Those Seductive Feds

“Constitutional conservative” Congressman Matt Gaetz proudly voted for a bill (HR 1393) that allows the Federal Government to tell the States how they have to write their State income tax laws for people who work in the State for short periods.   I’m talking State, not Federal, income taxes.

Last time I checked, the 10th Amendment says it is up to a State to decide how it wants to impose taxes, with the exceptions of things like unconstitutional poll taxes and interstate commerce matters.

Don’t get me wrong. If I had my way, States would not impose wealth destroying income taxes at all, but I also know our Republic functions by limits on government. Matt obviously does not like 50 individual States experimenting on their own, nor does he trust that the ones with the best laws will get more business simply by market forces. He would rather tell them all what to do. Federal power is so seductive, and he is feeling comfortable with that.

Matt will make a big deal out of how this law will simplify complicated tax matters. So what. He forgot that centralized political power, like this bill, leads to centralized control, centralized command economies (like those Russkies used to have), bigger Washington taxes, bigger Washington egos, and finally bigger mistakes. He wasn’t sent to Washington to do any of this.

Matt’s new motto: “Take a walk on the wild side.”

Pete Blome

Chair, Northwest Florida Libertarian Party

 

Steve Scalise

The recent shooting of Congressman Scalise and four of his colleagues in Alexandria VA. shocks decent people everywhere. Panhandle Libertarians condemn this violence, and wish them all a speedy recovery.

To my mind, and as terrible as it sounds, this shooting was bound to happen. Democrat and Republican violent rhetoric is scale high. Politically related violence inside the USA seems higher than anything seen since I was a kid in the 1960’s. We are fed a daily media diet of protesters attacking other protesters, of comedians shaking severed heads, of plays in the park assassinating the President, and how the “Deep State” is a government unto itself. It seems those dishing out justice actually lead by political standards. No evidence leads to investigations while big admitted crimes are ignored (Bush, Obama, Clinton, Comey, Clapper, Brennan, for example). It is truly a head shaking, sad situation. At times like this, there is always some nut ready to pick up a gun.

But, more and more, you also hear how people are coming to realize that using force to achieve social or political goals leads only to tragedy and more violence. You using force to defend your life, liberty or property against violent criminals? You bet. Government using force for double standards, creating victimless crimes, taking your property without charges, or regulating your liberty away? That’s not OK, and just makes life worse.

It just happens to be a Libertarian message too.

Pete Blome

Chair, Northwest Florida Libertarian Party

 

Matt’s Torturous Path

On 24 March, Congressman Matt Gaetz told a Shark Tank interviewer “I agree with the President we ought to have every option on the table when it comes to advanced interrogation techniques.”   In plain English, advanced interrogation means torture. He thinks torture should be a legal tool of the United States used by the President. That is a self-destructive mistake for the country.

I’m sure Matt doesn’t see it that way. With the war on terror, torture has gained some undeserved popularity. He knows this topic hits an emotional hot button with a lot of folks. Every radical Islamic terrorist attack somewhere stokes a common desire to fight fire with fire. TV shows have gritty public servants thrashing bad guys to within an inch of their lives to find the kidnapped girl.   The scariest story line of all is the maniac with an atom bomb who won’t tell people where it is, and it has to be beaten out of him. People want simple solutions, and Matt Gaetz gives it to them. Of course, he doesn’t mention the horrendous price we pay for doing so.

Legalized torture is dangerous to that precious thing known as the American way of life.   With the word out that we will use torture, our enemies will be less likely to give themselves up. That will lead to the unnecessary death of our soldiers. It sets the stage for revenge attacks in a never ending cycle of retaliation. It removes any semblance of moral superiority from our legal or military actions. It turns its back on hundreds of years of the progress of civilization starting with the Crucifixion, and violates reams of existing law. It doesn’t recognize individual rights, only the force of the State over a person. It caters to mob rule. The innocent can suffer as readily as the guilty. In addition, it doesn’t work. When Secretary of Defense Mattis stated that “beer and cigarettes” were better than enhanced interrogation techniques, he wasn’t just speaking morally. The Air Force taught me a person under torture will say anything, do anything, to stop it. John McCain himself made all sorts of bogus admissions to crimes on North Vietnamese Radio under torture. These kinds of limitations make the whole idea unreliable in the extreme.

Legalized torture would be like introducing cancer into our Republic. It causes physical and mental lasting harm, with no remedy, to people who could be innocent. It trashes due process. It won’t even work, but it is popular. And to think Matt wants to give such power to the President, a separate and supposedly equal branch of the government. You have to ask yourself, what do we become if we do embrace torture and its threat to liberty? H.L. Mencken wrote to every problem there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong.   Legalized torture is that kind of solution.

Matt Gaetz is an educated man, lawyer, and officer of the court, but he chose political expediency over representation, tough words over a clear vision, and dangerously advocating an ever increasing Federal power to impose its might over the individual. His cynicism in supporting such a policy is both overwhelming and heartbreaking at the same time. The First District is chock full of people who are at the tip of the military spear. It makes me wonder if he ever bothered talking to them at all.

The lawyers I’ve known say it used to be considered better to let a guilty man go free than let an innocent man suffer under the law.

As a Congressman, Matt Gaetz has chosen a new path, and it ain’t pretty.

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and a retired military officer

 

Gaetz – More of the Same

Matt Gaetz revealed his plan for Obamacare in the Pace Town Hall this past 23 February, but it is the same self-destructive, uni-party Washington drivel as ever. He learns fast.

Despite declaring multiple times that “Obamacare is a threat to the economy!” and “I am a constitutional conservative!” Matt also said that whatever the Republicans come up with, the new healthcare bill will protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Those simple words spell the end of any kind of free market competition in healthcare insurance. It makes no sense for anyone to pay for insurance if they can get sick without paying and can get the same coverage as those who do. It solidifies government subsidy over 20% of the U.S. economy, decreases the quality of care, and raises taxes and insurance prices as well, as we have all seen.

Gaetz continues the anti-liberty legacy of Obama and George W. Bush, namely, socialized medicine. That is now becoming part of the American psyche. What Matt proposes is not constitutional, conservative, fiscally sound, or even compassionate to his fellow citizens. It is just bribing people with their own taxes to get votes, just like the Democrats do. Predictably, it will fail.

The solution is real competition in a genuinely free market. Get rid of the statutory monopolies, legal privileges and barriers to entry Congress voted the medical and insurance industry big players over 50+ years. That would really improve healthcare.

Pete Blome, Chair, Northwest Florida Libertarian Party

Such a Nice Lady

Wendy Williams is a well-known talk show host on TV. I don’t really watch the tube much, but I occasionally catch snippets of her show during those few times I channel surf. Those glimpses made me like her. Her appeal is that you can step in on the conversation much like visiting a neighbor for coffee, mentally engage her in pleasant banter, and coming away feeling better for it. It is a feel good show.

One of her topics today (22 Feb) was Tiffany Trump. It turns out that this daughter of the President was recently “shunned” at a New York fashion show. Some of the people around her at that show said they refused to sit next to her, and the few that did looked like they were in no way even trying to be civil. Wendy had photos. The reason? Her father is the President, it was New York, those people did not approve of him, so they took it out on the daughter. Wendy’s straight-faced reaction? “Tiffany, go home to your dad, put your head on his shoulder and cry, and tell him what happened.”

The lack of empathy stunned me. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked any more by those who I thought were decent people suddenly doing bad things, but I still am. Here we have a private citizen daughter of the President wanting to go to a public fashion show, presumably to relax and enjoy herself, she gets publicly ostracized, and Ms. Williams approves of it. She further recommended that Tiffany succumb to the boorish behavior of the maddening crowd at that show by being emotionally weak (she wasn’t) to bring pressure on her father to change his ways. Ms. Williams apparently has no scruples against using her nationwide show to advocate using a family member of the President in a disgraceful fashion to influence public policy. I’m sorry, but that is totally messed up.

I have no love for Mr. Trump. I am a Libertarian, and I do not approve of state heavy solutions to America’s fiscal or social problems in general, whether they be Trumpian, Republican or Democrat in origin. However, going after innocent family members is going too far. Ms. Williams has a show watched by millions, and it obviously can send a bad message. It gets repeated in the social media to infinity. So far, the Trumps have had to endure the MSM accusations that the First Lady was a prostitute in Slovenia, an NBC writer that actually said their ten year old son would grow up to be a serial killer, and now Tiffany shunned by a foppish crowd that considers itself too “principled” or “noble” to even sit next to her at a fashion show. What self-important nonsense. Forget that this never happened to the past President’s family. It is simply the sort of sociopathic behavior that ruins lives. It makes it far more difficult for a republic to function. Just because a mother or father are important public figures is not a reason to subject their families to the flamethrower of outrageous public ridicule. Instead of showing judgment and perhaps empathy for Tiffany, Wendy jumped on the MSM Bandwagon of bloody mindedness.   I am disappointed in her. It showed no class.

If we do not have limits to our ire, especially where no force or fraud has been used, everything we cherish will burn. That serves no one. There really is a time to condemn uncivil behavior. Picking on a political figure’s uninvolved family is uncivil, and hurts all of us in the end.

Wendy, I used to think you were such a nice lady. Now, I see something different.

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and a retired military officer

 

 

 

 

 

Us

There are more than just a few bi-partisan people out there who think Libertarians should just pack it in. “Become a wing of the Republican or Democrat Parties,” they say. “You’ll never have any luck going head-to-head with the Republicans and Democrats.” For them, it is simply a waste of time to be in a third party.  Why even try?

They may have a point. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No sense being a damn fool about it.

But if it weren’t for us, where would our family, friends, community and the nation be?

Who would speak to competition in all its forms, economic, political, and cultural? Competition is what gives those with talent and a dream a chance. That’s the American way. It is what brings out the best in people and leads to higher standards of living. Politics without competition becomes oppression. Since it’s been left it to them, the state is now all powerful, the economy is managed for the benefit of a few, and war is a way of life. There are laws that favor them and limit us in our peaceful desire to compete politically. They advocate state power as the solution to everything. It isn’t.

Where would real solutions to the never ending, wasteful wars on drugs, terror and poverty come from? They gain control by having more people dependent on the state. Their legislators routinely trade liberties for security, and achieve neither. We all lose when nameless, faceless, rulers and bureaucrats seek to make people safe and healthy, for their own good, by making others victims.

Would consensus over coercion be the way our leaders operate? Sure, they compromise on how much the tax increase should be, or what banks should report about your financial transactions, but there would be no one to live the elegance of the non-aggression principle. Not initiating force in all its forms to get what they want is as foreign to them as Sanskrit.

Who would address the fraud that permeates financial regulation, the Pentagon, the economic statistics, and the public face of foreign policy? They make rules based on giving privileges to friends. In Florida, the law says they can even give a tax break to one specific company over all others, and keep it secret from you at the same time. That says it all.

Who would fight for the rule of law instead of the rule of men? People used to be innocent until proven guilty. Now they have started civil confiscation, search without warrants, passports withheld until taxes are paid, official permission necessary to travel, and “kill lists” on citizens overseas without public evidence, charges, or a trial. Their officials lie before Congress, get caught in the lie, admit they lied, and nothing happens to them. All of this would have been unimaginable 50 years ago.

Who would be there to point out the red herrings in identity politics, global warming, the “Muslim threat,” healthcare, those mad Russians, racism, bigotry, and centrally planned economics?   They thrive on perpetuating these problems.

Who would lament what could have been? We see not just what happens from policy, but what might have been had there been no policy. Imagine a world where the government did not assume the roles of community, church and charity. Imagine a world where money held its value. Imagine a nation where privacy was real instead of a sham. Imagine people held responsible for their violent or fraudulent actions, but otherwise left alone.

And who would hit them where it hurts; candidates opposing them in elections unimpeded by the baggage their candidates have to carry with them wherever they go?

America became great through protecting the power of the individual in the face of wealthy interests and power hungry government functionaries. Over the centuries, exploiting public fear, they have given up on that mission. We seek to preserve what made the USA worth living in all these years. This actually benefits them as well as us.

Give up and join them? Nah. I guess I’ll just have to be a damn fool.

 Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and a retired military officer

 

Learning from Trump

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that the media has been playing favorites with political candidates.

There is no doubt the recent Presidential election has revealed the true nature of what passes for “news” in this country. Fake news, “progressive” bias, blatant favoritism, collusion with candidates in debates, purposeful misreporting; there seemed to be no end to the betrayal of journalistic ideals in 2016. Before this election, the average American used to think that there may be a lean to the left or right in news reporting, but they trusted that the news was basically neutral. Donald Trump, for all his faults, blew that naïve notion right out of the water. Yes, Rachel Maddow, Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, George Stephanopoulos, and the rest of them really did have a hidden ax to grind. They sold their own versions of sizzle so much that the newsworthy steak disappeared from the plate.

Of course, a biased media is nothing new for libertarians. As the bastard children of genuine political discourse, libertarians have had to live with getting short, or no, shrift from the major media probably ever since the Party was founded. Among Libertarians, it is taken for granted that there will be little to no media support for anything a libertarian does or says, no matter how timely or wise. You can bet, however, that every Aleppo moment of failure gets covered.

In this way Libertarians share a strange kinship with Donald Trump. He ran as a Third Party candidate. He was ignored by the Republican leadership, and persecuted by just about every reporter that could type. But at the same time he understood the shallow nature of national reporting, and the power of the social media. He knew that a lot of political warts could be overlooked in time as long as he kept winning. P.T. Barnum may have said any publicity is good publicity, but Donald Trump skillfully tweeted that idea into even genuinely bad publicity is good publicity. Not to get chummy with our new President, I have to admire how he got his message out.   It got him elected. Libertarians need to learn from that.

The kinship stops when it comes to money. He had lots of it, whereas most libertarians do not. Borrowing an idea I read somewhere, small cash resources make Libertarian candidates vulnerable to the media tactics of “the smash and the silence.” First they smash the candidate as being incompetent, or wrong, or foolish, and then they hit the very same candidate with an icy silence over the rest of their campaign. This first creates a bad impression in the minds of voters, and the second cements it. The difference this time? Trump had enough money enabled means to keep the conversation going when CNN and the rest would have thought he would just sit down and be quiet. Unlike him, Libertarians have only enough resources to return the shots made at us in anger once in a while. Like the good soldiers we are, we keep pressing on year after year.

But we do deserve more attention than what we get.  The fundamental political question confronting America isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats. It’s about Republicans and Democrats supporting an overpowering government versus Libertarians protecting an ever weaker individual. You would think that would make good media copy. Making America great again should be about the Libertarian notion that the power of individuals protected by law is what let the USA grow over time into the powerhouse that it is. The primacy of government in American life is what will actually kill the American Dream. Sadly, Trump isn’t about that.

Still, the Trump has a lot to offer. Let’s not be too proud to learn from the opposition. If the media says bad things about us, at least they know we’re here.

Donald, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Just don’t ask us for a loan.

Pete Blome is Chairman of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and a retired military officer

 

 

Fort Walton Beach Kiwanis Club Address 10 Jan 2017

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

With only a few days to go to the inauguration, it is time in Washington to fix the wear and tear of the past administration. Three contractors were bidding to fix a broken fence left at the White House. One was from Minnesota, one from Tennessee, and the third from Tallahassee. All three go with the White House caretaker to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil and says “Well, I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Tennessee contractor does the same measuring and says, “I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Tallahassee contractor doesn’t do anything, but leans over and whispers, “$2,700.” The caretaker says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” He whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

I would like to thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to speak about the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party. I consider it a personal privilege to address as fine a group as the Kiwanis.

This may sound odd to some of you, but the purpose of Kiwanis epitomizes just one of many libertarian ideals; people banding together as they please to perform acts of charity to aid children, free from government interference as long as there is no force or fraud used. Odd how much government wants to control what you already want to do all on your own, and tax you to do it in the process.

As Chair of a local party this does make me think that half the problem with getting people to vote Libertarian is getting them to realize they already are Libertarian.

The libertarian Party has been around for a long time. If you don’t count the Independent Party, we are the third largest Party in Florida. I say “don’t count” the Independent Party because there is more than some testimony out there that many people register to vote and say “I want to be Independent”, and the local registrars puts them in the Independent Party artificially swelling their numbers. The Libertarians were created way back in 1971, by a man named Doug Nolan, and we have the distinction, among others, of having the first woman vice presidential candidate to receive an electoral college vote in the election of 1972 (It was Tonie Nathan, NOT Geraldine Ferraro). The famous Ron Paul was a Libertarian, as was Clint Eastwood for a while, as are Drew Carey and, of course, Gary Johnson. Dick Heller, of the famous Supreme Court case District of Columbia vs Heller, was the treasurer of the Washington DC libertarian Party who won a suit against the City for taking away his right to own a personal weapon. As a Party our star is steadily rising. In the 2016 Presidential election, the Libertarian party had ballot access in all 50 states, the only Party besides the major parties to have such access. Right here at home 4.09% of Okaloosans voted for Gary Johnson. 7.51% of people from Cinco Bayou, not far from here, also voted for GJ. As everyone knows, as goes Cinco Bayou so goes Crab Island.

But let’s move away from history, and talk more about the here and now.

Who are the Northwest Florida Libertarians? We are a locally organized Political Party with the purpose of putting people and money together to elect libertarians to public office. That’s important because we actively try to compete in the electoral process. We solicit funds, and we make quarterly reports with the State in accordance with the Florida Statutes. The NFLP covers the six westernmost counties in Florida that include Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes and Washington Counties containing about 1600 registered libertarians.   Any registered Panhandle libertarian has automatic rights to run for NFLP office and to vote in our periodic elections (BTW, the next one will be by March 2017 for Vice Chair and Treasurer). We offer solutions to problems of governance that do not empty your checkbook nor trade away your rights for security. We will not bribe you with your own tax dollars, nor give America security by becoming a prison. We are the people who know that the most happiness, prosperity, and security comes from government that protects individual rights and property and is kept limited in its powers. Without a doubt, we are the political road less traveled, but we are sure it is the most enjoyable to drive with the least pot holes.

Figures that a Libertarian would talk about pot, right?

We do a lot. We write about issues on our website Libertarianpoc.org, in the social media, and in the local papers and blogs. We regularly have guest speakers such as Paul Craig Roberts (former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan), Karl Denninger (a well-known financial commentator), Lawrence Vance (a religious writer who is also a libertarian) and Kris Anne Hall, among others. We have supported many Libertarian candidates including Alex Snitker for US Senate in 2010, Paul Stanton for US Senate in 2016, Calen Fretts for US House in 2012, Adrian Wyllie for Governor in 2014, Etta Lawlor for Santa Rosa Commissioner, and Bill Fetke for Statehouse One. We supported Mark Wichern in his 2014 run for Congress when he was a no party affiliation candidate. As a Party we appear at public meetings, speak our minds on matters of public importance (such as the Mid Bay Bridge fiasco), attend parades, such Billy Bowlegs and the Pensacola Christmas Parade, and attend libertarian conventions both at the State and National level. In short, we get out and meet people. In the process, we like to have fun. This past May we held a meeting at a local Blue Wahoos game, and we are going to do more of that.

Our vision is one of a healthier America, more voluntary, less compelled by force, less expensive, more prosperous and a better place to let everyone reach their own greatest potential.

How do we think we are going to do that?

Let me make this clear. Libertarians know there are legitimate functions for government. These include defense, dispensing justice, and controlling things like nuclear power that simply cannot be done by the private sector. The question about government, throughout the ages has always been how to keep those who want power over others in check as they increasingly use government to compel you to follow their orders for what they say is your own best interest. Both Republicans and Democrats see government power as fundamentally benign. Libertarians see it for the threat that it is, as our forefathers did. For example, what veteran ever fought for what we have today, fewer rights, massive debt, and endless war?

We are against initiating force, but we are not pacifists. To join the Party we ask people to take the pledge “I will not advocate the use of force to achieve social or political goals,” but defending with force one’s life, liberty or property is morally justifiable, in our view. Criminality must be met with force. No one defends second amendment rights as stringently as a Libertarian.

Libertarians are for personal responsibility. If your actions harm others expect to have the book thrown at you. If not, you should be left alone to personally deal with the consequences. You should own the fruits of your victories without the government taking them from you as much as you must account for your own defeats without the government subsidizing you. You own your own body, no one else.

Libertarians are for competition. Monopolies, politically rigged games and cronyism riddles everything citizens have to deal with nowadays. How can it be that in the USA there truly are entities that are too big to fail, and too big to jail? 2008 saw the biggest financial meltdown in history with documented trillions in mortgage fraud, yet no financial CEO went to jail. John Corzine, former New Jersey Senator, Governor, head of mega bank MF Global, and noted Presidential supporter within the past ten days was finally fined $5,000,000 for illegally taking billions from segregated accounts at his firm. A colleague of mine who managed segregated accounts said if he did the same thing he wouldn’t see daylight for twenty years. Corzine received no jail time. In our own state there are still laws that discriminate against third Party competition, such as the “365 day” rule (you cannot run on a Party ticket unless you’ve been a member for at least 365 days prior to the candidate qualification date). There is a law that allows Republican and Democrat Party Committeemen to be elected on the public ballot while specifically excluding third Parties. Such things happens by the bad habit of lawmakers using the law to get special privilege for one of their benefactors over another. We oppose State monopolies in general as being inferior in quality and expensive, such as the State monopoly in education. Common Core could not be the potential threat it is if education were not centralized under government control.

Libertarians do not agree with the left/right paradigm or the Liberal/Conservative cookie cutter view of the world. Both mindsets enhance State power at the expense of common people while claiming to do the opposite. For example, it is not liberal to take away the protections of the Constitution in favor of who is in charge at the moment, nor is it conservative to build public debt into the mountain it is now. I will remind everyone that a Republican Congress just this past week voted to increase the debt ceiling of our Country 9.7 trillion dollars. That is not conservative.

Libertarians are about privacy, which has practically vanished from the American way of life through the destruction of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. It is a fact that citizens need permission from the government to travel in the USA by public conveyance, and TSA inspections make us give up our Fourth Amendment rights to do so. A society under surveillance can never be a free society.

Libertarians cherish the way of life that the one rule of law for all, respect for property, respect for individual rights, competition in a free market, and a government limited in its powers produced in this country. These Libertarian principles produced the most happiness and prosperity for the greatest number of people. That is the formula that made us great, not overwhelming government power. Other countries have tried that way across the globe for millenia. In our opinion, the dominant Republican and Democrat Parties routinely make laws that attack these principles while saying that they are for them. As a result we have the sad situation today where there is not one amendment in the Bill of Rights that hasn’t become seriously proscribed, limited, or regulated into something less than what it is. It is said that the United States is one of the few places left today where the inherent rights of people are protected by a Constitution and the rule of law. Yes your rights are protected, but that is only if you don’t actually want to use them. It’s almost as if our own government has become afraid of people actually having rights

Libertarians are not afraid of a society made up of individual choice; of our fellow citizens doing what they want as long as they do not use force or fraud on others. The best economy is one that is the result of millions of individual, voluntary decisions, and not a top down command economy run by government. The Affordable Care Act is a classic example of top down economic management. Without a doubt the single biggest player in the US economy is the Federal Reserve which is a government sanctioned cartel of major banks that price fix the cost of money. Instead of controlling the voluntary, non-violent actions of our neighbors, we look forward to the real, sustainable world of people doing what they want, free from the threat of force by government in all its forms. We want the USA to be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and every child to have the chance to be President based on the limits of their own abilities.

Some of our opponents liken us to a conspiracy, and I must confess this is true. We are conspiring to take over the government, and then just leave you alone.

On that note, I will leave you alone. If you are interested in being a libertarian, please talk to me, take a look at our Facebook page, our website, Libertarianpoc.org, or attend one of our meetings. If you care enough to donate, I’d be happy to accept them. Our next meeting will be at Ace’s restaurant, 6350 Caroline Street (hwy 90) in Milton, Wednesday 18 Jan at 6:30 PM. It is open to the public, and I hope to see you there…

Thank you

Any questions?

The Fight For The Chair

It’s not even Christmas, but it is already apparent that the fight is on to elect in May 2017 the next Libertarian Party of Florida Chairman. Marcos Miralles, from Miami, is putting the word out that that he wants to be elected, while Char-Lez Braden, the current Chair, appears set on running again. One can only guess who might be other competitors waiting in the wings. This kind of competition is great, and is exactly what the LPF needs.

It’s important to have strong leadership at all levels of the LPF, but the race for Chair next year is especially attention worthy because it will come on the heels of the terribly divisive Augustus Invictus campaign, and the rudderless Gary Johnson Presidential campaign. After all the sturm and drang of the past year, the Party message, fundraising and manpower are still the forefront state-wide problems in 2017 as they were in 2016. It’s worth it to have a frank discussion as to what it would take to have an effective Chair.

As inegalitarian as this sounds, an effective Chair must have some personal financial independence. Just as you can’t do business with people who have no money, a Chair cannot be part of the public discussion, establish political contacts throughout the state, and generally be where the action is unless there are resources to travel and see people.   Despite the common addiction to iPhones, social media is not a substitute for being at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, high profile conferences, media events where the wealthy and powerful discuss policy, or even having lunch with the Governor. A Chair needs to insert himself into such situations, develop a thick rolodex, and use it for his Party’s benefit. It’s his job. Some sort of LPF travel per diem system for senior Party officials would greatly help to provide this independence.

Another quality the new Chair must have is the ability to focus on commonality instead of differences both within the LPF and with the public at large. The long term success of the LPF depends on our ability to show we want a long term relationship with the people of this State, take action to relieve their pocket books, respect the rule of law, roll back intrusive government, and do this all in a way they know Libertarians are doing it. He has to personally approach those who’s business and personal interests most coincide with Libertarian thought, and get them to donate to us; the only Party that can make their dreams become real. The Chair also needs to focus our own Party member’s energies on the opposition, not fellow Libertarians. Again, this is something that is only accomplished by talking with people face-to-face, not in a twitter message.

Lastly, the Chair must inspire confidence among the citizenry of Florida. The LPF needs a committed base, but it needs the goodwill and receptiveness of the public at large more. Consistent thought and action, administrative foresight, and stability of character all contribute to inspiring confidence, and they naturally lead to more volunteers and donations. Political savvy helps inspire confidence too, because people like competent leaders, even if they are the opposition. I had to laugh when Donald Trump publicly denied making fun of Rand Paul for his hairdo by saying “I never made fun of Rand Paul’s hair, but, you know, there is a lot of material there…” A winning Chair makes people believe Libertarians really are the loyal opposition who bring the real message of happiness and prosperity. Having a little fun in the LPF wouldn’t be a bad idea too.

There are those who think anyone can be the Florida Chair, or that a Chair only needs to have regular phone conferences from their basement with the Executive Committee to keep the Party alive. That sets an extraordinarily low set of expectations when conditions demand we step up our game.   To do the job right requires brains, guts, vision and educated risk taking in varying amounts, and, frankly, not everyone can hack it.  That’s just the way it is.

Let’s see who steps in the ring.

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and a retired military officer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Don’t Know

Education in the USA falls on its face when it comes to teaching how to be a citizen. The system may work well enough to give a person the technical training they need to find a job, or make them obedient, but in the day-to-day business of liberty, it actually provides experience that conflicts with what it means to be a free, independent person living their own life.

Clearly, the first twenty years of life for any person are dominated by the state monopoly known as the school. In a State run school, at least until the 12th grade but sometimes longer, the Bill of Rights does not always legally apply. Students in State run schools have far lower standards of legal protection from criminal search, and that includes searching a student’s physical person. A few years back a thirteen year old girl in Arizona was strip searched nude, in front of school personnel, to see if she was hiding drugs (she wasn’t), without her parents even being notified. Free speech is certainly not allowed, not even in school newspapers that are supposed to teach free speech. Much as in prison, school administrators routinely use zero tolerance policies to suspend both perpetrators and victims of infractions, going so far as to punish those making a gun shape with their fingers. Carrying a real gun in your pickup while on school property for hunting after class can lead directly to hard time in the slammer. Under some circumstances, self-incrimination can be legally coerced for a student, and due process is certainly of a different nature than it is for an adult. After growing up year after year like this a person’s view of individual rights gets terribly skewed. It takes an exceptional person to know that this is not how they are expected to live for the remaining decades of their life. The problem isn’t so much that Johnny can’t read, rather he has no sense of self as a citizen.

The results of this kind of education can be seen everywhere in American society. Free speech is often prohibited by administrative rule or reserved for “free speech zones.” The fact there are such zones means there is no free speech. Weapons free zones exist everywhere creating the double whammy of denying unalienable rights while providing ready places for psychopathic criminals to wreak havoc. Millions of travelers are forced to submit to TSA searches in violation of basic laws (sexual battery for one), while some of these unlucky passengers get picked, by government policy, for horrendous full body searches. No fly lists exist, and the due process for determining those lists is still secret, which is no due process at all. Mandatory bank reporting laws made individual financial privacy extinct. Our President has used a “kill list” on American citizens overseas without presenting public evidence, charges or a trial. There are so many laws of all stripes (literally millions) that prosecutors in the local pub boast over drinks how they can criminally convict any person, no matter who they are or what they are doing. Even the Third Amendment can get violated. A Nevada couple refused to allow their home to be used for police surveillance of a neighbor, and were charged with obstruction of justice. The daily litany of outrages certainly doesn’t end there, but most people blithely accept them. They are too busy working or obeying the rules to consider how their rights morphed into serving the government.

The solution is, of course, greater competition in education, but even private, parochial or home schools must currently live under stifling State bureaucracies and taxation that hinder real competition. The essence of Common Core is that it is just another proposal making education even more centralized and dependent on government taxes and bureaucrats.

Americans don’t know about rights. They know something akin to individual rights. As Stephen Colbert might say, they know “rightiness.”

The purpose of education is to fill in holes in experience. In this regard our State run schools are setting a very bad example.

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and a retired military officer.