Saturday, May 26, 2012

Arizona is now outsourcing corruption.

Ok, most every libertarian I've ever met believes that government intervention in the economy is a bad thing.  It gives bureaucrats and donation-seekers a chance to pick winners and losers.
Here's the Coyote Blog's take on the situation:
I have written before about government corporate subsidies and attempts at venture capital investment in the context of the “big shot” effect.  Many times I have come to suspect the biggest beneficiary of these programs is to the administrators themselves, who have no money of their own and wouldn’t ever be trusted to manage a private portfolio but get to act as “big shots” with other peoples’ money.  They get the psychic benefit of being little junior Donald Trumps.
Every libertarian I've ever met believes that giving subsidies, quotas, tax breaks and (ahem) "incentives" to some segments of the economy is a bad thing.  It gives bureaucrats and politicians a chance to pick winners and losers, reward friends and punish enemies. 

Every libertarian I've ever met also believes that a huge chunk of government activity should be left to the private sector or non-profits.  (Exceptions would be for activities requiring the use of force.) 

Most libertarians delight in pointing out how government screws up just about everything it touches.  (Exception granted for the military.  If you want to go overseas and blow up brown people, our forces are the best.) 

I'm as lazy as the next person.  But if I were to go work for the government, I'd want to control the distribution of the pork, the shoveling of the slop, and the gathering of the graft. 

The great state of Arizona has admitted that it can't even do that. 

Arizona has outsourced its corruption.  They've created a public/private "partnership" called the Arizona Commerce Authority to  hand out special priviliges, pork, and tax breaks.  I don't care who you are, what political label you wear, or even if you think tax breaks for donors are a good thing.  I don't care.  Because...This....Is....Funny !!

They've admitted they can't even dish out pork and patronage effectively.  Hell, what would the Daleys of Chicago think of this? 

Go here to read more at the Privatization Blog

Go here for the Coyote Blog's take on it. 

Then turn your ears toward Phoenix and listen for the sound of the scoops rattling around inside the slop buckets.  Come and get it !!! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

And you thought the Democrats were the big spenders?

In the last week, a lot of bandwidth has been wasted over which president caused the biggest spending increases. 
Rex Nutting of Market Watch published a graph that looks like so....

Parts of this silliness (the Obama part) were promtly blown out of the water by Yossi Gestetner at The American Thinker

1) While in regular times a budget gets approved months earlier, the FY2009 budget was pieced tighter in many separate votes and bills, one of them signed on... March 12 2009 by... President Obama! AP wrote back then the "bill includes significant increases" on a host of things. But of course it's Bush Fault. Right?

2) Obama was a member of the Senate Majority who... approved the FY2008 and FY2009 budgets. It's of his making either way. He didn't arrive to Washington in January 2009 as a Governor. Senator Obama in the majority party since 2007 created the mess together with Pelosi and Reid.

3) Much of the 2009 spending (from TARP, to Stimulus, to Auto Bailout, to Loan Modifications), were officially one time things. However, four years later and we are still spending well above the 2008 levels. A Spending Binge indeed!

4) Much of the 2009 spending were officially "loans" and "investments" that Obama claims were "paid back" by the Auto Industry and others. As such, it's inaccurate to claim that all the money that left Treasury in 2009 was "spending."

5) Even if you want to ignore all of the above notes; a headline reading "Obama Didn't Increase Spending Much Since 2009" would have been more accurate. But to suggest that we are not on a Spending Binge just because Government outlays didn't increase much since the year that we spent officially on one-time things and loans is spin of the highest order.
This guy has a slightly different take: 

But here's what nobody is arguing. Look at the percentage increases under Reagan, Daddy Bush, and Little Bush's first term.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, Congress does the spending. But the president sets the tone.) 

As Veronique De Rugy has pointed out multiple times, if you want to increase government spending, elect a bunch of Republicans.

It really is that simple. Any time you hear someone describe himself as a "Reagan Republican", imagine a meth addict with stolen credit cards. Your credit cards. And you can't call Visa or Amex and report them stolen. You are the one who gave them away. We really shouldn't have co-signed on that loan with the Republican Party.

And one day the mailman WILL arrive with the bill.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pat Dixon, Tom Glass, and the Ed Kless Test

A few weeks ago, I got a disturbing letter from Tom Glass, a Houston attorney.  Tom and I are both members of the Texas State Libertarian Executive Committee. 

Tom has decided to run for Texas Libertarian Party Chair against the incumbent, Pat Dixon.  (I apologize for the poor scans and poor angles on Tom's letter.  If you right-click on each page you can increase the size in a new window.) 

That's one heck of a letter.  We're talking bribery and corruption in the Texas LP.
Let's hit the "pause" button for a moment.... 

I agree with my friend Ed Kless that contested races are a good thing for the Libertarian Party.  They can be a sign of health, and not just division. 
Ed wrote a good blog post last week about what an LP candidate should do to win his support in a contested race:
*Everything is on the table. There are no issues that I see that are off limits to constructive dialogue. Abortion, immigration, borders, liberty, toll roads, taxation, education, and drug laws are but a few of the important issues which need to be talked about in the open.

*No ad hominum attacks. The quickest way to lose my vote will be to attack your opponents with what are personal criticisms. This would include charges of violations of personal integrity. If you accuse someone of being dishonest, you better have some video evidence.

*Provide a clear vision of the future. I am interested in hearing what you have to say about the future of our country, state and party. The more you can illustrate your vision with specifics the more likely you are to win my vote. What is different about a country, state, or party with you at the helm?

*Exhibit a non-anxious presence. Anxiety and creativity are always inversely proportional to each other. The more anxious you are the less creative you will be. As a candidate for any position, I believe this is what is most needed today. In short, I want to see that you are calm under pressure. I want to see your ability to self-regulate your emotions.

*Embrace the genius of the AND by rejecting the tyranny of the OR. I want to hear how Libertarians are the future. I want to know how your candidacy will embrace the ideas the Libertarianism is about both debating the finer philosophical points AND can win elections. I reject the notion that they are mutually exclusive.
Let's repeat what Ed says in his second bullet-point:  "....if you accuse someone of being dishonest, you better have some video evidence."  
And you should be 100% right.  Not almost right, not kinda right, but "airtight right" if you accuse an LP opponent of dishonesty.  
I asked Pat Dixon to respond to Tom's letter. 

Here's Pat's reply.  Statements from Tom's letter are in italics:

"When Ron Paul re-entered politics as a Republican in 1996, I pursued the Republican Party route ..."

I have never been anything but a Libertarian. I joined the LP in college in 1984 and never left

"a big bucks donor offered her money to abandon her secure border platform"
"This attempt to sell our Party was done with the knowledge and implicit consent of our chair."

Joe Liemandt gave $100k to LPTX in 2009. He made a matching $150k donation in 2010. There were no strings attached. The LP TX state committee controlled these funds, not Joe. Our platform did not become open borders. Kathie Glass was nominated. Joe's investment had no impact on our platform or nomination. After Kathie's nomination, she and Tom approached me and Robert Butler about getting a donation to her campaign from Joe.

I met with them in Austin and they said they needed a lot of money to get the campaign off the ground and wanted me to help get financial support from Joe. I said that I know there is a difference of opinion about immigration policy but perhaps there is some common ground and that they would need to address that issue to get support from Joe. Joe declined to meet with them. Joe has never met or spoke with Kathie or Tom. Joe never offered money to her campaign and there was no attempt to sell the party.

"I was saddened to see how the party leadership not only failed to support but at times actively undermined our active, serious candidates "

Before I became chair in 2004, we were almost removed from the ballot. We had no money, no staff, few candidates, and little candidate support. Since then we set records for the number of candidates on the ballot and put staff in place to support candidates. There is no credible evidence that we actively undermined any of our candidates. We have been told that we give more support to our candidates than Democrats and Republicans give to theirs.

" our party must be more than a hobby"

That is why we have maintained full time staff ever since I became chair. Our staff along with many volunteers and county leaders provide efforts that amount to more than a hobby

"Guard against corruption of the LPT and our candidates"

There is no credible evidence of corruption of our candidates or our party. I have placed ethics and principles above politics in the Libertarian Party and in my life

"'Recognize the party is a service organization to our candidates"
"They need our support"

We have been told that we give more support to our candidates than Democrats and Republicans give to theirs. With full time staff we have provided more support in the past. We have offered training and provided resources while giving autonomy to candidates and their campaigns. We always strive to do a better job

"Craft messages that emphasize how our Party and candidates are aligned with the vast majority of Texas on the issues that matter to them"

I don't believe the chair of the party is the only messaging vehicle. Our candidates are the best vehicle for delivering the message and the chair does not dictate this message. There are times when the party issues press releases. There are times when the chair is interviewed. The chair should be grounded in the principles and platform of the party and present a message that is Libertarian

"We must implement the procedures an effective party requires - fund raising"

We went from no money in 2004 to a quarter million $$ in 2010.

(I got this chart in an email from former LP Executive director Wes Benedict as a response to Tom's attacks on Pat.  It doesn't show the last four years, but you can see the trendline of increasing contributions under Pat Dixon's leadership.  Grab a blue marker and draw the blue line up to $250,000.00  Wes has shown California on the chart for other reasons, probably to illustrate that liberty-minded folks are leaving that Statist Hellhole as fast as they can.  Sorry for the digression. - Allen)

", public relations, "

We have continuous media mentions of the party and our candidates through print, online, and television

" candidate recruitment "

We set all-time records for the number of Libertarians on the ballot in Texas

"database development "

We have an IT team that supports our customer relations management (CRM) system

"Failure to support our candidates, or worse"

We have been told that we give more support to our candidates than Democrats and Republicans give to theirs. With full time staff we have provided more support than in the past. We have offered training and provided resources while giving autonomy to candidates and their campaigns. We always strive to do a better job. 

"Pandering to major donors"

We have never compromised our principles or ethics to receive financial support. There are donors we have lost when they didn't care for our principled Libertarian position.

"Flawed messaging that fails to focus .. on common goals and motivations "

Sometimes the message that Ron Paul, Libertarians, and other liberty minded people deliver is not popular. We can't always pander and compromise on our message to get votes. We look at opportunities where we can deliver a message that is timely and pertinent to an issue in a way that can be persuasive while remaining grounded in Libertarian principles

"Serious fiscal mismanagement"

We do make mistakes at times. The position of treasurer is a volunteer position and there is a great deal of responsibility. We file reports with the Texas Ethics Commission. In 2006 we endured outside threats filed through the Ethics Commission and showed that our books were in order. Last year we had 2 internal audits. No serious problems were reported, however recommendations were made on how we can improve our reporting. We established a finance committee to implement these improvements. We have demonstrated to our state committee that our reports are accurate and that we operate within a budget approved by the state committee.

"Lack of transparency"

All of our meetings are open to the public. Our minutes are public record. Our financial reports are shared with every state committee member. Our annual reports are posted every year online where everyone can see them. Our financial receipts and expenditures are disclosed through the Texas Ethics Commission. When people have questions, we do our best to respond and provide information.

"Poor management of employees and staff"

I believe our staff and state committee can state that our management provides appropriate oversight without micro-management. Some staff members have been let go for performance reasons. We have done performance appraisals. We have discussed personnel issues with the state committee.

"Fear based, as opposed to vision based, fund raising"

Being honest with our membership and donors is fundamental. We cannot trick people into giving us support. In 2006 we said that if we do not receive $48k in 2 months we will lose Wes Benedict. We were honest about it and people donated to retain him. We have also sent fund raising letters talking about the great opportunities that await us and the achievements we have made. It is all about being honest. When we told you we needed support to retain Heather Fazio, you came through. Our honest approach to fund raising has worked and that is why our financial position has been the envy of every state affiliate of the Libertarian Party

"the incumbent has provided no vision for what our party should be going forward"

Last year I authored "Leading like a Libertarian"  Every year since I became chair our state committee derives annual goals. We post the results of progress to these goals in our annual report. At every state committee meeting I present a chair's report and these have been archived. We have toured the state of Texas talking at county meetings expressing the long term vision that we started in 2004.

"extensive business and management experience, which the incumbent lacks"

My professional resume is . I have managed projects and engineers for Fortune 500 companies and small startups. My project management experience and training has helped me in the many organizations I have led, including serving as president of an arts organization, a parks service organization, my church, the Libertarian Party association of state leadership, the Travis County Libertarian Party, and Texas state chair. I have served on the Libertarian Party national committee and was twice elected to city council in Lago Vista

" or calling the police (yes, you should ask the incumbent about that)"

This incident did not involve me. One of our state committee members, Michael Hansen, volunteered to host a state committee meeting in Victoria and the state committee agreed. Michael paid to reserve a room in restaurant in downtown Victoria. The week of the meeting, Kathie Glass announced she wanted to have marketing meeting at 11:30 am on the day of the meeting. Kathie was told she could contact the restaurant and make those arrangements. On the day of the meeting, I was in a library preparing paperwork for the meeting which was to start at 1 pm. I received a phone call at approximately 11:30 from one of our committee members asking if I wanted to meet for lunch because the building was locked. I immediately wondered about Kathie's meeting but was too busy preparing to go to lunch or address the issue.

When I arrived I saw 2 police officers leaving the building elevator. I was not present when any of this occurred. The information I received was that Kathie confronted the restaurant owner and demanded to be given a room. The restaurant owner offered a different room but this was not acceptable to Kathie. At some point the police were called. I did not call the police. A dispute between Kathie, a restaurant owner, and other Libertarians had nothing to do with me. I understand some people present may have different versions of the story, but I was not a part of it.


That's what Pat Dixon had to say. 

So..... The Tom Glass letter has some glaring mis-statements at best, perhaps some mistakes, and some things that just aren't true.  How can someone say that the owner of this resume lacks business and management experience?  Pat Dixon is a freakin' professional project manager! He's an engineering consultant!  Is that statement in the letter a mistake?  A misunderstanding?  Or should Tom Glass issue a retraction before the sun goes down today? 

I've served on the State Libertarian Executive Committee with both Pat and Tom at different times.  Pat Dixon provides measurable goals for us each year, and I remember pass/fail exercises on whether we've attained them.  Pat has provided a clear vision for recruiting, fund-raising and the like.  To say that Pat has "no" vision for the party is like affirming that you sleep through the SLEC meetings.  Sheesh...

Pandering to major donors???  I believe we need some names on this one.

Our party must be more than a hobby???  Since I became Tarrant County Chair, this job has consumed me.  It's been all I can do to keep my day job covered.  I cannot image what it's like as State Chair.  (Tom called me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in running for Vice Chair as part of a Glass/Patterson "slate".  I declined.  Tarrant County is enough to keep me busy.)  I do know that this party is not my...."hobby".  Does anyone who receives Pat's emails, conference calls, meeting content, schedule, etc., really think that State LP Chair is Pat Dixon's "hobby", the little thing that he does when he isn't messing with his stamp collection?

Let me say this about "fear-based fundraising".  If Pat Dixon hadn't put out an all-hands-on-deck alarm for funding and allowed us to retain the incredible services of Heather Fazio, I would've lost my mind during the Precinct, County, District conventions and filing processes.  Heather is an incredible asset to the Texas LP.  Well done, sir.  Well done. 

I think Pat Dixon has made some mistakes.  I think Tom Glass has made some mistakes, some of them in this letter.  I wish we had candidates who've made no mistakes, mostly so we could build religions around them.  Pat Dixon has been pouring himself into this outfit since 1984, and has done one hell of a job.  Here's something I got the other day from LP Senate candidate John Jay Myers:
Pat is a great chair, and a long time libertarian, he has dedicated much of his life to this party, (the one) he joined in 1984.

But beyond that, he has taken Texas from a state with little or nothing going on, and brought a ton of life into this party.
Texas is the envy of every state at our national convention: our accomplishments, the number of candidates we run, our staff, and our gumption, all seem to make folks just say "wow".
They don't mess with Texas and a great deal of this is due to Pat Dixon.  Please join me in spreading the word about what appears to be an outright unfair attack against Pat, when he has been nothing but good for this party. Tom Glass' letter may sound good in form, but it is far from accurate in its account.
Well said, John Jay.  Spoken like a true Libertarian.  I could go on at this forever, but most of Pat's responses stand by themselves.  Yes, I realize that by my general tone in this post, I've violated the Ed Kless Test's rule #4 (complete and total failure to exhibit a non-anxious presence).  But then, I'm not running for office. 

This is politics, folks.  The Republicans went through this when they replaced Michael Steele with Reince Priebus.  You might remember the Democrat Party's PUMA groups (Party Unity, My Ass!), segments of the party who were upset by Obama's victory over Hillary.  I can't wait to watch the Ron Paul forces go against the Republican establishment in August. 

We Libertarians claim to be guided by a philosophy, not the prevailing winds.  Our party platform really doesn't change much.  Some of us represent it better than others. Attacks probably aren't necessary within the party, as we believe there are some absolutes in life, and these truths are knowable through reason alone

I'll close this out with one last quote from Tom's unfortunate letter:

"Guard against corruption of the LPT and our candidates"

Who should we be guarding against?  Who should we support? 
Which candidate can pass the Ed Kless test?

I believe it's Pat Dixon. 

(Here's an update for this post, written in 2014.  CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO MY ENDORSEMENT OF KATHIE GLASS FOR GOVERNOR.) 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Andrew Ian Dodge is running for the Senate !!!

My good friend that I've never met, Andrew Ian Dodge, once wrote for this site while I was on vacation.  Go here. 

When Newsweek wanted to feature someone from the Tea Party grassroots, they picked Andrew.  Go here.  (If Newsweek continues to act in their new role as Obama's Palace Guard, I might have more readers than them by November.  Just wanted to point that out....) 

Andrew has written for Pajamas Media for a couple of years. 

We share a love of Southern Rock and Libertarian politics. 

We share an intense dislike of Maine's senator Olympia Snowe, the RINO who helped Obama pass the Porkulus Package. 

However, I didn't promise my father on his deathbed that I would do everything in my power to prevent Olympia Snowe from being reelected.  Damn.  Andrew really did that.  We don't have that in common, although I can imagine it happening if Daddy's timing had been different. 

Now Andrew is running for the U.S. Senate.  You can go here to see where he stands on the issues. 

Here's a whole mess o' videos. 

Here's where you can click to contribute. (I'm putting another one of these over there to your right.  If there's anyone running who deserves some Libertarian money, it's Andrew !!)

One other thing, something that's nothing but good ol' Damn Yankee fun....  Andrew has also written for a site called "Party On The Right".  Good stuff.  If I ever make it up to Maine, I want to hang out with these good folks and spend some time drinking, smoking, and cussing, and perhaps help them get rid of those ridiculous New England accents.  (Then I want to ride with them over to Stephen King's house in Bangor and explain to King that if he really, really, really wants to pay more taxes, the government has a website and an address where he can easily do so.  But now that he's filthy rich, he should allow the rest of us to have the same opportunity without having to listen to any self-righteous fits of democrat guilt.  When he got his first good book deal, I don't think he fell over himself trying to give more to The Chicago Mob.  In fact, I bet he still has a good tax attorney making sure he pays at little as possible.) 

One of the contributors to Party On The Right, Rob North, has written about how a convicted felon doing 17 years in jail took 40% of the Democrat Primary vote in West Virginia.  It's called "Obama Needs To Fear The Mullet".  The man has a good point. 

Andrew Ian Dodge is running for the U.S. Senate !!!!  Does it get any better??  Please send the man a donation. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Penn Jillette needs to stop examining my fantasies

Penn Jillette points out the obvious about Barack Obama's War On Drugs:

What troubles me about this... I think it's beyond hypocrisy. I think it's something to do with class. A lot of people have accused Obama of class warfare, but in the wrong direction. I believe this is Obama chortling with Jimmy Fallon about lower class people. Do we believe, even for a second, that if Obama had been busted for marijuana -- under the laws that he condones -- would his life have been better? If Obama had been caught with the marijuana that he says he uses, and 'maybe a little blow'... if he had been busted under his laws, he would have done hard f*cking time. And if he had done time in prison, time in federal prison, time for his 'weed' and 'a little blow,' he would not be President of the United States of America. He would not have gone to his fancy-a** college, he would not have sold books that sold millions and millions of copies and made millions and millions of dollars, he would not have a beautiful, smart wife, he would not have a great job. He would have been in f*cking prison, and it's not a god damn joke. People who smoke marijuana must be set free. It is insane to lock people up.

Well, yeah, but let me ask you a hypothetical question.....  Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and catch Obama smoking weed and inhaling Booger Sugar, would you see to it that he got busted?  Think of the lives saved overseas, the benefits to the economy, no Cash For Clunkers, and on and on and on.....
We can always dream. 

Here's Jillette's interview:

Monday, May 21, 2012

What is the economic system in the United States?

I'll admit it.  I'm confused. 
I don't think we can claim to live in a "free market capitalist" system any more.  Benevolent Fascism?  Randomly Occurring Acts Of Socialism?  Crony Marxism?  Vegas Paternalism?  Insider Protectionism?  Teleprompter-Driven Panic? 

I don't know if I could answer this Citizenship Test question correctly.  Lordy, who knows what the answer is going to be in a few weeks? 

Here's a definition that I've enjoyed posting every couple of months.  (If I'm not mistaken, the entry was written sometime during Bush's last year.)
As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. The word derives from fasces, the Roman symbol of collectivism and power: a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax. In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace.
Let's see....we've got a Department Of Energy jacking around with fuel prices.  Jeff Immelt of G.E. is whispering sweet nothings into Obama's ear while he outlaws bulbs he doesn't like and mandates the ones G.E. can make overseas.  Washington will soon be in charge of healthcare.  It appears that Monsanto has written more laws than any senator who ever lived, trying to control the freakin' food supply.  And on and on and on.....

I'm glad that Obama hasn't noticed my employer's fruitstand industry and its risky, unfettered, unregulated, free-wheeling....oh, I'm hearing rumors that our Lords And Masters might declare that all produce has to be refrigerated. 

Never mind. 

We better get on board.