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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tea Party

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Amendment One, United States Constitution
There has been a lot of talk recently about coinintelpro and agent provocateur infiltration of the Tea Party Movement and their events. Below is an account of my personal experience with my local Tea Party, as well as first hand reports from two other attendees.
I arrived early and set up on a city sidewalk at an intersection. Being a seasoned protester, I brought all the tools required for a lawful, peaceful public demonstration of my grievances with my government – Signs, literature, a camera and video device, a Pocket Constitution, and a megaphone.
Keep in mind that I was in my hometown. The city and county stole my money through force to build the sidewalk I was standing on. I was having so much fun chanting, “Taxation is theft and theft is violence” through my megaphone when one of the organizers walked up to me and told me I was not allowed to use a megaphone. I asked him by whose authority he was acting upon. The man reported that he was acting up on the City of Branson’s authority. I was as respectful as possible and told him that the City of Branson cannot restrict my right to peacefully assemble or my right to free speech.
The man left and I continued to use my megaphone. About thirty-minutes later he came back and reported that I needed permit to use the megaphone. I asked him again on whose authority he was acting. He reported that since he (as a business owner) was required to obtain a permit that I was, too. At this point, I took out my Pocket Constitution and told the man that the First Amendment was my permit. I told him that I would not stop using my megaphone.
So, the man left and I continued to use my megaphone again. The City of Branson Police Department drove by a few times while I was using my megaphone. Their presence gave me courage to shout louder, as my belief in free speech was affirmed. The Tea Party organizer walked up to me a third time and asked me to stop. I asked him why he was so adamant to silence me. He reported that the City of Branson had told him that if there was any electronic amplification used at this assembly he would not be issued another event permit.
I reported to the man that this was a serious issue that he needed to take up with the City of Branson. I told him that he should stop asking permission from his government to operate a business or act in the best interest of his business. I told him that the event he had helped organize was based on this type of freedom. He walked away with me shouting into my megaphone that freedom from tyranny comes from the individual actions that we take every day.
Renea McMasters – Branson, Missouri
Renea got a couple dozen copies of the Constitution from the YAL (Young Americans for Liberty) KU Chapter to hand out at the Branson Tea Party on Saturday April 17th. There were two parts of the rally, the street action along the Branson Strip with everyone holding up signs, and an outdoor, main-stage event with speakers and entertainment. There were also many booths setup on the parameter of the crowd. During the street action I went up and down the line of protesters handing out Campaign for Liberty tri-folds and S604 Audit the FED push cards.

One of the Tea Party Staff asked me not to hold up a sign that contained profanity. The sign says "O Shit" with the O being the Obama logo. He said that it wasn't consistent with the other signs at the protest and that I could go across the street by the We Are Change protesters because they "aren’t with us." I opted to trade it out for a large Gadsden flag and continued to go down the line of protesters handing out literature. I did not mention to the man that I was on a public sidewalk where my First Amendment right to hold any sign was protected by the United States Constitution
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After the street action everyone headed to a private venue for the main stage event. We opted not to take the megaphone to the main stage event for fear that it would interfere with the free speech of the speakers on stage.

I went around to some of the booths picking up an Allen Icet for State Auditor t-shirt and Purgason for US Senate sticker. Then I asked Renea if I could hand out the Constitutions that she brought. She said I could so I started carrying them around in my hand. Since the constitutions had the Young American for Liberty website YALiberty.org on them I was looking for young people to hand them out to. There weren’t a lot of young people in the crowd other than a few small children. While I was walking around a lady came up to me and asked if she could have one, and I said sure and gave it to her. Then, an older couple came up and asked if I was handing out Constitutions and asked if they could have one so I gave them each one. I continued around the outside of the crowd looking for young people, high school or college aged, but didn't see any.

Then a lady with a Tea Party Staff t-shirt came up to me and asked me what I was handing out. I told her it was the constitution. She saw my sticker and asked if I was with the Purgason for US Senate booth. She said that only people who had a booth were allowed to hand out things because the Tea Party wanted to review what information was being disseminated. I told her that I did not have a booth. She said there was a formal process with paperwork for having a booth and handing out information at the tea party. She said there was already a booth handing out constitutions, and anyone who wanted one could go to that booth. I told her if she wanted to kick me out she could do that and that it would make for a great story in the newspaper tomorrow "Man kicked out of Tea Party for handing out the Constitution." I told her I think this is going to be a great story for the newspaper and that she should kick me out because I'm not going to stop handing out constitutions.

Then I went over to Renea and told her what was going on. The lady came over to where Renea was and Renea asked her if we weren’t allowed to hand out constitutions and she told Renea that we couldn't hand out anything. Renea asked if she could give her a DVD of Freedom to Fascism and insisted that she take it. When she told us again that we couldn't hand out anything I yelled, "This lady doesn't want us to hand out the constitution!" I yelled loud enough to interrupt the speaker that was on stage and part of the crowed turned to see what was going on including the We Are Change cameraman. Here is the footage the We Are Change Branson cameraman obtained:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI1BHUCYKZ0



After a couple seconds, several people rushed over to me to get a constitution. One guy yelled "I'll take a constitution, just shut up." All the constitutions I had were gone in less than half a minute with some going to young kids whose parents had sent them over get one.

A couple minutes later the cops came over and talked to us. The Branson Police were very polite. They said they just wanted to make sure that we weren't there to disrupt the tea party and they were sympathetic to the tea party organizers harassing us. I told them that we want to make sure that the speakers on stage had a chance to be heard so that they could exercise their free speech. Renea told them that we were here to be respectful and to celebrate liberty. They also asked us if we were the ones using the megaphone earlier, during the street action, and said that they were glad that we were able to use the megaphone and exercise our free speech.
Michael Mikkelsen – Kansas City, Missouri

While attending the Branson Tea Party on April 17, I was thinking how great it was to see so many people joined in the spirit of liberty. Unfortunately, this spirit was countered by what seemed to me to be a curious concern for control. The first tip off was the fact that the two guys who were taking a survey for purely academic purposes told us, my friends and me, that they were not allowed into the event. Then there was the fact that, although the organizers of the Branson Tea Party were handing out pocket size copies of the U. S. constitution, my friends were not allowed to give out the pocket constitutions that they had brought with them to hand out. Why would this be? I found this exclusionary attitude to be in conflict with the spirit of liberty and I am now suspect of the motives behind this behavior.

Dan McMasters – Branson, Missouri
I have seen other accounts of the First Amendment becoming an issue at Tea Parties.
I am not saying that this is an agenda being pushed by the Tea Party Movement. I am saying, however, that there are people in the movement who have an agenda of their own. Perhaps it is an agenda that promotes liberty at the expense of denying others their God given rights.

video

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher's Answer to "Illegal Immigration"?: "Put Up A Fence and Start Shooting Them!"

Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher, the former conservative plumber's assistant who approached then-Senator Barack Obama about his tax cut plan during his 2008 presidential campaign and current poster boy for the Tea Party and conservative movements as well as the Republican Party, was a keynote speaker at a Cincinnati, Ohio Tea Party rally, in which over 10,000 angry white Republicans showed up at the event. (Interestingly enough, Fox News talker and talk radio show host Sean Hannity was supposed to show up at the same event but his appearance was scrapped over administrative fees; nonetheless, that's neither here nor there.)

Wurzelbacher, trying to appeal to the Tea Baggers' populist senses, flies into a nonsensical rant about homosexuality and abortion. According to Free Talk Live executive producer and co-owner and partner of CAI Credit Adjustments, Inc. (formerly Sakal/CAI) Jason Osborne, Wurzelbacher brings up the subject of illegal immigration. What does he propose the "people" should do about illegal immigration?

According to both Irish Central and the Times Reporter news sites, he exclaimed:

"Illegal immigration?" he said. "Put a fence up and start shooting [them]."


Sadly and disturbingly enough, the entire crowd stood up and gave him a standing ovation. How disgusting and twisted indeed!

Even more, The Times Reporter site, in reference to Wurzelbacher, also stated:

He drew an ovation with a talk emphasizing patriotism, taking responsibility and getting involved. "We need to get behind real Americans," he said, warning the crowd not to let "a bunch of liberal pansies" take away their rights.


I suppose Wurzelbacher was truly referring to "conservative rights"?

This is a reason why the Liberty movement as a whole needs to divorce itself and disassociate itself from the Tea Party movement as much as possible and as soon as possible. Racism, intolerance, and bigotry must be rejected and condemned across the board. But, more importantly, violence against independent migrants must be denounced at all costs.

This is sheer positive proof that the Tea Baggers, including their conservative ilk, are nothing short of racists and fascism across the board. Any conservative, right-libertarian, or Tea Bagger who condones the putrid vitriol and rhetoric coming from Wurzelbacher and the applause and praise from the right-wing crowd deserves to have his or her feet held to the fire, just for simply embracing and advocating that level of trash talk and violence.

Color me both blatantly sickened and confounded.

[H/T to Jason Osborne for mentioning this on last night's Free Talk Live and my show Liberty Cap Talk Live.]

Friday, April 9, 2010

Stossel's Show Inquires "What Is A Libertarian?"

Fox Business blogger and Stossel talk show host John Stossel did an entire segment on his show on the meaning of the term libertarian. The question he posits to the public at large is, "What is a libertarian?"

Incidentally, his guests included CATO Institute Executive Vice-President David Boaz, self-proclaimed (but not truly) "libertarian" syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock, Harvard University Director of Undergraduate Studies Jeffrey Miron, Fox News' Freedom Watch talk show host and judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, conservative political satirist P.J. O'Rourke, and, of course, my good friend and fellow left-libertarian/anarchist and individual feminist writer and blogger Wendy McElroy.

Here are the unabridged YouTube videos of the entire show (as shown in five parts):

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



Part 4:



Part 5:



I will comment on the show at a later time, but for now these videos are available for your enjoyment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Collateral Murder in New Baghdad, Iraq

WikiLeaks has just unveiled a new yet highly-classified U.S. Military video that depicts the slaying over a dozen people, two of them being Reuters news staff.

According to the website:

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.


The website further reveals:

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.


Here's the 17-minute and 47-second clip in its entirety. I advise parents and everyone who are about to watch this may not suitable for your children, as it does contain graphic, obscene violence:



If Americans are shocked by this when they see this, my question to them will be, "Why?" What the U.S. federal government has done to the people of Iraq and the rest of the Middle East does not surprise me, but that does not mean it does not disgust me further.

Color me both unsurprised and sickened at the same time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Financial Aid: There is No More Choice

Attached as an Amendment to the “health care reform” deemed to have passed the House of Representatives and voted on in the Senate as part of reconciliation, was a provision known as “The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act” that forces potential college students to get financial aid directly from the federal government. US Senator Lamar Alexander said, "The government will borrow money at 2.8 percent and loan it to students at 6.8 percent, then spend the difference on more government. Any savings should go to the students, not the government.”

The House Committee on Education & Labor says that by converting “all new federal student lending to the stable, effective and cost-efficient Direct Loan program. Beginning July 1, 2010, all new federal student loans will be originated through the Direct Loan program, instead of through the federally-guaranteed student loan program. The Direct Loan program is a more reliable lender for students and more cost-effective for taxpayers.”
And will:
“Invest the bill’s savings to make college affordable and help more Americans graduate
* Invests $36 billion over 10 years to increase the maximum annual Pell Grant scholarship to $5,550 in 2010 and to $5,975 by 2017. Starting in 2013, the scholarship will be linked to match rising costs-of-living by indexing it to the Consumer Price Index. This includes an investment of $13.5 billion to fund a shortfall in the Pell Grant scholarship program due to increased demand for the scholarship.
* Invests $750 million to bolster college access and completion support for students. It will increase funding for the College Access Challenge Grant program, and will also fund innovative programs at states and institutions that focus on increasing financial literacy and helping retain and graduate students.
* Makes federal loans more affordable for borrowers to repay by investing $1.5 billion to strengthen an Income-Based Repayment program that currently allows borrowers to cap their monthly federal student loan payments at 15 percent of their discretionary income. These new provisions would lower this monthly cap to just 10 percent for new borrowers after 2014.
* Invests $2.55 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions to provide students with the support they need to stay in school and graduate.
* Invests $2 billion in a competitive grant program for community colleges to develop and improve educational or career training programs.”

While this reform may make it “easier” for students to get financial aid, it ignores the real question. Why is college so expensive?
There are many reasons; increased administrative costs, increased teacher salaries both play a part, not to mention easy money that helps drive the cost up.
This “reform” will not bring down the cost of higher education, only a change in the philosophy of college presidents and administrators will bring costs down.

Starting Work on My New Book "Red, White, and Left-Libertarian"

I am now announcing that I have begun working on my first new book, which will be officially titled Red, White, and Left-Libertarian: America's Need to Reclaim Its Pro-Freedom Heritage. I started to conceive this book project years ago under its original working title Red, White, and Libertarian: America's Need to Reclaim Its Pro-Freedom Heritage, but since then, my pro-liberty views have evolved to a certain extent. At one point, it was retitled The Free Marketeer, but I didn't like it in the grand scheme of things. I like the new title, as it is catchy, so it will be published by Xlibris under that name.

I project that the book will be released later this year, but it could be much later than that. Either way, work on this piece is under way.

I'm quite ecstatic about it, and I'm sure my blog readers are too. It will be out soon.

Keep your eyes peeled for future announcements. While I'm not at liberty to say what the book will be about, it's going to be quite an interesting read.

What's Sauce for the Goose Is Sauce for the Gander

Proponents of Obama's pro-subsidized insurance industry medical-care "reform" a.k.a. ObamaCare are absolutely (and entirely) correct to object to the death threats and acts of physical violence directed at some congressmen that followed the recent ObamaCare vote in the House. It is paramount to stress that all decent and civil people must condemn and reject the actions of those who partook in them. Regardless of their reasons, what transpired was and still is immoral in every step of the way. It's immoral because it violates the essence and spirit of the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) and should not be tolerated across the board. Not only that, it sullies the cause of human liberty, which entails the diminishing of State power over the lives of freethinking individuals.

Having said that, the supporters of the so-called overhaul come off as nothing more than hypocrites because of their support for State violence against nonviolent individuals who just want to be left to their own devices. These individuals should be renouncing violence, yet they embrace it by supporting the plan. Considering the fact that the Obama administration has ordered the IRS to hire 16,00 new employees to be armed and loaded and carry out the medical-care mandate, violators, who happen to be uninsured Americans and who refuse to comply with the federal mandates and regulations by enrolling and paying for the newly state-mandated insurance, will be levied fines of nearly $700, which is nothing more than an assault on his or her liberty. Those fines can include, but not limited to, a confiscation of the violator's property, further sanctions such as arrest and incarceration, etc. All those things coupled with resistance to arrest and incarceration can, and will eventually, include the mighty wrath of the vile and pernicious State. And that simply can occur because an innocent and peaceful individual rightfully abstained from complying with a government mandate.

The point is that, if universal health care were such a noble endeavor and a goal truly worth of praise (and it would most certainly be), it would have been enacted freely and voluntarily in the absence of the State. This would be best achieved exclusively via voluntary exchange and social cooperation, not via brute force. After all, as the legendary George Washington once pointed out, "Government is not eloquence. It is not reason. It is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master." While they could have implemented otherwise, the proponents of ObamaCare decided that coercion must be employed (by using threats of violence) to get their way. That attitude is predicated on the notion that the ends must always justify the means. If they oppose violence by speaking out against the death threats and other threats of violence aimed at them, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. They are hardly setting a good example.

Advocates of liberty across the board must reject such calls of violence. They need not to sink to their level.