Saturday, September 06, 2003

You Cannot Be Asking To Be Taken Seriously

As a campaign manager, I watched in awe as George W. Bush came to my home town of Indianapolis for a fundraiser. The man raised as much with one dinner plate- $2,000- as Brad might in the average two-week span. Of course, Bush is President, and Brad is running for City-County Council. I have no protest. I can appreciate supply and demand on this one. The President raised about $1.5 million with the event.

Roughly 200 people showed up outside the dinner venue to protest. The most common objections were to the dinner's price tag, with assertions made about the immorality of making politics a money game, and how $2,000 could feed so many people. Here's a link to protest video from Rtv6.

Here is my challenge to the Bush protestors: have your candidate walk your walk. Contact the person you want for the next President of the United States. Ask that person to refuse to raise any money. If that person has raised any money, ask that it be given away ASAP.

Then, see which happens first- your candidate agrees, or Bush reads the works of Karl Marx to Alan Greenspan's bedside at sleepytime.

I did a google search and discovered a site called I figured that this would be a clearing house for information on campaign dollars raised by Presidential candidates. It is. Sort of. A search of their site turns up the following number of responses to the following names:

Bush = 67
Dean = 3
Kucinich = 1
Gore = 0
Lieberman = 2
Kerry = 2

They have chronicled every stop by the Bush campaign, and every dollar reported thus far. It's impressive work. It's also impressive that Bush has already raised over $54 million.

To search the site, and to read their posts, one might conclude that Democratic Presidential hopefuls do not raise any money.

Alas. In 2000, more than $132 million was raised by a huckster politician, devoid of principles, and certainly not feeding the hungry. That was Al Gore.

What about this year?

John Kerry = $16,028,266
John Edwards = $11,936,277
Howard Dean = $10,547,980
Dick Gephardt = $9,750,802
Joe Lieberman = $8,151,575

I couldn't find this info on While they work hard to expose every dollar Bush raises and condemn it as evil, they don't even bother researching those on their side who do the same, though not quite as well. The info on the Democrats was found on a site called It's obviously a far less biased site than whitehouseforsale, and a much better clearing house for such information. is an arm of Public Citizen. Public Citizen is the tool of Ralph Nader.

Oh, in 2000, Ralph Nader raised $8,433,778 and accepted $723,308 in Federal funds. If the White House is for sale, can we assume from this that Nader was merely one of the low bidders? If he was abiding by his stated principles, should he have even been in the bidding? Couldn't Nader have left that Federal money alone for the hungry to be fed instead? So much for his principles.

Libertarian Harry Browne refused to accept any Federal dollars- on principle. Some day, maybe Ralph can live up to Harry.

I have no problem with raising money from willing contributors to support a candidate. Money is a tool, and is not the end-all, be-all. Democrats in Indiana should know this. After all, the 2002 Democratic Secretary of State candidate Fernandez outspent his Republican rival, spending over $1 million in all, and still lost, mainly due to negative campaigning.

Maybe there lies some insight for leftists: try to be positive rather than endlessly on the attack. Promote yourself and your vision. To be negative all the time is to confirm the absence of a vision.

So, I say bully for George W. Bush. Congratulations on collecting such a fat bag o' swag.

Wither Irony?

I've lost count, but I'm sure I've seen instances of this post-9/11 phenomenon more than 50 times now: the appearance of two bumper stickers on the same vehicle, one sporting 'United We Stand', and the other the Confederate Stars & Bars. Nobody with any clue at all what the Confederacy was can possibly endorse a slogan like 'United We Stand'.

Perhaps, therein lies the rub.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Libertarian Getting the Ink

While Libertarian candidates such as Brad get lost in the shuffle of politics in Indy- of the State, County, and City varieties- they get noticed in almost every other county except Marion. Prime example: Dean Barkley.

Dean is the owner of Extreme Outfitters. He was inspired to run for Mayor of Carmel, IN when the street on which his business is situated was closed abruptly by city government. Barkley and other retailers felt excluded from consideration by the closing, and Dean emerged as a sort of spokesman for the group. His comments were picked up by the Indy Star.

Dean is going to be an excellent candidate. He is respected by his peers, and is thoughtful and well-spoken. He may not be a favorite to win in a highly Republican city like Carmel, but he will put important issues in front of voters at least until November, such as the idea that government serves citizens (not vice versa), and open communication between government and businesses and residents.

The Star's Hamilton County edition subsequently had an article reporting Barkley's candidacy. It appeared as the headline on the Hamilton County section.

That article also mentioned two other Hamilton County candidates, Mark Schreiber and Rob Place. It's great stuff. I look forward to this kind of coverage for Marion County candidates such as Brad and Rev. Greg Dixon.
Campaign Update

When Brad Klopfenstein asked me to be his campaign manager, I told him that by any conventional standard, I'd be pretty useless to him. I've been in Indiana less than a year, and didn't even know the size or shape of his district.

In fairness, nobody knows the shapes of districts. They had been gerrymandered to shapes that Rand McNally never dreamed of up until this year, when they were redrawn. Also, Brad knows the lay of the land. He needs me to give him ideas, to manage some details, and to keep him going. That I can handle!

So far, Brad has raised more money than his opponents, combined. Shall I remind you that Brad is a Libertarian, and that his opponents are a Democrat and a Republican? Brad is definietly outworking his opponents, meeting with neighborhood groups and planning volunteer action throughout the district.

We've been having fun with the fundraising. He raised about $400 with a trip to a ball game. We're looking to have other social events as fundraisers rather than stuffy speeches.

We're getting the buttons, yard signs, and fridge magnets made up, moving things along. The next big step is to get the major media interested in saying more than the usual polite, 'oh-by-the-way-a-Libertarian-is-also-running' kind of mention. I am hopeful that at the very least the reporters will notice that Brad is outworking the opposition... and then print it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Other Wrongful Civil Disobedience

The Paul Hill story is the more widely reported wrong-headed civil disobedience story I've encountered lately. The other story was that of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) people who released 10,000 mink from captivity and into the wild.

The mink belonged to someone as property. ALF was guilty of the destruction of property.

Oh yes- destruction of property. Of the estimated 10,000 that escaped, only 9,000 were recovered. What happened to the other 1,000? From the Seattle Times:

"Brad Roesler said his family and neighbors set out traps and tromped through the woods with fishing nets and wire loops like the ones dog catchers use. While most of the animals had been returned to cages last night, scores of others died from dehydration or from being struck by cars. "

So, for a group that espouses the deep concern and respect for animal life, this was rather a boneheaded stunt, that ended up in the death of 1,000 mink sooner rather than later. Geniuses.

The spokesperson for a fur trade organization was left to talk sense and real concern for the animals.

Teresa Platt, executive director of the San Diego-based Fur Commission USA, said the mink had been hand-raised by the Roeslers. She said the mink don't know how to hunt for food or water.

"This is a great example of animal cruelty," said Platt, who estimated the damage at the farm at $500,000. "They're trying to terrorize the farmer into giving up his livelihood. That's ecoterrorism."

For those who think that property rights and ownership of animals, and respect for animals is incompatible, I will point to a free market solution that my camping-pal-in-laws, Cindy and David, subscribe to. I'm not sure that this is the one, but it is the same in spirit: the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

This is a farm where animals are raised for the purpose of living full lives until they die of natural causes. Those who support this more humane kind of animal liberation pay annual sponsorship fees, that support the feeding and care of these animals, as well as the salaries of the people who work there, the free range land they graze on, etc.

This is the free market at work- creating peaceful solutions to issues some people see as problems. It's all voluntary, and nobody is harmed, and nobody is deprived of their livelihood or property, and the animal rights supporter gets to exercise his conscience, all of which is very respectful.
One Less Moron

Paul Hill was executed today in exchange for having killed a doctor who performed abortions, along with the doctor's body guard. Hill acted on the grounds that killing fetuses is wrong. Hill apparently saw no irony or contradiction in this. Could he really have valued potential human life more highly than actual human life? His actions demonstrate that he did. Either that, or he was greatly confused.

From the CNN story:

Since losing his automatic appeals, Hill did not fight his execution and insisted up to the day before his death that he would be forgiven by God for killing to save the unborn.

"I expect a great reward in heaven," he said in an interview Tuesday, during which he was cheerful, often smiling. "I am looking forward to glory."

Clearly, this man was a moron.

I have no tolerance for violent civil disobedience. There is no difference between the Christian Hill and the Islamic suicide bomber. Their motive is the same: mystic justice. Their means is the same: violence. Their justification is the same: I meet God if I meet my death.

To complete this thought, consider that the state killed the man who killed the doctor who killed the fetuses. Whoa.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Apologies- Sort Of

The symptoms of Lyme Disease have proven to be somewhat debilitating. Mainly, I have experienced serious fatigue in the past two weeks, hence no activity here. At the same time, the website had been down for six days straight, hence no activity here. It's a shame because I had a lot of topics I wished to cover. Let's see if I can make up for lost time.