NFLP Executive Committee Votes to Support Mark Wichern for Congress

The Executive Committee of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party voted on 20 August to endorse the candidacy of Mark Wichern for Representative to the U.S. Congress in District One of Florida. Mr. Wichern is running on a No Party Affiliation ticket (NPA), and this is the first time the NFLP has endorsed a candidate other than a member of the Libertarian Party. The incumbent is Mr. Jeff Miller.  After meeting with members of the NFLP and completing a questionnaire, it became apparent Wichern’s support for individual rights, free markets and limited government largely coincides with Libertarian views of the same topics, and the NFLP wishes him luck in his quest to reach the Congress. The Wichern campaign can be reached at mwichern@wichernforcongress.com   and www.WichernForCongress.com.   850-916-0797

The More Things Change

Let’s face it, the elections of 2012 show that going against the grain is not in the nature of those elected to office.

Take a look at Okaloosa County. This county was wracked by scandal at the Tourist Development Commission (TDC) and the County Commissioners were thoroughly embarrassed by their apparent lack of oversight of both money and employees. In 2012 two new Commissioners were voted into office. This was a superb opportunity for the new Board to reevaluate the nature, purpose, or need for a TDC, and even eliminate it. In the course of time, however, everything seemed to be blamed on one bad apple, despite the Florida Auditor General saying that the problem was much deeper. The auditors said contracts were given without paperwork, and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars went to people or organizations unknown. One bad apple couldn’t do that. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, the Commissioners have made nice and actually voted to give the TDC a boost of $300,000 for some special project earlier this year.

Then there is the matter of county taxation. Okaloosa County Commissioners recently voted for a 4.3% property tax hike along with a 3 cents per gallon gas tax. It was a close vote (3 to 2) and Nathan Boyles, one of the new guys, decided it is better to tax his neighbors than to figure out how to make government smaller. Of course, this is how things have always been done. Government gets bigger and you pay more. What makes this pinch my mind especially hard is the County Commission recently unanimously voted for an ad valorem tax break to a company that by law is secret to the public (FS 196 and FS 288). They gave a preferential tax break to one company at the expense of all others, and the law prevents them from telling us who it is. Secret tax breaks fly in the face of open, accountable government. This very same Board then votes to raise taxes on everybody else in the County. No change here.

At the State level, who can ignore the Medicaid flip flop of our Governor Rick Scott? You could say he was elected as an opponent to the Affordable Healthcare Act, and was quoted as saying he would never lift a finger to help its implementation. Despite high sounding rhetoric, the Florida legislature is no stranger to growing government either, and voted this year for a 6% increase in the state budget for 2013-2014. More and more of that money is coming from Federal sources, 36.93% of the total state budget as of 2011, according to the census bureau. How independent can a state be when its bills are paid by the Feds?

In national matters, our “conservative” Congressman Jeff Miller, has shown he likes the growing list of laws that restrict your liberties and feed the “all seeing all knowing” central government. In at least two public appearances he said the government is not listening in on your communications. Trust him, he says. Of course, Lt-Gen Clapper, Director Of National Intelligence, was forced by the Snowden revelations to publicly admit and apologize for lying to Congress about government surveillance of all citizens (where are the perjury charges?). Plus, an NSA internal audit said the agency violated their own rules about surveillance several thousand times in the past year. Despite this contrary testimony to what Mr. Miller thinks, and the lessons of history, he voted against the Amash Amendment to the Patriot Act, which would have limited government investigations to people actually under suspicion using probable cause. His reason? It would have affected some unspecified secret surveillance program Mr. Miller likes. The erosion of the Fourth Amendment proceeds apace just as it did before. None of this fits the moniker “conservative.”

I’ve only scratched the surface. It’s clear that the leadership of 2013 is shaping up to be the same as 2012 or any other year. Those who have been elected love government power, and that is what the trend of the last 100 years has been all about.

I dared to hope for better.

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party

Congressman Jeff Miller and CISPA

Once again, Jeff Miller voted to limit your rights. This April 18th, he voted for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) in the US House.

This Act encourages private companies (such as email providers) to share their information with government agencies. The bill neither mentions due process, nor talks about government obtaining a warrant, but it does induce cyber communication companies to willingly and secretly provide private information about you to the government via immunity. As said in HR624, page 8, line 24, “…no criminal cause of action shall be maintained in Federal or State Court… [for cyber entities providing information.]” If these firms turn your life upside down by disclosing what may be totally innocent information, you have no legal recourse.

It is curious that a former sheriff’s deputy, like Mr. Miller, doesn’t understand the terms secure in papers and effects or due process. Giving legal immunity to private business to reveal information without cause, sometimes against private contracts, so government can then massively pick through private lives is against the Fourth Amendment and opens the doors to corruption. Do you honestly think nameless, faceless bureaucrats protected by anonymity and the law won’t steal from you if they have a chance? They do in the TSA. Worse still, it gives the government power to blackmail those it doesn’t like.

The “conservative” Jeff Miller certainly is no libertarian. If he was he’d see just how dangerous this kind of shallow legislating is, and quit saying how he is protecting us.

Pete Blome

Chair, Northwest Florida Libertarian Party (NFLP)

Is This How Liberty Dies?

On Thursday, December 15 – the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights – Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which can be used by the President to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial; an utter eradication of the Fifth Amendment, without apology. Our Congress decided the President needs more power at the expense of the people and the Constitution.

Is this what our veterans and our forefathers fought and gave their lives for? Is this what Americans want their Congress to do? Place power like this in the hands of one man – the President – to do as he wishes with American citizens?

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution recognizes your right to due process: “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourth Amendment, for what it’s worth, also recognizes that your right to be secure in your person and in your house (among other things) cannot be infringed by sidestepping the legal process. The explicit recognition of these rights by our government is one of the things that has always made our country exceptional. But this new law is a misguided attack on our country’s 220-year recognition of these inherent rights.

Let us look at the final text of the bill. In “Subtitle D–Detainee Matters”, Sec. 1031, “Congress affirms that the authority of the President…includes the authority…to detain…any person…who was a part of or substantially supported…enemy forces.” The keyword here is “substantially supported.” This designation is extrajudicial – that is, at the President’s discretion. Sec. 1032 says, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” The keyword here is “requirement.” In other words, the President has the authority to indefinitely detain any person who “substantially supported” the enemy, and is in fact required to do so – unless it is a U.S. citizen, in which case it is at the President’s discretion.

What if opposition to certain government policies – the Patriot Act, or the TSA, or certain military actions, for example – is deemed “substantially supportive” of the enemy? What if a President’s discretion, in lieu of a Constitutionally-guaranteed jury trial, is faulty and harms innocents? Obama himself, and those who succeed him, will now decide whether to send government agents to your living room to apprehend and detain you, without charges, for whatever duration they wish (or for as long as there is a War on Terror), under a Congressionally-condoned false pretense and color of law. Did we not learn from Russia, China, and Germany in the past century?

The so-called “conservatives” in Washington who are, at least in public, constantly at odds with the Obama agenda are the majority of whom voted for this bill. How dare they give this (or any) administration even more broad unilateral power to unequivocally control the very lives and liberty of We the People?

Couple that with the fact that Predator drones are now being used inside the United States as police tools, and we are looking at an outrageous reality. We must be honest with ourselves: America is becoming a police state. It cannot be overstated how serious of an offense this is. All those in Congress who supported this legislation must be voted out of office for violation of their oath to uphold the Constitution. That is the least that should happen in response to such an egregious assault on our liberties.

We cannot allow the slow death of our Republic.

Over the past decade, our rights have slowly been dissolved. Some say, “It couldn’t happen here. This is America!”

Wake up. Congress just made it happen.

This has got to stop.

Calen Fretts is a Candidate for U.S. Congress in the First District of Florida

Legalized Corruption

It has recently come to the attention of the American public that their Congressmen have pulled a fast one on them by excluding themselves from insider trading laws.

There is one recent bill to stop this odorous exemption from the law, but until the recent “60 Minutes” piece, it had only one other Congressman co-sponsoring it, and that co-sponsor was not Jeff Miller.

The idea that members of Congress can make money doing something that you or I would go to jail for is outrageous. Congressional supporters of the exemption say they are covers by ethics rules that would prevent insider trading.

Tell that to those who have gone to prison. Wouldn’t it be nice if they had an “ethics rule” that did not include prison instead of the legal code.

Don’t kid yourself. Congress is taking advantage of their position.

This matter goes to the heart of how Congress does business, and the only remedy is to vote out those who think they can live by a separate law than the rest of us.

Look up Libertarian Candidate Calen Fretts. The rule of law is for everybody.

We are not a land of truth and justice for some.