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


Pardon Me

Like so many aspects of this past Presidential election, it has become a mantra in the main stream media that our nation is now showing deep divisions.  In order to help “heal the country,” the thinking goes that the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, should be pardoned of any possible crimes she may have committed prior to the election. Bernie Sanders said that indicting Hillary Clinton would be an “outrage” beyond belief.

The quickest way to spawn divisions among people is to give special privileges to some that others go to jail for. To my libertarian mind, publicly prosecuting Hillary Clinton is actually what the nation needs.

As incredible as it sounds, the good ol’ USA, the land where any child can be President, has become a land of special privileges. Laws are made for personal economic or political gain all the time, and are sometimes ignored simply because the people they affect are something “big.” These are the people known as the too big to fail, and too big to jail.

You do not have to go far to find evidence of what I say. For a century big business has progressively cornered special protections in the law that if done by an individual would land them in jail. The privately owned Federal Reserve instantly creates currency and price fixes interest rates every day. One of the side effects of Obamacare was to create health insurance monopolies in thousands of counties where none existed before, driving out competition, and raising prices. HSBC Bank got the biggest fine in history for money laundering ($1.9 Billion when FBI director James Comey was on its Board, by the way) but none of the responsible officers went to jail. Similarly, the legacy of the trillions of dollars of fraud exposed after the 2008 financial meltdown was that no big company director went to jail anywhere. All of this is a little hard for the average American to take when they can go to jail for simply not getting a permit for a lemonade stand.

The crimes of Mrs. Clinton are even more direct. Any military member knows her violations of security protocols are the fast lane to a jail cell. A former Navy member is now serving hard time after arguing in court that there was no intent to violate security when he took unauthorized photographs. The parallel with the former Secretary of State is obvious. It didn’t help the Navy guy avoid the big house, and yet Hillary walks free.

The Rule of law is a funny thing. With it any country can have unity, even if the laws are draconian.  If the rule of law is based on maintaining individual rights, such as it used to be here, the stage is set for the maximum amount of personal happiness and prosperity. Without the rule of law everyone starts getting into the business of corrupting everyone else. Just look at President Obama who won’t force his Attorney General to act on evidence from an FBI director who cryptically won’t recommend charges about the President’s former Secretary of State, who committed acts that others are in jail for. Go figure.

There is an old military saying that it is good for morale for a general to die in the line of duty every now then. As heartless as that sounds, it makes it clear that everyone in the life and death world of military operations shares the same laws and are subject to the same risks; even those who give the orders. It builds confidence and trust in leadership. It shows that even in war there is a certain amount of equality between the most high and the very low. Although civilian leadership is less stressful, it would still be healthy for the country if Secretaries of State went to jail every now and then.

With all respect to Bernie, it is past time to end the double standards applied in the law in politics, economics or criminal prosecutions.

America needs to show itself, and the world, that it isn’t just the little guy that goes to jail.




The Trial of Adrian Wyllie

On March the 2nd, 2015, in a sparsely filled Collier County Florida Courtroom, Adrian Wyllie, the recent Libertarian candidate for Florida Governor, stood at the defense podium.  He had no entourage or throng of supporters.  This was his third appearance before judges on the matter of driving without a license.  He refused to succumb to the invasive questioning required by the Real ID Act.  He refused to have his personal information added to a national database without a warrant simply to get the privilege of a state issued driver’s license.

The details of Adrian’s civil disobedience did not impress the judge.  He quickly cut short the defense presentation.  The court would not listen to the violations of the U.S. and Florida Constitutions that inspired Adrian to stand alone, nor would it record the finely worded arguments of his lawyer.  No one in the court would hear how the law robbed them of privacy or how the tentacles of surveillance were spreading throughout their lives.  Adrian’s years of sweat, worry, and sacrifice would come down to a few perfunctory words from a county judge.

He found him guilty.  The judge said he applauded the defendant for his principles, and levied a $150 fine.  Whether the judge was genuinely trying to enforce the law, victimize him, condescend to him, or simply following the path of legal least resistance, is anyone’s guess.  It could have been worse. As a three time loser Adrian could easily have gone to jail.

It was a small matter in a small court about small people.  It never would have happened at all except for  Adrian’s persistent love of liberty.  He thinks liberty is what makes living in the USA worthwhile.  He wants others to feel as he does.

Unlike most of us, the cost of that love has been very real for him.  Not having a driver’s license has limited his life in ways most of us do not even think about.  He has court costs that he must pay out of pocket. His business suffers.  A simple trip to the bank becomes a convoluted task of proving one’s identity.  Renting a vehicle becomes impossible. Every drive to the store could result in trading in a comfortable night at home for a cold cell in the county jail.   Worry became a part of his, and his family’s, way of life.  He was jabbed by society in general in a dozen unseen ways every day for not having his papers.  Still, he stuck to it.

To some, that was a foolish thing to do.  Why suffer over this?  Is defying the Real ID Act worth it?  Since Adrian was active politically wouldn’t he do better moving as a free man than hobbled by self-imposed restrictions?  The comfortable would say there are better ways of getting the point across without sacrifice.  For them, we can live our lives, and can go home feeling secure in the knowledge we are free and have value.  However, the contrast between the national myth and reality is getting greater.  What Adrian Wyllie showed us is that we have the protection of the Bill of Rights, it seems, until we actually want to use them.

He still faces an uncertain future with real consequences.  The legal penalties for defying the law will only become greater from this point on.  He has to decide what his next step will be.  For every “Patrick Henry” that actually affects change there are dozens of unknown names that stood alone in courtrooms, like Collier County, and were consumed by the legal system.  Do the comfortable really know, or care, what happens to these people?  Probably not.  It’s not right, but that is just the way it is.

Good on you, Adrian, for going through all of this for the sake of liberty.

As Churchill once said, success is never final, and failure never fatal, it is courage that counts.

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party and attended the Wyllie Trial in Naples 2 March 2015.




The Lowdown on the Shutdown

On October 17th the Northwest Florida Daily News published opinions about the government shutdown from Committeemen Steve Czonstka and Ellen Holt representing, respectively, the Republican and Democrat parties.  Although not invited, I offer my Libertarian observations on the matter.

The shutdown was nothing of the sort.  It was always more threat than action.  It threatened a more fiscally responsible course that the Democrats took advantage of to seed the public with fear over how indispensable the government is.  The Republicans used it to show they really meant business when even they knew they didn’t.   In the end, it proved to be merely a delay on the road to more government intervention.  Government again functions spending more than it takes it, abusing the rights of individuals, and finding every excuse possible to avoid limits to Federal power as per the Constitution.

Who created the bru-ha-ha really is immaterial.  The shutdown supposedly put a halt to the non-essential 17% of the government, but who asks how did that 17% get there in the first place, or was there any doubt that the non-essentials would start work again after the shutdown? In the cynical calculus of Washington D.C., the major parties know they live or die by using the power of government to hand out benefits to their friends while progressively confiscating the wealth and rights of all.   That is how those non-essentials were created in the first place.  That is how both major parties stay in power.

The shutdown shows the major parties have far more in common than they care to admit. Both advocate compelling you with the force of law to do things with your life and property that you otherwise would not do.  Both major parties have grown the State and Federal governments to the point they are fiscally unsustainable.   The Affordable Care Act is a great case in point.  The Democratic Party bankrupts individuals with mandatory, monopolistic insurance and fines, while Republicans conveniently forget their own enthusiasm for the massive Medicare Part D, or that their candidate for President, Mitt Romney, oversaw his own massive State run healthcare system in Massachusetts.  The Republican motto is “repeal and replace” not just repeal.  Neither of these parties truly wants to reduce government.

I am not the only one saying this.  Every day one can read how Americans see what is going on.  On the surface, the major parties profess commendable values such as caring for the welfare of their fellow human beings, fighting for civil liberties, fiscal accountability and standing by their principles.  In reality, their policies have made their fellow citizens more dependent on government, limited civil liberties, amassed debt, and generally paid attention to their principles only in press releases.  There isn’t a single aspect of American life that is free from government intervention thanks to Republican and Democrat policy.

Even in the field of political competition Americans must struggle with a thumb on the scales.  Both Steve Czontska and Ellen Holt have the privilege to be elected on a publicly funded election ballot, yet I am prohibited by law from doing the very same thing specifically because I am a Libertarian (FS103.091(4)).   Not only do those of us outside the major parties have to fight for people’s minds, we must also fight those who would rather outlaw us than deal with us.

Libertarians know our nation is on an unsustainable course.  We cannot continue accumulating debt.  We cannot allow lawmakers to reduce people’s rights to the level of serfs.  Government intervention must be stopped.  If not, the laws of fiscal mathematics and public outrage will eventually take over.  Stopping these trends has been the Libertarian message for decades.

In her column Ellen Holt expressed fear that a government shutdown could collapse the economy.  If so, it is an abject lesson for us all to not allow government to rule our lives.

Steve Czontska quoted Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction…”

I prefer Reagan’s quote, “…I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

Pete Blome is Chair of the Northwest Florida Libertarian Party, and an At-Large Rep for the Libertarian Party of Florida

So Which Way Is It Sheriff?

It’s becoming clear that Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley is becoming a master of doublespeak.

After I attended the county commission meeting on July 19, there are more questions than answers about why the Sheriff’s Office costs so much.

When questioned by the commission he seemed very defensive and deflecting rather than answering clearly and directly.

In one breath he runs the most transparent office in the state, in the next, however, he can’t understand what an itemized list of expenditures is and why anyone could possibly want such a thing. He even questions whether it’s required of him by statute to provide an itemized list (of course it does).

Even if his expenditures were not required, after all that has happened with disgraced former Sheriff Charlie Morris, you’d think Ashley would provide them anyway.

Let’s clear the air real quick and define expenditure. It is payment of cash or cash-equivalent for goods or services, or a charge against available funds in settlement of an obligation as evidenced by an invoice, receipt, voucher, or other such document. It is commonly referred to as an actual.

This is pretty plain stuff, but he still didn’t understand the request from the commissioners. The sheriff’s repeated remark was basically “what are you looking for? Maybe we can help you find it.” The answer is simple; an itemized list of expenditures.

He also said he would provide “any” information that was requested from him.

Then why hasn’t the OCSO provided the LPOC (Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County) with requested information for the development of a Destin Police Department?

For weeks information has not been forthcoming about calls for service, about how many private contracts does the OCSO and/or any of its deputies have inside Destin city limits, and the revenue generated thereby and its distribution.

I haven’t even received an acknowledgement that they are even considering the request. Now that I think about it, I would like to know what these numbers are countywide. And I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

In one breath Sheriff Ashley says his per-capita costs to the citizens of the county are one of the lowest in the state, but in the next breath it’s a real burden and he needs more patrols and the equipment and manpower to go with it.

In one breath, his department is doing great and is on the right track, and yet violent crime has risen more than 20 percent in the county. It has fallen in the rest of the state for the last four years running.

This is the question sheriff, which way is it? Is this a safe and wonderful beach community that is a dream come true to live in? Or, a dangerous and violent place where crime is on the rise and you are powerless to do anything about it without more money and double the manpower?

There is a lot more to this budget review, and thankfully everyone can check it out for themselves at

Will the Sheriff’s department provide an itemized list of expenditures? Will it also reveal the private contract information, at least for the east district?

I would also encourage everyone to go to:, and checkout the proposal made to the city of Destin for a Destin PD.


Sky Monteith is a resident of the City of Destin and Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County.

No Where Else To Go

Difficult as it is for me to admit this, the big story of the election of 2010 is that the Tea Party had nowhere else to go, or so they think, so they went Republican.

By doing so they lost an opportunity to set things right. Despite the large gains in the House and Senate, the 660 state representative seats that switched sides, and the Republican sweep in Okaloosa, the name of the game in representative government is using citizens rights as a negotiating tool, managing the markets for the benefit of a few, and always bigger government. Tea Party supported Republicans are not going to change this game any more than Democrats are.

This forces a question. How can it be that in a liberty loving country like ours we are reduced to choosing one of two ancient political parties that do the same thing? That is the constant thought of those who want real political competition in America, such as me and my fellow Libertarians.

The law is part of the reason. If you want to fight politically, the law has been codified in such a way so as to allow anyone to speak from a street corner, but becomes a serious obstacle if you want to form organized opposition to the Republicans and Democrats (who wrote the laws). The Fort Walton Beach Tea Party, for example, decided to incorporate as a 501c(3) corporation because it allowed them to accumulate resources to advocate issues while having IRS not for profit exemptions. But at the same time it prevents them from presenting or financially supporting candidates for political office.

I find it ironic that the loudest political voice in Okaloosa of the last two years cannot present or support candidates. I am sure that pleases the Republican leadership in the County.

Of course, the Tea Party could have chosen to be a political party, but by doing so they would have to run a gamut of political reporting requirements (local, state and federal), and be subject to dozens of laws with felony level penalties. The Tea Party collects cash donations with a glass jar today, no questions asked. If they were a political party that would put them in jail. A simple restriction like this favors the Republicans and Democrats who have 150 years of organization, deal making and big money behind them.

And that is just one small piece of a very big puzzle.

Another reason is voter complacency. Does anyone doubt a Republican candidate would say they were for responsible, conservative government? But Okaloosa is filled with Republicans who have made the County budget bigger; made millage rates go up for cities, towns, and fire districts; refused to make the Mid Bay Bridge Authority be a cost effective government service, proposed sales taxes, and even had some who scandalously abused their office. None of this was responsible or conservative. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of Okaloosans, Tea Partiers included, still gave their vote to Republican candidates.

This is what the Tea Party settled for. It’s a far cry from the outrage over bailouts and the corruption of the rule of law that formed them in 2008.

In all fairness, the Libertarians could offer but one candidate on the ballot to stem the tide this year, the redoubtable Alex Snitker. It remains the Libertarian Party’s ever present task to find and present more candidates to show people like the Tea Partiers that there is a better place to go than the Republicans.

And the need for an alternative is growing. Financial catastrophe is lurking out there. Decades of Republican and Democrat favors have produced a financial system rife with fraud, debt and unemployment. As a result, the Republicans were thrown out in 08. In turn, the Democrats were thrown out in 10.

Who will Okaloosa throw out in 12 when things are worse? And more importantly, who will Okaloosa put in?

Pete Blome is a retired military officer, member of the Fort Walton Beach Tea Party, and Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County.

A Former POW’s Open Letter to Congress

Phillip Butler January 05, 2009

Here is the Oath of Office I took on July 1, 1957:

I, Phillip Neal Butler, having been appointed a Midshipman in the United States Navy, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.

Upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1961, I repeated this oath to be commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy. I served 20 years as an active duty commissioned officer. During that time I became a Naval Aviator, flew combat in Vietnam, was downed over North Vietnam on April 20, 1965 and became a prisoner of war. I was repatriated on February 12, 1973, having served 2,855 days and nights as a POW – just short of 8 years. The Vietnamese were not signatory to any international treaties on treatment of prisoners. They pronounced us “criminals” and freely used torture, harassment, malnutrition, isolation, lack of medical care and other degradations during our captivity. I was tortured dozens of times during my captivity. But I often thought of our Constitution and the higher purpose we served – a purpose that helped me resist beyond what I thought I’d ever be capable of. Ironically, we POWs often reminded each other that our country would never stoop to torture and the low level of treatment we were experiencing at the hands of our captors.

This Oath of Office, the same one sworn to by all officers, government officials, presidential cabinet members, senators and representatives of our nation, has had a powerful affect on me. It has given me an overarching purpose in life: to serve the greatest and most influential legal document ever written. The only different oath is specified for the President of the United States in Constitutional Article II, Section 1 (8.) It mandates that he or she will “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution…”

So what in the world has happened during the past 8 years of the Bush administration? The only defensible answer is that he and his subordinates have trampled our precious Constitution and the Rule of Law into the ground while our elected members of Congress have stood idly and complicitly by. Our highest elected officials have utterly failed with their greatest responsibility.

During these years we have seen gross attempts to institutionalize torture. Our Constitution, Article VI, (2) commonly known as the “Supremacy” clause clearly states that treaties made shall become “the supreme law of the land,” thus elevating them to the level of Constitutional law.

The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, ratified in 1949 states in Article 17 that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.” This and numerous other ratified treaties clearly stipulate that “prisoners” is an inclusive term that is not limited to any nation’s uniformed combatants.

Other gross Bush administration crimes of general and Constitutional law (in addition to authorizing torture) include: 1) the use of “signing statements” to illegally refrain from complying with laws. 2) authorization of the illegal suspension of Habeas Corpus 3) authorization of wire tapping and other intrusive methods to illegally spy on American citizens. 4) unilateral declaration and pre-emptive conduct of war in violation of U.S. Constitution Article I, Section 8 (11)

These violations of our Constitution and rule of law have resulted in reducing our nation to the level of international pariah. Our beacon of liberty and justice no longer shines throughout the world. We no longer set the example for other nations to follow. We no longer stand on a firm foundation. We have lost our national, moral gyro.

I despair when I think of the personal sacrifices made by so many in U.S. wars and conflicts since 1776. If our forefathers were here to see they would surely be angry and disappointed. And I think they would issue a clarion call for redress and setting an example for the world, by punishing those who are guilty. The only way our nation can right itself is for Congress to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.

I therefore call on the elected representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives to bring appropriate charges against President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Legal Council William J. Haynes, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Legal Council David Addington and potentially other high officials and uniformed officers. There is no other option. Citizens of the United States and of the world are watching. Do your duty. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Reprinted from his website

(PJB Note: Phil Butler is the head of the Veterans for Peace organization of Monterrey California. They recently allied with the Libertarians for Peace of California in opposing the Afghan and Iraqi wars).

Stale Tea

Recently, the Fort Walton Beach Tea Party held a candidate forum for the Florida 4th District representative election. This was the seat formerly held by Ray Sansom. The five Republican candidates stood next to each other and answered individually crafted questions created by a Tea Party Committee. The one Democrat contender for state representative was invited, but did not appear.

The whole event was very smartly done. It was a testament to ordinary Tea Partiers doing extraordinary things. From a technical point of view they should be proud of what they accomplished.

But Okaloosa County does not need just another forum. It needs competition. It needs a new approach. At the end of the evening it was clear that the Tea Party forum was political routine. Government control over individuals and business will still be the only means of doing business.

The veteran politician, Jerry Melvin, who served in the Florida House for 18 years, said the way to stop rising homeowners insurance premiums was for the legislature to force competition on insurance companies. He proposed solving traffic problems by creating a super multi-county bureaucracy to replace small local ones. When was the last time you saw a government bureaucracy go away by building another one, or the state foster business competition other than by getting out of the game altogether?

The businessman, Kabe Woods, proposed extending the state’s legal sovereign immunity to doctors and clinics as a means of reducing health care costs. He also proposed the state form some sort of transition health insurance for students. Saying that the state should not pay for retirement, he suggested changing state retirement from defined benefit (pensions) to defined contribution (401k, IRA) both of which are still government controlled markets.

The attorney, Matt Gaetz, emphasized that the most critical need in Okaloosa County was jobs, and the best way to get jobs was to build on the military mission. He apparently saw no contradiction in building jobs on a government department while at the same time saying government doesn’t create jobs. He lamented that his generation inherited the greatest America but may pass on a diminished America. Building on government will lead to such circumstances.

The city councilman and FBI agent Bill Garvey said he considered it a form of personal sacrifice to seek government office in Tallahassee, just as when he was an FBI agent he considered it better to be in the field than assume more bureaucratic FBI positions. His priorities would be anti-terrorism first followed by the economy.

Even the mayor, Craig Barker, who, in my opinion, spoke the most libertarian of the group, (in favor of the 9th and 10th amendment, opposition to any bill not allowed by the US constitution, leaving tort reform to the states, and the only candidate to talk about the rash of criminality that has given our county the nickname “Scandaloosa,”) voiced his strong support of protections to the military mission. Like it or not, military spending is a major part of why the nation’s finances are in such poor shape.

The same men, doing the same thing, using the same method, will produce the same results. It’s a pity the Tea Party did not bring this out in the forum. The Tea Party was born out of anger over taxation, bailouts, mountainous debt, blatant fraud in government, ignoring the constitution, and the destruction of the American concept of the rule of law. People did not and still do not know what to do. The political status quo has led to the situation where people do not recognize their country anymore, and the Tea Party forum was more of the status quo.

The answer is to reduce government intervention in everything, let a free market operate, and protect individual rights. It is a libertarian concept, one that candidates sometimes use to gain votes, but quickly dump after an election in order to govern like Republicans and Democrats.

If the Tea Party is the new wave in American politics, what will we get out of the Florida 4th district representative race?

I am sorry to say more of the same.