bolsheviks treated owners of mom & pop stores in 1917.
Need More Hours!

Life has been so full lately. I was telling Ame how I had a minute to reflect on my 13 months in Indiana, and the full immersion. I have so many exciting things going on, I am finding it extremely difficult to keep up.

I am the manager of an active campaign that can use every waking minute I have to offer. I have a refinancing deal needing my attention. My trip with Ame to visit Alex in Spain needs final details solidified. And I haven't called Mom in a while. We want to buy a house next year and I may run for office myself, all of which will require a lot of planning and work. This blogging isn't priority #1, but it sure helps to clear my head for transitioning between tasks.

Tonight was hockey, which means I'll be awake for a good while. It wasn't my best game, but I'll chalk that up to wearing a face cage for the first time ever. It really was harder to see the game. I'd always been told that at first it is, but really downplayed it. No goals, no assists, but good aggressive penalty killing and a +1. I'll take it.

I have had a few requests for details on the questions raised by the LP of Marion County regarding the Abduallah paperwork. Follow this link for the LPIN press release. This link will give the Indy Star's brief report.

It interests me that the Star report does not even mention either of Abduallah's Libertarian opponents: Brad Klopfenstein (even though he was at the press conference) and Republican Phil Schoffstall. Could it be that they don't care to work against their endorsement of Abduallah?

It interests me to see if this story will ever be picked up in earnest. RTV6 and Channel 13 each ran segments running 60 seconds or less yesterday on their early evening news, but not on their late news.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Making Waves

Brad was doing his homework- checking to make sure everything looked right with the pre-election paperwork he filed, and that of his opponents- when he discovered something a bit odd: Democrat Patrice Abduallah's form listed a donor that happens to be a public entity.

What are the possible scenarios? 1. He received money from a public entity; 2. He made a significant error on his form.

If 1. is true, then either something is amiss with either that public entity, the candidate, or both. If 2. is true, there is something amiss with the candidate's effort.

So, the LP went to the press this morning to lay out its findings. That's about all we are going to do about it- put the info out there and see if it has merit.

I'm betting it's a mistake of some kind. Still, a significant mistake made on a campaign finance form strikes me as a telling sign. After all, the City-County Council has control over the power to tax and to spend. One need not be a CPA to be a Councilperson, however, a basic ability to tend to important details should matter to the voters of Indianapolis.

Let's see if the voters of District 15 notice and if they change their 80% Democratic voting habits.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Status Check

It amazes me how capitalism is the whipping boy for the world's woes, when it is merely a system of interactions, not a motive.

Capitalism is that system by which individuals own property and control the use of it. In my three-word definition of both capitalism and libertarianism, it comes out like this: you own yourself.

Many people ascribe greed, avarice, and a host of other negatives to capitalism, when it is so clear that these motives are just as common- if not moreso- in countries that are less capitalist than the United States. For a fuller definition of capitalism and libertarianism, I use this: "you are free to do what you like with your life so long as you do not initiate force or fraud on another human being".

After failing to see anything of interest in the political coverage of this morning's Star, I turned to the New York Times best seller's list. There at the top of the Hardcover Non-Fiction List is Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?"

I won't make the crack about Moore's book being in the Non-Fiction list that is so common. What I will point out is that Moore attacks capitalism, yet Moore is a capitalist.

Observe that his book is not atop the "Hardcover Most Given Away to Libraries List". Nor is it on the "Hardcover Produced by a Non-Profit Organization". Nor is it atop the "Hardcover Produced by a Collective List".

Interestingly, even though Moore himself claims the book is a collaborative work, with a team of fact-checkers poring over every assertion, Moore takes sole credit for the work on the front cover. His books are sold as property to anyone who can afford to buy them. They are not subsidized by the government. They are not sold at a reduced price to those with a lower income. Readers do not flock to Canada to buy Moore's books at a discount (Amazon.com saves you the trouble).

Of course, that is all as it should be. Michael Moore owns himself, and is free to do what he likes with his life so long as he does not initiate force or fraud against anyone. As far as I can tell, he lives out my philosophy to a 'tee'. It does make me wonder why he rails so against the very way he lives his own life, though...

Flipping through Mother Jones is always an excruciating experience for me. The mag has so much potential in being a self-proclaimed hellraiser, but they are so interested in curbing the corporate power they see across the globe that they turn a blind eye the monstrous government power here in the US.

Corporate power does leave me leary, but not in fear, as it does Ma Jones. (A Google search for 'Mother Jones' turns up their link with the description, "A bimonthly magazine of investigative journalism that exposes the evils of the corporate world".) After all, corporations are a device of ownership. Corporations are staffed by people who want to earn money, but rely on voluntary interaction. People in corporations who want to earn money have to offer me something worth my trading my money, or they don't get it.

Can you imagine Wal-Mart rounding up people who haven't bought anything there and forcing them to go to the store and buy things?

Government power is different. Governments are a device of management. Governments are staffed by people who want to manage human interaction, but rely not on voluntary interaction, but on compulsion. People in governments who want my money do not have to offer me something worth my trading my money. They get some of it by intercepting it from my employer before it gets to me, and the rest via the threat of force.

Ma? Given the difference, why so afraid of corporations? You can picture- imagination unnecessary- the IRS rounding up people who haven't paid Federal Income Taxes.

Interestingly, as Mother Jones pushes the socialist from my old neighborhood, Dennis Kucinich, touting his progressive protectionsim in their new issue (not on the web yet), they are just like Michael Moore in being capitalists by accepting scads of advertising dollars from other capitalists, including a few big multinational corporations, like Toyota and Virgin.

The ads are the most fascinating part of Mother Jones. There are ads from Non-Profits such as the ACLU and Amnesty International, but the vast majority are from capitalists. Aveda makes hair products. Eden Foods makes soy milk. Pax World offers mutual funds from companies that pay CEOs less, workers more, are non-defense contractors, etc. These companies are pure capitalists, operating for their own selfish reasons, from the principles they choose, not from ones imposed upon them.

Of course, that is all as it should be. Mother Jones Publisher Jay Harris owns himself, and is free to do what he likes with his life so long as he does not initiate force or fraud against anyone. As far as I can tell, he also lives out my philosophy to a 'tee'. It does make me wonder why his magazine rails so against the very way he lives his own life, though...

The bitter irony is this: capitalists don't really care what your motives are. If you have a product to sell, whether or a book or a magazine, a hybrid car, hemp products, whatever, capitalists say, "welcome to the marketplace, may the best seller win". Indeed, capitalists are incredibly tolerant people, dealing with the competition of other sellers that threaten their very livelihood, even if they dispise the motives of the producers, allowing the choices of consumers to dictate. Capitalists are willing to live side-by-side. Socialists and other attackers of capitalism, on the other hand, are incredibly intolerant and very eager to eliminate the competition of those they dislike, lobbying vigorously to erect laws that would stamp out the producers and methods they dispise, unwilling to co-exist and so contrary to their stated beliefs in tolerance and co-existence.

The other bitter irony is that Mother Jones and other anti-capitalist mags, suhc as the Nation, have more advertising than their pro-capitalist counterparts, such as Reason or Liberty.

Status? Sanity still does not prevail.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

We're on the Radar

Almost a year ago, LPIN State Chair Mark Rutherford told me that we would know that the Libertarian Party was making serious progress whent he media found it in their hearts to begin shoving daggers in ours.

We must be making enormous strides.

I'll never forget my delight over the coverage of the 2002 elections, where all three (D, R, & L) candidates were featured in capsules in the Indy Star. Sure the Libertarian candidates weren't being raved, but their vital statistics were posted just like the others. What a difference a year makes.

Every error was reported. If one our candidates was late for a forum, it was reported. When Democrats were late or completely AWOL, it was not reported. If our candidate was simply a line-holder, it was pointed out. Republican line-holders were not identified as such. After years of silently scoffing at our candidates for their sometimes bush league dress code, our attempt at professionalization was mocked with the feckless help of a candidate who underdressed at a function.

The Star hinted that endorsements might be forthcoming for LP candidates, or in their words, "the best people, regardless of party affiliation". The Star did not endorse a single Libertarian. The Party had 21 of a possible 29 city-county council candidates running, earning pre-endorsement recognition. At the same time, the Star's 'Election 2003' print version graffic (not viewable on the Star website, unfortunately) has a logo for the Democrats and Republicans, but not the Libertarians.

NuVo printed a very nice feature on Rev. Greg Dixon, only to follow with a disgusting attack letter (not available on Nuvo's website) in the next issue. Balance, I guess.


So, my initial response was to see red. Then, who else but Mark Rutherford should remind me that these stabs are good news. They mean that we are on the radar. Besides, it's all George Bush's fault.

I am anxious to get to Election Day. I can't wait to compare the numbers from the last off-year elections to this year's. I'm betting that we will average 5% this time, across the board.

Of course, the sort of press 'help' we're getting could make a guy think we could even get 10%.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The New Chairman

I read a series of one-liners designed to attack one candidate and to promote another in Friday's USA Today. Here's the line:

"I think the President's philosophy is that if you're rich, you deserve it, and if you're poor, you deserve it."

Issued by the Chairman of the committee to re-elect Bush? I would have thought so. If Bush ever issues a statement that clear about his own way of thinking, I would consider voting for the man. However, this 'zinger' was issued by Howard Dean.

Next thing you know, Dean will start saying things like, "Bush thinks each individual owns himself," or "Bush thinks that people should be able to do what they like with their lives so long as they do not initiate force or fraud against another person". Incredible that anyone could think of these as epithets.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Excitement in the News.

I am found once again in the ironic position of eagerly awaiting the next printing of the Indy Star. The Editorial Page staff has been dropping some whoppin' hints that they are going to endorse some Libertarian candidates in the City-County Council races. At this moment (12:40 am), the Tuesday online version is not yet up, *grumble*.

Naturally, I really want to see Brad Klopfenstein earn the endorsement, but I am also eager to see Rev. Greg Dixon get the nod, too. Both of them are running far more active and serious campaigns than their opponents, and that should count for something, even if you do not share the Libertarian viewpoint. These are the obvious choices, but I am also hoping that a surprise is lurking out there.

Maybe Webster Smith, who was excellent in a candidate roundtable forum I witnessed, will be chosen. Maybe one of our at-large candidates will be endorsed. In any case, I'll be dashing for the online version of the Star each morning this week in a way I rarely do.
Go Yankees!

This is a bit late in the game, but things pretty much followed form: the Yankees, with their tradition of excellence, never panicked and defeated the Red Sox, with their history of finding ways to lose. It was amazing. Ame & I sat down to watch Game Seven of the AL Championship Series with the Sox ahead 5-2. I looked to her and said, "the Yanks have this one. The Sox will let them back in." She rolled her eyes, but sure enough...

The Cubs took a 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series, prompting a co-worker to buy the champaign. I gently reminded him that these were the Cubs, a team who has never won two Playoff Series' in the same season, and that it wouldn't be too unusual if they found a way to lose. I didn't even tell him that the Marlins are a team that has never lost a Playoff Series in their history. He walked off muttering, but sure enough...

What amazed me about the Cubs' wipeout was a poll that was conducted shortly after it was over. It asked for the cause of Chicago's collapse. Many votes were cast for the fan who interfered, others voted that Manager Dusty Baker left his starting pitchers in too long. What got the least votes was that the Marlins beat the Cubs. What got the least votes was correct. The Marlins overcame HUGE odds, showing real character, coming back when all looked hopeless. I like that.

I'm still pulling for the Yanks, though. I favor a long tradition of excellence to a budding one. My call was Yanks in five at the start, and even though the Marlins are a spirited and likeable bunch, I'm sticking with my prediction. I could be wrong, but hey- either way, a tradition of excellence will march on.
A Weekend in Chicago

Ah, a visit to Wrigleyville, where the Cubs fans do knash their teeth and sometimes wail, and where the Cubs merch is sold at a discount- especially that shirt with both the Cubbies' and Marlins' logos on it. Ame & I actually did step foot on the concrete outside Wrigley, and she snapped a cheesy shot of me in front of the Big Red Sign.

We were there to visit her cousin and family, as they have a new baby, Isabelle. She's adorable, and has Ame raring to go for a child of her own. Gulp.

Observations of Chicago, especially the north side:

1. I enjoyed the industrial landscape of Gary, Indiana and Chicago. I hadn't realized how much I missed it in being away from Cleveland. I think I can safely say that it is one of the only things I miss about Cleveland. Trains, factories, steel mills... yum yum.

2. I don't think I have seen as much revolutionary anti-President stuff since Reagan. Stickers were plastered all over every sign, dragging down and making ugly pockets of the residential areas we passed through. Why is it that the fiercest adherents of public property are the most eager to wreck it?

3. More to come.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Looking Forward to Friday's Rush Limbaugh Show

Yes, I know that Rush won't be on. That's ten percent of why I'm looking forward to tuning in. The ninety percent that matters is who will be on: Walter Williams!

Williams is not the smoothest delivery ever to grace the airwaves. He is, however, extremely skilled at explaining economic principles in plain language, using common examples. He uses these examples to guide his politics, as I think anybody intelligent person should do.
The War on Success

That's another way of saying, "I was rooting for a Cubs-Red Sox World Series," or, "I was rooting for the lovable losers". Alas, the Cubs are toast, and I have no doubts that the Yanks will dispatch the Sox tomorrow night.

Thomas Sowell's latest column is entitled, "The War on Success," but he doesn't talk about baseball at all. He talks about the attack on wealth in the U.S. I'd like to think that my comments on the baseball playoffs supplement his article nicely.
Klop Campaign Chugs Onward, Upward

Uphill, more like. It's tough enough to run as a Republican in a district that tends to vote about 80% Democrat, but like trying to turn a lump of coal into a diamond for a Libertarian to run and win in such a district. And yet, Brad Klopfenstein chugs on.

Tonight, members of the campaign team gathered to sift through the list of registered voters in order to find citizens who might be inclined to vote for Brad over the slated Democrat. We stuffed brochures and fridge magnets into envelopes for tomorrow's mail. Over the next few weeks, Brad and the team will continue to knock on doors throughout the district, and to visit neighborhood associations and churches.

Brad has been on hand to monitor the pathetic, money-wasting, time-wasting ballot dispute between Democrats and Republicans, in order to protect the status of Libertarians on the ballot. (Click this link for his letter to the Indy Star some three weeks ago.) Out of his constant attendance, he has gained greater respect with the local news media, earning quotes in Star articles and a positive feature on a recent Fox 59 broadcast. (Click this link to the LPIN website, and then click the link to the broadcast.)

He is doing so much right, and deserves to get so much more in return, but we will probably have to take solace in achieving secondary objectives after the election. He wants to win all of the precincts in his home district, and stands a good chance of doing so. He wants to gather more votes than the Republican candidate, and almost certainly will. He wants to win some of the precincts outside his home district, and should take a handful. He wants to win converts to the LPIN, and certainly will do this too. This is the ground work Democrats have done over the past 20 or so years, and it has served them well, converting a Republican city into a Democratic one.

For me, the most frustrating thing is knowing that Brad's main opponent, Democrat Patrice Abduallah, is doing next to nothing. He's mailing it in, in his own way, sitting back patiently, trying to give us no ammunition, banking on the voting trends of the district to take care of business for him. It's frustrating to be able to predict that he is probably using a winning strategy.

It's frustrating to know that so many citizens will be happier to vote for a Democrat who sees fit not to campaign hard before considering a vote for a Libertarian who does, but those are the results of Democrats earning the votes over years. But the lesson is that the work must be done in order to put Libertarian candidates in the same position 20 or so years from today.